I wanted so much to be able to be honest with someone that I was actually in contact with. I hinted to my closest friend that my friendship with Ryan wasn’t just a friendship. She was, naturally for someone in our atmosphere, worried for me. So, despite her promises that she would trust me to do what I felt was right, she went to my youth pastor for help. He promptly told the senior pastor, who is superintendent of the school. The next day, I was called into Pastor Dennis’s office for questioning. Pastor Overton was also in the room, sitting to my left with a legal pad and a pen, taking notes. Dennis tried to start off nice enough, but it was obvious that they found out.
Jonathan Nichols, Part One
My story is going to be slightly different than the others featured on this blog because I actually never attended Bob Jones University. However, before you stop reading, you should know that I would be finishing up my freshman year at BJU had I not been outed in high school, expelled, and ultimately forced to leave home. My parents are both BJU alumni, and the principal of my Christian school in Ohio was a BJU-pusher. In fact, while I was growing up, BJU was presented as the only viable choice of college by my family and a few teachers.
I never planned to be a gay rights activist. In fact, I never really planned to be out of the closet. The older I got and the more I realized that there was never going to be a second puberty for me where I would suddenly fall in love with a wonderful Christian man (or any man, for that matter), the more firmly I believed that I would have to be single and silent forever. I had no idea that there was any other option for my life. Thankfully, over the process of years of prayer and study and counseling, I apprehended the importance of living a holistic life. My entire life had been completely schizophrenic to that point, Church Rachel and Work Rachel and Family Rachel and Gay Rachel, never meeting, never intersecting, never coalescing in truth and transparency. My coming out process changed me, made me a healthier, more honest, and more loving person. For the first time in my life, I felt truly free to be fully myself.
It’s true that hindsight is 20/20. All the signs were there. I should have known. It seems like just about everyone else knew. Figuring out that you’re gay when you’re forty-one years old is quite a shock. I had never had sex with a man, never had sex with a woman other than my wife of eighteen years. Actually she was the only person I had ever kissed! Because that’s what we were supposed to do, right? Later, guys would ask me, “you experimented, right?” Umm, no. My journey to self-awareness started just after I turned thirty-nine, but I didn’t know it at the time. I just knew that something inside of me finally broke.
Justin VanLeeuwen, Part Three
Today I can boldly affirm that I am a gay man. I don’t necessarily go around with my own G sewn brazenly onto my shirt, but I no longer have to bury it with anguish in the deepest parts of my being. Instead I give out my card when appropriate, and I do so with confident and mayhap defiant pride. I am now free to live an authentic life.
Justin VanLeeuwen, Part Two
In another environment I might have been able to seek help and counsel from peers and adults. But in fundamentalism – where a reputation (so I heard countless times) is like a pane of glass that, once broken, can never be repaired-. . .I felt trapped by the reputation I had constructed.
Justin VanLeeuwen, Part One
I had never come out publicly until now. I hesitated, dreading the influx of sincere, yet condescending, pleas for my soul from friends and acquaintances: the condemnation. I realized, though, that the people I fear reading my story are precisely the ones whom I may have the unique ability to touch, to give them a face and a name for something they fear. And so, my story…
I am no longer a victim. But there are those currently behind the curtain of spiritual abuse systems who come to this website seeking refuge, encouragement, and healing. In witness to the universal truth that“nothing shall separate us from the love of God,” I stand in my power as a happy gay man and simply proclaim: We are not alone.
Lane White, Part Two
Brothers and sisters, wherever you are in your life and spiritual journey, the tide is turning! No longer are we relegated to the shadows of doubt and fear. The clanging cymbals of rejection are beginning to be drowned out. We have come so far, but to rest now is not an option.
Lane White, Part One
I’ve been on the threshold of this post for a while now. At first I was very eager to share my story. Like many of us, I probably spend too much time reconnecting with folks that share my collegiate experience. It has been fun to reminisce about those years! Then ever so slowly, I felt emotions that had been so long buried I had nearly forgotten they existed. In some way, this cathartic exercise is necessary for me, and if we are lucky, maybe for some of you, too. I am not the best writer, but I write from the heart.