This Sunday, something I never imagined in my wildest dreams is going to happen.
If you’ve read my autobiography, you’ll know that in 1972, I was in a residential Christian program operating out of a church in Sydney’s south to rid myself of my homosexuality. This was before the founding of Exodus (1976), or the terms “ex-gay” or “conversion therapy” had been coined.
The live-in, rehabilitation-styled program worked with a variety of problems, homosexuality being one of them. I was desperate to rid myself of the curse….. the “abomination” as my King James Bible called it. Since becoming a “born again” believer in 1969, I’d already tried prayer (daily), several weeks of exorcisms and a 40-day fast, to be free. No matter what I did or how hard I tried, I was still plagued with homosexual thoughts, feelings, and in my darkest moments……brief experiences, which only plunged me deeper into a pit of guilt and shame. The Moombara/Bundeena approach was my only hope, I’d been told. I gave complete control of my life over willingly to the pastor and leaders.
After six months of abuse, humiliation, and trauma, I was drained of all motivation and couldn’t take anymore. I left.
Fast forward to 2020 when we went into our first corona lockdown. I moved into a friend’s cottage in the same area as my 1972 conversion “therapy” experience. Triggers from that time decades earlier were everywhere. Driving down a road, going to the shop at Bundeena, looking across Port Hacking and seeing Moombara House in the distance. It was difficult to NOT think of the painful memories.
Then the most incredible series of synchronistic events happened. I imagine working out the probability of these events would keep famous mathematicians engaged for ages. I talked about this in Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International’s 2020 annual report under the heading “Sometimes life feels like a movie”. Since that time, on a consultative basis, I’ve been working with the leadership and church through the process of LGBTQ acceptance.
After all the corona/pandemic stops and starts, this Sunday, the 27th March, I’m returning to the very place of my conversion “therapy” experience, where they will announce that they are now an LGBTQ affirming congregation. And 50 years after the event, even though a handful of originals from those days remain, and the major source of my trauma has passed away ……..I’ll be receiving an apology.
Amazing. Truly amazing.