Home › Forums › Ex-gay/reparative/conversion therapy survivor stories › Demons, Pentes, cults, Living Waters
- Jim MarjoramMemberDecember 9, 2018 at 3:01 pmPost count: 2
Here’s my story – an average white kid born in an average middle class home in Sydney, Australia.
I always knew I was different, but when puberty hit and the other guys took a whole new look at girls I was just looking at the guys. There was no decision involved, it’s just how it was.
Christianity told me it was wrong, although in the 70s it wasn’t even talked about, but after a profound spiritual experience I read the bible from cover to cover and joined the local Anglican church, looking for love, meaning and a way to be, what I deemed “normal”.
In many ways, my religion only made things worse. It increased the thoughts of guilt and shame as well as the levels of frustration and self loathing and despite my religious zeal, I still entertained suicidal thoughts.
At the age of 19, I heard about “deliverance” ministry and casting out the demons of homosexuality at a little Anglican church in Sydney. I thought I would finally be free, but after a few months of humiliating sessions where I seriously doubted my sanity in it all, I walked away with nothing changed.
Undeterred, and desperate for a nice happy family, I got married at 23 to a wonderful woman who knew I was at least bi, but had no idea of the reality of my struggles. It was a sham, and something I’m not proud of. We have an amazing daughter though and remain good friends to this day. But it only lasted 3 years.
I then became involved in radical Pentecostalism in Frank Houston’s church (father of Brian Houston of Hillsong), again thinking it would be my salvation. I thought the extreme experiential nature of the church would bring me the power to change, but after being caught out with another guy when I was in a high profile ministry in church I had to step down for more counselling etc. Very humiliating and shaming as the rumours spread.
During that time, I thought I’d found the key to it all when I discovered the writings of Leanne Payne, who linked homosexuality to our relationship with our father and mother, childhood trauma or abuse and lack of emotional support.
It all seemed so simple and obvious, so, with the help of a couple of good friends from Youth With A Mission, I set to work analysing my childhood. However, because the theories had to work, I made my childhood much worse in my mind than it actually was. I was determined to make it work though, and managed to live in complete delusion, that I would be able to live a “normal” straight life.
So after a few years, I got married again. My wife had been in a couple of lesbian relationships so we thought we understood each other and were prepared to commit to our lives together. Of course it was an uphill battle, and as you can imagine we had a really unhealthy relationship.
We became deeply involved in a small Pentecostal church that slowly became more cult-like, and ended up in many bizarre forms of counselling, following every weird prophet that came to town, and submitting to highly controlling leadership. It finally imploded and we left, finding our way into the Vineyard movement to recover, where we took on many active roles in leadership and worship.
It was there in the late 90s that we discovered Living Waters – an international conversion therapy organisation. We became worship leaders and group leaders for them and strong advocates for the organisation, but although I would never openly admit it, it didn’t change me in the slightest.
I desperately struggled to put on a “straight” face, and tell people how amazing Living Waters was. And yes, they were very loving and supportive people, but deluded none the less.
I suffered from depression and suicide ideation from a teenager, and it never left me. Even through Living Waters the depression never left. I just learned how to push on, keep repressing and smiling.
But the shame and guilt never left. The cognitive dissonance was excruciating. It wasn’t until my wife of 22 years died of cancer in 2011 that I finally felt free to search for real answers. The process however, brought me to the point of breakdown with the depression and anxiety becoming overwhelming.
Slowly, I began the painful process of unravelling and dismantling all my paradigms about faith and sexuality. I questioned everything, came out as gay, and discovered a whole new world of love and life.
My passion has now become helping LGBT people to uncover the impact of religion in their lives, to help them discover their true worth as human beings and the absolute joy of unconditional love and acceptance.
I no longer adhere to the Christian faith but have a wonderful sense of inner peace, and a feeling that I’ve only just begun my life. For the first time, I’m actually “living loved” and life is good.
I’ve gone on to create a support group called Silent Gays to provide resources and safe spaces for LGBT people to process their faith and sexuality, free from any religious bias. I’ve also published my story in a book called It’s Life Jim.
And you can buy the book hereSue GModeratorDecember 10, 2018 at 1:40 pmPost count: 14
Hi Jim, your story is amazing. It’s wonderful that you have been able to find inner peace after all those years of silent suffering. I identify very much with the “cognitive dissonance” you described. All the best in your work with Silent Gays. I have sent an email. I hope I can help in some way. Sue G xJim MarjoramMemberDecember 10, 2018 at 3:22 pmPost count: 2
Thanks so much Sue G
Hugs and much love <3Anthony Venn-Brown OAMKeymasterDecember 10, 2018 at 10:02 pmPost count: 26
Hey Jim…..welcome. Thanks for sharing here. So great to have had time together recently.
Some of us are slow learners eh……22 years for me…a bit longer for you I believe. I’ve come across guys that didn’t come out till their 60’s. That is a lot of your life trying everything not to be you.PhoenixModeratorDecember 11, 2018 at 12:59 pmPost count: 18
Welcome to our family
I came out 12 mths ago at 55 yrs young
I find it amazing how we can bury our emotions deep into the abyss of our soul and learn when trigger points arise that challenge us
We are able to adapt and continually make excuses.
With me there were too many challenges in my life that I had not planned for.
All my emoitions poured out of me.
But here we are
Able to be true to ourselves.
No more excuses
PhoniexAnonymousInactiveJanuary 15, 2019 at 5:37 pmPost count: 2
Thank you for all your help
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