Ex-Gay: Fact, Fraud of Fantasy?
by Frank Worthen

“Ex-Gay” is a term that always seems to bring a response. For the most part, the gay community believes this is a total lie. They deny that it is possible to become ex-gay. It is their belief that “ex-gay” is a fraudulent term. They may allow that the ex-gay person is sincere in his belief of change, but they see the ex-gay as simply engrossed in a fantasy situation. They think that one day, the “former homosexual” will come back to reality and find that he or she is just as gay as ever. Each time an ex-gay person falls back into sexual sin, the skeptical critics hold this as proof of their position that the ex-gay was living in a state of euphoria, that he simply was brainwashed and has finally come to his senses. Most come from the standpoint that a homosexual orientation is inborn, that it cannot be changed. They frequently equate the homosexual orientation with being left-handed or with the color of one’s skin.

Others in the world also scoff at this term. The world is not familiar with people who have left the homosexual lifestyle behind. They have come to accept homosexual people just as they are and have never considered asking a homosexual person to change his orientation. The majority of ex-gays who have received change from Jesus Christ have refused to witness to such a change and have melted into the heterosexual society with the hope that their past life will never be exposed. Through such faintheartedness, the world and a multitude of gay people have never heard the message of change and many have gone on to an eternity without Christ. One wonders what would have happened if Saint Paul had said to himself: “Hey! A guy could get killed out there, I had better mind my own business”. Many have hidden their lamp under a bushel and hidden their light, fearful of ridicule and disapproval. What will the Master say to those who have buried their talent in the ground? On judgement day, will gay men and women come forward to accuse those who had the words of life, yet withheld them?

Understanding the Term “Ex-gay”

What is the meaning of this term many people are using to announce that their lives have been changed? Not only the world, but former gays also are in confusion about this term. Society most often views things in a black/white context.

If change is not instant and total, they will not acknowledge that any real change has taken place. No allowance is made for the process of growing into a new identity. A telephone caller once said to me: “I have just three minutes. Please tell me what to do to change myself into a heterosexual!” Not only the world at large, but the Christian world also, expects immediate results. Christians want to hear of instant healing, many attend healing services just to witness instant miracles. We long for the day when, in the twinkling of an eye, we will be changed into new creatures. Many are convinced there is a demon of homosexuality. If this demon is cast out, immediate change will take place: TRAILBlazers Ministry fully believes in the power of deliverance and uses it whenever necessary, but also realises that God more often chooses to change us through a gradual process rather than a dramatic event.

To begin to understand the term “ex-gay”, we must correlate it with the sanctification process described in 2 Corinthians 1:10

“who delivered us from so great a death,

and does deliver us; in whom we trust that

He will still deliver us…”

For the ex-gay person, change has definitely come, by virtue of the fact that he has given his life to Christ and has been “born again”. This event has taken place regardless of his sexual orientation. No one can deny that something very dramatic has happened. His dead spirit has come to life. The Holy Spirit has come to live within his body. His viewpoint on many things has already changed. However, God has begun a work that remains incomplete. While much may now be different, changes in attitudes, desires and relationships with others, the change process is far from finished.

Phil 2:12-13

12 “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;

13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”

The change goes on day by day…”One day at a time” and if need be “One hour or one minute at a time”.   Even after God has completed the change in the area He is working on today, there will be areas left to be healed at some point in the future. The ex-gay can truthfully say that he has been changed, he is now being changed and that he will be changed.

The formerly gay person who has based his confidence in Christ, gradually discovers that his homosexual responses are diminishing and grows secure in this fact as he walks closely beside his Master.

One thing is certain, he now has a new position in Christ. He is freed from his sin by the power of the atoning blood of Jesus on the Cross. God views him through the perfect sacrifice of Christ. God no longer sees him as a homosexual. He is now a Christian, as a Christian he may have many problems areas, one of which may be homosexuality.

Becoming ex-gay does not exempt us from ever stumbling. Every Christian need to be cleansed daily from tempting thoughts.

I John 1:8-10

8  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

9  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

Every Christian needs to be cleansed daily from tempting thoughts.

There certainly is a satanic element here as well, since Satan does not easily let go of one of his. He sets traps and snares along the way to discourage our walk with the Lord, and he uses people to stumble us. Even Christians can become tools of the enemy.

Looking for satisfaction in the homosexual lifestyle is to see a false and unfulfilling solution to legitimate emotional needs. These emotional needs have fuelled the desire for intimate relationships with others of the same sex. They have existed from early childhood because these needs were not met at the appropriate time during the growth process. Desire for intimacy can be met in a legitimate and godly way. When this happens, the homosexual temptations disappear.

However, we are subject to temptations of varying kinds all over lives. Nowhere does the Bible promise that a believer will come to a place where her or she is never tempted again. In fact Scripture promises just the opposite: we will face a lifetime of trials and temptations. We are told to rejoice in our trials, for they build Christian maturity.

James 1:2-8

2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,

3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.

4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.

7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;

8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

What About Constitutional (Basic) Homosexuality?

Hasn’t It Been Proven?

Although research teams have spent much time and money attempting to prove that homosexuality is inborn, no concrete proof has been found. In fact, the more research is done, the less evidence is found to support the theory of basic homosexuality. What do famous researchers say on this subject? In their book “Human Sexuality”, Masters and Johnson say:

“The genetic theory of homosexuality has generally been discarded today”.

About hormonal influence they say:

“Despite the interest in possible hormone mechanisms in the origin of homosexuality, no serious scientist today suggests that a simple cause-effect relationship applies.”

The Sex Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) presents this statement in their book “Sexuality and Man”:

“Man does not from birth possess an instinctive desire to achieve any specific goal in regard to sex, but that his sexual behaviour is at any time the cumulative result of  the learning and conditioning experiences he had.”

In the orient there are people who buy baby boys up to two and three years old from their parents who need money desperately. Then “train” and “nurture” them to be

homosexuals. They know no other way of life. By the time they are nine they are ready to be “sold” to Westerner pedophiles who have enough money.

Scientific evidence does not support the theory of constitutional (basic) homosexuality. Many Christians, however, do not agree with the idea that our sexuality is “up for grabs”, as much of the research seems to indicate. They believe we are created with an inherent (in-born) heterosexual nature, basing this belief on Genesis chapter two, the creation of man and woman.

Genesis 2:18-25

18 And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”

19 Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name.

20 So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.

21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place.

22 Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

23 And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

Here the Lord forms the woman as a “suitable helper” for the man, instructing the man “to cleave to his wife and become one flesh” with her. Although man has fallen far from God’s intentions, Christians believe each person still hears God’s original design. When this design becomes distorted through the effects of sin, problems such as homosexuality result. They see the ex-gay person as simply returning to his God-given identity which was buried within him all along.

Why are Homosexual people so determined that they were born gay?

First, the idea that a CHOICE exists as to whether or not they remain homosexual is both frightening and threatening. The gay person has a REAL INVESTMENT IN HIS IDENTITY.

Many gay people have struggled with homosexual feelings for years before accepting the label “homosexual” on their lives. By accepting this identity, they put to rest this difficult struggle and feel a sense of relief that this traumatic time in their life has passed. The thought of returning to these times of uncertainty is very threatening and undermines their confidence in their very identity.

Secondly, most gay people cannot remember a time when they did not have homosexual feelings. They actually believe they were born gay… that research has proven that the paths we take in life are laid down at a very early age.

It is said that a child knows if he is wanted or not by the time he is six months of age. During the period from eighteen to thirty-six months, his or her “gender identity” is formed and becomes difficult to change from this point on. So it is not surprising that the message from the gay community that a person is “born gay” is accepted at face value.

Homosexual by Three?

Are we saying that people become homosexual at the early age of three years? NO. But the root causes of homosexuality and many other personality disturbances may be all in place by that time.

The Deepest Root of Homosexuality

We believe that the deepest root of homosexuality is a break in the relational bonds within the family, producing a lack of a sense of belonging or a lack of affirmation.

The security of a child depends on a three-way bond:

1. Mother to child;

2. Father to child; and the often overlooked and neglected bond of:

3. Father to mother.

Any break in this triangle will produce insecurity in the child. It is important here to state that whether the break is real or only perceived by the child, the results are the same. The child is affected by the way her or she REACTS to disruptions in the family unit.

God has ordained the father to bear the responsibility for the family unit.

Ephesians 5:23-24

23 “The husband is head of the wife as Christ is Head of the Church…

24 …so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands.”  It is when the father abdicates his role that distortions set in.

Boundaries and authority structure God set in motion

Genesis 2:15-17

15 Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.

16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat;

17 “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

Man abdicates his role:

Genesis 3:1-6

1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”

2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of   the trees of the garden;

3 “but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.'”

4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.

5 “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

Man learns to shift the blame:

Genesis 3:7-13

7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.

8 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

9 Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”

10 So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”

11 And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”

12 Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”

13 And the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

It is when the father abdicates his role that distortions set in. It is easy to see that the father is of vital importance in the development of male children in the family. The son needs to be able to respect, honour and desire to be like his father so that the identity transfer may take place.

What is an IDENTITY TRANSFER?

What is an IDENTITY TRANSFER?

A male child has certain needs that only his father can fill, the same is true of the female child with her mother. (As I explain it…we are born with two immense holes in us, one to be filled by our fathers and one by our mothers…each have a vital roll to play in fulfilling each child’s emotional needs.) A male child’s needs can be summed up with three words:

1. STRENGTH;

2. POWER; and

3. PROTECTION

The male role is to INITIATE, the female role is to RESPOND. These are to be the predominant traits although there will be a natural crossover. It is normal for males to respond at times and females to initiate.

It is vital for the male child to develop an ACTIVE rather than PASSIVE personality. He must become a RISK-TAKER. Under his father’s covering, he feels free to explore his world and learn by trial and error. The strength, power and protection of his father makes this possible. He enjoys his relationship with his father, knowing that his father desires him to possess these traits for himself, rather than always being dependent on his father for them.  These good feelings about his father transfer into love, affirmation and a sense of belonging. He is secure in his father’s identity and accepts that identity for himself.

What is it that causes gay people to go out on the streets looking for a sexual partner? Although, most have little awareness of this, their search is not for sex, but for intimacy. They seek in another male person the elements of parental love that was denied them. Much of the homosexual search is a FATHER REPLACEMENT search, an attempt to find strength, power and protection from a male figure. In fact, one of the indications that an ex-gay person may be ready for heterosexual marriage is when the desire to be protected has been replaced by a desire to protect.

The female child also needs an identity transfer, but of a much different nature. A desire to be protected is normal and good. She should develop such a trust of men through her father that she looks forward to having her own special protector. She must come to see the female role as desirable, motherhood as rewarding, and find dignity in serving. She develops a wisdom quite different from the male. She must not see the female role as degrading and humiliating. She must that God that He make her female.

Proverbs 31:30-31

30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.

31 Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates.

The father is significant to his daughter as well. In affirming her, loving her unconditionally and approving of her femininity, he prepares her for a healthy heterosexual development. As he expresses his love for her, and as she witnesses a strong bond of love between her father and mother, she perceives the goodness of the heterosexual relationship. For both girls and boys therefore, the father must provide stability and security.

Non-sexual Roots

The deepest roots of homosexuality are therefore non-sexual. The desire for sexual interaction comes long after the simple desire for love, security, affirmation and just someone who will say “You’re OK”.

Withdrawal

Not all, but perhaps the majority of homosexual people (male in particular) have withdrawn in some way during early childhood. If the child has had an absent or emotionally-absent father, a certain amount of vulnerability is felt by the child. He feels exposed and unprotected from the world. This tendency to withdraw produces three negative side-effects:

1. FEAR;

2. ISOLATION; and

3. ENVY

FEAR

I think that most of us who counsel troubled people, whether homosexual or heterosexual, have found that behind the phobias, erratic and abnormal behaviour is a deep FEAR OF ABANDONMENT stemming from very early childhood. Though it may not be the primary cause of every disorder, it certainly is one of the major causes of personality disturbances. Since fathers are equated with protection, an abusive father has therefore betrayed his God-intended purpose, to protect and shield his family. If he is feared, then he cannot be counted on to defend against the attacks of the world.

The indifferent father has also renounced his role and in some ways is more damaging in the development of the child than the abusive father. As the child sees his father standing idly by as he fights his own battles, he has physical proof that his father does not love him. This emotionally abusive father has abandoned his children just as much, or more than a totally absent father.

When a father is completely out of the life of a child, there is a chance that the child will believe the best about his father because he wants to. He may fantasies that if his father were present, he would be loved and cared for. The indifferent father who is present does not make this kind of dream possible. Because of this, deep resentments are formed that play significant roles in later life.

Fathers are often called the “windows to the world” and as children grow older, they need the knowledge, skill role-modelling and protection that can only come from a father. Without this, the child may become “burned” by the world and begin to sink into his or her own world of fantasy, too fearful to function in the real, everyday world.

ISOLATION

The lack of a same-sex role model creates problems with one’s peer group. If a male child has only his mother’s influence in his life, he will react to the world in the way he thinks his mother would react. His peers will quickly pick up his effeminacy and ridicule him, excluding him from their inner circle. Thus isolation is forced on him.

The female child that has developed a strong identity with her father will also find herself separated at times from her peer group and their interests. Often she will come to resent their feminine approach to life and exclude herself from their interaction.

One of the major underlying problems of homosexuality is a lack of a sense of belonging or affirmation

ENVY

It is only natural that the child that has felt the sting of rejection comes to envy the accepted one. A process begins that, if carried to its conclusion, will lead to what gays call their “orientation”. Beginning with simple COMPARISON of one’s self with others, one makes the decision and admission that one is then not equal with one’s peers.

The realisation comes that one cannot meet the standards of one’s peer group. A retreat from competition begins in which the child no longer initiates action with his friends but lags behind. Finally he gives up entirely, admitting his inadequacy.

This gives rise to ADMIRATION of those who are “better” in some way. They May be more handsome, better built, or more intelligent, a host of other things. Predominantly admiration is felt for those who are not afraid to initiate, those who have the courage and strength to maintain their worth against the attacks that come their way. Somewhere along the way, this admiration slips into ENVY and a strong desire to possess. Usually there is one special person that is the object of this envy and admiration. Decades later, the homosexual person may still be on a replacement search for this “first love”. They strongly desire for this person to be their “best friend”. They fantasise about being alone with this person and being able to relate intimately with them.

In puberty, as sexual desire starts to emerge, this desire simply settles in on what has already been the focus of the child’s life; that which was the object of their admiration and envy. Thus, envy becomes eroticised. In many lives, this process does not proceed to this end, but for the homosexual person, this sexual desire for someone of the same sex seems completely natural since it began as a non-sexual desire.

Summary

We find that the pattern of homosexuality develops over a long time span from infancy to adolescence. Because of its early beginnings, it may appear to be inborn or constitutional (basic). Somewhere in puberty, the person becomes aware that this interest in people of the same sex is not normal and that his or her peers are moving ahead into heterosexual interests.

Panic often sets in as the discovery is made that this is not just a phase that will pass but may be a lifetime condition. This revelation is sometimes followed by what can only be described as a grief process. There is a period of disbelief and denial. Following this may be a time of almost total isolation, crying and severe depression. It is at this point that many who have never been “religious” will turn to religion to seek an immediate change in their life.

Since most do not receive a dramatic healing, anger and bitterness often set in. Self-interest becomes the goal and the person decides that he will make the best of this unhappy situation. Self-pity will drive a few to either take their own lives or to make the attempt.

Those who have been Christians are faced with a very difficult decision. Do they act out their desires? This conflict lasts many years those who choose to engage in homosexual behaviour are often filled with guilt and remorse for their actions, knowing that Scripture clearly opposes such behaviour.

Some will attempt to justify what they are doing and alter the prevailing interpretation of the Scriptures dealing with homosexuality to favour their homosexual desires. But with their heart, they can never shake a gnawing conviction of sin.