Pro-Homosexuality United Methodist Leader Concedes: We’ve Lost the Argument in the UMC

on February 13, 2014

The current UMC-related news is dominated by the draining, destructive conflicts caused by the “biblical [dis]odebience” movement of renegade clergy refusing to keep their own word to uphold our denomination’s biblical policies on sexual morality. News reports and commentaries have largely focused on such matters as the UMC’s globally shifting demographics, the anarchic and divisive implications of a church lacking effective communal standards, and the usual arguments between theologically liberal and culturally conformed vs. biblical and counter-cultural approaches to the Christian faith.

But an important point of this recent stage of conflict that seems to have not gotten enough notice is sexually liberal United Methodists increasingly conceding defeat in their decades-long effort to persuade the majority of fellow United Methodists to abandon biblical, historic Christian teaching on sexual morality.

As a side note, it is important to remember that the range of sexuality morality in question is far broader than just homosexual practice. We have documented elsewhere on this site how the Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN) has repeatedly, if sometimes secretly, supported “polyamory” (concurrent multiple sexual partners) – here and here – while the cases of Mary Ann Kaiser Barclay and Phil Thomason have laid bare RMN activists’ moral and personal embrace of non-marital romantic cohabitation – see here and here.

In any case, homosexual practice remains, at this point, the most prominently contested tip of the “anything goes” iceberg into which RMN and its allies have been trying to steer the UMC.

And one thing they can never be faulted for is not trying hard enough. Since 1972, sexual liberationists have relentlessly made their case at every level of the denomination. Church officials have bent over backwards in all sorts of ways to give them opportunity to promote their cause, along with the formation all sorts of study committees and official dialogues – often to the point of crowding out room for the church to address other important concerns. The UMC’s would-be sexual liberalizers have further enjoyed the energetic and very public support of countless UMC seminary professors, denominational agency structures, and bishops.

Yet towards the end of the 2004 General Conference, I happened to hear a pro-homosexuality activist complain of delegates’ votes: “We aren’t converting anyone!” Since that moment, “reconciling” activists continued pouring untold amounts of time and treasure into trying the same thing and expecting different results. In this time, they enjoyed an influx of strong support from well-heeled secular gay-rights groups.

Yet another ten years later, they find themselves facing General Conference trending in an increasingly orthodox direction, half of RMN’s own constituency (according to their own survey released last year) saying they want to refocus on forming their own denomination, and RMN’s longtime CEO recently leaving the UMC for a largely LGBTQ denomination. In fact, at the 2012 General Conference, after Adam Hamilton and Mike Slaughter’s failure to liberalize the Social Principles statement on sexual morality, liberal delegates made the unprecedented move of giving up on even trying to achieve their longstanding goals of removing such binding policies as the ban on blessing same-sex unions.

To be fair, it is not as if no United Methodists have changed their mind. But this has been largely limited to three main categories.  First of all, many U.S. and European “cultural Christians” in the UMC simply followed their surrounding secular cultures when they were unaccepting of homosexuality and then continued following their cultures as they liberalized. Hollywood likely played more of a role than homosexuality-affirming sermons in such changes of heart. Secondly, as other United Methodists either converted from nominal to true Christianity or else deepened in their discipleship, they came to understand and accept relevant biblical teaching. This was my own experience as someone who was once on the other side of this debate. Finally, whenever significant numbers of disgruntled United Methodists in a given annual conference leave the denomination, the theological balance of power of the remaining conference can notably shift, creating the illusion of persuasion. But convincing someone to leave a house and hand you the keys is not the same as convincing them to agree with you. (I do not dispute the importance of having a family member “come out” in shaping some individuals’ views of homosexuality. But the way in which such responses have ranged from liberal postures of simple affirmation to more biblically grounded “compassion without compromise” demonstrates how simply having a same-sex-attractive loved one is not, by itself, automatically liberalizing.)

In any case, if we are to look only at those individuals who remain in our global denomination, the shift towards biblical orthodoxy is clear. The clear majority of United Methodists remain steadfastly unpersuaded by RMN. While the ongoing open support of purely secular, politically powerful gay-rights groups like GLAAD can amplify even relatively small minority voices in our denomination for some time, such external LGBT activist interference in our church is not shifting the increasingly orthodox and global character of United Methodism.

Last summer, I noted that sexually liberal United Methodist activists’ shifting their energies towards their “biblical [dis]obedience” campaign can be traced to the dramatic failures of their decades long-campaign to persuade General Conference, the most representative body of UMC leaders.

More recently, Matt Berryman, RMN’s new chief, openly confirmed this connection. In December, he told the New York Times, “After 40 years of playing nice and attempting a legislative solution, we will not wait any longer.” And within the last couple of days, he told the Associated Press, “At this point, we have kind of come to the place where we know what the brute facts are,” candidly conceding that “Most folks, after 40 years of trying legislative solutions, realize they won’t work. The way forward is to claim what we know to be true. And we’re going to continue doing it in an aggressive way.” While RMN is sometimes portrayed as relatively more moderate than the shrill militancy of the group’s close friend, ally, and poster child, Amy DeLong, such statements from Berryman raise the question of whether there is truly any way in which RMN rejects DeLong’s extremism.

I have yet to personally experience much from the RMN crowd that would qualify as “playing nice.” That hardly describes their militantly unloving, bullying, and anti-Golden-Rule tactics to tie the last General Conference into dysfunctional knots.

But it is striking to see the arguably most prominent advocate of sexually liberalizing the UMC admit that not only have RMN’s efforts at winning the heart and soul of more than a radicalized minority of United Methodism been a colossal failure, but that “the brute facts are” that persuading the bulk of United Methodists to adopt RMN’s values on the strength of the arguments in their favor is something that simply “won’t work.”

Such brute facts should normally provoke folk with a little humility, and courage, to honestly face the inherent weaknesses in RMN’s unpersuasive position.

But instead, the new message of the sexually liberalizing activists can be fairly summarized as follows (except where indicated, this is my own attempt at an accurate paraphrase, not Mr. Berryman’s actual words):


“We believe that the United Methodist Church’s position on sexual morality is unjust. We cannot dispute the objective facts of how this same position is strongly affirmed in Scripture, church tradition, and in the writings of John Wesley. We have our own reasons for nevertheless believing that the church should dramatically change to take a different position.

“However, we admit the brute facts that with all of the institutional support, lavish funding, powerful secularizing cultural influences from outside the church, and decades of attrition we could realistically hope for, we have still been unable to persuade more than a radicalized minority of the people currently in our denomination. At the 2012 General Conference, we ultimately decided to not even try to discuss the prohibition of United Methodists blessings for same-sex unions. We further admit that we will not be able to persuade more than a secularized minority in the future, and that even with the most carefully developed and prominently promoted arguments we can muster in favor of our position won’t work.

“While we were never open to ourselves being persuaded by the church’s teaching, now we will have no more Golden-Rule, dialogue, discussion, debate, or playing nice with United Methodists who are not in our narrow faction. In case you did not hear us earlier, we will make very emphatically clear that we are not interested in loving, mutually respectful, non-individualistic, promise-honoring, covenant community with the rest of you people. Instead, those of us sexual liberals who remain in the UMC will now insist on selfishly hogging even more of the denomination’s attention than we already have, in an aggressive way, as we either forcibly achieve our goals in the United Methodist Church by an extended, destructive battle of wills – or else drain and divert as much of United Methodism’s ministry resources as possible in the increasingly bitter, angry fight we have chosen to pick.”


  1. Comment by Ray Worsham on February 13, 2014 at 8:35 am

    Interesting. With other mainline denominations accepting sexual immorality I have wondered why its supporters do not transfer. I have come to the conclusion that their blindness to the spirit that moves them allows it to seek its goal of stopping the spread of the gospel. May God have mercy.

  2. Comment by Daniel on February 13, 2014 at 9:17 am

    That is an amazingly honest and frank quote! I have not heard it before. Do you have a link to the primary source for it? I will forward it to all my pew potato UMC friends who say “this stuff doesn’t affect my congregation, we are orthodox in our belief and practice.” What they don’t realize is that they are only one appointment away from a thoroughly revisionist pastor – even if they pay their protection money – er, I mean 100% of their apportionments.

    I guess it remains to be seen how well following Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” will work for the UMC. At least they have the support of our Community Organizer in Chief in DC.

  3. Comment by John Lomperis on February 13, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    See the links in the article for the Berryman quotes. The sources of the quotes are likely interviews the reporters did with him.

  4. Comment by Roger on February 13, 2014 at 11:56 am

    It appears to me that Pro-H leader is conceding that they have lost the PR battle to make changes. The second wave of the battle is yet to be fought. An article in World Magazine, for Dec. 28, 2013 entitled ” In breaking with the Episcopal Church, many Anglican congregations have lost beautiful buildings but gained something greater” is an excellent read to this affront to the UMC. Moral failure is the breaking of relationships; either to mankind or God or both.
    God is the one who declares what is moral. The separating Anglican’s have found the solid rock, “the Church’s One Foundation is Jesus Christ Her Lord.”

  5. Comment by Pudentiana on February 13, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    Occupy until I come were the words I understood for the Church, not for the invaders.

  6. Comment by Cherilyn on February 13, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    Wow, seriously?

    So many people in the UMC support marriage equality, and many have come from other denominations so that they don’t hear about the “proper” role of women, outdated and inaccurate anti-gay talking points and why evolution is wrong.

    The focus on shaming others around the issue of sex in this article (“sexually liberal”) is telling. And so is the insistence on seeing others within the church as enemies. I’m sticking with the “radical” UMC members who are trying to live the Great Commandment. Yes, it’s about love, grace and acceptance.

    But I’m not here to try to “convert” anyone. Those who have ears will hear and know that the issue is love.

  7. Comment by Johnny on February 13, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    Cherilyn, “Speak the ______ in love” What’s the missing word?

  8. Comment by Kay Glines on February 14, 2014 at 8:06 am

    Cherilyn, I agree with you that “the issue is love.” As Christians, we are under a mandate to couple love with truth, therefore we cannot condone immoral lifestyles that are clearly condemned in the New Testament. You speak negatively of “shaming,” but your entire post seems intended to shame people who do not agree with you. Christians have been and always will be counter-cultural. Our Head did not end up on a cross because he conformed to his culture, He was a transformer, not a conformer. I am an ex-UM – I and many thousands of other people who can no longer contribute our presence or money to an organization that we regard as only quasi-Christian. If you wish to tag us as “anti-gay,” that is your right, but in fact I don’t know any Christians who hate gays. “Hate the sin, love the sinner” is a cliche, but it still stands. Obviously we disagree on such issues. We think you would have to agree is that churches that market themselves as “inclusive” end up losing members, not gaining. Look at the Episcopalians and United Church of Christ, the trend lines are clear. The Episcopalians openly celebrate having a gay bishop, but look at the empty pews in their churches. Being “inclusive” of people practicing immoral lifestyles is not only unbiblical and un-Christian, it is a losing strategy for membership.

  9. Comment by Jared on February 13, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    The gays in the UMC should simply give it up because everyone knows that Homosexuality is unnatural, abnormal, shameful, vile affection, perverted, and God has promised to judge all unrepented homosexuals! Stop trying to force people to believe the nonsense that you’re spouting.

  10. Comment by Johnny on February 13, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    Jared, “Speak the Truth in ______” What’s the missing word?

  11. Comment by Bob Fox on February 13, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    This may sound crude but I ask that you seriously research and think about it.

    The generic bottom line, deep rooted core reason for all commission and support of homosexuality, abortion, contraception and frequently divorce as well as the destruction of the nuclear family and in some cases alcohol and drug use as well as family violence and felony crimes is:

    the homosapien orgasm…

    Think about it.

  12. Comment by Katherine on February 13, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    I used to say that I didn’t understand why people who don’t support their church’s position on a particular issue don’t just leave their denomination and join another, or form their own. After all, I used to be a VERY devout Catholic, but as the years went on, I realized that I didn’t agree with some kind of important issues that really do define who Catholics are, what they believe, and how they are different from other Christian denominations. So, I left the Catholic Church (for this and some other reasons, to be fair) and joined the United Methodist Church (and, just for the record, haven’t regretted it!).

    The more I thought about this “gay acceptance” movement in the UMC, though, the more I started to see that really, this thing has its roots in secularism, and is still firmly planted there. I say this because at the end of the day, for the gay lobby, it’s not about being “accepted” or having their lifestyle choices tolerated. It’s not about being “loved unconditionally”, it’s not about some notion of personal freedom. No. What it’s about, and what it’s always been about and always will be about, is gays trying to force others to AFFIRM their lifestyle, to put a blessing on an abomination, and to abandon God’s truth in favor of politically correct social thought. To do so is a “win” in the cultural war that’s being fought over this. To do so within a church is, for them, a win of epic proportions.

    I have said it before, and I will say it again: I will remain a United Methodist for the rest of my life, PROVIDED the church maintains a Biblically-sound, doctrinally correct position on this issue. The minute the UMC caves to pressure from secular sources who are less interested in God’s truth and more interested in forcing their own perverse social agenda, however, my family and I will leave the church and find our spiritual home elsewhere. Because although I love the UMC, ultimately, I follow GOD.

  13. Comment by CK on March 13, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    Katherine: very good points. We follow God’s commandments – not man’s.

  14. Comment by Wayne on February 13, 2014 at 9:04 pm


    The UMC is a worldwide church. While you have obviously reached the pinnacle of enlightened thinking…the truth is the people who share your un-biblical views represent a small minority in our connection. Churches are dying in the Western and New England jurisdiction faster than I can type these comments.

  15. Comment by Karen on February 14, 2014 at 6:07 am

    You place the end of your article (May be fairly summarized…) in quotations. What is the source of this quote? Or are these your own words?

  16. Comment by John Lomperis on February 21, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    As indicated above, the concluding section is not a direct quotation from anyone else (except the bolded phrases) but rather my own summary, based on careful listening, to the current message of the liberal UMC caucuses. I do not see anyone disputing that this is a fair and accurate representation of their message at any point.

  17. Comment by Albert Meyer on February 14, 2014 at 8:23 am

    I agree – and the UMC should also accept the Biblical requirement for stoning adulterers. And regarding the household slaves that the UMC supported in the early1800s…

    The world changes and so does our view of the Bible.

  18. Comment by Marco Bell on February 17, 2014 at 8:42 am

    This debate will no doubt consume more time and resources than might seem appropriate for some, but the “fight” truly isn’t about secularizing the Orthodox community in the Methodist Church, it’s about pointing out the contradictions of emotions that the Church promotes in it’s policies.
    Jesus taught LOVE! What else needs discussing? Just love! Both as a noun and a verb!
    I’m encouraged to hear that Mr. Lomperis has some experience from “the other side” of this debate, (by his own mentioning), but I’m not sure where his perspective on universal love rests, if it excludes such a large swath of humanity just because of their gender orientation?

    I get it, that Orthodox Christians don’t want anyone cohabiting if it involves sex. But what about those that just need a roommate to help with the rent? Gay or Straight!
    There needn’t be a conflict over this trivial issue, so let it go!

  19. Comment by Carl on February 18, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    If this was just a matter of numbers or counting volleys of arguments it would have been decided long ago. What keeps getting left out of the discussion (if you could call it that) is that somewhere in the middle are a bunch of us that want to demonstrate Christ’s love without first condemning, while also trying to honor and respect the will and nature of our God. Is having same-sex attraction any more sinful than lusting for the opposite sex? Yet to honor God, we seek to humble ourselves in self discipline to avoid acting on those desires. And that takes the work of the Holy Spirit to ‘master’! How do we help with that if we categorically exclude them as a class of people?
    I have several SSA friends in the church who remain celibate and I respect their choice (which is acceptable per the Discipline). If they do not advocate that the church conform to their desires, why should we treat them differently? What other opportunity is there to teach them the truth in love?

  20. Comment by John Lomperis on February 18, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    Thanks for your thoughtful reply, Carl. I have elsewhere written of the courageous example of a same-sex attracted friend who, convicted by a family member’s asking “What more could you realistically expect the Bible to say to convince you of its position on homosexual practice?,” does not act on these desires. Of course, there is a proper place for heterosexual desire (marriage) that simply does not exist for homosexual desire. But your comment serves as a good reminder of how, from a compassionate and pastoral viewpoint, one of the most hurtful things we can do for same-sex attracted Christians is to in any way place a “stumbling block” of making them think that indulging in certain temptations is not the soul-crushing sin that it is. Are you familiar with our friends at Transforming Congregations? They are a great resource for how congregations can compassionately welcome all people not with the “I’m okay, you’re okay” secularized spirituality but rather with the transformative love of Christ.

  21. Comment by Marco Bell on February 20, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    I would not doubt that Jesus Christ can do just about anything! But why would he prefer that an SSA (that’s a new acronym to me!) ever change his or her sexual orientation?
    A gay person mustn’t be made to feel that they need to change something that is central to their character, any more than a ‘straight’ person. So why the concern?

  22. Comment by Adrian Croft on February 24, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    Pardon me, but which Jesus are you referring to? It doesn’t sound like the one in the Bible, not at all. You say “a gay person mustn’t be made to feel that they need to change something that is central to their character.” Why not? I mean, start at the beginning of Mark’s Gospel and the first statement of Jesus contains the mandate “Repent!” I gather from some of your comments you must be connected with one of these “I’m OK, you’re OK” churches, or UL (“unconditional love”) churches, which (as has been pointed out numerous times on this website) have been losing members steadily. Aside from being a losing strategy in terms of membership, “I’m OK, you’re OK” isn’t Christian at all. The whole point of “repent!” is that all of us are told to ditch our sins and make a fresh start with God. If your gay friends consider their sexual habits to be “something that is central to their character,” well, too bad – we don’t get into a right relationship with God by clinging to our pet sins. I know heterosexuals who had plenty of sexual habits to abandon too, and I know married Christians, especially men, who struggle constantly with the temptation to adultery. In fact, you could make a strong case that for most men in the world, the yearning for non-marital sex is, to use your wording, “central to their character.” Well, guess what? That part of our character needs to be buried with a stake in its heart. If you like the church you attend, that’s fine for you, but the reason so many people have left the mainline churches is that we just don’t see the point in getting up on Sunday and drive to church for something as vapid and meaningless as “Aren’t we all just adorable?” You don’t sound like you worship the awesome God in the Bible, you sound like God is like a big cosmic Dog who makes a big fuss over you and loves you no matter how you behave. That’s a nice safe and comforting God, but it isn’t the one Jesus talked about. We’re not going to enter God’s presence hanging onto our old habits, be they sexual immorality or gossip or unethical business practices or whatever. You might be enjoying your “pet” God, but I assure you that the big fatherly tough-loving God that Jesus talked about is a better one – plus He really does exist, and the “I’m OK, you’re OK” God does not.

  23. Comment by Marco Bell on February 25, 2014 at 9:02 am

    “I’m okay, You’re okay” is a handy cliche for a book title, and it seems to serve the laissez-faire aspect of some people, and I’m not offended by that association.

    I highly agree with you that many people find God to be a stern fatherly figure that holds high standards for ‘his’ people, but given that there are so many religions that define God so differently, I just don’t buy that “One size fits all”, and my vision of God will be different than yours.

    Your point regarding sexual impulses is spot on for both genders, and the sins of adultery, lust, greed, gossip, etc.. are real stumbling blocks to being closer to God. I agree completely.
    But I hold that gender fluctuation is a real condition that shouldn’t be treated like a disease or behavioral abomination, but rather dismissed as a threat to society and religion. At least in “my” religion it is!

    The Old Testament God isn’t much more than a heavy-handed dictator by comparison to the New Testament-God, but you are free to worship any of them that you wish!


  24. Comment by Charles on April 10, 2014 at 2:17 am

    Yo, John! Haha! This is Sick! This is Wicked! This is Awesome, man. You’re like a talented writer. Kind of this cynical, jeering, super-wise tone that kind of dominates the reader. Like Qohelet, sort of. It’s like, I imagine your typical reader as a person who sort of sneaks around bashing gays, and reads this article and feels much better about sneaking around and bashing gays. “Freakin’ freaks!” You’re like a clever psychologist or something. It’s like, you’re helping them feel better about themselves. It’s a good service. Throw in a bit of theological reasoning and sneak in all the familiar anti-gay talking points, from like 17th century Salem. Dress it up in church obedience and Bible and Nature and Love. Smart. Answer the mysteries! What do they know? Tell them what everything means. Get some digs in on liberals–real smart–dumb weirdos. This writer is really our guy. Check those degrees from U. Chicago and Harvard, it’s like you have to be really smart to get in with those brand names. I felt all dressed up just reading this fancy, elitist, hyper-intelligent work of art. It was like I had a friend, like I actually knew someone, who had actually been to Harvard. But told it plain as day, too. Yep, you made what you wrote look just like common sense. PREACH JOHN!!

    Now, between you and me, John, not much to do with the imitation of Christ here, is there? That’s like a whole lot harder work than this, right? So, between you and me, not really what this is all about, is it? I doubt that if your boss Mark Tooley had a real, live barking Rottweiler, ol’ Bowser would worry much about imitating Christ either. Better to be feared than loved, man. Duh! Right? Glad to throw you some language, man. Keep up the good work. You’ve got a real impressive, super-foxy ministry and you’re doing a top job for your constituents.

  25. Comment by DukeIV on September 3, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    When I was 19 I met a United Methodist minister who was doing one last semester of field work at the local church where I was a member (minister’s name David) Being a young person who did not really understand what being gay really meant, I went to David for counseling, and while he was counseling me he told me he was gay, and would be able to help me with my tendencies.

    I do want to point out I grew up in a rural area and really didn’t understand what being gay really meant. I was raised to believe it was the worst sin a person could commit against God/nature.

    David was a very informed young man, he was 26 years old, and had traveled extensively. He had also met someone at another church while attending Seminary who was gay, and he and this other person had a sexual relationship. David told me the other young person was 15 at the time, and the fifteen-year-old seemed more mature than me when it came to sexual thoughts/discussions.

    While David was working at my church over the course of the semester, he and I grew closer and closer. I did not understand the feelings I was having except David kept telling me it was ok, I would eventually grow out of them with prayer and discipline.

    Being young and naive I really had no idea I was falling in love with David because I had never seriously dated anyone. Falling in love with someone was something I was never taught about (being male), and I guess my parent’s felt like it was something I’d discover on my own.

    Toward the end of his work with my church, he invited me to go on a trip with him to DC. He had family in Northern Virginia, and he wanted me to have a chance to see DC without chaperones being around (he said). I guess I should also point out during his work at my church he lived with a family in the church. I had grown up knowing these people my entire life and was very close to everyone.

    David and I were supposed to leave for DC the next morning around 8am so he suggested I spend the night at their house to make getting ready for the trip a little easier. I never thought anything about it, and spent the night. He and I stayed up until 1am talking, and the rest of the house had gone to bed.

    Time had gotten away from me while we were talking so I failed to ask the mother of the house where to get fresh linens for the bed I was going to sleep in. I mentioned this to David, and he told me not to worry about it…he said. “If you don’t mind sleeping with someone in the bed with you, I’ll just let you sleep with me.” I thought what a great idea, I didn’t want to have to wake anyone up, and it did seem like the logical thing to do.

    Not realizing I was falling in love with David, I didn’t think anything of it.

    Once he and I had been in bed for about thirty minutes I was almost asleep, and I felt his hand rubbing my back. I thought “how odd, we’re not supposed to touch one another so I turned to him and asked “what are you doing?”

    He said I am just rubbing your back so you can sleep a little more deeply, and I thought how grand. I loved him touching me, but I seriously didn’t realize what these thoughts meant. Another 15 minutes or so passed, and I felt his hand somewhere else on my body, and I turned to him to ask what he was doing.

    He got up in bed looking down at me and started to smile. While he was looking at me smiling he said, “you are Johnathan and I am David in the bible, and we’re special.” Well, I thought how grand, I didn’t realize I was in love with him, but I sure did like him touching me.

    We had sex in the bedroom right next to my best friend’s parent’s bedroom. I never went to sleep that night, I seriously lay there awake the entire night listening to David snore. The next morning I asked him “What did we do last night, you said it was a sin and we should never touch one another, it was just something we’d have to live with our entire lives.”

    He proceeded to say “you’re Johnathan in the bible and I am David…we’re very close just as they were.”

    I thought how wonderful, and then I said “Does this mean it’s not a sin for us to have sex?” He said, “No it’s not a sin for you and me to have sex, but if you have sex with anyone who isn’t of the church it’s a sin.” Well, I truly believed him, and we had a relationship for the next eight months.

    We went on to DC for a few days, I met his family, and we had sex every day. I thought I was the luckiest person in the world.

    I would drive to his apartment in Durham, or he’d come and fetch me at my school.

    During my childhood, I had a friend named Julie (she was the daughter of the family he lived with), and she and I were very close. One day David proceeded to tell me he was in love with Julie, and we had to stop having sex. I was devastated…the world was caving in on me. He also said he was going to try and have Julie’s boyfriend removed. I asked him what he meant removed, he said, “You know removed, I am going to get rid of him so I can marry Julie.”

    I was torn all apart and didn’t know what to do. I thought my world was going to end. I wanted to tell Julie what had happened, but I knew I couldn’t + I didn’t understand how he could have sex with me if he were really in love with Julie. I asked him and he proceeded to say “I was just using you to see if I were really gay, and I’ve gotten it out of my system now.” It still made no sense to me, how could he have sex with a man and be in love with a woman.

    I asked him this and he said “You are free to do whatever you want to do because you are no longer gay.” I had never identified as a gay person just as a person who had fallen in love with a man. It still made no sense to me, and he said for me to get over it. He said, “Look you little fag, I used you and you’re not what I want anymore, now go.”

    You can imagine how I felt, I wanted to kill myself. How could a man of the Lord do such a horrible thing to me? What had I done to deserve this, and I also believed he was mistaken he really did love me. Well, I was very wrong, he was not in love with me, and he wanted to get away from me “the fag.”

    I went to a minister on the campus of my school to talk with him about what had happened to me because I thought I was totally in the wrong. HE was genuinely sorry and did help me quite a bit. The minister at my school suggested if I felt strong enough to report him to his superintendent. He explained how David had a superintendent to oversee things he did in churches, and with the parishioners.

    He explained how David had violated me, by using his position to gain my trust, and it was not my fault. I thought it was totally my fault, and I was doomed for hell.

    I did turn David into his superintendent, and the superintendent unknowing to me was very good friends with David’s grandmother. He wrote me a letter accusing me of lying, and to stop spreading such rumors about a fine young man.

    The minister who was helping me couldn’t believe this superintendent’s carefree attitude toward what might or might not have happened. The campus minister was shocked the superintendent didn’t even want to talk with me.

    However, we sent the Bishop a letter with a copy of the letter sent to the superintendent. The Bishop did seem to be a little more concerned and did answer my letter.

    He asked if I wanted to bring formal charges against David, and I said yet. The campus minister explained to me what exactly the Bishop meant by charges. Therefore, I sent a document notarized and sealed telling the Bishop I charged David…. …. with immorality and practices incompatible with Christian teachings.

    The Bishop contacted David and asked him to come to Nashville for a hearing, and he also asked me to be present. I was unable to be present because I just didn’t have the money to travel to Nashville. Therefore, I typed a ten-page document notarized and sealed explaining exactly what had happened. David arrived at the (they called hearing) and started saying over and over he had never had sex with me. The Bishop had never told him what was in the ten-page document I sent, but he did tell David he had said all he needed to say.

    However, this was over twenty years ago, and I was never made aware of what if any action they took against David for what he’d done to me and the fifteen year old at the previous church.

    Although, I do know David is now a minister at a church in Orlando FL, and I am wondering if they defrocked/removed him from church in the middle Tennessee conference if he could just go to the FL conference and be hired by another church. He is obviously a minister at another church, and I just wondered if he can do that, and if so how?

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