Beyond Ex-Gay

Healing from the Broken Truth

By Darlene Bogle


As the leader of an Exodus International Ministry for several years, I received and listened to hundreds of phone calls from men and women who struggled with their sexual orientation. Many of those people came from evangelical and fundamental churches, and had been told in person or from the pulpit that they were an abomination to God, and unacceptable to the Church because of their desire for same sex relationships.
Image of Broken Window
I received the calls because I was a minister of a broken truth. I had been part of the Gay community for many years, but with my connections to ex-gay ministry, extensive prayer healing sessions, and a strong will to not be rejected by the God who loved me and gave Himself for me on the cross; I thought I was free from homosexual desire. That was the truth I spoke out on national television and wrote about in articles and several books. I proclaimed that truth, and shared that pathway to every caller, offering hope for them to share in the promised land of freedom.

There was only one problem. Many of the calls were repeat calls from gays and lesbians who followed the prescription to sexual freedom and were still stuck in the land of broken truth. They wanted to be free from same sex attraction, and had read their Bibles faithfully, but they still had the desires. The dreaded question always came into the conversation.

“How long did it take you to be free from attractions to women?’ My mouth responded, “I make the choice every day to avoid situations of temptation.” My heart cried out, I long for the comforting arms of a woman every day.

“Do you ever want to be in a relationship with a woman”? The questions were honest and personal.

I lied.

I thought they needed hope for change, and I was a minister and a director of an ex-gay ministry. I was a national speaker. I was also involved with a woman and had dedicated my life to her on every level.

I lied.

Oh, I was creative in my lie. “My relationship with the Lord is the most important thing in my life.”

That was true. “I know that we are all responsible to Him for our behavior in life.”

That also, was true. “I know it’s hard not to act on sexual desire when it feels so right. God can give you the strength, even if the desire never changes.”

Well, that was true too; it just wasn’t true for me. I can’t share with you that God has brought a Christian woman into my life and it is His gift to us, to be a couple.

I shared a broken truth with those who called or visited the ministry, because that is what we were all teaching at Exodus ministries and in support groups across the country. Our truth had been passed on by well intended theologians for years, and bible teachers who needed for homosexuality to be a choice, so that it could be a sin. We had the cure for sin, actually, Jesus died for our sin and we knew how to preach that truth.  However, these were Christians who were calling me. They wanted truth that would set them free.

And again I lied.

One of the definitions of truth is “a judgment, proposition or idea that is true or accepted as true.” I had been convinced for years that proclaiming change was possible, and living that out in my life, would make a difference for others. The only problem was that God had brought this Christian woman into my life and I was more whole than I had been with all the prayer healing and deliverance sessions over the past dozen years! I was scared to tell the whole truth to my callers, or to my peers in ministry.

All the years of not wanting God to reject me for being gay and wanting to be accepted by my peers in ministry kept me paralyzed from telling the whole truth.Photo of Open Hands

I longed to share with my group, and all those who called me looking for ‘help’ that being gay was not a choice, that it was God’s gift and they were welcome to come into the presence of God and celebrate who He had created them to be. I longed to encourage them to awaken their spirituality and their sexuality as a part of their sacred creation by a loving, compassionate God.

My partner Des and I discussed my conflict and she asked one simple question.

“If you are convinced of this truth, then why don’t you share it with others? God will not reject you, and there is no one else in the entire universe that matters.” She paused “These are your brothers and sisters in Christ and they cannot repent of who God created them to be. You have a responsibility to encourage them with the eternal truth of God.” She reached over and took my hand. “Darlene, you and I are blessed in our faith and we have a godly relationship. The fruit of the Spirit is evident in our lives and that is the confirmation of God’s approval upon our lives and our love.”

From that time forward, I began to share God’s loving acceptance as I had experienced it. I spoke truth to the people God brought into my life. I encouraged men and women to take a stand against the prejudice that would diminish them as God’s children, but to do it in love. The debate about being Christian and Gay will rage as long as there are theologians who feel they know God’s mind on such topics. However, we who know and embrace the Heart of God will grow in our understanding of the truth that sets us free, not a fractured truth that casts us away from union with the Almighty. God loves us unconditionally and created just as we are, to be the man or woman He has called us to be.

My exit from Exodus is taking me on a journey of walking in forgiveness toward those who believe differently. Even those in our own families sometimes choose the broken truth of what they have been taught from the pulpit, rather than choosing to love their child unconditionally. It is no wonder that so many of the GLBT people want nothing to do with Christianity or a God that is represented by their judgmental families and churches. I know that I am a unique, royal priesthood, a Holy Nation.; the only me that there is in the entire world, and that God is proud to call me daughter.  My journey allows me to embrace my brothers and sisters in the gay community and invite them to celebrate their sexuality and their spirituality as they too embrace the God who says, “Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Exodus International still offers broken truth to broken people. Their journey of healing into the Promised Land of heterosexuality is strewn with the causalities of despair and hopelessness, shame and rejection; and for those not strong enough to battle the prejudice, a growing number of suicide victims. There are those who mask their pain of rejection with promiscuity or chemical dependency, looking for love in all the wrong places.  Their hope for the Promised Land of heterosexuality is an illusion.

Image of Purple FlowerMy voice is small against the world of evangelical rhetoric and prejudice condemning the gay and Lesbian community that dares embrace a vital faith with the Living God. My voice is small, but as truth begins to ring the bell of freedom and celebration, I am joined by thousands of other voices, gay and straight, and from every faith persuasion across the land. Men and women, who see a whole truth of unconditional love and embrace it for themselves and for their loved ones, are speaking out. 

My prayer is that Love will continue to enlarge the borders of our hearts and lives until we stand in unity—without shame or blame, and rest in the truth, that the battle is not ours, it is the Lords. My faith in Jesus is unshaken. He has already made the way for each of us to be filled with His love and celebrate with abandon, as we embrace our love and share it with the world.

Darlene can be contacted at Turtlehrt @ (without the spaces). She is the author of a new book, A Christian Lesbian Journey.