a peek in my inbox...dialogue with an ex-gay

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Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
June 14, 2008, 13:39

I thought that this email dialogue I’ve been having might be of interest to some of you.

This is the email I received


Sent: Friday, 13 June 2008 13:52

To: [email protected]


Hello Anthony, it was a joy to read your testimony but I do not believe it. Could I suggest that you give attending an ex-gay ministry for a longer period than you did for say 4-6 years. I was involved in the dark homosexual scene in Melbourne for 15 years whilst practicing Medicine. In 2004, I became born again at aged 35 and am now about to turn 40. I am now happily married and can testify that I to have come out of the closet, the dark homosexual closet. I suspect you now have a deep inner unrestlessness that maybe something is not right with your new lifestyle. I pray that God will show you the light and that you come back to Jesus. Remember, much will be expected of you because of the light that has been given you. I am now studying for my Bachelor of Ministry. I want to emphasise that 7 months in an ex-gay ministry will achieve as you say very little. It takes many years. I myself have attended 48 one on one prayer ministry sessions together with a structured program that has already taken 4 years and I expect another few years. There is no easy answer but I am living testimony that it can be done only with the cleansing blood of Jesus. Anthony, you simply have not trusted Jesus enough. It is indeed a very weak position to say that you were born that way. You know as well as I do there has been no scientific study which proves this. It is the same as the debate over evolution. Evidence of God is all around you but you have chosen to not honour God as in Romans and you know the rest of what Romans says. Many blessings, and I will pray for you but you have got to want to give this practice up yourself for when we step out in faith God steps in with power. Blessings ,your friend.

This is my response.

Dear ………

Thanks for taking the time to email me and for your concern.

It seems though that you are not possibly totally aware of my story. I think you’ve read a brief thing somewhere on the net and not my book which goes into the entire journey of 30 something years from when I first discovered I was same sex oriented to finally resolving the perceived conflict between my faith and my sexuality. Maybe I could suggest you get a copy and then email me any questions or suggestions you have.

Some people, like yourself, have been involved in the dark side of homosexuality as some people have been involved in the dark side of heterosexuality. Heterosexuals and homosexuals alike can make important changes to lives by overcoming their sexual addictions and self destructive behaviours. Today I mix in a wonderful world of gay men and lesbians who lead successful, balanced fulfilled lives and who are making a difference in this world. I feel very blessed.

Can I respectfully respond to some of your comments.

I suspect you now have a deep inner unrestlessness that maybe something is not right with your new lifestyle.

Actually I have never felt more at peace in my entire life. As you will read in my book, this is not the result of self justifying but a profound experience I had in 1998. I’m not actually sure what you mean by ‘lifestyle’. My lifestyle includes running my own business, having lovely times with friends and family and serving others. Possibly you have judged me without actually knowing me and assumed that I am living a dark life like you did. As I frequently say to people, ‘my morality is a choice, my sexual orientation however isn’t.

I pray that God will show you the light and that you come back to Jesus.

Once again, if you read my story you’ll find that I don’t need to come back to God. God came to me.

Anthony, you simply have not trusted Jesus enough…. you have chosen to not honour God as in Romans and you know the rest of what Romans says.

I don’t know how you can say that with the limited knowledge you have of me. It might be more helpful, as Jesus pointed out to not cast stones at others and not judge.

It is indeed a very weak position to say that you were born that way. You know as well as I do there has been no scientific study which proves this.

Actually I used to totally ignorant about sexual orientation. I used to think it was my Mum and Dads fault I was gay. Mind you much of the mental health profession did as well. But that was back over 30 years ago. I’ve spend the last 8 years reading everything I can get my hands on from a scientific perspective……and from both sides of the debate. There is actually overwhelming evidence that same sex as opposed to opposite attraction is determined prenatally through the complexities of hormones and genetics. There are those who still choose not to believe science as did those who refused to accept that the world was round or that the earth revolved around the sun and not vice versa. Or that blacks were an inferior race. Eventually though those people either accepted the truth or died in ignorance. I suspect the same will happen with the issue of sexual orientation.

I’m glad that you are happily married. I do wish you well and trust that you and your wife have an exciting, passionate and fulfilling sex life like any normal heterosexual couple. My 16 years of marriage was extremely happy. I realise now though that I was more in love with the idea of having a wife, family and children than actually being in love with my wife. I loved my wife. She was like my best friend. But like most of us who are gay in heterosexual marriages the sexual side of things is quite mediocre. We just don’t think about or do the sorts of things that ‘normal’ straight guys do. We have a level of heterosexual functionality but we are not like heterosexual men. We are just not wired that way.

I’m not sure what program you’ve been going through but I don’t know of any ex-gay program today that claim conversion from homosexuality to heterosexuality. All, from my knowledge, if they are honest with participants such as yourself, will say that the gay never goes away. I applaud them for that level of honesty. Its important not to give people a false hope. Many of us lost our faith because of leaders of ex-gay programs giving us an unrealistic goal.

I choose not to pretend any more to myself , my wife and others……to be completely honest. It was heart breaking for all of us and I wouldn’t wish that experience on my worst enemy but today I think we are all grateful for the honesty and that we can get on with our lives.

You and your wife are entitled to make the choices of how you live your lives and I respect that. Today though I would not ever put another woman through that experience. She deserves to be with someone who has the capacity to love her completely.

If you’d like to email me in the future after you’ve read the whole story then I’m happy for you to do that or even meet up for coffee. I’ve attached the first chapter for you. You’ll find it challenging I know, but if you are really are as secure and confident as you seem in this email it wouldn’t be difficult at all but will give you further insights into your journey.

God bless.

Joined in 2007
June 14, 2008, 15:39

Anthony, that was a beautiful response to the email. Thank you for doing that… I was so touched with how you responded and use humbing words. I could see that the email you got was rather an angry one (in the background to the gentleman’s email or reading between the lines). I’m scared to pray for this person – its such a difficult situation and for him to see homosexuality as darkness.

We’ve all been through that stage in our lives and it was scary – my only prayer is that God’s encompassing love will surround this person and if this God can move heaven and earth… make this man completely hextrosexual and he will never have any gay feelings or inclination. But if that’s not a possibility that then I pray for understanding and mercy in abundance – with lots of love and understanding.

I just feel so sad for this person. His rebuke to you was an example of him trying to control his situation mixed with desperation and for him to allow what you say makes him feel its ok but he does not want to risk other factors to find himself. Like everyone else.. we can repress it but it will come out later or cause us untold internal damages. The psychological challenges in dealing with our same sex orientation and keeping it together is pretty difficult.

Thank you for keeping the door at the other end open for this person – I wish him well for his future.

It also made me realised that if this is the type of things you get in email… Im just trying to understand the magnitude of this situation occuring. May God bless and protect you brother. Thank you for doing this for the good of God.

Craig. 🙂

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
June 14, 2008, 23:39

thanks Craig……I have to confess I still get a little shocked when a total stranger, who hasn’t even read my story, feels it is there right to tell my how restless, immoral, far from God, deceived, blah blah blah ..I am…..and I never really tried hard enough to become overcome homosexuality and become heterosexual.

Of course I’m sure you all know what my first reaction to email like that……I want to tell them to ……….off and mind their own business….then I take a deep breath…….and think about what might have motivated them to feel so judgmental of me and what would be an appropriate way to to respond……the word gracious comes to mind……and I try and treat them with respect…….mostly.

who knows he might be reading this right now. One of the many lurkers on our site.

Joined in 2007
June 15, 2008, 11:25


I debated whether to stick my two cents worth in, because generaly my two cents worth seems to morph into… well more than 2 cents anyway 😆

I will just ask, is there more where this came from? What happens next? Does this guy know you have posted his letter on the internet? You’re responce deals with some of his comments for sure and the way he expressed them probably isn’t going to endear him to gay Christians.

But whats that anyoying example people always use in books, where the old lady stops some guy in the asile after church and says “Young man, have you not read Leviticus? Homosexuals should be stoned!” (or something like that, probably a poor paraphrase) and the guy replies “yeah and in the same book women can’t wear red dresses and no one can eat shell fish” Can I just say? Oh comeeeeeeeeeeee on!! Is the argument still really that superfical? These are complex arguments with valid points on both sides. People like Mel White have admitted to this!

The above correspondence you posted is rather superfical don’t you think? The ‘typical’ attacks against gay Christians and the making of judgements he couldn’t possibly know. Sure it paints him as the bad guy and you as the good guy, which I guess is the point, but maybe its time to go beyond these slinging matches to things the that really matter. Science confims a genetic cause of homosexuality? Ok lets talk about that in detail, with evidence. Do ex-gay programs really work? Why/why not? Are some better than others? Have theychanged in the last 30 years? etc..

I get your point here I really do, there you are up on your white horse having sucsessfully out manovered the ‘typical’ prejudice. Great, good for you, lets dig deeeper then. Relationships between gay Christians and straight Christians are going to stagnate completly if we are stuck trying to outdo each other. Of course you had to repond to his claims, and to get complex would take all day, he probably isn’t worth the time. But is this really the best example of a correspondence you could have posted?

I know you pretty well now, so I know that you didn’t post it to boost your ego at the expence of the conservative point of view. I will not say that this guy is rare among Christians or that this kind of judgement doesn’t exist, of course it does! But most members of F2b already know this far too well, we have already been in your position and read the books on the appropriate comebacks. What we need is correspondence that furthers the argument not the same old stuff.

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
June 15, 2008, 12:11

I actually do lots of dialoguing behind the scenes Sandy that I can’t make public. I’d the majority of that time consuming work will never be known. Bit of course I dont do it to make it known …..i do it to move us closer to understanding.

My goal is always where ever i can… create a dialogue. I was sort of hoping I’d hear back from this person. Maybe my communication will shut that down. We’ll see.

he did seem pretty set to me…..and wasn’t looking for answers from me…….just to tell me how wrong I was. Thought I should respond to his accusations. I tried to do that honestly and graciously. Maybe my indignation came through instead.

Joined in 2008
June 15, 2008, 12:14

i dont know you you do it… i would have been a rude prick in response… but thats cause im a hot head. your response was great. top job AVB.

Joined in 2007
June 15, 2008, 12:51

I tought your response was good too Anthony. I didn’t think it made him look like the bad guy or you the good guy. I just thought you were responding rationally to his claims. All we can ever do is tell things from our own experiences – our own truth that we have from our own relationship with God. It just didn’t come across as a slinging match to me at all. I thought it was great and left things open to more dialogue – and that is what this needs.

Joined in 2007
June 15, 2008, 13:13

It wasn’t my intent to suggest that what you said was wrong, its pretty obvious even to me who has the moral high ground here. We both know your responce was a good one, you wouldn’t have posted it if you had gone off your head.

My point was more, why post it on a public forum? I don’t think you will hear from this guy again, at least not on the forum. If I was him, and you had posted something I had written for the whole world to read and the a whole bunch of people responded by validating your opinion and commenting on just how wrong I was I would be intimidated I would not be volunteering myself for more recrimination by responding, look where it got me the first time!. Imagine someone posted an email you had written on a Christian forum and disected it… I think you would come away feeling pretty victimised and not believing that the whole story had been told.

*shrugs* thats just my opinion though.

Joined in 2006
June 15, 2008, 15:44

To me regardless of the dialogue, the good thing is their is dialogue happening in a great non attacking and non defensive manner. 😀 I do not see the conversation from either person as anything but a conversation, I dont see an us versus them in it. 😯

What struck me about the person who wrote is, is that obviously he has to be in counselling still and for yrs to come to stay straight, Id be interested to see how he would go once he stopped counselling and the follow ups for a few years, if indeed he had zero homosexual thoughts or feelings.

If someone is so called “cured” then why the continued counselling and follow ups? It seems a marriage is possible but with continued life long back up, so doesnt that prove that the gay is still there and that possibly it is how one is wired.

I am not attacking him by saying this, its a mere observation. 😉 Im glad you shared something with us like this Anthony.

Joined in 2007
June 15, 2008, 15:45

😕 (thinking) i dont believe we all saw the other person who sent Anthony the email as the bad guy and Anthony as the prince charming in white armour (but still looks as sexy as). What I perceived was an angry person who is questioning the whole thing … I’d be quite annoyed to find our that success rate with ex-gay program did not deliver what it promised me and maybe he is saying that regardless of Anthony’s background. Good on AVB to be honest about the reality and truth about ex-gay program. They are the curse and cause of our own mental health issues that last for years and I dont believe that one can truly be hetro after an ex-gay program. So if the person is reading this, I sincerely pray that he realise just because it worked for him gives him no right to Lord it over up and make statements as such is really not showing A Christ like attitude. Gosh can I be so dead serious sometimes giggle

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