My own sexuality had haunted me for for much of my life. At school I was attracted to guys also during my two years National Service in the British Army although my sexual activity with those guys was very limited. This was back in 1954-1956 and there was virtually no one available to give advice or counsel to young men or women who had questions concerning their sexuality. The very few times I asked questions of older friends or others I was told that it was just a phase which would pass – I would grow out of it – or all I needed was a good woman! The professional opinion at the time was largely that Homosexuality was a mental disorder and that the only ‘cure’ available was usually ‘electric shock treatment’ or a prolonged period in a Mental Institution. Neither option was appealing to me! It is also important to remember that same-sex relationships were illegal and many caught engaging in such activity in a public place were sent to prison.
I took the accepted course which was to be married – I was just 21 and a virgin never having had ‘real sex’ with either gender – I married the girl I had been friends with for about two years. We did produce two children but there was never the passion which I was sure should exist between two people in a sexual relationship. I concluded that my wife was frigid but most likely I was just lacking enthusiasm as I still had private fantasies about having sex with guys. We divorced after almost seven years and for the first year my ex-wife had care of the children. I had no plans to marry again and began to investigate and indulge my gay desires in very ‘vanilla’ sex on occasional visits to London. I had a business in Kent about an hour south of the City. As far as I knew there were no Gay clubs or Saunas in London at the time, no doubt there were but without the existence of magazines such as Gay Times there was very little information available. I found just two Gay Pubs which were in Earl’s Court but I was usually very reluctant to accompany strangers to their homes.
My plans to remain single and to seek a gay friend or friends came to an abrupt end when my ex-wife asked me to have the children as she and her new partner had been offered work overseas. I had been unhappy about the children each time I had visited them. They clung to me and there was always an emotional time when I had to leave them. I decided that I had to then take full care of them – my son then aged 7 and my daughter aged 5. I realised that it would be almost impossible for me to look after them adequately without help – my business was growing and required my full time attention. I moved from my small apartment and bought a house in the country with 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. I advertised in ‘The Lady’ Magazine for a housekeeper and carer for us all. After numerous responses to my advertisement I found the perfect answer to my problem – an attractive Lady, also recently divorced with a 4 year old daughter, she was also a qualified nurse and we immediately got on very well together. After just six weeks we decided to get married and at first the relationship went well – even the sexual part was so much better than I had previously experienced. One year later and our baby boy arrived and for a while we continued to enjoy life as a family.
Without going into all the details, just five years later in we were ready to divorce.
It was at this time that some old school friends and their wives came to counsel us and encouraged us to go with them to their Church of England Church. This was something I had previously decided never to do as I had been turned off Christianity by my years of attending a Cathedral School. Unfortunately we were both in a very vulnerable and emotional state by this time and we were desperately seeking a way out of our problems. Suddenly we were encouraged and promised that if we made the decision to be ‘Born Again’ we could start a new life together. We responded and after just a few weeks decided that we would sell everything – our business and home and emigrate to start a new life in New Zealand.
We bought a farm property with ocean and river frontages and decided we would use it possibly as a Christian ‘retreat’ or similar. We immediately became involved with the work of the ministry in a local Pentecostal church and used our property for Youth meetings and activities every week and virtually worked as full time unpaid ministers assisting the Pastor. We were seeking to know more and wanted to have qualifications to become ministers and possibly to have our own church. After five years or so in New Zealand we moved to Tulsa Oklahoma as we were accepted as students to attend Rhema Bible Training Centre there. After Graduation we moved to Perth as we believed that ‘the Lord’ told us to go there to begin a new work. During all this time I completely suppressed my homosexual tendencies. I had been told that God would deal with any problem and although I had been ‘delivered’ and spent much time in prayer and fasting – the thoughts were still there.
In Perth we began our ministry in a small hall but within a few months our congregation had grown to over 100 attending our Sunday morning service. We moved and leased a building which would hold 300-400 – again within a year or so we had to move to another building to accommodate 1000+ people. Finally another move to a building to cope with the 2000-3000 then attending. This was the largest single congregation in Perth and one of the largest five in Australia at the time. In 1989 our marriage was failing and my wife wanted to leave the ministry and the marriage – this was a difficult and sad time for us all and I decided to resign from the church and handed over the work to my son who had also attended Rhema with us in USA and had worked with us for several years. He was a popular and respected teacher in our Bible Training Centre.
It was incorrectly stated in an article in the West Australia that my marriage had ended as I had ‘confessed to my son that I was homosexual. Yes – I told my son about my homosexuality a few years after I had resigned but it was never a factor or the cause of the divorce and he had not said that it was. I received an apology from the West Australian for this assumption.
After my resignation I came to terms with my sexuality and decided that I should spend the rest of my life (then aged 53) living how I wanted to live rather than how others thought I should live! I do not make an issue of my sexuality either in my day to day life or in my book “From Faith to Reason” which I published last year – I did not want the book to be primarily judged on the basis of my sexual preferences. My book is entirely about my change during the past years from a Fundamentalist Christian to a rationalist, realist, skeptic and an atheist – my sexuality had very little to do with this.
I am happy to say that during the past 10-15 years I have enjoyed the most personal peace than I had at any other period of my life. If you are Christian and still have questions or concerns about guilt, condemnation or judgement which may have been used to persuade you turn from your homosexual desires, I suggest that you seriously question the reality and evidence for your faith.
I hope that my story will help others especially those who have struggled with their sexuality and the condemnation they may have received from their church or Christian friends.
Author: ‘From Faith to Reason” – [vividpublishing.com.au]