The following speech was given by Stephen Black, executive director with Oklahoma City-based First Stone Ministries, at the “Rally for Sally” in support of Oklahoma State Rep. Sally Kern (R), held April 2 at the state Capitol :
Good afternoon and thank you for the privilege of sharing with you today. My name is Stephen Black and I am the Executive Director with First Stone Ministries located here in Oklahoma City. First Stone is dedicated to helping men and women overcome unwanted same-sex attraction and to live in accordance with what we believe is God’s design for sexuality — which is one man and one woman in a covenant marriage relationship.
I stand with Rep. Sally Kern today to say that I, who once lived as a gay man, agree with her assessment, that there is a political agenda and a cultural message about homosexuality [and] that it is destructive to our country.
Over 26 years ago, I lived as a gay man for eight years. My story begins here in Oklahoma. I was raised in a Catholic home by parents who were devoted to one another and to the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, my dad traveled a lot, so he was missing for the first few years of my life. At age 6 — something happened that even further the confused in my life. I was molested by my babysitter. [Being] molested by someone who was supposed to care for me, brought huge distortion to my sexual identity. I was molested again at the age of ten by a neighbors’ friend visiting from out of town. I was terrified as he trapped me in a garage, and warned me I would be hurt if I said anything to anyone about what he had done to me.
Events of this type are significant and very common among those who struggle with homosexuality. About 65 percent of the men and more than 75% of the women we serve were sexually abused as children, though most do not really process the abuse until adulthood. The overwhelming majority of those we serve experienced what I call “sexual distortions” in their early childhood, assaulting their innocence. These distortions include voyeurism, exhibitionism, exposure to sexually explicit material from sources like the television, the Internet, porn-magazines, sexual talk from adults and peers.
My father was a man’s man. You know, he was the tough country boy from Kentucky, a Navy boxer, career Air Force and world-traveler. After ten years of military service my parents moved to Oklahomain 1960 to Tinker Air Force Base. My mother was an Irish war bride raised in England during the war where my parents met.
As is common with many who struggle with homosexuality, I found it difficult to relate to my dad. I found that my heart was hard towards him. Most of the men that I have served in over twenty years of ministry have similar stories of being unable to identify with the good of the masculine. However, I was able –– through the ministry of others — to identify these common factors in my life. God restored my soul and my relationship with my dad before he died. In my process, I discovered that I had overidentified with my mother and sister. This was part of my own personality; I found safety in women as a young boy, as I perceived my dad as unsafe.
With my father traveling in the military, my mother and my older sister became my mentors; they raised me. Femininity was safe, therefore my personality was feminized. The strong masculinity of my father or other men was fearful to me, and unfamiliar. I didn’t like Dad, and I didn’t like men that were like him! I viewed myself as different. Yet, I found myself always curious about other boys and men. I was afraid to enter into sports for fear of ridicule and for fear of the locker room because of my past sexual abuse. By the time I was a teenager, I found myself sexually attracted to men. I now call that Father-Hunger. At thirteen, I found myself depressed and alone in my homosexual thoughts. I was angry with God because I believed he had made me gay. I wanted to die. I thought God couldn’t love me and I wanted to kill myself.
Today, homosexuality is accepted almost everywhere; not so when I was a struggling teen. In February of 1974, in my deep depression, I stopped talking to everybody, and plotted a way to end my life. During this time, an older friend introduced me to the gay community here in Oklahoma City. I was “comforted” by other gays … now “I wasn’t alone in my struggle.” I embraced a gay life. Yet, those were some of the darkest years of my life.
In 1981, my younger brother died while serving our country in Germany. I began to think about eternity. And I sure had a lot of questions. I started seeking truth. During this time I was living with a man who was an elder in the Episcopal Church. I noticed at the funeral that he was very chummy with my parents’ priest who was officiating. Later I contacted the priest to find out if it was “OKAY” with God to be gay. The gay priest told me that God loved me just the way I was. A peace came into my life, but it was a false peace, because I was STILL so disillusioned with gay life. For the next year and a half, depressed over my brother’s death, I determined I would try to make myself straight. I even adopted a policy of celibacy, but to no avail. Instead, I ended up in another gay relationship.
However, it was at this time in my life I really encountered God. A friend from high school asked me out to celebrate her birthday. We partied all night, and on the next day –– Sunday — we ended up at her sister’s house who was a devout Christian. While we were visiting her sister, I discovered that these people in this home were completely devoted to Jesus Christ as Lord of their lives. They weren’t religious; they were devoted to Christ, and in-love with God. These people began talking to my friend about Jesus Christ in a way I had never encountered. I thought these people were absolutely crazy. Jesus was talking to them. Jesus was answering their prayers. You know . . . they lived their lives like they really believed the Bible.
As I listened to them talking, and without them saying one word to me, something began to happen to my heart. It started racing, it started pounding; and then I heard a voice in my head, “Stephen, you need to accept Me tonight or you’re going to die.” I knew for sure that God was talking to me. I got the nerve up. I told the man of the house that I needed to know Jesus Christ . . . like they knew Him. He was amazed. He told me, “God must be calling you, son!” WOW… Did I know at that time that God was indeed calling me! It was – February 6, 1983 — I made a complete decision to live for and obey Jesus Christ that night. God has been so merciful to me!
My journey was not easy. I tell anyone that overcoming homosexuality is, indeed, VERY difficult, especially if the person seeking change has had many years of [homosexual] involvement. BUT NOTHIING is impossible with God! My freedom was not absent of struggle. There is not a Christian here whose freedom is absent of struggle. Freedom is not without struggle or temptation, is it? BUT Freedom is the ability for all of us to rise above life-controlling circumstances and choose differently. I chose FREEDOM! I choose Jesus Christ as my Lord. I choose to believe the Bible!
I want you to know after 26 years in my journey of freedom … after 22 years of marriage … after three children and a granddaughter, I am living life beyond my eight years as a gay man. I stand with Rep. Sally Kern today because she has dared to say what I know is true. I lived in it….
I believe with Rep. Kern:
May God Bless America!
This article was posted on Friday, April 4th, 2008 at 3:14 pm and is filed under A - What does the Bible say about homosexuality?, B - Ex-Homosexual Testimonies, News, Politicians & Public Officials, Sally Kern, The Bible, Churches, & Homosexuality. You can follow any updates to this article through the RSS 2.0 feed.
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