Revd Adams’ Story – Is It Wrong for Me to Tell the Truth?

by the Reverend Adams, a gay Methodist Minister

My first experience of ‘deliverance’ ministry occurred on a Birmingham high street. I had thought I was just meeting someone for prayer, and first realised I might be wrong and in danger when three men greeted me instead of one. They took me to some rented rooms above a shop on the high street.   Immediately I knew I was in a bad place.

My relationship with faith had started when I was 18. I had come from a non-church background and felt sad and lonely. I had known I was only attracted to men when I was at Junior school but didn’t know how to tell anyone. Homophobia was very common and – like many others – I was scared.

When I came to faith I told my new Methodist Minister that I was gay, that I had no male friends and was scared to make any. I hoped he would help me. I was hugely mistaken.

He told me I couldn’t be gay because that was ‘not of God’. It was evil, a perversion – I must be possessed. He also told me I was a potential child abuser. I couldn’t have been more shocked.

Naively, I trusted him. I just wanted to be accepted, welcomed in Church, and to have some friends. I was desperate not to lose my new faith.

He suggested I go to a Pentecostal Church he was associated with in Birmingham, which had ‘experience of dealing with Gay people.’ Desperate for help and acceptance, I consented, eagerly. And just like that, I found myself alone in a room with three men, cut off from all outside help.

They spoke kindly while we walked up the stairs, but as soon as the door shut, this very quickly changed. They became aggressive and spoke over each other louder and louder, pushing me and shouting that gay men only existed because of abuse and therefore I had been raped by my dad or grandfather. I was an abused and broken person who had been preyed on and would prey on others, they said.

I remember trying to stand up and say that this was rubbish; they shoved and shouted more. The next thing I knew I was on the ground where they continued to attack me.

They commanded demons of homosexuality to leave me, and hit me again and again.

I was absolutely terrified.

I pretended that it was working and that they had made me different. I left as quickly as I could and remember running to my car. I collapsed inside, locked the doors and cried.

I drove back home and promised I would hide this and never speak of it again, but the Methodist Minister told me that was not the end of it. I was clearly a serious potential child abuser and I couldn’t volunteer as a Boys Brigade Officer anymore, unless I told the BB Captain so that I could be monitored at all times. If I didn’t tell him, then the Church would have to be informed and I would be in essence outed to all the congregation.

I felt so dirty. I wanted to die.

He went on to say that I needed to find a nice girl, marry and have children, and that the gay would go away. I told a girl all this – we were friends and it was so hard to do. I loved her – and still do – so we married. We thought we could complete the cure. We had children and were together for almost 25 years.

God has such an amazing sense of humour as I was training as a Methodist Minister myself within about 5 years of the gay conversion experience. I hid my true self deep within myself, so that no-one could see how much I hated myself.

From the outside, we looked like a perfect family, but underneath it was hell for me and (I think) my ex-wife. I was lonely and suicidal. I felt like I was always pretending and was never good enough for God or my ex-wife.

When we split and I came out it felt like a huge weight had been removed – I could breathe freely for the first time.

Unsurprisingly, as an out gay Minister I encountered homophobia. One retired minister said that gays in church were a disgrace and if she was still a minister she would resign.

One church where I was meant to be observing a local preacher I was training rang twice to inform me that if I entered they would all walk out in protest at my ‘sin’. The abuse they gave me and the language they shouted down the phone left me shocked and shaken. The Circuit told me not to go but said nothing to the people at the Church. I was told to just accept that this was normal, acceptable behaviour.

As I was coming to the end of my 5 years there I was initially offered an extension. However, I was then told by a church full-time lay worker that I was ‘hated and detested’ and that I ‘should go where people like you are tolerated.’ Shocked, I reported the incident to the Circuit / District. I was then told that I should leave, because the other church worker had to stay. They withdrew my own extension to stay, and just like that, I had been forced out.

Now, we live in fear. Where will we end up? Is there anywhere we will be accepted?

There aren’t enough words to describe all the other incidents I’ve encountered since then. I’ve been told to stop complaining, that people are allowed to express homophobic views. I’ve been told by people in senior ordained national roles that that ‘we shouldn’t rock the boat’. They said that black people had to accept racism within the Methodist Church, that women had to accept sexism and that I had to accept this.

I’m left with a multitude of questions. How much is too much? Is it wrong for me to tell the truth? Could even writing this post be accused of rocking the boat?

I feel powerless and live in fear.

 

This entry was posted in Human Sexuality, LGBT Stories, Sexual abuse, Spiritual Abuse. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Revd Adams’ Story – Is It Wrong for Me to Tell the Truth?

  1. Barbara Pettitt says:

    I’m a gay Methodist minister and appalled at how you were treated. God bless you in ministry and life.

  2. Ronald David Griffiths says:

    What an exceptionally horrible experience, dished out by the representatives of God Almighty, it is no wonder we as gay people shun the organised religions when we experience this sort of Homophobia and bigotry,& resentfulness. I am NOT in the least surprised, i too being a worker in the C.O.E. have faced similar situations from priests through to the congregation members two people made it their business to hound me at every turn in what ever thing i was undertaking so you have my sincere sympathy and understanding. Thank God you persevered and continue to do so, we must not let the ignorant few mar
    our service to God in which ever form this takes.

  3. Mike Critchley says:

    May be worth reading NOT THE PERFECT CHURCH written by another Methodist minister?

  4. C. Burton says:

    An extremely brave , loving wonderful man can only open up to this truth. Everyone should accept the truth…would avoid so much hurt to many … sadly alot of folks wont and dont . It’s a big thing that makes the world go so wrong. You should not live in fear. Those that really matter to you accept and love you just as you are. Enjoy each day as it were your last. Most of us think we aren’t good enough if we were to be asked. So I and everyone should practice what I’ve said . Not easy …but let’s try.. we have a new life now living with the pandemic.. let’s start as we mean to go on….I’m in. Lots of love.xx

  5. Canon Dr Michael Blyth says:

    This is so sad for you. I’m amazed that people in power in Christian denominations can’t see the glaring plank in their own eyes or accept that they have a basic responsibility to respond with courtesy and kindness rather than tell any other Christian they are ‘hated and despised’. No wonder the churches are losing young people: plenty of fair-minded adults are considering leaving into the bargain. It’s important to tell your story although, yes, you will feel more vulnerable at the start. This type of dreadful behaviour needs to be called out for what it is – spiritual abuse. Join a trades union and get some legal support behind you – Clergyworkers, Unite. That way you will get a rep who can help you fight your corner against bullying and harrassment. No human being deserves to be treated this way on account of their sexuality (or gender, or skin-colour etc). The worst thing that deliverance-ministry and prolonged exposure to institutional homophobia have done to you is made you doubt yourself. You are completely loved by God. A God who knows the bitterness, fear and heartache of rejection. You can begin to fight back by witnessing to your truth. There are some affirming churches out there – but you may need to reach out to informal networks to find them. I hope things improve for you soon. Thank you for sharing your story. It’s the first step towards empowerment.

Any thoughts?