By Anna Pulley
By Erin Sherbert
By Chris Roberts
By Erin Sherbert
By Rachel Swan
By Joe Eskenazi
By Erin Sherbert
By Erin Sherbert
"I lost my job, my house, everything," the leader says.
"When I first came out of the lifestyle, I was screaming at God all the time, because I didn't have anything," the second-in-command says. "I left homes, I left cars, I left jobs, I have left everything, and I moved in with Mom and Dad.
"But he knew where I was and was able to work with me, once I gave myself to him."
"I did a lot of coke," someone says.
"I had a problem with drugs and alcohol."
"I got to go to my 12-step meeting tomorrow," another adds.
"My sexual drive was not normal," yet another Fellow Warrior pipes in. "This plain desire was abnormal whether I was attracted to men or women or whatever."
"When I was in the deepest, darkest depths of my sin, that's when Christ died for me!" adds the leader.
Clearly, these guys weren't casually gay; these were extreme gays, people who had multiple partners in the throes of coke- and alcohol-induced blackouts. They are mistaking personal excess and fuck-ups for something to do with gay standards in general.
The leader, who has no psychological degree but who reads a lot of books on the subject, goes on to explain exactly what homosexuality is: "It's not a sexual problem. It's a relationship problem," he says, stressing each word matter-of-factly. "Men ... feed ... off ... of ... each ... other's ... masculinity. It's a relationship problem!"
"And that's the key. God, he accepts me with all my frailty in all my screwed-up-ness, but he has the plan, the desire, to transform me into something that is going to bring him glory."
"You go girl!" I add with a finger snap, getting into rhythm.
"One of the problems I seem to have right now," a guy wearing a baseball cap says, "is a thing called intimacy."
"Mm-huh," replies the second-in- command.
"And the renewing in the mind that intimacy is not lust."
"When I had a wife, I was not intimate. When I had a lover, I was not intimate. God was showing me that it was lust. Because you don't know the difference," the guy in the baseball cap says.
"What about Monty and Steven? Do you want to share anything? You don't have to," asks the second-in-command.
I'm momentarily caught off guard; I forgot I was calling myself Monty.
"I'll share," says Steven, the teenage kid with tattoos on his knuckles. He sounds as intensely psycho as he previously looked. "I will literally sit in a room, and contemplate and soak up as much God as I can, you know."
"If God didn't make his provisions for us during his time of blood on the cross, we're all doomed. We're all doomed," repeats the leader. Steven continues.
"One time this guy called me up late at night. He said he made out with me one time at a club when I was drunk. I told him I'm a Christian now. He started to get very sexually descriptive, so I just shouted into the phone, 'The Lord rebukes,' and slammed down the phone."
I am imagining how creepy it would be to have a random, drunk, late-night booty call end that way when the second-in-command turns to me and asks, "Monty, do you want to share?"
Since everyone here has had a drug or alcohol problem and has slept with thousands of partners, for reaction's sake I change my game plan. How would they counsel someone who's quite normal but happens to be gay? I tell the group that I've never touched drugs and alcohol in all my life, and I've been in one long, monogamous relationship.
"CANNIBALISM!" the group shouts in cultish near-unison. Somehow, I've triggered a classic sinner scenario.
The leader explains cannibalism, again slowly stressing one word at a time: "You ... take ... on ... the ... attributes ... of ... the ... other ... person!"
"I know," the second-in-command turns to me, nodding. "I was in a relationship for 17 years."
"Men want lust, not intimacy," the leader says to sum up this and all other gay scenarios.
A guy across the circle leans toward me. With strong, crazed eye contact, he says it straight: "An erection put into a woman's vagina is like going into the paradise of heaven. An erection put in anything else is unnatural, and it's a sin!"
"OK," I reply.
Keeping the strong eye contact, he makes hand gestures and uses the word "erection" at least six more times. I'm grateful when he stops directing the word "erection" at me.
"Can I still hang around my old friends?" I ask. "We've all got the same taste in music."
"I'll answer that," pipes in the creepy teenage kid, suddenly sitting up. "An alcoholic shouldn't go into a bar!"
"It will be worth the sacrifice," stresses the leader. "You'll find the best relationship you'll ever have will be with God!"
I am feeling bad for these guys. Clearly, they are misapprehending drug and alcohol problems, coupled with sex addiction and extreme guilt, as sins against God and the world. Their heartfelt comments are nothing if not depressing.