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In response, Jose explains the cure: "Recovery is not something that happens overnight. Yes, there have been people who have said yes, it's happened for them overnight. Some people think if the sexual side of things is gone, then they are cured more or less.
"[But] we call it 'The Process,' because it is a process of recovery."
"Do you think it's like envy?" I ask, interrupting him and referencing the Exodus Web site, which says that male homosexuality can start because of envy of the size of someone else's Johnson.
"You know, just from reading up," Jose explains, "I think it could be envy of other guys, like if they are more well-endowed ... that could be an envy trait."
"For me, it's the complete opposite," I say. "I was much laaaaaaarger than all the other kids in that department, and it was kind of a bragging, showing-off type of thing. You know, to show how large I am."
"I mean, I've always been huuuuuuuge!" I say. "I'd always be whipping it out and waving it around when I got a chance, like a 'Look at me! Look at me!' type of scenario."
"Uh-huh," Jose says, then quickly changes the subject.
"Heterosexuality is not our overall goal, because we have a lot of married people come to us. And they've been married for many years, and they still come to us," Jose says. "They would pretty much confirm that heterosexuality is not the goal because they would say, 'I'm pretty much full heterosexual.' Our main goal is to help them with their relationship with Christ, and from there, sexuality will change them into the person that God created us to be."
Now it's time to turn the religious tables.
"It's kind of weirdly religious based for me," I say, bringing the focus back to my problem.
"Uh-huh," Jose responds.
"It's kind of a messed-up sort of scenario. It's really complicated."
"There's actually different roots and different causes," Jose says, elaborating to the point that I think he's reading from a script. "Some people stem from a sense of envy. Some stem from a sense of anger and rejection. Some stem from other areas. It would really depend on each individual person. Though the roots are somewhat similar, those roots can tap different branches of the same root and splinter off into different areas."
"Well, I became aware of my present condition when I was a kid."
"OK. Has this case ever come up?" I ask. "The first time I ever felt attracted to a man -- this sounds kind of weird -- but it was from seeing pictures of Jesus when I was little. I would have this picture of Jesus hanging in my room and it would get me really, REALLY aroused!"
"Uh-huh," Jose says.
"Has that scenario ever happened to others? How do I deal with that?" I ask. "Every time I go to church, I get really turned on!"
Then Jose says, "These are unique cases, but different people can respond to different images differently. (Pause.) Some people are terrified of Jesus because they can use Jesus as a man, a godly man, and they can transform that onto other men in their life or maybe their own father."
"How would you take the steps if that is the sexual image in my mind, and when I try to go to church and pray, I only end up being really aroused?" I ask. "You know, like, fully erect?"
"Uh-huh," Jose says. (Pause.) "Is that what you're obsessed with currently?"
"Yeah, it's this weird scenario. I want to go to church and get close to Jesus, but these sexual feelings come up, and it's really inappropriate."
Persona: Monty Lamar.
Game plan: Posing as someone who wants to become an ex-gay, I decide to dress really gay. This will show how much help I actually need.
Disguise: A very tight Enrique Iglesias T-shirt with his large, hunky head blazoned on the front. An open, pink, button-down shirt. Leather pants. Rings on every finger. A cowboy hat. Most important, a neckerchief. I also wear a large 49ers football jacket, so they'll cut Monty some slack and see at least he's trying to make the attempt to be straight.
Approximate distance from San Francisco: 42 minutes.
I'm directed to Marin County and "A Christ-CENTERED MINISTRY designed to help people struggling with homosexuality leave their past lifestyle and to fully EMBRACE THEIR TRUE IDENTITY IN JESUS CHRIST." Here's what the group's Web site professes:
The homosexual lifestyle often proves to be a painful and unrewarding way of life, particularly for older gays who are no longer desirable sexually.
Thousands have left homosexuality behind and become "new creations in Christ." Many have married and raised families, while others remain celibate yet lead joyful lives devoted to God's service.
Satan is not pleased when someone sees through the deception of homosexuality and discovers the way out.
If there were ever a group to organize a Gay Shame Parade, this would be it.
The group's monthly Friday night meeting is held in an office complex that resembles a meth-addict trucker motel. As I enter a cramped back office that has a large shelf filled with numerous books centered on the subject at hand, about a dozen Fellow Warriors, mostly older men, are gathered in a circle.
"Welcome Monty and Steven," announces the second-in-command, who has excited eyes and wears a large wooden cross. "It's their first night. Make them feel welcome."