Conversion therapy has been proven time and time again to not actually help anyone but instead creates problems for anyone who has had the misfortune of being a victim of the terrible practice. Despite that, it is still being promoted by certain religious groups and this particular one, Bethel Church in Redding California, recently made an Instagram praising conversion therapy and urging LGBTQ to submit to God so that they can “cure” themselves of their homosexuality, according to Out.
Bethel Church is a megachurch with its sermons having about 9,000 congregants attending with an additional 682,000 Instagram followers so it is clear to see that by spreading this misinformation they can reach many people around the world and poison the minds of LGBTQ people and homophobes alike.
Anyway, here is the post:
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Jesus gives His love freely to all, regardless of where we are in our individual journeys. When Jesus enters into our lives, He engages with our deepest feelings and beliefs. He knows us better than we know ourselves and wants to lead us into His vision for humanity. Sometimes, that is countercultural. The love of Christ declares, “I want you! I am for you! And only I satisfy!” His love gently leads us to surrendering all—even what we believe about ourselves—in order to be fully satisfied and full of life.⠀ _⠀ CHANGED is a community of friends who once identified as LGBTQ+ and through encounters with the love of Jesus, have experienced His freedom in their lives. @changedmvmt wants to invite you to look deeper, to go beyond the cultural labels and expectations, and to find lasting fulfillment. To learn more or receive help on your journey, visit www.changedmovement.com #oncegay (Link in profile)
As you can see the church is very much in favor of conversion therapy and even tagged CHANGED, a group of people who claim to be ex-gay after undergoing the practice. But this post isn’t the only one that praises conversion therapy – Bethel Church’s Instagram has posted multiple posts adulating conversion therapy, including this one in which they featured an interview by Elizabeth Woning, the co-founder of Equipped to Love who proclaims that she left her lesbian identity and married a man after conversion therapy.
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“Throughout most of my life I always felt excluded, and I questioned my sexuality and my gender. I didn’t feel like a girl, but I also didn’t identify as a boy. I ‘came out’ when I was in my early twenties after a brief marriage to a man fell apart. I felt lesbianism explained my childhood and young adult experiences. I thought I was finally being authentic and true to myself. I felt powerful and asserted myself in stereotypically masculine ways. I attended seminary as an openly gay student. ⠀ _⠀ “After seminary, I began working with youth, but questioned my faith. In that season, I reevaluated what I believed about God, what I believed about the Bible and what I believed about myself. I resolved to follow my faith sacrificially, which required re-evaluating what I understood the Christian sexual ethic to be. Up to that point, I believed I was born gay and that God had created me that way. As I further studied Christian doctrine, I no longer believed I was born a lesbian. My experience of God’s love, the Christian community around me, and my desire to pursue a life of prayer had a dramatic influence on my life.⠀ _⠀ “I pursued pastoral care and counseling that addressed my childhood hurts and perceptions. I acknowledged that I had rejected myself as a woman. I did not specifically seek change in my sexuality; nevertheless, I began experiencing changes in my desires. I became attracted to a man (which was one of the most unexpected and humiliating experiences of my life since I had so fully identified as a lesbian). He and I got married and have had a strong marriage of 13 years thus far. Today I am happy, joyful, and feminine – all things I never was while living as a lesbian. I am no longer sexually attracted to women. Rather, I am a strong advocate for their empowerment.” – Elizabeth Woning #oncegay #iamHis @changedmvmt
Or this post where they, through a “touching” story about denying one’s identity
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“I was a child of divorce. My father was a violent man; my mother was clinically depressed; and in my adolescence I was sexually abused. As a child, I wanted to be a girl and hated being a boy. _ “At 14 years old, a counselor encouraged me to embrace a gay identity. He said things would get better if I did. So during my freshman year of high school, I came out to everyone. But things didn’t get better. _ “When I was 16 my suicide attempt was interrupted by a neighbor lady inviting me to church (She later told me the Lord had told her to do so). I found myself at her church surrounded by men – young and old – who were praying for me, moving me to tears by their care for me, and it ended my suicidal thoughts that day. But as powerful as that moment was, I still needed so much healing. My deep need to feel loved and accepted persisted, and I continued to embrace a gay-identity. _ “At age 18, I began living like a woman and even competed in professional pageantry for about 2 years. One night, when taking the make-up off my face, I couldn’t even recognize myself in the mirror. That terrified me. I had to admit that my efforts to become Miss Gay Texas were leading me nowhere. _ “On a Sunday night in December, when I was 20 years old, I met Jesus in a very experiential way. I surrendered my life to him. I then began to attend a program that ministers to those with gender confusion. So many painful issues in my life were addressed there. Over time, I began to accept myself and be at home in my own skin, as a man. Seeing and knowing other men as human beings instead of sexualizing them has been a life-changing transformation. I am so thankful for the new life God has given me. Today, I enjoy life and get to point others to the hope I have found.”- Daniel Delgado #oncegay #iamHis @changedmvmt // For more stories visit www.changedmovement.com and see Elizabeth’s story posted last week.
Telling people that they can and should change their sexuality is so obviously wrong and very harmful but still, people spout this nonsense. The fact that this church has so many followers is alarming as with these posts they can do some serious damage to someone’s psyche. However, there has been significant backlash from people about these posts with people linking to studies proving that conversion therapy doesn’t work and instead harms people.
I’m glad that people are speaking out against Bethel Church and these posts but it’s alarming so many still think that being gay is something that can be cured. People should be able to live their lives the way that they want to without any intervention from homophobic religious organizations. Maybe one day we can accomplish that but I’m not holding my breath.