Is Change Possible for Homosexuals?
IT IS true that the Bible shows clearly that homosexuality is wrong. But Jehovah, the God of the Bible, is considerate of mankind’s weaknesses. He is a God of love. So he does not cast aside as totally irredeemable any person—as long as that individual strives diligently to conform to His will.
The Scriptures show that the homosexual, to gain God’s approval, must make a change. But the Bible also reveals that such a change is possible. The apostle Paul refers to some persons who had been homosexuals and then says, in 1 Corinthians 6:11: “And yet that is what some of you were. But you have been washed clean.” They had changed!
However, many homosexuals argue that they cannot change. They are, in effect, saying that the Bible is wrong. Some assert, “I cannot help it; I was born a homosexual.” Or, they may say that homosexuality is the result of their rearing. There are, no doubt, many social and emotional factors involved in a person’s turning from heterosexual to homosexual relationships, and the root causes of homosexuality may not be known. But no one should fatalistically argue that ‘I cannot help it.’ Why?
Because the bulk of available information agrees with the Bible: Homosexuals CAN change. Nothing but the person himself forces an individual to remain homosexual. Does that statement sound too strong to you? Well, consider the evidence.
WHY THEY DO NOT CHANGE
As one reads material on the subject or talks to homosexuals, one is struck by this fact: Homosexuals want to be homosexuals. An article largely sympathetic to the homosexual movement appeared in the Minneapolis Tribune, May 14, 1972. Notice the writer’s observations:
“Behind all of this, one senses the unspoken fear that some factor might be found in research that would make it seem possible to change a gay into a straight. They wouldn’t want this. They are happy in their gayness. They don’t want to be straight.
“Lena Hardin, who is coordinator with Mike McConnell of Gay House’s speaking bureau, put it this way: ‘The only advantage to being straight is that you no longer would be different. Other people’s concepts and considerations of you would be altered. And, to tell you the truth, it’s not all that valuable. I still want to be what I am.’”
Notice, no appeal to being ‘born homosexual’ or with a ‘poor family background.’ The individuals involved just plainly say: “I still want to be what I am.”
Since a person chooses to be homosexual, it is his thinking that has been affected, urging him to make that sexual preference. Reasonably, the Bible agrees that this is at the base of the problem. Paul writes about homosexuals, that “God gave them up to a disapproved mental state, to do the things not fitting.” (Rom. 1:26-28) Such individuals have come to reason from the heart in a wrong way, developing perverted desires.—Matt. 15:18-20.
What the Bible says in this respect accords with the facts revealed by homosexuals. Thus an American explains the process by which his reasoning was won over to the homosexual viewpoint: “Homosexuality is the product of very complicated conditioning over an extended period of time . . . [Homosexuals] deliberately go through a brainwashing experience—‘I’m gay and I’m proud. I’m beautiful.’ This is reverse therapy.”
This thinking is at the core of the homosexual problem. One could stop being homosexual only if one no longer thought like a homosexual and no longer had their desires. The Bible, in 1 Corinthians 6:11, shows that such a change in thinking is possible. Then why is it that more do not change?
An interviewer for the Long Island (New York) Press asked a converted homosexual this same question. In answer, the man said:
“In the first place, there’s the widespread belief that it’s impossible. Second, thousands of unhappy homosexuals have no resources to get into expensive therapy. Third, fear of exposure inhibits a lot of men.”
Though many psychiatrists and others have given the impression that a person cannot change, this man’s experience shows otherwise. He admits to knowing six other men who have also changed.
Such adjustments admittedly are not easy to make. Why? Because not just one’s pattern of thinking has developed in a certain way, but one’s body has come to crave something abnormal. As a person’s pattern of reasoning is adjusted back to that which is entirely natural, so must his whole way of life. Slowly, the old ways must be replaced with new ones.
HOW ONE HOMOSEXUAL CHANGED
A homosexual male, an actor, who eventually settled in New York city, tells how he made the change. This man was thoroughly homosexual. Let him explain the about-face he has made and the effort on his part that has been involved:
“I had been a homosexual since the age of eight; by the time I was twenty-three years old I came to be in absolute, unquestioned servitude to my flesh. Like many homosexuals I tried to salve my conscience and the seriousness of my immorality by saying, as do many sophisticates of this world, that I was ‘gay.’ But the simple truth of the matter is I was a pervert. I can still recall at least 150 males with whom I repeatedly engaged in every kind of sexual perversion. I do not say this to try to excite or ‘turn on’ anyone who may have homosexual tendencies but to illustrate the level to which I had fallen. Actually, by the gay world’s standards, I might have been considered only a moderate homosexual since I engaged in immorality with less than three different men each day.
“Secretly I knew that my homosexuality was wrong. And when, a few years ago, I was invited to a meeting of Jehovah’s witnesses, I began to reinforce this conviction about the error of the homosexual course. Additionally, I liked what I heard from the Witnesses. The idea of living forever in a paradise earth really appealed to me. It was so pleasant, so relieving. I had always wondered why the world is the way it is, with so much hate, greed and selfishness in it. I wondered what hope there was for the future. Jehovah’s witnesses gave me the answers. But even at that I did not immediately change my homosexual way of life; I knew that would be difficult, as I enjoyed it very much. Further, I was continuing my acting career, including taping my TV shows. I was making a lot of money and that, too, would not be easy to give up.
“However, in 1969 I was working in New York city and went to the ‘Peace on Earth’ Assembly of Jehovah’s witnesses at Yankee Stadium. During the concluding remarks I was really brought face to face with reality. The speaker directed his remarks to those who were not Jehovah’s Witnesses, saying: ‘You know you want to be in God’s new order. So why don’t you come along with us, and gain life in that new order?’ The simple truth of those words hit home. I did want life. I did love Jehovah’s people. From that moment on I began to make changes in my life. It was a question of either serving Jehovah and living or staying ‘gay’ and dying.
“To say that from then on I never had a homosexual experience again would really sound nice. But, unfortunately, it would be a lie. I did slip after that. But I did not give up. I detested what I had done and made a firmer resolve that I would not repeat the immorality again. Few persons probably can ever appreciate the fight I had—the terrible agony, day and night, as the ‘flesh’ cried out for satisfaction sexually. In time I won the fight, but not in my own strength. Continually I went to God in prayer and asked for his help, and he did help me. However, I took action in harmony with my prayers.
“I resigned from all acting engagements, even though it meant giving up many material comforts and much public exposure as an actor. I realized that the atmosphere in the field of acting is simply not conducive to practicing true Christianity or any decent morality. In time I completely left off all homosexual practices and was accepted for baptism by Jehovah’s witnesses.
“In the meantime I have married a fine Christian woman, and we enjoy true happiness and contentment in Jehovah’s wonderful marital arrangement. Also, I am a ministerial servant in one of the congregations of Jehovah’s witnesses. But particularly what brings me pleasure is that I now have a clean conscience, and I know that I am living a life that is pleasing to Almighty God.”
ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE TO CHANGE
The man accepted the challenge to change. In time, he took the step that the Bible recommends as proper for those who lack sexual self-regulation, namely, honorable marriage. (1 Cor. 7:1, 2, 9) However, no homosexual should think that marriage of itself will solve his problem. There are many so-called “bisexuals” who, though married, also carry on secret affairs with persons of the same sex. A “bisexual” is still a homosexual and needs to make changes.
Similarly, sometimes married or single men will tell counselors that they are no longer homosexuals since they have left off actual physical contact with others. But they should examine themselves honestly and fairly. The New Encyclopædia Britannica defines a homosexual as “a person who in fantasy or reality habitually prefers sexual relations with a person of the same sex.” Thus, a male who regularly harbors desires for other males is yet a homosexual in his heart. (Compare Matthew 5:27, 28.) That is what he really wants. He must yet work to elevate his thinking.—Phil. 4:8, 9.
But, as noted in the experience related above, no one should think that he can make a complete change to a Christian way of life in his own strength. He must look to Jehovah God for help. Jehovah has given the Christian congregations of his Witnesses to assist any person who genuinely desires to lead a morally upright life. At no charge they will teach any sincere person what the Bible says and provide personal help that such ones need to make adjustments.
God has also given his holy spirit for those who want to clean up their lives. Even if on occasion a person has a temporary setback in his struggle to overcome a habitually ingrained practice like homosexuality, we have God’s assurance that His spirit will sustain him if he honestly keeps trying to do what is right. Like the sinner David, who was a king of Israel, such a person can pray, confident that Jehovah hears him: “May you purify me from sin with hyssop, that I may be clean; may you wash me, that I may become whiter even than snow. Conceal your face from my sins, and wipe out even all my errors. Create in me even a pure heart, O God, and put within me a new spirit, a steadfast one. Do not throw me away from before your face; and your holy spirit O do not take away from me.”—Ps. 51:7, 9-11.
As a person works to change his thinking, he will want to show good sense and make certain practical adjustments in his way of life. For instance, depending on his case, he may choose different employment, or a new location in which to live. He may also find it advantageous to adjust his clothing and grooming as well as the way he acts, talks and walks.—Ps. 119:66.
In some cases, owing to the nature of a person’s past, it is conceivable that the total emotional, physical and social effects of homosexuality will not be wiped out for many years, maybe not ever in this present system of things. But a person should never give up his fight. If progress sometimes seems slow, persist and rely on Jehovah’s spirit; this will in time yield good results.
Therefore, the real question before those faced with the problem of homosexuality is not, ‘Is the Bible’s view reasonable?’ The Bible’s view is indeed very reasonable. Rather, the potent question before them is: Do I really want to change and will I accept the challenge of doing so?