This originally started off as an angry post about, once again, realizing that somebody mistranslated the “anti-gay” Bible verses from their original callouts against pedophilia and shrine prostitution; that essentially, being gay has never been a sin to begin with, that we’ve been falsely equated with true sexual immorality this whole time.
I hit a sudden bout of writer’s block, and the angle for this transformed from me wanting to “lay it down” to this:
I’m not just angry, I’m grieving. Grieving after realizing that I’ve been spiritually gaslighting myself for some time now. God’s shown me in dreams, visions, and other blissful experiences that He fully intends for me to be with the man He’s revealed to me in the last few years. But even though I’ve known that those experiences have always been His will and not me simply daydreaming, I’ve been struggling with the fear that I’m wrong.
Wrong, in the sense that by placing my hopes in these experiences, I’m somehow defying God/committing blasphemy. This, all because of the toxic prevalence of “ex-gay” testimonies and the robotic repetitiveness of other people shoving the “clobber passages” at us.
I knew my self-gaslighting was bad when I was still having these fears, even after I finally found proof to the recent claim that those verses are mistranslations. They are, in fact, mistranslated. Those passages are references to true acts of sexual immorality such as pedophilia, pederasty, sexual violence, and pagan sex worship. They were never intended to condemn gay relationships.
If you’ve read the last few posts I’ve done, then you know how enraged I’ve been over everything I’ve learned from Netflix’s Pray Away documentary. I led myself down a toxic rabbit hole of related information, and I found this triggering article on Focus on the Family‘s website.
This was a letter sent to the religious group by a mother of a gay Christian kid who told her about his personal experience with God. Namely, that He’d told him that there’s nothing wrong with homosexuality, and that what we’ve read in the Bible isn’t accurate. In other words, what myself and several other LGBTQ+ Christians have experienced in our faith journies.
In response, both the mother and Focus on the Family‘s commentators invalidated his faith, declaring his revelation to be a “painful and exasperating situation”. That was so triggering for me to read, even though I’ve had a far more positive experience with my own Mom. Sounds like they all refused to even give him a chance.
I’ve been reading testimonial books by prominent LGBTQ+ Christian authors, and a recurring message they recall hearing from Evangelical Christians is to “never trust your feelings”. That only the Bible and what we’ve been taught is acceptable doctrine.
Well, so much then for the beautiful, extrabiblical testimonies of Catholic saints such as St. Faustina Kowalska, the Secretary of Divine Mercy!
Is Jesus and St. Faustinas’ joint declaration of God’s mercy somehow irrelevant because she “trusted her feelings” and own experiences?
Oh, (to be spiteful, sorry) does that logic mean that what God showed me about His mercy for those who take their own lives is somehow moot? That me hearing His voice so profoundly, and being shown that my school friend Will found peace, was all a lie?
That’s a tangent, my apologies, but I’m not impressed.
Our testimonies validate God’s presence in our lives. They will never be the same, and reflect His love of diversity.
So excuse me for seething with contempt when other Christians assert that we’re “exchanging the truth for a lie” by choosing to be vulnerable about our bonds with God.
I’ve been ready to “throw hands” after everything I’ve taken in the last month. Not only do other Christians have the audacity to think that any form of “ex-gay therapy” is ok, but somebody in the English-speaking world started the mistranslation chain that’s led to the basis for us getting persecuted in multiple forms.
There’s no excuse for ignoring all of the context around those Bible passages. The Serbian and English translators of this passage from the 2nd Book of Enoch, essentially an expanded version of 1 Corinthians 6:9, shows that they understood all of that context.
“This place, O Enoch, is prepared for those who dishonor God, who on earth practice sin against nature, which is sodomy of a child, corruption of children,…”2 Enoch 10:3
They knew that the original intent was to address the very serious crime of violating children. The translators for the Books of Enoch cared about that context, and I’ll always be upset that those in the Western world refused to do the same.
I can’t believe I’ve been doubting my own spiritual experiences. Then again, I’ve been encountering so many “ex-gay testimonies” in the wake of Pray Away. I’ve had to fight off the paralyzing terror that, because they say they’re “no longer gay”, that I’ve been lying to myself this whole time.
That fear isn’t of God. I’ve never felt that insidious fear in His presence, or in the messages He’s given me.
After addressing this fear and dispelling it, I was reminded of one of the core dreams of my faith, the vision-like dream God gave me 3 years ago after my birthday. I was really not in a good place. My hope for the future was dwindling, in large part because I hadn’t landed a good job after graduating from college. I put too much importance on that, and it did a lot of damage to my self-esteem.
Well, cue this dream.
The instant it started, the somber but uplifting Final Fantasy 10 soundtrack “The Sending” started playing, despite the fact that I hadn’t gone to sleep listening to any music that night.
The best way to summarize the meaning of this song is that it represents finding hope out of despair, or “beauty out of ashes” as Celine Dion powerfully sung.
It turned out to be an in-dream vision, either literal or metaphorical, of what my church funeral service would look like. Sorry to be morbid, folks!
Well, it wasn’t really morbid. Yes, there was that obvious air of sadness to it, but there was so much hope, more than anything else. I saw people who I’ve never met place flowers on my open casket, where I looked young and peaceful. It looked like I’d passed in my sleep. And the people passing by my casket on the altar either laid down white lilies or Chinese bellflowers, a gorgeous blue flower that’s the name inspiration for Kikyo, my favorite anime character.
At one point, the “dream camera” zoomed in on a handsome middle-aged black man standing by my casket, well-dressed in a suit and smiling peacefully. My vision lingered on him for several seconds, unwavering like it usually does in normal dreams. This was my first memorable dream of my future husband, who constantly shows up in my dreams with this appearance.
After everybody sat down, just as “The Sending” hit its uplifting peak, sunlight poured in through the stained glass window of Jesus as the King of Heaven. Three rays of golden light entered the sanctuary, hovering over my body as they transformed. All of a sudden, Jesus, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit as a dove stood over me, smiling and silently urging my soul to arise.
My soul came up out of my body, and after I said my silent goodbyes to my loved ones, the Trinity led me away just as “The Sending” came to its end.
Not only did God say to me in this way to not give up hope for the future, He showed me in a wonderfully mystical way that I wasn’t meant to be alone forever. I don’t take this affirmation lightly.
This dream tied in perfectly with that moment my best friend called me during a moment of loneliness a few years earlier to tell me, “You’ll be with a black man”. Both that out-of-the-blue phone call and this vision-like dream were God speaking to me, telling me that He wanted me to hold onto that romantic hope and not despair.
Shame Isn’t Holy
Ah, that’s something else I wanted to mention in this post. The difference between hope and despair (or rather, shame). Let’s lay this blunt truth down, shall we? God acts to give us hope, while the Devil seeks to tear that hope apart and instill shame within us.
Remember the difference between guilt and shame, folks (as I’ve read in Unashamed by Amber Catorna). Guilt is what we feel in response to our objective wrongdoings. Shame, on the other hand, is the feeling that we ourselves are “wrong”.
This is an important dichotomy to keep in mind when we confront instances of other Christians shaming LGBTQ+ Christians.
My worst instance of receiving this shame was from a Christian girl I adored, after I confided in her my romantic hopes for the future. She scorned me for not wanting to be celibate, and retained that scorn even when I pleaded to her that I would never shame her if she chose to give away her virginity before marriage. It was merciless, and it lingered with me despite my choice to repress the memory.
That shame resurfaced in an ugly way one night, where I emotionally tore myself apart out of terror over the spike of natural desires I was feeling. Despite all of the messages God had given me beforehand, especially the aforementioned husband dream-vision, I told Him I felt dirty.
In response, Jesus visited me in my dreams for the first time. No words were spoken, but the look on His face, filled with pity and compassion, made it clear that the shame I was experiencing wasn’t His will.
In July that year, while on a grand family vacation, I received another stunningly vivid dream-vision of my husband. It was like a photo, of him standing tall and regal. This came about after I felt a moment of despair over not yet being in my first relationship.
Later that week, I had a frightening spiritual warfare nightmare where the Devil tried to sexually assault me. The malicious intention wasn’t lost on me, and I knew that it was a response to the hope that dream of my husband had given me.
You know what kills me? I just remembered a similar “hope then hate” response. A few years ago, I gladly gave my best friend money when she was in need of it. That night, I had a vivid spiritual warfare dream where the Devil tried to steal my wallet.
I don’t know why the Devil seemingly cares so much about my future love life, though I can see that he wanted to instill in me the shame that used to cripple me.
The general rule of thumb about how God speaks to us vs. the Devil is that God convicts, while the Devil condemns. God gives us peace, while the Devil attempts to make us fear.
Thus, we need to hang onto this important Bible verse as we go about the act of discerning intentions:
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”1 John 4:18
Love has no fear, and God never works to paralyze us with fear or shame. It’s never His will.
Enough With the Partiality, Already!
It’s also never His will for any LGBTQ+ person to be made victims of shame-instilling theology. There are no “fruits of love” in a system that demands we LGBTQ+ folk be forever alone and “deny ourselves”, while conveniently “forgiving” the straight people in power who commit actual sins without accountability.
Remember, former President Trump “isn’t perfect”, even when he continues to lie and gaslight America (referring to the Jan. 6 violence as “hugs and kisses”, anyone?).
Turns out that “cherry-picking” is a real problem after all, and a massive indicator that there’s something inherently wrong with the branch of Christianity that claims to speak for God against “the gays”. By all means, repeat those English-translated verses about homosexuality, but conveniently ignore the surrounding words and verses that also demand death for adulterers (Leviticus 20:10-21).
Or the rest of 1 Corinthians 6:9, which includes liars and adulterers in the list of people who won’t inherit the Kingdom of God.
So Evangelical leaders can hook up with prostitutes, lie about it and speak false witness while receiving forgiveness? But two people in a committed relationship are “an abomination to God”? LGBTQ+ people aren’t allowed to have leadership positions in several denominations, but hey, there’s no problem with swindlers and liars having a pulpit!
You see, my point is that it’s never been God who’s called LGBTQ+ people “abominations”. It’s always been religious people in power who claim to speak for Him, while using their position to preach their own prejudices from the pulpit.
Understand that calling out these leaders for their hypocrisy, and thus calling out the blatant issues in organized religion is under no circumstances “attacking God”. This is about holding the humans who speak for Him accountable for the damage they’ve done.
I can see now, after finally finding proof that the original Bible texts condemn things such as pedophilia and sexual exploitation instead of homosexuality, that I fell into that gaslighting trap myself. Which is sadly ironic, given that I’ve always been raised in progressive environments.
I’ve found my peace, and I no longer have any inhibitions about what God has planned for me and my soulmate. I know that my experiences with Him aren’t a daydream or a self-pleasing lie, and that His plans for my future don’t contradict what the Word was originally intended to say.
May God rescue all those imprisoned by fear, and protect them from the Devil’s attempts to trap them in shame.
And my heart yearns for the fulfillment of God’s plan to unite me with this gentle man. I know that soon enough, all of these dreams/visions, especially a vision I had of me asleep in his arms, will come to fruition.