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Ken Williams on "The Journey Out" of a Gay Lifestyle and into Perfect Love

The Struggle

As an eight-year-old boy, Ken says he had a profound salvation experience. That’s also the age when he sensed he was different than other boys, who liked to roughhouse and play sports. Ken was a sensitive, scrawny kid. Soon came the merciless teasing from other boys who called him “shrimp,” and “gay wad.” Also at age eight, Ken was exposed to porn through several different sources: a babysitter, a friend’s parents’ bedroom, and a box he and his friends found in a field, full of hardcore porn images. “Walking away, I felt so damaged. Something had been awakened in me that I couldn’t explain. I felt so dirty,” he remembers. 

On the home front, he knew his dad loved and enjoyed him, but they didn’t connect emotionally on a deep level. “My dad could see, early on, that I didn’t feel confident in myself or in my relationships with other boys,” he recalls. “So, he did what he knew how to do – he enrolled me in karate, then soccer, then baseball, then Boy Scouts.” But Ken didn’t thrive in any of those activities. As he grew, he was more interested in deep conversations than sports, and more comfortable talking with his mom and her friends. In his teens, Ken experienced same-sex attraction, and by 17, started having physical encounters with other boys, but told no none. “I was so isolated from other males in high school that I was craving attention and connection,” Ken says. “In my desperation to find relief, I began considering ways I could end my life. It’s not that I wanted to kill myself. I just didn’t want to live any longer.”

Finally, Ken vented his feelings in a nine-page letter of “hate, vulgarity, and pain,” and handed it to his youth pastor. The man lovingly committed to help Ken, starting by helping him tell his parents. They responded with love, not anger, and asked Ken if that’s the life he wanted. When he replied, “No, I’ve never wanted to live a gay life,” they pledged to get him help. Finally, his unbearable secret was out and he was loved in response.  Still, the myriad lies he had believed would take many years to ferret out and replace with truth.   

The Journey Out

Ken’s journey began with Christian counseling. For five years, Ken shared his shame, pain and scary thoughts and grew to believe that Jesus loved him no matter his struggles and sins. He also came to believe that a change in sexual desires was possible. Ken’s understanding of God’s love for him was also greatly deepened when he was healed from a five-year gastric disorder that had started in college (after chugging five beers in 20 mins). But the main truths that brought Ken wholeness are expressed in the words vulnerability, surrender, and identity.  

“True vulnerability is the act of exposing your heart in such a way that it becomes possible for another person to wound you,” Ken says. “No wonder it’s terrifying.” The alternative, he explains, is a life of hiding and disconnectedness, when God has created us for connection, first with Him, then with one another. To be vulnerable, we need to choose friends who will speak the truth to us in love. “Those who also know that God’s best plan for us is not to pursue homosexuality. The major barrier to the healing power of vulnerability is shame. Shame lies to us, telling us that we’re not worthy of love because of what we’ve done,” Ken says. “On the other side of the discomfort of vulnerability, a life of increased intimacy with both God and people lies waiting.”

Surrendering control of our lives and harmful behaviors isn’t easy, Ken admits, but he says it’s the way to freedom. “When we decide to deeply and genuinely surrender our will to God, the enemy – that accuser of the brethren who haunts us with perversion, lust, and pain – runs in terror from us.” And the Lord -- the intimate creator of our lives – draws close.  Surrendering control of my sexuality completely changed my life,” Ken states. “When we choose to surrender our lives to Him, a part of that is surrendering the harmful behaviors that have restricted our ability to experience true intimacy with Him, with other people, and even with our own hearts.”

Ken helps those who struggle with sexual identity to see the truth set out for us all in God’s Word. “For those of us walking out of a homosexual background, the enemy would love nothing more than to convince us that the things we are tempted by define us. But nowhere in the Bible is homosexuality understood to be an identity. It is a behavior, a choice of action that leaves us feeling disconnected from God, from our community, and from ourselves, like every other sin. If we will embrace our new-creation identities in Christ and reject the enemy’s lies and efforts to convince us we are “gay,” or any other untrue identity, we’ll act in accordance.  

Ministry Today

Ken is the co-founder of two ministries of Bethel Church in Redding, CA. Equipped to Love seeks to lovingly, clearly show the truth of Biblically-defined sexuality to the LGBTQ community. “And so, we are committed to creating (and protecting) safe spaces that foster the transformation that comes through vulnerability with Jesus.”

The CHANGED Movement is a Facebook support group for those who no longer identify as LGBTQ. “We are a growing community of men and women who have explored the depths of our identities and found freedom. We have confronted the pain, rejection, and despair that often accompany the homosexual experience; and so, our approach is sensitive. Compassionate. Genuine.”

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