Looking For A Father
When I was 13, my pastor took me into his office. "Frank,” he announced, "you are a homosexual.” I had no idea what he meant, so he explained same-sex attractions to me. Then he explained that homosexuals were different from other people.
I had felt "different” for years. My family life had not been happy. I was born in 1929--the year that launched the Great Depression. Many family members moved into our house to survive. My father got a second job at night to pay the bills, but he couldn’t make enough money. We became a bitter, angry household, and I often escaped to the attic to avoid the daily arguments raging around me.
I will never forget my first day of school. My mother stayed all day with me to see that I would be all right and the teacher told her, "Your boy is different from all the other boys.” I could never muster any interest in sports and never really fit in with the other boys.”
Shortly after I turned 13, my uncle took me to a local science show sponsored by the Moody Bible Institute. This was my first exposure to the word of God. I felt God’s love that night and secretly I accepted Christ into my life.
The following year, several traumas happened. My father died, and my uncle who was so dear to me was arrested for homosexual activity. Then a new pastor came to my church and took over the role of father in my life. He was everything I had dreamed of in a father, but he sensed my growing same-sex attractions and encouraged me to act on them. In fact, he even found a potential male partner for me--an older obese man in whom I had no interest at all.
After graduation from high school, I fell in love with a young woman. She was my first real girlfriend and I decided to marry her. But when I proposed to her , she responded, "There are only two things in life that I love. One is horses and the other is women.” I was crushed. When I went to my pastor, he said, "Frank, I’ve been trying to tell you for years that you are a homosexual.” Then he explained that I had been attracted to this woman because of her masculine qualities.
I remember walking down the church steps that day. "Lord,” I prayed, "he is your man. I accept what he has said about my homosexuality.” Not long after that, I had my first homosexual experience. It was the beginning of over 20 years involvement in homosexual relationships.
Over the years, many people came in and out of my life. But life was far different from the beautiful picture that my minister had painted. There were a few moments of pleasure and hope, but mostly loneliness and despair. Sex was the god of my life; nothing else mattered.
Many years passed. I hid from God and ridiculed the church, yet in my heart I knew He was calling me back to Himself. My youth began to fade and every year brought less happiness.
Then Michael, one of my employees at work, became a Christian. His life changed before my eyes, and I thought back to my youth when it had been such a blessing to know Jesus and to be in the church. The contrast between this fine young man and my lust-filled life tore me apart inside.
I knew my homosexual ways were wrong, but I felt powerless to change. Then I heard about a gay facility in San Francisco that was operated in total darkness. I became obsessed with this place and determined to go there. On May 24, 1973,I decided that I would go to this place.
Suddenly my mind flashed back to the time of my father’s death when I was 13. I had prayed to God, "My father is gone. Please be my father for the rest of my life.” I felt that he had been with me up until now. But going to this place of darkness seemed the ultimate rejection of Him.
I found myself turning to Michael and saying, "Please take me to your church--right now!” As we knelt at the altar, I confessed all my past wrongs.
Many thoughts raced through my mind. All my friends will reject me. How can I ever give up sex? Impossible! But as I prayed, I felt released inside from 20 years of sin.
I began attending Michael’s church and after several months, he suggested that I record on tape what God was doing in my life. After working on it for months, I began advertising it in a local "underground” newspaper where gay men found sexual partners. In the first year, about 60 people wrote for my tape.
Then the Lord prompted me to tell a local pastor about my ministry. That day, the name "Love In Action” was born and group meetings were started. Then I discovered other similar ministries existed. Sixty-two of us met for a weekend of fellowship in September 1976 in the Los Angeles area and named our little network "Exodus.” It was an exciting, thrilling time to be involved in this type of ministry.
God started bringing other staff members to join me. Soon we were getting hundreds of letters from around the world.
Ten more years passed and I found myself growing uncomfortable with the single life. I was lonely and began praying for a wife. About a year-and-a-half later, I stopped in Los Angeles to see my friend, Barbara Johnson, who had an outreach to parents of homosexuals. She sent me off to Disneyland with a woman I had only met briefly once before.
That day at Disneyland proved to be the most fun I had experienced in years. The woman, Anita Thomas, was full of jokes and I thoroughly enjoyed her company. Later, Barbara called to say that Anita had also enjoyed her day with me.
A woman really likes me! I thought with excitement. Guess I did something right! Several months later, Anita visited Love In Action and fell in love with my ministry, my staff, my church--everything!
Soon Anita and I were meeting in San Luis Obispo, the halfway point between her home near Los Angeles and mine in the San Francisco area. We knew our relationship was growing serious; soon we were talking about marriage. In November 1984, as Anita and I exchanged wedding vows, Barbara Johnson--our behind-the-scenes "matchmaker”--sat in the front row with a huge smile on her face. Since then, marriage has been far better than my greatest expectations.
In 1990, God led Anita and me to Manila, where we founded Bagong Pag-asa ("New Hope”). After four years, we turned the ministry over to national leaders and returned to California, where we established a new ex-gay ministry in San Rafael after Love In Action relocated to Tennessee.
I believe homosexuality is a "father replacement search.” For many years, I searched for male affirmation, but I was looking in all the wrong places. When I turned my life completely over to God, He became the loving father I had never found. And He has given me a wonderful worldwide "family” of brothers and sisters in Christ.
I am so grateful for the new life that the Lord has given me. I struggled with homosexuality for over four decades, but Jesus Christ set me free.