Once A Homosexual
Johan van de Sluis (The Netherlands)

I was born in 1938 and lived as a homosexual from the age of fifteen until I was twenty-eight. According to Dr. Van Emde Boaz, a well-known Dutch sexologist, I was a core-homosexual. I grew up in a Christian family and from my early childhood I longed for peace with God. This peace left me when I started to live as a homosexual. I frequented homosexual bars and dance-halls, and chose homosexuals as my friends. I also had a homosexual relationship with a man that lasted three years.

I could have continued this lifestyle for many more years, but I gradually discovered that even this 3-year relationship did not make me happier. I started to realize that for me the gay lifestyle implied disharmony and sterility. The last year of this particular friendship was one of inner conflicts. I felt that the lifestyle was out of line with my religious convictions and I often had arguments with my friend.

I started to think that I wanted to get out of this and eventually I broke off the relationship. In retrospect I can say it was God who showed me that this lifestyle was not according to His will. For years I had not had that insight. Yet, at a certain moment I decided that I wanted to be more obedient to Him than to people who tried to convince me that there was nothing wrong with having a sexual relationship with a male friend in love and faithfulness.

New creation

I then came in touch with Christians and after a while I wanted to be baptised. After the baptismal service a couple of believers prayed for change of my homosexual orientation, while laying hands on me. From that moment on I could start to believe I was free. However, the next morning I felt as much gay as the day before. I panicked and phoned some friends, a married couple, who had been among those who prayed for me. They told me I was really free, and that I could start believing this, even though my emotions gave me a different message. They drew my attention to some words from the bible, 2 Corinthians 5:17: "When anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come".

From then on I persevered in faith that I was free indeed. My old nature was now crucified with Christ, Roman 6:6. As a result, in the course of time, my perception of myself and my nature began to change. Was it all the power of suggestion? No, it was through the power of faith in God and His promises.I was actively involved in this process. I had to learn to disassociate myself from my former gay friends; I broke off all my relations with them. I also stopped going to places that reminded me so vividly of my past. I felt I also had to throw away all reminders of my past life, like books and photographs. I felt I couldn't be radical enough in severing my associations with my sinful past.

Especially in the beginning the risk of falling back was very big, because for a long time my personality was undergoing a healing process. My soul had been wounded and needed to be healed. However, the process was not only one of doing away with negative things. At the same time, a whole new world opened itself up to me in living with Christ. I was a new creation and that made me intensely happy. To experience this was a great help in my struggle against my homosexual feelings. I started to discover too that not everything that I had labelled 'homosexual' was wrong. For instance, I found out that my special taste for clothes and furniture etc, was not linked with my homosexual feelings and not sinful.

The more I recovered and grew into heterosexuality, the less I needed other men to make up for the deficiency in my personal development. Sometimes it still happened that seeing a man gave me feelings of admiration, and a certain satisfaction. At such a moment I needed that person to see myself as a complete man, But gradually I started to feel a man to the full, based on my relationship with Christ. I no longer needed identification with other men for that. On top of that, heterosexual desires developed. I had prayed that God would lead me in a way that I would fall in love with a woman spontaneously.

Five years after I had broken with the gay lifestyle and my feelings had started to change, I got married. That is now more than thirty-two years ago. My wife and I have three children, one daughter and two sons. In my married life I have experienced that heterosexuality is much richer than the gay lifestyle.

My life story has been published in more detail in a Dutch book, entitled "Ik ben niet meer zo", and in the brochure "Eens homofiel", also translated in English "Once a homosexual".

Since 1969 I have been helping homosexuals; the first five years from my home and since 1975 I worked as the project leader (director) of EHAH (Evangelical Help for Homosexuals). Over the last thirty-two years more than a thousand people with homosexual problems have been helped by me and staff members from EHAH. Since February 2003 I am retired.

I was also chairman and am now board member of the organisation Onze Weg (Our way), promoting the interest of ex-homosexuals in churches and in society and explaining how to leave the homosexual lifestyle. Every three months we give out a magazine with relevant articles on different subjects concerning sexuality.

In 1982 some colleagues and I took the initiative to start Exodus Europe after attending the Exodus North America conference in Las Vegas. After that I was a board member and president of Exodus Europe for some years.

Exodus International helped us out of a rather isolated position and from its start to the present we have found it encouraging being an Exodus member.