The Year That Changed My Life
[Recently (June, 2014) I was told by a Lesbian that women may choose to be Lesbian or straight, depending on their preference. I have long suspected a basic and fundamental difference between male gayness and Lesbians. With men, choice is not the case. For men, sexuality is on a scale. If they are born high on a scale, they are solely gay. If they are born low on the scale, they are solely straight. Most men are inbetween, but those gathering around one point or the other is pretty much fixed; the thought of engaging in a sexual activity contrary to their nature is disgusting and an abomination to them.]
I was immature for a long time, longer than I should have been, and it affected my life and other people's lives tremendously.
I was taught very little about being a human or an adult and so most of my development was made from observations or I was left in ignorance. I can't blame my parents for not teaching me much about life because they didn't know much, either. Their parents didn't teach them.
My grandparents also went through their own life-challenging struggles, and I don't know who my great grandparents were, so I don't know when family ignorance began being passed down the line, but it came to me from both parents.
My father's father, Joe Brown Sr., ran away from home when he was 17 and never told us anything about his family, although we asked about it more than once. I don't even know if my last name of Brown was adopted by him to hid his identity or if it is our true family name. I have no reason to think it is not Brown, nor do I suppose it must be Brown.
My father's mother died when he was six months old, in 1918 of the Spanish Flu, in Texas. A few years later grandfather remarried to a woman whom he thought was well-off. She thought he was well-off and when they got married, they both discovered each had been pretending to be financially secure. That caused a little problem, I would say, but they stayed together. She bore him four children, and my dad was her stepson from the other wife.
During the Great Depression, my dad, Joe Brown Jr., left school from the eighth grade and got a job to help pay the family bills. When he was of age, he joined the army. At that time he met Annie May Blackburn in San Antonio, dated her for two weeks and they got married on July 8, 1938 when she was 19 and he was 21. She is my mother.
My mother's father, Joe Blackburn, went to war in World War I and came back "a different man," according to his wife Vietta, my grandmother. They had five daughters, to the great displeasure of Joe, who blamed his wife for not giving him sons.. Annie May was the fourth born. This family was in turmoil during the Great Depression not just because of the economy but because of unresolved family conflicts, which resulted in the family being torn apart; half moving to Florida and half remaining in Texas. Mother, Dad and Vietta (Grandmother) lived in San Antonio. Aunt Jo and her family lived in Dallas. Grace Blackburn married and moved to Montana. Lily (second born) joined the Salvation Army and went where they sent her. The rest lived in Tampa, Florida.
Neither my mom nor dad had been "reared," that is, trained about life and how to live it. They learned to live by observing their parents and others. That resulted in great ignorance on their part and alcoholism on dad's part. It's not their fault; how where they to know? Who was to tell them they were not being raised right? How do you change something that started maybe hundreds of years ago and suddenly make it all right? They were never taught the skill of being a functioning adult and member of this culture. For example, mom once confided in me that her parents never taught her about sex, pregnancy or giving birth; she learned about sex and procreation from her husband after marriage.
To their great credit and my boundless appreciation, they provided us, their children, a tremendous benefit: they stayed married, they moved to a middle-class neighborhood, they earned a living, they fed and clothed us, and they sent us to school. Although we had some very bad times as a family, we also were in a situation that gave us advantage many times greater than those in a lower status and culture.
The result is that I was immature and ignorant when I should have been an adult. No one taught me the ways of life; I learned it the way my parents learned it, by observing and copying my parents. (I learned about sex from my friends.)
I had another great boon and God's blessing in that Christianity had long ago been introduced into my mother's family. Whatever they did to each other in the early twentieth century, they were at least Christian. As a result, mother sent us to church, an Evangelical Free Church in San Antonio, although she was raised a Methodist. She sent us to Fairview EFC because that was the only nearby church and we children could walk to it by ourselves.
In the meantime, grandmother and Aunt Lily (second born daughter of mom's family) were praying for our family and especially us children. I believe it was their prayers that saved us all. Mother was already a Christian, having accepted Christ when she was a young girl. I accepted Christ when I was 14. I was by myself in the garage at night. I knelt down and got right with God. Over the years I have witnessed unexpectedly each of my other siblings and father come to Christ and change their lives. But that was after I left home and not really a part of this story.
We had problems at home, because of dad's alcoholism and because neither parent had been taught how to get along with others or how to be a spouse, or how to raise children. When I was 16 I vowed to leave home the day after I turned 18. True to my vow, the day after I turned 18 I was on a bus going to Chicago to attend Trinity Bible School (before it became Trinity International Seminary), with the intent never to return to live in that house or with those people again.
I did return a few years later, for a period of six months, then I left again for good.
All that is foreground, to explain what happened next.
As I said, I was very immature. At 19 I met a woman 13 years my senior but who related to me on my own level, which I estimate to be mentally about 16. Of course you couldn't tell me at the time that I had the emotional development of a 16-year-old because nobody realizes he was immature until long after the fact.
When I was 21 and in the army, in Germany, I decided it was time to think about getting married. I drew up the plans of what I wanted in a wife, physically and mentally, and thought Darthula fit the bill, the woman I had met in Chicago. I also thought other questions in my life would be resolved if I had a wife. In my mind, I envisioned the years we would have together, what we would do, the family we would have and how we would grow old together. I asked her to marry me and she said yes. In 1965 I returned to the States from Germany, picked her up in Chicago, rode the Greyhound Bus to San Antonio, got married and brought her with me back to Germany. At that time I estimate I was about 19 years old mentally and emotionally. She was still about 16.
Before continuing, I should tell you more about Darthula. There is no doubt that she is possibly the nicest person you would ever meet. She's humorous, she's sincere, she's honest (in one direction), she's a committed Christian, and she's just an all-around good person. Not only that, but I love her family, too. My in-laws are great, I think.
The problem is, you need to be more than a nice person to be a nice wife or a nice husband. We failed in those unknown and unexpected but necessary qualities.
During our first two years together I assumed the tension and arguments were simply due to two people learning how to live together, as all married couples go through. But things got worse. I was confused because it was becoming evident to me that this was going to be a disaster. During this time, in 1966, our daughter Grace was born. Then in 1967, I stopped intimate relations with my wife because of her attitude and things she said to me. Other than that, there is no good reason to air the grievances I had and have against her. Just know at that time I did not enjoy one thing about being with her because she kept me angry all the time. By "all the time" I mean 24 hours a day.
Although I was 25 at the time, I was functioning at about a 21-year-old level. She was 38 but functioning at age 16.
I was still in the army, having re-enlisted and went to military pharmacy school at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. Then we were assigned to Fort Lewis in Tacoma, Washington, where we stayed for fifteen months. In February, 1968 I got orders to go to Korat, Thailand for one year, in direct support of the Viet Nam War. I welcomed the relief; I welcomed the opportunity to be relieved of my marital duties for a year while I tried to figure out what was going on in my life, and what I should do about this marriage.
I also had another great conflict in my life besides marriage that I needed to resolve during this year in Thailand. During my entire sexual life from puberty to the present, I had been attracted more to men than to women. At this point many people would probably say that is what was wrong with my marriage, but I think it had less to do with my marriage than they expect.
I was ready to have a wife and family for my entire life. I wanted several children. But the way my personality is and the way hers is, even if I had only heterosexual attraction, the marriage still would have been the same. The conflict still would be there, and I still would ultimately have to do what I did. I was unable to live with her under any circumstance. But if she and I had been compatible souls, I suppose we would still be together as husband and wife.
I let the year in Thailand (1968-1969) be the year alone where I could work things out and decide what I was, who I was and what I should do about my marriage. Although 26 at the time, I imagine I was still functioning at an age level of about 22.
While in Thailand I met wonderful Christian people, including missionaries Darl and Jan Goode and their children. I'm sorry to say that although I grew to love them, my participation at Friendship House was limited because I was so wrapped up in my own challenges and confusion. I let them minister to me fully but gave little in return.
When I was 14, I had become a Christian. When I was about 15 – maybe 16 – I became a sincere, committed Christian. From ages 15 – 19 I had memorized almost 1,000 Bible versions, including the entire epistles of 1 John and James, using the Navigator system. I went to Trinity Bible College in Chicago off and on 1960 - 1963. The reason I went part time is because I had never learned to work and study at the same time, and I was grossly immature. Nevertheless, the classes and experience at college shaped my life forever. For example, I took one semester of Koine Greek but kept studying it over the years and have now read the Greek New Testament twice. I have studied the Bible diligently since my conversion, and have read it completely through every year for the past 20 years.
I was afraid to commit myself completely to the Lord without question or reservation at that time because I was afraid he might ask me to be a missionary someplace, a thing that I knew I was not qualified to do emotionally or spiritually. Why did I think that? Because that's the type of stuff I was taught at church. Everybody should be a missionary. But I couldn't do it . And I was immature.
I had never been taught the true meaning of Psalms 37:24,
"Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart."
Giving me whatever my heart desired just didn't make sense. I wanted a man. Only later did God reveal to me the true meaning of that verse. If we delight ourselves in the Lord, the desires that are in our hearts are put there by God. I was certainly delighting myself in the Lord and he was putting desires in my heart, and those desires were not to be a missionary. It was to serve God as a teacher to a specific group of people.
About this time I was also reminded of Ephesians 4:11-12,
It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
God was preparing me for my own work, one to further his Kingdom in a way that was uniquely designed for me. This desire he put in my heart, this leading he had for me.
(Fast jump forward...) Since that time in Thailand, 1968-1969, I have discovered how wonderful, complete, and liberating it is to be fully committed to God. Nothing matters beyond that. But back to my story.
During my stay in Korat, Thailand, I had to decide what to do about my marriage and also what to do about my sexuality. The marriage – to my great grief on behalf of my daughter – was over.
I have never, ever, not once, felt a twinge of guilt, remorse or condemnation from God about homosexual acts or of being gay. Instead, I have always been filled with joy, praises and thanking God each time I have been with another man. With women, however, I have always felt respect and restraint. I have had sex only with one woman, my wife after marriage.
When I returned to the States, I knew I was a gay man; God had made me a gay man, it was something to rejoice about and with which to serve God. I knew the marriage was no longer valid, but how to resolve the relationship, I was not sure.
In 1969 Darthula was 39 but had an emotional development of about 16. I was 27 but functioning at a level of about 25. I was starting to grow up. Grace was 2 1/2. I left the army on January 6, 1970 and went to a minimum-paying job as a clerk. The things I had to consider about the future of my family were these:
- Darthula was unable (mentally) to work full time and support herself.
- Darthula's family (living in Canada) would not take her back; they rightly felt it was my responsibility to care for her.
- I didn't have the heart to hurt Darthula by taking away Grace.
- I didn't have the heart to hurt Grace by allowing her to live solely with Darthula.
- I was paid so little that I could not maintain two households; I actually couldn't even maintain one.
Therefore, I decided I would put my life on hold until Grace was old enough to be on her own. I would live in the same house with Darthula and raise Grace as an available father. I would not live as a husband to Darthula, but as another person in the house, sharing the house with her. I would feed, clothe and house them, and be a father, but I would not be a husband. That was in 1970. I was earning minimum wage and began going to night school to become a computer programmer.
This new attitude wasn't easy, because Darthula still kept me perpetually angry. Once there was a two-week period where every night she would deliberately provoke me to make me furiously angry just at bedtime. I know it was difficult for Grace during those growing up years, but I believe even that was less difficult for her than it would be if I had walked out in 1970.
In 1971, my missionary friends, Darl and Jan Good had returned to the United States for a year's furlough and they passed through San Antonio. They called me on the phone but I was unwilling to meet with them. I think they must have been puzzled and even hurt by my attitude, and still feel bad about that. At the time I was in such turmoil that I just couldn't go to them and introduce my wife and daughter as if we were one happy, loving family.
I understood by this time what God was wanting me to do. He made me a homosexual Christian in order to minister to gay people. Many gays are hurting, having been kicked out of their churches and homes. They have been told that God hates them but there's a place in hell for them. These people, some Christians and some not, have no place to go, no where to learn about God's love, because straight Christians have so viciously rejected them.
Not many heterosexual Christian people will understand this because they have been taught and thoroughly impressed in their heads that homosexuality is wrong. But they themselves are wrong in their doctrine. They're not going to believe that, of course, but I'll give an example to explain how such a thing is possible.
For 1,300 years (AD 250 - AD 1550) the church of God had a Biblically-based church doctrine that the earth was the center of the universe and the sun, moon and stars revolved about the earth. Not only was their science wrong, but their church doctrine was wrong. This same doctrine was kept by the Protestant churches when they broke off from the Catholic church. For 1,300 years the church doctrine was wrong and today everybody acknowledges they were wrong.
Another wrong doctrine began sometime during the years AD 1325 - 1375. The church began preaching for the first time against homosexuality. They reinterpreted Greek words to mean homosexual that had been previously translated as masturbation or some other meaning since AD 200. The Protestant churches also kept the anti-gay doctrine they inherited from the Catholics. The story of Sodom was given the additional interpretation as being homosexually related. Male cult prostitutes were translated into English Bibles as "sodomites," the English word for homosexuals.
For the last 650+ years the church has taught that heinous doctrine faithfully to all its followers, and even modern Bible versions include the word "homosexual" which ought not to be there at all.
The result of this wicked, unbiblical and ungodly doctrine is murder, suicide, breaking of families, banishment of ones own children, loss of faith, loss of family, loss of love, loss of salvation, loss of Christ, and utter destruction and ruin of souls, God's own beloved children.
My ministry is to call the gay children home to God and to rebuke those other Christian children for their mischief, ungodly acts and uncaring attitudes.
That is why I wrote the book, Key to Biblical Doctrine, which I encourage all Christians to read, whether gay or straight.
In 1971 I prayed earnestly to God to send me a helper, a man, a partner with whom I could share my life. I described to God one that I thought would be perfect for me (and I for him). I also said that even if it does not involve intimate relations, I still need a helper and partner.
In 1973, through a series of what we consider miracles in both our lives, God brought Ron and me together. Ron meets perfectly all the criteria I asked for, and what he asked for has been found in me. Some foolish people blame Ron for breaking up my marriage, but that is totally out of line because I didn't meet Ron until almost three years after the marriage was over.
As for Darthula, I didn't have the heart to divorce her. I think that would hurt her more than anything. But we are happily living in separate houses. I'm no more angry all the time. Now that I'm not living with her, I can think of her kindly. I see her weekly, take her to lunch, make sure her needs are met and we have a friendship, something like we had before we were married.
Grace is married to a wonderful guy, Dan, and they have four children. Unfortunately, I didn't rear Grace right because I didn't know how because I was never taught how because my parents didn't know how because they were never taught how. Also unfortunately, Grace and Dan bought into the church's sinful doctrine of hatred towards gay people, so I seldom see them. Of course they don't call it sinful and hateful; no one ever does that about themselves.
I don't know how old I am mentally any more. I don't think it matters. It matters when you're growing up if you're immature. Today I'm 67. Who cares if I have the mentality of a 65-year-old? On the other hand, Darthula still has the emotional development of a 16 year old, I think. When Grace was growing up, I watched her turn 16 and slowly pass up her mother in maturity.
Occasionally when I go to Texas from California, and I take Darthula with me. I can handle being with her a short time (sometimes not so successfully) and still be decent to her and to others.
Ron and I have been together since March 1, 1973. He is the joy of my life. He is my partner and friend. He is perhaps the greatest gift God has given me after salvation itself.