A Biblically Induced Coma


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Originally uploaded by p2son.

I originally created this post in early June. It outlines the mental effects I experienced as a result of anti-gay church teaching and the therapy I received in “ex-gay” programs

Brain research reveals that when we experience fear, neural pathways in our brains shut down affecting the transfer of ideas, thought processes and memory.

As an educational consultant, I once tried an experiment on a group of teachers. Once we determined their academic weaknesses, we then forced them to work within those weaknesses.

The results?

The teachers could not follow directions, did not stay on-task and became loud and disruptive. Fear affected their thinking.

Add shame to the mix and the brain shuts down even more. Think of the student with math-phobia who instead of studying for the big algebra exam, chatted on-line all night. In the morning, sitting for the test, the student forgets the little s/he once knew and freezes. The student may even act irrationally.

Nowhere does the toxic blend of fear and shame reach critical mass then in the conservative church, particularly for those of us with same-sex attractions. For years I lived in a state of suspended animation, paralyzed by shameful sexual desire and terrified of what would happen to this “sinner in the hands of an angry god.”

My feelings held me in the grip of a Biblically Induced Coma., Trapped as a teenager, I spent 17 years and over $30,000 trying to be something I could never be.

Richard Chamberlain, the actor and 1970’s sex symbol, lived in the closet most of his life. In Hollywood, surrounded by homosexuals and the liberal media, Chamberlain still felt shame about who he was as a gay man and fear for the consequences should he be found out. Finally, in his late sixties, as he wrote his autobiography, he broke free.

“I was 68 years old, and suddenly, it was as if this angelic hand touched the top of my head and said, “Enough! This is the silliest lot of nonsense that you’ve ever been involved with.”
(-Richard Chamberlain, actor and author of Shattered Love. From interview in Bay Area Reporter 11 November 2004)

I hope Chamberlain’s divine messenger has not yet retired, because loads of people, saddled with fear and shame heaped on them by society desperately need to be touched by an angel.

This post has 7 Comments

  1. Jennifer on June 15, 2005 at 12:30 am Reply

    I learn new things all the time from your blogs. Thanks.

  2. Jennifer on June 26, 2005 at 2:53 am Reply

    Yes, I suffer from a math induced coma/math phobia. As you said about the example math student in your blog, that parallels my performance and attitudes about math, especially algebra. I found this past spring that one of the best solutions for someone with both a math related learning disability and a math phobia, such as myself, it is so much more helpful to take a class or two from a professor that is highly recommended. I got my first B in a math class since my mid-high school years. It was both invigorating and exciting.

  3. Jennifer on June 26, 2005 at 2:55 am Reply

    Most often the obvious answers to our problems and dilemas are starring right at us while staying hidden from our view, until things are looked at from a different standpoint.

  4. Jennifer on July 14, 2005 at 2:29 pm Reply

    Darn it! Why am I the only person to post comments on this blog entry?

  5. Peterson Toscano on August 3, 2005 at 4:35 am Reply

    Jennifer,
    I LOVE your comments. Thanks for visiting and weighing. So excited about seeing you at NEYM in Rhode Island. Can’t wait!

  6. Anonymous on May 8, 2006 at 6:25 pm Reply

    Brain research reveals that when we experience fear, neural pathways in our brains shut down affecting the transfer of ideas, thought processes and memory.

    Unreal… thx for sharing this with me, Peterson, per are recent convo about my mental lagging post fundamentalism. I seem to have an aftermath going on which seems odd. Maybe in essence the brain has to numb out for a bit to recover and begin learning anew.

    Also, hearing of Chamberlain’s freedom coming from writing his autobiography is inspiring.

    ~Alicia

  7. Anonymous on July 2, 2008 at 4:06 am Reply

    isn’t homosexuality usually caused by fears of rejection from the opposite sex? rejection then can cause lust (homosexuality)- a need for approval/craving…only through god can we abandon the hauntings of wanting,and learn to accept that we are loved by god already,but to experience his love-we must follow his words,thoughts,and actions…instead of behaving and thinking however we want…this only causes suffering…don’t you have a gigantic headache,it’s hard to celebrate with a headache…free your mind and your ass will follow!truth hurts everybody,but the truth will set you free,take care…check out no self buddhism on the web…it might help you understand…

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