Category: Living Waters

South African Ex-Gay Survivor Tells His Story

Adrian Lovel-Hall, a citizen of South Africa, spent years attempting to enter the ministry only to find that being gay closed the doors to him.

Due to the searching for what I believed God was saying and the rejection of homosexuality in the church, I did not formally “come out”, and eventually ended my ministry career in 1998. I felt rejected again. I felt that no-one in the Church had come to stop me leaving, even though most of them knew I was gay. We never openly discussed me being gay, and it appeared that I had to mould into the Church and become ‘straight’.

The months following the end of the 1997 academic year took me down a really hard and painful road. No money, no job, no parents, no partner. I changed churches and eventually found work, changing my career back to banking.18-months later I went into missions so I did not have to come out. But in searching so deeply into myself, I also found that I had a deep respect and compassion for other peoples in the world – especially minority groups. I went to North Africa and South East Asia, but there was something missing – I was gay and I was not out.

On September 11, 2001 I went for an interview with another mission company to be able to work in North Africa, and that was the moment my life changed. The Twin Towers collapsed in New York due to the terror attack, and my life collapsed – at the same time. I was declined by the mission and went on a deep search for healing, changed churches and joined “Living Waters”.

We often hear of Exodus ex-gay programs, but we hear little about Living Waters. This ex-gay course has been disseminated throughout the world offering false promises mixed with genuine concern for the people it seeks to help. At times Living Waters focuses on demons, spiritual bondage, ancestral curses and such instead of the developmental model so often upheld by Exodus. Like many LGBT people who felt called to the ministry, Adrian found a place at the church table to serve as an ex-gay minister.

My narcissistic, introspective way of being came fully to bear during 2002 and I rapidly moved up to leadership in Living Waters, found a lady on a conference with whom I fell in love – or so I thought – and I ministered against homosexuality. This lasted until I was asked to present the lecture in the living Waters week on “Narcissism”!

And like many people who pursued ex-gay treatment, Adrian came to conclusions quite different from what his ex-gay leaders taught him.

Living Waters was supposed to “heal” me from homosexuality but through my new-found life I found that I was becoming a healed homosexual. Living Waters helped me forgive others and be who I was – gay!

I loved my new life – my freedom of being able to come out, the work and me. I have since spent 2 years in the USA. I also know that being gay is who I am. Living in Johannesburg I find it hard as a gay white man in South Africa. South Africa is not as open and accepting to homosexuality as the Constitution states and I have found it harder to be accepted here than in America at times. I still live with my sister and we speak – although she doesn’t really understand the gay life. We are closer now than we’ve ever been.

You can read all of Adrian’s story at Beyond Ex-Gay by clicking here.

Muddy Waters in Montreal

No, not the famed late Blues singer, but something guaranteed to give folks the blues. Living Waters, an international ex-gay ministry which promises “healing for the homosexual” is setting up shop at an Anglican Church in Montreal, Canada.

Several ex-gay survivors I have met through the years and who attended the Ex-Gay Survivor Conference spent time being “ministered to” by Living Waters staff. Often Living Waters uses extreme methods that involve forms of exorcism (deliverance/healing prayer) and rely on teachings that believe that people become gay through demonic influences and the sins of ancestors. This is a simple explanation of what they believe, but you get the idea. This is a group that is far far off the radar and not based in science or reality. They also charge for their services.

Read the stories of Christine, Eric, Euguene and Tom (a former Living Waters leader) to find out a little about their times at Living Waters programs. Like most ex-gay experiences, for many people who told me about Living Waters, they say they experienced more harm than good. Vonnie Pitts, a former Living Waters leader from Australia, this summer issued a public apology, (along with two other Australian ex-gay leaders) for her role in promoting and providing ex-gay ministry.

Earl A. Love of the pro-gay Anglican group Integrity Montreal put out an open letter to the minister of the church where the program is slated to start.

Dear Revd Mr McVeigh :

It was with shock, sadness and dismay that I read the advertisement in the St. Stephen’s Anglican Church bulletin of September 9, 2007 for a « Living Waters Montreal » healing program being given on your Church premises starting on October 11 and running for 25 weeks. I noted that the program promises help for those, inter alia, struggling with
same-sex attraction.

« Living Waters » is known as an American right wing evangelicalorganisation and I understand that the counsellors offering thisprogram are not qualified psychiatrists or psychologists.

As you are undoubtedly aware, the American Medical Association delisted homosexuality as a disease in 1974. What you may not know is that in 2000 the American Psychiatric Association approved a positionstatement on « Therapies Focused on Attempts to Change Sexual Orientation (Reparative or Conversion Therapies) ». The preamble states « that the American Psychiatric Association (APA) opposes any psychiatric treatment, such as “reparative” or conversion therapy, which is based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a
mental disorder or based upon the a priori assumption that a patient should change his/her sexual homosexual orientation. » I quote further : « In doing so, the APA joined many other professional organizations that either oppose or are critical of “reparative” therapies,including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, The American Counseling Association, and the National Association of Social Workers. » Here is a link to the complete document :

I am always dumbfounded when the Christian church acts regressively in social issues, and that we always have to leave progress in human rights to the secular fold. But I suppose that is just in keeping with the 1700 years of Church history from the time of Constantine!

Is your parish, or the Diocese for that matter, ready to accept the responsibility of the psychological damage that could be suffered by some of its members from misguided psychological advice, or heaven forbid, « brainwashing »? Does the Parish/Diocesan insurance policy provide coverage for this type of psychological damage?

I attend Christ Church Cathedral, and the message of love and compassion (as well as human rights for all) is a constant theme from that pulpit. If it weren’t, I’d probably stop going to the Anglican Church. Bringing this « Living Waters » program into your parish isjust another sad example of how elements in the Anglican church continue to alienate gay and lesbian people.

Can you put a stop to this program before it’s too late? I don’t think that the majority of lay people and clergy who voted for the blessing of same-sex unions at the General Synod in Winnipeg would be encouraged by this program being offered in your parish. Do you thinkBishop Barry would support it? What would the local press think? All the talk we hear about inclusiveness and compassion in the church. Would they say that you can go to such and such an Anglican church and, with proper counselling, shorten your height?

I look forward to your reply.

Yours in Christ,

Earl A. Love

Hat tip to Alejandro Labonne.

And speaking of Canada, ex-gay survivor, Jacob, recently blogged about a trip to visit fellow-survivor Ken who he met at the Ex-Gay Survivor Conference this summer in Irvine, CA.