My name is Samuel Johnson and I am from Boston, Massachusetts. So, I grew up in the Pentecostal tradition of Christianity. After a long, hard childhood of growing up in that particular denomination, I went off to a Christian university called Liberty University, which is in Lynchburg, Virginia.
During my time there I enrolled into a group called “Lust-Free Living.” This was designed to get students to wait until marriage, abstinence, sexual purity, etc., etc., etc. So when I noticed I was specifically attracted to men, I enrolled in an ex-gay group at the school.
I was not allowed to have any kind of sexual activity outside of a marriage between a man and a woman, which included solo sex.
During my time at university, I did notice that some of the men on my dorm were very attractive. And I believe there were certain guys who were becoming suspicious of my same-sex attraction. So I was reported to the RAs, as well as avoided by a lot of the guys. So due to the social problems I was having and the religious abuse I was experiencing, I ended up, you know, not doing so well in classes, so ultimately I had to make the decision to drop out and go to a public school in hopes that I’ll be able to be more successful there overall and earn my degree.
So one night, when I was having a conversation with this friend, I told him about a few of the struggles I was having, one of them, of course, you know, the fact that I’m attracted to men and not women. So he recommended that I go visit this exorcist.
On a Friday night, after classes got finished, one of my friends picked me up from my apartment and we went across town. When I got there, I walked into the place and I sat down and the church service began. So after the service, the sanctuary began to clear out and I was at the altar. I went over to the exorcist and we had a brief discussion about what I was going through before exorcism began. He also asked me if I struggling with homosexuality. I told him yes.
He first started by placing some oil on my head in the form of a cross. So both him and his wife began to pray over me and they asked me to breathe in and breathe out at different times while they were trying to, quote, cast demons out of me, unquote. And so, not only were they speaking in English but they were also praying in tongues.
A few months had passed and nothing had changed. So there came a moment where it just hit me, “Oh. I might be gay.” I decided to do some research on the side. So what I came across was a video by Matthew Vines in regards to a debate on homosexuality and the bible. So as a result of watching that video, I began my own journey of questioning the bible and reevaluating my entire life.
I started my coming out process.
Within a few months after going through my coming out process, I had a point during the summer in which I was out one night in my apartment complex. I stumbled upon this party that I saw a friend at. I ended up having a moment in which I brought a guy to my apartment. And I will say making out with that guy in particular, that was a really good moment to help me understand that being gay is perfectly natural.
So about the next month, I graduated from college, and then about a few months later, that’s when I was able to solidify that gay is okay, and I’m perfect just the way I am.
I relocated back to Boston. Then came the month of June, this being my first ever pride month as an openly gay man. I recall a specific moment when I was marching down Charles Street and then I made that right to march up Beacon Hill for the final stretch of the parade.
As I was marching up that hill, I had this very powerful moment in realizing how beautiful my life truly is. I’m singing, I’m dancing, I’m chanting, and there are hundreds of people on the sidelines cheering for me, and I’m just having one of the best moments of my life at that time.
Some people will ask me, “Is it possible for you to become straight?” Well, let me tell you this. After growing up in the pentecostal tradition, where they pray in tongues, people are slain in the spirit, prayers, fasting, conferences, retreats, exorcisms, ex-gay therapy groups of all kinds – I would definitely say that it is definitely not possible for people to turn from gay to straight.
Besides, we’re all made this way for a reason. And if being gay is so bad, why are we so cute, and why are we just so amazing in life?