Dynamics of Sick Religion

APA Warning
Ex-Gay Fraud
Article on Ex-Gays
Beyond Abuse
Sick Religion

Picture shows Rev. Fred Phelps at anti gay protest.


We need more research and understanding of why sick and abusive religion has replaced the simplicity of the gospel of Jesus Christ in all traditional forms of the church.  Jesus was murdered by totally committed religious legalists.  The virus of legalistic judgmental religion is always fatal.  It killed Jesus and will kill you and your group if it is not cast out by the clear pure truth of Jesus plus nothing.  Jesus made only one demand: "Follow Me!"  Everything else flows from that offer.

Remember: Homosexuality is not demonic. 
Homophobia is!

Perhaps the main thing that I have learned so far from my own experience and the struggles of others is that God loves us all the same and we can completely trust God's unconditional love and acceptance.  We demonstrate our trust in God by letting go of everything else.  Forsake everything, including religion, and follow Jesus.  To follow Jesus you have to keep your attention on Jesus and not on people or organizations, churches, or anything else.  Read the last seven verses of the Gospel of John for a plain declaration of the ultimate truth of Jesus Christ.  How would your view of being a Christian change if you took the time to memorize the Gospel of John?

Low self esteem and other characteristics of codependency are clearly demonstrated in sick and abusive religion.  See the pioneering work on codependency by Melody Beattie:  Codependent No More, Harper, 1987, and Beyond Codependency, Harper, 1989, where the codependent dynamics of unhealthy religion are spelled out.


Read how Paul viewed the abusive religion of his past compared to his present hope in Christ in Philippians 3 and 4 and meditate on what Romans 15:1-7 has to say about our acceptance of ourselves and each other.  See the books and the documentary One Nation Under God in the Resources section of this web site.  If you can find it, get a copy of Ex-Gays? There Are None! By Rev. Sylvia Pennington, Lambda Christian Fellowship, 1989: Box 1967, Hawthorne, CA 90250.


I know of nobody who has changed from homosexual to heterosexual.  I know nobody else who knows anyone whose sexual orientation has been changed.  I know many people who have been profoundly hurt and driven to self destructive behavior because of attempts, including electric shock therapy, to change their sexual orientation.  The Ex-Gay Movement is a fraud without any credible scientific research to support claims to change homosexuals to heterosexuals.


SOME REALLY GOOD NEWS, for a change!

Update for July 5, 2003:


Last night I watched the special programs of celebration, music, fireworks, flags, speeches and joyful celebration of Independence Day through new eyes and with new joy and gratitude for America!  The U.S. Supreme Court has come through for us and we are able to be patriotic in a fresh exciting new way!

For the first time ever, I felt the excitement and joy of celebrating the United States of America as MY country and my land, my government, my people, and my rightful place to be an openly gay man.

As I watched the television broadcast of the Boston Pops orchestra led by the absolutely adorable Keith Lockhart, and the spectacular fireworks ending with the Star Spangled Banner, I felt that I really belong, as I have never felt since I was a child.  It was a very emotional experience for me.  My two kitties were afraid of our local fireworks, but they didn't panic.  I was with them.

I gave them an extra "fresh tuna" treat at l1:15 pm to reward them for their bravery during the fireworks.


I felt a great wave of patriotism flow over me as I saw my country as truly finally mine and not an alien hostile land.  Religion has not changed anything, but the legal system has.  Religion in America has demonstrated a remarkable lack of imagination and a dreadful degree of misinformation in all of their religious approaches to GLBT people so far.  Religion has discredited itself and made itself irrelevant because of absolute legalisms and ignorant misuse of biblical material against GLBT people.

The Supremes to the rescue!  As with the issues of racial segregation and a woman's right to control her own body, the U.S. Supreme Court has finally done the right thing and liberated sexuality from religious domination and misrepresentation.

On the day that the Supreme Court threw out the illegal sodomy laws, the rainbow flag in Harvey Milk Plaza in the Castro in San Francisco was lowered and an American flag was raised for a brief time in joyful celebration of the new direction of United States law.  Do not underestimate the significance of the Supreme Court decision to declare all "sodomy" laws to be un-Constitutional!


I have fought as a guerilla warrior for many years in our battle for fairness and acceptance in San Francisco, Nashville, on the Internet and in my book and travels.  To realize that the victory has finally been won in the legal arena is an overwhelming emotional rush!

Public opinion, however, is another story.  We still have a long way to go in informing the public and especially the homophobic religious establishment about the truth and about accurate information regarding GLBT people.  The battle isn't over until it's over.  And it is far from over yet.

Become informed about the majority opinion in the recent Supreme Court opinion in our favor.  Read all of Justice Kennedy's majority opinion.  The details of his reasoning and opinion are of great significance.  See links below.


Misinformation has been exposed for what it is.  Justice Kennedy claimed that the US Constitution guarantees the right to privacy.  It doesn't, but the intention is there.  Justice Kennedy also made clear the fact that the Court is not obligated to enforce religion-based morality but to enforce the provisions of the US Constitution.  The religion-based misinformation about GLBT people has been effectively challenged and refuted.  Praise God!  Now, where do we go from here?

You can act on your new acceptance by accepting and affirming each other and yourself.  You can let everybody know about your new status of legal acceptance and approval.  This is of incredible importance.  Never before has the ultimate legal authority of our federal government affirmed the human and civil rights of GLBT people!  Now you truly belong and you should act like it!  Claim what is yours.  Come out and declare your own self-esteem and self-acceptance.  This will allow you to become part of the revolution and not part of the problem.


Even the dissenting voice of Justice Scalia expressed the promise that GLBT marriage is the next step.  My last update dealt with the marriage issue, and I want to clarify my views on GLBT marriage.  I am clearly in favor of all GLBT people having the right and privilege of same-sex legal marriage.  My only concern is that the distortions and abuses of traditional marriage must be avoided and corrected by GLBT people who enter into legally recognized marriage contracts.

The male ownership of the "woman" is not a legitimate dimension of either heterosexual or homosexual marriages!  We are all equals, whatever our sexuality might be.  Dominance and control is not a sexually determined matter for any of us.  We all have the same value before God and each other.  No laws or social traditions can legitimately compromise that!

Partnership in marriage can be a celebration of radical equality.  We as GLBT people can show the way to true equality and fairness in committed relationships that often has been missing in heterosexual marriages.  Love conquers all, but love is no valid substitute for fairness and mutual respect in a relationship.  Dominance and abuse in any relationship is destructive and unfair.  Be the creator of something new and positive in your own most precious personal relationships.  Be fair, honest, loving, affirming, loyal, and radically equal!  It will amaze everybody, including yourself.  And it will work for good.

Some couples thrive on an over/under style of relating to each other.  You have to work out whatever really works for you.  You don't have to follow any body else's pattern.  Be yourself.  Do what ever really fits you and your partner.  Your style of relating to your partner will work if it is really you and you both enjoy and feel good about who you are together.

Rembert Truluck

Supreme Court Sodomy Decision: http://news.findlaw.com/ap_stories/a/w/1154/6-26-2003/20030 626100023_27.html


See also the excellent reports on the Supreme Court decision in the Soulforce web site:
(Click on "Related Links")

Update for July 8, 2003

This week, Barbara and Chris Purdom have sent out many letters to newspapers and other media on behalf of "Interfaith Working Group" to question and protest against the media response to the Supreme Court Decision to protect the privacy and human rights of GLBT people.  The most common media mistake is the pattern of quoting one or two homophobic clergymen as though they represented all Christians and a solid block of religious rejection of homosexuality as an abomination to God.

The fact is that the media is dishonest and unfair.  On television we have been given the repeated spectacle of seeing really off the wall homophobic nuts rave against homosexuals with intentionally inadequate response from so-called representatives of the gay community.  Some of these carefully staged debates about gay rights and gay marriage in the media have misrepresented the truth and used misinformation and deceit to advance the cause of repression and distortion of the truth about GLBT people.

The media sometimes reflects the thinking of Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels during the gathering storm against Jews in the Third Reich of death and destruction.  The growing avalanche of ludicrous religious attacks against GLBT people in the wake of the Supreme Court Decision is evidence of widespread panic in the legalistic fundamentalist homophobic war rooms and strategy planning.  Let's hope that they successfully self-destruct and fight to the death among themselves.


Does your spiritual roof leak?  Are you prepared for the anti-gay storms that are rapidly gathering all around us?  I hope you are getting ready for the deluge, because it is clearly on the way.  As Paul said of God's armor in Ephesians, "Have your loins gird about with truth."  Learn and share the truth with others.  (See Ephesians 6:10-20.)

A great deal of my e-mail now is from people who are using my web site material to try to get the truth through to their family and friends.  Just getting religious people to read information that challenges their prejudices and misinformation is a formidable task!

The response to religious misinformation and homophobic attacks is simple: know the facts and be willing and able to communicate the facts to others.  As Adolph Hitler believed and demonstrated, if you repeat a lie often enough and with enough conviction, people will begin to believe it is true.  Millions of people, including many GLBT people, have accepted and believed the lies, misinformation and distortions about homosexuality and homosexuals that often go unchallenged in churches, religious articles and broadcasts, and within the family circle.


One of the most destructive homophobic threats is the growing menace of the "Ex-Gay" industry.  The "Ex-Gay" movement is a torrential mudslide that is suffocating thousands of GLBT people in hopeless misdirected claims for a cure that does not exist in medicine or in biblical religion.  Now that the mighty Southern Baptist Convention has adopted the "ex-gay" cause as one of its chief missionary methods, the fate of multitudes of GLBT people is hanging in the balance and moving rapidly into the vortex of the devastating tornado of "ex-gay" terrorism.

It is truly a mystery to me how the nonsense and blasphemy of faith healing for homosexuals has gained such a grip on the thinking of so many otherwise intelligent and educated people!  Railing against the "ex-gay" disaster does little to slow it down.  Accurate information is available, but few people seem to be hearing it.  The flood of "ex-gay" literature and organizations continues to build and overflow our fragile world.  The gathering storm contains great varieties of types and methods of destruction.

Only the strong will survive to build a better world in the future.  How strong are you?  How well equipped are you to resist the ignorance explosion and to go on to engage in a convincing response and a constructive work of rebuilding a new world on the wreckage of what we are witnessing today?


The entire life and work of Jesus in the Four Gospels is set in the context of a gathering storm of deceit, religious abuse, misinformation and final violence against Jesus.  What can you learn from Jesus about how to handle the gathering storm of misinformation and homophobia that we face today?  A lot!  Take a fresh look at the entire story of Jesus by reading through the Gospel of Mark all in one sitting.  Use a clear modern translation, like the Good News Bible or the New American Standard Bible.  (Avoid the paraphrases).

Let the exciting rapidly moving story of Jesus as told by Mark speak to you what you need to hear today to equip you to face and overcome the storms that are developing all around you.  If you know of a better source, please tell me.

Reading through Luke and John will also equip you with a clearer vision of what following Jesus is really all about.  Let the Holy Spirit speak to you.  Think for yourself.  Nobody else knows what you know about yourself.  Shut out the hail of misinformation that rages all around you.  Return to your calm center within.  Meditate.  Relax.  Listen.

Now, get out there and make a difference!

Rembert Truluck
July 8, 2003

Update added 6/7/03

A national magazine this week carried this question on the front cover: "Does A Fetus Have Rights?"  My response was: "What is a fetus?"  The whole abortion and human rights issue has suddenly become an explosive bombshell in the United States Congress and in church congregations and sermons across America.  You cannot avoid this controversy.  After all, you were once a fetus yourself!

Recently, the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, my seminary, published their news magazine on the subject of "abortion" as the most pressing issue now facing the seminary!  (My question was: "What about honesty and integrity in biblical studies?")  Recently, the President of Southern Seminary appeared on national television to declare and defend the current Southern Baptist position on abortion and related issues.

The impact of religious misinformation has also been brought into sharp focus by the arrest of Eric Rudolph, who is being charged now in Alabama with his first deadly crime, the bombing of an abortion clinic.  He faces later charges of setting off a bomb in the Olympic Park in Atlanta and bombing a GLBT nightclub also in Atlanta.


In the Hebrew Bible, the sperm, "the seed of the man", was viewed as the "individual in miniature" and was planted by the man in the woman's womb as an incubator to house the individual until maturity and birth.  Ovulation of the woman was not known until modern time.  Masturbation or any other method of destroying sperm was murder.  Discarding sperm in a condom, up the rectum or into the mouth would be an abomination of the worst sort.  To be strictly biblical, the issue of "Fetus Rights" is already settled and sealed in religious stone. 

The 2000-year-old biblical worldview has been revised and dragged through medieval imaginations and art to create a vast distortion of the biblical record and thus guarantee that as long as the traditional churches maintain their powerful grip on the minds of their followers, changes that Jesus intended for all people will be impossible.  So this is where we are in the biblical "debate" about abortion and related issues.

Face the fact!  Bible Based Religion today is out of touch with realities of biology, human anatomy, science, physics, astronomy, medicine, human nature, psychology, history, sociology, and just about everything else.  Why does abusive biblical religion exercise so much control and power over politics and public opinion?

Is religion the social disease that will eventually destroy the human race?  Maybe!  Why has religious ignorance and misinformation been elevated to the status of idolatry in so much of our culture today?  (See Legalism as Idolatry .)


The blatant contradictions between factual information and religious dogma are astounding.  At an early age, little children are carefully conditioned to believe and trust religious teachings that have no basis whatever in facts or in logic.  It takes a lifetime to unlearn the religious nonsense that most children are fed, and most people never really get over it!

The biblical material assumes a lot of unrealistic and untrue things about human nature and about life.  Biblical material is 2,000 to 3,000 years old, in ancient primitive languages that have never been adequately translated, and yet has been enshrined in gold edged leather bindings that imply that it is "the Word of God" whether that is true or not.  The Bible never claims that it is the "word of God."  The churches have added that claim in order to use the Bible for their own profit and power.  This does not demand that we should abandon our own logic and common sense and believe and teach stupidity as the "word of God" and the "will of God"!


One of the most obvious attitudes of Jesus in the Gospels is the fact that Jesus always questioned everything.  Jesus questioned the authority of the prevailing religion and the values of the religious system.  Jesus questioned the religious authority of the leaders and questioned the abusive use of the Scriptures to hurt and destroy individuals who did not fit the accepted roles demanded by society.  Jesus questioned everybody who tried to tell other people what they should believe and do to please God.

Jesus challenged all of the prevailing assumptions about human nature and about the true value of the individual.  Jesus rejected the entire system of "clean" and "unclean" people and the classification of people on the basis of religion, sex, national origin, ethnic identity, race and education.  Jesus turned over all of the tables in the temple of abusive religious tradition and identified with and loved all of the wrong people.  For this Jesus was rejected, condemned, and killed.  If you truly follow Jesus, you will enjoy the same fate.  That's a promise.


The misuse of the Bible and religious tradition to contradict clear accepted scientific facts about human nature and about anatomy, psychology, sexuality and other issues is a major roadblock to progress in human rights in our world today.  Many people write to challenge my thoughts about churches and claim that all churches are not the same.  But they are.  Brain washing, hypocrisy, religious abuses and misinformation are never OK. 

How can you say that a little bit of dishonesty is all right and dismiss the destructive forces of religion today because all churches are "not really all that bad"!  Abuse is never OK.  Child abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal abuse and religious abuse are never acceptable even in very small doses.  To distort the truth of the Gospel of Jesus is always wrong no matter how great or small the distortion might be.  To use the Gospel as a basis for condemning, rejecting and abusing people is to betray Jesus and to play God.

Religion itself has become the sin from which religion claims to set people free.


Where do we go from here?  What new directions are open to us if we abandon the ancient distortions and misinformation?  First, begin to think for yourself.  Be like Jesus and reject any attempt by other people to tell you who you are and what you should and should not believe.  Find others who are also seeking a better way that really works for them.  A small group meeting in a home is becoming probably the most viable environment for healing dialogue and spiritual recovery and growth.

Above all else, love one another just as Jesus has loved you.  By this all people will know that you really follow Jesus.  Love covers a multitude of sins.  Love never gives up.

I am thrilled at the growing use of my web site and book by small groups around the world.  The problem of "Bible Abuse" is known and addressed throughout the world now.  My web site was the first that I know to use the term "Bible Abuse."  The last time that I looked at Bible Abuse on Google, there were over 450,000 related web sites, with my web site being the first one listed.


Kim Hwang in Taiwan is translating my book into Chinese and using it in her study groups for GLBT Chinese Christians.  She has translated 12 "lessons" in my book.  I thank God for Kim and for her ministry.  I hope that soon Kim's Chinese version of my material will be available and we can include it in my web site.  This Sunday, June 8, is the first anniversary of her Chinese GLBT Church.  Pray for Kim and her ministry.  Click here to see web site for her ministry for "Tong Shin Church".

On June 14 and 15 I will be in Columbus, Ohio, for a conference that is being sponsored by a number of GLBT supportive churches.  See the link for details .  If you are in Ohio and can get to this conference, I hope to meet you.

Please pray for my friend Rev. Ralph Lasher in Houston, Texas, where he is now seeking God's guidance into new directions in ministry.


Jesus challenged and won against an oppressive abusive religious system by being logical, objective, realistic and practical.  Are you?

See The Bible and Homosexuality and Jesus and the Bible.

Rembert Truluck
June 7, 2003

Update added August 17, 2002:

Great progress has been made for GLBT people in recent decisions by business and industry to grant equal rights, protection and benefits to sexual minorities.  The Human Rights Commission recently rated 319 companies in their homosexual-friendly policies in hiring and retention practices.  In response, John Paulk of Focus on the Family and gay bar scandal fame declared opposition to the survey results and effects.

Chris Purdom of Interfaith Working Group gave both sides of this story through his daily news items.  See link below.

Frequent news reports show how much political and business progress is being made for GLBT people: But how about you?  Do you feel more secure and more accepted as an LGBT person now?  To what extent do you feel personally helped by this progress?

Do you accept yourself more fully and feel good about yourself because American Air Lines and 12 other national companies achieved a perfect score in the survey?  Probably not!  I don't.


In your world, you are the most important person you know.  What happens to you and how you feel about yourself determine everything for you.  What is happening to other people in other places might be interesting and even inspiring, but what is happening in your life is what matters to you.

Many churches are accepting and affirming gay people, but has that made you more confident in your own spiritual life?  At the same time that our society is experiencing a surge of religious acceptance of GLBT people, we are also seeing the growing impact of the "ex-gay" industry in "Exodus", "Love Won Out" and other discredited homophobic religious ministries.  See the link below to "Focus on the Family" and become informed about one of the most dangerous enemies of LGBT people prowling in our midst.  Read again the material in my web site on "The Ex-Gay Fraud" and the accompanying updates and articles.

How the world, homophobic fundamentalists, religious ignorance and various mildly accepting religious denominations see you does not determine your value to God or your own self-esteem.  Your self-acceptance of yourself as a child of God in the image of God with equal value to every other person in the eyes of God and in your own eyes is determined within your own mind.  You think for yourself because you have to.  Nobody else can really decide who you are for you.


Sometimes I tell my best friend too much about something, and his response is: "too much information!"  We can absorb and use only so much information from outside ourselves.  We are bombarded with news, reports, articles, research projects, reliable and unreliable facts, opinions and propaganda.  The Internet now offers contradictory opinions and detailed information on every subject imaginable and some that are unimaginable in literally hundreds of millions of web sites!  Travel the search engine "yellow brick road" at your own risk!

I am convinced that your truth and your best source for your own self-acceptance and self-esteem are already within you as God's gift to you in your basic humanity.  The old saying that: "God don't make no junk" is really true!  You are not a mistake.  You are not a problem that somebody needs to fix.  You are not trash or spiritual garbage.  You are already God's beloved accepted and affirmed child.  You are "the child of the King"; so act like it.


Religion wants to tell you who you are and change you into what culture and society have decided you should be.  God has other plans.  God in Jesus makes clear the fact that you already have eternal value to God.  You are important and have a unique mission in life that fits only you.  Discovering the real you and acting on God's mission for you is the most exciting and affirming experience available to you.  Being yourself and realizing your potential as a child of God should be fun.  Religion usually is not, unless you are the one in charge and enjoy ordering other people around!

The churches have failed to communicate the self-affirming inclusive unconditional love of God in Jesus for all people.  "Miserable sinners" continue to plod wearily to the altar for one more religious fix that is as addictive as it is spiritually futile and unhealthy.  The churches do not own God.  They do not even know what God is really like because they base their whole sense of mission on a flawed view of what people are like and what creation in the image of God means in the first place.

Everything in church is still built on medieval images of "The Fall," "Heaven" and "Hell."  Remove misinformation about the fall, heaven, and hell and the entire ecclesiastical system collapses into oblivion, where it belongs.  When this happens, what will take the place of traditional churches?  Jesus, I hope!


Jesus still calls you to follow him.  No elaborate confused religious system of dogma, clergy, polity, political pecking order or anything else can separate you from the love of God which has been revealed and demonstrated in the Jesus of the Four Gospels and the Spirit of Jesus already within you.  Knowing and following the will of God in your life has never been as obscure and complicated as the churches have tried to make it.

Jesus stood a little child in their midst and said: "Here is ultimate greatness in the will of God."  How scandalous!  Yet how profoundly true!  Religion is always the enemy of objective truth and honest objective logical realism.  The emperor and the church are both naked.  Only one with childlike vision can see the truth about either.

Jesus is your real leader.  Abandon everything else but Jesus, and Jesus will never abandon you.  If you follow Jesus, you have the promise that nothing can demean, control or destroy you.  Following Jesus sets you free from becoming the prey of misinformed religious abusers, who presently control the ecclesiastical systems of our world.


Freedom in Christ is freedom from religion.  How far along the road to real freedom have you come so far?  What really matters to you is your own sense of self-worth and your confidence that God accepts and sustains you in every moment of your life.  You don't have to know anything in particular about God, who dwells in unapproachable light and mystery.  You can, however, know and follow Jesus.

Jesus is simple, plain, and real.  Jesus is like you.  Jesus struggled, was misunderstood, abused by religion, and rejected by his own people.  Make the clear separation between religion and Jesus that will allow you the freedom that Jesus enjoyed and celebrated in a life that did great good, led to the crucifixion and concluded in the resurrection.  Jesus lives today in you because Jesus was not willing to be bound by religion.  You too can soar above the confusion and contradictions of religion if you follow Jesus.

Above all, Jesus teaches and demonstrates how to love.  Love costs everything.  Love also gives everything.  Love really is "the greatest thing in the world."  Because God loves you, you also ought to love yourself and others.  Love is painful, joyful, hopeful, faithful, satisfying, and reflects the presence of the Spirit of Jesus within you.  Love is life.


My sister and I had a great visit with my mother in Laurens, SC, last weekend as we helped her celebrate her ninety-first birthday.  The greatest challenge my mother faces now as her sight continues to fail is to let other people help her and do things for her that she has always done for herself.  As always, she is adjusting to these changes with grace and determination.  I am proud of my mother and thank God for everything that I have learned from her.


On Sunday, September 1, 2002, I will speak at the International Conference of "A Common Bond 2002" in New Orleans on "What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality."  "A Common Bond" is the GLBT support organization for present and former Jehovah's Witnesses.  See A Common Bond web site and information about the conference at:

Rembert Truluck

"What Freud called religion, Jesus called sin." –Harry Emerson Fosdick

See new web site for Soulforce: http://www.soulforce.org/

I plan to go to Lynchburg with Soulforce in October.

See Focus on the Family recent article promoting "Ex-Gay" industry programs called "Love Won Out" led by professionally discredited psychologist Joseph Nicolosi, discredited "ex-gay" activist John Paulk and others.

The following update was posted on May 21, 2002, as an encouragement to you not to give in to the destructive abusive pressures of the world around you:


A small child cannot distinguish between the "me" and the "not me," because the environment of a small child is seen by the child as part of "me".  To disturb the environment is to disturb the child.  Even moving furniture around in the room can be disturbing for a small child.

I remember vividly the reaction of my three-year-old son when he came into his parents' bedroom one morning to jump in the bed with us as usual.  We had changed the bedroom furniture around and moved the bed to a new position in the room.  He stood motionless in the door, looked around at the scene with a startled lost look on his face for a few minutes, slowly said, "Oh! Oh! Oh!" a few times, hesitated for a while, and finally ran and jumped into our bed.  His reaction to unexpected changes in his environment has stuck with me ever since.

Your personal environment is constantly changing.  New people come into your life, former friends (or enemies) return, you move from one location to another, change jobs, watch close friends change and become like strangers, people you love get sick and die, and you experience many other changes and evolutions all around your personal existence.  Beyond all of that, your larger world changes constantly as well.  Terrorism on 9/11/01 has changed the way we view flying and the way we see other countries, people, and the entire world.


When you cannot distinguish clearly between the "me" and the "not me" in your relationship to another person, the relationship is "codependent".  The same kind of blurring of "me" and "not me" can develop when what is happening in the world around you invades your mind and emotions to the extent that you internalize the homophobia, false teachings, abusive political rhetoric, religious oppression, and other negative social and cultural forces that cascade around you in an unceasing torrent of misinformation and ignorance.

All of us are vulnerable to the influences of our environment.  When the little duck hatched out of his egg and the first person he saw was Bugs Bunny, the little duck cried, "Mommy!" and the rest of the story was as funny as it was predictable!

Challenging the cultural misrepresentations of the truth about GLBT people is essential for our health and welfare.  You are profoundly influenced by the media and by your own families and friends regarding your self-image, your sense of self-esteem, and your right to belong in the world.  If your environment ever convinces you that God does not want you and you have no right to be in God's world, your life can become distracted and damaged beyond repair.


Multitudes of displaced people have spent a fortune and most of their life trying to discover their real parents and their true identity.  Many millions more have spent their lifetime and energy trying to discover the real God, the real Jesus, and the truth about themselves.  "The world is too much with us, late and soon, getting and spending we lay waste our powers; little we see in nature that is ours."  How do you see the world around you: as your friend or your enemy, as against you or for you, as evil or good?  How you see your environment is up to you.  What you see depends on your sources of information and on how you see yourself.

Several years ago when I was visiting my sister in Atlanta, I talked to her about missing an important person in my life.  She said, "You don't' so much miss that other person as you miss who you are when you are with that person."  I thought about it and agreed with her.  How you see yourself is far more significant for your sense of well-being and self-esteem than how you view other people and the rest of your social environment.


Religion tries to convince you that you are broken and only the church or the liturgy, or the ritual, or the priest, or certain special prayers can fix you.  Religion deceives you into rejecting yourself as your own worst enemy and heaps the burden of guilt onto your self-image.  The long term effect of most religious indoctrination and conditioning is to build layers of self-rejection and deep scars of self-loathing because of personal failure to measure up to the ideals that some people have decided are "the will of God" for everybody else.  Religion attacks your individuality and your freedom to be yourself.  Religion drains away your will and your ability to be independent.  Religious conditioning convinces you that you are a hopeless wretch, and when you finally believe it yourself, you are hooked on religious dependency for the rest of your life.

Study the Gospels carefully to see how Jesus challenged and rejected codependent abusive sick religion and announced real deliverance to the captives.  Jesus did not let the religious environment around him control his feelings or his faith in God.  He did not allow traditions or events or people or the weather determine who he was or what he should do.  Jesus was truly free.  Yet at the same time, Jesus was available to everyone in need and was intensely responsive with compassion to all human suffering.


One sad man told Missionary Miss Bertha Smith that he was getting along pretty well under the circumstances.  She replied, "Well, what are you doing under there!"  Get on top of the circumstances, not under them.  The "victim mentality" that constantly focuses on what other people have done to you, instead of on what you can and are doing for yourself, is self-defeating and completely avoidable.

"Woe is me, for I am undone!" is not a spiritual lament.  It is an illogical cop-out that avoids personal responsibility and refuses to take practical action to make your own life better.

What happens to you is not nearly as important as how you view what happens and what you do about what happens to you.  You may not be able to control a lot of your environment, but you can think and decide and determine your attitudes and reactions to what is happening.  Whatever is happening to you now is temporary.  The Spirit of God within you gives you the larger vision and reveals the significance of what you are experiencing for the moment.


You do not have the time, energy, or capacity to hear and absorb all of the multitudes of voices aimed at you every day.  You can be selective about what you hear.  You can choose not to listen.  You can work to fill your mind and heart with powerful positive thoughts and feelings that will push out and shield you from much of the negative environment in which you live.

You cannot change the minds and tactics of abusive religions, but you do not have to listen to the abusive homophobic religious ravings of Southern Baptists, Mormons, Catholics or anybody else.  This week, I received a wonderfully encouraging e-mail letter from a woman who had written me about a year ago to tell me her fear of even "peeking out of the closet" to see what was out there.  She wrote to tell me "the rest of the story" of how she had been helped by my web site and by LGBT friends to accept herself and come out.  She said a turning point happened for her when she decided to quit listening to lies from the pulpit.

You do not have to be a victim of circumstances.  You can protect the "me" from the "not me" and grow more mature every day in self-control and the capacity to love others without using them or letting them use you.

Some of the most abusive and damaging attacks can come from your own family, friends, and partners in your own household.  Verbal and emotional violence against you even from those closest to you is not the "me" but is from the "not me" part of your life.  You are tempted to believe that you deserve the abuse from others, but you don't!  Nobody deserves to be abused.


Becoming a child does not mean letting your environment threaten and defeat you.  Becoming a child again means regaining the sense of worth and value with which you were born and which equipped you to view yourself as the center of the universe and the most important person in your world.  All too soon, however, older people began to chip away at your self-esteem and show in words and actions that you were decreasing in value as you grew older.

Breaking out of the prison walls of negative conditioning that limit and demean all new people who are born into the world takes a lifetime.  Break that cycle.  Be different.  Make a difference for others.  Resist becoming a victim of circumstances.  Watchman Nee wrote his commentary on Romans with the title: "The Normal Christian Life" to show that the normal Christian life is not one of defeat and failure but a life of living and acting on Romans 8:37: "We are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ, who strengthens us."

You are already doing better than you think.  You are already God's beloved child.  You are already equipped to stand with and encourage others.  You are already on the path to glory.  Ignore the detour signs.  Press on in your upward calling and keep your eyes on the prize that the Spirit of Jesus has set before you: your freedom and independence from the "not me" in your world.

Rembert Truluck

Update added Feb. 5, 2001

Recently my friend Lawrence Reh used the term "faith-based hatred" in commenting about religious abuse against LGBT people in "First Light".  Since the President is trying to find a way to give federal money to support "faith-based" social programs, the term "faith-based" seems to have become a substitute for "religion" and "church", which are separated from government by the U. S. Constitution.  What does it mean for something to be "faith-based"?


The strong rejection and condemnation of GLBT people in our society is based primarily on religion.  Homophobia is "faith-based" just like prejudice, racial inequality, limiting of opportunities for women, and many of the other social ills that churches claim to be in the business of fixing.  Any realistic assessment of the role of religion in social, political and legal discrimination against GLBT people reveals that anti-gay attitudes are solidly "faith-based."

All of this clearly demands a fresh look at "faith" as to what it is, why it has such a strong hold on public opinion, and what to do about the damage that "faith" does to individual freedom and opportunity.  Taking a clear objective look at your "belief system" takes courage, accurate information and a lot of time.  Socrates said: "The unexamined life is not worth living."  Is the unexamined faith also not worth having?

Some religious groups actually forbid their followers to question their faith and ask too many questions.  Fundamentalist sects often teach their people that it is a sin to read or listen to anything that disagrees with their beliefs.  Religion often demands a level of ignorance in church members that would not be tolerated in any other area of life.


We live in a world of many various and contradictory belief systems.  The Internet gives us detailed information about more different religions and belief systems than we realized even existed.  There is no corner where anyone can hide from the impact of religion on society.  Even if you have not been abused by religion, your life touches many others who have.

Faith-based violence exists today in many lands, including our own.  What can one individual do to change things?  What have you already done?

Change begins when you decide to examine your own belief system and face and understand what it is and where it came from.  The Third Step to recovery from religious abuse is to "EXAMINE YOUR FAITH."  Read the material on this subject in my web site and book in Step 3.  There I have suggested that you "take a fearless objective at your faith."  Is it really yours?

Write out what you believe and why you believe it.  Know what is going on in your own head about faith and belief.


Within each of the major religions in the world are many variations and contradictions.  Most of the responses that I receive in e-mail from my Web Site and Updates come from people who view God and faith slightly and sometimes vastly differently from me.  This does not mean that they or I am wrong.  It simply means that we view faith from different experiences and we listen and learn from each other in dialogue that helps all of us to be better informed.

The objective scientific study of religion is a fairly recent development.  "The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature" by William James was published in 1902 and is thought to be the first clinical scientific study of individual religious experience.  Later studies by Wayne E. Oates, Gordon W. Allport and others have greatly increased the availability of objective fact-based material on religion.  Allport in his book on "The Individual and His Religion: A Psychological Interpretation," published in 1950, pointed out that while all human motivation is difficult to trace, religious motivation is impossible to trace.

Is this one reason why Paul exclaimed in Romans 7:15: "I do not understand what I am doing; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate"?  It may be impossible for you to trace the roots of your own belief system, which you began to learn long before you realized what you were learning and long before you developed any critical ability to decide things for yourself.  All of us have had to endure a lot of "faith-based" nonsense.


Our belief system grows and changes as we grow and change.  The absolutely confident person who has no doubts about anything is Hitler raving on his balcony or the televangelist raving into his camera.  Many of my friends have had to let go of all religion in order to find and follow a faith that makes sense to them and fits them.  In my experiences with MCC congregations, I have met many individuals who have been involved in a series of widely different religions with often contradictory beliefs before they finally came to an MCC and found a spiritual home that met their faith needs.

"Dynamic" means change.  A dynamic faith is a faith that changes and grows as you change and grow.  Asking questions is not a sin.  To fail to ask questions makes you vulnerable and gullible.  Jesus asked questions and encouraged his followers to ask questions too.  Jesus challenged and questioned everything about the prevailing religion in his "faith-based" society that misunderstood, rejected, and finally killed him.


My purpose is not to try to think for you but to equip and encourage you to learn enough to think for yourself.  Either you learn to think for yourself in matters of faith or you become the victim of those who are all too willing to think for you and who attempt various forms of thought control to subdue and dominate you in the name of their conception of God.

Freedom is the issue.  The name Jesus is the same as the Hebrew name Joshua, which means "deliverer" or "liberator".  It is often translated "savior," but the word "savior" has been attached so firmly to legalistic judgmental religion and a misunderstanding of sin and forgiveness that it is quite useless in speaking to those of us who recognize that the most destructive force that limits us and destroys our freedom is often the very religion that claims to set us free!

Our faith cry can always be: FREEDOM NOW!

It is appropriate and necessary to challenge every abusive use of power.


Added on
January 26, 2001

GAY PRIDE means accepting yourself and celebrating who you are as a Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transsexual person.  Gay Pride means coming out.  When you accept your own sexual orientation and believe in yourself enough to come out to yourself, you have experienced gay pride.

Often the hardest person to come out to is yourself.  You can't come out to God.  God already knows!  God made you the way you are.  "It is God who has made us, and not we ourselves.  We are God's people." (Psalm 100)  The hardest person to accept is yourself.  Gay pride always begins with you.


God accepts you because you are made in the image of God.  Genesis 1:31 says that when God made you, God said, "That's good, very good."

Self-acceptance is the foundation for extending gay pride into accepting and affirming others.  "Accept one another, just as Christ also accepted you, to the glory of God." (Romans 15:7)  Are you moved with compassion towards your LGBT brothers and sisters who may be struggling with self-acceptance and are trying to find love, joy, peace and hope in an alien and hostile world?  "Compassion" means to feel the stress and pain of others.

GAY PRIDE doesn't just happen.  It is hard work to overcome the profound effects of abusive religion and cultural abandonment that afflict all minorities.  Self-esteem is the greatest achievement that you can reach in life.  Your sense of self-worth is so valuable, that you work hard all of your life to find and express it.  To reach your goal of self-esteem and happiness requires knowledge and positive experience.


Part of Gay Pride is learning to think for yourself.  My friend Mel White says that we as well as our opponents are "victims of misinformation."  I agree.  The reason for my web site and book on "Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse" is to provide accurate relevant factual information to everybody about homosexuality and about spiritual issues that concern all of us.

The Internet is truly an information explosion.  The problem is that all sides of every issue are being given in convincing form.  Over 55 million web sites are on the Internet now, and over a million new sites are added every month.  In 1993, when Bill Clinton became President, there were only 25 web sites on the Internet!  Now every "hate group" and every political and religious interest has a web site.

The Internet is filled with "ex-gay" propaganda financed by the conservative religion industry.  A steady flow of new books by "ex-gay" forces and other anti-gay organizations is flooding bookstores.  You have to be selective about what you read and let into your mind.  Know the source of information that is given to you.  Question everything.  Think for yourself.


Religious bigotry and "the oppressor's wrong, the law's delay, the arrogance of office" plague GLBT people at every turn.  Our sense of pride in who we are and our acceptance of ourselves as the children of God in the image of God is not arrogant.  Gay pride is basically intense realism.  It is humbly facing and accepting our personal truth about who we are.  It is denying the homophobic lie that we are an abomination against God and unworthy of the rights and protection enjoyed by everybody else.  Gay pride is not arrogant; it loves ourselves and others.

Gay pride is active involvement in politics, community and social action.  It can also be active involvement in religion if you do not compromise your truth in order to be accepted and included.  Gay pride is resistance to injustice and ignorance in the churches, not a quiet acceptance of prejudice and the unfair use of abusive religion to control you.  The method of your personal activism is up to you.  Remaining quiet and submissive to abusive religion is negative activism that hurts you and others and erodes pride and self-esteem.


Gay pride is positive.  You can speak out for love and truth and demonstrate your acceptance of yourself and others without fighting anybody.  Our enemy is not people.  Our enemy is ignorance and homophobia.  Out love your enemies.  Live the Spirit of Jesus in all of your relationships.  Jesus did this and changed the world.  So can you.

(written and sent out in e-mail September 10, 1998)
Rembert Truluck Update on web site.

I have received thousands of e-mail responses to my web site since it was first published on the Internet on September 14, 1997.  Many people have written to tell me how much they have been helped to deal with their own abusive religion experiences.  Others have written "hate mail" and even abusive and insulting personal attacks in their defense of homophobia and abusive religion.

A clear picture of sick and dysfunctional religion has begun to emerge. 

Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (tenth edition) includes in the definitions of "sick" the following: "spiritually or morally unsound or corrupt" and "mentally or emotionally unsound or disordered."  The Greek word that is used for "sound" doctrine in Titus 1:9 and elsewhere literally means "healthy".  "Unsound" doctrine means "unhealthy" teachings.

Sick religion hurts people.  An underlying characteristic of sick religion is an arrogant absolute certainty about everything.  Sick religious leaders, churches, and denominations often pose as experts in every field of study, science, religion, psychology, politics, sociology, and everything else.

See the URLs below to look at my web site material on "Legalism as Idolatrous Religion" and on "The Dynamics of Sick Religion."


1.Claims to possess absolute truth.

2.Claims that anyone who disagrees is evil.

3.Sets people against each other for religious reasons.

4.Demeans and belittles people and makes them feel shame and guilt if they do not comply with religion as seen by the dominant group.

5.Requires obedience to beliefs and practices that are not logical.

6.Refutes and rejects the findings of modern medicine, science, and psychology without knowing the facts.

7.Teaches self-destructive behavior unhindered by the evidence.

8.Demands absolute allegiance to a particular party or group.

9.Talks a lot but does not listen.  Offers to engage in dialogue but refuses to give the other side a fair opportunity to respond.

10.Demonstrates a closed mind and uncompromising judgment of all opposing views.

My own observations as a counselor, pastor, religion and Bible teacher, and writer for the past 46 years have shown me that sick religion produces mental, physical, emotional, and social dysfunction and stress but denies that religion is the cause of the problems.


Dr. John A. Broadus, one of the best educated and most brilliant Baptist leaders of his age, was one of the founders of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and author of seminary text books.  Dr. Broadus was preaching at a small rural church in South Carolina. After church, one of the local people was criticizing and disputing what Broadus had said and finally said, "Dr Broadus, don't you think that God can do without your education?"  Dr. Broadus replied, "Yes, I believe that God can do without my education, and furthermore, brother, I believe that God can do without your ignorance."

Recent religious attacks against homosexuals have brought gay and lesbian people and their supporters together to resist and fight the common enemy, which is ignorance, not people. 

When Gideon (Judges 7) led a small force to victory against a much larger army, the key to success was sudden fear and panic among the enemy soldiers that led them to fight and kill each other in the darkness.  Attacks against gays have not divided us, instead they have made us more united and stronger.  The enemy is being fragmented and turned against itself as it flounders about in the darkness of ignorance and fights itself.

"Newsweek" reported that almost 1000 letters responded to the cover story about "The Uproar Over Sexual Conversion" (August 17, 1998).  Most of the letters were from gay and lesbian people who rejected the anti-gay claims in the story and refuted the spurious claims of homosexual cures by telling their own stories.

Addiction to sick and abusive religion demonstrates the same kind of denial and habitual lying that are characteristic of alcoholism and drug abuse.  Be aware of the symptoms of sick religion.  Resist getting caught up in sick and abusive religion yourself.  Take a fresh look at your own spirituality.

"The unexamined life is not worth living" --Socrates
"The truth will set you free" --Jesus
"The truth is out there" --Chris Carter 

See also Legalism as Idolatry

When you read the Bible remember:
"The map is not the territory".

This material was added November 8, 2000
(A Response to the Presidential Election)

Many GLBT people would see the election of anti-gay George W. Bush as a disaster.  The vote at this time (2:00 AM) is still too close to call.  The election, whatever the final results, is a clear call to all of us to work harder and pull together to improve our world by telling and living the truth about Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transsexual people.

I began writing this update at 1:00 AM on Wednesday when the networks had announced that Bush had won.  Now, at 1:30 AM, the television news tells us that Bush has not won after all, and a recount is expected for the entire state of Florida due to the closeness of the vote!  No matter how this election turns out, we have our work cut out for us.

The tremendous influence of the homophobic religious right in this election is fair warning to all of us to renew our personal and community efforts to expose the destructive results of sick abusive religion and to demonstrate the reasonable and fair spiritual values of the true meaning of Jesus and the Gospel.  This is no time to give up and quit.


We as GLBT people have won greater public understanding and acceptance primarily through coming out and demonstrating to our families and friends that we are responsible citizens, hard working people and loving caring compassionate contributors to our communities.  Politicians have not given us our self-respect or our progress in social and cultural acceptance.  We have won these things for ourselves.  Politicians cannot take away what they did not give to us in the first place.

Traditional churches and denominations have not given to us our spiritual recovery from sick religion.  We have found our recovery and healing on our own with very little help and a lot of opposition from traditional religion.  We can start something new.  We can begin really dedicated home spiritual recovery and growth small groups.  We can help ourselves and help each other one at a time.


I recently received e-mail from a friend in Tokyo who has begun studying my book along with his lover.  They just finished going through Step 4 dealing with how to handle anger and told me the things that they learned that were personally helpful to them.  Their experience reminded me that it only takes two people to make a group.  Two people can discuss and share their ideas and questions in a healing event of dialogue that goes far beyond what reading alone can accomplish.

Today I also saw again a lot of the movie of the life of Mahatma Gandhi, who forever changed the world simply because he decided who he was and let everybody else know.  Gandhi lived his conviction that non-violent opposition to injustice was the only way to change injustice.  He was beaten, but he would not give in.  He openly identified with the suffering and misery of his people even though he was educated and could have been wealthy.  He lived in poverty and simply was who he was.  Finally, Gandhi was murdered by one of his own followers.  Yet Gandhi still is changing the world through SoulForce and the determined efforts of Mel White and the many volunteers who have taken their stand together with White, Nixon, Creech, Montgomery Rutt, and a growing multitude of others.

Have you decided who you are?  Do you know who you really are?  Are you willing to accept yourself and affirm yourself and take your public stand as the real person that you know you are?  Jesus decided who he really was and took his stand and would not retreat.  What keeps you from doing the same thing?


Facing and admitting to yourself who you really are is just the first step.  Letting others know the real you is another step.  The necessary next step is to enter into disciplined study and learning that will equip you to grow strong enough to move out beyond your own protection and help others to find peace and hope.  The purpose of my web site and book is to give to you the information that you need to build up your own confidence and become able to answer anyone who asks a reason for the hope that you have.

Learning enough to make a difference takes time and self-discipline.  We as GLBT people have often indulged ourselves in a lot of self-destructive thoughts and behavior.  It is time now for us to turn our great energy around and focus on building up our own knowledge and spiritual health.


We have had a lot of help from religious people in tearing ourselves down and developing a dismal self-image.  Do whatever it takes to free yourself from sick abusive religion.  Be objective and realistic.  Be willing and able to see your own abilities and assets and don't be afraid to try new things and be creative.  Meet new people with the expectation of learning something valuable from each person.  Above all, be open and receptive to whatever God is trying to teach you through your own experience.

You don't have to stay the way you are.  Change is happening in your life no matter what you do.  Now is the time to decide what direction that change should take for you and why.  Think for yourself.  You actually do know better than anyone else what really fits you and what is healthy and hopeful for you.  Break out of whatever low view of yourself has been dumped on you by religion.

Question everything.  Especially question any negative opinions you might have about yourself.  Remember that you really are made in the image of God; so act like it.  Expect great things from yourself.  Then make them happen.


In no way are we willing to sink back into spiritual poverty and self-defeating religious teachings just because preachers, churches, teachers and powerful people have made the Bible into a angry weapon of injury and death.  The widespread misuse of the Bible to clobber people into a fearful cringing acceptance of misinformation and lies has to be challenged and defeated.  Our mission is clear.  Shake off the slimy tentacles of sick oppressive religion and follow only what really makes sense to you.  For me, Jesus is the one who really makes sense and whom I gladly follow in spirit and in truth.

Build for yourself a clear vision of purpose for your life and an easily defined goal that you understand and can explain to others.  Whatever may happen in national or local politics cannot stop or distract you if your goals really are yours. Decide who you really are and act on it with courage and determination.  You will make a difference.  You will change things for yourself and for others.  You will win.


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