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Jesus Bible Studies

Picture Credit:
Jesus and the Disciples Going to Emmaus
by Gustave Dore

Start Your Own 
  Recovery Group

You can study this material by yourself or with one other person.  Recently, I have learned the value of two people who are aware of their own personal need for spiritual recovery getting together to share and study.  You may have a lot of difficulty getting together a group of people.  You may just have yourself and your computer to share with!  Don't be discouraged.  You can learn from the web site and discuss it with me by e-mail at rembert truluck.


JESUS in the Gospels taught most of the time in small groups and to single individuals.  Jesus promised that "where two or three gather together in my name, there I am in the midst of them." (Matthew 18:20)  Remember that Jesus is part of your group even if you are the only one in the group!

The "Jesus Group" was drawn from many ages, backgrounds, personalities and points of view.  Women were included in Luke 8:1-3.  Variety in the group was both a source of learning and a cause for tension.  The group provided the setting for Jesus to teach and demonstrate love and truth.

The early church followed this same approach.  Home based spiritual growth and recovery groups do not require buildings, budgets, boards of directors, clergy, or any of the features of traditional churches.  The "house churches" met from place to place in Acts 2:46; 5:42; Romans 16:5.

ALL THAT IS REQUIRED is people who will host, lead and attend a small study group in someone's home along with some study materials that are relevant, accurate and interesting.  Much of the material in this web site can be used in a small group.  My book, Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse, provides 52 chapters for Gay and Lesbian spiritual seekers to use in individual study or in a small group.

ESSENTIAL TO HEALTHY and healing groups is the development of an atmosphere of non judgmental acceptance and trust within the group.  Most religion tends to be judgmental and condemning of people who do not conform to the "rules."  Successful spiritual support groups resist the pull of religion away from freedom.

See new page on SMALL GROUPS


See my book for details on "How I Lead Workshops and Groups."

An excellent example of small group and individual help in learning to think for yourself is The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron,  New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1992.  It helped me, and it could help you to discover and act on the inner resources and gifts that you already have.

Also refer to Dr. Truluck's brochure on Guidelines For Small Group Spiritual Support for details on the dynamics of spiritual recovery groups.  For more information, visit the NEW Special Offer section of this web site.

Update for February 28, 2003

Jennifer Lynne in Portland, Oregon, wrote to me today to tell me about her new ministry based on my web site and book.  I am thrilled at this new development in local small groups and Internet based outreach to our community!  I have included Jennifer's letter to me below and also the link to her web site, which tells the details of this project.

As Jennifer described her plan, "We are a spiritual growth group, organized around Dr. Rembert Truluck's book "Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse." We meet weekly in local home study groups, and on the Internet, to study, share, pray, grow, and discuss each of the 52 spiritual growth and healing lessons in Dr. Truluck's book."


The planning, organization and promotion that Jennifer has already done is a powerful new beginning for GLBT spiritual recovery and growth that I have long awaited and hoped would happen.  Ever since my web site was published on the Internet in September 1997 and my book published by Chi Rho Press in January 2000, I have urged and encouraged people to make the kind of use of my materials that Jennifer has begun in Portland.

Many people around the world in many countries already are using the book as the basis for small group study and dialogue.  Many such home study groups are now a regular part of the ministries of local Metropolitan Community Churches and other organizations and individuals.  This is the first time, however, that I have been given the details of the kind of work that Jennifer is beginning in Portland.

From the beginning of my work on "Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse" I have hoped that individuals and small groups led by the Spirit of Jesus would see the need and grasp the opportunity to begin small groups without any outside pressure or control and let the freedom of the Spirit guide each group in the direction that the individuals in the group felt and believed fit them.


Encouragement comes to me every day in e-mail letters that I receive from people who have found inner peace and a new positive self-acceptance from studying my web site and book.  A growing number of these letters of appreciation for my web site and joy in new found hope and encouragement comes from teenagers and other young people.

I continue to receive a steady flow of "hate mail" from legalistic judgmental religious people who are misled and misinformed by their church leaders and who lash out at me because of the hope and encouragement that I offer to LGBT people in my web site.  My reply to the homophobic hate mongers is still the same.  I thank them for their letters and tell them that their letters are a great encouragement to me to keep my web site on the Internet to help Gay and Lesbian Christians deal with ignorance and religious abuse from people like them.

I hope that you will look at the web site and the work that Jennifer Lynne and her associates are doing and seek to find ways to do some of the same things yourself that they are doing.

Never underestimate the importance of reaching just one individual with the truth!  The Internet has allowed us to reach out and touch people one at the time in a personal and direct way that has changed and transformed multitudes of lives.  Don't underestimate the value of what you as an individual can do.



Hello Dr. Truluck!

My name is Jennifer Lynne, and I am a lesbian in Portland Oregon who wants to start a home spiritual growth group here (we have 3 folks to start!), using your book "Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse".

I'm going to advertise the group in the local Gay resource sources (Gay

News paper, local gay web sites, etc), and so I could give folks who don't know us a place to find us I put up an advertising web page for it too.

That's why I'm writing you. I created my advertising web page using mostly your information and referring folks to your web site for more details, and since it will be on the web for all to see, I wanted to make sure there was nothing on my site that is bothersome to you.

Can you check out the site at your earlier convenience and let me know? We have no commercial interest or plans, of course, in any of this but - as I say - since this is from your material and site, and since I've never done something like this before, I want to make sure I've not overstepped somewhere!

Our group advertising web site is at:

Note that in addition to the Portland Oregon home group, it also mentions an internet group available. We set that up in the event our page attracts people who want to work through your book, but who are too far from us and don't have a local group of their own to participate in. Please check that out as well, if you'd like.

Thanks for all your time - and your wonderful book! I have a deep heart for wounded others, and I am really pleased with the book - for my own healing, and for the healing I know it will give to my partner and friends who are going to start it soon!

God bless!

Jennifer Lynne


"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be."  -Douglas Adams

Here is my reply to Jennifer:

"Dear Jennifer,

"WOW!  Thank you for what you are doing!  I thank God for this new ministry using my book and web site.  I have hoped and prayed for a long time that other people would pick up on these resources and use them exactly as you are doing.

"My prayers are with you.

"I would like very much to know how this works out and what kind of response you have.  If I can do anything to encourage you in this project, let me know.

"Give me your phone number and a time to call, and I would like to call you and talk with you about this great new ministry that you are beginning."

Rembert Truluck

Click here to see the "Bible Abuse Recovery" web site.

This update added October 1, 2002:

Millions of LGBT people are living in exile from their families, their religious backgrounds, their homes, their former professions, and their cultural places of origin.  Some of us have had the privilege of being able to develop new lives in new locations and with new careers and healthy situations.  Many others have not survived the rejection and displacement of homophobic exile.


Ancient Israel was created in the Exodus from Egypt and was defined by the Exile in Babylon.  The Exile of the 10 northern tribes to Babylon created a new Israel that produced Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and much of the other literature of prophecy and wisdom in the Hebrew Bible.  The Exile also is the setting in which the Pentateuch and historical and poetic materials were developed into their present forms and expression.

Most of all, the Exile separated the exiles from those who remained in the homeland and created a total break that produced the hostility between Jews and Samaritans and the other religious and social dynamics that dominated the world of Jesus.  Exile is an awesome reality for many of us today.

To what extent has your life been defined by your exile from the rest of your world?  How have you handled your life in exile?


I don't think that I have handled exile very well.  I am cut off from the self that I once was before 1981.  When I was dismissed from the university where I had taught religion for 8 years, I became a "non-person" and moved to Atlanta to start over.  My sister took me in and helped me to survive.  She still helps me to survive emotionally here in Oakland, California.

A year after I left the university, I asked one of my former student aids, who was still a student, if I was the "horrible example" in anti-gay sermons now.  His reply was, "No! Nobody ever mentions you.  It is as though you were never here!"  I also was cut off from my immediate family and children.  After I left home in 1981, I was not allowed to see my youngest daughter for 5 years.  Now she and I are great friends.  She came out to me as a Lesbian 3 years ago!  See also "MY STORY".


My mother at the age of 91 has also experienced a profound exile from her past life.  She has been cut off from her husband and home of over 60 years and now lives in a very good Baptist retirement center in Laurens, SC.  She is almost completely blind now, and her hearing is almost all gone.  She is handling her isolation and exile a lot better that I am!

How about you?  What helps you to survive in exile?

"Exile" is defined as "a forced absence from one's home or country."  This mild definition does not even begin to express the depth of anguish and pain that GLBT people experience in exile.

"Exile" is basically the profound experience of being "cut off" and being dismissed from the people and the society that have been your basis for existence and your cultural milieu from the time you were born.  Exile is disastrous and destructive beyond comprehension.  Exile is "hell!"


That depends on what "God" means!  The "Doctrine of God" assumes that God is always equally present in all things and is omnipotent and all knowing, but how do we know that this is true?  We don't.  So now where do we turn for help?  Do you turn within?  Or do we turn to each other?  Maybe.  I am most grateful for the people that have come into my life, even briefly.  I learn from every person who comes along, and I hope and believe that each one learns something of value from me.

Since you and everyone you meet are already made in the image of God, the presence of God in your life is assured.

You may have been exiled from your people, but you have not been exiled from the God who created you and gave you life and love and hope.  You are already alive and accepted and affirmed by the God who made you as you are.  You are not exiled from God!


Being cut off from destructive negative people can be a good thing.  You don't deserve to be abused and demeaned by people who think that they own the mind of God!  You deserve better.  You deserve to accept and affirm yourself and to feel good about yourself, no matter what others might think or do.

Read again my material on Step Five: "Avoid Negative People and Churches."

Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, I have many friends who are living in forced or self-imposed exile from their native countries and their families.  One of my best friends is from China and lives now in Washington, DC, waiting to receive his "green card" and return to San Francisco.  He was rejected and punished for his sexual orientation in his native city.  He was able to escape and begin a new life in the United States.  I admire his courage and have learned a lot from his example of perseverance and unfailing hope in the face of many obstacles and delays.

Learning English and adjusting to the culture shock of coming to America can greatly complicate the lives of some of the exiles all around you.  Are you sensitive and helpful to your fellow exiles?  Learn to listen to others and grow in understanding and in how to handle your own exile issues.


You share your life in exile with a great variety of other people.  We are all in the same boat together, but sometimes the boat seems to be sinking fast!  We all have to work together to bail out the water and protect and encourage each other.  We need each other, and learning from the Spirit of God how to love each other is basic to our survival.

Read again and memorize Romans 15:1-7 and let some very positive support sink into your mind and heart regarding how to handle your own experience of sharing exile with others.  Click here to see Romans 15:1-7.

Take the time also to read carefully through all of Romans chapter one.  Ignore the problems in translation and context of verses 26 and 27 and concentrate instead on the positive message of encouragement we have to offer to each other in exile!  Don't dismiss Paul without realizing what he has to give to all of us.  When I taught at Baptist College, I memorized all of Romans and realized that context is everything!  Know what you are rejecting before you dismiss the Apostle Paul from your mind and heart.  Romans chapters 5 through 8 are basic to understanding who you really are.

The churches may be out of touch with reality, but Paul is not.  Just remember that Paul lived and wrote 2,000 years ago in another culture and another world-view.  Make the necessary adjustments to your world today, and you can still find great practical help in Paul.  Paul is not absolute.  Only God is.

Paul also lived in exile.  You can study the details in Philippians, which is worth your time to memorize and internalize.

Rembert Truluck

This update added September 1, 2002:


Last week, I again visited the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park and enjoyed the beauty of flowers, trees, running water, fog and moisture and marveled at how nature renews itself.  We also enjoy renewal of our spirits and our relationships as the creator sustainer God of all being nourishes and encourages us in all things.  I stood for a while before the large bronze stature of Buddha and contemplated his life and spiritual journey.  He left his wealth and power to meditate on the cause of human suffering and experienced the "enlightenment" that gave him inner peace and joy.

As I thought on these things, I realized that the basic message of Buddha was not to learn the teachings of Buddha but to discover for myself my own truth and meaning in life.  You are the source of your own truth.  Learn who you are and you learn your own truth and meaning in life.  Nobody else can learn this for you.  You stand with your Creator separated from all other individuals by a world.  (As Soren Kierkegaard observed.)

Religion and churches can be a drastic distraction for your experience of who you really are.  Nobody else can tell you who you are.  You have to discover who you are for yourself.  But that is not difficult or impossible.  You are already in the image of God and you already have the gift of the Spirit of Jesus, who has been given to every human on earth.  Why do you struggle so hard to grasp what you already have and already know?


You already have what you need to have and to know.  You don't have to make a decision about God, Jesus, the Bible or the church.  You only have to make a decision about yourself.  Who are YOU?  You church cannot tell you.  You parents cannot tell you.  Your community cannot tell you.  Only you can tell you who you really are.  Believe in yourself.

Just as abusive traditional religion has misrepresented Jesus and God, the same religion has misrepresented who you are.

You are unlike any other person in the Universe.  You matter just as you are.  You are not a mistake.  You are not a broken thing that needs to be fixed.  You are the significant reality that God created you to be.  Be confident.  Be affirmed.  Be resolute.  Be brave.  Be calm.  Be real.  Be the child of God that you know deep down you really are.  Act on the positive vision of yourself that has always been with you, though many have tried to dispute this.

This opens an entirely new path to you.  Traditional religion knows nothing of this kind of freedom and responsibility.  Churches know everything and understand nothing.  The institution hovers over you like a cloud of doom, but you are not obligated to see yourself as the victim of evil and the child of perdition. You are free to be the self that you dimly thought you were once long ago in your distant past.


God will help you to break out of the stereotypes and mythical self images that try to dominate and limit you.  You are not a mess.  You are not a dismal rejected creature.  You are not a temporary expression of fragile human life.  You are permanent, the child of God, the ultimate reality of truth in the form and expression that fits you.  You matter.  You live.  You are an eternal expression of God's own being.

Never sell yourself short.  You are worth far more than you or anybody every imagined.

You are and always will be the most important person in your life.  Get the best education that is possible for you.  Equip yourself to know how to think for yourself and make your own best decisions.


A new chapter in the long tedious story of misrepresenting LGBT people was opened this week in a report on "Gay Research" sent out in the media.

This UPI story by Steve Sailer is an interview about "Stereotypes of homosexuals" with Northwestern University psychology Professor Michael Bailey.  The first quote from Bailey waved a "red flag" when he said, "I found working with gay people a lot more fun and interesting than working with crazy people!"  No competent psychologist would ever refer to mentally ill people as "crazy!"

No evidence is given at all as to Bailey's research subjects, methodology, or primary sources.  The entire article was a reflection of the misinformation that is readily available from James Dobson and Focus on the Family along with their "sexuality expert" John Paulk.

The tired old distortions and misinformation are included about gay stereotypes, a possible "gay germ" and the estimate that only 1 to 4 percent of the population is homosexual   Bailey declared that there are far more gay men than lesbians and reinforced the nonsense that some kind of failure of the male fetus to develop masculine characteristics could account for gay sexual orientation.

The entire piece was completely non-scientific and filled with speculation and traditional garbage about human sexuality.  Being given national attention, this "so-called" scientific research will further mislead and distort the way GLBT people are seen and see themselves.

Bailey, who claims to be heterosexual himself (with wife and children), seems to have developed his entire "research" on the basis of reading what others have written without even realizing how unscientific and unrealistic his work is.

See also my material on "STATISTICS AND COMMANDMENTS."


Due to some immediate pressing medical problems, I have had to cancel my trip to New Orleans this weekend to participate in "A Common Bond" conference for GLBT Jehovah's Witnesses.

Rembert Truluck
September 1, 2002

This update added on June 28, 2002:


We stand at a fork in the road.  Major churches and religious groups continue to reject our protests, demonstrations and attempts to open the blind eyes of abusive religious misinformation about LGBT people.  The ignorant abusive spiritual rhetoric and spiritual violence against us is accelerating every day.  What new direction is God leading you to take now?  You will have to decide that for yourself.

I continue to give my enthusiastic full complete support to Soulforce and to Mel, Gary, Jimmy, Doug, Laura, Bill, Kara, Karen, Richard, Gina, and all of my Soulforce partners and friends in their ministry of spiritual confrontation and truth.  Soulforce policy and planning decisions are not made by just one or two people but are made by all of the leaders and trainers as a group.  I plan to be with Soulforce in Lynchburg in October and with Soulforce again at the Southern Baptist Convention next June.

Soulforce continues to encourage and lift up GLBT people to build up our own self-acceptance and self-esteem, which are under constant attack by religious establishments of our world.  Whether or not Soulforce and others who attempt to challenge spiritual violence and tell the truth can change the course of abusive destructive religion, the witness of thousands of LGBT Christians is speaking clearly to our own community to lift us up and give us hope.


As I write this, the news is filled with reports about the U. S. Supreme Court decision to approve the use of public funds to give school vouchers to children in private secular and religious schools.  No provision is included to make a distinction between private non-sectarian schools and private religion based schools that promote and teach abusive religion.

This sudden unexpected break with the American legacy of separation of church and state is a brutal awakening for all Americans who value the Constitutional protection from Government involvement in the support of sectarian religion in any form or under any circumstances.  This diversion of public funds to private religious schools is also a blatant attack on public school education for all people in this nation.

Write, call, e-mail, and contact in every way you can anybody you know in politics to voice your opinion about this tragic development for all Americans.  The powerful forces of misinformed and abusive religion in America are finally being felt in their full strength of new political determination and political influence.


We are at a turning point every day.  Every moment is a new beginning as our world changes rapidly at blinding speed.  New challenges and new opportunities are emerging on every hand.  Religion based terrorism far beyond anything that we had imagined this time last year has now changed our world forever and raised issues about God, spirituality, religion and human survival on a new level of urgency and serious reflection in our ongoing search for meaning in the midst of chaos and uncertainty.

Recently I have begun to receive a lot of e-mail expressing great disappointment and discouragement about the slow progress of acceptance in our society for LGBT people.  This concern is worldwide.  Some of my friends in South Africa, Asia, Israel, and other countries are voicing the same frustration and despair over the accelerating spiritual violence and misinformation directed at GLBT people.

Several of my friends have decided to "go back into the closet" because of their personal experiences of rejection and loss of hope of seeing any real changes.  Some are going back into the closet because of the sick dysfunctional behavior of other LGBT people, who are sick and dysfunctional because they have been convinced by legalistic judgmental sick religion that they are an abomination to God and hopeless.  I am also receiving a great increase in e-mail and web sites that promote the "Ex-gay" industry and attack me for my web site.  The abusive use of biblical literalism and spiritual terror is growing stronger and more widespread every day.


I don't know what the future holds.  God, however, has already been there and knows what we will face and how we can handle every challenge and opportunity with spiritual power and confidence.  Perhaps one thing that will help each of us is to spend more time devoted to reflection and meditation as a means of listening to God and to the positive spiritual forces all around us and in the other people God sends into our lives.

I want to be part of whatever God brings into my life to use me to make a spiritual difference for others.  I cannot create the human connections that are ready for change and hope and new life.  But God can.


Richard Murphy is one of my very favorite people.  Richard teaches and organizes Soulforce volunteers in their special ministry of spiritual vigils and civil action.  In St. Louis, Richard told me of a recent experience he had as a lone protester outside a very prominent anti-gay church in South Florida, where Richard lives.  In Broward County, if two or more people engage in a protest, they have to apply for and receive a license to protest.  A single individual, however, can carry a sign and protest without official permission.

Richard was carrying his sign that proclaimed: "STOP SPIRITUAL VIOLENCE AGAINST GOD'S GAY, LESBIAN, BISEXUAL and TRANSGENDER CHILDREN".  A man drove up to the curb and got out of his car and walked over to Richard and thanked him for being there with his sign!  The man had just been released from prison.  He was gay and felt very bad about himself.  He told Richard that his sign had helped him to feel that he was not alone and reminded him of God's love for him after all.

Richard wanted to give him some material that would encourage him.  He had printed out the most recent 8 or 9 updates that he had received in e-mail from me and had them with him.  He gave them to the man to have something to read that could encourage him and also gave him some money to get something to eat.  Richard said he hoped that the man would follow up on the material and get in touch with me.

You don't have to be part of a great movement or be in a dramatic event to make a difference for a single individual that God brings to you.  When you are confident and ready to share your faith in God's love and acceptance for you and all people, God will bring people to you.


In St. Louis, Mahan Siler shared with me some of his personal approach to helping GLBT people overcome abusive religion and regain their self-confidence.  On several occasions, Dr. Siler felt led to exercise his pastoral authority to speak with confidence concerning God's love and acceptance of people who were filled with fear and self-rejection.  In personal counseling situations, Dr. Siler would declare firmly that "God accepts you just as you are" and found that his positive attitude and confidence in God's unconditional inclusive love made an impact that had a positive healing effect.

One-to-one conversations can be the setting for life changing spiritual events.  Jesus saw this happen with the "woman at the well" and with many others.  Dr. Siler was professor of pastoral care and counseling at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and director of clinical pastoral training at the Bowman Gray School of Medicine until he was fired because of his acceptance and affirmation of LGBT people.

Wednesday, I talked on the phone with Mahan in North Carolina about the "pastoral authority" dimension of his counseling ministry.  He has written of several instances in his forthcoming book.  Dr. Siler said that when people tell him that they are afraid that they are going to hell because they are gay and tell of their belief in abusive religious teachings from their churches, he declares to them that they are absolutely wrong, that the teachings that condemn them are lies, and that God loves them just as they are!

Dr. Siler told me that: "pastoral authority has to be stronger than the voices in their heads that condemn them and has to counter the very strong self-accusing voice within."  Dr. Siler was taking this approach in pastoral counseling with GLBT Christians in 1991-1992 even before his church decided to support him in performing the holy union for two gay men.


The continuous religious/political assault against GLBT people is creating human tragedy that destroys lives and the will to live.  Religious terrorism moves unchecked through every city, village, suburb, and home in America.  The homophobic enemy that most LGBT people face is not in the church but in their own homes, parents and relatives, and most damaging of all: in themselves.

There are no obvious easy solutions.  The challenge to LGBT people is complex and on multiple levels of human existence.  Nobody has all of the answers.  Maybe nobody has any of the answers.  The magnitude of the horror that we face is so great that we all have to keep trying to find an effective way to change the prevailing world-view paradigm and to become more convincing in telling our truth.

Every day I get e-mail from people who are desperately seeking a way to accept themselves as GLBT people and to keep on living and not give up hope.  Recent reports show that thirty percent of adolescent suicides are committed by gay youth.  Stopping the flood of homophobic violence against and within our community is like trying to hold back the tide or trying to stop the bombing attacks by superpowers against smaller nations in the name of a "war on terror."


No matter how much we explain, protest, make accurate information available, and lay our lives on the line for the truth, the juggernaut of religious ignorance and abuse moves steadily on to crush the life out of people of all ages, sexes, races, nations and religions.  God is no respecter of persons, but neither is religious ignorance and bigotry!  Homophobic legalistic abusive religion casts all people equally into the same mass grave and covers the bodies with self-righteous hypocrisy by claiming it is all being done to please God!

Where did the image of God as a homophobic judgmental monster come from?  Certainly it did not come from Jesus.  Our response to the distortion of the image of God in homophobia can be effective only if we are more creative and determined than religious fanatics like, Jerry Falwell, Fred Phelps, Southern Baptists, and many others are!

What new directions are available to you as your world continues to turn new corners and face fresh alien troops every day?  You can try to ignore the rapid changes all around you and fall back on old discredited methods of forcing social and religious changes on others.  How much energy do you have to waste in efforts that don't work before you turn to God and listen and learn what to do now that is totally different, new and effective?


This is not a call to prayer or a call to action.  It is a call to think.  It is a call to enter into dialogue with one another and to think through what God wants you to do next.  We need a fresh new beginning that comes from God and that God will energize and empower.  No matter how clever we might be in planning our next move, the energy to make it work can come only from the God who also gives the plan.

Find at lest one other person or perhaps three or four to sit down together and think and share and discuss where you go from here.  Trust that the Spirit of God will also attend this small group dialogue.  Exciting effective new directions will emerge and will be accompanied by truly Pentecostal energy.  Only one person really has the solutions: God.  Listen, think, learn together with others and enter into the action of doing something that is practical, logical and realistic for YOU.

Rembert Truluck

Following Jesus means discovering who you are as a child of God and finding and doing what fits you as an individual.

For my book, which can be a guide and source of information for small group study and dialogue, see:

Update for October 13, 2001

"Don't let other people's craziness make you crazy."  Many of the e-mail letters to me asking for help come from people who have allowed the dysfunctional thinking and behavior of other people to disturb and even ruin their lives.  I wish I knew a really effective simple solution.  I don't.  Life lived in connection with other people is far too complex for any easy answers or foolproof solutions.

Every person who touches your life makes an impact on you.  You live in a field of relationships with friends, family, work associates, neighbors, group members, relatives, etc.  Many of the people in your life also have connections with each other as well as with you.  Whenever you relate to an individual, you are relating to all of the other people who know and touch that individual.  Our partners, lovers, parents, children, siblings, and other relatives are usually our primary human connections.  Close friends, acquaintances, people where you work and play, club and church members, and an expanding circle of people on the fringes of your life have a part in how you see yourself.

Jean Paul Sarte declared in "No Exit" that "Hell is other people."  It all depends on how you see yourself and the people that touch your life.  You often have little choice about who comes into your life and who comes into the life of someone who is very important to you.  You do, however, have control of your own feelings and thinking.  You have little control over the craziness of other people, but you do have control over whether or not you will let the craziness of others make you crazy!

Other people who are not present also affect you.  Former friends, enemies, lovers, family and casual contacts can remain in your memory and in your heart for a lifetime.  Battling the ghosts of the past can be just as exhausting as trying to play relationship games in the present.


Eric Berne's Games People Play, published in 1964, explored The Psychology of Human Relationships" by showing how our interactions with other people can take the form of "games" where the payoff is often hidden from view.  One such game is "Kick Me!" in which a person feels rejected and has extremely low self-esteem and does things to other people to get them to "kick" them and punish them for their imagined inadequacy and failure.  Unless we are objective and realistic about other people, we can easily be drawn into the game, usually over and over with the same person.

The only way to win the game is to refuse to play.  Games are unconscious attempts to manipulate the other person to give the "payoff" in actions that are not consistent with reality or with the true relationship of the people involved.

Get a copy of Games People Play and read it again.  You will find practical help and encouragement to be yourself and to cope effectively with a lot of the stress all around you.  You do not have to buy into another person's craziness.  You only encourage more craziness by going along with it as though it was perfectly OK.


You are called to love one another as Jesus loves you.  That is basic.  Love is the foundation of all of the teachings of Jesus and the path along which we follow Jesus.  "Love is patient."  Read carefully and slowly all of 1 Corinthians 13.  Where the word "love" is used, put your own name in its place.  Notice how it sounds!  Realize that every word that Paul used to describe "love" also describes Jesus in the Gospels. 

The main message of 1 Corinthians 13 is not to give up on yourself or give up on people in your life.  A special word in 1 Corinthians 13:7 that has helped me: Love "bears all things."  The word in Greek means: "to cover, pass over in silence, keep confidential."  It was "used of love that throws a cloak of silence over what is displeasing in another person."  Love also "endures all things," which is Greek: "hupomenei" ("super remain") and means to "remain instead of running away, hold out, stand your ground."

I am sharing this with you because I need so very much to hear it myself!


Sometimes we are strongly tempted to throw away relationships that have taken years to build.  Rough waters come in every ongoing growing relationship.  Anything that is alive grows and changes, including our most intimate relationships.  Facing and dealing in love with stress and conflict can produce unexpected growth and maturity for the individuals and for their relationship with each other.

Jesus never ran away from the people who caused stress in his life.  "Jesus loved them unto the end" (John 13:1).  Following Jesus is to remain true to yourself and faithful to your friends: "I give a new commandment to you that you love one another just as I have loved you, that you also love one another."  Jesus never asked you to do anything without also providing the spiritual power to do it.


Your relationships with people often have a strong emotional dimension.  Being logical, objective, realistic and practical can take a lot of effort.  You are tempted to react with fear or crazy behavior when radical stress and disruption takes place in a relationship.  Take control of your own thinking and be logical and realistic.  Nobody else can do this for you.  You are in control of your will and your desires.  Only you can cut through the craziness that other people send your way.  You have the capacity to: "Keep your head when the person with you is losing theirs and blaming it on you!"

Heed the basic warning: "Words said in anger can be regretted for a lifetime."  Anger and fear are panic emotions and cannot give a calm basis for making any decisions.  Get a good grip on yourself, calm down, and think through exactly what is happening and what your realistic options are.

Relating to other people is never easy.  All of life with other people is "a bumpy ride!"  Avoiding others and resisting taking the risk of getting involved with other people can be depressing and lonely.  You have to be the one to decide where you can be healthy and happy in relationships.  You have God's help and the examples of Jesus to give you some sense of direction.

Just remember: "You are the most important person in your life!"  Be kind to yourself and expect others to do the same.

The following material was added on April 25, 2001:
(Includes two powerful recent letters from South Africa and Hong Kong.)

Religion, like GLBT people, is everywhere!  Religion pervades every level of culture, invades every level of politics, influences every arena of business, occupies territory in every family, and reaches into every home, sporting event, school, entertainment and artistic expression.  Religion has exploded far beyond the walls of churches.  Religion is an unavoidable feature of society.  Religion can be sick and abusive.  Sick religion leads to the abusive use of religious power to control people in the name of God.

What to do about religion?  That is the question that seems to occupy most of the people who write e-mail to me in response to my web site and book.  It is a complex and perplexing question.  No two people answer it in exactly the same way.  It seems never to be answered adequately by most people.

Abusive religion is a persistent trap that snares children early before they can make any logical objective decision about it. Childhood religion goes with the individual until the last breath of life.  Making realistic effective changes in the religious conditioning of most people seems to be almost impossible.  (It is possible, however. See the two encouraging letters below from South Africa and Hong Kong.)

How have you resolved the problem of what to do about religion?  Have you made an uneasy truce with the misinformation and spiritual violence of religion?  Have you abandoned religion completely, only to find it seeping back into your life from unexpected directions?  Have you abandoned your search for an affirming church only to find yourself still hungering for spiritual food?


For many LGBT people, the family and home are so intertwined with religion that to leave the family religion means to leave home.  Hostility and alienation about religion have driven many young GLBT people from their homes long before they were mature enough to make it on their own.  Many youth who have recently written e-mail to me about my web site are from 12 to 17 years old.  Family conflict over religion is as abusive and violent as anything that ever destroys the peace and tranquility of "home sweet home."

Perhaps you have already "tried everything" and there is no resolution in sight for the conflict between you and your parents and family about religion and your sexual orientation.  Shouting, tearful prayer sessions, stern orders to leave, and bringing in the preacher to fix things have made things worse for you and solved nothing.  What can you do now?  Run away from home?

Running away is hard to do if you are the mother! Or the father. Or the grandmother. Or even one of the children.  Running away from home is not running away from the abusive religion that has been implanted within you since before you can remember.  Abusive religious conditioning remains on the internal tapes that run through your mind just like all the others.  Unlearning religion is more difficult than kicking other destructive habits.  You are made to feel guilty if you abandon sick religion, but you are praised for getting alcohol, tobacco or drugs out of your life.  Religion is also a habit-forming drug.  Religion also kills.  It killed Jesus and has killed many LGBT people.

Addiction to abusive religion can destroy your self-esteem, sap your energy, undermine your personal goals and career, undercut all of your relationships, make you physically and mentally sick, and leave you gasping for more religion than ever.

If you think that this is overdoing it and extreme, you should read my e-mail.


You probably already have begun to develop your own spiritual life.  You have had to let go of a lot of baggage.  In order to move on, you have had to abandon false paths and let go of abusive religious teachings and practices.  Starting over is always difficult.  Nothing has a more tenacious grip on our minds and lives than our own past.

What has given you your most helpful new sense of spiritual direction?  Jesus?  God?  Nature?  Other people?  Your own inner voice?  The Bible?  What?

If you follow Jesus, you will be like Jesus and abandon sick abusive religion and move on.  You recognize and let go of the hypocrisy and destructive effects of oppressive religion and move on.  You may have tried to get other people to share in your pilgrimage.  That can be the most difficult part.  People addicted to religion are in denial that anything is wrong.  The deeply cut paths of traditional religion are hard to leave.  They are familiar and have become emotionally satisfying even if they are spiritually empty.  Traditional religion is a social setting that many people are reluctant to give up.

Read Philippians 3:1-14 to see how Paul had to let go of sick religion in order to follow Jesus.


How big does religion have to be to be genuine?  Jesus set the pattern of one-on-one and two or three gathered together in his name.  How much bigger than that does genuine spirituality have to be to work?  Where did all those cathedrals come from?  A recent television documentary showed that the cathedrals were built to be the political capitols of provinces and states in the middle ages and just got out of hand.  It is very hard to ignore stone cathedrals that are sometimes larger than the villages in which they were built.  It is also hard to challenge and change anything that has been accepted as sacred for hundreds of years, no matter how out of touch with reality it might be.

The main purpose of my web site and book is to give accurate adequate information and to encourage and equip small group home study and dialogue.  Many such home study groups are functioning now around the world.  I am greatly encouraged by the spiritual freedom and progress that many people have reported to me.  (See the letters below.)

What have you done so far to find and follow your own spiritual path that really works for you?  How have other people helped you or hindered you?  How have you helped others in their search for a personal faith that works for them?

I love you, and that's why I tell you the truth.

Rembert Truluck

See the "RESOURCES" and "ADDITIONAL RESOURCES"  for books and sites related to this update:

If you can find a copy, get Wayne E. Oates: "When Religion Gets Sick" (recently republished); also see Father Leo Booth: "When God becomes a Drug: Breaking the Chains of Religious Addiction and Abuse"; Bruce Bawer: "Stealing Jesus: How Fundamentalism Betrays Christianity"; David Johnson and Jeff VanVonderen: "The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse: Recognizing and Escaping Spiritual Manipulation and False Spiritual Authority Within the Church";

Keith Hartman: "Congregations in Conflict: The Battle Over Homosexuality," which tells the details and dynamics of the opposition to attempts by Rev. Jimmy Creech, Dr. Mahan Siler and others to challenge abusive religion and to affirm and celebrate gay and lesbian holy unions; Soren Kierkegaard: "Attack Upon Christendom"; and of special help: John Shelby Spong: "Why Christianity Must Change or Die"; a final suggestion is "Leaving the Fold: A Guide for Former Fundamentalists and Others Leaving Their Religion" by Marlene Winell, Ph.D. (a careful study on religious recovery based on the author's personal experience and clinical practice).


This letter came to me on April 24, 2001, from a South African Seminary student who has studied my web site and has written to me several times.

Dear Dr Rembert,

The 27th of April is celebrated as Freedom Day in South Africa, the day we celebrate democracy and human rights, a day when GLBT people received their freedom as well.

Yesterday I had a small taste of my own freedom day. In your first e-mail you said that you suspected that there were other students with similar problems at the Seminary where I study. Well, I just could not believe it! Yesterday I was proved wrong! One of my fellow students and I went to a coffee bar and we drank some coffee and we had a nice chat. He is a second year student and we attended high school together, he is the same age as I am, but he worked for a year after school as a salesperson before attending the seminary. We use to be good friends, but somehow we lost touch, anyway, during the conversation he told me he is gay and I told him that I am gay as well and we had a long discussion about being gay and a Christian and I told him about your website and your book and he told me about another gay person at the seminary, this guy is a first year.

So now I can safely say that there are at least three gay students at the seminary one first year, one second year and one third year, thus one for every year group. I was delighted to hear about this, so now I know I am not alone. And the feeling I had when I discussed the liberating message in your book cannot be described. My friend also told me that he and the first year student have happy and successful relationships and that they are happy with their partners. So I received an answer to the question that has been nagging me (about whether gays can have successful relationships).

I also told my friend that I wanted to tell him about being gay a long time ago, but that I was too afraid to do that, because he (at that stage) told me that he was trying to "convert" a friend of ours who is also gay, so I decided against telling him. He also wanted to tell me, but he couldn't because of the front he put up. But luckily he shared with his friend and his partner and they convinced him to speak to me, because during the autumn recess I told them about you and your website (it was the first time they heard the truth about Bible Abuse) and they were greatly encouraged by it. So, thanks to your website and your book we have the potential to start our own recovery group

My friend also told me that he wants to leave our denomination and start his own church or join a gay-friendly church.  So I told him about the UFMCC, and it is amazing that we came to the same conclusion separately. I feel honored to have received the good news first and I might also be a leader in the sense that I am the final year student and I will have to set an example to my friends so that I may not fail them, or myself. My friend also related to me that there are at least three other gay people that attended school with us who came out recently.

After yesterday, after I spoke with my friend and I after I got your book (and started to read it) I could hear the freedom bells ringing. I really struggled with God about which path I should take; now I know! I always struggled with my sexual orientation and my calling, only now do I know my true calling! Thank you for your help, God really intervened and our paths crossed.  I have struggled against extreme homophobia all my life, even from the age of five I have been the victim of cruel taunting and I had a bad self concept and esteem ever since. I pray that the Lord will help me and heal me. I do not wish for it to destroy my life.

Please keep on praying for me and my friends, we are still new at this and it is scary!

Your friend in Christ



Dear Dr. Truluck,

We are a LGBT Christian group in Hong Kong since 1992. We have worship, fellowship & bible study gathering every week.

We have bought your book, Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse, & started the weekly Recovery Group last year. It is absolutely excellent, and has benefited many of our brothers and sisters in Hong Kong, recovering their relationship with God. Let me give our deepest thanks to you & the Lord for the book. We will continue to run the group until all of us here have listened to the liberating message, which is in fact the true gospel, at least once.

We are now updating our website, and would like to place a link of your website on ours if you agree. Also, feel free to link ours to yours if you like.

Our URL is www.bmcf.org.hk (unfortunately this is only in Chinese currently).

Looking forward to your reply. And if you happen to be in Hong Kong, you are most welcome to visit us.

Brother in Christ,
Michael Chan
Blessed Minority Christian Fellowship

Update added Christmas 2000:

You begin the year 2001 far better equipped to live and enjoy life than you began the year 2,000!  You have come a long way.  You are well on your way into full recovery from abusive religion, and you have made great progress in accepting yourself and affirming yourself and others.  Good for you!

As I look back over a year of e-mails and GLBT news reports, I rejoice with you in how much you have learned and grown in the last 12 months.  You are a lot stronger now than a year ago.  Bad experiences you have endured this year have strengthened your determination to finish your course and enjoy full freedom to be yourself.

Anything bad that happened to you this year prepared you to face 200l with more knowledge, experience and confidence so that you can handle whatever happens.  You are also far better equipped to help others

SOULFORCE has been a powerful example for all of us in GLBT activism during 2000.  Great progress has been made in getting across our message of hope, love and truth in many religious groups.  In January 2001, SoulForce will stand at the Vatican in Rome to confront abusive misinformed religion.


You are stronger than you think.  We as GLBT people tend to focus on how awful we are and not on our positive feelings and actions.  Our culture has pressured us into questioning ourselves at every turn.  But you have resisted this and moved on.  The fact that you are still alive to read this is evidence that you are one of the strongest people in the world!

I am convinced that GLBT people are the strongest people on earth, because we have to struggle for self-acceptance and survival far more than others.  Your struggle against all odds has brought you through many pressures that would have defeated a weaker person.  You have kept on kicking when others have lost courage and given up.


Your experiences are an important part of who you are.  You are the world's authority on your own experience.  Write it down.  Now is an excellent time for you to start keeping a daily journal.  Your journal is just for you.  It gives you a written record of what you are learning day by day and is a reminder of where you were and how far you have come.  Writing a journal takes time and self-discipline.  When I started my daily journal in 1987, I did not realize that I would draw on it later as a source for my web site, books, updates and workshops.

If you don't write it down, you loose it.  We all have incomplete memory of past events and people.  We have highly selective memory at best, and when our view of ourselves is contaminated by homophobia, our backward vision can be obscured or even obliterated.  Even if you write only one or two days a week, regular disciplined thoughtful reflection on what is happening in your life can help you better to understand yourself.


You can learn a lot about yourself by really listening to other people and noticing their body language as well as the words that they say and that they don't say.  Learn to listen.  Read "The Miracle of Dialogue" by Ruel Howe.  Read through the Gospel of Mark (or all Four Gospels) and notice the listening ministry of Jesus.  Jesus listened to people, and so can you.  Read my book all the way through if you have not yet done so.  It is calculated to help you learn, heal, grow and recover in every dimension of your life.

Join or start a small group to enjoy and learn from dialogue with people you trust and with whom you feel comfortable and relaxed.  Dialogue is not always helpful.  Healing dialogue has to be both honest and non-judgmental.  The basis for healthy dialogue is an accepting and affirming atmosphere that allows individuals to be themselves without fear of rejection and verbal abuse.


You have made great progress in your journey into freedom and self-acceptance.  What are the doors that are already open to you for further learning and growing and for ministries that really fit you?  Be creative.  Look for ways to continue and build upon what you have accomplished.

Merry Christmas!  Happy New Year!

Rembert Truluck

Rembert Truluck.  November 6, 1998. Update.

Recent elections show us that anti-gay religious forces are powerful and persistent.  In Alaska and Hawaii, propositions to deny gay and lesbian couples the right to marry were passed by significant majorities.  In my home state of South Carolina, where the state constitution was revised to allow people of different races to marry, forty percent of the voters voted NO! 

When are we going to stop beating our heads bloody against the brick wall of homophobic churches to try to gain acceptance in religious traditions and institutions that have lost their own spiritual credibility and relevance to today's world?  Churches are living in the dark ages and cling to attitudes and practices that the rest of our society outgrew centuries ago.

Only at church are people expected to "check their brains" at the door and let somebody else do their thinking for them.  The ritual of even the most liberal churches continues to arrange people in obedient rows of seats or pews so that attention is devoted to the "expert" at the front who talks uninterrupted for 30 minutes.  As though nobody had yet learned to read, the lessons are read to the unthinking "sheep", who are directed through liturgy, arm and leg exercises, and monotonous recitations that have been in use for centuries and that require no thinking or personal decisions on the part of the participants.  Churches are basically "brain washing" enterprises that give only one point of view over and over until total agreement is reached and sustained, whether anybody really understands religion or not.

We no longer live in a time when the average person cannot read and only privileged people have any formal education.  So why do we practice religion in forms that assume that we still live in the Fifteenth Century?  

It is time for Spiritual Homosexuals to turn in new directions for the truth that sets us free for love, joy, peace, and hope.  What new spiritual directions are most attractive to you?  What new directions are you already trying?  Where have you found God?  Where are you most likely to experience the spirit of Jesus Christ?

Do viable alternatives to the traditional churches exist for us to discover and try?  How about what Jesus intended in the first place?  When Jesus told the disciples after the resurrection to "make disciples of all people" and to "teach them everything that I have taught you", did he expect church buildings, budgets, books, boards, and agencies to develop?  I doubt it.  Jesus never said, "Sell what you have and give it to the building fund!"  Jesus did, however, say that new wine required new wineskins or the new wine would be lost.

What would have happened if the disciples had been obedient to Jesus to drop everything else and "make disciples of all people"?  Jesus never said, "Make converts."  We are all familiar with the principle of multiplication, where a single person makes one disciple in a year and then both of them make another disciple in another year and the process goes on to reach multitudes of people.  Jesus gave the "great commission" to a small group of people.  Suppose that there had been only one disciple who followed the orders of Jesus.

Within one year there would have been two.  Remember that Barnabas and Paul taught the disciples in Antioch for one year and the disciples were first called "Christians" (Christ-like) at Antioch (Acts 11:26).  If that one disciple had set the mathematical progression into motion and the number of disciples had doubled each year, in 30 years there would have been almost a billion disciples.  The population of the world would have become disciples without any church buildings, without a New Testament, and without any organization besides small home group meetings.  Perhaps the Christians would have taken over the Empire instead of the other way around.

We still have the opportunity to turn in new directions that really are the old directions followed and commanded by Jesus.  Small groups can meet in private homes and focus on individuals rather than on buildings, fund raising, ecclesiastical structure, church order, and orthodoxy.  Such small home groups do work.  You and I both have experienced the healing spiritual encouragement and acceptance of small groups.

One of the main purposes of my web site is to provide material and guidance for small group spiritual recovery.  See "Start Your Own Group" in my web site. 


1.Look within.  You already have great spiritual resources within yourself.  Draw upon the inner spiritual resources that God has given to you through your own personal experiences.

2.Learn from others.  Other people can teach you a lot from their experiences.  One purpose of a small discussion group, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, is to learn from what others have experienced.  Free dialogue that takes place in an accepting and non-judgmental environment produces spiritual growth and healing.  Bible study sessions where people argue and dispute "what the Bible says" produces confusion, conflict, and regression.

3.Ask Questions.  Question everything.  Always ask "Why?" until you have answers that fit and satisfy you.  Spiritual growth is a process that takes time and thought.

4.Be Objective.  Don't accept opinions and teachings that don't seem right to you.  You already know a lot.  Trust your own instincts.  If something does not sound right for you, it probably isn't.

5.Demand Evidence.  This is part of being objective.  Nobody has the right to make religious demands on you "just because I say so".  The phrase "the Bible says" is used frequently to make a forceful but dubious point in religious discussion.  Bible texts can be easily taken out of context and made to say totally untrue things that cannot stand up under careful and objective examination.  This is true of all of the Bible texts that are used to condemn and reject homosexuals.

6.Think.  A great deal of religious instruction and celebration assumes a medieval mind set that submits without thinking.  In no other area of life besides religion are grown people today expected to let someone else do their thinking for them.  Jesus came to teach people to think for themselves.  God has given you a wonderful logical mind. Your parents and society have given you a wonderful education.  Use both of them.

7.Accept Yourself.  Realize that all people have equal value before God.  All people includes you. Respect your own views and the views of others.  When you respect and accept yourself, you can more easily accept and respect other people.  Demand respect for yourself and for others.

8.Don't Follow the Crowd.  Remember that the majority can be wrong and often is.  Be an individual.  Don't let the world around you press you into a mold that doesn't fit you.

9.Get A Grip on Yourself.  Learn self control.  Know yourself.  Take a good look at who you are and learn to be honest with yourself about yourself.

10.Be Willing to Be Different.  As a homosexual, you are already different from most other people.  Buck the tide.  Resist going along with the expectations of others when those expectations are not right for you.

What do you think about all of this?  I would like to know your reaction to what I have presented in this letter.  What new directions do you think we might consider?  What new directions have you already tried?

My web site obviously is intended to explore new spiritual directions and new ways of seeing old truths.  Your feedback about it will be helpful in my work on a new book on "HONEST TO GAYS" that will try to bring a fresh look at new directions for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender spirituality in our constantly changing world.

None of this is really new.  All that I have said above has already been said better by Soren Kierkegaard in "Attack Upon Christendom", by Dietrich Bonhoeffer in "Letters and Papers from Prison", and by Paul Tillich in "The Shaking of the Foundations", all of these being used by Bishop J. A. T. Robinson in "Honest to God".  Get these classics and read them.

Thank you for many expressions of support for this ministry.  As always, we need financial help to keep my web site on the Internet and to produce printed material for those who request it.  I have recently expanded my workshop materials on "Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse" because of requests for resources for small study and spiritual recovery groups.  Write to me about my latest materials.  See "Gay Spiritual Survival Kit" in my web site.

Rembert Truluck
"Anyone who is in Christ is a new creation.
Old things have passed away.
Behold, new things have come."  II Corinthians 5:17

Recent books that have been helpful concerning the above issues:

Religion Is A Queer Thing, by Elizabeth Stuart. The Pilgrim Press: 1997.  This book deals with new directions for small group meetings for "Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered People."

Stealing Jesus: How Fundamentalism Betrays Christianity, by Bruce Bawer. Crown Publishing, Inc: 1997.  Very helpful look at why we need to find viable new directions for our spiritual path.

Why Christianity Must Change Or Die, by John Shelby Spong. HarperSanFrancisco: 1998.  Possibly Spong's best book.  "A Bishop Speaks to Believers in Exile". 
(See other relevant books in
Resources and References.)

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