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dogma

Religion and the Shackles of Lies and Hypocrisy

Dr. Olson,

Thank you so much for your essay on loneliness. It felt like the story of my life. I am currently seeking ways to free myself from the closet. I am older, not young. Maybe it’s beginning to happen now. I have read much about liberating myself from what I call “the shackles of lies and hypocrisy.” For me, religion has been a big difficulty. I’m trying my best to overcome my religion’s expectations and living a lie in the closet.

I was raised a Lutheran and at one time thought I’d always be a Lutheran, but when I came out to my mother, she went to her pastor, who told her, “Loren is going to hell unless he changes his ‘lifestyle.’” I left formal religion for the next twenty years but returned after I discovered an open and affirming church where I felt at home as an openly gay man. Lutheran churches are not all the same, and many have since moderated their stance on sexual orientation. But the point here isn’t about one religion or another. The point is that religious beliefs vary even within a church umbrella, and religious beliefs also evolve. It appears there is no “One Truth.” Continue reading

Can God Help Me Stop Being Sexually Attracted to Other Men?

Hello, Dr. Olson,

I am a thirty-yearold man who only recently realized that I am gay. I come from a very, very conservative Christian background, so every sense of being attracted to other boys was shut down until recently when I met a guy who rocked me deeply to my core. I have come out to a few family members who’ve told me that Satan has found a breach in my soul and entered, and he is now trying to destroy me and my family. I am reading the Bible and praying that God can change me, but I know deep down that I don’t want it to work. Do you think that I can be changed?

First let me say that I cannot counsel you about your religion, but what I can tell you is that dealing with the conflict between religion and sexual orientation is often the most difficult issue we must confront. Fortunately, one of the advantages of growing older is that we can think for ourselves. Continue reading

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