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#71889 - 07/23/03 05:31 AM Confronting the silence
dwf Offline
Moderator/BoD Emeritus

Registered: 05/24/03
Posts: 1223
Loc: Austin, Texas USA
It has been very hurtful and damaging to belong to a religion that absolutely, unequivocally says all sexual acts outside of marriage between man and woman to be sinful and wrong.

Made it really hard for me, being gay and being a member of the Baha'i Faith, which is the faith of my youth.

Even more damaging is that I was sexually abused by a man who held a position of respect and authority in the religion.

Being pronounced a sinner for being gay, then being molested by a man who was a father figure and a leader in that faith really messed me up.

I've been working pretty hard on trying to recover from the effects of the lies and deceptions that were perpertrated on me when I was a young boy.

For a long time, I was so ashamed of what was done to me, that I abandoned my religion. It was one more thing that the abuser took from me.

It was like a murder in my soul.

When I started to get some help with the problems stemming from the sexual abuse, one of the first things I thought was that perhaps someday I would be able to return to my faith. I had really missed it so much over the years; and had felt so guilty about being so weak as to give it up.

But as I got better, I did return. I've spent the last 7 years working in my faith community, being of service and trying to feel a part of. All the while, I kept both my homosexuality and the abuse a secret.

Finally, last year, the pressure of the conflict got so bad I couldn't go on. I thought about being dead all the time. I guess that's the only way out of the dilemna I could find.

Before anything happened to make that imaginary solution a reality, I decided to take a break from my participation in my religious community life.

That has been a really big help to my recovery.

Getting out of that atmosphere where I felt condemned and rejected gave me the strength I need to think about trying to disclose and confront the abuse.
Reporting the abusive situation to the authorities in the religion is something I've never been able to think about doing.

I feel bad, like a coward, for not speaking up. What about the other guys this man molested? Could I have spared them? Thank God, I'm finding some relief from that burden, especially here at MS.

I'm scared and worried about how it will end up. How it will affect me and my family. What people will think for pity's sake! How weird to find myself worrying about that after what I've been through.

I'm also afraid of being hurt again by being rejected and ostracized.

It's helped me a lot to separate out the abuse from my homosexuality.

The man who abused me was not gay--he was a pederast, someone who derives pleasure from the sexual oppression of younger, weaker victims.

That's not homosexual or heterosexual--that's evil.

My therapist says that on account of the developmental period of life in which I was sexually abused and the religious environment in which it occurred that there are special difficulties I'm going to face. Sort of like a special brand of hell was visited upon me.

It has made it very difficult to contemplate bringing this up in an outside forum, like my religion or my family.

I found a pretty good way to practice what it would be like to confront the abuse when I came across an anonymous website with a discussion board.

For the first time ever, I was able to feel safe enough in a Baha'i environment, using the language of my co-religionists, to confront the atmosphere of intolerance and denial that faces gay people in the Baha'i Faith.

I really let out a lot of anger, sadness, sorrow and grief that had built up over years and years of remaining silent. I ranted about the atmosphere of homophobia (fear of gay people) that is so prevalent in the community.
Pretty ironic since the main premise of the religion is tolerance of all people and all faiths.

I started to see also that it's one type of harm to be told that I am committing a sin.

It's infinitely more damaging to be told that I do not have the right to exist.
That I am a non-person, undeserving of any acknowledgement of my pain or sorrow or hopes or desires because my affectional preference is other men.

It doesn't look like many people visit this web site. It's fairly illicit in that there are not supposed to be any gay Baha'is. It might make the religion look bad.

But I tell you, just having the experience of talking out loud (writing actually) about the outrage I feel at the treatment of homosexuals in my faith was a really big breakthrough for me.

And I was able to feel safe when I was doing it.

And next, when I've settled down a little emotionally from this experience, I intend to go back and 'rehearse' on the website what it might feel like when I am able to confront the Baha'i Faith about the sexual abuse that occurred in the bosom of the community.

My therapist asked me if I thought it would have any healing effect to be able to do this.

After my experience on the anonymous web site, I was able to tell him 'Yes!'.

If any one else here is having the same type of problem imagining how to ever confront or disclose the sexual abuse, I would recommend trying a dress rehearsal in some kind of safe, anonymous forum.

Just wanted to let you know there's been a little progress here. And I never could imagine how this could ever come to pass.

I guess this place and you guys are bigger than my imagination. And that's pretty big!

Thanks to you, my brothers, for the way you help me feel better about myself,


"Poke salad Annie, 'gators got you granny
Everybody said it was a shame
'Cause her mama was aworkin' on the chain-gang"

-Tony Joe White

#71890 - 07/24/03 03:38 AM Re: Confronting the silence
The Dean Offline
Moderator Emeritus
Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 2080
Loc: Milwaukee, WI
Hey Danny!

God is God. Some believe God is and some don't. For some God is a Higher Power, or a Great Spirit etc.

Men get the idea of starting a gathering of people who believe in God the way they do. That is where it gets all screwed up. It becomes a religion, rather than a relationship with a personal God.

Religons need rules (code) a set of beliefs, (creed) and some way of expressing themselves when they gather a a believing community (cult).

Humans come up with some real dillies of ideas that they try to make God accept. Poor God, he dare not disobey what His creatures tell him he has to hate and who to hate and insist that they and they alone know the mind of God. I think that was the problem of Adam and Eve, who got kicked out of paradise.

For many religions God has been commanded to despise homosexuality and to hate homosexuals. I don't think God pays much attention to such ranting and raving. But it sure makes the people who do it feel righteous.

Poor God, he has such a hard time just being God--i.e. LOVE. I really think that if some people did not have people to hate, they would hate God because they really need to feel that they are far superior to anyone else, except, MAYBE, God


If we do not live what we believe, then we will begin to believe what we live.

#71891 - 07/24/03 06:10 PM Re: Confronting the silence
Mike Church Offline
Moderator Emeritus
Registered: 01/23/03
Posts: 3439
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Bob very well put. And through it all all bigots and homophobs started out as innocent and a creature of god just as we all did gay or straight or somewhere in between. What a lot of awful stuff is preached in the name of god. He must be truly disgusted some times. You can also call him your higher power or the power within yourself.

Danny I think it is enough that you practice the really articles of your faith which I think are fairly common amongst all religions. If at the end of the day you can say that you have been a good bahai and god would be proud of you that is enough. Forget the damned bigots. They cannot and will not be changed.

I am a catholic and there are a lot of things I see that make me sad. Catholisism (cant spell) means universal. It has been corrupted by some and diligently practiced by many who are truly humane.

I choose to talk to God myself now ( just lately) and I try to follow the christian belief as I see them. Kindness, compassion, caring, comforting, non-judgmental courage, love of my fellow human. I dont always but I try to and at the end of most days I am sucessful and that is fine with me



#71892 - 07/24/03 11:24 PM Re: Confronting the silence
dwf Offline
Moderator/BoD Emeritus

Registered: 05/24/03
Posts: 1223
Loc: Austin, Texas USA
Thanks, Bob and Mike, for reading my ravings even though I've raved about them before.

There's something so therapeutic about getting all of these twisted thoughts out of my head and speaking/writing them so that they can finally be heard and go away.

When I came back here to read your responses,I was struck by the title I had given this topic.

Without knowing it I wrote down the answer to my question.


To confront and vanquish the silence all I must do is use my voice. That I can do. \:D

Wow, this has really blown me away.

Thanks for always caring enough about yourselves and me to be here and listen and respond.
You guys are truly some miracles here in this space.

Warm regards to you all, \:\)

Your brother.

"Poke salad Annie, 'gators got you granny
Everybody said it was a shame
'Cause her mama was aworkin' on the chain-gang"

-Tony Joe White

#71893 - 07/25/03 12:15 AM Re: Confronting the silence
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire

You don't strike me as a man who's stuck for words.

Dave ;\)

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

#71894 - 07/25/03 03:41 AM Re: Confronting the silence
dwf Offline
Moderator/BoD Emeritus

Registered: 05/24/03
Posts: 1223
Loc: Austin, Texas USA

Thanks, Dave. I needed a good laugh.

You could say that the answer to my problem was right in front of (or on the front of my face), but I couldn't see it 'til you pointed it out! ;\)

OK, Dave, now you've got me laughing about something that was making me crazy a few hours ago! \:D

Way to go! Good job!

Laughing away,

"Poke salad Annie, 'gators got you granny
Everybody said it was a shame
'Cause her mama was aworkin' on the chain-gang"

-Tony Joe White

#71895 - 07/25/03 03:04 PM Re: Confronting the silence
Freedom Offline

Registered: 09/21/02
Posts: 164
Loc: US

It is awesome how much work you have put into your recovery. That is definitely something to be proud of!

I do not know anything about the Baha'i faith but any faith that can react this way to a person's tribulations is suspect in my book. It seems to have more to do with peoples' phobias than the precepts of the religion.

As for being rejected upon disclosure, I understand your concern and wish you well in whatever you decide to do. I am glad that you are facing some of the things that are lurking in the shadows of your past.

You do have a way with words and it shows that you spent quite a bit of time in introspection. At the same time, he habit of silence can be so powerful and comforting.

Best of luck,

Life is moving on. AM I?


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