Ken Williams, a pastor at Bethel Church in Redding, California, opened up in a new interview about how following Jesus led him “away from” homosexuality.
The married father of four talked about his new book, “The Journey Out: How I Followed Jesus Away From Gay,” with the Daily Signal’s Virginia Allen.
Williams, who began dealing with an urging toward homosexuality during his childhood years, said he remembers feeling as if he did not “fit in” with other boys his age, acknowledging he was smaller and didn’t have the same athletic prowess as his peers.
That, coupled with an unfortunate exposure to what he described as “hardcore gay pornography” led him down a destructive path.
“[W]hat I witnessed caused me to lose respect for males,” Williams said. “Because obviously, I wouldn’t describe what I saw but … it’s worse than you would expect. And really, dishonor and degradation is what I witnessed. … I was already struggling, because they mocked me and I was having trouble keeping up.”
It was during that same encounter some boys began “touching” him, a situation that sparked within the now-pastor a serious struggle with shame.
Williams said he dedicated his life to Jesus when he was just 8 years old, but admitted he struggled to understand God within the context of his experiences.
For years, he struggled alone.
The pastor recalled looking for his identity in other males, and “that search for finding me in someone else had gotten sexualized because my first sexualization was at the hands of only males,” he explained.
It wasn’t until Williams was 17 years old — and dealing with suicidal ideation — that he finally talked with someone, a youth pastor, about what he was going through.
The youth minister, confronted with what Williams had undergone, told the then-teenager he wasn’t gay, despite how he was feeling.
Soon thereafter, at the youth pastor’s prompting, Williams told his parents.
“We just kind of wept and shared and all that,” he said. “[M]y life began at that moment. … You will never know unconditional love until you first share your condition.”
That resulted in several years of intense therapy to process and work through not only his inclination toward homosexuality, but also the issues that led him to that point, like the molestation and pornography.
Much of Williams’ healing is rooted in the fact he was — and is — convinced God does not leave people in their struggles.
“[II]f God had given directives in Scripture about sexuality, and if He had said that homosexuality is not condoned, it’s considered sin, then He must have a solution for it,” he told Allen. “Because He’s not crazy, He’s good. He’s not diabolical. So if He says something’s wrong, surely, He has a solution.”
Williams has since authored a book about his journey to faith in God and away from sexual immorality.
He said the book for people who “want a way out” of the LGBT lifestyle.
“I’m not speaking to the people that are content with an LGBTQ life,” he explained. “But there are so many that are not fulfilled with that. It doesn’t scratch the itch. And so for those that it’s like, ‘This feels impossible. I feel disconnected from God over it,’ I’m telling you, it does not have to be that way.”