Recently I wrote posts concerning John Paulk (here and here). On April 30th, yesterday, I messaged him again to see if he would be willing to do a follow up interview and he graciously replied. The following is the transcript of our exchange. Bolded and underline text are my questions. JP is John’s initials and they are at the beginning of his responses.
There has been quite a stir over your recent comments of late. What type of responses have you gotten?
JP: Truthfully, I have received messages from around the globe, from conservatives and non-conservatives expressing love and support for me. Many people have let me know that they don’t place conditions on their love for me. It has been remarkable.
Many people made a lot of assumptions but I noticed that in your public statements you never actually said you were gay. So, to be direct, are you gay?
JP: I have purposefully refused to state that “I am gay.” I don’t identify as gay, ex-gay, or even ex-ex-gay. For where I am in this journey, I am uncomfortable being trapped by defining labels any longer. I reject being put in a box or category. This is how I am choosing to live right now.
Well, then, how do you define, or how do you see, yourself?
JP: My main drive and interest is to please the Lord and live for Him. Because of God’s recent work in my life I have become more loving, tender, vulnerable, and hopeful.
I unapologetically refuse to be a part of any movement or jump on any bandwagon. While you haven’t heard the last from me, I fully intend on leading a quiet life; no pressure, no publicity. I simply want to love and serve my children well while pursuing healing and ongoing discovery.
How is your faith journey going?
JP: My relationship with the Lord is more real and authentic than ever before. My beliefs about the Bible are the same. I have not gone off the deep end having become a freakishly liberal gay Christian. Moreover, I don’t consider myself a conservative anymore either. I finally have found a place of balance that has led me to a place of peace.
I have a deeper understanding now of how much compassion the Lord has for us. His love and approval of us is unconditional and I firmly believe that we do not need to perform to gain His approval. I do not love my sons any more or less by what they do or don’t do. In fact, I love them even more when they are in crisis. I run to their aid. Why would God do any less? God Himself said that he will never leave nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).
Could you share a bit more, from your heart if it is ok, about your perspective of the divorce?
JP: For many years, I have hurt my wife, due to my homosexuality–albeit unintentionally. I was racked with tremendous shame and guilt for many years. This guilt was eating me alive because I love Anne very much. But I came to the place over the past few years where I felt that I was not able to follow the ex-gay path any longer. This was not an easy revelation as you can imagine. I feared letting people down or disappointing those who had looked up to me. I have shed more tears this past year than I care to remember. But I wanted to stop hurting Anne. Part of this was deciding that we are better apart. Today, I am a better father than I have ever been. I haven’t and will never abandon my family. I am present and here for them each day. My oldest son recently said to me, “Dad, I want you to know you have become a better dad to me through all of this. I love you.”
And I want to make a very important statement about Anne: My wife Anne has been with me for 21 years. I inordinately love and respect her. She is a tender, caring, amazing woman of God. I will always be in her corner. If someone wants to hurt her they will have to go through me first. She is and will always be precious to me.
She and I see the issue of homosexuality differently now, but that does not mean we cannot have mutual admiration and respect for one another. We share three amazing sons together and a long rich history.
I am hopeful for my future. I have a joy I’ve never known before. I feel free and content to be just a man who loves his sons and family.
God bless you John, thank you for answering my questions. My heart aches for the pain you, Anne and the boys have gone through and are continuing to process. I love and am praying for you all.
- John Paulk No Longer Supports the “Ex-Gay” Movement (randythomas.co)
- John Paulk’s Shocking Secret (randythomas.co)