Misha Anouk, author of Goodbye, Jehova!, offered up a letter of apology to the LGBT community this week for his homophobic attitudes and behavior while he was a Jehovah’s Witness.
“I am ashamed to say that for the better part of my life I detested homosexuality, thought it to be a sin, something bad,” he wrote on JW Alumni. “I viewed homosexuals as perverted and used gay as a swear word… When my Jehovah’s Witness friends and I watched a movie with gay protagonists we felt sick and made no secret of it. We were convinced homosexuals would die in Armageddon and we believed they deserved it.”
Baptized at 14, Anouk spent 21 years preaching the group’s fundamentalist aversion to the “unholiness” of gays.
He included passages from Jehovah’s Witnesses’ texts that illuminate the church’s disdain towards LGBT people.
The Bible compares homosexual activity to the sexual relations that rebellious angels, who came to be known as demons, had with women before the Deluge of Noah’s day. (Genesis 6:4; 19:4, 5; Jude 6, 7). God views both acts as unnatural.
There is sordid, abhorrent pornography involving homosexuality (sex between those of the same gender), child pornography, gang rape, the brutalizing of women What Christian would deny that the above-mentioned abhorrent, sexually degrading forms of pornography are “unnatural lusts” and are sordid?
Children in the church are even taught that even masturbation “can lead into homosexuality,” reinforcing a culture of repression from a young age.
Anouk says he’ll never be able to make up for his views, but “the least I can do is to apologize for having been part of a movement that contributes to intolerance.”
I have no idea how many people I have hurt in my life through my beliefs and homophobic or sexist slurs I may have uttered… I am honestly sorry I was this kind of person.
I know for sure that Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t tolerate crimes against Homosexuals. But they don’t realize that hate speech like theirs is a breeding ground for crimes against Homosexuals.
He left the church in 2003, and was soon shunned by his friends and family, most of whom have not spoken to him to this day. “I experienced first-hand what it means when people look down on you because they don’t agree with your lifestyle,” he writes.
While the rejection of family and friends was devastating, Anouk says leaving was incredibly liberating.
I grew up as a Jehovah’s Witness and turned into a homophobic assh*le because of that. And I am proud to say that I am this asshole no more.
When I stopped being a Jehovah’s Witness I learned to have respect for all walks of life. I learned that you can choose who you sleep with and how you dress, but you do not choose your sexuality or your biological gender.
I grew up in a binary world. But when I left, the diverse world beyond Jehovah’s Witnesses grew on me, and I learned to love it. I have a bunch of friends from the LGBT community and they all welcomed me into their lives despite of my past.
Their example touched me and showed me what a jerk I used to be.
You can hang that jerk jacket up for good, Misha. Kudos.