Just a day or so later, we received a pamphlet in the mail, titled “I Was ‘Gay.’”
In the pamphlet, Stephen Bennett, 48, of Huntington, Conn. talked about how he was once gay, but now he is straight. I decided to give him a call.
Stephen said he was openly gay for 11 years and had slept with more than 100 men during that time.
When he finally thought he had found “the one,” Stephen’s partner of three years suggested that each of them have a fling with someone else once a year.
This crushed Stephen, he said. “That was like an arrow going through my heart,” he said.
He realized his relationships with men were dead-end streets, he said.
Around the same time, Stephen’s friend told him that he was not born gay and introduced him to the Bible’s teachings, he said.
After about a year-and-a-half of soul searching, he realized he was not gay anymore and that other factors in his life, such as feeling unloved by his father and being molested as a 6th grader, contributed to his homosexuality, he said. Stephen realized he had been looking for his father’s love in other men, he said.
Stephen met a woman (who is now his wife), Irene, 47, through a mutual friend, when he was still gay, she said.
“Naturally, I didn’t think he liked me,” Irene said.
Before meeting Stephen, Irene said she prayed for a husband, she said.
Stephen later became a Christian and asked Irene out on a date. Irene told Stephen that she was only interested in getting married. She didn’t want a fling, she said. Stephen told her he had the same desires, she said.
Before dating Stephen, God told Irene to pray for her future husband’s health and his protection from death, she said. “I would pray for him many, many nights,” Irene said.
She thought maybe he was a fireman, a police officer, or someone serving in the military. But later she learned about Stephen’s sexual past and that many of his partners had died from AIDS. Irene said it was a miracle that he didn’t contract the disease.
Now, 19 years later, Stephen and Irene have two children and a ministry – SBM Worldwide Inc., where they help people who feel conflicted about their homosexuality.
Stepehen said he no longer has any desires to be with other men. “I feel completely whole,” Stephen said.
Irene does not have any doubts about his heterosexuality. “I think our marriage has been pretty normal.”
They both emphasized that they love and respect all people. Stephen also said they aren’t out looking to change the world, but to help the people who want it.
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