Daren and Rhoda Mehl support the freedom of speech and religion to seek resources and services to align one’s identity and behaviors to their faith. No law or regulation should prohibit such an exercise of freedom. Jesus is the source of life. Seeking discipleship in the teachings of Jesus Christ should not be made illegal. Giving testimony of the works of Jesus Christ in one’s own life should not be made illegal.
Testimony of Daren Mehl
Growing up I desired to one day be married to a wonderful woman and be a dad. However, during my elementary and high school days I was relentlessly bullied by girls and boys and told I was gay. In a very crushing example of their attack on my identity, in middle school girls cruelly set me up on a date for a school dance and when I showed up to the girls house, excited to finally have a girl accept me and go to a dance with me, they cornered me in her house and yelled expletives at me, attacked my identity, and told me no girl would ever date me because I was gay. It crushed me.
In middle and high school, I was teased by the boys because
I was not athletic. Because of the constant torment and others labeling me and
pushing a gay identity onto me, I doubted my own natural attractions to girls
and began to accept that perhaps they were right, I was gay. I began to believe
that I couldn’t make it as a man to date women, and women wouldn’t want me
anyway. And so I began to explore the gay label and what it meant to live as a
gay identified person.
Shortly after I had accepted a gay identity and explored gay
sexuality, I came to faith. I came to realize that my behaviors, namely being
addicted to gay porn, and engaging in many sexual relationships with men, was
not in alignment with my faith.
I spent many painful years in conflict, trying to make gay
relationships work, all the time by myself trying to ‘pray the gay away’. This
led to internal conflict that was eating me up.
In counselling with Christian spiritual leaders, I realized
I had been born with heterosexual desires as God had created me a heterosexual
man. (I have been married since Dec 2005
and have two beautiful children). But while living gay identified these desires
were lying dormant, covered up by the trauma and lies I had experienced and
accepted during my childhood.
The pain from being rejected by girls, treated by boys as though I was ‘other’ than a boy, by being verbally and emotionally attacked by my step mother on regular basis, the shame from being raped by a man, feeling shameful of my body, and many other traumas I experienced were all areas that Jesus Christ has healed me. By the grace and mercy of God through Jesus Christ, same sex attraction became opposite sex attraction. It was a long journey which I documented in my blog www.darenmehlblog.com.
Any bill that prohibits an individual from exploring the truth, in reconciling their behaviors with their faith, seeking healing from brokenness, and attempting to live the truth as their faith teaches, is immoral and tyrannical. The counseling I received was paramount to reconcile the depression, anxiety, and heartache I was experiencing while living in a gay identity and addictive behaviors. Because of my faith in Jesus Christ, I have found my authentic self, my purpose in life, and live fully in the joy, peace, and full love that only God can provide.
Please do not pass bills that will act as a barrier to people who are seeking more information and help in their spiritual journey. Every person should have the freedom to access the counseling and resources they want. Do not deny men who want a wife and children the destiny God has for them.
Testimony of Rhoda Mehl
I met my husband when he identified as a gay man and was living with his boyfriend. I had met him through a male friend of mine of which my husband also once dated. Against the grain of culture, Daren and I fell in love and got married in 2005. My husband came into our marriage addicted to gay porn. Even though I stood beside him in support as he tried to overcome his gay porn addiction our marriage suffered greatly as he struggled year after year.
My husband’s journey was one of a broken and contrite heart, seeking his identity and the beliefs and values to live his life authentically in his faith following Jesus Christ. I loved him through this time. Throughout the years of his struggle, my husband prayed, received counseling, read several Christian books, and went to Christian conferences related to sexuality and identity. After 7 years of struggling, he finally found the powerful unmerited grace of Jesus Christ which brought him to the spiritual place of freedom he was seeking.
I saw him grow into his authentic self as he lives today. He no longer struggles with sexual attraction to men, and our marriage is restored and flourishing. We are living in the joy and happiness provided by Jesus Christ. Our marriage and our kids are a great blessing and a beautiful representation of the restoration that is possible through Jesus Christ.
If any bill were to pass which would make illegal the journey my husband went through seeking Jesus it would put any marriage that is in the same situation as ours was in danger. I strongly encourage rejecting any ban that would limit the resources- therapy, counseling, books, conferences, goods, and services – that would otherwise help restore marriages broken by sexual issues. Had my husband not overcome his conflict with his identity and reconciled his behaviors my daughter would not be with us today. Any bill that restricts those resources thereby preventing spiritual growth puts at risk other families and other lives to seek their full potential as desired by God. Please do not deny other people their choice to seek therapy or goods and services that could save a marriage.