Anne Paulk

Anne Paulk: Homosexuality Is Like Being Stuck In A 'Roach Motel'

Right-wing radio broadcaster Linda Harvey brought “ex-gay” activist Anne Paulk on the air this past weekend to discuss the impermanence of being or identifying as LGBT.

A repeat guest on the “Mission: America” program, Paulk spent half an hour hawking the work of her organization, Restored Hope Network, which is a collection of interdenominational ministries that promote “conversion therapy.”

Harvey was all ears as Paulk charged that LGBT people are responsible for “a great deal of grief” in their families, and asserted that the decision to come out of the closet “is like a death knell of all the future hopes of a parent.”

Paulk then compared identifying as gay to being trapped in a “roach motel,” which might lead people to “consider suicide.”

Unfortunately, not everyone could be successfully “saved” by the Restored Hope Network.

Newsweek Profiles John Paulk's Move From Ex-Gay Poster Boy To Movement Critic

Newsweek is out today with a story on John Paulk, who was featured on the magazine’s cover as an ex-gay success story back in 1998, and other ex-gay activists who have since recanted and left the movement.

Newsweek’s story reveals the personal struggles that many ex-gay leaders faced, even as they aided a movement that was harmful to gay people, particularly minors. The ex-gay movement, after all, was a product of a larger Religious Right push to undermine the claims of gay rights advocates by depicting homosexuality as a choice or a set of feelings that could be easily “fixed.”

Paulk’s ex-wife, Anne Paulk, however, continues to toe the ex-gay line.

Far-right groups including the Family Research Council and the American Family Association pooled $600,000 to place ads promising the effectiveness of reparative therapy in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and the Chicago Tribune. Anne and John Paulk smiled from full-page newspaper spreads.

In front of the crowds and cameras, Paulk was the image of certainty. But backstage, he was faltering. More than that, he knew he was lying.

“It’s funny, for those of us that worked in it, behind closed doors, we knew we hadn't really changed,” he says. “Our situations had changed—we had gotten married, and some of us had children, so our roles had changed. I was a husband and father; that was my identity. And the homosexuality had been tamped down. But you can only push it down for so long, and it would eke its way out every so often.”

When Paulk walked into that gay bar in 2000, someone recognized him and phoned Wayne Besen, a gay rights activist who now runs the nonprofit Truth Wins Out. Besen rushed over and snapped a picture. In the ensuing scandal, Paulk initially claimed he just went in to use the bathroom, and didn’t know it was a gay bar. But really, he was aching just to be in a welcoming environment.

“I went to a gay bar—not looking for sex, which is what people thought—but because I was missing my community. I was looking to sit in a place with people I felt comfortable with, and that was other gay people,” Paulk says. Though he continued to take speaking engagements, by 2003, he was burned out.

“I would be in hotel rooms, and I would be on my face sobbing and crying on the bed,” he says. “I felt like a liar and a hypocrite. Having to go out and give hope to these people. I was in despair knowing that what I was telling them was not entirely honest. I couldn’t do it anymore.”

Even in its earliest days, Exodus’s philosophy—that same-sex attraction meant a person was “broken” and could be “fixed”—was undermined by the reality of its members’ actions. Michael Bussee and Gary Cooper, two of the co-founders, left the movement in 1979 to be in a committed relationship with one another. (Bussee has spent the decades since actively fighting Exodus’s message.) John Evans, one of the founders of Love in Action (LIA), an early ex-gay ministry that helped establish Exodus in 1974, left LIA after a friend committed suicide over his distress at being unable to change his sexual orientation. "They're destroying people's lives,” Evans told The Wall Street Journal in 1993. “They're living in a fantasy world.” (LIA has since changed its name to Restoration Path.)



First came the photo of Paulk in the gay bar. Then in 2003, Michael Johnson, founder of “National Coming Out of Homosexuality Day,” was revealed to have infected men he’d met on the Internet with HIV through unprotected sex. John Smid, who joined LIA in 1986 and eventually became its executive director, left the organization in 2008. Three years later, Smid wrote on his blog that he "never met a man who experienced a change from homosexual to heterosexual," and that reorientation is impossible, because being gay is intrinsic.

Then it crumbled further. In 2012, psychologist Robert Spitzer—one of the leaders of the successful push in the 1970s for the American Psychiatric Association to declassify homosexuality as a disease—retracted a controversial study, published in 2003, often cited by the ex-gay community that had concluded some “highly motivated” individuals could change their sexual orientation. Spitzer wrote an apology to LGBT people who “wasted time and energy” on reparative therapy.



Lastly, there’s the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), founded in 1992 by psychologist Joseph Nicolosi. NARTH considers itself the foremost secular proponent of conversion therapy; it counts hundreds of well-credentialed mental health professionals among its ranks and has issued a number of white papers on the subject. It too, however, has suffered in the public eye in recent years: In 2007, NARTH therapist Chris Austin was convicted of sexually assaulting a client, and sentenced to 10 years in prison; in 2010, NARTH board member George Rekers was found to have employed a male prostitute as a companion for a two-week European vacation; and in 2012 the Internal Revenue Service revoked NARTH’s nonprofit status for not properly filing its paperwork.

Paulk left Exodus in 2003. He cautions against “speaking for everybody,” but says in his more than two decades of watching people undergo ex-gay therapy, the “large majority” of people he met “did not change one iota.” Paulk remained silent for a decade, until he issued a formal apology last year. "I know that countless people were harmed by things I said and did in the past, " Paulk wrote in a statement. "I am truly, truly sorry for the pain I have caused.”

Anne Paulk Mocks 'Naive' Gays For Thinking God Won't Punish Them

Ex-gay activist Anne Paulk chatted today with Tim Wildmon and Ed Vitagliano of the American Family Association about her work promoting ex-gay therapy. Of course, neither Wildmon nor Vitagliano asked Paulk a single question about her ex-husband John Paulk, the one-time ex-gay leader and movement poster boy who recently recanted and said that he is still gay.

However, Paulk did hint at her former spouse’s announcement in the interview: “You’ve got an entire culture telling you that it’s not only okay to be gay, it’s okay to leave your opposite-gendered spouse and family and embrace a homosexual relationship, in fact we’ll celebrate you if you do that, you’ll be our hero. You’ve got an entire media system with Hollywood and everything else going, ‘Oh, gay people are the best.’”

Vitagliano added that “people who continually, serially have sex with other people, you lose the ability to bond with those people like— I’m not trying to be facetious — like duct tape that has been stuck and unstuck repeatedly, at some point it loses its ability to stick.”

Paulk also repeated her suggestion that sexually transmitted diseases represent divine punishment for same-sex relations.

“If you add in the commands of God and then if you violate them, there are consequences for them, natural consequences,” she said while discussing the transmission of HIV. “There are natural consequences to sin and if we hide our heads and pretend they are not there, they simply happen anyway, it’s just a matter of naivety on the part of the person who says, ‘Oh no, there’s nothing wrong with it.’ Of course there is, it bears witness in reality, which is Romans I.”

Anne Paulk Warns Of Gay 'Brainwashing,' Laments 'Disobedient' Ex-Ex-Gay Ex-Husband

In an appearance on Vocal Point in March, ex-gay activist Anne Paulk lamented that teachers have “brainwashed” students into supporting gay rights, pushing society into a “downward spiral” dominated by “gay propaganda.”

Our children, the younger generation, have been inundated with cultural training or diversity training or tolerance training at their schools, brainwashing essentially, to not actually engage the topic [of homosexuality] from multiple sides or actually examine evidence. They’ve been told what to think over and over again and then punished or made fun of or put off to the side and stand out if they disagree with this gay propaganda. It’s not a matter of data or science or anything else, it’s a matter of intimidation and pressure tactics, and our kids have fallen right into that. It’s now grown up and impacted the younger adult generations and so the impact of that is tremendous and it will continue a downward spiral if we don’t engage the currnet generation with the truth.

When host Jerry Newcombe noted that Paulk’s ex-husband, John Paulk, was the poster boy for the ex-gay movement until he announced last year that he is still gay and renounced ex-gay therapy, Paulk responded that John has been “disobedient” to God: “He walked back into it, that’s true. Can that happen? Absolutely. People can fall, Christians can be disobedient and people who once had a struggle can once again engage that struggle whether it’s alcohol, drugs or any other type of sin struggle, we are not immune to our past, we must either surrender or be invaded by once was and so that is the challenge.”

Newcombe dismissed ex-ex-gays like John Paulk as similar to people who, for a time, stopped cigarette smoking “but unfortunately went back into it.”

Paulk: God Punishes Gays With Early Death, Disease

Last year, Anne Paulk and her husband, ex-gay poster boy John Paulk, separated after he announced that he is still gay and criticized the ex-gay movement.

But she is still very much the ex-gay activist and on Wednesday appeared on Religious Right broadcaster Janet Parshall’s radio show to “offer Biblical answers for those struggling with same sex attraction,” including her belief that gay men are punished with disease and early death for having sex with other men:

Our functionality of our bodies aligns with the intended functionality of our sexuality and put within parameters that are healthy and safe for us. Men having sex with men is medically unsound, it propels a man towards an early death by a disastrous disease. Romans 1 of course talks about that sort of thing occurring with those that do such things, ‘the due penalty for their error.’ That’s not quite what we’re after; what we’re after is repentance and rest for those who are struggling with their identity and for those who are thinking ‘am I gay?’

She later spoke to a caller who said that Satan haunted him through the night telling him he was gay, but Paulk said that since he resisted and “threw off the lie that he is gay,” he became a “whole man.”

Caller: I actually stayed up one night in college and at the time I wasn’t a Christian but I was under so much depression from previous relationships with other women that the Devil actually kept me up that night trying to tell me that ‘you’re gay, you’re gay, you’re gay’ because I was just that depressed and I was almost haunted and he was trying to make me believe that. I just kind of prayed it out because I had that biblical background and I woke up and I was like, ‘oh my gosh, it’s gone, thank the Lord.’ It’s really interesting.

Paulk: Thank you Dustin. Certainly homosexual feelings or behavior can happen and then if you come to the Lord and you repent, which means to turn away from, to change your mind about, and you repent, and you surrender to him and you his forgiveness, in 1 John 1:9 it says ‘He will forgive you and cleanse you from your unrighteousness’ and that’s exactly what happened with Dustin. You have to believe what’s true and that will set the course of your life. Dustin threw off the lie that he is gay and he is a whole man walking forward but that takes some battle, takes some fight.

Paulk: Have A 'Healthy Detachment' From Your Gay Son

After hosting ex-gay activist Trace McNutt, Janet Parshall invited Anne Paulk to her show to discuss “healing and hope for those longing to leave the gay lifestyle behind.” Paulk is an ex-gay activist who was married to John Paulk, the poster boy of the ex-gay movement, until his recent announcement that he is in fact still gay and apology for his role pushing ex-gay therapy.

Neither Parshall nor Paulk mentioned her husband’s renunciation of the ex-gay movement during the program, but Paulk was more than happy to field questions from listeners about their gay family members.

One caller said that her 27-year-old son “has chosen to be in the homosexual lifestyle” and wanted to know what to do about it.

Paulk responded that the caller’s son is “rebelling against God” and that she should have a “healthy detachment” from him due to his “choices.”

“You can then love them like you would a friend who is going astray in different areas that are damaging to friend.”

“I think the key part is being winsome” when you tell your son you are going to have a “healthy detachment” from him, she continued. “Son, I love you and I disagree with where you’re going in your life and this is why.”

'Ex-Gay' Activist: Gays and Lesbians 'Acting Out' Like Drug Addicts, Alcoholics

“Ex-gay” activist Anne Paulk (ex-wife of ex-ex-gay activist John Paulk) joined Janet Parshall yesterday to discuss the “way out of homosexuality.” Paulk, who has previously claimed that the majority of lesbians were sexually abused as children, told Parshall that “the reason most people end up gay is because they’ve had some really broken experiences in their early childhood” and that they are “acting out in this way” in response to “sorrow and pain.”

This “expression of sin,” she added, is “really not that much different” than alcoholism, drug abuse and “relational addiction.”

I do believe that if the Church understood that it’s the outcome of pain and sorrow and interpersonal challenges, and it’s the product of personal confusion. And that’s what I used to talk on all the time in years prior, is you know what, the reason why most people end up gay is because they’ve had some really broken experiences in their early childhood. It’s just manifesting in this way. And the more you get to know about what’s underlying of homosexuality, the more you get to understand that they’re just a human being that’s been wounded. That’s a little boy who’s grown up, who’s been very desperately hurt and is acting out in this way. That’s still, that was once a little girl whose heart was broken and her body misused. And the outcome is sorrow and pain, and this is the expression of it.

And I think that’s the expression of sin altogether, and it’s our rebellion against God, our rebellion against -- what we believe we want our way to be. Homosexuality is, not unlike any other sin, it’s a shortcut to getting your own needs met, and it’s not a healthy shortcut. Drugs don’t solve the problem of trying to hide from one’s trouble. Hiding doesn’t work at all. Alcohol doesn’t work that way, relational addiction doesn’t work that way, promiscuity doesn’t solve anything. Same thing with homosexuality. And I think when people understand that they’re really not that much different, it’s just a different outworking of similar underlying issues, it helps a lot.

But, like Sandy Rios, who takes heart in the fact that gay people sometimes get their hearts broken, Paulk has hope for gays and lesbians. “Even people in the gay community will celebrate someone’s amazing marriage, like the prince and the princess of England,” she said, meaning that they are in fact capable of understanding “the big picture of beauty that God has in mind.”

Anne Paulk Claims Vast Majority of Lesbians Were Sexually Abused; Won't Discuss Ex-Ex-Gay Ex-Husband

Last month, ex-gay poster boy John Paulk announced that he was renouncing the ex-gay movement and ending his twenty-year marriage to his ex-gay wife, Anne. While John has now finally acknowledged that ex-gay conversion therapy doesn’t work and is in fact extremely harmful, his now ex-wife Anne is still a supporter of the dangerous pseudo-science.

In fact, she recently appeared on Daystar’s “Joni Table Talk” where she told host Joni Lamb that according to her “study,” homosexuality is caused by sexual abuse and “sixty-six percent of [lesbian] women had incurred sexual abuse early on in their lives and astoundingly ninety percent of the girls who were leaving homosexuality had expressed that they had been a witness to sexual abuse or physical abuse or serious emotional abuse or any number of serious verbal abuse.”

Lamb told Paulk that “the Enemy”—Satan—“came in and shut a door and opened a door to deception,” and Paulk added that “wounding leaves you hurting; it leaves you with a craving to feel a need and a hole that’s left in one’s life.”

Towards the end of the program, Lamb and her co-hosts cheered Paulk after she said she had been an ex-gay for “twenty-seven years” and called on gays and lesbians to move the “out of darkness.”

Lamb concluded the show by asking viewers to pray for John and their marriage, without ever once mentioning that John has denounced his ex-gay past and conversion therapy or discussing the “personal struggle” with Anne.

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