September 2002 – In interviews with American Family Association, Christian recording artist and national speaker Stephen Bennett tells the story of how God set him free from homosexuality and set him on the path of ministry to those trapped in that lifestyle.
AFA: Many in the homosexual lifestyle claim to have known they were “gay” at a very early age. Was that your experience?
I always felt that I was different. I can remember from early on never measuring up to the other boys or fitting in – always wishing I was like them. Eventually the desire to become like them became sexual and eventually turned into lust.
AFA: What do you think was responsible for that?
I have no doubt in my mind it had everything to do with the lack of a relationship with my father. I was the first-born child and my dad was an alcoholic. I love my father very much, but I just never received the attention nor love I craved and I needed from him.
So I grew up closer to my mom, and I didn’t have a male role model in my life. My mom was both my mother and father. When it was family day at school, it was my mom and myself. When other kids were out there playing football and baseball, my father never did that with me. I wasn’t able to play. I didn’t know how to play.
There were a lot of things going on. I was a nerd before the word was invented, so kids were calling me “dork” and “fag” and “gay.” I was just constantly rejected by my male peers. So, growing up a lot of my friends were girls. I never really had that much male friendship, and I was always craving to be like these other boys.
As a result, in my teen years, when puberty started kicking in, I started noticing that this started to take a little bit of a different twist. I was looking at boys, now, in a sexual way.
I never gave in to those homosexual feelings until 1981, when I was a freshman in college in New York City. A male student befriended me there at school, and after about three months, I got drunk for the first time, and I had my first homosexual relationship that night. I had just turned 19.
AFA: Was that the start of your homosexual lifestyle, or did you try to hide it?
That’s actually when I came out as a homosexual, but after three weeks this guy dumped me. I fell into a very severe depression, and I dropped out of college after only five months. I went back to Connecticut and found that most of my friends from high school were all gay. They ended up introducing me to the gay bar scene, and I just got deeply involved right from the start with the gay bars.
AFA: What was it about going to gay bars that drew you in?
After growing up with all this rejection from my dad and other males, I found love and acceptance from other men at gay bars. I guess you could say I was the new meat in the bar because everyone was after me. I had friends galore.
Through the next six or eight years, I just went deep into the gay lifestyle. I had numerous one night stands. I started drinking heavily and doing cocaine. I became a cocaine dealer in Connecticut just to support my drug habit.
AFA: Did you ever think homosexuality might be wrong, or a sin?
I was Catholic, but our family was never really very devout. Still, something deep inside of me was telling me this was wrong. But I ignored it, or tried dealing with my mental turmoil with more alcohol and drugs. I developed bulimia, which is something that is much more common among women – where you binge on large amounts of food and then throw up.
AFA: So how did you get out of this trap?
In 1988 I ended up on the floor from a three-day cocaine and alcohol binge, and wound up going into a drug rehabilitation program. I was in there for 45 days, and God delivered me at that point from the drugs, the alcohol, and the bulimia.
However, I still had a deep, dark secret, and that was my homosexuality. I even tried dating girls, but inside I knew I was homosexual – I was just covering up my feelings. I finally went back to a gay bar, and met a man that I fell in love with, and we started a three-year live-in relationship together.
AFA: And you were happy?
Yes, perfectly. But then one day, about a year-and-a-half into my relationship with this man, a friend of mine showed up at my door with a Bible, and she said, “Can I come and talk to you about Christ?” And I just laughed at her because this was my friend Kathy, whom I had known for many years. She knew about my homosexuality, and I knew that Kathy had been into astrology and witchcraft in the past. But now she was a Christian.
Well, that day she opened up the Word of God to me, and she showed me very clearly that homosexuality was a sin in the eyes of God. And she read through all the verses dealing with homosexuality, but one verse in particular brought tears to my eyes: 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. That’s where it says the homosexual will not inherit the Kingdom of God, “and such were some of you. But you are washed, you are justified, you are sanctified.” I said to Kathy, “Wait a second. That’s saying that homosexuals can change?”
She said, “Steve, they’ve been changing from the time Jesus was around. Jesus can deliver you from that.” I said, “No one ever told me that.” I had mocked Christians and made fun of them for years, but here was Kathy – now a Christian – telling me there was hope for leaving homosexuality.
However, when she asked me if I wanted to receive Christ and pray, I told her “I’ve already got Christ.”
AFA: So you didn’t become a Christian right away.
No, but Kathy left me a copy of the Bible that day, and for the next year-and-a-half, with my partner sleeping right next to me in bed, I’d be reading that Bible, and the Word of God was changing me from within without me even realizing it. Of course, I couldn’t understand a lot of it because I didn’t have the Spirit of God inside of me, but I was taking simple principles and applying those to my life. And I was starting to feel guilty now. This man I loved, who was in the bed with me, anytime something sexual happened, I would be on the bathroom floor praying for forgiveness to a God I didn’t even know.
There was this huge mental struggle going on in my head, and I kept wondering, “Can I be a homosexual and a Christian? Is there such a thing?” The battle was so strong, I left everything – my boyfriend, my family, everybody, and in 1991, I moved to Provincetown, Massachusetts, which is one of our country’s largest gay sub-cultures, to see if I could live as a gay Christian.
AFA: God was still dealing with you.
Absolutely. I was there for five months, and I tell you, God opened my eyes that summer to the perverseness of the homosexual lifestyle. I saw everything in full swing, but I only got deeper into it. I did some things that I shouldn’t have, and I eventually came back crying to my partner after five months. I pleaded with him: “Forgive me. Forget this God business, this Christian business. Just take me back; we’ll have a happy life again together.” And he did take me back.
But you know, when I put God on the back burner, He wasn’t done with me. After only three months in my partner’s home, in October or November of 1991, I was wrapping Christmas presents, trying to find some Christmas music to listen to on the radio, and I came across a Christian radio station. God began using Christian radio to minister to me again, to let me know He wasn’t done with me.
Finally, a month-and-a-half later, I called my friend Kathy on the phone and said, “I can’t take this any longer. What do I need to do?” And she led me to Christ. Jesus saved me miraculously. He delivered me from homosexuality on the very day when I prayed, and I was on my way to a walk with Jesus Christ. That was January of 1992.
AFA: That’s more than 10 years ago. What has God done in that time?
Within that first year, I got engaged to a beautiful Christian woman, Irene, who knew me when I was a homosexual, and had been praying for my salvation for years. We were married on June 13, 1993, and have the best marriage, along with two beautiful children, a little boy and a little girl. God has given me the desires of my heart and the family I always dreamed about. Jesus Christ has truly changed my life.
And as we minister to people across the country, and especially to homosexuals, my wife and I carry a message of hope in Christ. Because with God, nothing is impossible – and I know that for a fact. I do believe in miracles, for I’ve seen a soul set free … for that lost soul was me.
Stephen Bennett is a Christian recording artist with three CDs currently out, with singles from all three playing nationally on Christian radio. Stephen and his wife Irene have ministered throughout the country at conferences, conventions and in churches, and his story has been told in print, on radio talk shows and television programs. On October 18, Stephen will tell his story to 85 million viewers on Rev. Jerry Falwell’s Listen America, which airs at 10 p.m. (ET). For more information:
Stephen Bennett Ministries
P.O. Box 2095
Huntington, CT 06484