My short bio: My name is Tim Kurek, I'm a straight Christian male who chose to live a year of my life as openly gay -- I came out to family, friends, my community and church. This experience profoundly changed my views on LBGT issues and religion in our society.

I wrote a book about my experiences called "The Cross in the Closet", and am currently working on a documentary and travel project focused on developing global citizenship and social change (we are currently crowdsourcing). Ask me anything.

Book: http://www.amazon.com/The-Cross-Closet-Timothy-Kurek/dp/0983567743

Documentary: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/developing-america-a-documentary (help us fund this project if you are interested!)

My Proof: http://imgur.com/jnbSmQQ

Comments: 354 • Responses: 94  • Date: 

Duchov47 karma

Hey, thanks for doing this ama, I think you did something very interestig. What was the biggest prejudice you faced while pretending to be gay?

timothykurek87 karma

The stereotypes perpetuated in the church are huge. The worst one had to have been that I was automatically a sex-crazed maniac.

al-smithee46 karma

Do you think people are more inclined to listen to a straight person's lived LGBT experience, then to LGBT people's realties? Do you have any reservations about being lauded for experiencing discrimination?

timothykurek41 karma

Absolutely and it makes me sick... I am shocked that after two years the CNN article was reposted and went somewhat viral online and here on reddit and I am doing an AMA. I desire nothing more than to be considered completely irrelevant.

al-smithee28 karma

I agree with what you said, they'll move on soon enough from the gays, but I think trans folks will be the new focus. Who knows though we're very in right now. Whomever becomes the new scapegoat we'll have to maintain solidarity with. It's really a shame, I love a good smitey Old Testament God as much as the next Catholic, but I'm pretty sure our New Testament Savior did not have this in mind. If we looked at how he interacted with the pariahs of his age he was explicit in his words and actions: Be among them do unto them. He surrounded himself with them.

I view myself more as a disciple of Christ then a Christian. I want to follow his lead and reflect it in the work I do. I'm a LGBT community organizer, and feel the work is part of my mission. So many of my community are harmed by the church I don't typically share my motivation. Then again if you do good works only to have them recognized as such then you've clearly missed the point. Good for you walking the walk, I hope that your experience doesn't get used to further other people's agenda. Though, I guess if it does it will be the one part of living as LGBT that no one can truly walk away from. Congratulations on your pending nuptials.

As a postscript: I thought you'd like to know that the word compassion comes from the Late Latin word compati which means to suffer along with.

timothykurek10 karma

Your comment is my favorite. You are right! Thank you for sharing and the wedding blessing!

dontworryimstupid31 karma

Were any of your friends from your gay year upset with you afterwards? Do you still hang around with them?

Also, was it as awkward coming out as straight to them as it was to coming out as gay to your family and friends? I imagine you had to comfort of this social experiment to rely on when you came out to your family, but ironically when you told your gay friends you were actually confessing to a double life.

Edit: words because mobile

timothykurek29 karma

A few of them, but honestly the vast majority of them understood and accepted me immediately. The ones that didn't eventually did after they asked me questions and realized I wasn't trying to use them or their stories.

DaBandMan16 karma

You were good friends with my sister in high school and I remember her saying you had started out wanting to be a youth minister. (It's been a while since she told me, so this could be inaccurate) Later, she told me you had come out as gay and I was appalled and flabbergasted. Really, I was. I was wondering why you had chosen to be gay and wanted to be a youth pastor at the same time; I was not very open minded at that time, I usually did as I was told. After I heard you came back out as straight, I got thrown for a loop and had no idea what to think of you after that. But once I found out why you did it, and wrote a book about your experience, I had a larger amount of respect for you (also, I had grown and matured immensely since then).

It sounded like what you did (after your book was published) was something written as a film or a fictional story.

Also, I think you had loaned her your guitar at one point. I think it was a Jasmine (This should hit at who I am). Did you ever get it back?

timothykurek14 karma

I never did. Email me on facebook.com/timothykurek .

firepiggymonkfish7 karma

That's a really interesting question. I hadn't considered the aspect of "coming out straight." He may be one of the only people ever to have had to do that if you think about it...

timothykurek9 karma

Yes, I came out twice. As straight at the end of the year.

headofshiz20 karma

I find your experiment fascinating as someone who is currently experiencing a faith transition away from the mormon church. Can you be specific about your motivations for doing this? Was it to investigate religious bigotry? A search for answers that religion failed to provide? What?

timothykurek34 karma

I had a friend come out... She was kicked out of her "Christian" family and my response wasn't much more loving. It caused a Crisis of Conscious in me.

My motivation was feeling others judgment so, if nothing else, I'd understand how it felt (as much as I could as a straight man) to be marginalized.

headofshiz10 karma

Yeah I read that in the article, interesting how being on the receiving end of other's scorn increases our empathy no?

timothykurek33 karma

Absolutely. And made me question if the voice I was listening to was God or just the dogma of my church upbringing.

headofshiz9 karma

I can't tell you how long I've struggled with that question. Its a hell of thing to work your way through and can be incredibly frustrating and liberating. Thanks again. Lastly, if you're interested in a good read, I recommend "Leaving Alexandria" by Richard Holloway. He mentions in the book that the Church is wrong in how it handles sex and sexuality...great book. I'll go get yours now.

timothykurek2 karma

Thank you!

luffintlimme2 karma

Do you actually hear voices of god?

timothykurek2 karma

As much as I ever have in my life, yes.

luffintlimme-2 karma

This is very weird. What do the voices tell you to do?

I seriously think you might need to get help, hearing voices is definitely not normal.

timothykurek0 karma

I didn't say I audibly heard voices. Not really my job to explain it to you haha.

luffintlimme-2 karma

Read the last part Dr Gary says

Hearing voices is not normal. Even if they are "non-auditory".

timothykurek-1 karma

Truly, get over yourself.

Menacol16 karma

What was the worst discrimination that you experienced during your time living as an openly gay man?

timothykurek26 karma

95% of my friends, church family, community instantly stopped talking to me. It was intense. I think that was the worst part about the year, that and being in the closet.

scienner6 karma

How do they relate to you now that you're out as 'straight'? And do you feel okay rejoining them as friends/church family/etc knowing they wouldn't accept you if you weren't straight?

timothykurek4 karma

I haven't rejoined any church from my past, and won't attend churches that are not gay affirming.

Kanarkly1 karma

How do you feel about them now that you came out as doing an experiment? Are you still close to those people?

timothykurek1 karma

I'm close to my lgbt friends that I met during my year, yes! In fact I'll be with a lot of them during my wedding in May.

firepiggymonkfish14 karma

Thanks for doing this! I've heard of you before and found your story interesting. I have a few questions for you, actually.

1) Considering that you were raised in an Evangelical environment, did you find that the friends and family from the religious side had difficulty trying to discuss or dissuade you from "being gay" since you were raised with the same counter arguments already? Or did they just throw the same stuff at you that you already had used before this experiment?

2) Have any of your friends or family from before this experience changed their minds about the LGBT community or are they still as steadfastly against it as before?

3) Knowing what you know now, would you do it again?

timothykurek19 karma

Thank you for your questions!

1) They still tried, but mostly I just got dead silence. People treated me as though dead. The ones that tried were pretty inexperienced in debating theology. 2) My mom is an ally now and I'm so proud of her. 3) Absolutely. It was the best thing I've ever done.

firepiggymonkfish2 karma

I think a lot of people think they know what to say to argue but haven't ever really dug down themselves so they just end up spitting the rhetoric. I think people are scared to really analyze something they know for fear that they might be wrong and they'll lose something of themselves, even if it's for the better.

Thanks for replying!

timothykurek5 karma

Yeah, and theology wasn't what changed my mind. It was simply people and their stories.

pdgb13 karma

How do you reconcile your belief with the scriptures directly opposing it?

timothykurek19 karma

The scriptures don't directly oppose it if you put it into context. There is a lot of material out explaining the nuance of it.

Chel_of_the_sea6 karma

Yes, they do. The Bible totally unambiguously condemns homosexuality and promotes a whole range of horrible things.

timothykurek10 karma

In context the Bible speaks about a lot of bad things, but speaking isn't agreeing. And how these verses have been interpreted plays a huge role in how the Bible looks.

Chel_of_the_sea18 karma

Oh, come on. This isn't open to interpretation in any of a hundred verses. Take this, for example:

If, however, the charge [that a bride is not a virgin] is true and no proof of the young woman's virginity can be found, she shall be brought to the door of her father's house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death. She has done an outrageous thing in Israel by being promiscuous while still in her father's house. You must purge the evil from among you. (Deuteronomy 22:22-23)

"You must purge the evil from among you". Does that sound like love and acceptance? No, it sounds like something you'd see from a guy pointing a gun at a journalist. "Oh," you say, "but that's the Old Testament, which doesn't apply anymore even though Jesus specifically says it does in Matthew". Well, then, let us turn the chapter over to 1 Timothy:

I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing--if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety. (1 Tim 2:12-15)

It's okay, ladies! Even though it's your fault that evil entered the world, as long as you shut up and pump out babies, you'll be saved too! Isn't God wonderful? Oh, and don't forget your hijabs:

But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head--it is the same as having her head shaved. For if a woman does not cover her head, she might as well have her hair cut off; but if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should cover her head. A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man

timothykurek8 karma

Who was writing it, when, to whom, and what were those churches actually going through? The greek work Paul coined didn't even mean gay, it was a list of sexual sins like pedophilia, adultery, and orgies as part of temple worship. Take those things into context and the passages actually come to life. Read translations of translations and meaning gets lost in the passages.

improperlycited3 karma

Read translations of translations

That level of misunderstanding makes you lose all credibility.

timothykurek1 karma

Think what you wish.

123lurker4561 karma

Where does your context and understanding of Jesus and Christianity come from? From those same "translations of translations". You are cherry picking which "translations of translations" you take as literal truth and which ones are "context-based". Deuteronomy 22:22-23 is pretty straight forward, so is 1 Tim 2:12-15. Like, come on, the cognitive dissonance here is mind numbing.

timothykurek1 karma

As I said I am not a biblical scholar (thankfully). Here is a video that might explain some of your questions. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezQjNJUSraY

Irian-jaya-9 karma

Plus it was a lot easier to stone the gays when they didn't have guns, probably why so many of you go after that right. Did you know you people used to believe the urine from a cardinal made the best potassium nitrate?

timothykurek5 karma

you just hit on a lot of different topics lol.

Irian-jaya-9 karma

How about this you toss a stone at me, I'll shoot with my gun and we'll see who's still standing. Surely your holy spirit is stronger then my heathen metal?

timothykurek5 karma

I believe God is a fan of good metal...

pdgb5 karma

Can you link to any of this material? It'd be interesting to actually read it.

timothykurek7 karma

Matthew Vines has some compelling Arguments if you youtube him. Brandon Wallace, author of Straight-Face and blogger at thegaychristian.com is also a good resource.

blackarmchair2 karma

I take issue with this line of reasoning.

1) Religious interpretations of the same texts vary widely.

2) Religious texts make claims based upon things that we are in principle barred from investigating or verifying (e.g. the supernatural, life after death, the will of transcendent beings, etc). Even religious claims about mundane aspects of the material world have an epistemological basis outside of it. For example, the OT may say "thou shalt not kill" but the reasoning behind why you're told not to kill is explicitly supernatural and diaphanous.

3) Therfore, we have to accept that all religious interpretations of minimum consistency are equally valid because we have no objective method for differentiating between them.

This means that your claim about the scriptures not condemning homosexuality is just as valid as someone else's who claims the opposite.

timothykurek3 karma

Exactly, and that is the starting point for a conversation more focused on the common sense question of "How should we treat our fellow human beings?" Then we both go back to the book and realize that Jesus told us time and time and time again to love one another. That we can all agree on (that ascribe to the Christian religion).

blackarmchair1 karma

I like what you said at first:

Exactly, and that is the starting point for a conversation more focused on the common sense question of "How should we treat our fellow human beings?"

But I'm not sure why you jumped to this:

Then we both go back to the book and realize that Jesus told us time and time and time again to love one another. That we can all agree on (that ascribe to the Christian religion).

If we agree that all religious interpretations are equally valid in principle then an opponent of yours can simply point to other sections in the Bible that prescribe the opposite of what you propose and we're back to square one.

I liked what you said first because you're hitting on something key: we don't use the Bible (or any holy book) as a source for morality; we use our reason to edit those books for what we like and discard what we don't.

This means any attempt to claim that the scripture doesn't ACTUALLY support condemnation of homosexuality is just as vacuous as any claims that it does support it. What you're articulating is your own interpretation based on your own reasoning.

There's nothing wrong with that and I'm happy you've reached the more compassionate conclusion. But let's not pretend that it makes sense to re-interpert bronze age books every so often to fit with our modern morality and pretend those books really meant that all along. It's silly and not believable.

timothykurek1 karma

That all depends on how you interpret the role of those books on our present day lives. I think the Bible has been the most influential and important book in mine, and has incredible modern day relevance for me as a Christ follower. I really appreciate the comments!

bwredsox341 karma

Um yes they do? I can provide numerous examples of you honestly believe that it's not a sin...

tragic_pizza4 karma

It's easy when you learn the fact that Scripture does in fact not directly oppose it.

timothykurek6 karma

much easier.

AllStarJam10 karma

Besides your acceptance and support towards Gays, has this changed any of other views you might have or had?

timothykurek12 karma

GREAT question. Right now I'm finishing up my first TEDx talk (The University of the Aegean) and working on a documentary for Developing America (www.DevelopingAmerica.org) where we explore expanding out identities as US citizens by experiencing the other, all over the world.

AllStarJam7 karma

Thanks for the response. I'll keep an eye out for the Tedx Talk.

timothykurek5 karma

April 25th, it'll stream live.

laffytaffy898 karma

What're your views on traditional marriage and marriage equality?

timothykurek14 karma

I believe in lgbt equal rights and gay marriage.

laffytaffy897 karma

Thanks for the reply! I have another question. I'm a lesbian in a very conservative state surrounded by a lot of anti-gay sentiment/the use of religion to justify/promote anti-gay ideas and legislation. What are some things I could do to help change people's views or open their eyes/minds without seeming antagonistic?

timothykurek30 karma

Just live in the tension and be yourself. Let others see you aren't scary and tell your story to people. Stories change people, not arguments. :-)

Steve_the_Scout7 karma

Did you ever consider doing something similar to "The Cross in the Closet" for bisexuality? In my experience, both straight and gay people can be very uncomfortable with the idea, and it would be interesting to hear about a straight person's (especially man's- there are very few out bisexual men) observations on it.

timothykurek19 karma

Bisexual men and women and Transgender folks have it the worst, by far.

I'm getting married in 5 weeks to my fiance Beth. No more experiments for me.

Steve_the_Scout3 karma

I would imagine that the first one would leave you averse to a second, anyway.

It would definitely be interesting to get a group of people to do what you did for other groups (bisexual, transgender) and compare experiences, especially if some were members of one of the groups in question.

timothykurek3 karma

It would be. I just hope we all learn to love and respect each others' humanity.

AllStarJam6 karma

My uncle and dad, and possibly my mother are against gay marriage. What would you say would be the best way to help them be more accepting towards homosexuality? Before anyone comments on what horrible people they are, they're not. One of them was raised on Christianity, and the others found it in a terrible point in their life. It's more that they've been brainwashed to be against it. People come in all different shapes and sizes, and one negative attribute doesn't make them "bad people".

timothykurek5 karma

There are a lot of good books to read if they are willing. Mine, The Cross in the Closet has helped some people. Straight-Face by Brandon Wallace is another good one. But when it is all said and done we have to be patient with them where they are at in their journey, if at all possible.

brianwood656 karma

Have you come to find that your faith is as strong as ever, or have you kind of questioned Christianity? It seems like such an experience, one that could really foster a lot of animosity, I guess I'm asking how hard it was for you to still trust your faith?

timothykurek16 karma

My faith is infinitely stronger now than ever. It's focus is on loving my neighbors, and serving God through social justice issues.

timothykurek4 karma

Check www.developingamerica.org for more details about my next project.

headofshiz5 karma

I don't mean to post more than my fair share so I understand if you aren't interested in answering more questions from me. I teach art at a big state university where obviously many of the students are gay. They are awesome, creative people that I proudly called my friends even when I believed in conservative religious dogma.

What is the most surprising change you have noticed in yourself since your experiment? What was the most surprising or meaningful thing you learned about gay people?

timothykurek15 karma

Just how incredibly beautiful lgbt folks are and how important it is to see people as people and not labels.

Kkokonut5 karma

Well...what if I identify as a label? What if my community is at OfficeMax?

timothykurek11 karma

That's not all of who you are. You shouldn't be exclusively looked at that way.

I_AM_So_11 karma

That's a really genuine response, and I think it's wonderful, but that was almost definitely a joke

timothykurek6 karma

:-) I appreciate you taking the time!

dump1234567895 karma

Tim, you're catching some flak in the other thread for not being (paraphrasing) "intelligent enough to get the perspective by just talking to and listening to LGBT folks". What do you think you learned from your experience that you wouldn't have by just talking and listening to LGBT folk as a straight man, and what specifically about your experience allowed you to gain that greater learning?

timothykurek11 karma

I listen to those that come to me in the same spirit they'd want me to come to them, to have a meaningful dialogue. It's not my desire to answer people that merely wish to insult me.

dump1234567896 karma

I don't agree with their "insults". I think they don't understand that you really can learn more the way you did it ("immersion") than just by being an "armchair empathizer". So I wanted to get your first hand insight into how and what more you felt you learned from the immersion.

timothykurek13 karma

I got to experience the pain of bigotry pointed at myself, I got to experience a year inside the closet, etc... Things that no other straight guy has really gotten to experience, and it changed my life.

dump1234567896 karma

The first part sounds like you learned from straight people's reactions. What do you feel you learned from LGBT folk that you wouldn't have if you hadn't identified yourself to them as gay?

timothykurek12 karma

Great question. I feel the biggest thing I learned (albeit NEVER to the level of an lgbt person) was the how awful the closet is, how horrible it is to be truly marginalized, but overall how that persecution has created incredible people that truly understand how to love.

DrunkBluebird5 karma

Did you date a man to try to fit in with people's expectations of you? Were you ashamed of your actual sexual identity and guilty over your natural attractions? Did you have the pressure of a significant other who wants to be acknowledged as a partner constantly being weighed against the fear that doing so would destroy relationships with friends and family members? Did you have to remember which places you were allowed to be straight and which places you were compelled to be gay?

timothykurek7 karma

I was only really allowed to be straight in the privacy of my own home. It is why the closet sucks so badly. It's truly a prison.

timothykurek5 karma

I am going to be back in a bit. I have to go to dinner with my soon to be bride and my mom. I'll be back on in a bit to check more questions! Thank you for participating!

donutcatz4 karma

How do you feel about the backlash generated by the HuffPo article?

timothykurek6 karma

There was backlash and there were a lot of supportive people. In this world you have to take things with a grain of salt, and just brush off the ignorant blind attacks. Funny thing, 99% of those people taking issue, haven't read the book. If they did I know they wouldn't be so angry.

mcjagga4 karma

Ever get into sexual situations you were uncomfortable with? Like going to a gay bar and guys being too handsy?

timothykurek2 karma

Yes I did! I write about that a lot in The Cross in the Closet. It's one of the reasons I had a pretend boyfriend to keep me out of those situations.

captainfraulein4 karma

Do you think we are any closer to Christians on the evangelical side not only accepting but embracing their gay brothers and sisters? Plus transgender Christians?

I ask as I love some in my own church.

My own gut feeling is in 20 years, things will be very different. I like to think there will be deeper discussions on the clobber verses.

timothykurek11 karma

I think christianity is about to put up its last major fight in the next two years and then will finally give in and backtrack. But watch, they'll shift the object of their bigotry to another group.

FolkSong9 karma

Robots are the devil's minions!

timothykurek5 karma

yes lol

captainfraulein2 karma

Well they have gone after gay marriage. My fear will be the intolerance on Transgender will be next. It's heart-breaking.

Why not Gluttony? I myself could be a good candidate for that.

I'll answer that question: Power. Watch House of Cards? The Christian Right likes power. Giving that up is scary *. They feel they have the only right interpretation of Scripture. The Gay Christian Network and others you named here in this thread (Go Matthew Vines!) are very important in the years to come. I need to step up prayer for all you. +

*And everybody likes a good rack of ribs.

timothykurek7 karma

My experience ended up being about prejudice, not about the lgbt issue. We all hold prejudice and when confronted either hold onto it or shift that prejudice onto another group. Transgender folks are next, I believe.

zigglers_hair4 karma

How has it changed your views on religion having such a sizeable influence in US politics?

timothykurek11 karma

I've done some extensive studying into the history of my faith and where I feel it went wrong. And the answer is Rome circa the 4th century. My faith has become more active in terms of social justice, less political, and more focused on loving my neighbors as myself. I know that seems vague, but it's made my life so much more rich and beautiful.

WestSideZag3 karma

Hey Tim! Congrats on your engagement :) has your choice to marry encouraged you to get behind the fight for marriage equality that much more?

timothykurek3 karma

Absolutely! Thankfully we are moving towards marriage equality as a country. And yes, I want everyone to have the rights to anything I have rights to!

I talk a lot more about this in my book.

http://www.amazon.com/Cross-Closet-Timothy-Kurek-ebook/dp/B00REQVNRM/ref=sr_1_1_twi_2_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1427576218&sr=8-1&keywords=the+cross+in+the+closet

joshm605 karma

Thankfully we are moving towards marriage equality as a country.

Keep in mind that while same-sex marriage is increasingly becoming legal, so is firing an employee for marrying someone of the same sex.

timothykurek4 karma

I've been watching Indiana, I know. But that is the conservatives last ditch effort. It'll fail.

mpwac3 karma

While obviously the circumstances were very different, were you inspired at by John Howard Griffin's Black Like Me to undergo this experiment? Regardless, what else inspired you?

timothykurek6 karma

I read Black Like Me after I began my experiment. AJ Jacobs The Year of Living Biblically was another one. But this was all about my friend that got rejected.

WheelingThroughLife3 karma

How did your family react when you told them that coming out wasn't real and simply an experiment?

timothykurek5 karma

That's a huge part of the book I don't want to spoil, but it all ended up okay and I feel like they understand why I did what I did.

TieDyeTurtle58063 karma

If you're still on, Why are your prices for the Kindle so steep? I'm living in Japan right now so I'm relying heavily on a Kindle. I'm not trying to come off as whiny, I'm really curious how it works.

I want to read your book but I don't like the idea of waiting for a year to read it and shipping prices where I am are steep.

Edit: Formatting

timothykurek4 karma

the kindle edition in the US is $7.99. I don't know what it is in Japan. Could you email me and we will figure something out? [email protected]

TieDyeTurtle58062 karma

I just found it! Thank you!

My kindle account kept logging me into amazon.co.jp. I just fixed it. Thank you for pointing that out. I can`t wait to start reading it tonight!

timothykurek4 karma

Keep in touch! Facebook.com/timothykurek

SilentlyCrying3 karma

When you came clean about not really being gay did you receive any backlash?

timothykurek1 karma

People reacted in their own ways, but the vast majority of replies/responses/reactions I received were positive because the people I was telling knew me. I write about it all in The Cross in the Closet, you should check it out.

thetortuga7473 karma

I recently underwent a change in beliefs from being against homosexuality to accepting people in the LBGT community. I'm still trying to reconcile my Catholic beliefs with this acceptance, and I'm having some trouble. Is there a key point or revelation you came across that helped you to reconcile your faith with your changed views on the LBGT community?

timothykurek1 karma

Good question, and I am so thankful that you have given your life over to grace. I talk about my "revelation" my "aha" moment in a chapter called Jesus in Drag in my book The Cross in the Closet. That might explain better than I can briefly on here. My aha moment was when I entered into a community of strong believers that happened to be gay. Sheesh were my eyes opened!

TheHypnotistGuy2 karma

What would be your advice for Christians who genuinely believe that the Bible speaks against homosexual sex (not just being gay) but still want to be loving? It seems like there isn't a spot for Christians like that in this culture.

timothykurek1 karma

Yes, I get this. There isn't a spot because most gays and lesbians I know don't want to be in community with someone that says they love them but believes their husband or wife and them have an abominable, unnatural relationship. Would you? I'd say to those Christians to get their minds off the act of gay sex and realize that those couples love each other and love is universal. Might make it easier to accept them more fully.

Krupenichka1 karma

Not OP, but you basically described the Catholic Church's teaching on homosexuality (look up the Catechism of the Catholic Church, parts 2357-2359 "Chastity and homosexuality").

timothykurek1 karma

Yes, I know. My dad is a devout catholic and is very conservative. I'm saying this view is wrong and I feel the divide is merited.

DexFenik2 karma

Thank you for doing this AMA. I see there are answers relating to the conflicts involved with people who realize their sexual identity, but what about people who are confused about their orientation? How should they handle it when they're living in a fairly religious household and who do you think they should seek help from without prejudice? What kinds of conflicts do you think could happen to someone who's going through this ordeal and his/her family found out?

timothykurek2 karma

I think that God wants us to be true to who we are and not to feel shame for it. I'd encourage them to find one or two solid people to help get them through those periods of questioning, people who merely listen when needed. I'm available if you know of anyone that needs to talk. [email protected]

FalcunPaunch2 karma

Why do you think that your testimony as a straight man was so much more valued than the testimony of actual LGBT people?

Also, why could you not be a decent human being and accept what we were saying to be true?

Are you planning on going a year in blackface before you believe racism exists?

timothykurek1 karma

People value similarity and are scared of differences. My testimony is "valued" more by a lot of Christians because I am a straight man. I believe this is wrong and have dedicated my life over the past 7 years to explore, research and change things. Also look up Black Like Me...

thelonious_bunk2 karma

Why would you do this instead of just interviewing LGBT people who've lived their entire lives through the experience?

timothykurek8 karma

Because I was so incredibly brainwashed, I needed to feel the pain and prejudice for myself, as much as I could. It was deep rooted, the faith of my youth.

joshm602 karma

I'm a gay man here.

What was your experience like, and do you think it might have been very different if you actually were gay since birth?

timothykurek2 karma

Absolutely. I never claimed to know what it is like to be gay, only to know how the label impacted MY life and my beliefs. :-)

joshm601 karma

Oops. I meant to ask "how do you think it might have been very different if you actually were gay since birth?"

timothykurek6 karma

Then I would have lived a story very much similar to the repressed lgbt folks I am friends with.

kaminianseo2 karma

Sorry if you've already been asked this, but: How did you find or deal with the mental conflict entailed with this experience? Also, did any of your LGBTQ friends suspect you weren't really gay?

timothykurek2 karma

Good questions. It was mentally tough, but I know that what I went through wasn't as difficult as someone who is actually gay and in the closet, raised the way I was. And none of my lgbt friends suspected. They took me as I was.

im-so-white1 karma

Honest question, I'm not judging I'm genuinely curious and I assume a lot of Christians on Reddit that saw your AMA are wondering the answer to these questions.

Do you believe the Bible is infallible? If the answer is no, you would fall into a smaller niche of Christianity that falls outside regular Orthodox teaching. If you do believe it is infallible, how do you interpret this verse and the dozens of others like it?

Leviticus 18:22 "Do not practice homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman. It is a detestable sin." (these verses are both in the new and old testament)

I'm not asking if you love LGBT people or treat them equally (which everyone should, that's not even a question for me), I'm asking what your views are on the act of homosexual sex? Do you think it's a sin or not based on the Bible?

I'm not a bigot or a red-neck Bible thumping cliché, I just want to know how you would answer these questions I posed. It will help me, also a Christian, better understand you.

Thanks for this AMA!

timothykurek1 karma

I believe in the Bible contextually. I dont believe it's perfect, but I believe it speaks of a perfect God and of perfect love.

im-so-white1 karma

That's disappointing for me. I believe in the infallibility of scripture and that it is perfect: “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:20,21).

I disagree with you but I still respect the fact you're doing something & you truly care about everyone. Thanks for answering my question, have a great night.

timothykurek0 karma

You too! Thank you for commenting!

Dogg_041 karma

I'm a bit late to this AMA, but am pretty interested in it. I may even buy your book. Just wanted to ask: how exactly did you live as gay? Did you have homosexual intercourse, did you date gay men, etc? Or did you just state "I am gay" and that was it? Sorry if this question has been answered before. I am just genuinely curious.

timothykurek3 karma

It wasn't about living as gay it was about living with the label of gay. I'm not gay so I couldn't ever live as gay, not even if I'd had sex with men (which I didn't need to because the experiment was not about me questioning my sexual identity). I wanted to see how living with the label of gay would challenge my preconceived stereotypes, and religious beliefs.

viccie2111 karma

I know I'm very late to this, but what is your opinion on people being born LGBT vs choosing?

timothykurek1 karma

I believe you can't put all in the born category, I have friends who would tell you they've chosen, but for the most part is a genetic trait.

mdisil4271 karma

Did you tell anybody and did anyone say "wow, I always thought you were gay" or something like that?

timothykurek1 karma

No, I dealt with the opposite. "But you were so into girls! What happened?" I dealt more with that.

musicmerchkid1 karma

What do you think of Dan savage?

timothykurek1 karma

I like him. I think he could be more of a figure to young people if he was less crude and a tad bit less polarizing but that's just his style and I appreciate a lot of what he does.

pinkunicorn531 karma

Hello, it was very interesting to learn about your experience. I am in a similar place to where you were before you completely changed your mind. Unlike the Christian's you seem to have encountered in your experience, I try my best to be loving to all people and try not to judge the lives of unbelievers, but I cannot support something that I feel is clearly shown to be sinful in the Bible. I'm not looking for an argument or a debate, I just want to see if you can convince me somehow to change my views.

I believe God loves gay people as much as He loves Christian people, but I don't believe that He finds it in any way acceptable to practice homosexual-acts.

You said that the scriptures don't oppose it if you take it into context, but look at what it says in Romans chapter 1:

24 So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. 25 They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. 26 That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. 27 And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.

I don't see what other possible context I could take these verses to mean or how you could turn that around in support of homosexuality?

Are you saying that you now love and accept gays unconditionally whereas before you didn't - or are you saying that your views on how God sees homosexuality as a sin has changed, and you no longer believe it to be sinful?

Thanks for your time.

timothykurek6 karma

I think you have to look at what's out there (there are many good books and people that address the clobber passages) but what is most important is meeting people where they are at and listening to their experiences. My mind and heart have been transformed in grace, and I am not a believer that homosexuality is a sin.

sswifty65 karma

Not to be short but you didn't even acknowledge the passage. You believe it's not a sin because you "feel" it.

timothykurek2 karma

What I said is that there are others far more capable that can break down the passages in the Bible. Youtube Matthew Vines, Justin Lee or Brandon Wallace author of Straight-Face!

pinkunicorn532 karma

But I cannot accept the opinion and view of another author if it clearly contradicts what was written in Holy Scripture. You would have to completely twist the Bible passages I quoted above to convince me that God doesn't view homosexuality as a sin. Did you not personally look at the Bible verses against it and just say that your experiences triumphs those scripture?

The problem I have with accepting homosexuality (not gay people), but the sinful sexual acts they do, is that if I truly love them AND believe in the word of God, then I will want them to know the truth instead of allowing them to live and die in their sins, believing that God is perfectly fine with their lifestyle, when His Word says otherwise.

timothykurek4 karma

How you interpret scripture is what you need to examine. Your interpretation is merely another man's. And if you search you'll see that the Bible is written in context and if you read it as such it never mentions homosexuality as we are talking about it.

pinkunicorn534 karma

But do you yourself understand those scriptures in context; and if so can you explain the Romans 1:24-27 verses to me in the same way you understand it?

Romans 1 is a letter from Paul to a church in Romans, it starts out with Paul's intro (1-7), then he goes into telling them about the awesome Gospel and Good News of Jesus (8-17), then He abruptly changes tones and starts to tell them about God's anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. In the following verses Paul clearly describes gay sex, both between two men and two women. It doesn't have to mention the word homosexuality in these verses, because the acts are described clearly here and fall under the category of sinfulness and wickedness.

I completely agree with you that it's horrible how Christian's treat members of the LBGT community and we're also very hypocritical when it comes to judging other peoples sins, while ignoring our own sinful ways. But that doesn't mean that God is okay with us accepting to live in our sinful natures. We need to spread the truth.

timothykurek4 karma

Getting into interpretations of scripture on this thing would take too long. Youtube Matthew Vines, go to www.thegaychristian.com and research Justin Lee's "Torn."

faceshed1 karma

How do you reconcile Leviticus 20:13 and Sodom and Gomorrah? Do you have anything to say to people of other religions that are apposed to homosexuality? Do you have any advice for dealing with people that believe God has personally condemned homosexuality? Thanks.

timothykurek8 karma

That's easy... Ezekial 16:49 "Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy."

Xtanto1 karma

If God came out definitively against lbgt whos side would you be on?

timothykurek2 karma

I'm confident that that wouldn't happen. I could be wrong, but I'm where I am for a reason.

GuinnessBeer1 karma

How is the relationship with your ex-wife?

timothykurek0 karma

I was never married. Getting married May 8th.

Easyandfree1 karma

Hi Timothy,

You came and did a sermon with my pastor a few months ago at CHUM and it was was one of the most memorable Sundays we have had. I really appreciate the time you took to talk to us.

My question for you is how is your relationship with your parents now?

timothykurek3 karma

My relationship with my mom is stronger than ever. My relationship with my dad is getting better, not unpleasant but we don't speak often. And I had a blast at CHUM! Thank you for writing!

Easyandfree2 karma

We all enjoyed having you here, but if you come again I'd recommend bringing more books.

timothykurek1 karma

I most definitely would. But if you'd like to spread the word, you can get the book on amazon for a great price!

http://www.amazon.com/Cross-Closet-Timothy-Kurek-ebook/dp/B00REQVNRM/ref=sr_1_1_twi_2_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1427576218&sr=8-1&keywords=the+cross+in+the+closet

Easyandfree2 karma

I was able to pick up a signed copy of your book, but it was one of the last ones, but I'll let my cousin know; she was interested in it.

timothykurek1 karma

Thank you!

Unload_more_comments1 karma

Are you double bluffing? (Pretend to be gay -see the reactions- it turns out okay- then come out as really gay) if not, still a cool idea. More power to LBGT.

timothykurek0 karma

I'm straight. Getting married in three weeks to my fiancee Beth.

Unload_more_comments3 karma

I'm fascinated with your experiment. Reminds me when I was younger I used pretend to be in the same faith as the people I've met just to get to see their point of view. I was Buddhist, Muslim, Catholic...but as soon as I was found out I would get a bad reaction from them ( they thought I was mocking them. I wasn't). are you still friends with anyone who stigmatized you for being (pretend)gay?

timothykurek2 karma

None of them really want to be friends. I think they realized and kinda had an "Oh shit!" kinda moment when I came out as straight. But my book and experiment were not about attacking those people as much as attacking my own inner pharisee, and encouraging people towards a better way.

mpwac1 karma

How did your friends and family react when you "came clean", so to speak? I imagine it was different for each person, but maybe you could give some examples of the various reactions you received?

timothykurek1 karma

Most of the reactions were very supportive. I document all of that in my book, The Cross in the Closet.

http://www.amazon.com/Cross-Closet-Timothy-Kurek-ebook/dp/B00REQVNRM/ref=sr_1_1_twi_2_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1427576218&sr=8-1&keywords=the+cross+in+the+closet

TrippinMerkins1 karma

So do you now understand that it's genetic, not a choice?

timothykurek6 karma

I would say whatever it is, it isn't a choice. I'm not scientist.

SirGoofsALott1 karma

Your year living as a gay man, the people who shared with you and were affected by that year, and the subsequent publishing of the book, "The Cross in the Closet", has definitely resulted in a bit of controversy. In retrospect, would you have done differently?

timothykurek3 karma

No. I did it as a young man, and feel it was what had to happen for me to move forward. I am blessed to have overcome such toxic dogma so early in life. I'm a better man for it.