I grew up in a pretty solid Christian home; two parents, and four siblings. I was a fairly quiet, introverted kid. I’d heard about Jesus at church for as long as I could remember, but I realized I wanted Him to be part of my life while attending a Christian summer camp (Eagle Fern Camp), when I was 12. However, things started going downhill when I was 13. I had been experiencing crushes on various people, both boys and girls, since I was around seven years old. With the typical changes of adolescence, the sexual aspect of that got way more intense. I didn’t realize it consciously until years later, but throughout my teens, I had never stopped being attracted to the same types of kids I was attracted to when I was seven. So as an adult now, I can experience attraction to my female peers, as well as children and teens.
When I was 13, I sexually abused my younger brother. The interaction was short, and not physically coercive. I felt very guilty afterward, and was starting to have a feeling something was wrong with me. I started keeping secrets from my family, and emotionally clammed up over time. Sadly, that was not the last time I abused my brother. It happened again several times over the course of my teen years. I also discovered ways of accessing pornography when I was 17, which added another layer of shame and confusion to my heart. At 18, I was starting to wake up spiritually to what I was doing. I wanted to stop, but I was deeply afraid of what would happen if anyone found out everything I was hiding. (I should note here that I was very sheltered, and didn’t know much about sexuality. But I knew that what I was doing was wrong.)
Several months later (Summer of 2012) I had a chance to attend and volunteer at that same summer camp. I knew I had to take this chance to come clean. After building a friendship with a mentor, I told him about my porn use. He was able to help and encourage me, and a couple weeks later, I also came forward to him and a few other friends about my unwanted feelings of same-sex attraction. That was a very good and healing time, and I was starting to experience the peace of repentance God had been calling me to for years. I worked up the courage to tell my parents these things, and that went much better than I expected. I am greatly blessed to have loving parents. But I knew that wasn’t everything I needed to do.
So I contacted a friend, and told him about the instances of sexual contact with my brother. I didn’t know at the time, but because of his job, he was a mandatory reporter. The next day, a sheriff’s deputy and a social worker showed up at my family’s house. Really bad day. My parents were very surprised, but buckled down, and we as a family started down what would be a long road. There was a standard investigation, and from the start I was completely honest and open about what I had done. I didn’t realize at the time how much sexual abuse harms children, but to the extent that I did know, I wanted to do what was right for my brother.
A few months later, in early 2013, I was arrested, and spent most of 3 weeks in county jail. Several months after that, I was justly convicted in court. I was expecting I would spend several years in prison, but by the grace of God, I was sentenced to 5 years’ probation without any further time incarcerated, and required to complete a sex-offender treatment program. During that time leading up to my conviction, my parents and I had been actively working on our relationship, which helped me get through one of the most difficult times of my life.
It’s a very brief summary, but I spent most of the 5 years on probation in a therapy program, and working a couple different jobs. The therapy program was a mixed bag; some parts of it were good and beneficial, though some parts were really not. I learned a lot about myself, how to have better self-control, how abuse harms victims, and related things. I took a very detailed look at my life, and the complex series of choices that lead to those abusive actions. During that time I experienced some challenges to my faith, and dealt with some mental health problems. These were partially caused by a couple different therapists I worked with, who attempted to use an abusive, pain-inducing form of Conversion Therapy to forcibly eliminate my feelings of attraction to children. Unfortunately, this had the reverse effect, and increased my sensitivity to those erotic feelings. Since finishing probation in 2018, I’ve been working to build back a relatively normal life. Though it took time, I’ve rebuilt a relationship with my brother. I’m very grateful and humbled that he chose to forgive me, and wants me to still be a part of his life.
I still experience attraction to children as well as adults, but God is with me every day, showing me how to walk with him in repentance and faith. I don’t know what it’s going to look like, but I know God doesn’t want me to keep silent about the hope that I have (1 Peter 3:15) and the things he has brought me through. For now, I’m working with Christian Pedophile; researching and writing about how to live as a faithful Christian while dealing with these temptations.
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