>>Michel Greenwood

I grew up in a good Christian home. Both my parents really knew the Lord. Sure, we had struggles like everyone else, but I was loved and cared for. I enjoyed my selection of kid stuff, such as karate, playing video games with friends all night, and reading fantasy novels on the bus. I remember standing in line for hours to watch the first showing of Star War – all three times 🙂 I think being “normal” made it that much harder to admit to myself that I was a pedophile.

It’s really hard on young people when first discovering they’re minor attracted. The realization usually happens in isolation. Nobody tells their parents or the people they trust, “I think I’m starting to have feelings for boys.” By the time I told others, I had already gone through the stages of shock, horror, and grim acceptance. I wish there was more awareness and support available for young people going through it.

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The thing about pedophilia/hebephilia (minor attraction) is that it blares in your face. If you have this condition, there’s no ignoring it. You simply have feelings of sexual/romantic attraction toward minors that you know “should” be toward same age peers. There’s no getting around it either. You’re born with it, develop it, or both. Whatever the cause, it feels like it’s hardwired into your brain. You feel the attraction regardless of choice.Fortunately for me, I have a secondary attraction to adult women. I think I was able to maintain it because I normalized the minor attraction fairly quickly. I’ve talked to older pedophiles who believe their secondary attraction is not as strong as earlier in life, due to fixating on minor attraction (exacerbated by self-hate and anxiety). It might have been different had they received support and learned coping skills at a younger age. I had these, and benefited from it.

There are some pedophiles who believe they’re exclusively attracted to minors. This may be the case, since there is so much variation in how humans experience sexuality. Still, many teenagers and young adults, who are minor attracted, are uncertain about their sexuality. I tell them that sexual contact in general can be enjoyable, even with an adult, and that they still have the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of a committed, adult relationship (provided they find a partner that loves them as a whole person).

Here is a key point. Just because someone is a pedophile doesn’t mean they have or will harm a child. It just means they have a minor attraction. Statistically, the majority of pedophiles do not offend. It amounts to making intentional decisions not based on feelings. Everybody does that… a married couple chooses to remain faithful, a teenager chooses not to look at porn, or a woman says no to a man who wants sex on the third date. Sexual attraction just “is”; we as humans decide how we’ll handle it. As horrible as it sounds, it’s possible for a dad with typical attraction to recognize that his teenage daughter is becoming a woman, but he chooses not to entertain any sexual thoughts toward her. In the same way, a person who is minor attracted has the power to decide how they’ll think and act toward children. It’s just that pedophiles are more likely to offend when there are the added risk factors of self-hatred, depression, and isolation.

I’ve been blessed with a wife and children. My wife knows about my attraction, and I am completely open and accountable with her. My family and close friends know as well. I have set a boundary of not forming personal relationships with children outside my family. Also, I’ve chosen not to work with children in my career. I like to think I am many steps away from harming a child, but between God and me, I believe these are good boundaries. Living with pedophilia requires self-understanding, coping skills, intentional choices, and support. This is a formula for success for anyone facing challenges.

The question will come up of whether I’m safe with my kids. I answer, Yes. I think it’s different with your own children. A father with normal attraction doesn’t feel the same way about his older daughter as he does other women. It must be something built into us humans. However, there are parents who do sexually abuse their children. I think this likely involves a breakdown of person decisions, and is not simply indicative of pedophilia. Nevertheless, as for me, I keep a sober recognition that I’m capable of evil – which I don’t believe is limited to pedophiles.

I know God is real, and I believe Jesus was God-made-human, who came to make a way for us to be saved from evil. I believe that God will have a one-on-one relationship with anyone who invites him. Also, when Jesus died and rose to life, he made it possible for us to have new life inside, “born again”. This reality has completely affected my experience of being a pedophile. Were it not for God, I would have a different perspective. I would still think children are harmed by sexual contact, but I would probably try to embrace pedophilia and find positive outlets. I do believe God is real, however, and that there is more available to us.

I believe God can give someone a victorious life, even if they are minor attracted. That certainly means not harming children, but it also means having hope, purpose, and love in life. I don’t think God is stumped by pedophilia, and I don’t think a Christian should expect anything less from God’s promises just because they are a pedophile. Jesus said that he came to set the prisoners free, and to give us life abundantly. He’s conquered the devil, the world, and sin. He can do that in each of our lives.

I still have minor attraction, but it doesn’t occupy my thoughts and life. Instead, I know that God has called me to something higher – that which we are all called to – and I press on toward everything Jesus opened up for me through a relationship with him.

>>Trent Matthew

  

When some people give their testimony, they talk about all the difficulties that get resolved the instant they give their life to Christ. My story is quite different. God put me through the fire of refining so my sin would come to surface making me recognize it for the ugliness it really is. Only after seeing this can I see Jesus as brightly as I see him now.

I was born into what I thought was a normal Christian family. Every Sunday morning we went to church. I liked God but I didn’t like church. When I was four, I accidently cracked the pastor’s boy’s tooth with a yoyo while his family were over at our house for dinner. I remember it sent shockwaves of fear through my father and he punished me severely even though at the time I didn’t fully understand.

Primary school was a challenge for me. I wasn’t like the other boys. I was short for my age, underweight, and not great at sports. I didn’t admit this to myself at the time but inside I was deeply wounded and angry. Throughout my early years at school I never really felt like I was one of the boys. The school was a good Christian school though, and every day we read from the Bible. One day on the bus home from school I decided to believe the message for myself.

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When I was twelve, I started to notice something different about me. Instead of feeling attracted to girls, I started feeling attracted to my friends. I had no idea why. One of my strongest memories from this time was when one of my friends and I decided to get naked and watch TV in the downstairs area of his home. Even though there was no physical contact, I remember clearly the strong deep emotions. Just being naked with one of my friends made me feel comfortable, loved, valued and accepted. It just felt right.

High school was brutal. Mum’s anger from her past abuse started to rise to the surface. She became almost sociopathic and would scream at me for hours on end for no apparent reason. This happened all the way through high school. When I was fifteen I was baptized. When I was seventeen I came out to myself as gay but I decided to keep following the Lord. That same year mum started drinking and getting violent. When I told people about what was happening they didn’t believe me. Yet in all this, God was my refuge.

I completed high school and went on to university. I wanted to be a music teacher so I studied music, then teaching. The teaching segment put me under a tremendous amount of pressure. At the school I was allocated the children were horrible. I’d get treated like trash when I was at school and treated like trash at home. I cried a lot. My life was horrible.

One day after teaching, I felt so low, I didn’t care anymore. I just wanted to feel good about something in life. I was so tired of feeling pain and feeling nothing. I remembered how good it felt being naked with my friends when I was twelve. I was desperate to relive that which I had experienced, desperate to feel loved and accepted, and in a moment of foolishness and weakness, I opened my laptop and looked up naked teen boy selfies. Afterwards I felt so horrible I just blanked it all out of my mind. As far as I was concerned, it never happened.

The following year everything in life fell apart. For a couple of years prior, my dad had been having a secret relationship with a teen boy from the church and now someone had found out. That same day, my parents split up and I cut myself off from dad. For days I felt sick because of the shock and the stress that it all put me under. Everything was too much. It was also at this time I decided to move out. As the months went by I fell into depression. I was in total darkness. I felt cursed by God. There were many nights where I would lie awake; completely immobilized because of fear. It was hard to believe this was all happening to me.

One evening I was sitting in my car parked in the church car park after attending a midweek evening service at the church. I reached the very end of everything I was able to bear. I cried out “God I hate everything! I hate my family! I hate being gay! I hate Christians who don’t understand my pain! But most of all God…I hate you!” Then I picked up my knife. I decided the only thing I could do was to kill myself by stabbing myself in the heart. But even that wouldn’t be enough. I wanted to get back at God and kill as many Christians as I could before killing myself.

Suddenly the presence of God filled my car and everything became still. Never before had I experienced anything like this. I was so afraid I couldn’t move or speak. But at the same time I felt like God loved me for who I am, not for who I was trying to be. When the presence faded, I drove home perplexed at what had just happened.

From this point onward, things were different. I was still trying to make sense of what had just happened. My sexuality didn’t change, but deep down I felt loved. Why else would God save me? Very slowly I was learning how to trust Him for everything.

At the end of the following year, I completed my teaching qualification and started working as a casual teacher at the local high school. I was good as a teacher, and the school gave me plenty of work. I loved my students too, but I felt conflicted inside. Every day I was fighting a secret battle to keep the darkness at bay.

Six months later, it all came crashing down. One of the mums from church noticed I was a little too physical as a Sunday school teacher. Later that afternoon she phoned up and told me that I was no longer welcome at her house. As soon as I hung up the phone, all the strong emotions hit me all at once. I remember looking at my hands. They looked like the claws of a monster. In my deep anguish and confusion I took myself to the hospital. I told them everything but I didn’t receive any support whatsoever.

This set in motion a systematic process that locked me out of everything even remotely relating to working with children. I knew this would happen, but it still hurt. I felt so low. I had no job, no dignity, no support, and nowhere to go. Only in part did my pastor seem to understand the horror I was going through. Then when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, I received a false accusation in the mail from the Office of the Children’s Guardian.

Feeling overwhelmed, I got in my car and drove. All I wanted to do now was drink as much vodka as I could and gas myself in my car. In hindsight I definitely would have, but since God had already saved my life previously, I decided to keep trusting Him. I thought if God could get me through one sexuality crisis then he could get me through another.

After a series of letters to the Children’s Guardian, the false accusation was dropped. But this negligence cut deep. Maybe someone had it in for me. For the next couple of years I was in emotional turbulence. By the grace of God things have become a lot more settled. Through this entire process God has shown himself to be unimaginably faithful and kind.

My story isn’t over yet. But I look forward with great anticipation as to what the future holds. My goal is to glorify God through sharing my story. The blood of Jesus really can wash away even the darkest of stains. This is incredibly good news for people like me. Hallelujah!

>>P. Triton

  

I came from a stable and loving home. My parents loved and cared for me, took an active interest in what I was doing, showed affection, enforced boundaries, and above all, wanted me to grow up to be who I wanted to be. Nevertheless, despite my parents’ best efforts my childhood was not a happy one. In junior school I was socially awkward, shy, and oversensitive. I preferred solitary activities; taking apart clocks to begin with, and then later I moved on to tinkering with computers. It was during early childhood that I began to create an elaborate fantasy world to escape into.

I started to realise around 13-14 that, as far as sex and relationships went, I wasn’t turning out like my friends and peers because my sex and relationship fantasies were becoming more focused on boys and less on girls. My parents gave me a book about sex education (I was a voracious reader, so they probably thought this was a better introduction to all the changes I was going through than having ‘The Talk’ with me). However, there was nothing in that book – or anywhere else at the time – about how I was feeling towards other boys. There was no discussion of homosexuality in sex-ed lessons, and I think the hardest thing for me throughout that period was the total silence on this topic. I really needed support then, but I was completely clueless about where to find it.

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I tried repeatedly to change my fantasies and feelings towards other boys by a combination of self-will and prayer (at that time I was an atheist). Needless to say, my efforts were a complete failure. In fact, be careful what you wish for – it turns out that I did develop sexual attractions towards girls again, just not those in my peer age-group, whilst the feelings for boys remained!

My relationships with others was different from my peers in other ways too. Because of my sophisticated speech and love of reading and learning, I loved the company of adults and their conversations. I used to like to stay with the adults after dinner, when my parents invited their friends over for a social evening instead of playing with the other children. And on the other hand, because of my vivid fantasy life and lack of emotional maturity I sought out the company of younger children; I felt I could relate to how they saw the world. As I went through my teens, my friendships with younger boys continued, as my peers got girlfriends and drifted away.

By the time I got into college I was deeply troubled and depressed. I couldn’t keep up with the workload, struggled to make friends and felt inferior to everybody. I saw a psychiatrist who prescribed my antidepressants (the side-effects of which put me off recreational drugs for life!). In the end, I flunked my exams (after being predicted As and Bs). No-one could understand what was wrong, or why a young man who appeared to have everything going for him was rapidly unravelling. I spent most of my time angry, sullen and withdrawn. It was just after my final exams, when I was 18, that I decided to take my own life. I felt that I had no future and that everyone I knew and loved would reject me if they found out what I was and what I was going through. Thankfully, for reasons which I still don’t fully understand to this day, I didn’t go through with it. I think unbeknown to me, the God who I wouldn’t come to depend on till many years later was watching over me. Even on the lowest day of my life, when I believed I had nothing left to live for, God was with me then and still loved me.

So at 18 I came out to family and friends as ‘Gay’; which wasn’t an issue for any of them. But the problem for me was that I wasn’t telling the truth. I wasn’t ‘gay’ as in happy, joyful and free, and I wasn’t ‘Gay’ as in homosexual. In fact, it would be closer to the mark to say that I’m bisexual – the difficulty was (and remains) that my primary attraction is not to my peer age-group but to minors. At the time this realisation felt like a death sentence, because I had no positive role models or words to describe who I was or where I belonged. All I thought I knew were the messages I got from the media and wider society: that I was evil, a monster, and that one day I would be found out, killed or end up in prison.

As the years went by I tried to socialise more, particularly in the local Gay community, where I hoped I might ‘fit in’ (somehow!) and perhaps find ‘the one’ who would fix it all for me. I had some very unpleasent experiences with both sexual and emotional abuse, and continued to be lonely and isolated. But no matter who or what or when, it was never enough. I kept thinking “when I have a better relationship, finish my degree, get a better-paid job, have some therapy, gain more self knowledge … then …” but I could never find what I was looking for. So in the end I went to see a chaplain at my workplace. It was the first time I had spoken to someone about what I was really going through. I said “Please help me.” and told him everything. It wasn’t a full confession, but the relief was massive. He didn’t judge, he just listened with compassion. It was through my discussions with him that I came to believe in God and started on the path of the Christian faith. I remember the first time I read Psalm 23:6 ‘Your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life’. And I fell down crying because I knew for the first time there was a God and that He loved me – even when I was going through the worst things in my life, He was still there for me. And I realised then, that I didn’t have to live this way any more.

I have been an active member of my church for just over a year now. I was baptised into the community and the faith a few months ago. The minister there knows about my past and is supportive and accepting of me. I say a prayer at the start of each day to ask how I may best be of service to God, and thank Him last thing at night for His guidance and love. My goal is to try and seek a conscious contact with God throughout the day via prayer and meditation. I’m not always successful, but it’s important that I continue to seek.

Today I have the support of my family and faith community behind me. And although I’m still trying to figure out where God wants me to be in the world, my hope is that my story may help others who are still struggling out there in the belief that they are alone. I suppose looked at this way, my story could be condensed to a single line:

You are not alone and there is hope.

>>Richard S. K.

  

I never realized that my attraction to boys was sexual until recently. I was quite the weird kid growing up, and I used to think that my attraction was just because I loved watching them do things I never got to do. To this day, I am still pretty sure it’s a mixture of the psychological and the sexual. I became depressed a while ago, and that’s where I found Jesus. The story which brought me to Him was the story of Jesus healing the paralytic. Jesus said to the man, “Son, your sins are forgiven” first before then saying, “Get up, take your mat and go home” because He knew that the paralytic’s biggest problem was not his inability to walk. It was his broken relationship with God. And Jesus gave him that: the one thing that can never be taken away from him.

I was at first hesitant to do this testimony because I knew that whoever read it could not but reduce my voice to that of a pedophile. That attraction is a part of me, yes, but I am much more than that. I have accepted it as a part of me that has brought me to things that are both bad and good, which is just like most things in life.

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It has exposed me to the reality of the fallenness of this world. I imagine that deep inside each of us there is a kernel of despair, each and every one of them of equal weight, and all of us are just as desperately in need of Jesus. Mine – and yours – just happens to take this form. But this is where God’s love and sacrifice become even more unimaginably wonderful. After all, the grimmer the night, the more joyful the sunrise. The deeper the sorrow, the sweeter the grace. And this has led me to be able to be more compassionate and merciful to others, too. It has led me to love them (including children) not only more properly but also more freely and more fully.

God has done and is doing many things in my life. I do not pity myself because He is the one, as the Psalmist puts it, who lifts up my head. I believe that I am living and will live a big life, one that is full of beauty, sorrow, and joy, one that God has for me.

May you be found by God, just as He has found me in my darkest hour.

>>Brandon Anderson

I didn’t have a normal childhood. I was a loner and left to myself. In the 6th grade I lost my grandmother. She was one of the only sources of love I had. I became depressed and suicidal. In 7th grade, in the spring, I attempted suicide. Yet, I heard a woman tell me to choose life and that there’s hope. I listened.

Over a year later at Impact 2011, I came to Christ. I felt so on fire, my faith and all the knowledge I already had just soared.

However, my attractions came up as well. In 2012, I stepped away from the Puppet Ministry that I was with in the past year or so. I was also ruthlessly questioned by my foster parents, my former youth pastor, as well as the head of that Puppet Ministry, about my attractions. They believed I was sexually abused.  I had no idea as to if I was, they didn’t believe it. I try to not reflect on those dark months. I’d rather forget that part of my life.

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Fast Forward two years, the summer of 2014. I was with an eleven year old girl alone in a secluded area of town. It was rumored that I abused her in various ways. Nothing of the sort happened between us.Despite that, I’ve been harassed by unknown perpetrators. I’ve been called a “child rapist”, “pedophile”, as well as other dehumanizing things. It was months until I stopped having terrors in the night. Since their angry voices stopped calling out for my blood. I’ve lost a friend, and spent my final year of High School withdrawn. I was told if I entered that school I’d have a year of a “living hell”. I wanted to run from my unknown killers.

I tried to run, to leave the church even. But, as with Jesus in the Garden, the cup wouldn’t pass. I endured, the only reason is because I read Isaiah 50. I endured for the sake of Jesus. I meditated on Psalm 23, I trusted myself to God. If I was to die by a mob, so be it. Thanks be to God!

When I walked in the halls, I walked and Satan didn’t stop me. I anticipated the enemy to fight me. He didn’t in the way I expected. His was all an internal fight. I’ve fought more temptation, as a Minor Attracted Person (MAP), I’ve felt isolated, condemned for these desires I never asked to have.

The stigma affected me, but I fought back in small ways. I’ve stood up in front of my class speaking about child prostitution and talked about predators. I avoided the word ‘pedophile’ to point out that a predator would be the convict not a pedo, well, not a Celibate or Virtuous Pedophile.

If I didn’t have God, I would’ve committed suicide or tried to abandon my past. My faith is my lifeline. In my walk with God, I’ve clung to Jesus’ work. In the Gospel of John, he said, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” It brings me comfort, as a boy who never had a father, never had someone to make sure I didn’t do anything dangerous, that some male figure will be like my dad. I’m pulled to verses like John 14:18. I find it reassuring to know that God will accept me, the whole me. It’s astounding to know that God, who’s far bigger than people, will love a MAP.

God will help us deal with our attractions. God’ll help us flee from situations where we fear we’ll fail (2 Cor. 10:11-13). God will stand with us Christian MAPs. I’ve often thought about why God allowed me to be a MAP, since all that God makes is good and being a MAP, like homosexuality, bestiality, and incest, isn’t good, but is immoral behavior. Note I did not say God made me a MAP.

If I was created, by God, to be attracted to minors, then God made some people gay. The Bible says that humanity was made in His Image (Gen. 1:27, c.f. Gen. 9:6, Ps. 139:13, Acts 17:26-28). We all have heard that verse, “God is light, in Him there is no darkness.” (1 Jn. 1:5).

Often in the Bible, darkness refers to either sin, or death. In Romans, Paul said “the wages of sin is death”. Death and sin are hand-in-hand (Ro. 5:12). On the contrary, God is life and righteous. We were supposed to be like that, in the beginning. Sin is what makes me a MAP.

I see being a MAP as a blessing but a curse. It’s a curse because we can’t act upon it or even “come out” without being ostracized. Yet it’s a blessing, being a MAP, because we have something to work with. We have a challenge to overcome. Greenwood once told me his views on Christianity and MAPness. “Because of sin in the world, every part of human experience has been broken in one way or another. It just worked out that we are MAPs… God didn’t create the minor attraction. It can only bring harm to kids and us… It’s got to die with Jesus on the cross, and we need a new life within.” We’ve got to surrender this to Jesus. He’ll help us deal with our minor attractions. He could make the attractions gone, like he did with the blind. He could help us just keep the upper hand, strengthening us until the day we die. He can do whatever he chooses.

But know this, we have victory over sin. “Through him without sin, it’s not by our might” as Stryper sings in their song, “Soldiers under Command”. In one of Paul’s letters, he spoke about his “thorn in the flesh”. Personally, I feel that our attractions could be our “thorns in the flesh”.

This account is found in 2 Corinthians 12. As I part I want to tell you what God told Paul. May you reflect on it, be encouraged by it. ‘But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”‘ (2 Cor. 12:9a) I give a special prayer to you in departing that a friend gave to me.

May our Gracious Heavenly Father and His Son Yeshua bless you richly and continue to guide and protect you. Amen