In his Nashville Christian church, Timothy Kurek was taught the lesson of God’s wrath in the Biblical story of “Sodom and Gomorrah,” and he believed that homosexuality was a sin.
“You learned to be very afraid of God,” said Kurek. According to the preachings of his church, “The loving thing to do is to tell my friend who is gay, ‘Hey, listen, you are an abomination and you need to repent to go to heaven.’ I absolutely believed in that lock, stock and barrel.”
So devout was Kurek as a teen that friends’ parents would often call him to set their kids straight if they misbehaved or broke what they believed to be God’s law.
“I would be the one on the phone until four in the morning, asking them to repent for their sins,” he said.
But about four years ago, when a lesbian he knew from karaoke night confided to him that her parents had disowned her when she came out, Kurek felt that he failed her.
“I feel God really kicked me in the gut,” he said. “She was crying in my arms and instead of being there for her, I was thinking about all the arguments to convert her.”
Kurek’s reaction ate away at him, and he wondered what it felt like to be gay and so alone. So even though Kurek identifies as straight, he embarked on what one religious writer called “spiritual espionage.” He would live like a gay man for a year.