Articles & Testimonies

How, as a heterosexual, I overcame the “culture” of homophobic thinking

by | Dec 6, 2003

I grew up in the midwest. I guess it was during a time of “if you’re
different from us we can make fun of you”. I know that along with my
friends we would pick on the “queers”. Was it because they made
us uncomfortable? That they were “different”? I don’t know. It was
the accepted thing. Funny thing is that had I not been in the “group”
I don’t think I would have ever said or done the things that I did by myself.

I had a really good friend in college named Dennis. He was fastidious and
he always had the “cute” girl friends. We all graduated and I ended
up in AZ and he in CA. One night, he called me up. He said that he had something
to tell me and that he truly hoped that it would not end our friendship. He
came out. I did not see this coming, but the thought that came to me (which
I also shared with him verbally that night) was, “you are the same Dennis
to me whether you are gay or straight. You are my friend and I love you for
the qualities that are uniquely yours and that won’t change.” It was
a C-change in my thinking. I began to see that each of us is God’s child —
not just the people who were “like” me. That each of us had our
issues to deal with, but that God loved all of his children equally and I
therefore had to as well. We are dear friends to this day.

Years later, I was ending a marriage and I knew that I would need a place
to live. I thought that I’d end up back in an apartment, and with 2 kids I
was sorry to lose my home with a yard. The thought came to me to tell the
clerk of my then branch church about my impending need. Within the day, she
had called me back with two good leads on a place to live, both of which were
houses. One didn’t pan out, but the other one was a cute little 1942 bungalow-style
home in a downtown “historic” neighborhood of Phoenix. I went to
see it and loved the little house, but the neighborhood!!!! Yikes. Many of
the homes had been restored, but there was a lot of blight still, and graffiti,
etc. News stories of gangs, homeless, drive by shootings flashed through my
head. I went back for three days looking at the house, praying for what to
do. The thought that came to me was very clear:

“What better thing for the neighborhood than for the good
thought of one more person to move in?”

That was it. I called the realtor and made arrangements to rent the home.
My kids and I were there for nearly 2 years — and actually, I still
miss it. It was a very special time. For the first time in my life I realized
that it wasn’t just about what I could get from my neighborhood, but it was
also about what I could give. I got so free of fear that I would take daily
walks, even at night. My neighborhood became my patient. By the time we had
moved, I knew over 30 people in the neighborhood by name. (I had lived in
the “burbs” for the previous 6 years and only knew 6 people by name

By now you are probably wondering how this relates to the topic I started
with. Well, there was a great diversity of people in the neighborhood. Blacks,
whites, latinos, a very large Sikh community, and a lot of gay and lesbian
people. My neighbors were lesbians. I worked on the neighborhood historic
board with a number of gay people. I was involved with the historic home tour
of our neighborhood which was mostly made up of gay people. I had a wonderful
and growing respect for all of them. We were all there to better
our community. And we were a real community.

It was another step in the evolutionary change of my thinking.

When I developed, I did not include links to Emergence or to
the NYC group. By this time, it was not that I didn’t respect the GL community,
it was that I was worrying about what “others would think”. I prayed
about this for about 3 years. I finally came to the conclusion that all
of us
, gay or straight were doing the best we can in
our experience and that we all had a love for spirituality especially as found
in Science and Health — and wouldn’t it be more productive
for the GL community to be within the circle rather than outside of it? I
immediately added the links (and that was a year or so ago).

What is the underlying theme for me? It is to live the Golden Rule. To not
be judgmental (or try not to be :).

As a single dad with a 17- and 15-year-old, I have had to express my masculine
as well as my feminine qualities in raising my kids. I can really see the
Father/Mother nature of God and likewise the masculine/feminine nature of
God’s reflection in his child.

My spiritual journey has now taken my kids and me to an informal Christian
Science group. It has been a wonderful experience and my children have just
blossomed with their interest and study of CS. (By the way, the December 8th
issue of the Christian Science Sentinel which just came out is our
church and the right photo on the cover is a member of our informal group.
He has an article in that issue.) Our membership requirements are simply that
you “strive to live by the Tenets of the Mother Church to the best of
your ability”. That is it! No 3rd degree. No prying questions. We are
all there as students of Christian Science to better our lives and to become
better healers.

I am so grateful for these steps of progress in seeing my fellow man/woman
as God’s child and to really gain a better sense of love for all of humanity.
The natural outcome has been an ease to be ready to work metaphysically for

Mark Mohlenbrock
Phoenix, AZ

Related Article: Response to the Testimony of M. Mohlenbrock