Discover more from Thrive
Escape From Myopia Mountain
The journey is worth it...
Whenever the Exodus Communications Director and I had a tough run-in with a reporter or activist, to relieve the tension, we would say something like, “I hope they make it off MYOOOOOOPIA MOUUUUNNTAIN!” in a very dramatic fashion
Yeah… I know… we were hard-core projecting in those moments and being weird. But, in general, I still loved hearing her (the Communications Director) laugh.
To the point, from Oxford Languages (personally paraphrased slightly):
Myopia — It can be used as a term to describe nearsightedness. But in this context, the other definition is how we at Exodus meant it; lack of imagination, foresight, or intellectual insight. In our context we thought they were only looking for snarky selfish opportunities to insult us instead of a true thoughtful conversation.
I know now that these activists and reporters weren’t trying to hurt and insult us. The truth is, we were running a circus and thinking it was normal. They held up a mirror of all we had put into the world and asked pointed questions we didn’t want to answer.
They challenged our myopic stigmatized views, and we didn’t like it, not one bit. So we used humor to segue back into denial.
Of course, I made it off the myopic Exodus mountain by helping blow it up almost ten years ago. In the first few years after, I quickly learned that after decades of conditioning, I started trying to create another myopic system of thought that mirrored what I had just escaped but only from an affirming perspective. My evolving beliefs about LGBTQ+ issues were polar opposite to my ex-gay days. But the incredibly limited scope on a narrow issue (ex-gay issues) was unhealthy.
Whether in opposition to or in support of a toxic worldview, I learned that if that is all I focus on, the bigoted worldview still drives the discussion, defines the terms, and keeps the focus on the trap, not the escape. Of course, it’s necessary to expose the trap and warn others not to fall into it, but when we steer them away from danger, what are we pointing them toward?
For example, it took me until writing my memoir to be comfortable saying that I am a survivor. Some will automatically think I am saying that I am an “ex-gay survivor.” And while that is true (alongside being a former ex-gay leader), I am a survivor of many other things: Childhood physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. I was raped at 17 and possibly other times as a child where I have sexualized memories that stop visually at specific points (memories abruptly blackout). I was thrown out of the house for being gay at 19. While homeless and then transient, I experienced a drug overdose, drunk blackouts, horrible “party” experiences, and ongoing abuse from a boyfriend of eighteen months, among other things.
In addition, I am a PTSD survivor (diagnosed by a legitimate psychologist) of the several horrible traumatic events alluded to a moment ago and what my therapist said was systemic abuse (abuse coming from all directions) while growing up.
All of that before I ever even heard of Exodus.
After coming out, the sole focus on combatting the ex-gay trap kept me from understanding what I had been through, healed from, needed healing for, and released into being who I truly am as a whole person (not compartmentalized) for the first time.
From personal and observational experience, I believe that the ex-gay world lures the abused to be further abused in the name of “freedom in Jesus.” For many like myself, it wasn’t just the poisonous ex-gay ideology that held us hostage in what I now consider a cult. Our own mental health and unresolved abuse that we brought with us kept us from seeing the religious abuse for what it indeed was. We’d been through so much that ex-gay ideological abuse seemed more palatable. In the ex-gay world, we first experienced any semblance of a structured community and ongoing (for me)sober relationships of varying types.
While trying to figure out life, I believe I have made it off my myopia mountain. But, first, I also learned you couldn’t run down a mountain, literally or proverbially, without falling hard or bringing the boulders down on you. One foot in front of the other, one step at a time. Being thoughtful, intentional, and committed to truth no matter what it reveals makes a successful escape from Myopia Mountain.
Today, I am a husband, bonus dad, artist, writer, corporate-level customer service agent for a massive company in the ISP (Internet Service Provider) space, and all the Randy Scobey things. Instead of being the king of my false understandings and projections, I walk through the valley below to wherever the river of life takes me.
Thrive is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber. Thank you!