One Year After “Pray Away” Film Release on Netflix
It’s still one of the most critical moments of my life. I will never forget August 3, 2021. That was the day Pray Away was released for worldwide streaming on Netflix. When it landed on the Netflix platform, an enormous amount of positive energy, hope, and life-saving truth was released and still sends ripples of the same around the world today. It surpassed all my expectations (which were pretty high, to begin with), and I am honored to be a part of this project coming into being.
The film was just announced as nominated for an Emmy in the “Outstanding Social Issue Documentary” category.
Since then, I have talked with survivors, families, conflicted conservatives, adamant progressives, other former leaders like myself, critics, and supporters across the spectrum of belief. It’s been quite humbling and, in some ways, personally liberating. I have had opportunities to help others see the destructive truth about conversion therapy’s “pastoral” form of exgay groups and walk away from, or come out of, those groups.
Many leaders still involved in the exgay world smile, pat you on the shoulder, weep in prayer for you or your loved ones, and honestly believe they are doing the Lord’s work. They think they are abiding in “biblical” love. They do not see the horrible truth that it is all a culturally derived charade. What’s happening is toxic and deadly. It is a stigmatized ideology, not Spirit-led enlightenment. Pray Away carefully confronts that with a simple and understandable truth; you can’t fix what isn’t broken. And, to attempt to do so is at the least harmful and, at the very worst, deadly.
As mentioned before, the wave of life-giving energy the film produced in the Universe continues across the world today. For me, one more way that has manifested is that the film led to a chain of events and connections, which led me to sign with a publisher and work on getting my memoir published in early to mid-2023.
I will share that I used to tell Kristine (the Director) that I felt like I was being portrayed as a “villain.” Not negatively but narratively in the film because of what I was teaching, living, and believing. She would keep focus and say that was not her intent at all. My story was as important as the rest to reveal the truth about Exodus and show that I was also on an incredibly difficult journey to authenticity, but I had made it out, and others will.
Even so, I felt like a villain after the film was released. Regardless of what anyone said, I felt like a villain in every circumstance because of the trauma throughout my life. No matter the good intentions of others, I felt like the unloved but tolerated one. I was too broken to be anything other than what the next critic said about me. However, the past year has brought incredible self-awareness and self-actualization; while the self-loathing version of me as Randy Thomas (maiden name), I was never a villain but a deeply abused and wounded person. I didn’t know anything different or that there were even other options. Being in Pray Away, For They Know Not What They Do, and working on the memoir have been the most cathartic experiences of my life. Especially the memoir.
Since the release of the film, I have gotten married to Dan and “officially” become a Bonus Dad to our daughter. We went on our luxury cruise honeymoon, where I discovered a love for caftans (SO comfortable and similar to my paintings)! I also grew more in love with our family and extended families. We have faced tough challenges together this past year, and I just got back from a road trip where Dan and I got to see, in person, where we grew up, and families came from (Tennessee, Indiana, etc.).
It’s nice to be authentic and at home in my heart and marriage. Thank you all for your friendship and support. Please spread the word about these important projects.
Let’s have the courage to be ourselves, together,