Jeff Johnston - photo for bio .jpg
I started seeing a Christian counselor, attended conferences and found some books. These were all very instrumental in bringing about change and healing in my life.
— Jeff Johnson

At five-years-old, I engaged in sexual play and was introduced to sexual things by other young boys in my neighborhood. That caused me to pull back from connecting with other boys, because I didn’t want that to happen again. So, I tended to connect more with girls. In junior high, I discovered pornography and got hooked on it. I felt shame and guilt, afraid that someone would find out what I was doing. I became even more disturbed when my fascination with pornography began to shift from women to men. But I worked to maintain an outer image of being fine for years, even as the sexual addiction and homosexual attraction increased.

Then in my early 20s I went to Australia as a missionary for several years. When I came back, I was working with a high school group and was reaching the end of my rope. The contrast between struggling intensely with my sexuality and being involved in the church was extremely difficult.

But during that time, I went to a conference called “Hope and Healing for the Homosexual.” It was the first time I had heard anyone talk about potential reasons behind same-sex attraction or that it was possible to leave homosexuality.

That conference was a turning point for me, and within a week, I started going to a support group for people who also wanted to leave homosexuality. I had kept this part of my life hidden for years, but slowly I began talking to friends and family about my struggle. Where I feared rejection, I usually found compassion and concern. I also started seeing a Christian counselor, attended conferences about healing sexuality and found some books on the issue. These were all very instrumental in bringing about change and healing in my life.

Although I started out strong in my journey out of homosexuality, I went through a period of time where I really questioned my faith and my identity as a Christian. I started going to clubs and having sex with men I had just met. There was a lot of talk about HIV/AIDS during that time, and I knew my choices were very unsafe.

Finally, I made a return to my faith and to the church. Instead of pursuing a role in leadership, I just focused on pursuing healthy, non-sexual relationships with men. I had a mentor, and I got involved in weekly accountability relationship groups. I had guy friends who loved and accepted me where I was but who would also call me out when I did things that weren’t good for me. And I realized that my struggle wasn’t that different from some of their struggles. Those relationships were incredibly healing and transformative for me.

A few years later, I began leading a group at my church, and a young lady came, who I thought was cute. Judy and I ended up dating, then getting married. We are still married and have a healthy relationship and have three sons together, Our oldest is 20, and we have twins who are 17.

Elizabeth Woning