Error of Man (woman) : Gay black pastors reveal ‘down low’ lifestyles on new ‘Iyanla: Fix My Life’

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Gay black pastors reveal ‘down low’ lifestyles on new ‘Iyanla: Fix My Life’

By Michael J. Fenney | thegrio.com

Two gay pastors, who for years have been keeping their homosexuality secret, will reveal their “down low” lifestyles to their families and congregations in an emotional three-part series premiere of OWN’s Iyanla: Fix My Life, which kicks off on Saturday.

But as for Iyanla Vanzant, she hopes to spark a larger conversation about the taboo topic of homosexuality in the black church.

“My experience has been whenever this conversation comes up of homosexuality in the black church, it’s shut down. Or the people who bring it up are attacked or shut down,” she told TheGrio.com during a recent interview. “We’re going to start the conversation.”

And Vanzant does just that by traveling to Louisville, Kentucky, to meet Pastor Mitchell and Pastor Derek (OWN would not release their full names, citing the need to protect the privacy of the guests).

Pastor Mitchell was married with five children and spent years preaching against homosexuality, but he was having affairs with men.

“This isn’t anything I ever wanted to involve anybody else in,” Mitchell helplessly weeped to Vanzant. “Nobody needs to deal with this. This is all my stuff.”

Vanzant fired back.


“The truth will set you free,” she said to Mitchell as he wiped away tears. “You think this is your business? This is God’s business!”

Pastor Derek never thought his family, who openly showed hostility toward gay people, or his congregation would be accepting of his secret lifestyle.

“When I hear myself say, ‘I am a gay man,’ I feel hurt. It makes me feel substandard. It makes me feel petrified. I feel lonely,” Derek told Iyanla. “The loneliness I feel is no one will love me.”

Both pastors shared their struggles with Vanzant and discussed the pitfalls of leading double lives, as well their battles with depression and thoughts of suicide in Fix My Life, which will air over a three-week period.

The reason for the three parts, Vanzant said, was to show the steps required for both the person coming out and the people they’re coming out to.

“The pastors’ stories touched me because they have an opportunity to touch so many people’s lives, and people to go to church, particularly the black church, seeking a level of solace and guidance and direction,” said Vanzant, who is an ordained New Thought minister. “And if these men aren’t clean within themselves, with God, there’s no way that they can be guiding and supporting and directing people.”

After Pastor Derek’s sermon where he discussed his sexuality, Vanzant said they received about 20 letters from congregants also revealing they were gay or struggling with dealing with their sexuality.

“When you stand courageously, you give people permission to do the same,” Vanzant said. “I don’t know where we get the scripture and the understanding that gay people can’t love the Lord or be accepted by the Lord.”

Benjamin Evans knows firsthand the struggle these pastors faced.unnamed

Evans, who is not part of the show, is also a minister and last year revealed to his friends, family and co-workers that he’s gay. But it wasn’t easy.

As a freshman at Florida A&M University, he ran to the altar with hopes of being delivered from homosexuality. But he quickly realized that didn’t work when he caught himself eyeing another man shortly after, he said.

For years, I lived blindly believing that one day God would take this feeling away,” the 30-year-old Miami minister told TheGrio. “I thought one day that if I prayed long enough, God would heal me from this ailment. But after years of praying, after years of fighting it, and I realized this wasn’t going away, I had to have a conversation with God.”

Evans said he came close to marrying a woman like Pastor Mitchell did, but couldn’t go through with it.

“I didn’t want to be that guy. I’ve seen too much of it,” he said, adding that stress and depression led him to break the news to his family in Philadelphia last Thanksgiving.

“I was worried about what people were going to say and if they would still love me,” he said, recalling that some of his family celebrated his coming out.

Still, the subject of homosexuality remains touchy in the black church.

“It’s a big taboo topic in the black church, and that causes a lot of people to live closeted lifestyles. It’s just not a healthy environment,” said Evans, a managing director of BME Community, a national network of black community leaders. “I’m glad [Iyanla] is having this conversation. My hope is that it will promote greater tolerance and a love for people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender.”

In addition to starting the conversation, Vanzant hopes to provide resources for those who need help dealing with similar struggles.

“What I hope to do is to be in touch with a lot of ministers that I know and ask them would they be willing to support, talk to, coach, and counsel people so as the show airs that people can be in touch with somebody,” she said. “I have a host of coaches already lined up.”

 Vanzant hesitated to say this three-part series would be groundbreaking but is looking forward to getting the conversation started.

“It’s a conversation that needed to be had; otherwise, we wouldn’t be having it,” she said. “I don’t know if it’s going to break any ground, but I think it’s going to open some eyes, and I’m grateful for that.”

23 Comments on “Error of Man (woman) : Gay black pastors reveal ‘down low’ lifestyles on new ‘Iyanla: Fix My Life’”

  1. Denise Courts

    Well of course there was no deliverance; because the minister though sincere had no authority and therefore no anointing to minister deliverance! Some of these ministers are under a misguided idea that they have the authority of the apostles! They have no idea that Satan and demons know if i have God’s authority to minister deliverance. Remember what they said to the seven sons is Sceva: ‘Paul i know, Jesus i know; but who are you?”? Parotting things we see in the Bible is no guarantee the same outcome-results.

  2. M.

    This is beyond sad! Three ministers embracing such a deadly lifestyle, God can deliver them but it seems like the Enemy has deceived them!! This will harm the black church!

  3. Jack

    If we are going by the what God has to say about it, then the conversation will be a short one. There are black people living under the grace of Christ, but there ain’t no black church. Pastor Leo Daniels had a sermon on an album once, dealing with the book “Roots” . He said if you really want to get in touch with your roots, you gonna have to go a little further back than Africa.The only thing God segregates is the righteous, from the sinner.

  4. Ashanda

    You know the funny thing is that if tgese men came out as heterosexual sex addicts, they would get no sympatht. If they came out as pedophiles or paticipants in beastiality, there would be horror and outrage, but they come out as homosexuals, and everyone’s weeping over them. They come out as sinners struggling in sin because they love their sin more than God. Not because God can’t deliver but because they have not learned to fight against the spirit of this age. Instead they embrace it, sympathise with it and want the whole church to do the same. They do err in that they have appointed themselves as pastors but they have not met the requirements layed out in God’s word.

  5. Terry Thompson

    It is sad that we live in a society that we as black people lead in what looks like every bad category in life. These preacher’s with these can’t help its. How can you help anyone else when you have the can’t help it’s. How can you preach. You think you can preach God’s word and you can’t even tell your self No? These preacher’s have let the enemy fool them into thinking that they some how by saying something or coming out . They are free? No you just went into a deeper darkness. What ever happened to repentance. Thats lost in our word today. We see a lot of people focus on the sin they have committed, but never the power that God will provide for us to overcome it. I can’t help this and I can’t help that. Is there anything else in the world besides sex. All l hear from the LGBT and there supporters is. Let them be . Let them love who they want. They were born that way. What ever happened to being born again. The church seems to have forgotten that. Oh iam sorry that starts with Repentance. Thats right. If theses preachers stop listening to rap and hip-hop, and watching shows showing flesh all the time. To me there’s a gospel that being preach that doesn’t require you to deny yourself any more. According to these guys. If you got the can’t help its. God will understand? God understand nothing but the blood of His Son. Peace.

  6. A.Philip Douglass

    I think its wonderful that we will begin to have this talk about homosexuality in the black church. Ms Vanzant wants these pastors to openly admit there gayness. Will that fix their lives. The bible is clear about homosexuality,
    there are thousand of men and women who have been deliver from it. I think the problem here that these Pastors kept their homosexuality a secret and this hindered their deliverance. No its not easy. The Church needs to respond with love and affirmation towards those who are open about their struggle. This will begin the healing process.

  7. Pastor Caren Faulk

    this subject is becoming more and more common. The truth is God does not agree with homosexual behavior. These people are looking for people to accept their sin! To say it’s alright we still love you. What happened to praying and trusting God for deliverance? Evans said it never happened for him. Could it be that he never wanted it to happen? Maybe he likes his gay lifestyle. What I detest are cowards who hide behind self pity and sin. These people are experiencing demons at work! Satan knows that if they stay in the sin of homosexuality they will go to hell!!! It’s a test and they are failing it left and right; psalms 11 tells it all. It’s follow the leader Obama has set the stage for sin to be loose in this world. He is the Beast! These people better wake up! Romans 1:22-32; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 these two scriptures alone give up God’s word on sexual sins. Their fooled because they want to be, they know it is wrong, but the world and Satan tells them that it’s alright! They are deceived!

  8. zee

    it won’t be long before this government will force churches to accept this filthy lifestyle, and the homosexuals will be flaunting it in the church. your children ( an adults) will not be safe from this spirit.

    In addition most time if you suspect someone is a homosexual man or women it probably true.

    Even if you take away what the Bible says about this……A fool knows that what they do is filthy and will never be natural ………..too woman together they way The Most High God meant for a men and a woman to be , is worse than filthy……the same for two men.

    Homosexuals know their lifestyle is ANTI-CHRIST— they know it.

  9. blood of Jesus

    First if all this woman needs to be saved! How is it that she is going to council men who God loves but they are sinning and you can not get around that fact. These men need Jesus and not a spiritualist. People who have itching ears will subscribe to this erroneous teaching but those who know the truth will not bow to baal. Zion wake up. Do not deny the faith. There men and women of God who have been delivered from this lifestyle thru the power of Jesus. Church fo not turn to false prophets. The word of God works.

  10. N Bradley

    When VanZant stated:

    “I don’t know where we get the scripture and the understanding that gay people can’t love the Lord or be accepted by the Lord.”

    She made it very clear that she doesn’t know “the” scriptures. She and others, including these men need to read Romans 1 and Genesis 19. These scriptures makes it very clear about how God feels about this abomination. However, if they repent and be baptized in Jesus’ name and allow God to “fill” them with the Holy Ghost speaking in tongues as the Spirit gives utterance (Acts 2:1-38; Acts 8, Acts 9 and Acts 10) their lives will and can be changed.

  11. Lebo

    To be clear, are we calling God a liar or are we saying the bible is not God’s Word (inerrant and infallible, Jesus) or are we admitting that these pastors are making up a god of their choosing because they want to ‘give place’ to their carnal nature? Let’s face it, through the first Adam carnality of every kind comes naturally, which is why we are to put to death our sinful man. Daily. Surely if as a single heterosexual woman if all I ever rehearse my sexual proclivities and develop sexual fantasies about every man that takes my fancy, even if I don’t engage in sexual encounters with them I am engaging in sexual immorality. That’s why I have to delight myself in the Lord as He reveals Himself in scripture (exegesis not eisegesis) and He will give me the desires of my heart. That is to say as my mind is fixed on him and is being renewed He gives me a heart that loves what He loves and hates what He hates.

    No longer do I desire to entertain myself with the things that put Jesus on the cross, I now desire Jesus and the result is healing and wholeness in my identity and sexuality. It may take a while but it can and has happened to many, many people who were prepared to surrender the good the bad and the ugly.

    It’s not about how others perceive us; not about what we think we can or are doing for God. Out righteousness is but filthy rags before Him. He doesn’t need us. He just wants us enough to give everything so we can have freedom; and this by submitting to Him as Lord over every single facet of our lives. We are the ones that need him to live authentically accepted set apart (holy) lives. That means we don’t get to cherish sin. Certainly, we fall and admit it and seek His forgiveness and change our minds and hearts 180 degrees, by His grace. And by his grace we stay the course. This is a marathon, not a sprint! If Moses was in training for 40 years and David for 15 and they still fell, why do I think I should have a Disney fairy experience (which by the way is altogether rooted in the enemy) and be healed and made whole when I make my wish? What bout all the sanctification that is meant to be ongoing so that I don’t use the Lord’s name in vain?

    Seriously; if I declare to all the world that I belong to Jesus The risen Lord and yet I misrepresent him in declaration I make to the world by the life I live; am I not using His name in vain? And since I am told that I will be held accountable for every idle word, should I not come repenting to the Living God instead of fearing men?

  12. Lord you have given me peace

    Let me start off by saying, we have all sinned and our righteousness is only obtained through our acceptance of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice. We are all human, easily corrupted and tempted. If there is an issue or practice that is against the teaching of the Holy Bible we are to seek the face of the Lord God Almighty. Find the solution written in the Holy Bible, seek counsel with the elders of the church, and enter into some intense prayer and fasting. So our habits and mindsets can have corrected by the Lord God Almighty. Its is not easy but if one has the true desire to change, get right with the word of God and walk in His statues it can be done. It takes time, patience, crucifying the fleshy desires, and total submission to the laws of Almighty God for success. This is not limited to just homosexuality, she made mention heterosexual sexual promiscuity that is rampant and accepted as nature in the body of the church. Which gives this agent of the devil the leverage she needed to shut the mouths of all those opposed to this sin. The church’s hypocrisy makes it unable to address or correct sinful behaviors.

    As with all lifestyles that go against the teachings of Jesus Christ, when the participants actions are revealed the reaction is shock because the length of time the lies has been used to deceive the members of the church. I do not know what is worse, the deception or the use of the high priestess Wiccan as the mediator.

  13. Lilie

    ooooooooo….this ain’t rightm!!!!#…first of all…Iyanla…should not be the person any of these fallen men should be going to….who is she? She can not fix any of this.. who is this woman? y’all google and research this woman, find out what she really is…who does she really serve? and then ask yourself why is she trying to “help” these men? look, if anyone is affiliated with Oprah, you know it ain’t of God. This is ungodly and is simply making a way for others who are in entrapped in this sin to have permission to keep doing this instead of repenting and asking God for deliverance. Listen, who does the bible say we must go to? Who do we go to when we need prayer ? people, we got to go to God. We must seek counsel from godly men and women of God, we must pray. my goodness do you really have to put your business out for the whole world to see? deal with this with The Lord, with godly family, godly brethren. Not a wordly ungodly woman, who is just using you to push an anti Christ agenda… this is not good…help us God…help us.

  14. Ruth Olu

    Good God….Can believe this is happening! We are indeed in the last days. The Root cause of all this is that People are not spending time in the Word of God and truly Submitting their lives to be Completely and utterly governed by God! Homosexuality is a Total Rebelious Act against the True God; Satan can give itself a round of applause- He is waging war and unfortunately appears to be gaining ground and lives of people God purchased with his Blood; Here is a message for Satan- Homosexuality will not be Tolerated, Accepted and the people who commit this act will not be sympathised with, accepted or Tolerated. They all need to let God rule their Lives and let me see the one who will say God is not an all Able , Powerful God- He is and the Victory is his and his children who are chasing and desiring after him.

  15. Ms. B.

    First of all, Iyanla with her and her new way of thinking ministry is not of God. If she would read the living Word, she would see that does speak about men laying with men and women doing the same! Read Romans chpt. 2 fully. They want everyone to except gay marriage, but we get reprimanded if we speak of God on our jobs or in our schools. This is crazy, this world better wake up. This nation is coming into a shaken, and everyone is going to be calling on the name of God!

  16. Deborah C.

    God in his Word has cautioned us (THE CHURCH, THE CALLED OUT ASSEMBLY) to not go to the “world” for counseling/deliverance. Whatever, the church needs is in the “Body”! Iyanla is a Nigerian Yuraba Priestess (read her autobiography) and believes in the “doctrine of inclusiveness”! Coming up, you will see, Iyanla will dwell on the two ministers not being honest with their churches and family members, but not the sin of homosexuality itself! Also, I noticed that Iyanla was taking something invisible off of the crying minister’s back and throwing it to the wind! Her hands are not to be laid upon believers, because of “transferring of spirits”! WHAT ARE WE THE CHURCH COMING TO? WHERE IS OUR DISCERNMENT, WHERE IS THE WITNESS OF THE WITNESS THAT IS IN US/GOD’S HOLY SPIRIT! WHY ARE THOSE GAY LEADERS NOT CONVICTED OF THEIR SINS? LAST DAYS THERE SHALL BE DOCTRINES OF DEMONS!

    1. TCurrie

      You said a mouthful. Very well put. That’s the problem with believers today we’re not utilizing the power of the Holy Spirit. We’re not walking in the fullness of God. That’s why no one is getting delivered.

  17. SamJ

    It’s amazing and not surprising that these men go to an unbeliever for counsel. That alone disqualifies them to stand in the pulpit as a pastor not to mention the obvious biblical disqualification as practicing homosexuals.

    Didn’t Jesus say in Matthew 7:23 (KJV) 23 “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” Jesus did not say “I use to know you” or “I knew you once” He said NEVER! This means that these two men are not a part of the Body of Christ.

    It is clear that these men want to continue in their sin and keep their “job” rather than repent. And this woman is there to help them do that. What else can a Christian expect from secular TV channels but to promote the sinful practice of this age? Whatever happened to repentance? Just tragic.

  18. Simply Maria

    The last line of her interview is the most sad. She wants to open the minds of others to “believe” that they are gay and to start “acting” on their feelings. What I pray for the most is young people will not be allowed to watch her show, for that is who they are coming after. May God have mercy on all these lost souls….

  19. Carlton

    They can cry all they want to, if there isn’t a concerted effort to fix the problem and sitting back thinking God is going to heal away the sin they are sadly mistaken. They the pastors need to stop the Nasty act as a first step, and going to An unbeliever to seek counsel, where is that written at, especially ms Lie-ana.
    Diecernement no as the pastor says it don’t take an act of God to know that homosexuality is filthy and nasty. That should be enough to stop you. I pray for those pastors.

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