Love, Sex, Orientation & Companionship: A Review of "Journey Interrupted"

Coming Out Ministries (COM) is an organization that is devoted to helping people find “redemption, victory, healing, and freedom from homosexuality.” COM board members, Brian and Anne Savinsky, interviewed by Spectrum on January 31, produced a documentary film that primarily features the stories of four individuals who make up the Coming Out Ministries team: Ron Woolsey, Wayne Blakely, Michael Carducci, and Danielle Harrison. I attended a screening of Journey Interrupted along with a follow-up Q & A session with Blakely and Carducci on December 10 at the Pasadena, California, Seventh-day Adventist Church.  

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Pastor Leonard,
I have little to add to your superb and splendid analysis and review of the film “Journey Interrupted”.

The multiple myths in this film, which you enumerate, are disarmingly and subtly conveyed and would confuse a viewer who did not know a gay/lesbian person. No wonder Adventist parents, so inoculated, are devastated when they learn their child is gay!

With a demographic of 4 per cent of the population being gay/lesbian, EVERY
extended Adventist family of twenty five people.–siblings,parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, and their spouses, has at least one such member.

Because Adventism has been extraordinarily effective, efficient and even energetic at shaming, shunning, demeaning, denigrating and even DEMONIZING its gay members , many such individuals do not self identify their orientation to other family members

Your recommendation that " do not show this film to teens or market it to young adults" cannot be more forcibly emphasized.

FORCED viewing of this film at our various boarding academies ( where even all homework for the week has been cancelled ) has left many closeted gay/lesbian teens confused, angry and even suicidal.

The implication that their very being, their innate sexuality, OVER WHICH THEY HAD NO CHOICE., is inherently immoral, is devastating to them.

Self worth, and self esteem, are very important to young people, and when deliberately degraded, leads to damaging, destructive, suicidal impulses. Surveys of our Adventist gay youth have reported a high incidence of suicidal impulses, attempted suicide, and even regrettably successful suicide. Gay offspring of atheist families report only one eighth such episodes!

A troubling statistic for our church!

As long as the denomination continues to propagate unhealthy and misleading myths to our closeted gay/lesbian teens, I would recommend that they seek refuge in the nearest, cheaper public school/college where they can pursue their dreams without such contamination.


Todd –
thank you for the discussion of your Many Years of ministering to LGBTIO persons.
The problem is that those in the pews in our hundreds of churches have been conditioned to what is on the back of my church bulletin every week – # 17: God ordained marriage between a man and woman. God condemns homosexuality. and gives Bible texts.
I would say very few of the North American SDAs have consciously met any Gay and Lesbians who are “normal” people, living normal lives like they are. And like them when they were single, were looking for a life-long companion and NOT a sex object.
All the Heteros I know DID NOT get married so they could have “legal” sex several times a week. And this is ALSO NOT on the minds of GL’s in considering a companion. Just like Hetero’s, GL’s do date around before finding THE One. But unlike Hetero’s, this might take quite a few years to find That Person. But some Never DO find that person and so remain single. But being Single GL does not mean that one cannot enjoy the company of others who are GL.
I know many GL’s who are active members of their Sunday churches. I know several ordained GL pastors who are truly loved by their HETERO congregations. I know a number of married GL’s who have adopted children or who are Foster Parents. One white L couple became a foster parent of an infant black girl. Couple years later were able to adopt her. She is now 6 yrs old. Loved by her L parents, loved by her white grand parents, and loved by the congregation of surrogate parents.
ALL the GL’s I see each Sunday lead “normal” lives, whether “partnered” or “single”.
Others I see on other days also lead “normal” lives that their Heterosexual Friends live.

Again, thank you Todd for your ministry at Glendale.
I am sure your friends in Canton, GA still think fondly of you.


What a blessing this article is. While recognizing the good intentions of those in COM, Pastor Leonard clearly presents the problems associated with it, and offers suggestions on how a more accurate picture can be obtained by a church group that wants to understand how best to show their love to their LGBTI members. Thank you, Todd!


I must concur with everything you have said here. Don’t bet the ranch that SDA schools that show Journey Interupted would consider balancing it by showing Seventh Gay Adventist.

For nearly 50 years, I lived in a closet feeling shamed for same sex attractions I couldn’t change. I loathed myself, struggled with suicidal depression, and a nervous breakdown brought on by christian therapists trying to either cure my homosexuality or subdue who I really am. In years gone by, men like me were told we needed to just find the right woman, and it would all change. I married 34 years ago, and continued to carry guilt and shame when my attractions didn’t change. I was faithful to her, but was hard to live with dealing with all the emotional shame going on inside me.

When my wife left me and said she wanted a divorce almost 2 years ago, saying to me we were living a lie , I finally came out of the closet to my church and friends. I had told my story and been out on Spectrum for several years, but no one knew my full name until I just added my last name a week ago.

While much of the emotional burden is lifting, the stress of trying to not be gay has taken a toll on my health. My heart is severly enlarged and failing. I am quite lonely. I pray that God can use me in some way to help gay young people accept who they are, and know that God loves them in ways beyond anything they can imagine.


Tom, there is something very refreshing and healing about not needing to hide. Praying that now you’ve been able to come out, God’s peace will bring restoration to both body and soul.


Which one can find in the vast sea of wonderful opposite sex people out there.

Any and all non-sexual virtues that a person is seeking can be found in the opposite sex.

I would hope that a senior pastor would know that. And believe it. And teach it.

@elmer_cupino @floyd A Christian is by nature to be submissive to the sexual parameters set by Christ Himself. It doesn’t matter, Elmer what your modern secular psychology articles say, or what Lady Gaga or Madonna say, Floyd. When a man considers a mate, he should look no further than the millions of wonderful perfectly adequate women God has lovingly put there for him to pick from. Same is true for the ladies; millions of noble, worthy men out there who would be highly honored to cherish a woman for a lifetime in a marriage. All the higher virtues we seek in a mate, God has wondrously put in the opposite sex.

The physical needs are baser, non-primary, lower appetites. And worth noting is that men have no sexual compatibility with other men. Or women with women. This particular pastor that has taken it upon himself to promote gay relationships within Christianity has said that gays mostly value companionship over the sexual. That makes sense. Why not look for all those qualities in the opposite sex, leave the sexual on the back burner, where it belongs with any pre-marital relationship while you are getting to know that prospective companion, and trust that God will work out all those non-primary sexual issues as He sees fit. I think the designer and maker of the universe is quite capable of figuring out a human sexuality issue here and there.


Let me understand this passage clearly. The Holy Spirit freed them from their “sexual addiction” but allowed them to continue with their sexual orientation. Our highly esteemed GC president TW, his EXCOMM and BRI must be listening to another kind of Holy Spirit.


Except sexual orientation has no bearing on virtues anymore than you were drawn to your spouse because of her virtues. You were drawn to her solely because of your heterosexual orientation, you a male, she a female. Virtues come secondary in these cases and are considered fringe benefits.


With all my respect to those who presented their experience to the (SDA) public : Here in Austria it simpy is misleading - elsewhere I assume - the same. (The local Union promoted the COM presentation countrywide ! )

Heterosexuality is a Creation given fact - and secretly disapproved by Christians - as a priest with decades of experience in Confession told me. But would we diplay all the (heterosexually given) problems to an alien, just showing him the red light scene ?

So what deceptive - yes, DECEPTIVE ! - message was promoted by the SDA Union ? For the simple memeber here and there, for the elderly, for the young one ?


Tom, thank you for your courage in sharing more of your story. I believe that living in the closet can hurt a person’s health. I personally close friends with two very prominent Adventist men - known across North American Adventism at least - who have lived in straight marriages for many years and have never come out of the closet (save to a very few trusted friends). Living this way has done significant harm to their physical health. And after living this way (appearing not to be homosexual) for 60+ years, they’re attraction and sexual orientation have not changed. They never experienced the addictions, etc. that those in COM have.

I know many other gay and lesbian people (Adventists and otherwise) who live highly moral, ethical, monogamous lives while experiencing the benefits (physical health and emotional health) of “gay marriage”.

Thus I believe that, while the stories of those in COM may be true for them, they do not truthfully represent all gay and lesbian people, even those who desire to live a Christian life. Their stories, though well-intentioned, are an inadequate representation of reality. Unfortunately, their stories seem to be what many conservative Adventists and church leaders want to hear, and they are therefore seen as being “the answer”, while in fact they are not!


Tom, I am so happy that you are now comfortable being the authentic you. A big fallacy is that all humans are alike. All males are alike. All gay guys are alike. Nothing could be farther from the truth. A fear is that the Bible and Jesus’ message is invalid if we can’t do a “one size fits all” (meaning we pick and choose which size is appropriate for others). Simply stated, God’s LOVE is a one size fits all. And in my opinion, nothing makes God smile more than seeing one of His creations living to its fullest authentic self.


I fully agree with you Kristan. Both christian and even non-christian heterosexuals and homosexuals are “submissive to the sexual parameters set by Christ himself.” This is the very reason why Blakely and Carducci continue to be attracted to men and why you continue to be attracted to your wife.

Praise the almighty Lord.



We need more parents who love their children like Ron Woolsey’s parents and sister did.

Matthew 7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

The above Bible verse refers to all.

Exodus 20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.

Which part of Exodus 20:5 do we as SDA’s not understand? I have not read a response from the replies which accurately describes our sinful nature. We have no problem accepting other health issues we inherit from our parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. Ah! but when it comes to the inclination of sexual sin (heterosexual or homosexual), we want to wash our hands and scratch our heads, and ask “how did this happen?”

We knew that our daughter was not a “girlie girl” from the time that she was two. She did not want to wear dresses or play with dolls. She wanted to wear overalls, and play with trucks and guns. Our eldest daughter is a “girlie girl” in every sense of the word. So, what happened? Well, I will tell you. Both my husband and I are third generation SDA’s. We were both educated in SDA schools all through college. We attended church regularly and never had any form of pornography or inappropriate television viewing in our home. You could say that we were an ideal SDA family. Did this help our youngest daughter in any way? Not really. However, she WAS AFRAID to tell us that she was attracted to girls because she was SURE that we would disown her. She almost died of Anorexia as she tried to prevent her body from developing in puberty. When I think back on those days, I so wish that we would have had a better understanding of who God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit truly are. We were so inoculated with hate and fear of homosexuality from school and church. Heterosexual adulterers, swingers, liars, fornicators, etc. got forgiveness from the church. But homosexuals? well now, that is another category of sin. Really?

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Is there a passage in the Bible stating that we have to be perfect before we can come to Jesus?

We have not disowned our daughter. She is our flesh and blood. She has inherited a tendency from the sinful nature in our DNA from us and who knows who else in our ancestry line. We had an uncle who was a homosexual. My father was an unfaithful husband (and he studied the ministry!) My father’s father abandoned his mother with six children to chase other women. One of my uncles is a pedophile who has been in prison for his crimes against children. My husband committed adultery. I forgave him and we have never been separated. Why? because this is what God wanted me to do. I didn’t feel like it, but I chose to obey God’s will for our family. Do I regret obeying God’s will? Absolutely not! God has blessed and protected our home in so many amazing ways. My hubby rededicated his life to Jesus and has been the spiritual leader that God asked him to be when we got married.

We need to love our children no matter how they come into this world. Pray to our Heavenly Father without ceasing for their protection and for the wisdom needed to be the parents that God wants us to be. I am only concerned in what God thinks, not in what the SDA church thinks. God is not a denomination. He is much more than that.

I know a family of six siblings. Two are males and four are females. One of the males and one of the females is a homosexual. This inclination was inherited. It was not sexual abuse or pornography. It was inherited. God did not give them this inclination, He only gave them the “breath of life.” God is not responsible for what we inherit.

Let us take responsibility and accept that in our sinful nature we are flawed. We will not be transformed until the Second Coming of Jesus.

Let us spend our energy in loving people to Jesus Christ who is the one and only Savior. If the claim is true that, “church is for sinners”, the SDA churches should be full of fornicators, adulterers, homosexuals, thieves. liars, murderers, coveters. These are the people who need Jesus the most.

The ONLY WAY to witness for God, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to others is in how we treat people who need God’s love, grace, and forgiveness the most.


After seeing “Journey Interrupted” then hearing the four people in COM discuss it - and answer questions, I was frustrated. I couldn’t find the words to describe my feelings about/reaction to the film and discussion. But Todd Leonard’s response/review of the film… WOW. Those are the words I’d like to have said. THANK YOU… for the writing/word skills, the knowledge of humanity, especially of the LBTQI community, and the caring you expressed. THANK YOU.


So far, 22 posts by the same set of people talking to each other and still no follow-up comment by the main author?

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I am back to rejoin the conversation as this platform is long overdue not only in the SDA churches but among all other groups of people who do not fully understand the power that God has to transform lives. Yes, we have a daughter who is attracted to the same sex. And yes, we know that she was born with this inclination. For those who doubt this, open your Bible to Matthew 19:12 where you will read the following, "For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it."
This first part of this verse in Matthew 19 tells me that God knows that some people will be born with certain deficits. God does not mention here that some females are also born who will not be able to bare children. If a male baby can be born a eunuch and a female baby can be born without the ability to bear children, is it possible that babies can also be born with gender identity confusion?
We seem to have explanations for babies that are born without sight, arms, legs, deaf, etc. We need to include gender dysphoria to the list. Have you wondered why God did not include Thou Shalt Not Have Same Sex Attraction in the Ten Commandments.? He knows that some will have this inclination that starts in the womb. God also knows that some will be the recipients of sexual molestation. God also knows that some will choose to follow a path of perversion by the temptation of pornography leading to self gratification. It makes perfect sense as to why God did not include same sex attraction warning in the Ten Commandments. He knew that it was too broad and not as clear cut as the other commandments. When we live according to our desires and not according to God’s will, we open the door to temptation. Every commandment that we break is a choice. If a baby is born with gender dysphoria, from the womb, that is not a choice. If someone is sexually molested, that is not a choice.

Speaking of inherited traits. Did you know…All U.S. Presidents, except president Martin Van Buren, are descendants of King John of England who signed the Magna Carta in 1215. They all have the trait of wanting POWER. Fascinating. More proof of inherited traits.

Enough of that. We have plenty of Biblical proof of God’s mercy, love, and compassion as well as enough assurance of His mighty power to heal and restore.

In 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 we read,

9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

It is in verse 11 were God makes His almighty power to heal and restore mankind. Imperfections that we are born with, poor choices that we make along the way whether the result of body or mind can all be restored in three words. Have FAITH, TRUST, and OBEDIENCE. We can’t make decisions based on feeling. Without God’s will as our guide, we will always flounder. Ron Woolsey was restored because he chose to know God’s will and, most of all, because he chose to obey God’s will. God knows what is best for us. When we trust and obey, we are no longer concentrating on what we feel like doing. Instead, we are now concentrating on what God wants us to do through His strength. This is how born again christians who were once adulterers can be faithful, killers stop killing, liars stop lying, fornicators stop fornicating, etc. It is God’s strength. Not our strength. We can overcome anything when we Trust and Obey.

Do we love our daughter unconditionally? Absolutely. Do we want her to be happy? Absolutely. Most importantly, do you want her to be in God’s will? Absolutely.


I agree with all the realities the pastor has presented. Though not an expert on the subject, I have studied, researched, and discussed it with those who are homosexual. There is no way anyone would choose this and suffer even at the hands of other church members. Our church publications have refused to print the truth and caused much harm to t hose who could not help their birth situation.


Todd you’ve definitely done a thorough and thoughtful analysis here. I feel the main weakness is how light you are this “ministry”. Saying they dont promote people to seek conversion therapy is akin to saying an gas company doesn’t promote people buying gas powered cars. COM is a conversion therapy program. They may be differently branded with a less militant and no residential programs but they want gays to come out, except in this case it’s to come out of being gay. Very sad.