In the Sydney Morning Herald, Katrina Fox has penned a first-hand account of her visit to an ex-gay conference sponsored by Living Waters, an ex-gay network. The founder of Living Waters in Australia, Ian Lind, is quoted condemning sexually honest, same-sex-attracted persons to hell and severing such persons from contact with any house of worship.

Or at least not a church that he approves of:

After lunch the conference delegates break off to take part in a workshop of their choice. Naturally I pick the one on homosexuality, led by Ian Lind, who founded Living Waters in Australia 30 years ago. Before becoming a Christian, Lind was part of the gay scene in Sydney for 10 years. For him, the two are mutually exclusive. “There is no such thing as a gay Christian,” he proclaims.

“I don’t believe you can sit in church as a gay person. I chose homosexuality like others choose drugs or alcohol. When I gave myself to the Lord, I turned my back on my lifestyle so I was no longer gay. I am still attracted to men, but I never went back to that lifestyle or gave in to my feelings.”

Lind’s ostracism of gay people isn’t enough for the current Australian leader of Living Waters, Ron Brookman, who also condemns thousands of people globally who are born with some of the genes, hormones, organs, or brain activity of both genders:

Brookman goes on to explain that God’s image can only be displayed on earth when male and female come together in sexual union within the context of monogamous heterosexual marriage. Anything outside is a sin.

Lind is not content to condemn gay and transgender persons; he also directly blames parents at the ex-gay conference for their adult children’s sexual orientation. According to Fox:

One couple is concerned about their son who came out as gay a year ago. “It’s there in your upbringing,” Lind asserts.

“If our mothers nurtured us and our fathers spent time with us, we wouldn’t have those issues.” Discussion ensues about whether a person is “born gay”.

While Lind is adamant this is not the case – despite various research studies identifying biological factors such as prenatal hormones and brain structure that may be related to sexual orientation – others in the room argue it doesn’t matter if people are born gay. “As Christians we shouldn’t be worried about this,” says one participant. “You can still be redeemed and choose to live a pure life.”

After the conference, Brookman tried to backpedal from his and Lind’s condemnations:

In an interview a few days after the conference, Brookman was keen to point out that Living Waters “goes to great pains not to condemn people in homosexuality or any other form of sexual brokenness, but seeks to reach out with compassion to those who are ill at ease with their sexuality”.

It’s true that at that no time during the conference did anyone express outright hatred towards gay or lesbian people, but references to Satan and “the enemy” in the context of discussing the “sin” of homosexuality hardly empower us.

In addition to assuming the role of God by passing judgment against the sexually honest, Brookman and Lind continue to lie — calling themselves “heterosexual” even though they admittedly remain predominantly same-sex-attracted.

Fox’s printed observations give only brief attention to the reaction of Australian former ex-gays, so former ex-gay Anthony Venn-Brown and Ben Gresham have both initiated conversations with Fox and her readers.