Preface: The following article will be new information for some of you and for others there will be some information you may not be aware of. My life is an on-going process of healing, recovery, reconciliation and making amends with every opportunity the LORD gives me. Please feel free to contact me (see contact information following the article) and/or reply to this blog article. I would also be happy to set up a meeting with you if you are interested. May the LORD receive all honor and glory.
Richard Holloman – My Story
Scripture: Matthew 22:36-40; Romans 8:1; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
It is not easy for me to share the story of my life. I still battle with shame and guilt and I sometimes allow the enemy to discourage me as I think about what I have done and as I think about all the people I have hurt. I know the LORD has forgiven me and has called me to a journey of healing, recovery and freedom.
I feel the LORD has called me to a life-time of making amends with every opportunity He allows. I want to use this as an opportunity to apologize to the Church in general and to all Southern Baptists (the denomination in which I was saved and through which I have been serving in ministry since 1969) and to every individual I have offended and hurt. As I share my story my prayer is that the LORD will work reconciliation and healing in the lives of anyone I have hurt.
I know who I truly am in Christ and in His confidence I share what the LORD is doing in my life. He orchestrated my exposure to bring about my healing and to bring glory to His name. May you find hope and redemption in Him.
My Father was an abusive, violent alcoholic. I was terrified of him and I had deep hatred towards him. He died when I was 7 years old and I rejoiced at his passing. I have no memories of my father or my mother ever holding me or verbalizing their love for me. I grew up starving for love, nurture, affirmation and acceptance.
I was physically, verbally, emotionally and sexually abused by my father. This was unknown to the rest of my family as far as I know. I was introduced to pornography when I was six and was molested by an older boy when I was 9 years old. I suffered from low self-esteem and was extremely shy and felt a deep sense of shame about myself but I couldn’t understand why. As a young boy I felt that no one cared about me or truly loved me. I did not relate to other boys or men and felt more comfortable around girls.
I began acting out sexually with other boys what I had experienced and learned from early childhood sexual abuse. I was only seven years old when I initiated my first sexual encounter with another boy in my neighborhood. I continued a life of acting out throughout my teen years, college years and throughout my adult life until my exposure in 1995.
I made a profession of faith in Christ when I was seventeen years old thinking that God would take away my same sex attraction and my sexual compulsion. As a Christian I became deeply depressed about my dark secrets. No one knew my secrets and I no longer felt I could deal with this darkness. When I was a student in college I made my first attempt to take my life by taking 300 aspirin. I was unconscious for two days and was deathly ill but I survived.
I married when I was twenty one years old because I didn’t want anyone to have any suspicions of my secrets. I also foolishly thought that marriage might make an impact on my longings. Though I married for the wrong reasons I truly loved my wife and tried very hard to be a good husband and father. I was not in a healthy emotional place and was diligent to keep her from ever knowing about my secrets. She was an incredible lady who expressed deep faith in God and was very loyal to me and to our son. I live with regret that I was never honest with my wife concerning my same-sex struggle.
I entered into vocational ministry as a way to medicate my profound longings for affirmation, acceptance, and significance. Through all of this I was acting out homosexually & developed a sexual compulsion that was totally out of control. I was absolutely powerless to stop and out of fear of rejection and condemnation I was not willing to seek help. I didn’t even know help existed. I knew if anyone learned of my dark secrets I would lose everything that gave me significance in life. This resulted in secrecy, deception, living a double life, and shame. The enemy knew if he kept me in this unhealthy place I would never recover.
As I continued my life as a minister I was living a life of duplicity. I was a pastor and a campus minister on a university campus while also acting out homosexually. I was obsessed with deep seated needs for love and acceptance. Fear of losing what significance and value I had earned over my life was crippling and kept me paralyzed. I would often cry myself to sleep at night and would beg God to either heal me or kill me.
I need to make it clear that I do not use my experience of early childhood abuse as an excuse for my behavior. I take full responsibility for what I have done. I did not choose my temptations and longings but I did choose to act out on those longings and I chose to not get help until I came to a place of absolute desperation. I believe the LORD loved me so much He orchestrated my complete exposure to bring me to a place of submission to His will for my life.
While serving as campus minister of a university I was guilty of making inappropriate sexual advances toward a student. After I was reported to university officials I was fired from my position. The university officials had made the assumption that due to my wife’s recent death I must have had a mental and emotional breakdown. They also assumed that this was an isolated experience. I was too ashamed and unhealthy to be honest about the depths of my struggle with same-sex attractions and my life of homosexual behavior. I allowed them to believe their assumptions and I did not disclose truth about my struggles. As a result I missed out on an opportunity to begin a journey of healing and recovery.
But God loved me and heard my cry and He continued pursuing me. The biblical principle is that God will expose our secrets and bring things into the light (1 Corinthians 4:5; Eph. 5:8-13). I always thought if I was ever exposed I would end my life because I thought that would be the very worst thing that could ever happen to me. But it turned out to be the very best thing that happened to me (Genesis 50:20, Romans 8:28) because God forced me to begin dealing with brokenness and my sinful behavior.
Through a process God orchestrated the full disclosure of a life-time of homosexual behavior on Friday night, November 10, 1995. At this time a group of people confronted me and for the very first time in my life, at age 45, I confessed out loud my life-long battle with same-sex attraction and homosexual behavior.
I hurriedly left that meeting in total humiliation, embarrassment and shame. I pulled my car into the garage and shut the door. I wrote my son a note, grabbed my pillow, went back to the garage and started the engine of my car. I went to sleep on the concrete floor fully expecting to die. I slept through the night and woke up the next morning; the car engine was still running. I wasn’t even nauseous nor did I have a headache from the fumes. I turned off the engine to my car and threw the note away and loaded a rental truck with all my belongings and moved to Nashville.
I started attending Two Rivers Baptist Church and a few weeks later I found myself in the office of the pastor, Dr. Jerry Sutton. I began sharing my story with him with great fear & trembling; I didn’t know how he would respond. This was a big moment in my life. If Dr. Sutton had turned me away I really don’t know what choices I would have made.
Dr. Sutton set up a plan for me to receive counseling through the counseling ministry of the church. The Minister of Counseling introduced me to a book called, “Lifetime Guarantee,” by Bill Gillham. This book made a profound impact on my life. It was through this book that I began to learn about two of the most important truths in life.
I also began an intense therapy program through two other therapists. One was a Christian psychologist who was assigned to me as a result of my suicide attempt. The other was a counselor affiliated with Exodus International. We continued a counseling relationship for three years.
Another spiritual marker involved an evangelist who came to Two Rivers Baptist Church, Ken Freeman. One night his sermon topic was “Whose Your Daddy.” He began the worship service by asking everyone who had never known the love of an earthly father to stand. He then prayed over us. This experience reached a deep longing in my heart. At the close of the service I found myself at the altar crying out and forgiving my father for the first time in my life. A few weeks later I visited my Father’s grave site and spoke to him as if he were there with me. This was a major step in my healing journey. The LORD was showing me that He is my Father.
The most important thing the LORD is teaching me through my recovery process is that authentic Christian faith is not about law, works, flesh, or self-effort but about having a personal love relationship with God. Jesus was asked “what is the Greatest Commandment?” His answer is found in Matthew 22:36-40, “to love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. . .” These verses have become my life’s scripture.
Another vital and life-changing truth the LORD is teaching me through my recovery process is to embrace and truly believe who GOD has declared me to be in Christ Jesus. This is my true identity. The enemy is out to “steal, kill and to destroy. . .” John 10:10. I believe one of his most effective tools to destroy us is to get us to a place where we believe his lies about who we are rather than believing the truth of who God says we are in Christ.
As I continue to grow in my understanding of these two fundamental truths and as I continually surrender my mind, will and emotions to Him, and as I submit to His truth and Lordship in my life I continue in a process of change, healing and freedom. I am becoming who the LORD says I am. It is an on-going “Great Adventure.” This is a critically important biblical principle that is taught in Romans 7:24-25-8:1, 1 Corinthians 6:11, 2 Corinthians 5:17, and Galatians 2:20.
I have learned that I am not a homosexual, I am not a fag, I am not a queer, and I am not gay, I’m not even ex-gay. I have learned that, in Christ Jesus, I am a righteous son of God, I am justified, I am forgiven, I am holy and blameless, I am perfect, I am accepted and acceptable, I am loved and loveable, and I am a brother to Jesus.
As a result of the redemptive work of Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit in my life and the Heavenly Father’s grace and mercy I am no longer being controlled by my sexual appetites and by the lusts of my flesh. In describing my sexual brokenness I can say that what began as a raging forest fire consuming everything in its path has become nothing more than a small flicker of a flame. This is the on-going work that the LORD has done in my life and I have never known greater joy, meaning, hope and purpose.
My journey is not yet complete (which is true for all of us regardless of whatever our struggle/s might be) but I am learning that my chief purpose is “to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever” and I know that I will never be the same again!
In the Name of Yahweh Gibbor (the LORD is Our Victorious Warrior),
The Sight Ministry
PO Box 140808
Nashville, TN 37214