“Homosexuality is a behavior; it’s not my identity”
By Mark Ellis
He fought same-sex attraction as a young person and plunged into the homosexual lifestyle after a false accusation unmasked his
desires. When a tumultuous same-sex relationship unwound, the power of God’s Word and the Spirit drew a prodigal home.
“In junior high I first experienced same-sex attraction,” says Jim Domen, who works with the California Family Council. Domen grew up in a traditional home, with a Catholic father and Episcopalian mother who both became born again believers when Domen was in elementary school.
Because he accepted Jesus into his heart at age 7, his feelings of same-sex attraction confused him. “I tried to read the Bible and I prayed to change the sinful desires and they weren’t changing,” he recalls. By his sophomore year in high school, the feelings were intensifying.
Domen shared his secret with a youth pastor at church, who recommended he tell his parents. “They were shocked and devastated,” he says. They insisted their son see a Christian counselor.
“The Christian therapist was really critical in understanding the root issues of same-sex attraction,” he notes. Despite his heightened awareness and understanding, he continued to struggle.
Domen’s goal to get married and have a family got derailed after college. He accepted a position with a company based in Bermuda. When he and another male Christian friend decided to room together, the living arrangement was misinterpreted by his boss.
“I was accused of being homosexual, which is illegal in Bermuda,” Domen recalls. “It was pretty devastating because I was a virgin.”
Fired from his dream job, he went into an emotional tailspin. Through twisted logic, he came to a painful conclusion. If I’m going to be ostracized for being a homosexual, I might as well be one.
For two years, his feelings and his biblical understanding waged war against each other. God’s plan is not going to work for me, he thought. I want to love and be loved, so I’m going into the homosexual lifestyle…
Domen met a same-sex partner online and they moved to Palm Springs together. “We pretended to be married and I thank God marriage was not legal then,” he says. “I was not in my right mind and marriage would have complicated things.”
They established a business in the sun-baked mecca, but things soured in the relationship, partly due to his partner’s alcohol and drug use. One day they had a colossal argument and Domen announced he would move out.
“That day my partner switched over our bank accounts and took my name off everything,” he recounts. Domen had no access to money.
Some friends let him stay temporarily in a vacant, unfurnished apartment. In his first evening in the apartment, he laid down on the tile floor. His only possessions were his clothing. He stared up at the ceiling and said, “God, I’m yours again.”
Still, a spiritual battle ensued for his heart and soul. Even though he wanted to turn toward God, he thought that as soon as he got back on his feet he would probably drift back into the homosexual lifestyle.
Domen called some Christian friends who expressed unconditional love to him in the past, when he was in the depths of his rebellion. “You had better pray for me,” he cried out over the phone. “God is doing a work.”
One of these friends came to visit and suggested he spend time in God’s Word. “I was afraid to read the Bible because I thought it would change me,” he admits. “My heart was hard. I didn’t want to be changed. I said, ‘This is who I am.’”
Domen’s parents invited him to move home, the last place he wanted to go. He had never connected well with his father, an L.A. County sheriff. “Growing up, I saw my world through the eyes of the feminine,” he says.
Yet something remarkable happened during his time at home with his parents. God orchestrated a season of healing between father and son. “We built a friendship relationship as men,” he says. “We had a lot of one-on-one time together that brought healing.”
Domen started to pray, read the Scripture regularly, and he attended several men’s Bible studies. “I was hungry for God’s Word and healthy male relationships,” he says.
“I shared my story with pastors and that was my litmus test,” he notes. “I thought that if they were of God, they would love me and affirm the work God was doing in my life.”
As Domen’s faith deepened, one pastor suggested he attend seminary. He argued at first. “I don’t want anything to do with church, because the church isn’t acting like Jesus to a lost and dying world,” he told the pastor.
“But what if you are able to help educate the church on how to respond to the homosexual community,” the pastor countered, “how to share the love of Christ and stand for truth at the same time.”
The pastor’s line of reasoning persuaded Domen, and he began to attend Azusa Pacific University’s Graduate School of Theology.
At the same time, he dated women for the first time in many years. When he felt sexual arousal toward the opposite sex, it rocked his world. “This is pretty cool,” he thought.
In his men’s accountability group, he shared his newfound feelings.
“Awesome, dude, you lusted over a woman,” one of the men said.
Domen chuckled and replied, “Sin is still sin,” he said. “I don’t have the right to sin in the opposite direction either.”
When Domen graduated from seminary, the school mistakenly mailed his diploma to the wrong address. He went into the office to pick it up, and had a “chance” encounter that changed the future course of his life.
A young, attractive woman named Amanda came out from her back office at the same time Domen arrived at the counter. She retrieved the lost diploma and handed it to him.
“Take it out and read it,” she suggested. “This looks like something important to you.”
As he scanned the document he said, “This is a miracle. I’ve come out of the homosexual lifestyle, I’m a pastor, I just bought my first house, and now I have my M.Div. degree.”
“It sounds like God has restored the years the locusts have eaten,” she said, quoting from the Book of Joel.
Wow, who is this woman behind the counter quoting from a minor prophet in the Old Testament? he wondered. Domen says he “saw Jesus burning in her eyes.”
Jim and Amanda married in 2009. “Marriage rocks; I love being married,” Domen declares. “This is the most amazing relationship I’ve ever been in. It’s peaceful, it’s godly, it’s tranquil. I can’t wait to get home.”
While Jesus brought a remarkable transformation in his life, he still encounters temptations. “I will have sin issues until the day I die,” Domen admits. “It’s a journey. It’s a walk.”
“I want to choose life and choose righteousness in all areas of my life. I know I’m fallen and I need a Savior named Jesus.”
“Homosexuality is a behavior. My sexuality is not my identity. My identity is in Christ.”