A Lamb’s Exodus: Overcoming Religious Fundamentalism, Sexism, Racism, Fatphobia, and Conversion Therapy

by Rev. Mary Lokers
Self-published, June 2019.

Reviewed by Virginia Mollenkott, Ph.D., M.Div.

With remarkable openness about her own faults, misunderstandings, agonies, and willingness to grow, Mary Lokers has told her own story.  She reveals what life is like for a lesbian of non-binary gender who has been trapped in the legalism, judgmentalism, and terror of fundamentalist religion.

A Lamb’s Exodus should be required reading for all people who believe in the practices of conversion therapy.  Mary Lokers spent 21 years trying to “pray away the gay,” was active in Exodus International, and even was featured on an Exodus billboard as a happy woman healed from her gay identification.  Fortunately for me, I came along before “conversion therapy” became popular, but my form of therapy was not much more effective: getting heterosexually married and bearing a son on the premise that acting properly brings proper emotions and attractions. At least I got my wonderful son and three granddaughters out of my “therapy.”  Mary and her fellow glbt’s had nothing but their broken hearts and self-deceptions in return for their time in Exodus.

Exodus was closed by its president, Alan Chambers, with his admission that change of orientation is impossible.  But since then, more cruel and merciless “therapies” have been developed.  Any reader who knows of parents who are planning to send their children into modern “conversion therapy” should share the Lamb’s Exodus with them as a way of trying to save young people from torture, despair, and possibly death.

Fortunately, in the midst of her struggle, Mary Lokers had an inquiring mind.  She searched the Scriptures and scholarly resources until she found her way to freedom.  One member of the Gay Christian Network (now renamed Q Christian Fellowship) who had met Mary when she was advocating gay celibacy, and then saw her again after she had accepted herself as a Spirit-filled lesbian Christian, had this to say: “I would not have believed the transformation of this one woman in one year had I not witnessed it” (p. 81).

Mary Lokers provides a bibliography of 115 sources she used during her journey from fear to love.  She has also written five workbooks (available in hard copy or in PDF form) concerning interpretations of the Bible.  So she has provided a rich resource for Christian people who are struggling to align their sexuality with their religion.

Like my own acceptance of my early miseries, Mary Lokers has come to accept “being lost and tattered in the wilderness” as a necessary preparation for recognizing the “healing and restoration of all things” (p. 75).  Like Mary, I have learned that “There is great purpose for the wilderness period I endured.”  In a sense, all human beings in their own way must learn to “unravel, learn, grow, and be restored” (p. 75).  For a description of one woman’s process, told with a startling candidness, I recommend A Lamb’s Exodus.

 

See Mary’s website, Untethered Transformation, for information on ordering the book.

 

Virginia Ramey Mollenkott
Virginia Ramey Mollenkott is the author or co-author of 13 books, including several on women and religion. She is a winner of the Lambda Literary Award (in 2002) and has published numerous essays on literary topics in various scholarly journals. In 1975, she spoke at the first national gathering of the Evangelical Women’s Caucus in Washington, D.C., and delivered plenary speeches at almost every gathering of the organization over the next 40 years. She has lectured widely on lesbian, gay, and bisexual rights and has also been active in the transgender cause. Mollenkott was married to Judith Suzannah Tilton until her death in 2018, and has one son and three granddaughters. She earned her B.A. from Bob Jones University, her M.A. from Temple University, and her Ph.D. from New York University. She received a Lifetime Achievement award from SAGE, Senior Action in a Gay Environment, a direct-service and advocacy group for seniors in New York City in 1999. In 2017 she was awarded the inaugural Mother Eagle Award. At age 86, Virginia Ramey Mollenkott continues to use her doctorate in English to share insights with folks who visit the EEWC and Mollenkott websites, and with elderly people in the Cedar Creek Community educational programs. She has recently taught an Elderhostel course on the poems of the Rev. Dr. John Donne, and a course on John Milton’s Paradise Lost. She deeply regrets that her severe arthritis forbids her presence at recent and wonderful street protests.

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