Here's what I was thinking about Mike Nobles.
In my mind, I was comparing Mike Nobles' actions to the actions of priests who do the exact same or worse to children.
Catholic religion tells a vibrant, vigorous young man (who may have been abused himself) that he cannot marry if he is to dedicate himself to the priesthood. He has to do something with his sex drive. He won't touch the old maids in the convent - they're completely celibate too. For these priests, it is more difficult for them to control themselves than it is for the women, because men by nature are more chemically-driven to sexual aggression due to the male hormones.
And you can see where that would lead, not having any sexual expression or outlet or opportunity to marry.
It's a recipe for disaster.
I'm not saying that going celibate makes you a pedophile. What I'm saying is that when you are suppressed so hard, with no help in your situation, that what you push down deep in one place, it's going to bleed out through some other place - eventually. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, perhaps not even next week, but at some point, who and what you are is going to shine through.
Basically, I think you open the door to Satan when you drive people into the dark with no help, when you push them into isolation and deprivation without giving them the support and help they need. In the case of the priest, you take women away from him - against the order of God - and you create a world of possibilities which can be very destructive to those in the priest's sphere of influence.
This is not to blame Catholicism (the system) for the actions of the priest.
The priest alone chose to do what he did.
BUT - the Bible does say in I Timothy 4:3 that forbidding to marry comes from doctrines of demons - from the devil himself.
So in the priest's case, when you take marriage away from him (or he chooses it himself), a door is opened to Satanic attack and activity in that person's life for sure. And bad things are sure to quickly follow.
Now, I want to transition to Mike Nobles, using that same principle of driving people into a deeply hidden life.
For years and years and years, Mike obviously had gay feelings (as he pursued boys), but all those years he was feeling gay inside, he was being told that it was a sin against God, that it was wrong, whatever. Now, I can see where they get that out of the Bible, but here's where I think fundamentalism goes wrong.
They make it such an angry, hostile, threatening, negative atmosphere towards anyone who is not heterosexual, that people in Mike Nobles' situation (of having gay feelings) cannot open up and say "Hey, everyone, I'm struggling with this" or even "Hey, someone, I'm struggling with this" on an individual level. Fundamentalists simply cannot say "I like guys, not girls".
The fundamentalist preachers and authorities don't just say, "we believe homosexuality is wrong according to the word of God, but God has a better way". No. They shout and yell and rail and get angry about homosexuality, such that homosexuals and lesbians feel as if God hates them because the church does.
Heck, it's hard enough when you are STRAIGHT!!! I remember (at various times) making certain healthy male comments about women, around some fundamentalists I know, and I got the third degree for it. So I said, "I notice you get on to people about comments about the opposite sex. Would you rather people be GAY????" They shut right up and said nothing more.
So it must be a hundred times harder for someone in his situation at WCA and GBC all those years to not be able to open up and get the support and help he needs to deal with the things he was experiencing internally. He could not honestly share with anyone what he went through on the inside. There was nobody to talk it through with.
So he suppressed his feelings down deep inside, and began to get mentally and emotionally and sexually twisted up because he could not get the proper counseling he needed to deal with what was happening inside of him. He had to hide it, because it deviated from the norm, or "the standard according to the word of God".
In fundamentalism, there is very little or no room for someone who has gay, lesbian, or bisexual feelings. There is no room for feelings which deviate from the norm of heterosexual feelings as described in the Bible. But instances of fundamentalists with "other feelings" keep popping up all over the place in the news, and privately in local churches. Yet the fundamentalist church still refuses to recognize the fact that some people in the congregation genuinely struggle, and don't feel the same as everyone else.
And I honestly think because of the shame and the condemnation WCA and GBC heaped upon "the homosexual lifestyle", maybe Mike thought he could never come out of the closet and simultaneously be a good fundamentalist, so he perhaps took his desires where it could be more easily hidden, to people who he could easily silence or intimidate (younger people).
I hope it doesn't come across like an excuse for what he did to those teenagers at all. There is no excuse.
What I am saying is that when the church oppresses people into silence, and makes it so they can never reach out to anybody to get help, they help to create problems 20 times worse than the problems they think they "solved", "praise God, nobody here in the church is gay or lesbian, hallelujah". There are problems 20-fold worse, which are created by driving the individual into isolation and darkness and secrecy, which is the worst place to force people to go.
The hidden place -- the dark place -- that's where the devil plays his best games, when you can't be upfront and honest and just deal with what's going on in your life at the basic primary level before it gets out of hand.
I have had this opinion for a long time, and hearing about Mike Nobles just reinforces what I think.
If GBC and WCA had given the message, "if you are gay or lesbian, and you want to open up about it, let us talk with you and pray with you and give you God's counsel about the matter", then maybe things might be different.
I could be wrong, now.
I mean, maybe Mike Nobles was molested by someone for years and years and ended up repeating the cycle.
Or maybe Mike liked where he was and never wanted any help.
Maybe a lot of things. I don't know.
But I in fact DO know that I just have seen so much in the news about Christians who have struggles, but who have nobody to turn to because of the stance of the church on a given subject, sexuality or anything else. It's like you can never admit to anyone that you are anything but perfect. People put on their game faces and "never let them see you sweat" and put their best foot forward.
And these same people who are in the church who are putting on the game face week after week after week are trying and crying and dying inside to be able to reach out to somebody for help before their problem blows up into the biggest mess of their lives.
People week after week go to church, and then once they leave church, they mentally go right back to the hog pen again and again.
There is nobody to talk to - nobody to confide in, because after all, we're all perfect, and nobody ever does anything wrong.
It's happened time and time and time again.
People get sick and twisted up because they have no one to talk to, and the problems that could have been dealt with as a seed or a bloom, now have turned into a full-blown orchard of trees with no end in sight.
I guess what I'm saying is that fundamentalism did not CREATE the monster, but I feel like fundamentalism certainly FED the monster by its inability to allow Mike to open up and be honest when the problem was in its budding stages.
To me, the story is not Mike Nobles; heck, Mike is only one sentence of it. The story is fundamentalism's failure to give people the chance to be a Christian, yet simultaneously have the freedom to open up and be real about their problems to the church, without the fear of getting cast out, cast down, called a heretic, or have your entire standing with God questioned.
And the end result of making people suppress their struggles instead of being honest about those struggles is that people get sick.
The Bible says "there is no fear in love". But the sad truth is ... that there's lots of fear in fundamentalism.
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