My Faith: How I learned to stop 'praying away the gay'
Don Lemon with his grandmother on his third birthday.
May 22nd, 2011
01:00 AM ET

My Faith: How I learned to stop 'praying away the gay'

Editor's Note: Don Lemon is a CNN anchor and author of Transparent, a memoir .

By Don Lemon, CNN

"School day, time to get up, sleepy head. School day."

Although she's been gone since 1998, my grandmother's words ring in my head just about every morning of my life. That's how MaMe, as I called her, got me out of bed and off to my Catholic school when I was growing up and in her care.

But before I shuffled my way to the bathroom to begin my morning routine, I had to hit the floor on my knees to pray, just as I had the night before.

It was usually The Lord's Prayer ("Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name...") followed by asking God to watch and guide me through my day until I returned to the safety of my home that evening.

But MaMe (pronounced MAH-me) didn't know that at a very early age her favorite grandson had begun to pray, silently, that God would change him from being different, from having crushes on boys, from being more curious about boys than girls.

By age four or five, I was too young to sexualize my infatuations but I knew that everyone else, including my family and friends, would think it was wrong.

Perhaps it was the conversations I overheard from adults around my hometown of Port Allen, Louisiana, who'd mimic gay people, calling them "funny" or "sissy" or "fagots."

Perhaps it was Sunday mornings at our Baptist church, where preachers taught that liking someone of the same sex was a direct and swift path to hell. And that if that person would just turn to the Lord and confess his sin, then God would change him back into the person He wanted him to be - a person who only had crushes on the opposite sex.

All of which meant that, from a very early age, I began to think I was dirty and that I was going to hell. Can you imagine what that feels like for a kid who was just learning to read and perform basic arithmetic? It was awful.

And talk about guilt - I was a Baptist attending Catholic school!

I prayed the silent prayer for God to change me every chance I got until I started attending college in New York. That's when common sense began to take hold and I realized that no amount of prayer would change me into something that wasn't natural to me.

With my religious upbringing, I'd had the opportunity to study religious doctrine. But I learned from different perspectives, from Catholic Mass on Fridays to Baptist services on Sundays to vacation Bible school in the summer to Bible study with a Jehovah's Witness as a teenager.

As I got older I began to realize that all these people and institutions interpreted the Bible somewhat differently. I had a sort of epiphany: the Bible was about the lessons you learned, not about the events or words.

When I became old enough, intelligent enough and logical enough to discern the difference between metaphor and reality, everything changed. I realized that Jonah living in the belly of a whale was a parable written in the same vein as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. saying that he had "been to the mountaintop."

Neither Jonah nor King had actually been to those places. They were metaphors for lessons for those of us who cared to absorb them.

So many of us, especially in the black community and in churches, tend to think that religious teachings happened word for word as they were written in Scripture. I think that's naïve, even dangerous.

That type of thinking - or non-thinking - keeps many religious people enslaved to beliefs that they haven't truly stepped back from and examined.

That type of thinking causes people who are otherwise good to shun and ostracize young gay people.

It causes people to want to control and change people who aren't like them. And who wants to be like someone else?

Imagine if we had allowed Christian doctrines and teachings that supported slavery, segregation and the subjugation of women to pervade our society all the way up until the current moment. What kind of world would that be?

Instead, we got on our knees, just as I did as a little boy, and prayed that slavery, segregation and the subjugation of women would end. In the United States, at least, those prayers have largely been realized.

I'm no longer the member of any church but I do believe in a higher power.

It's time for us, especially black people, to stop trying to pray the gay away and to get on our knees and start praying that the discrimination of gay people ends.

What we're doing to our young gay people now is child abuse. It's plain old bigotry and hatred. And if African-Americans don't know what that feels like in America, I don't know who does.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Don Lemon.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Opinion

soundoff (4,733 Responses)
  1. David, CA

    XWngLady- you presume to know what is in the mind of God? Wow. Pretty presumptuous don't you think? And just a touch arrogant especially as you are hear throwing your opinions about as if they came right out of The Almighty's mouth.

    Get over yourself. You are no better than any Gay or Lesbian and you certainly have no right to judge someone. Fix yourself up and mind your own business.

    May 23, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • XWngLady

      Nope. Everything that I said is from the Bible, God's own words. I've read it, studied it, the Greek, the Hebrew, concordances, comparative versions and have read the Aprocrapha, dead sea scrolls, etc. My opinions, though they are just my opinions, are in fact informed. Any inferences I've made are logical, based on the Bible, no different than anyone else on this blog using "logic" to make their points . Never ONCE did I say that I was better than anyone gay or lesbian, nor did I JUDGE them. I merely stated what the Bible has to say about it. I am commissioned to love everyone, including gays and lesbians, and even you. But that doesn't mean that I have to shut up and not discuss controversial issues or to just gloss over issues of sin that plague our church, and society....As for "fixing myself up", I have need of repentence every day of my life, and I know it. So don't try to put me in some type of "hypocritical, judgemental, so-called Christian" box to deflect away from the truth of what the Word says.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:44 am |
  2. Reality

    o All "Abrahamics" believe that their god created all of us and of course that includes the g-ay members of the human race. Also, those who have studied ho-mo-se-xuality have determined that there is no choice involved therefore ga-ys are ga-y because god made them that way.

    To wit:

    o The Royal College of Psy-chiatrists stated in 2007:

    “ Despite almost a century of psy-choanalytic and psy-chological speculation, there is no substantive evidence to support the suggestion that the nature of parenting or early childhood experiences play any role in the formation of a person’s fundamental heteros-exual or hom-ose-xual orientation. It would appear that s-exual orientation is biological in nature, determined by a complex interplay of ge-netic factors and the early ut-erine environment. Se-xual orientation is therefore not a choice.[60] "

    "Garcia-Falgueras and Swaab state in the abstract of their 2010 study, "The fe-tal brain develops during the intraut-erine period in the male direction through a direct action of tes-tosterone on the developing nerve cells, or in the female direction through the absence of this hor-mone surge. In this way, our gender identi-ty (the conviction of belonging to the male or female gender) and s-exual orientation are programmed or organized into our brain structures when we are still in the womb. There is no indication that social environment after birth has an effect on gender ident–ity or s-exual orientation."[8

    Of course, those g-ays who belong to Abrahamic religions abide by the rules of no adu-ltery or for-nication allowed.

    And because of basic biology differences and Abrahamic and other religious traditions said mon-ogamous ventures should always be called same-s-ex unions not same-s-ex marriages.--------------------------

    May 23, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • Jeff M

      "...there is no substantive evidence to support the suggestion that the nature of parenting or early childhood experiences play any role in the formation of a person’s fundamental heteros-exual or hom-ose-xual orientation. It would appear that s-exual orientation is biological in nature..."

      Should also be noted that there is "no substantive evidence that fails to support the suggest", and "It would *appear*". Basically they can't prove nor dis-prove anything...there is nothing concrete in either case.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • Reality

      One more time:

      "Garcia-Falgueras and Swaab state in the abstract of their 2010 study, "The fe-tal brain develops during the intraut-erine period in the male direction through a direct action of tes-tosterone on the developing nerve cells, or in the female direction through the absence of this hor-mone surge. In this way, our gender identi-ty (the conviction of belonging to the male or female gender) and s-exual orientation are programmed or organized into our brain structures when we are still in the womb. There is no indication that social environment after birth has an effect on gender ident–ity or s-exual orientation."

      May 23, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • Jeff M

      It's all in the way you want to spin it 😉

      May 23, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • Reality

      We await any recent studies you might have to show that ho-mose-xuality is not present at birth.

      May 23, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • Jeff M

      I never said it wasn't. As a matter of fact, if you read my previous posts, I agree that s3xual orientation is most likely an innate proclivity towards a specific gender at birth or during the initial stages of development (which could possibly be prior to sentient understanding). Don't just assume that because I'm a Christian that I have any problems with a h0m0s3xual – I do not (but CNN's word filter does...)

      May 24, 2011 at 8:25 am |
  3. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Hey, HS, how come God left you here with the rest of the unclean? How come he didn't gather you up in the rapture?

    May 23, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • Jeff M

      Darn...yeah, missed that one to. I guess I forgot to drink the Kool-aid. Or...I just believe in what the Bible actually says.

      May 23, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Creationists like you refuse to subject their "theories" to peer reviews, because they know they don't fit the facts. The creationist mindset is distorted by the concept of "good science" (creationism) vs. "bad science" (anything not in agreement with creationism). Creation "scientists" are biblical fundamentalists who can not accept anything contrary to their sectarian religioius beliefs.

      May 23, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
    • Jeff M

      @Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son
      Hardly. Quite the opposite actually – I believe we are subject to repeated criticism from the liberal media and our current cultural mindset. We just do not sway because society tells us we should. There are a few people who are willing to take a stand, regardless of what others think about them, and I am one. It's funny, Evolution in it's earliest days was subject to the same scrutiny. Supposedly "enlightenment" has led us to accept it through our ability to comprehend our world. Are we really that "enlightened"? Personally, I don't believe so.

      May 24, 2011 at 8:28 am |
    • Jeff M

      @Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son
      "Creation "scientists" are biblical fundamentalists who can not accept anything contrary to their sectarian religioius beliefs."

      Regardless of how ignorant you believe it to be, you do realize that this is called (among many less positive things) "taking a stand", right? You count it as ignorance because you hold the intelligence of the science and your ability to discern and accept it as the pinnacle of knowledge. I claim that God is all-knowing. Obviously we both cannot be correct. Obviously we are both going to claim our own understanding is correct.

      May 24, 2011 at 8:32 am |
  4. JJ

    Thank you for sharing your story. I am living a very similar life being brought up in a Southern Baptist home, only receiving education at Christian Schools and living every day from when I was 6 praying that I would change. Every birth day or new year or Christmas making promises to God that I would not allow that evil into my life. I struggled until I was 19 when I was at college and began to examine the Bible the same way you did. I'm now 30 and like you still believe in a higher power, but will not be held down to parables and stories as absolute truth from over 2,000 years ago. I do live my life according to the example of Christ, but do not take every word (or the select few versus that help me discriminate against others) too seriously realizing that it is about love and the treatment of man-kind and not about making sure I eat Kosher or follow every supposed sacrament to the letter of transcribed law that has been passed down and translated over thousands of years. I usually do not comment on stories because you can see so many people just use the internet as a way to spew hate and I'm sure that is exactly what will follow after this comment. People should keep their hate to themselves, if your believes are based on judging and hating, then you may be following the laws, but you've missed the point.

    May 23, 2011 at 11:12 am |
  5. Sutherland Cross

    Mr. Lemon was brought up Baptist, and attended catholic school. Both of which taught ho-mos-exuality was a sin. He argues that he is now older, more educated and logical and as such has come to the conclusion that “the Bible was about the lessons you learned, not about the events or words.” But aren’t the events and words written to teach the lessons? I’m failing to see the logic in Mr. Lemon’s “epiphany.” He then proceeds to compare the metaphorical nature of biblical parables to Dr. King’s having “been to the mountain top.” Not a bad analogy, until the author’s motives become much clearer: “especially in the black community.” What does this have to do with anything? Mr. Lemon is black, Dr. King is black otherwise I see no significance in this statement. In fact it drastically reduces the effectiveness of his argument, especially when he reiterates “especially black people” only a few paragraphs later. The closing paragraph attempts to tie race, ho-mos-exuality and hate, in a woe is me fashion with the oppression of African-Americans in the United States. Mr. Lemon, are there any more cards you would like to play? What’s that? Oh, by not supporting ho-mos-exuality, we are abusing our children. Thank you so much for your advice, now here is mine to you: If you would like to effectively argue a topic, pick one. Please do not attempt to argue every quarrel you have in the same piece, you lose effectiveness, but most of all fail to make your point. I assure you Mr. Lemon that the world is not against you, although your perception of it may very well be.

    In Love and Kindness
    -Sutherland Cross

    May 23, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • YaThink

      The problem you fail to realize is that the gay community is fighting for their civil rights. The right to marry and one of the greatest problems is christians who are so full of hatred they are unwilling to recognize the truth. The truth being that it's not a mental illness, it's not a choice and it can't be voluntarily changed. You have the right to see your spouse in the hospital, make choices for them when they are hurt, share in legal rights when owning a home or raising a family, get tax breaks – the gay community does not have those rights except in a few states. So, it is understandable if his perception is that the world is against him.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • Sutherland Cross

      S-exual orientation is a choice, race is not. If someone has desires for a child, and acts on it, would you support their right to do so as a civil matter? No, I'm not saying it's the same exact thing. Rather I'm saying that they could present the same weak argument that they were born with that desire. Would you agree? Would you call it unnatural? Would you call it wrong? At what point do we draw a line. I understand that we are all flawed human beings with our own agenda, but by claiming that those that don't agree with ho-mos-exuality and discourage it are abusing their children, Mr. Lemon makes himself sound as bigoted as those whom he is arguing against.

      May 23, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
    • YaThink

      "S-exual orientation is a choice, race is not. "

      NO it is not. Educate yourself on the real facts instead of basing it on your limited opinion.

      May 23, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • Paul N

      It may not be a choice to feel that way but it is a choice to engage in it, call it normal and to put people down who dont agree with it.

      I may feel like i want to sleep with as many women as possible but it would be a choice to obey that urge.

      Skin color and how you feel/emotions have nothing in common.

      May 23, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • Paul N

      Sutherland Cross, wonderful comments.

      To say people are abusing their children because they are against this sin is ridiculous – I guess we should allow our children to live based upon their feelings all the time. These comments are meant to draw on our emotions and in the process we can leave our minds at the door.

      What is terrrible is that people dont even talk about the detrimental effects of this se-xual behaviour. The facts are there if people want to know the truth.

      May 23, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
    • DUH!

      "What is terrrible is that people dont even talk about the detrimental effects of this se-xual behaviour. "

      Wow the ignorance and stupidity of people is amazing.

      Studies comparing groups of children raised by ho-mos-exual and by heteros-exual parents find no developmental differences between the two groups of children in four critical areas: their intelligence, psychological adjustment, social adjustment, and popularity with friends. It is also important to realize that a parent's s-exual orientation does not indicate their children's.

      Another myth about ho-mos-exuality is the mistaken belief that gay men have more of a tendency than heteros-exual men to s-exually molest children. There is no evidence to suggest that ho-mos-exuals or bis-exuals molest children at a higher rate than heteros-exuals.

      May 23, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
  6. blf83

    To RESPONCE: you must have never heard the conundrum of the chicken or the egg. IF you believe in creation, as you seem to do, then anything is possible. On the other hand, if the universe(s) evolved, things get more complicated for it is neither chicken/egg, seed/plant, baby/adult any longer.

    May 23, 2011 at 11:07 am |
  7. Paul N

    What can i do to get my comments out of moderation?

    For anyone who wants a good write up about Don Lemmons article you can look up gcmwatch.com.

    May 23, 2011 at 11:06 am |
  8. Sutherland Cross

    why are my posts stuck in "awaiting moderation?

    May 23, 2011 at 11:02 am |
  9. Observer

    It is their business, so stop trying to get into it and deny them equal rights.

    May 23, 2011 at 11:01 am |
  10. Sutherland Cross

    I am being heavily censored.

    May 23, 2011 at 11:01 am |
    • helpful

      The moderators of this blog have set up a secret forbidden word filter which unfortunately not only will delete or put your comment in the dreaded "waiting for moderation" category but also will do the same to words having fragments of these words. For example, "t-it" is in the set but the filter will also pick up words like Hitt-ite, t-itle, beati-tude, practi-tioner and const-tution. Then there are words like "an-al" thereby flagging words like an-alysis and "c-um" flagging acc-umulate or doc-ument. And there is also "r-a-pe", “a-pe” and “gra-pe”, "s-ex", and "hom-ose-xual". You would think that the moderators would have corrected this by now considering the number of times this has been commented on but they have not. To be safe, I typically add hyphens in any word that said filter might judge "of-fensive".
      • More than one web address will also activate “waiting for moderation”. Make sure the web address does not have any forbidden word or fragment.
      Two of the most filtered words are those containing the fragments "t-it" and "c-um". To quickly check your comments for these fragments, click on "Edit" on the Tool Bar and then "Find" on the menu. Add a fragment (without hyphens) one at a time in the "Find" slot and the offending fragment will be highlighted in your comments before you hit the Post button. Hyphenate the fragment(s) and then hit Post. And remember more than one full web address will also gain a "Waiting for Moderation".
      And said moderators still have not solved the chronological placement of comments once the number of comments gets above about 100. They recently have taken to dividing the comments in batches of 50 or so, for some strange reason. Maybe they did this to solve the chronology problem only to make comment reviews beyond the tedious.
      “Raison's Filter Fiber© (joking about the copyright)
      1. Here's my latest list – this seems like a good spot to set this down, as nobody's posting much on this thread.....
      bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to post that wonderful argument:
      Many, if not most are buried within other words, but I am not shooting for the perfect list, so use your imagination and add any words I have missed as a comment (no one has done this yet)
      – I found some but forgot to write them down. (shrugs).
      c-um.........as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, etc.
      sp-ic........as in disp-icable (look out Sylvester the cat!)
      ho-mo...whether ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, etc.
      t-it.........const-itution, att-itude, ent-ities, etc.
      tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, (an unexpected one)
      va-g....as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant
      ar-se....yet "ass" is not filtered!
      jacka-ss...but ass is fine lol
      p-is.....as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, etc.
      o ficti-tious, repeti-tion, competi-tion.
      There are more, so do not assume that this is complete.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:03 am |
    • Sutherland Cross

      thanks helpful. That was it. Funny that you can't use the word ho-mos-exual, even when it's relevant.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:10 am |
  11. Human Being

    Some of u are using science to make their argument, and dismissing faith altogether (faith=substance of things hoped for & the evidence of things not seen. So let me ask u this, have you ever seen the wind? No u haven't, yet you believe that it is there because you can feel it, and see it's effects around you right? In the same way, I haven't seen God, but I can feel Him in my heart, and I can see the effect of His power all around me. Don't dismiss faith...just because you haven't seen something does not mean it doesn't exist people. THINK!!!

    May 23, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I do think. Something obviously foreign to most of the hateful hypocrites here. I know Christians. Real Christians don't hate others and they don't judge them.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:08 am |
    • Jeff M

      @Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son
      We've been having some back-and-forth now... Just for my sake, could you clarify on what you mean by "Real Christians don't hate others and they don't judge them.", and if/how you think I am in contradiction to or support this thought?

      May 23, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Your posts are my evidence. It's fine if you can't see that; it must be the beam in your own eye.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:39 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, and Jeff? One doesn't clarify "on" something. Get a clue.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • Ozymandias71

      Science must be used in some of these responses due to the 'unnatural' and 'against nature' comments that are constantly being posted.

      You use the wind as an example. I would respond with – 'Do you know what it's like to be Gay? Do you know what it's like to have a trait that wouldn't even be questioned if one were 'straight' suddenly attacked as unnatural, sinful, dangerous to the moral fabric of this country (whatever that is) and so on? Do you know what it's like to be rejected by your family, your friends, your colleagues over something that comes as natural to you as breathing? Do you know what it's like to find love, true love, only to have that love attacked, labeled with all sorts of nasty words, just because your true love happens to be the same gender?' Just try walking a mile in our shoes and see what persecution truly is.

      May 23, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • Jeff M

      @Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son
      Traditional reflex behavior. I made a mistake. I don't have any delusions that I'm perfect. Still, you evade and deflect my questions. That's ok, keep posting statements without any real substance. I'll keep looking forward to your "responses".

      May 23, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
  12. Observer

    There are FAR FAR more Christians guilty of the Ten Commandment sin of adultery for divorcing and remarrying than there are gays. Until hom0phobic Christians make a bigger issue out of that than being gay, they are just world class HYPOCRITES.

    May 23, 2011 at 10:51 am |
    • blf83

      Amen! and some of wouldn't have married if we had felt that we were accepted as we are.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:08 am |
    • XWngLady

      True statement....But if hom-ose-xuality is in fact wrong (morally) then the actions/inactions or hyporcrisy of others have no bearing on the morality of it. Its a distraction from the issue at hand.

      May 23, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
  13. Turning Texas Blue

    Don, you could not have concluded this piece any better. To judge and then disparage anyone because they are Black, Gay, fat...whatever – is simply hatred. The posts and comments I'm reading prove you are absolutely right. We should pray for change and I for one, will begin doing that. I don't know why I hadn't already. When I saw that the "Black church" opposed Prop 8, that was a wake up call for me. I was like, Wow, that is so hypocritical...it made me sad. Hang in there, keep telling your story. P.S. You were cute then, but you're even better looking now!

    May 23, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • HeavenSent

      1 Peter 3:17-18

      17 For [it is] better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

      18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:


      May 23, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • David, CA

      HeavenSent- feel better about yourself now?

      May 23, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • YaThink

      Heaven Sent doesn't feel or can form their own opinion, classic brainwashing.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:13 am |
  14. Amanda

    Dear Don Lemon,

    I absolutely love this article. I am so happy for you, that you have been able to free yourself from that inner torment and live as the person you were made to be. It makes me increasingly angry and frustrated hearing people say "you are evil", "you choose to live this way", etc.

    Let us take a step back for a moment. I was raised in a Roman Catholic church. I spent every sunday for 16 years there and I learned, "God" creates everything. Now regardless of your religon, (weither you believe in "God" or "Allah" or another higher being who is either male, or female, or an alien race, or maybe several gods) our religons share that similiar mind set of our high power being responsible for the creation of everything. Some will argue for example , "Oh no dear that's not true, God didn't make bombs, man did." Ok. Yes man did make bombs, But! God did create us, and in doing so God gave us the creativity to successfully come up with the idea and God gave us the intelligence to take that idea and to successfully craft them. If God did not want bombs to be created, he would not have made us smart enough to create it. If God did not want hate, he would not have hardwired it in to some of us to be capable of it. If God did not want cancer or any other illness, he wouldn't have made us in such a way that our body's would be susceptable to it. He actually wouldn't have even have created any illnesses.

    God makes everything, and each thing he creates has a purpose. Everything is a test. Cancer and illnesses, we came up with modern medicine. Earthquakes, we came up with ways to craft buildings to be stronger to with stand their destruction. Hate is a test we are still learning to over come. It is the ultimate test that Jesus endured for who he was, what he believed and he was capable of beating that test. He forgave those who did wrong to him.

    God did not create us to judge what, who or why he created things or in a certain manner that he did. God is the judgement and only he can decide truely weither it is right or wrong. Everything is here for the purpose of testing mankind as a whole as to weither or not we can successfully exist in his idea of perfection. So live your life in the way you were made fit, but do not place concern on how others were made to live their life. Remember.. your personal God (who ever, what ever they maybe) creates all.

    May 23, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • HeavenSent

      The sins of pride and lust are so blinding for those in the flesh.

      2 Timothy 3:1-5

      1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

      2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

      3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

      4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

      5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

      13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide [is] the gate, and broad [is] the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

      14 Because strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

      Matthew 7:13-14


      May 23, 2011 at 11:03 am |
    • XWngLady

      Amanda. I'm afraid that you are misguided. God created us with one singular goal in mind which is what has led to the state of the world today. To create beings in his own image who have FREE WILL. If God had not desired to create us as free-will beings, he could have easily created us to do his bidding and all would be perfect. But he wanted us to be free will beings so that he could choose him. And since God knew (he's omniscient) that if he created us as free-will beings that we would sin, fall, rebel, hate, etc. he had one choice. Create us or don't. If he chose not to create us because he knew that we would sin and that some of us would choose not to believe in him or to love him or obey him, do bad things and be separated from him for eternity, then that would be UNJUST. It would be unjust to deprive those of us who would believe in him, obey him, love him, etc from an ETERNITY in HIS presence because of the choices of others. GOD is loving, but he's also just.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:11 am |
  15. Howard

    Here's the thing...... WHY DO YOU gay people have to TELL everybody. I don't want to know. Thats your Business. Lets keep it that way, shall we...

    May 23, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • Georgia75

      I don't think he was broadcasting to the world "hey, I'm gay," but rather giving his personal experience in coming to terms with inner turmoil because of an imposed belief. And with that being said, others who may be just as conflicted as he was, may find some solace in his experience.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:07 am |
    • Quest

      Then stop asking us if we are married, and what we did over the weekend. You hets drive us nuts with all the personal questions at work. Cut it out!

      May 23, 2011 at 11:08 am |
    • David, CA

      Here's the thing.... stop trying to fix me up with your fat nieces or daughters or neighbors. Stop showing me photos of your brood. Stop asking me for money for cookies, candy bars to support your kids band, team, troop, whatever. I'm gay and don't care. See? That's how it works.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • Ozymandias71

      Take down your pictures showing your wife and children – I don't wanna know about them.
      Hide your wedding ring – I don't want to know about it.
      Don't hold hands with your wife in public – I don't wanna know about it.

      Sounds ridiculous, right? Yet, that's what you're asking of me and mine.

      May 23, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
  16. maggie

    To Jeff,

    The Bible writer Luke recounts: "Neither was [Jesus] forsaken in Hades [hell, King James Version] nor did his flesh see corruption."* (Acts 2:31) Where was the hell to which even Jesus went? (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4) So Jesus was in hell, the grave. The word hell, hades, sheol all means man common grave.

    Consider also the case of the righteous man Job, who suffered much. Wishing to escape his plight, he pleaded: "Who will grant me this, that thou mayest protect me in hell [Sheol], and hide me till thy wrath pass?"# (Job 14:13, Douay Version) How unreasonable to think that Job desired to go to a fiery-hot place for protection! To Job, "hell" was simply the grave, where his suffering would end.

    we all been sentenced to death beacuse of something our first parent did but Jesus bought us back by paying the ramson for what Adam lost. Adam sin as a perfect man and Jesus died as a perfect man. i t was a perfect trade. a life for a life. in order to understand the bible you need to understand what happened in Eden and why God let its creation go in disaray for so long.

    May 23, 2011 at 10:47 am |
    • Jeff M

      Ok, I'll concede this point because I believe that I had a flawed interpretation that Jesus actually went to Hell. Looking at the Greek, it does say that this was the location of "waiting for final judgement" and that Revelation does not explicitly state that Sata had the keys, but rather they are an emblem of authority or power given to Jesus by the Father.

      With that in mind, it does not change the fact that Hell (Ganna) is punishment for rejecting God, and that it is an *eternal punishment* (or consequence, as I originally stated).

      May 23, 2011 at 11:40 am |
  17. PFH

    Congratulations to those who believers who were swept up this weekend. So far this morning I have not been able to find anyone who knows anyone who was taken. That leaves the remining vocal/judgemental christians with proof that your God did not want you, so your beliefs OR your judgement of others must be wrong. Mr Lemon, thanks for sharing your experience and your truth. I wish you peace and peace to all, even those who would curse anyone who does not believe as they do.

    May 23, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • blf83

      LOL! Told y'all I'd see the morning after!

      May 23, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • XWngLady

      Jesus plainly said that no one knows when the end is or when he will come. So anyone claiming to know this is heretical and not within mainstream Christianity. But nice of you to be judgemental when talking about judgemental Christians.

      May 23, 2011 at 10:53 am |
  18. Seraphim Light

    Don, I love what you have done,and the lives that you may have saved. I so truely understand you because I was walking that road as well. It was a long one and very sad one until I saw that God loves me still and he still loves you still from day one.It's with that understanding as we get older that we find out. There is so much more to you as you are here to save lives and souls for God love's them all . What better man of heart and soul like you to be in God's light to help show them the way ,no matter who they may be.. I've always felt that God has his reasons for his us and if that's to help him save people souls from what we know as hell and give them understanding, than let us be his hand to show them the way to his love. Never stop,never stop keep showing them the light. Be all that you want to be and love who all will accept it close and far.To me that is to be Godly. You are an angel keep showing the light !

    May 23, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • XWngLady

      Everything that you have said about God loving you in absolutely true. God loves you, me, Don Lemon, the worst serial killer in the world all the same and that love (indeed GOD IS LOVE) should be spread abroad. However, you do those 'souls' of which you speak a disservice if you don't also let them know that GOD is HOLY and he's JUST and that there can and will be no union between a holy God and those of us who choose to live sinful lives, no matter what the sin is. We can't just cherry pick what we like about God and ignore everything else. That goes for everyone.

      May 23, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • Ozymandias71

      XWingLady – "We can't just cherry pick what we like about God and ignore everything else." Yep, so the next time you quote Leviticus at us, we'll make sure to double-check that you aren't wearing mixed fabrics, eating shellfish or 'unclean' foods, or that you're eating vegetables of different types that were grown next to each other. We'll also be checking in to make sure that you are not in any kind of leadership position (assuming you're a woman). All of these are biblical mandates – and to hold up some verses against LGBT Americans while ignoring any that affects your rights is cherry picking in its' worst form.

      May 23, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • XWngLady

      @Omandias71: ((SIGH)) There just isn't enough time to rebut all of these irrelevant comments on the issue. I could get into a discussion about the difference between the Old and New Testaments, the expectations for Jews and Gentile converts and how we are still according to the New Testament called to be holy and to refrain from certain behaviors (one specifically of se-x-ual impropriety), but it won't make a difference. You have your heart and mind made up.

      May 23, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • LOL

      "You have your heart and mind made up."

      LOL! So do you hypocrite!

      May 23, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
    • XWngLady

      @ Lol...How am I a hypocrite? Did I say that I didn't have my mind made up? I categorically ADMIT that I believe what the Bible says. I merely stated that I wasn't going to get into a long drawn out discussion about the merits of his/her comments because it really wouldn't matter.

      May 23, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • DUH!

      "I merely stated that I wasn't going to get into a long drawn out discussion about the merits of his/her comments because it really wouldn't matter."

      So that's why you keep writing comment....after comment without any true meaning behind it. If it doesn't matter then leave, but your ego and arrogance won't let you.

      May 23, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
  19. Gina Thomas

    We are all unclean until we accept Jesus Christ who died and shed his blood for us – Once we do this, we are made righteous and the Holy Spirit is able to dwell in us. The Whole Bible is the infallible Word of God – and every word in there can be tested but you first have to believe and He is a rewarder of them who diligently seek Him.

    May 23, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • blf83

      Then tell me, if the Bible is infallible, how do you reconcile different versions of creation, the commandments, and, yes the list could go on. Read it all first, then get back to ME!

      May 23, 2011 at 10:51 am |
    • Observer

      Infallible? You must be kidding. There are over 20 English versions of the Bible and they don't agree with each other. Which is the only TRUE Bible version?

      May 23, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • bsailors

      Observer, that's an interesting point. How do we know which translation is correct. Without revelation, or God speaking directly to us, how can we know what is correct and right?

      I propose that this is possible. Actually, I don't propose. I bear witness of it. Revelation exists. Any person can know the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to have truth taught to them through the gift and power of the Holy Ghost. He can reveal to us what is true. That's what makes the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints different. God still speaks. He still leads and loves his children. And he reveals through his living prophet the correct translation of the Bible. I bear witness to the truth of this.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • Observer


      Sorry, but you didn't answer the question.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:08 am |
    • YaThink

      "Any person can know the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to have truth taught to them through the gift and power of the Holy Ghost"

      Which is also why there are churches and ministers who have gone on record stating that being gay is NOT a sin. Gotta love that Holy Ghost!

      May 23, 2011 at 11:10 am |
    • XWngLady

      @ Ya think: But the Bible also makes it clear that if anyone comes along and says that God (Holy Ghost) told me this, or "thus sayeth the Lord" and it contadicts what is already written then they are a liar and do not listen to their doctrine. It speaks of people, movements, false prophets that will come but that we should not be swayed by "every wind of doctrine" that comes along and tries to rationalize things away by saying that "Hey man, times have changed".

      May 23, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • bsailors

      Ya Think,

      It's true that ministers and what not can declare that. But I ask under what authority? As far as I know, only the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is given the rights and authority of the Holy Order after the Son of God, or the Melchizedek and Aaronic Priesthoods to act under the authority of God. I know of no other religion who claims those rights and keys. We sustain a prophet and the truth of his calling by fourteen others called to be Apostles in the Church.

      I don't claim what the Holy Ghost has told me. I bear witness of it because I've made a covenant with my Father in Heaven to be a witness of his Son Jesus Christ. He lives. I don't think I can convince you of anything, but it is true. I fear God more than I fear any man.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:51 am |
    • YaThink

      "and it contadicts what is already written then they are a liar "

      That's why the word ho-mo-s-exual was added to the bible later and why christians can't put the scriptures into historical context.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:54 am |
    • Artist

      Its like magic god reveals, while the ono-believers see garble. I hate to break it to you Gina but man wrote the bible. If god's word was so perfect you wouldn't have 15,000 different denominations. Reality is the word is as perfect as the men who wrote them.

      May 23, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
  20. joeb

    With the exception of a few really low IQ people .. NOONE Believes the bible or any religion. they tell themselves they do, they make others feel guilty for not sharing their fairytale. but in the end these people who want to goto heaven, think its the ultimate goal yet "fear death", get all broken up when someone close dies. If the end goal of life is Heaven why does this happen ? i do not get broken up when a family member goes to Hawaii ? ( im guessing heaven is suppose to be better then that ) nor do i fear going to hawaii , because i have not been there.

    If common sense dont work .. just read the bible . its a joke made up and changed over years by the church to control people. Jesus probably existed but was just a man like you and me .. ( probably a little crazy ) but people took him as a figure to build this fairytale around, and make a control system, and a system people will LOVE to be controlled by .. how nice

    May 23, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • common

      you are a total dumb a$$

      May 23, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • joeb

      Thats all you got ? i expected at least the usual religious rant on grammar or spelling when they have nothing else

      May 23, 2011 at 10:47 am |
    • bsailors

      Joeb, I'm not trying to insult you, but your statement about no one believing the bible or any religion unless they're of an extremely low IQ isn't very informed or accurate.

      May 23, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • XWngLady

      "If common sense don't work"....If you're going to insult someone by saying that if they believe in any religion that they have a low IQ, then please use correct grammar when doing so. Most people in this world have some type of religious believe. Those who do not are in the minority.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:01 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It's "belief", dear. Watch out for those stones you cast from inside your glass house. Most people may have a belief in something bigger than themselves. Most of them don't believe the bible is literal or inerrant. Nor do most people believe that someone's orientation can be chosen or changed. Most people have more brains than that. Too bad most of the people here don't belong to that group.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • bsailors

      Tom, could you provide sources for your definition of "most"? Most in Christian dominated countries? Most in the world? Most where? Your statements beg for verification.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:45 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Then go beg for it elsewhere. I've requested proof of you boneheads at every turn and gotten nothing but tripe.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • bsailors

      I'm sorry you go offended Tom. A relationship with God always begins with the faith that He is there. It cannot be obtained in any other way. You will never receive proof until after the trial of your faith.

      The same is true if you never read a college textbook you'll never receive the knowledge therein. Until you read the scriptures, and exercise experiments on the words contained therein, you'll never find the truth for yourself. Demanding proof of the Gospel's truth is the same as my asking for facts regarding your statement of "most". Both are able to be verified through personal work and effort, as well as reading what others have written. If you dismiss this as tripe, it's hard to have a discussion with someone who won't experiment upon the words of God. They're missing part of the puzzle. I've lived without God and with Him, and I can tell you, as a witness of his grace and forgiveness, through true and humble prayer and repentance, he is there. That's my testimony to you Tom. It is true.

      May 23, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • XWngLady

      @Tom, Tom: If you can't tell the difference between someone putting "believe and belief" as a typo and someone putting "don't work" and "doesn't work" as a grammatical error, then you aren't as smart as you think you are....Secondly, you make a great generalization and judgement in error in assuming that people of faith are stupid. For example, when people are teenagers, they think, will all of their heart, that they are wise and that they know everything. They try to rationalize, debate and challenge everything, only to discover later that not only were their parents not stupid, crazy or clueless, but were right about many things. Similarly, it will only be through time and hopefully a personal experience with God that you will be able to see that not only were we not stupid, but we were right.

      May 23, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.