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‘I felt a mixture of disgust and pity’ – what it was like to visit a gay ‘cure’ church

As a gay person it’s hard to describe what it feels like when someone tells you your sexuality is a ‘deceit of Satan’.

Just a week before Liverpool Pride celebrated its ‘biggest ever year’ I found myself listening to just that – along with the mind boggling claims of a man who said he could ‘cure’ my homosexuality.

The man, who only introduced himself as Brother Michael, recommended I prayed and ‘sought God’ in order to turn myself straight- and even suggested I should starve myself in order to make it more effective.

As part of my counselling he took my hand and prayed for me – and said he knew that with God’s help I would marry and have children. He also said being gay was a choice that people made in order to ‘chase the reward of celebrity’.

Perhaps the only thing more shocking than his claims is that they didn’t take place in the 50s or 60s – they took place in 2017.

I was visiting the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries on Breck Road, which advertises a therapy known as ‘deliverance’ – which I was told could turn me straight.

Although it’s not advertised explicitly on their website, a quick Google search had shown me the term is used as a thinly-veiled way to describe what is more commonly known as conversion therapy.

Earlier that week, I’d called the church to enquire and spoke to the pastor Dr Desmond Sanusi.

Posing as a member of the public, I explained I was questioning my sexuality and he invited me to a prayer session named My Glory Must Manifest – and advised the assistant pastor Brother Michael would guide me further and answer my questions.

When the day came, I arrived at the church to find only Brother Michael was there – but I was promised that soon more people would come to the prayer session.

When two or three members of the congregation arrived, prayers began.

(Image: Liverpool Echo)

Sat at the back of the church, which was adorned with gaudy purple ribbons, fairy lights and huge lavish flower displays, I was conspicuous by my sheepishness.

I bowed my head, expecting them to be a sombre affair like most other prayer I’ve witnessed, but the church erupted into chanting and screaming – with Brother Michael shouting “kill it with fire, die in the fire, die in the fire” repeatedly for several minutes at a time.

Throughout the prayer session, more people arrived to pray and as they joined in several of them began to cry, some were sweating, and others were speaking in tongues.


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At the end of the session, with some normality restored, it looked just like any other church.

Members of the congregation chatted to me about my background, introduced me to the pastor’s wife, and welcomed me.

Others introduced me to their children – some of them babies – while they chatted about how long they’ve been visiting the branch and made small talk.

It was only when Brother Michael took me to an upstairs office that I remembered not everything was quite as welcoming as it seemed.

It’s hard to describe how it feels to be told your sexuality is a ‘deceit of Satan.’ It’s a strange mixture of disgust and pity.

I felt disgusted because it was, to me, quite clearly a lie, but I also couldn’t help but pity the people who’d previously sought the church’s help.

I was told there had been many people who had ‘gone on to marry and have children’ – and while I’ll never know if that was the case, I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if they’d have sought proper counselling to come to terms with their sexuality.

*If you need help with coming to terms with your sexuality or coming out, seek out a medical professional or an LGBTQ organisation who can help. We’ve compiled this list which can help.

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