Testimony for MN HF 12

February 13, 2019

Dear Legislator,

Please oppose House File 12.

Growing up I desired to one day be married to a wonderful woman and be a dad. However, during my elementary and high school days I was relentlessly bullied by girls and boys and told I was gay. In a very crushing example of their attack on my identity, in middle school girls cruelly set me up on a date for a school dance and when I showed up to the girls house, excited to finally have a girl accept me and go to a dance with me, they cornered me in her house and yelled expletives at me, attacked my identity, and told me no girl would ever date me because I was gay. It crushed me.

In middle and high school, I was teased by the boys because I was not athletic. Because of the constant torment and others labeling me and pushing a gay identity onto me, I doubted my own natural attractions to girls and began to accept that perhaps they were right, I was gay. I began to believe that I couldn’t make it as a man to date women, and women wouldn’t want me anyway. And so I began to explore the gay label and what it meant to live as a gay identified person.

Shortly after I had accepted a gay identity and explored gay sexuality, I came to faith. I came to realize that my behaviors, namely being addicted to gay porn, and engaging in many sexual relationships with men, was not in alignment with my faith.

I spent many painful years in conflict, trying to make gay relationships work, all the time by myself trying to ‘pray the gay away’. This led to internal conflict that was eating me up.

In counselling with Christian spiritual leaders, I realized I had been born with heterosexual desires as God had created me a heterosexual man.  (I have been married since Dec 2005 and have two beautiful children). But while living gay identified these desires were lying dormant, covered up by the trauma and lies I had experienced and accepted during my childhood.

The pain from being rejected by girls, treated by boys as though I was ‘other’ than a boy, by being verbally and emotionally attacked by my step mother on regular basis, the shame from being raped by a man, feeling shameful of my body, and many other traumas I experienced were all areas that Jesus Christ has healed me. By the grace and mercy of God, same sex attraction became opposite sex attraction. It was a long journey which I documented in my blog www.darenmehlblog.com.

Any bill that prohibits an individual from exploring the truth, in reconciling their behaviors with their faith, seeking healing from brokenness, and attempting to live the truth as their faith teaches, is unethical. The counseling I received was paramount to reconcile the depression, anxiety, and heartache I was experiencing while living in a gay identity. Because of my faith, I have found my authentic self, my purpose in life, and life fully in the joy and peace and full love that only God can provide.

Please do not pass bills that will act as a barrier to people who are seeking more information and help. Every person should have the freedom to access the counseling they want. Do not deny men who want a wife and children the destiny God has for them.

Daren Mehl
Minnesota Resident

February 13, 2019

Dear Legislator,

My husband Daren Mehl has provided his written testimony as he could not be here today. And I would like to share my side of our story. I met my husband when he identified as a gay man and was living with his boyfriend. I had met him through a male friend of mine of which my husband also once dated. Against the grain of culture, we fell in love and got married in 2005. My husband came into our marriage addicted to gay porn. I stood beside him as he tried to overcome his gay porn addiction and our marriage suffered greatly.

My husband’s journey was one of a broken and contrite heart, seeking his identity and the beliefs and values to live his life authentically to his faith. I loved him through this time. Throughout the years of his struggle, my husband received counseling, read several books, and went to conferences related to sexuality and identity.

I saw him grow into his authentic self as he lives today. He no longer struggles with sexual attraction to men, and our marriage is restored. We are living in joy and happiness. Our marriage and our kids are a great blessing, and a beautiful representation of the restoration that is possible.

If this bill were to pass it would put any marriage that is in the same situation as mine was in danger. It would limit the resources- therapy, counseling, books, conferences, goods and services – that would otherwise help restore marriages broken by sexual issues. Had my husband not overcome his conflict with his identity and reconciled his behaviors my daughter would not be with us today. This bill puts at risk other families and other lives to seek their full potential and destinies. Please do not deny other people their choice to seek therapy or goods and services that could save a marriage.

Rhoda Mehl
Minnesota Resident

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