Letters From LGBTQ Former Bethel Members: ‘God Loves Us. We Are Not Broken, But Beautifully and Wonderfully Made’

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Bre and Beckett’s wedding day.

Whether you’re closeted, questioning, or out and proud, we hope these messages find you. You are valuable, and you are loved.

There are so many people who care about you and want to make sure you know: you are not alone.

Click here to read letters of support to LGBTQ Bethel Students, from LGBTQ Former Bethel Students.

Here’s a sample of one letter:

To my lovely fellow rainbows of Bethel,

After Sunday night’s message, I wanted to tell you are little something to ease any pain or confusion you may be feeling. I was once a student at BSSM though only doing a year there I found myself asking for prayer and standing for things regarding same-sex attraction, I didn’t fully grasp my sexuality at the time nor did I realise my true gender identity, but things weren’t sitting right with me during these moments.

It wasn’t until I was back in my own country and talking to a lovely woman from school over facebook that I realised my desire, and it took a couple of years to really journey through this with God. It was my personal relationship with God that helped me and held me strong, it still does.

When I watched the message from Sunday, I felt as though I wanted to gather all of my rainbow family in Bethel and embrace them in unconditional love. You are wholly and wonderful acceptable and lovable as you are right now, and God will never shame you for it. You are beautifully and wonderfully made. To my transgender family, I am with you, I myself am trans and we are also completely acceptable, lovable and wonderful! If I could I would give you all a big hug.

None of you are alone, there are people that want you, as you are and accept you as you are right now. My hope is that you find some beautiful rainbow community that will celebrate you and your walk with our Father.

Please know, I am here too.

Love,
Charlee

Click here to read Bre’s open letter: Dear Bethel: Open Letter From An LGBT Graduate of Your Ministry School,  April 24, 2017.

Dear LGBTQ+ Bethel Family,Whether you're closeted, questioning, or out and proud,we hope these messages find you.You are valuable, and you are loved.There are so many people who care about you and want to make sure you know: you are not alone.Read the letters here:beckandbre.com/letters

Posted by Bre Hanan on Thursday, April 26, 2018

Bre Hanan and her husband Beckett met in 2010 while attending the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry. They moved away from Redding in 2014, eventually realizing they were queer and in love. Beck came out as trans a month before they tied the knot in 2017, and they settled in the Portland, Ore., area after the wedding. Bre spends most of her time testing Beck’s allergy-friendly treats, studying ancient myths, and volunteering with an LGBTQ+ youth group.

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13 Responses

  1. Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

    From Bre’s open letter to Bethel:

    “(Valotton) would have never read Paul’s words on women, such as ‘Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak…’ and said ‘That’s in the Bible. It’s pretty clear.’ and then moved on.”

    I would really love to read Kris Vallotton’s response to that contradiction, because it goes straight to the heart of his supposed Biblical fundamentalism. It’s all God’s inspired word, right? You have to take the good with the weird, right?

    Vallhtton is either all in, or he’s cherry-picking from Paul’s various biases—some clearly reflecting the social mores of Paul’s time—and Vallotton’s is doing that cherry-picking based on his own prejudices. Maybe Kris finds the prospect of male-male sex to be extremely icky. Maybe he’s filled with shame because he’s obsessed with watching women rub up against each other on the internet. Who knows? Possibly only Bethel’s IT crew.

    I’m not gonna hold my breath waiting for Vallotton’s response, because coming up with a cogent explanation for his focus on some of Paul’s teachings while ignoring others would require some intellectual heavy lifting. I’d like to think that he’s up to that task, given his position. If I doubt that he is, it’s because I haven’t heard him (or any of Bethel’s other leaders) respond to that accusation of Biblical cherry-picking. Gays need to change their stripes, or they’re going to Hell……pass the ham.

    “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord.” —Leviticus 19:28

    “I am the Lord.” Doesn’t that make it a direct quote?

    Looking forward to the opening of Vallotton’s tattoo-removal business, or his tortured rationalization for why it’s cool that so many of the younger members of his Bethel flock sport ink.

  2. AJ AJ says:

    Or if he’s had a haircut or trimmed his beard this week. (Lev. 19:14) or worn clothing of mixed or blended fabric (Lev. 19:19). Or, oh heaven forbid, watched football recently (Lev. 11:7-8)!!

  3. Avatar Aleeta Stamn says:

    What exceptional letters. However, I find it hard to imagine personally that so many people still consider the entire bible to be the word of God. Many religious scholars now believe that the beautiful moral teachings of Jesus were his attempt to bring the much more compassionate and enlightened Eastern religious thought of the day to his culture, which is why they bear so little resemblance to the brutality and condemnation in the rest of the book (that in many ways is an obvious hold-over from primitive pagan religions) various religious Councils seeking power and control officially tied them to.

    Many of Bethel’s stances are self-serving and profit-motivated. For example, its selective condemnation of gay people (a minority group most useful to Bethel by being guilted/coerced into paying to be “cured”) while ignoring the biblical admonition against allowing women to speak, Bill Johnson’s implication that Jesus was a Capitalist, his claim that most poor people basically don’t need help (and can therefore be ignored) because they can “create wealth” by subscribing to Bethel’s Prosperity Gospel, his denial of Trump’s long history of racism and bigotry, and (of course) Bethel’s objection to the proposed senate bills that really change nothing other than that Bethel will no longer be allowed to charge money for harmful and overwhelmingly debunked gay conversion “therapy”. Based on what I’ve seen, Bethel is a lot less about Christian principles than about exploiting highly selective portions of the bible to make money.

  4. R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

    I find it fascinating that people like Bre and Beckett and the folks who wrote the letters above haven’t given up on their faith, despite the abuse coming from their own pastors. I would be severely tested.

    • Avatar K. Brayan says:

      I think that’s a pretty big assumption to make that all of the people who spoke out still practice or ascribe to Christianity. People have different journeys, especially after leaving Bethel.

      • Avatar Bre Hanan says:

        K. Brayan is absolutely right. Some of the authors are still very Bethel-ish. Others now identify with other (or simply broader) Christian labels. Some have shifted to a different faith entirely or identify as atheist. Beck and I try to honor all evolutions from Bethel.

        Personally, I think that no matter what my faith looks like, Bethel will have always been a very instrumental part of my journey. For better or worse, I will always be a “child of the house.”

    • Your point is well taken. My comment was meant in a positive sense, and I was speaking to the spirituality I sensed from both Bre and Beckett as well as the letter writers. Obviously, faith, the quest for a spiritual existence, is pretty important to these folks, and it’s encouraging to see they haven’t given up that quest because of pastors like Kris Vallotton.

  5. Avatar jackalope vojtecky says:

    Sistas in Zion, which has been chronicled often in Salt Lake City news, is a story that is told about two black Mormon women and their experiences. Through, positive sometimes humorous, writings it shows a different view of the Mormon church that these women are proud of belonging to. One doesn’t throw the baby out with the bath water, you keep the good stuff. I think that would be similar to what gay Bethel folks feel.

    • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

      We watch the Mormon Christmas program from the Tabernacle each year and heartened to see numerous non-white faces in the choir and orchestra.

  6. Bre, thank you for the courage it took for you to create these posts and this video, and for allowing aNewsCafe.com to repost them here.

  7. Your point is well taken. My comment was meant in a positive sense, and I was speaking to the spirituality I sensed from both Bre and Beckett as well as the letter writers. Obviously, faith, the quest for a spiritual existence, is pretty important to these folks, and it’s encouraging to see they haven’t given up that quest because of pastors like Kris Vallotton.