Directed by Kristine Stolakis, Netflix’s ‘Pray Away’ is a documentary movie that delves into the saga of the so-called “conversion therapy” movement and its long-lasting harm to the LGBTQ+ community. In some cases, faith is the one aspect that can bring people together, yet, as we see here, when mixed with sexuality, it tears them apart from each other and themselves. To push heteronormative notions into those who know they’re queer, some Christian organization leaders lie, overlook psychological issues, and then take years to realize the same. One such individual was John Paulk, who has since expanded his horizons.
Who is John Paulk?
As a native of Columbus, Ohio, John Paulk graduated from Fort Hayes High School before attending The Ohio State University, where he majored in Opera/Voice Performance. From there, he decided to pursue a career in the food industry and was pretty successful. In the late 1980s, though, John came into the spotlight by insisting that he overcame his homosexuality after finding God and Christianity. Moreover, in 1992, he tied the knot with an “ex-lesbian” named Anne Edward-Paulk and begun a supposed “normal” and “ordinary” hetero-based family with her.
Because of his friendly personality, sheer ability to sound convincing, and personal experiences, John became the face of the conversion movement in the media. He not only featured in numerous television and radio shows to share his journey, but he also co-wrote ‘Not Afraid to Change’ with Tony Marko and ‘Love Won Out’ with his wife. John then led a ministry launched by Focus on the Family and was elected chairman of Exodus International twice. During his second term, he was seen at a gay bar in Washington, so he left this line of work soon after his tenure was over in 2003.
Where is John Paulk Now?
For years, John Paulk tried to deny that he knowingly entered the gay bar in Washington D.C., yet he couldn’t help but let his real needs and desires shine through with time. Thus, soon after his wife found homosexual porn on his electronic deceives, she confronted him, realized that he could not “obey” anymore, and filed for divorce. John deceived himself and several others for years, and even though he is humiliated and embarrassed by it, he takes full responsibility. In 2013, he publicly apologized, disavowed his belief in the therapy, and identified himself as a gay Christian.
“For the better part of ten years, I was an advocate and spokesman for what’s known as the “ex-gay movement”… At the time, I truly believed that it would happen,” John said in his statement. “And while many things in my life did change as a Christian, my sexual orientation did not…Today, I do not consider myself “ex-gay,” and I no longer support or promote the movement…I am truly, truly sorry for the pain I have caused. From the bottom of my heart, I wish I could take back my words and actions.”
As for where John is now, he had relocated to Portland, Oregon, in 2003, where he’d begun a business called Mezzaluna Fine Catering in 2005. Therefore, today, he serves as a renowned executive chef for the same in the city. Back in 2015, John had launched a weekly radio show, ‘Talking with our Mouths Full,’ on Wild Planet Radio, aimed at the LGBTQ+ community. That same year, he also appeared on Food Network’s ‘Cutthroat Kitchen: Who Tarted?’ In short, John currently seems to be content with his life and work.
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