On March 2nd, 2022, leaders from Agape First Ministries testified at the Minnesota House of Representatives related to the Minnesota House Bill HF2156 introduced by Democrat Representative Athena Hollins (DFL) of St. Paul. The bill is described as “Conversion therapy with children and vulnerable adults prohibited, medical assistance coverage prohibited, and misrepresentation of conversion therapy services or products prohibited.”
AGAPE FIRST MINISTRIES BELIEFS
Transformation is available to all who call upon the Name of Jesus. Our belief at Agape First is simple: when the kingdom of God manifests in the life of a repentant sinner, transformation occurs. Yes, it is a process that lasts until the day we meet Jesus face to face, but the moment we turn to God He begins a good work in us. A work He promises to be faithful to complete.
It is our desire to offer the life changing power of Jesus to all people—the LGBTQ+ community included. There are many faithful followers of Christ who desire to bring their sexuality into agreement with their faith. We believe each one of these precious men and women deserve the dignity to choose lives of obedience to the teachings of Jesus. A transformed life under the leadership of Jesus is not harmful or abusive, but freeing and life-giving to sincere followers of Christ.
Additional Agape First Ministries belief statements can be found here.
HF2156 IS HARMFUL
HF2156 bill is harmful to the Christian individuals and families in our community, but also to the LGBTQ community themselves. Pastor Luca Groppoli shared her heart toward the LGBTQ community and those who have stepped out to follow Jesus. She is concerned about and the healing options that would be taken off the table by this bill given her own experience which she shared during the hearing.
TESTIMONY OF CHANGE VS CAN’T CHANGE
A large portion of the narrative behind ‘conversion therapy bans’ are the demonic lies (1 Timothy 4:1) that people are born gay, and that they cannot change. This of course denies God’s created order of everyone being heterosexual by design and the ability of the human mind to adapt, heal, and change, and the powerful work of redemption and sanctification Jesus does in His disciples.
Today we heard many ‘experts’ claim that it is impossible to change sexual orientation or to detransition from being transgender. However, there were many of us who testified of being changed and restored. What sticks out as particularly harmful is how this kind of legislation comes with the explicit denial of the (ex-LGBT) Christian community. Even though we do exist, the LGBTQ lobby and their supports blatantly say we do not exist. It seems by necessity to keep their illogical narrative afloat that they must deny that we exist or their legislation and religious beliefs are made out to be an obvious error and harmful to us and others.
Reverend Daren Mehl was particularly concerned about the infringement of parental rights because the language of the legislation requires that parents and therapists affirm the transgender identity of a child, regardless if the parent believes it is not authentic to who the child is. Reverend Mehl shared a very tragic story of a parent whose child was ‘transgendered’ behind the parents back at school. Reverend Mehl also shared a story about sharing The Changed Movement book with his representative which documents dozens of testimonies of people who have changed..
Reverend Mehl pointed out the Constitutional crisis we are in at this time. When elected officials knowingly and brazenly break their oath to uphold The Constitution, with the example of his (former) representative Bierman boldly proclaiming his desire to stifle free speech and religious speech, specifically the testimony of redemption and sanctification by faith in Jesus Christ. Representative Bierman doubles down on his Constitutional oath breaking here: https://youtu.be/1_pbg3YNTCQ
LEGISLATION PASSED COMMITTEE
The horrendous piece of legislation HF2156 that was passed through committee today on party lines (Democrats Yay, Republicans Nay) is harmful to the Christian community we are called to minister to when licensed therapy is necessary. When working with individuals in pastoral care situations, it sometimes becomes clear someone is suffering from past traumatic sexual abuse or other significant events in their life that requires licensed talk therapy practitioners, and so we would refer for additional care.
LICENSED THERAPY AT RISK
It is often times the right thing to refer for the mental health and spiritual growth of the individual. However, in good conscience, we cannot refer to a licensed therapist who would knowingly work against the best interest of the Christian disciple by affirming them in a false identity other than what God planned for them.
Because every person holds a religious worldview bias, licensed therapists included, it is necessary to know that a referral therapist would be willing to allow a Christian disciple their self directed goals of diminishing sinful behavior or seeking to align their behaviors to their beliefs.
This legislation would prevent any referral to licensed therapy because every therapist would have to deny the Christian clients goal of seeking their authentic identity as created by God. It would also discriminate against Christian therapists by forcing them into a LGBTQ religious belief system which denies our Creator. It would be precluding them from working in a direction of their clients choosing, deny parents’ rights to direct their children in medical and spiritual care, and prohibit access to therapy based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
CONSUMER FRAUD LANGUAGE
On a final note, this bill is particularly dangerous to the rights of Agape First Ministries (and churches in Minnesota) to host our conferences and sell our discipleship materials in Minnesota. The language in the bill infringes on our Constitutional rights by prohibiting what they call promotion, sales, services of ‘conversion therapy’, which they’ve made clear includes our ministry conferences, books, and pastoral care sessions.
Agape First Ministries encourages everyone who loves their neighbor and desires to love God to write to their Minnesota representatives, senators, and even the Governor of Minnesota, and let them know your concerns about the harm the bill will have it is passed into law.
Bill Information: (It exists as two bills, different numbers in House and Senate)
HF2156 on Minnesota House of Representatives website
SF1871 in Minnesota Senate Website
The full hearing can be viewed here:
The full audio can be downloaded here:
All of the information provided as testimony for the hearing is provided here:
Daren Mehl Written Testimony:
Daren Mehl Testimony – Minnesota HF2156
Daren Mehl Spoken Testimony:
Daren Mehl Spoken Testimony HF2156
Nate Oyloe Written Testimony:
Nate Oyloe Testimony HF2156
Dr. Laura Haynes IFTCC Testimony:
Dr. Laura Haynes Testminoy HF2156