A former pastor for the Seventh-Day Adventist church has told her moving story about how she came out as bisexual and decided to quit the church.
Alicia Johnstone came out publicly in a video shared on Facebook, and explained that she could no longer follow a church which did not support her sexuality.
Johnstone, who grew up in a “very Adventist “ household still believes that there are good things about the church but came to the decision to leave after carefully thought and prayer.
“I have come to a point of complete disagreement with the Adventist church on their teachings about LGBT people and I don’t know how to minister anymore without being honest about that. I am myself bisexual,” she said.
Johnstone went on to explain that she could not “manage her attraction to women”.
“The hard part for me is that I was just so aware of the pain that the church causes to those people.
“I knew that shame of feeling inconvenient and like you weren’t a part and I couldn’t ignore the fact that our church is causing that to people,” she added.
Johnstone added that the inner turmoil was “making me depressed”.
The church that she was formerly a part of openly condemns homosexuality and transgender people.
The strict policy means that pastors who reveal their sexuality are “almost certain” to loose their jobs.
For Johnstone, she had to choose between continuing to follow the church and live with the secret, or go public and lose the close circle of friends and family that she had built her whole life.
“Being bisexual for me is actually really simple. All it means is that I am attracted to both men and women.
“For me, as a Christian person, that means that I believe I could be happily married to somebody from either gender,” she said. “It’s about love, it’s not about genitalia.”
A key reason she decided to leave the church was because of the lack of conversation around LGBT rights and issues.
Johnstone hopes that in the future other LGBT people within the Seventh-Day Adventist Church can also come out publicly and begin to create a conversation.
She said: “I want people to know that they’re not alone. Just because their circle pretends like it doesn’t exist doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.
“The institution seems to be doing everything it can to keep that silence from being broken, but that silence is literally killing people,” she added.