Inflexible Religion, Sexual Orientation and Controversial Reparative Treatments Clash in Author’s Second Novel

Is homosexuality part of a person’s inherent nature or is it a choice. Is it identity, or merely behavior? Can it be cured? Should a cure be imposed? Are extreme measures like hypnosis, drugs, aversion therapy and shock treatments acceptable methods? Does devotion to rigid theological beliefs matter more than parental love?

These are just a few of the questions driving the action and characters in Bill Prickett’s second novel, The Mind Set on the Flesh.  It’s a story of violence, deception and manipulation in the name of religion. But what happens when the truth comes to light?
Barnabas Rivers, who prefers the nickname “Thumper,” is a gregarious party boy living the fast life of bars and one-night stands. He’s turned his back on the Fundamentalist Christian upbringing imposed by his father, a nationally known hell-fire-and-brimstone TV preacher with a relentless moral crusade.

One night, Thumper challenges two men handing out religious brochures in the gay section of town, and the confrontation leads to a brutal attack that leaves him near death. When he wakes up five days later, he has almost no memory of his past. He desperately wants to remember his forgotten life, but his parent are determined to prevent that from happening.

In the hospital, Thumper’s famous father is approached by a zealous doctor who believes that since Thumper can’t recall any of his past sexual behavior, it’s possible to “restore” a heterosexual identity. The parents agree to the doctor’s untried, radical protocol to treat the amnesia, and in the process, change their son’s sexual orientation…from gay to straight.
(An electronic/PDF version of the book can be sent, upon request)

Former Southern Baptist Pastor and ex-gay leader writes from 20 years of experience

In the new novel, Bill Prickett once again draws from his extensive ministerial background in the conservative culture of the deep south—seven years working in youth ministry and 11 years as senior Pastor of a Southern Baptist Church. This contemporary story takes place in Dallas, Texas and Birmingham, Alabama.

“I was born and raised in Birmingham, and I’ve lived in Dallas for more than fifteen years,” says Prickett. “This is the Bible Belt, with long-held and not-easily-abandoned religious beliefs that are seen as traditional values to some, but oppressive to others. In this book, those two perspectives collide, and the results are tragic.”

Prickett struggled with his sexual orientation from the time he was a teenager. As the Pastor of a successful church, a husband and a father, it was something he desperately wanted to change.

“I knew I was gay from a very young age,” he says. “After I became a Christian in my late teens, I was told that was unacceptable, so I determined to make it go away. Once in the ministry, especially as I became increasingly prominent in my hometown, it was important that I overcome these forbidden desires. I read books, attended workshops, sought counseling, joined support groups. The more I tried and the longer I worked at it, the more compelled I felt to portray myself as a success.”

During this time, Prickett was being invited to speak about his experience of restoration and healing. He was interviewed by a national religious magazine and did radio and TV shows. Several national ministries as well as local counselors consulted him as a resource for dealing with those wanting to change their sexual orientation.

“Gay and lesbian Christians began to seek me out,” he says. “Or they were sent to me by their church leaders. Eventually, I founded an ex-gay organization in my hometown to help others with sexual identity issues. I was perceived as a success, but inside, I knew better. Finally, after years of struggle, I had to admit: the process didn’t work. That’s when I left the ministry rather than live a lie.”
(A detailed bio can be found on the author’s website.)

The book also examines the inner workings of reparative/ex-gay groups that claim to heal the homosexual. Prickett, who served as Executive Director of an ex-gay ministry, sees them as dangerous and destructive. “They don’t promise a cure, just a way to resist the desires. It’s a life of never feeling fulfilled. To me, that promotes hopelessness and despair.”

About the author

Though no longer in the ministry, Bill Prickett is still a frequent speaker/teacher at churches and conferences, working for equality, diversity and acceptance, particularly in the religious community. He teaches workshops on the Bible and homosexuality, as well as integration of faith and sexual orientation for gay/lesbian Christians. Many of these resources are available on his website:  He and his partner live in Dallas, Texas, where they are active in an inclusive Baptist church.


Read Outword Online

Free live stats and visitor counter for Joomla, Wordpress, Drupal, Magento and Prestashop