08:30 GMT11 May 2021
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    A church in Dartford, South East London is secretly offering 'gay conversion therapy', a hidden camera investigation has revealed, with a pastor telling the undercover reporter homosexuality is the work of Satan, and comparing acceptance of homosexuality to Nazi brainwashing.

    The shocking footage, captured by ITV in the Kent branch of Winners' Chapel, shows pastor Gbenga Samuel telling the reporter God didn't create him to be gay, but something "shifted in your life God can fix" — he added the gay pretender needed to embark on a "complete mind reorientation", including a week of intensive Bible studie, to rid him of his homosexuality.

    The pastor was one of several at the Nigerian-founded church — which has the avowed mission of "liberating men everywhere from every oppression of the devil" — who said he could help people convert ‘back' to heterosexuality.

    "During World War II, how was Hitler able to get boys to gas millions of Jews in the gas chamber? These boys were specially trained in special school where it was played over to them, over and over, during the day and during the night, propaganda that the Jews are the bad people, and they should be exterminated," pastor Samuel said.

    Less than an hour after his initial consultation with pastor Samuel, the journalist was subject to a bizarre ritual lasting 20 minutes, in which he was rolled around the floor of the church's empty chapel by two pastors, who prayed heavily over him, shouting and speaking in tongues.

    "Let there be a release! Let the fire come upon him," they shouted during the ordeal.

    Wider Investigation

    The ITV reporter spent two months attending the church as part of a wider investigation by the channel lasting half a year. In another segment of the station's report, an anonymous woman details a similar experience, with a pastor who visited her at her family home saying "there's something inside of you that needs to come out — a demon or a bad spirit".

    "It's almost like he had his hand on my chest to draw something out, speaking in tongues. All the family were gathered around me, praying, laying hands on me. [It made me feel like] damaged goods, defective goods," the woman said of a conversion session that lasted three hours.

    The Evangelical Alliance, representing thousands of Pentecostal churches in Britain — although Winners' Chapel isn't a member — said churches and their leaders "must be held accountable when they misuse their influence over others", and the organization had "serious concerns regarding the behaviour depicted".

    Winners' Church have started an internal investigation as a result of the expose, but denied offering gay conversion therapy, claiming to take "inclusion and diversity very seriously". Nonetheless, the footage could land the church in hot water, as in July it was announced the government would ban conversion therapy in response to a survey which indicated two percent of the UK's LGBT community had undergone the practice, with five percent having been offered it.

    While Whitehall didn't offer a definition of "conversion therapy", it said it "can range from pseudo-psychological treatments to, in extreme cases, surgical interventions and 'corrective' rape". The NHS is opposed to the practice and has a strict policy of never recommending or mentioning the ‘treatment' to patients.

    For its part, the UK Council for Psychotherapy states "it's exploitative for a psychotherapist to offer treatment that might 'cure' or 'reduce' same sex attraction as to do so would be offering a treatment for which there is no illness." The Royal College of Psychiatrists' official line is "there's no sound scientific evidence sexual orientation can be changed — furthermore, so-called treatments of homosexuality create a setting in which prejudice and discrimination flourish."

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    Tags:
    gay conversion, Pentecostal Christianity, gay rights, gay, United Kingdom
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