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“I struggle with same-sex attraction and I don’t know what to do.” In his confession, he felt a massive weight began to lift from his shoulders. The older man had been setting Jernigan up and a few minutes later made a sexual advance. “I went away from that encounter feeling used, betrayed, and humiliated,” he says.

“Dennis, the Lord has been speaking to me about you.

He came to me in a dream and in the dream God was giving you music and people all over the world are singing your songs.” Jernigan thought his friend had lost it, because at that point in his life, he had only written three songs.

His artistic and creative bent set him apart from the other boys, and this sense of being different grew steadily over time.

“I could hear a song on the radio and sit down and play it,” says Dennis Jernigan, acclaimed Christian songwriter and musician.

At the same time he dated Melinda, he was involved with other male students sexually.

“Finally, in my senior year, I told her I never wanted to see her again.” “Trust me,” he told her.

As he listened to the hiss of escaping gas and smelled the telltale odor he wondered if the apartment would blow up or he would pass out, but he didn’t care which came first. “It scared me so badly I got up and turned off the gas,” Jernigan says.

As he lay there, a quiet small voice pierced through his despondency. This brush with eternity, however, did not alter his lifestyle choice.

“The guys labeled me a sissy pretty early on,” he admits.

“By junior high they called me fag and queer.” He found solace by hanging out with girls, because they seemed to connect with his emotional side.

He was a husband and father, well-respected, and he began praying with me each week, calling and asking how my studies were going and genuinely investing in me in a godly way.” Jernigan and his older Christian mentor went out for a Coke one evening.

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  1. Providing effective relationships education can support positive youth development and help reduce impulsive and health-compromising behaviors.

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