New Jersey father of three Brian Wheelock will never forget the day he wrote his covenant with God. After 10 years of living a gay lifestyle, Wheelock put pen to paper, expressing his vow to put his love for Jesus before his earthly desires and temptations.
After he wrote down his promise nearly two decades ago to honor God and abstain from engaging in same-sex relations, Wheelock said he has not since acted on his same-sex attractions. He has been married to his wife for nearly 17 years and has three daughters.
Wheelock has shared his covenant for others to use as an example as they seek to break free from whatever addictions and habits keep them from God.
In the most recent episode of the “Politely Rude” Edifi podcast spearheaded by Abby Johnson, Wheelock was joined by his wife, Pam, to share his faith journey and how his written promise to God has helped him refrain from acting on his same-sex attractions.
“My wife Pam and I have been married 16.5 years, but this is not the path I’ve been on for a lot of my life,” he said in the podcast that aired just before Christmas weekend. “I actually lived a homosexual lifestyle for many years and was pursuing that for at least 10 years of my life.”
Wheelock said the gay lifestyle wasn’t just “a little bit of a phase” for him but rather who he thought he was and “where my life was going to go.”
‘I couldn’t get enough’
Wheelock grew up in a loving home in New Jersey, and his parents would occasionally attend church with him. He said he started to participate in sleepovers with other boys from a young age.
At the sleepovers, he experienced his first same-sex encounters, as the boys around ages 12, 13 and 14 would explore and experiment on one another.
Soon enough, the playdates that involved staying the night at other boys’ houses and engaging in same-sex encounters became a typical practice for Wheelock in his early teenage years.
When Wheelock entered high school, the practice continued.
“It began to be kind of like a way of life. It was like, ‘Oh wow, this is happening with a lot of people, and it fulfilled a void. And also at the ages of experimentation, ... you know there’s a lot of hormones going on. And I think it really began to be a way of life for me,” he detailed.
“And it started to become a way that I just felt like this is who I am, this is what feels natural to me. … I kind of kept it quiet. I didn’t really tell my family about that. I was embarrassed. And it was something that I would kind of pursue on the side, but really didn’t tell anybody.”
In college, Wheelock said he did not have a strong personal relationship with Jesus Christ even though he did believe in God.
Because he lived on campus away from his family, he said he fully embraced his gay identity and no longer had to worry about what his family or high school friends thought.
“I went away to college [and] it really opened up this door, and I began to meet other people that also identified as gay or homosexual, and it was this crazy thing of all of a sudden. They were kind of like supporting you and there for you and going out together, and I just suddenly felt free in a way to be who I thought I was,” Wheelock said.
“And it was a really eye-opening experience for me. … The gay community is really good at having each other’s backs and really supporting each other, and really, it’s better than some of the Christian communities. I’ll be honest. And we have to all speak to that sometimes.”
He said “getting embraced” by the gay community was a “really welcome feeling.”
While in College, Wheelock continued to pursue men in romantic relationships and eventually dated his first boyfriend. As he continued to date, he found himself wondering if this was how he wanted to move forward with his life because he had a desire “ingrained” in him to have children of his own one day.
Every once in a while, during his college career, Wheelock said he would date females, but 90% of the time, he would date men because he was more physically attracted to them.
“Of course, I felt like it would be easier in my life if I could just date a girl and go this path, but no, it was like I felt like this must be who I am, this must be the way God made me because these feelings are really real and really strong and I pursued that.”
Following college graduation, Wheelock moved to England and Ireland to participate in a work abroad program for a year. He said he “dove into that life” to the point he was going out to bars and going home with different people each night. The experience he said was “causing this depression.”
“Like I couldn’t get enough,” Wheelock said, adding that he was also addicted to pornography.
“It was creating this insatiable desire, and I started worrying about getting sick, some kind of infectious disease,” he added.
“I would actually go get tested for HIV and I [would] have to wait three days for my results. Now, the three days was when I was most like a Christian. Those three days was when I suddenly believed in God again. Ready to just listen to ‘OK, God I’m going to be good. I’m not going to do that again.’ And then I’d get the negative test result. And guess what? I was back out that night hooking up with somebody else. Our flesh is so ridiculous, you know.”
A vision from God
Wheelock said he felt something inside of him lingering. He believed it was God saying: “Brian, this is not the path I have for you.”
One day, when he was in Ireland, Wheelock said he had a vision in which God showed him that he would be married to a woman. In the vision, he said he could see that he would have at least three children. He said the vision described his wife and daughters specifically.
“God took that and captured my heart and showed me ‘Brian, this is what I have for you. This is the vision I’m giving you. This is the future. This is the path I have set before you. I’m the right path. The life you’re living is not the best for you.’ And God began to open my eyes suddenly to a bigger picture,” Wheelock recounted.
When he arrived back home in New Jersey, Wheelock remembers feeling a desire to attend church.
After searching in the phone books for churches, he found a nondenominational church to attend. After attending the church for a while, he participated in an altar call public profession, declaring and accepting Jesus as His Lord and Savior.
“It was amazing, and I began to really follow Him, read the Bible on my own and all this stuff,” Wheelock said.
After some time, Wheelock returned to London to audition for an acting part, “falling back” into a pattern of “hooking up” with men.
“I was around all these celebrities and pop stars. … I ended up even falling back and hooking up with them. And yet now, it was so empty. Now, I had the Spirit of God inside me that I had let into my life. And I couldn’t enjoy it. I was like, ‘Oh, this is terrible,’” he said.
Finding a new dedication
After two months in London, Wheelock returned to New Jersey because he said “by the grace of God” he did not get the part for which he auditioned. He returned to his church and rededicated his life to Jesus.
“It was January of 2000. That was the last time … that I would have been with a guy or slept with somebody. And God show[ed] me that was not the path that He had for me,” Wheelock said. “And following Christ began a journey inside of me. And it was an amazing, beautiful thing.”
He said it was an exciting experience as he attended church and its programs for people in their 20s and 30s. As a result of the programs, he met God-centered male friends from the church, something he said he had always desired.
“I think that part of me going down the path of homosexuality was that I didn’t have a lot of good solid male figures in my life that were solid in keeping me on the right path,” he said.
Even after Wheelock accepted Christ again, his same-sex attractions remained even though he dated females.
“I even dated a girl for a little bit ... but there was a problem. … The problem was I still had these homosexual feelings and desires,” Wheelock detailed. “And even though I was following Christ, these feelings were strong. And they were less because I wasn’t pursuing it. But, I really felt like: ‘God, if I’m going to be serious about following you Jesus … I need to leave these feelings behind. Like what do I need to do?’”
On Jan. 14, 2003, Wheelock said God led him to write out a covenant of purity, giving him something specific to pray over every day, twice a day.
The prayers ask God to take away his same-sex feelings and desires and replace them with thoughts and wishes for God.
“It was not a covenant to become straight. That wasn’t the point of it. It was a covenant to follow Christ wholeheartedly, … to die to myself of all the desires that I had that were not godly whatever they were, including and specifically this,” he said, referring to his same-sex attractions and thoughts.
A covenant with God:
Covenant of Purity by Brian Wheelock:
“On this the 14th day of the month of January in the year of our Lord 2003. Here I confirm a covenant between I Brian Wheelock and the Lord Jesus Christ. From this moment forward I will not entertain evil thoughts any longer and promise to obey the commandments the Lord has given me. For evil thoughts lead to temptation, temptation to sin and sin to death. I herby affirm that I will not masterbate, or engage in self-purity nor will I consider seeing homosexual partners or friends or engage in homosexual activities. … I will not engage in any acts that can cause these feelings to arise and I promise to seek the Lord in any and all these tempting situations. I promise to get rid of (all) stumbling blocks and I will do the following when and if a temptation comes my way.
1) Focus on the Lord and what He has done
2) Take two deep breaths
3) Pray and cry out to God for strength
4) Read some verses in Scripture
5) Take communion with the Lord (John 6:25-59)
6) Pray for obedience
7) Leave the room [or] situation and rejoice
8) Run to the Lord
9) Confess to your friends and develop an accountability partner
10) Pray to be a light and to spread the Word of God to the ends of the earth.
I hereby promise to adhere to this covenant that I Brian Weelock will no longer give into physical temptation and sin and hereby dedicate my mind, body and soul to the Lord Jesus Christ. May the Lord strengthen and keep me all the days of my life. In Jesus Name I commit these and all things.
Signed with Love,
Impact of the written promise
“I literally wrote out a few steps to do when I knew the temptation was going to come, and I had like a battle plan, like a plan for when I was tempted. I knew that would help me,” Wheelock said, referring to his written covenant.
Occasionally, Wheelock said when he shares his covenant with other people who have same-sex attractions, they will tell him that they prayed over the covenant, but their same-sex attractions remained the same. Wheelock advises those struggling with their own desires and addictions, whatever they may be, to keep praying and “die to self.”
“Try to develop a plan and figure out a way to really make this serious about whatever the thing is,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be homosexuality or whatever. Because I died to myself. I crucified the flesh every single stinking day.”
Wheelock said he still experiences same-sex thoughts and desires at times but doesn’t act on them. He also confesses those desires to his wife and accountability partners.
“I was so serious about this. … Talk about taking away the fuel source. … So you have this raging fire, and every time that I looked at pornography, every time that I lusted after men, I was pouring gasoline on that fire,” Wheelock described. “All of a sudden, I was cutting off the fuel source. And taking away all of the stuff that was feeding it. Now, maybe it’s just this little pilot light that I don’t want to pour gas on. But I took away all the fuel sources, so it became like almost a nonexistent part of my life.”
Today, Wheelock is a Christian speaker who has spoken at churches and various events, including the Freedom March in Washington, D.C. in May 2019. The Wheelocks also host a podcast called "The Pam & Brian Show."