Lynchburg, Virginia — A pastor’s son and former student at Liberty University turned open homosexual released an article this week outlining his personal experience at the Christian educational institution, noting that none of his counselors or professors ever sought to turn him from the homosexual lifestyle. Now Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. is acknowledging the student’s story and affirming that staff handled the matter in a way that is consistent with university protocol — to love and not judge others.
“When people find out I underwent therapy at Jerry Falwell’s Christian college, they assume I went through something like gay reparative therapy. But that isn’t what happened,” Brandon Ambrosino wrote in an article entitled Being Gay at Jerry Falwell’s University. “I saw two counselors at Liberty … and neither of them ever expressed an interest in ‘curing’ me. Did they have an agenda? Yes. Their goal, which they were very honest about, was to help me to like myself, and to find peace with the real Brandon.”
Ambrosino details that he enrolled at Liberty University because his girlfriend was also attending, but that when she ended the relationship, he began focusing on the male students that surrounded him.
“Before I moved off-campus, I lived with the coolest group of guys in perhaps the coolest and most esteemed hall on campus: E-6,” he stated. “When we weren’t jumping off the James River bridge naked, we were four-wheeling naked. And when we weren’t playing naked ‘Man Games’ on Thursday night (which were a two-hour series of homoerotic slap-and-tickle games), we were sneaking into the East Campus pool after hours… naked. Everyone on campus loved our guys because they were cool; I loved them because they were constantly naked.”
As previously reported, students at Liberty University have recently uploaded a number of YouTube videos of their classmates and roommates performing the Harlem Shake in suggestive poses. One video captures a student sporting a yellow shirt with the words “I pee in pools” as he gyrates on top of a couch with his shirtless friends. Another video from Liberty, entitled “Two Men, One Dorm,” shows two men dancing in a sensual manner with one male wearing only a pair of spandex.
Ambrosino admitted in his article this week that he had a physical relationship with one of his roommates, which began as simply two men discussing their thoughts about the university, and later became sexual. He stated that he was once reported to officials when he was found sleeping with his roommate in his underwear.
“My meeting with the Dean of Men was very short. He told me that someone had told my RA that Eddie and I were in bed together in our underwear, and he wanted to know if that was true,” Ambrosino explained. “When I told him it was, he asked what we were doing. I told him we were sleeping, which led him to ask why we were sleeping in our underwear. I asked him what he slept in…”
He then told the dean that he was being counseled by a professor at the university named Dr. Reeves, and was urged him to keep meeting him.
“He was the most gentle, patient, loving man I’d ever met, and I grew to trust him with the deepest secrets of my heart,” Ambrosino recalled. “He let me say the word ‘f—‘ in front of him. I’ll never forget when he raised an eyebrow about something I’d told him. ‘Two words for you, Brandon,’ he told me. ‘Bull s—!’ I realized I wouldn’t be able to get anything past this old man.”
“One of the most emotional conversations I ever had with him began when he uncrossed his legs, put his elbows on his knees, cocked his head to the left, and asked me if I liked myself,” he recalled. “Immediately, I started sniffling and rocking back and forth, trying to keep from crying. It didn’t work. I started crying. Sobbing, really. Then Dr. Reeves asked me again, ‘Do you like yourself, Brandon?”
“I wanted to tell him to shut up, to run out of his office, but all I could do was cry and shake. Finally, I managed to answer him, ‘Yes,'” Ambrosino continued. “He didn’t buy it. He exhaled and asked me, as quietly as he could, ‘Then what are the tears for, Brandon?’ He swallowed a lump in his throat, then asked me again, ‘Why the tears?'”
“This moment was one of the most painful moments of my life, but also one of the most revealing,” he relayed. “I learned that I did not like myself, and that is a tough truth to face.”
By the end of the article, Ambrosino relates that he learned to like himself as a homosexual, and that he wrote Dr. Reeves to tell him so.
“I told him I was doing well, and that I was planning on finishing my degree. I told him I was taking life one day at a time, but wasn’t really sure what the future would bring,” he said. “I also apologized that I didn’t have a fairytale ending to share with him about the closure of my bout with homosexuality.”
“I did, however, thank him. I told him that because of him, I liked myself,” Ambrosino stated. “His response? ‘That makes me happy, Brandon… I like u 2.'”
“I decided that if Jesus met me some time, and if he got to know me, and hear my ideas, and listen to me laugh, then he would like me,” he stated. “What made me come to that conclusion? Meeting people like Dr. Prior and Dr. Reeves. All these people—including Jerry Falwell—helped teach me about Jesus, and I figured that if they liked me, then maybe Jesus might, too.”
Upon reading Ambrosino’s article about his experience this week, Chancellor Jerry Falwell told reporters that the student “hit the nail on the head” as to how Liberty deals with such issues.
“I think Liberty has always been the place – my father said it a million times – where you hate sin but love the sinner, and never condemn anybody or judge anybody but try to help them,” he said.
“The way we try to help people who have problems of all sorts is the way that Brandon describes in his article. I don’t think that conflicts at all with the fact that our students are conservative,” Falwell explained. “I think there are many on the left who like to portray conservatives as homophobic because they believe the Bible and believe homosexuality is a sin, they try to equate that with being hateful and it’s not the same thing at all.”
“You can love the sinner and hate the sin and that’s what Liberty has taught from the day it opened,” he continued. “I haven’t seen any change at all. At the university, the students are still very conservative but very compassionate.”
Ambrosino acknowledged on his personal blog this week that Falwell was supportive of the piece.
“People from all walks of life are writing me to voice their support and love — including Jerry Falwell, Jr. himself!” he wrote.
Ambrosino states that he came out to several other professors on campus, who all told him that they loved him, but never urged him to turn from his homosexuality. He is now a writer for The Huffington Post, where he blogs about spirituality, homosexuality and other modern-day issues.