Best known for his 2008-2009 claims of being the "Boy from Minnesota" Gus Van Sant's biopic "Milk," "ex-gay" Chaplain Gerard Dols has sent a letter to the editors of the Isanti County News offering comfort to the members of the Lakeside Christian Church following the indictment of Rev. Ryan J. Muehlhauser on eight felony counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct.
Dols utters safe words on Muehlhauser
The Star Tribune reported in Isanti County pastor charged with sex assaults on men he was counseling:
An Isanti County pastor who participated in a ministry devoted to helping people put their homosexuality behind them has been charged with sexually assaulting two men he was counseling. . . .
Muehlhauser also was a counselor through Robbinsdale-based Outpost Ministries, whose website says it was founded more than 30 years ago to help men and women "break away from gay life" and declares that "all homosexual behavior is sin." . . .According to the criminal complaint:
One of the men told investigators that Muehlhauser "blessed" him by cupping his genitals outside of his clothing several times and that Muehlhauser asked the man to masturbate in front of him for "spiritual strength." Muehlhauser would also fondle the man at times. Their encounters occurred over a period of nearly two years.
Another man told investigators of similar encounters spanning most of this year, adding that Muehlhauser feared he would "lose everything" if anyone found out. At one encounter, Muehlhauser fondled the man and then the two joined the pastor's wife for a dinner outing.
The assaults of the two men occurred at the church, its prayer cabin and at a home belonging to a relative of one of the victims. The criminal complaint made a point to note that "consent by the complainant is not a defense," given Muehlhauser is a clergy member. . . .
Dols writes in We need to focus on restoration and healing:
I am writing this letter in response to the downfall of Pastor Ryan at Lakeside Christian Church.
My name is Chaplain Gerard Dols with Midwest Chaplains. Currently, I am working at the Capital Prayer Network during session, and the Minneapolis Salvation Army. I had the honor of living in Cambridge from 2002 thru 2004. At that time, I was attending Church at River of Life with senior Pastor Tom Porta.
Thirty three years ago I made the decision to leave the homosexual lifestyle. It was not an easy road for me, but it was the best decision I made for it brought reconciliation between my dad and myself. This reconciliation brought healing and closure to the both of us. This past weekend, I returned to Cambridge for a visit and was disturbed to hear of Pastor Ryan’s downfall. I grieved for his family and the community. What amazed me was how people were shocked and hurt by this. I myself wanted to restore the community, his family, and ultimately Pastor Ryan. We all ultimately have to take responsibility for our actions and ask for forgiveness when wronged. We as Christians need to extend forgiveness to the ones who have hurt us. By doing this, we can walk in freedom.
There are many people who have left the homosexual lifestyle like myself who do not use their position to influence others. We all need to adhere to boundaries so as to protect others and ourselves from accusations. When someone in authority requests you to keep a secret that even he knows is wrong, you must speak up and report it to the legal authorities. That is the right action to take. If you have been abused there is no shame or guilt to tell legal authorities. We must tell so that we can break the cycle of sexual abuse. If you are one that has been abused, please tell so that it does not happen to others. My heart for the Cambridge community is restoration and healing.
Dols applies spin to Spindale Word of Faith Fellowship woes
Part of Senator Dan Hall's Midwest Chaplains, Dols' "ex-gay" street cred is getting quite the workout this fall as stories of criminal abuse of gay men in ministries from Cambridge to Spindale, North Carolina emerge in the press.
The Charlotte Observer reports in Word of Faith Fellowship sees ‘persecution’ for a godly walk; critics see an abusive church:
. . . this diverse and charismatic congregation remains at the center of a roiling public debate that has spawned more than two decades of lawsuits, criminal charges and bitter custody fights over how church children are raised.
Few of the allegations against Word of Faith have led to formal charges. When they have, the charges haven’t stuck. Whaley’s assault conviction was overturned after five years of appeals. Over one five-year period, the church says it spent more than $3 million in legal fees.
Around the time Lowry made his allegations, three members of the Word of Faith security team and another church member were arrested after confrontations with Lowry and a companion, Jerry Cooper. Cooper, a former Word of Faith member and critic of the church, filed the charges. . . .
Dols entered the scene in the Christian Post's Word of Faith Source Calls Gay Abuse Allegations Against Church 'Complete Fabrications':
As authorities are investigating reports of abuse and imprisonment that a gay man brought against Word of Faith Fellowship Church, a nondenominational Christian congregation in Spindale, N.C., an inside source has said that all of the allegations are a complete fabrication pushed forth by a gay activist.
"This guy – is nothing but a gay activist who has tried to close this church up. He has tried to influence this kid, Michael Lowry. Sam and Jane are nothing like that and I will probably be testifying at court if there is a case. They have never ever abused me or any of my friends that I have brought down there," Chaplain Gerard Dols, who works at the Salvation Army A.R.C Program, shared with The Christian Post in a phone conversation on Friday. . . .
But Dols, who says that he has personally known Sam and Jane Whaley, the pastors Word of Faith, for the past 30 years and used to attend their church, says that Lowry is being persuaded to make up this story by a man who he calls a gay activist with a mission to try and close down the 750-member church. Dols, who describes himself as a formerly gay man who left that life behind when he became a Christian, was featured in the 2008 Academy Award-winning movie "Milk" as the "Boy from Minnesota." His character, a young gay man, seeks out the help of Harvey Milk, the real-life first openly gay man to be elected to public office in the United States when he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1978, but was assassinated that same year.
Dols repeated to CP that the Whaleys "never ever abused me or any of my friends that I have brought down there." He explained that the "gay activist" he believes has been influencing Lowry previously has been arrested at World of Faith for trespassing, and that there has been a restraining order placed against him because he calls and emails the church all the time.
A Boy From Minnesota's Tale
Dols certainly gets around--and his stories about his youthful gay experiences wander a bit, too.
He told the Concerned Women of American in August 2008 that he'd first talked to Harvey Milk in 1977 when he was 17. Dols moved to Los Angeles and claims he was to move in with Milk and his partner, but Milk was murdered first. Dols claimed that the gay community became militant after Milk's death in late Nobember 1978 and abandoned him. When he attended a Jews for Jesus meeting on March 2, 1979, he was born again and renounced the "gay lifestyle." Listen here.
In early 2009, the City Page Blotter reported in Harvey Milk and the Boy from Minnesota:
Gus Van Sant's most recent film, Milk, while getting award buzz, also received plenty of Minnesota buzz. There's character in the movie who is only known as the "Boy from Minnesota."The inclusion of the character set-off a search to find out if the person is still alive, and/or around. And if you believe the story of Minneapolis resident Gerard Dols, the character is very real and very much alive. Because the "Boy from Minnesota" is Gerard Dols.
Gerard called City Pages to tell his side of the story. He's concerned about what is being said about him. What follows is his story. If you choose to believe it, then yes, it's him. If you don't, then just assume it's a fable told on a blog. Either way... it's a decent yarn to read on a cold afternoon in the Twin Cities. . . .
I am the boy from Richmond, Minnesota. I want to tell you everything in the movie did not happen. It just did not happen. For one, I am disabled, but I was not in a wheel chair at that time. The writer of the book never interviewed me about it. I was born without kneecaps and wore braces as a child. . . .
I talked to Harvey 4-7 times after that and 10 days before my 18th birthday I got a plane ticket. I called to Harvey, but Jack [his boyfriend] answered the phone. Jack said, "Why are you coming here? Jack said why are you trying to take Harvey away from me?" I said, "Fine, let me call Anne [Kronenberg] and give her my flight number." When I called her she said you can't come now. I said why? She said Jack committed suicide last night.
I called him at 6 p.m. and he committed suicide within a half hour. It haunted me for 30 years.
I ended up flying to Los Angeles. Found Don Amador. And he helped me to find a place. Then Harvey was murdered. I immediately was depressed. All my gay friends deserted me when Harvey Milk died.
I was very upset about the militant groups and the riots that followed (Milk's assassin) Dan White only getting 5 years. They were against everything Harvey Milk taught. I felt very hopeless. Everything was lost. I chose to no longer live the lifestyle.
I am now a chaplain by trade. I work at an alcohol/drug rehab center and one of the homeless shelters.
Anyway, I am the Minnesota boy in the Milk movie. I am the boy from Richmond. I am now a born-again Christian. I have a strong faith. I'm the happiest I've ever been in my life.
Tony Gosgnach noted in an article in Catholic Insight that Dols never met Milk.
Dols claim to be "The Boy From Minnesota" was disputed by those connected with the movie and Milk's surviving associates, blog posts noted in 2009. Check out Yet another Harvey Milk post and Good as You's Dols claims (A) that he was 'Milk' boy, (B) that he's no longer buying the cow.
A Little Isanti County Action, 2004
GAY notes that Dols had popped up before in reports of anti-gay actions. On June 17, 2004, Star Tribune staff writer Tracy Swartz reported in Debaters tackle thorny issue; A same-sex marriage foe wants the Isanti County Board to put the issue before voters:
Rick Simon left his small-town Minnesota home 25 years ago because he felt residents there didn't accept his gay lifestyle.
People in Rush City would cross the street when they saw him, Simon said. Attitudes weren't much better in neighboring Isanti County, where his grandmother lived.
On Wednesday, in front of Simon and about 30 others, the issue of extending rights to same-sex couples was played in front of the Isanti County Board.
Holding a sign that read, "The Taliban is alive and well in Isanti Co.," Simon watched as Gerard Dols asked the county board to let county residents vote on whether same-sex marriages should be sanctioned.
"Applying the laws of marriage to same-sex unions will create a legal disaster that will never end," argued Dols, 43, who said he was gay for two years as a teenager in California before "accepting Jesus Christ" and rejecting "the gay lifestyle."
Isanti County Attorney Jeffrey Edblad said the county has no standing to act on Dols' request. Minnesota law prohibits same-sex marriages and does not allow the state to recognize such unions granted in other states. Federal law prohibits same-sex couples from receiving the same government benefits as married couples. . . .
Nevertheless, Simon said, there is enough sentiment for Dols' position that if the issue were put to a vote in the county, opponents of gay marriage would prevail.
The Rev. Thomas Porta, assistant pastor at the River of Life Church in Cambridge, said he hoped the county commission would take a stand on the issue. He said he and almost all of his 150 parishioners would support the ordinance.
"I believe same-sex marriages would have a damaging effect on the institution of marriage," said Porta, 51. "I'd love to see it come to a vote." . . . ( accessed via Nexis All News 12/3/2012)
Our Man at the State Capitol, 2013?
That 2004 iteration places Dols in gay communities in California for a year and a half longer than his later accounting in 2008 and 2009, but time flies when you're having fun, or so we're told.
It's likely we'll hear more from Dols--and not just in Cambridge or on the phone to defend demon-beaters in North Carolina--if the drive to legalize same-sex marriage takes fire following last month's defeat of the amendment to restrict the freedom to marry.
As noted earlier, Dols is part of State Senator Dan Hall's Midwest Chaplains, which has the mission to "encourage individuals to pray for our government and its leaders." Chaplains include Cathy Jo Severson, wife of former representative Dan Severson, as well as Senator Hall and Dols.
With Mrs. Severson, Senator Hall founded the Capitol Prayer Network in 2004; the organization continues to hold rotunda prayers every Monday and Legislative Prayer on Thurdays at 10:00 a.m. The Cold Spring Record (see image) reported that Dols and Hall met with Jeff Howe, then a candidate for HD13A, at the April 26 meeting. Howe was elected in November.
The Capitol Prayer Network's weekly events are routinely included in the Minnesota Strategic Coalition's monthly calendar. Part of the New Apostolic Reformation, the MSC is "a relational based group of state leaders, ministry leaders, intercessors, prophets, and other KINGDOM minded people, for the purpose of advancing the Kingdom of God in MN and beyond."
Photo: Gerard Dols (above); Cold Springs Record item (below.
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