Timothy Kurek has just published his book, The Cross in the Closet. In it, he details a year spent as a homosexual living in the US.
This is particularly surprising as he went to a right-wing church, saw himself as a soldier for Christ and attended Liberty University, the "evangelical West Point".
After speaking to a lesbian friend who has been ostracised from her family, he decided to challenge his own views and beliefs.
He said, "In order to walk in their shoes, I had to have the experience of being gay. I had to come out to my friends and family and the world as a gay man."
The Observer newspaper said: "Kurek's account of his year being gay is an emotional, honest and at times hilarious account of a journey that begins with him as a strait-laced yet questioning conservative, and ends up with him reaffirming his faith while also embracing the cause of gay equality."
Naturally many of his friends from Liberty were not impressed. Many wrote him emails after he came out, asking that he repent of his sins and warning that he faced damnation. Likewise, his mother's initial response was, "I'd rather have found out from a doctor that I had terminal cancer than I have a gay son.".
However, eventually she too was won over and changed her views. "My mom went from being a very conservative Christian to being an ally to the gay community. I am very proud of her," he said.
In one gay bar, Kurek said he was stunned to discover gay Christians discussing their belief in creationism, "I found gay Christians more devout than me!".
Kurek's journey ended when he revealed his secret and "came out" again, but this time as a straight Christian.
He says that one of the most surprising elements of his journey was that it renewed his religious faith rather than undermined it, "Being gay for a year saved my faith". Kurek also said his experience not only should show conservative Christians that gay people need equal rights and can be devout too.
Was Kurek right to go undercover? How do you think he new gays friends felt? How do you think his family felt? Do you think this experience and the book will have a positive long lasting effect on Kurek? How about the conservative Christians in America?
See original article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/13/bible-belt-conservative-year-gay?mobile-redirect=false