Levi Kreis is an emerging gay musician. He’s appeared on an episode of The Apprentice, done a few indie films, and has had his music played on television shows. In connection with the release of his new album The Gospel According to Levi, Kreis artist sat for an interview with Between the Lines.
The songwriting process became therapeutic as he reflected on his personal struggle to accept himself while serving God. As a Tennessee teen he stopped attending his parent’s Southern Baptist congregation, where he sang and preached, and enrolled in an ex-gay program at a nearby church. No one knew. Not his parents. Not his friends.
“I felt like it was my duty personally as a very sincere boy to rid myself of what (Apostle) Paul calls ‘this thorn in my side.'”
With workbooks and tapes supplied by Exodus International, a religious group focused on converting gay people back to heterosexuality, Kreis committed to the program for six years. As he considered their tactics and noticed “ex-gays” practicing suppression he realized their explanation of the development of homosexuality was ludicrous.
His decision to come out was not without cost. He was expelled from his conservative Christian college and dropped by his record label. In the lyrics of his song Bittersweet Salvation we hear the anquish of that period in his life in which he struggled to be what he thought God and the church demanded him to be.
I coveted the sorrow and death of every martyr made
Took this thorn into my side as Yaweh’s name
Twenty years of faith and fear and still you say I falter
I’m laying all this dogma dead upon the alter