Andrew Hartzler said his parents once brought in an "exorcist" to cleanse his room of demons because he was gay.
In a TikTok, Hartzler said his father thought he was gay because of a "demonic stronghold" on him.
Hartzler captured the exorcism on hidden cameras.
A TikToker shared a video of his parents bringing in an "exorcist" to "exorcise the demons" out of his room that they thought were responsible for making him gay.
Andrew Hartzler, 25, grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, and his family was part of a conservative evangelical religious sect called the International House of Prayer. He told Insider that when he first came out to his parents at 14, they sent him to an anti-gay conversion camp.
"It was like some of the darkest moments of my entire life," he said of the experience. "It basically just teaches you, like, learned self-hate, like learning to repress like half of your mind. It's exhausting."
@andrewhartzler hi um ya obvi i was in the closet sir #comingout #college #exorcist ♬ original sound - andrew hartzler
After camp, Hartzler was sent to a conversion therapy counselor three times a week for the rest of high school. His parents then enrolled him at the conservative Christian Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, thinking it would be "a place where...I wouldn't be around any other gay people."
Of course, though, "There were a lot of kids with similar situations as mine," Hartzler said.
At Christmas break during his sophomore year, he once again came out to his parents. It didn't go well.
"I had had enough of lying to my parents about being 'straight.' And I told them that I was lying to them the whole time during conversion therapy and that I was gay and there was no changing me. And I really put my foot down," he said.
Sensing that something might happen when he returned to school, Hartzler told Insider he secretly ordered and set up surveillance cameras while he was home that Christmas. He had been concerned that his parents might go through the things he had left at home while he wasn't there, and he wanted to monitor his stuff while he was at school.
Hartzler said his parents contacted evangelist John Jacobs to perform the ceremony. Jacobs was the founder of The Power Team, a group of bodybuilding Christians that showed their belief in Christ by tearing apart phone books and lifting weights, though he stepped back from the group in 2003. (The Power Team is the inspiration for Adam Devine's "God Squad" in "The Righteous Gemstones.")
Hartzler said he wasn't surprised that his parents had called Jacobs to rid his room of the "devil."
'They believe being gay is something profoundly evil that has to be performed away by some ritual'
"My father thought my identity issues were a 'demonic stronghold,'" he said. "He always used that type of language around my sexuality."
As Jacobs walks around the room, he urges: "Devil to go in Jesus' name, you foul spirit, you leave. Every evil spirit go now in Jesus' name. Something foul is happening in this closet in Jesus' name. Every evil spirit go now in Jesus' name."
Hartzler now works for Oklahomans for Equality, an LGBTQ rights group. Last December, he made headlines for calling out his aunt, Missouri state rep. Vicki Hartzler, for her anti-LGBTQ rhetoric.
It's been several years since the exorcism. Hartzler said he decided to post the video now because "it was really important for people to see that there are right-wing Christian fanatics who are subjecting their children to this type of practice and that they believe being gay is something profoundly evil that has to be performed away by some ritual."
He no longer speaks to his parents. "Honestly, I think that it took me this long to get over or to get to a place of, like, being comfortable in the harm that I was subjected to. Because it wasn't until actually this past April that I fully cut myself off from my parents. I told them you chose your religion over your son, and you're welcome on my journey of life, but you've chosen otherwise, so goodbye."
Read the original article on Insider