Becket Cook was living the high life out in Hollywood, working as a set designer with famous actors, models and singers like Meryl Streep, Carrie Underwood, Nicole Kidman, Oprah Winfrey and Cindy Crawford. An out and proud gay-identified man, Cook attended pride parades and relished seeing the culture rapidly move from acceptance to celebration of homosexuality.
As Cook describes in his autobiography, A Change of Affection: A Gay Man’s Incredible Story of Redemption, he was a successful production designer, working on photo shoots in Chicago, New York, Hong Kong and Beijing. He flew to fashion weeks in Paris, went to the Grammys and attended the Governor’s ball after the Oscars. He vacationed at Diane Keaton’s “desert getaway home” and was invited to a party where Prince performed for a select group of guests. Despite his outward success, he felt empty and was looking for deeper meaning.
Finding “Mr. Right” was a huge part of that search, but Cook’s relational life was a little rocky, as he ran through a series of “serious and intense relationships with four guys.” Each began with new hope – and idolatrous thinking, “He is the one who will save me. He is the one who will bring meaning to my existence. He is the one who will last.” But each traversed the “same story arc.” A new relationship would begin with a rush of “bliss.” But over a couple years, “the relationship would devolve into fights, jealousy, and antipathy.”
Cook felt a growing sense of dissatisfaction, and this led him to an inward search for truth and meaning through therapy and an outward search through the arts – literature, theater and conceptual art.
Finally, he recounts a party in March, 2009, in Paris, where it all came crashing down. “After socializing for a couple of hours, I took a moment to look around and contemplate the scene. In this sea of beautiful people, I suddenly felt an intense sense of emptiness. I’m not exactly sure what brought it on, but there I was, in the middle of Paris at an ultrachic fashion party, feeling dead inside.”
Six months later, he and a friend saw something surprising at their regular coffee hangout: There was a group of men with Bibles. Not only that, these guys even bowed their heads and prayed together. Cook hadn’t seen anything like this in his years in Los Angeles. During his college days he’d left God far behind, and the people he socialized and worked with had no time for God, either.
He and his friend struck up a conversation with one of the guys in the group. The young man, Colin, was a Christian who also admitted to struggling with homosexual attractions. He invited Cook to visit his church. After a week of vacillating about whether to go, Cook showed up for a Sunday morning service. To his amazement, the sermon about Romans 7 was riveting and resonated as truthful.
Becket Cook had a radical, transforming encounter with God that day. He experienced God’s love and grace, and he responded with gut wrenching tears, repentance and gratitude. He went home exhausted, but a second experience of God’s presence, back in his apartment, led him to deep surrender. He cried out, “God! You have my life! It’s all yours!”
Not everyone who comes to Christ has such a powerful first encounter with God or makes such a deep, lasting commitment to follow Jesus. Cook’s story is somewhat unique in that respect. From this first encounter, Cook went on to immerse himself in Scripture and in his local church. He also attended Talbot School of Theology, where he received a master’s degree.
The first part of A Change of Affection recounts Cook’s life story, including some discussion of early childhood factors that played a role in influencing him toward homosexuality. The second half deals with common questions asked of those who leave homosexuality to follow Christ:
- Isn’t it unfair that you have to be alone the rest of your life?
- But aren’t you born gay?
- Didn’t God create you this way?
- Can you be gay and Christian?
Cook answers each of these, and more, with biblical truth and grace. He also offers solid advice for friends and family reaching out to LGBT-identified loved ones. Along the way, he gives examples from his own life as he talks with different friends and about his Christian faith. A Change of Affection is an encouraging story of God’s grace, mercy and power, as He unexpectedly reaches into Becket Cook’s life, bringing forgiveness and transformation.
Are People Born Gay? A look at what the research shows and what it means for you
Do People Change from Homosexuality? Hundreds of Stories of Hope and Transformation
9 Ways to Reach Out to a Gay-Identified Friend
When a Loved One Says, “I’m Gay,” A Guide for Parents
Photo from Anchored North’s Youtube page