Scroll To Top

Minister claiming amnesia leaves his church

Minister claiming amnesia leaves his church

An openly gay minister who claims that amnesia made him forget his former life in Abilene, Tex., is leaving his congregation in Dallas for respite in California, a church elder said. Michael Mullen said the Reverend James Simmons will leave Faith Community Church to refresh and refocus. "He needs the time of refreshing, the time to refocus himself and what his [future] is going to be," Mullen told The Dallas Morning News. "We will miss him greatly." Simmons, whose last day is June 15, declined to comment to the newspaper before church services on Sunday. Mullen said the pastor announced the decision to the 55-member congregation two or three weeks ago and that it is unrelated to his past. Simmons has claimed amnesia since being recognized as Wesley Barrett "Barre" Cox after he auditioned to be pastor of a predominantly gay church in White Rock, a Dallas suburb, in 2000. He left the church in 2001 after failing to get a two thirds majority vote of confidence that he had requested. He moved to Faith Community, then located in the Dallas suburb of Garland, three months later. Cox had last been seen in Abilene before his disappearance in 1984. When his true identity was revealed in Dallas, he said he had no memory of having a wife and daughter before being found beaten and nearly comatose inside a car trunk near Memphis, Tenn., in 1984. Memphis police and hospital officials have said they have no record of any cases fitting Simmons's account. They also said they believe that he has denied faking his abduction, creating a new life, and claiming amnesia because he could not reconcile being gay with his religious background.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories Editors