TV illusionist Derren Brown has revealed that he “flirted” with a fringe evangelical Christian movement which tries to “cure” people of their homosexuality before he came out as gay.
The 40-year-old star is now completely comfortable with his sexuality and has filmed a TV documentary exposing the “scam” behind so-called miracle healing in the church.
Brown, who revealed he was gay in 2008, said: “I did go through an area of the church that was trying to ’cure’ gay people.
“It was rather misjudged, I was aware of that and kind of flirted a bit with that. Friends of mine were in it so I was kind of aware of it. I just felt it was misguided.”
In 'Derren Brown: Miracles For Sale', the TV star looks at the faith healing of physical conditions of everything from blindness to arthritis.
He turns a member of the public into a fake pastor and faith healer and sends him to the US Bible Belt to try to expose the “tricks” involved.
Their six months of preparation are almost wasted when they are involved in a “tussle” with police in Texas.
Brown said the Channel 4 programme aimed to show that “healing is not God’s work and that anyone can be taught certain tricks to do it”.
Promoting the programme, he said some faith healers had become multi-millionaires as a result of their deception.
Brown said: “It’s genuinely dangerous. First of all, people don’t get better. Not only do they not get better, they’re told to throw their medicine away.
“Of course, it doesn’t work so the blame is put on the victim for not believing enough.”
He said: “The authorities are reluctant to do anything because it’s about religion.”
In an interview with the Radio Times, Brown said of his magic tricks: “Over the years, I’ve entirely grown out of the urge that got me into magic.
“I’ve pulled it into areas that I think are more grown-up and worthwhile, into areas that aren’t about me going ’Ta-dah! Aren’t I amazing!”’
He said of getting involved with the Christian movement that tries to turn gay people straight: “More interesting than ’read your Bible and all your problems will go away’, it had a bit of depth and psychology to it, but it was just based on a false premise.”