As a child, Samir knew he was gay. Attracted to other young boys, he began experimenting sexually with his playmates but never talked about it. Homosexuality was taboo in the Muslim country where he was raised. Samir and his family moved to Sweden when he was 16. He was delighted to live in a country where homosexuality was not only accepted but embraced.
He learned Swedish quickly and was soon at the top of his high school class. Following graduation, he worked as an aerobics instructor by day, and was active in Stockholm's gay bar scene at night. Although free to live the life he felt born to live, Samir wasn't happy. He decided to move to Los Angeles, California.
"L.A. is extremely gay," he recalled. "Beautiful cars, beautiful people . . . I was in 'gay heaven.' All the men were asking me out on dates." Just a few weeks after arriving, Samir was invited to the 50th birthday party of Whoopi Goldberg, a well-known Hollywood star, where he rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous.
Driven by a love for money, Samir came up with a plan to grow his cash supply. He attended cosmetology school at trendy Santa Monica college. At the same time, he took real estate training, aiming to get into high-end real estate deals. Before long, Samir was working in star-studded Beverly Hills.
"I got connected with rich people," he said. "They got to know and trust me. People liked to do business with me, and I started telling my clients I also did real estate."
Socially gifted and ambitious, Samir changed his name to Sam Jacobson, which he assumed would sound better in the American environment.
In just a few years, Sam's real estate business skyrocketed, and he was selling multimillion dollar homes. Well-known throughout Hollywood, his contact list was filled with celebrities with whom he did business and socialized on a regular basis. When he thought things couldn't get better, Sam was approached by one of the wealthiest men in Hollywood to be his boyfriend. The two became one of the hottest couples in the city. Nevertheless, Sam still didn't have real happiness. And neither did those around him.
"Many of my 'successful' friends were unhappy," he said. "My boyfriend was a billionaire, but woke up every morning with anxiety, terrified he would lose it all. A couple of months after I sold a house to a very successful artist, she was very close to dying of an overdose." Trying to ease his own anxiety and depression, Sam took a cocktail of anti-depressants and other treatments, but nothing seemed to work.
Searching for Satisfaction
A severe blow came with the death of Sam's mother. Desperate to get in touch with his dead mother, Sam went deep into the occult, attending high-powered séances and other spiritualistic ceremonies.
During this time, Sam’s niece, Vala, visited from Sweden. They were best friends since childhood. Unwanted by her parents, she had moved with Samuel's family to Sweden when they were teens.
In California, the two attended highly spiritualistic Ayahuasca sessions, hoping to find satisfaction for their deepest longings. Sam asked the spirits to put him in touch with his dead mother; Vala, whose life was full of drugs and alcohol as she attempted to drown out her childhood pain, simply wanted to "find the truth."
While the demons embraced Sam, allowing him to communicate with his "mother," they warned that Vala was a "child of darkness;" he must immediately cut off all contact with her. Desperate to maintain contact with his dead mother, Sam quickly sent Vala back to Sweden.
God, however, heard Vala's cry and through a series of miracles led her to Himself. "Jesus set me free," she said later. "In just one day I became drug free. He cleansed me, and I felt His love. I just wanted to hug every human being!"
Back in California, Sam continued trying to contact his mother through the spirits, but the Ayahuasca ceremonies no longer worked. He tried going to different shamans, but nothing helped—he was no longer able to access the spirit world. Unbeknownst to Sam, his niece was praying for him, half a world away.
"Just Be Myself"
While Sam was deep into spiritualism, Laleh, a well-known Iranian-Swedish popstar who lived in Los Angeles, asked Sam to fly to Sweden to accept a music award on her behalf. Her hit single, "Bara få va mig själv" ("Just Be Myself") had gained a 4x Platinum certification. It was nominated as Song of the Year at the 2017 Swedish "Grammis,"1 and had won the QX Readers Award. QX is the largest LGBT-media publisher in Scandinavia. It also arranges the yearly GayGala Awards in Stockholm, which is broadcast on national television.
Standing on the QX Gala stage was a high moment for Sam as he came out publicly to the live audience. "The song, 'Just Be Myself' speaks directly to my heart," he said. ". . . I will not look down on myself anymore. I've lost two wonderful friends to suicide because they were told it wasn't okay to be the way they were. . . . when we reject ourselves, it becomes fatal. . . . So, if you out there are afraid to come out . . . come out and just be yourself!"2
Despite the show, however, all was not well. Sam's life was spinning out of control. Throwing himself further into the gay life, he had multiple sex partners and dove deeper into drugs. "It's a miracle I didn't get AIDS," he said. Finally, Sam ended up in the hospital with his blood pressure soaring up to 207. After 30 days of rehab Sam was still at a loss; nothing seemed to help.
Then he decided to reach out to his niece and was shocked to hear she was doing well. "Vala had never been doing well, he recalled. "Her life had always been miserable—heavy drug addictions, suicide attempts." But something had drastically changed.
"She told me God opened her eyes to see the spirit world; to see the evil. Then she told me that we have a God." She had found her real Savior in Jesus Christ. Encouraged by the amazing change taking place in Vala's life, Sam began to search for his Savior.
"I googled 'Jesus' on YouTube, and started watching cartoons about Him," he said. He also started reading the Bible. Sometimes he fasted. Sam's heart warmed as he read the teachings of Jesus. As he continued reading, he noticed a peace coming into his heart. "It was a completely new element," he recalled. "And I noticed I could say 'no' to drugs and sex, and I could sleep during the night."
Then one day, Vala called. "Just so you know," she said, "if you're going to follow Jesus, you have to repent from homosexuality."
Sam was furious. He had lived as a homosexual for more than 30 years.
"How can God ask me to deny who I am deep down as a person?" he wondered. "I am who I am!" Sam was about to walk away from God, yet he didn't want to let go of the peace in his heart.
Searching for answers, Sam called a local Christian pastor who said, "People have misunderstood. God is just love. As long as you get married you can be gay and have Jesus. It's the promiscuous gay life that God rejects."
It was exactly what Sam wanted to hear. But somehow, he knew the answer wasn't right. He couldn't deny the profound changes taking place in Vala's life.
"God," he prayed, "show me the truth."
For three days Sam was in agony. "I read the Bible for myself, which is abundantly clear about homosexuality," he said. "I was facing a battle between rejecting the truth and accepting it.
Then on the third day, I woke up 100 percent convinced that homosexuality is a sin and I needed to repent. I realized God wanted to remove something that was harmful to me. I went on my knees and cried and cried and cried."
"I know you are God and You are real," Sam prayed. "And I know what You want. But how? This is the only life I know. Will I live alone the rest of my life?" Then he remembered Abraham and how God asked him to leave his country, his people, not knowing where he was going.
"I told God, 'OK, I'll leave.'" From that moment a peace and joy like he had never known washed over Sam, and he knew he was free from homosexuality.
A New Life
Realizing he needed to leave his old life behind, Sam broke up with his boyfriend, wrapped up his business affairs, and returned to Sweden, where God led both him and Vala to become members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
In 2022, Samuel shared his testimony to a packed house during a special weekend event titled, "LGBTQ - Can You Choose?" Ironically, QX magazine covered the event, and quoted Samuel's appeal:
"To all of you who live in LGBTQ, I want to say, there is a deep inner deception going on. You have been tricked into thinking you are fighting for something beautiful, like love and equal rights. It sounds very nice, but it is not true. You and I are not our sexual desires and urges; we are made in the image of God and when we receive Jesus we are adopted as children of God, and the peace and joy that comes with that passes all understanding. When you have tasted true freedom, you will gladly leave not only homosexuality, but everything else that can separate you from Jesus."3
"When I tell people I have repented from homosexuality and I now follow Christ, many feel sorry for me and think I am denying my identity or that I turned my back on the gay community," says Sam, who now goes by Samuel. "But the truth is, God saved me from a life of pain, selfishness, and self-destruction. I wish more people would give Jesus Christ a chance."
1 "Laleh (singer)," Wikipedia, bit.ly/LalehSwedishSinger.
2 QX, "Han kom ut som stolt gay på QX Gaygala – föreläser nu som 'ex-homo'" ("He came out as proudly gay at the QX Gaygala - now lectures as an 'ex-gay'"), Sept. 5, 2022, bit.ly/QXSamJacobson
Q & A with Samuel Jacobson
How is it showing love to LGBTQ people when you say God has given you full victory over homosexuality?
We have turned love into sentimentality and nice words. True love is leading people to Jesus, who alone can give them true joy and peace. Sometimes we are worried about hurting someone's feelings if we tell them the truth, but what if they miss out on eternal life because we did not share God's truth with them? How is that showing love?
If we tell people they must leave LGBTQ, won't that mean they will have to live alone for the rest of their lives and feel depressed?
I can assure you I have never been happier than in the last 6 years since becoming a Christian and leaving homosexuality behind. God is all I need, and my future is in His hands. He has given me many wonderful Christian friends and church family. I look forward to spending eternity with them.
Shouldn't we just show love and tone down what we say so we don't hurt LGBTQ people? Let's build bridges. After all, the church is a hospital, and we are all sick.
It is true the church is like a hospital, but what kind of a hospital is it where patients come in and not a single patient gets well? How long have you been admitted to this hospital? 20 years? And you're still limping and having trouble breathing? Then there might be something wrong with the hospital, or the treatment.
I am a living witness that our God is the perfect Doctor—when He does an operation, the patient recovers 100 percent. Jesus has freed me completely from homosexuality, and this is good news! We should not downplay that our Doctor is perfect; we should share the good news with the world! We know that victory is already ours if we wholeheartedly follow our Lord Jesus Christ. The end is very near.