Ken Baker tells his story in his book, ‘Joy Goes With Us’; he wanted to be a preacher, but that didn’t work out

By Andy Furman
NKyTribune reporter

All he ever wanted to do was preach – and eventually become a preacher. Today, Ken Baker does his ‘preaching’ on FOX 19 NOW – WXIX – as an Emmy-nominated journalist. That was the second career-choice for the Lloyd High School graduate.

He tells his story in his book – Joy Goes with Us.

“My childhood was church and sports in the summer,” he told the Northern Kentucky Tribune. “You probably could find our family at church several times-a-week.”

The 35-year-old Baker says he was at church Tuesdays for prayer service, Wednesday for bible study and, of course Sundays for regular service. He says he spent most of his free-time as a 12-year-old preaching.

“Yes, I was a licensed minister. The name of my ministry was KEB Ministries. I was the real deal. I believed I was going to be the next super star preacher, traveling around the world, and saving souls,” he writes.

In a sense, he’s doing that today – but not at the pulpit. What happened?

At the age of 17, he says, he felt like a shaken bottle of soda.

“I was still very active in the church. I led youth worship, preached, sung in the adult choir, and still prayed,” he wrote.

Yet, his life, was now in misery, he wrote. He felt as if he was carrying the weight of the world. He was – and he didn’t dare tell a soul – a homosexual.

“I just couldn’t tell anyone I was gay,” he said.

He was hoping for change – even a miracle – perhaps that’s why he chose Oral Roberts University as his college choice – in Tulsa, Okla.

“I remember thinking if God would do a miracle and rid me of my ‘struggle,’” he wrote, “He has to do it here.”

The Rev. Oral Roberts founded the university named after him in the early 1960s. Roberts was a healing Evangelist. His crusades to heal people went nationwide. And usually, each month a caravan of busses would head to the school’s Mabee Center for prayer as well as healing. Oral Roberts University is built on educating the entire man – mind, body, and spirit – within certain boundaries. Men and women were permitted in each other’s dorm rooms just once-a-semester. All students knew the rules — there was no public display of affection on campus, all students must be inside their dorm rooms by 10 p.m., and each Wednesday and Friday – from 11 a.m.-noon – school closes for Chapel Services. One must go to church on Sundays; and certainly, there is no partying or drinking permitted.

Ken Baker (Photo by Andy Furman/NKyTribune)

Not the best environment for a gay student – and Ken Baker found that out.

“I took a cross-country trip to Hawaii with my floor captain (Michael) from school,” Baker writes, “and he openly told me he, too was gay.”

That was the bombshell, as Michael was soon removed as captain and Ken Baker was put on trial and made to confess he was struggling with homosexuality.

“I was sentenced to weekly counseling sessions with one of the psych undergrads,” he said.

Baker did clarify in his book that he and Michael were just friends.

“There was nothing romantic about our relationship,” he said.

Finally, the day came – when Ken Baker told his parents.

“I was 18,” he said, “when I came home from college. My mom cried; my dad told me to move out of our Northern Kentucky home – yet he helped me financially.”

As for his preaching career, “The church gave me the left foot of fellowship; I couldn’t be in choir or preach.”

But he could share his story through the medium of television – he did minor in communications.

“I was selling shoes one day and who walks in — (then) Channel 5’s Lisa Cooney,” Baker said. “I told her of my love of TV and storytelling. She got me an internship at WLWT.”

When there was an opening at Channel 19, I jumped at the chance, he said.

“Its funny,” Baker says, “All my non-church friends knew of my homosexuality. It was the religious people and family that gave me grief and made my life difficult.

“No one outside of those people cared, they gladly accepted me the way I always dreamed of being accepted as a homosexual man.

“God loves me, and it’s OK to be gay.”

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