(I think this will probably work on the evangelisheep, after all, I saw Jimmy Swaggart...you know, the one who got caught in an alley with a hooker..."I have sinned"...on TV today doing the same old song and dance...) denver & the west Disgraced Haggard: I am a "deceiver and a liar" By Eric Gorski Denver Post Staff Writer DenverPost.com Article Last Updated: In a letter of apology read to the congregation of New Life Church Sunday morning, Ted Haggard confessed to sexual immorality and described himself as "a deceiver and a liar." But in baring his soul to an outside investigative board, Haggard claimed he is not gay and did not engage in homosexual conduct, the head of the panel said. Describing a lifelong battle against temptations that were contrary to his teachings, Haggard wrote in his letter he had sought assistance "in a variety of ways," and while he had stretches of "freedom," nothing proved effective. "There is a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I've been warring against it all of my adult life," Haggard wrote. Haggard was fired as senior pastor of the church on Saturday by an oversight board of pastors that concluded Haggard committed "sexually immoral conduct." The board had investigated claims by a male prostitute who said publicly this week that Haggard paid him for sex and took methamphetamine over a three-year period. But in a news conference after the service, the head of the oversight board, Pastor Larry Stockstill of Baton Rouge, La., told reporters that Haggard denied engaging in homosexual acts or being gay. Stockstill said Haggard's admission that he received a massage from a gay man was enough grounds for the board to remove him. At the same time, Stockstill said the board found discrepancies in Haggard's account. He did not go into detail. "(Haggard) is not in touch with truth and reality, and he readily admitted that," Stockstill said. A separate pastoral board, still being formed, will work further with Haggard to explore his sexual issues in more depth, Stockstill said. That will include but won't be limited to performing polygraph tests on Haggard and consulting with a clinical psychologist, he said. Stockstill said Haggard indicated that there were "warning signs" about his sexual desires early in his life. Stockstill said he is confident Haggard would regard homosexuality not as a predisposition, but a temptation to be fought. The oversight board received no information about additional allegations of sexual impropriety involving Haggard, Stockstill said. In the letter read to the congregation he founded in his basement 21 years ago, Haggard wrote, "The accusations that have been leveled against me are not all true, but enough of them are true that I have been appropriately and lovingly removed from ministry." Haggard asked the congregation of the church he founded 26 years ago to forgive him. He also told church members not to be angry at his accuser, instead urging them to thank God for him. "He didn't violate you; I did," Haggard said. While the letter was read, more than 7,000 people in attendance sat in silence, some of them weeping. The letter was read by Larry Stockstill, who leads a church outside Baton Rouge, La., that is considered the "mother church of New Life." After the letter was read, there was brief applause with a smattering of people standing. In deciding to dismiss Haggard, the oversight board consulted with several evangelical leaders, including James Dobson of Focus on the Family and Jack Hayford, a prominent preacher from southern California, Stockstill said. Stockstill said at the later news conference that politics played "zero" role in the haste of the process that led to Haggard's removal, and that the oversight board received no political pressure from anyone. "I don't know if it will affect (next week's election) or not," Stockstill said. "We could not have that on our minds and do our work." From the pulpit, Stockstill tried to reassure church members their institution was safe and secure, despite Haggard's removal as leader. The decision to dismiss Haggard, rather than discipline him, actually came as a relief to "Pastor Ted" and his wife, Stockstill said. "That is not a harsh thing, that's a wonderful thing for him," Stockstill said. In his letter, Haggard said he added to the confusion this week when speaking to reporters about the allegations against him. He acknowledged "inconsistent statements" for which he was solely responsible. "The fact is, I am guilty of sexual immorality, and I take responsibility for the entire problem," he wrote. Haggard said he and his wife, Gayle, "need to be gone for a while," and will never return to a leadership role at New Life Church. Gayle Haggard also released a letter to the congregation. In it, she professed her commitment to her marriage and her belief in the teachings of the church. "I would not change one iota of what I have been teaching the women of our church," Gayle Haggard wrote. "For those of you who have been concerned that my marriage was so perfect I could not possibly relate to the women who are facing great difficulties, know that this will never again be the case. "My test has begun; watch me. I will try to prove myself faithful."