I will say this once and we will talk about it no more. And for my Christian friends at church, I know what you've been told about this process. This will give you another perspective from an experienced point of view.
Reparative therapy is a fraud. It does not work. It can be abusive and painful. It can leave the patient worse off than before treatment from a psychological point of view. It can lead to suicide in the young that are placed into these programs by well intentioned parents. It should never be an option except for someone that can make an informed decision - an adult - about whether to do it.
Even so, it is still trotted out as a viable treatment for homosexuality, despite the voluntary demise of major ex-gay organizations and admissions by leaders in this primarily Christian movement. In July of 2013, after 37 years of work, Exodus International shut down operations forever. It was the premiere ex-gay organization in the US and world. Alan Chambers, president of Exodus spoke about the reasons for their closure to CNN.
After 37 years, Exodus International, an organization whose mission was to "help" gay Christians become straight, is shutting down. But not before issuing an apology.
"We're not negating the ways God used Exodus to positively affect thousands of people, but a new generation of Christians is looking for change -- and they want to be heard," Tony Moore, an Exodus board member, said Wednesday.
The announcement comes less than a day after Exodus issued a wide-ranging apology to the gay community for "years of undue judgment by the organization and the Christian Church as a whole," a statement from the group says.
"Exodus is an institution in the conservative Christian world, but we've ceased to be a living, breathing organism," said Alan Chambers, the president of Exodus. "For quite some time, we've been imprisoned in a worldview that's neither honoring toward our fellow human beings, nor biblical."
Chambers, who has a wife and children and previously identified as gay, has acknowledged that he has "ongoing same-sex attractions."
"It is strange to be someone who has both been hurt by the Church's treatment of the LGBTQ community, and also to be someone who must apologize for being part of the very system of ignorance that perpetuated that hurt," Chambers said. "Today it is as if I've just woken up to a greater sense of how painful it is to be a sinner in the hands of an angry church."
Then there is John Paulk. He was the poster boy for the ex-gay movement in the 1990's. He was chairman of the board at Exodus and he was also the manager for Focus on the Family's Homosexuality and Gender department. He wrote a book called, "Love Won Out" about how he and his formerly lesbian wife became ex-gay, started a family and were living a life of heterosexual bliss.
It was all a lie - at least for John. In 2003, John left the ex-gay movement. He eventually divorced his wife of 20 years and in 2013 he, along with his brethren from Exodus disavowed all their work in ex-gay ministries. Here is an excerpt from his 2013 public statement.
For the better part of ten years, I was an advocate and spokesman for what's known as the "ex-gay movement," where we declared that sexual orientation could be changed through a close-knit relationship with God, intensive therapy and strong determination. At the time, I truly believed that it would happen. And while many things in my life did change as a Christian, my sexual orientation did not.
So in 2003, I left the public ministry and gave up my role as a spokesman for the "ex-gay movement." I began a new journey. In the decade since, my beliefs have changed. Today, I do not consider myself "ex-gay" and I no longer support or promote the movement. Please allow me to be clear: I do not believe that reparative therapy changes sexual orientation; in fact, it does great harm to many people.
I know that countless people were harmed by things I said and did in the past, Parents, families, and their loved ones were negatively impacted by the notion of reparative therapy and the message of change. I am truly, truly sorry for the pain I have caused.
From the bottom of my heart I wish I could take back my words and actions that caused anger, depression, guilt and hopelessness. In their place I want to extend love, hope, tenderness, joy and the truth that gay people are loved by God.
What is my point? Reparative therapy and conversion therapy has been researched, tried and found wanting in both the religious and scientific community. It is time to let it die. It is pseudo science; it is not Christian. There is no love in it. The use of it is driven by hate and fear in a people that cannot accept that God makes some of His children gay.
He does. And He loves us. Get over it.
If you think otherwise, maybe it's time for you to repair your point of view. I know I have.
Reparative therapy does not change sexual desire or same sex attraction. It can change behavior and enable some to engage in heterosexual sexuality, but the same sex attractions will never go away. It does not work. Those engaging in that kind of therapy need to know up front that they will always be who they are. It will not change. Sometime soon I will endeavor to show you why sexuality is hard wired into humans and why gay people are gay. No time today, but soon.
I can tell you this too. Reparative therapy did not work for me either. I have already discussed this and so I will not do so again, but know this. It does not work!