Techniques Meant To “Cure” Homosexuality

James Voss describes the attempt to “cure” him of his homosexuality he experienced at Teen Challenge, “an Assemblies of God USA evangelical Christian recovery program and a network of Christian social and evangelizing work centers”:

People that entered the center with psychological problems were often not allowed to take medications prescribed by doctors since there was a ban on any medication that had any affect on the brain. If you took medications you were told you weren’t showing enough faith and that Jesus could heal you.

Daily life consisted of chapel, bible classes, work duty, and two hours of praying on your knees. You physically had to kneel or you got in to trouble. Students were not allowed to talk about addiction or in my case homosexuality. Instead, you were only to think and talk about God and the scriptures that they had you memorize and meditate on.

And further on:

By looking at the curriculum we can get a quick glance at what was covered in the three daily bible classes. In the first 14 weeks I was exposed to classes on attitude, growing through failure, temptation, anger and personal rights. We were told that we signed all our personal rights over to God and the pastors at the center when we entered the program.?Learning at the center was mostly done through rote memorization. Workbooks for classes had places where critical thinking could potentially take place, but students were expected to just memorize the correct answer and fill it in.

While living at the center, all conversations are monitored for ungodliness, all mail is read, and phone conversations are limited to five minutes every two weeks. No mail or phone conversations are allowed in the first four weeks that a student is attending the program. This is done largely because by the fourth week in the program, students are broken down enough that they no longer think for themselves and respond in a programmed way. Parents probably do perceive a change in their child, but is it real or simply a programmed, conditioned reaction to subverting and suppressing all individuality and critical thinking skills?

Your Thoughts?

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • http://ethicalrealism.wordpress.com James Gray

    Sounds like a scam.

    What if we could take hormonal drugs to make sure people are heterosexual? Would that be a great “cure” or a terrible thing?

  • Mary Young

    What is more disturbing for me than the way these camps are run is that someone would send their own child away for an “addiction” like homosexuality.

  • mikespeir

    I suspect there are heterosexuals who end up in the homosexual lifestyle, for whatever reason. These can be “cured,” and Teen Challenge will be quick to trumpet the “success,” never realizing (or admitting) they haven’t really turned gays straight.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-pXMLvPcjM Stockard Jones

    Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear. Thomas Jefferson


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