Homophobic therapies: Documenting the damage

The following comes from a More Light Presbyterian newsletter dated May, 1996. It is apparently a copy of what was to be sent to More Light supporters, either via email or print or both. In light of our discussions about the Jones and Yarhouse study, bias, and the recruitment of participants, I thought it would provide context to include the call for participants used by Shidlo and Schroeder for their study of harm from change therapies. This was sent to numerous gay affiliated groups looking for participants.

RESEARCH

Homophobic Therapies: Documenting the Damage

The National Lesbian & Gay Health Association is sponsoring an investigation of the outcomes of so-called treatments of the so-called disorder of homosexuality. Here’s their press release:

Did you know that counselors, psychologists and psychiatrists still attempt to treat **homosexuality** as a **disorder**?

Did you know that currently there is an organized association of psychologists/psychiatrists who meet yearly to develop new **”conversion treatments”** for homosexuality?

Did you know that countless “gay recovery” programs exist through the United States, yet these programs refuse to publish their data on treatment outcomes?

We are currently attempting to research the outcomes of these so-called treatments of the so-called disorder of homosexuality. Our purpose is to document the damage which we believe occurs when a gay or lesbian client encounters “psychological help” from a homophobic treatment program or provider. Despite the American Psychological Association and American Psychiatric Association’s stance that homosexuality is *not* a disorder, there continue to be professionals and organizations who foster the belief that homosexuality is a learned and reparable emotional illness.

You can help make this research possible. If you know of any individuals who have experienced such a program and are willing to talk about it anonymously and confidentially, please refer them to our project. We can interview them either in person or by telephone.

You can be of help in the long process of getting the message out that these “conversion” therapies don’t work and do the opposite of healing *by informing your lesbian/gay/bi communities of our search for participants to be interviewed.* Please announce our project in any upcoming lesbian and gay community meetings and spread the word. **Help Us Document the Damage!** — Drs. Michael Schroeder & Ariel Shidlo, Co-Researchers, 412 6th Ave., Suite 602, New York, NY 10011, 212-353-2558, gayconvert@aol.com

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  • Eddy

    This looks, smells, and sounds like bias to me but I’m sure we’ll soon discover that it’s the fault of the conservative Christians. See, the CC’s and their scientists are SO biased that it justifies and nullifies all the bias that these scientists brought to their study.

  • jag

    Warren -

    You keep on insisting that how the Jones and Yarhouse study is viewed is based on perceived “bias.” However, perhaps you are missing the array of criticisms based on methodology…it’s not just around recruitment. I know you’ve seen the posts here and on box turtle bulletin, etc…

    I really have little to say if you don’t see the myriad of flaws and poverty of results despite these flaws.

    Pointing out flaws in other studies doesn’t make the Yarhouse study any more credible.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/ Warren

    jag – Discussion of this study should really await the availability of the book. You quote Jim Burroway who says the design was great. He doesn’t think their execution was good; I disagree and I think reflects the fact that Jim hasn’t done any research in this area. Every study has limitations and the authors clearly note them. However, my point is not to say the limitations aren’t there, but to say that if the limitations nullify what we can learn from this one, then we cannot learn from any prior study either, including Shidlo and Schroeder.

  • Karen Booth

    Since the Nashville event, I’ve been reading some more of Yarhouse and Jones’s other work: Homosexuality: The Use of Scientific Research in the Church’s Moral Debate and Sexual Identity, which Dr. Yarhouse wrote with Lori Burkett.

    In the first book, they address Douglas Haldeman’s concerns and complaints about self-report, fraud and biased sampling …

    “If we accept such a charge, is there any reason to believe that anyone who has ever gone through psychological treatment has told the truth about the changes they have made? Can we ever know anything?”

    Though this statement doesn’t address all the methodological criticisms, I think it’s right on the money otherwise. When considering and discussing the realm of human sexuality, if we dismiss self-report OUT OF HAND, then I don’t have to believe anyone on this blog who claims to be gay or lesbian, or anything else for that matter. How do I ever know they’re not just terribly deluded at the moment?

    That’s why I find the good Doctors’ (Warren included) ideas about sexual identity so exciting. They move the conversation (especially in the church) to a very different place.

  • Ann

    Jag,

    Ok, I need your help – can you go into a little more simplified detail as to what you are saying in your post about methodology, flaws, etc.? Sorry, it is just a little over my head – not your way of writing, just my way of understanding :-)

  • jag

    Warren -

    “Discussion of this study should really await the availability of the book. You quote Jim Burroway who says the design was great.”

    I agree that discussion should await release…and I don’t remember quoting Jim Burroway to say that….where did I quote him? Perhaps I did, but I do not recall doing so and would appreciate the reminder if I did so. It would be uncharacteristic.

  • Mary

    The J & Y study is a good study. It is very selective to research ONLY people who are actviely seeking to change through a specific ministry connection -EXODUS. The study does not reflect the entire gay population – nor should it. It does not study people who have left treatment (? for lack of a better word). I am very interestied in reading the book before making further comments about it’s strengths or weaknesses.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/ Warren

    jag – you said: “I know you’ve seen the posts here and on box turtle bulletin, etc…”

    Jim Burroway is main man over at BTB.

  • Skip

    Note that Schroeder and Shidlo’s study was published in a peer-reviewed, mainstream academic journal (Professional Psychology: Research and Practice). Part of the peer-review process includes assessing research methodology.

    J&Y chose to bypass peer review and went to a Christian publishing house instead.

  • Leon Otto

    So this is the new tactics of religious right wingers? In order to shift focus from obvious methodological flaws of Yarhouse and Jones and its abysmal “success” rate you start attacking Scroeder and Shidlo. What can you expet. Of course you must disparage the people who have been injured by these syudies wehile claim that someone working for Pat Robertson would have even a shred of credibility when it comes to gays or gay issues.

    Schroeder and Shidlo duly reported the “success” stories they got and they also openly reposted how they searched their participants. They were honest about their results and their goals, even their bias.

    But Yarhouse who has history of most virulent anti-gay activism which makes him about as credible as Paul Cameron.

    Despicable. And once again we can see that a) Exodus (alan Chambers) lies about the amount of people who have “succeeded” (him included), b) they lie about success rate and c) Yarhouse has not once, not once condemned the manner which religious right spins the result of his “study” in it anti-gay hate campaigns.

    And you attack Schroeder and Shidlo. you should be ashamed.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/ Warren

    Skip – Yes, indeed, it was as it should have been. It was published along with Mark Yarhouse’s paper, my paper on ex-gays, and Doug Haldeman’s paper on client self-determination in the same issue. My point is not that it doesn’t have some value, but it cannot be used to prove that attempts to change sexuality are inherently harmful. I could write a call for participants that would ask for people who have been harmed by gay affirming therapy. And when I recruited a bunch of them, ask them what was done and record it in an article. Would it get published? I don’t know but it would be the same approach.

    RE: Jones and Yarhouse’s decision to publish with IVP. I know they hunted for a secular publishing house for 10 months and no one would touch it because of fear of backlash from gay political groups. I have had first hand experience with this as well. I shopped a book which was desired by the acquisitions editor of a major publisher only to have my agent tell me it did not make through the acquisitions committee because, they didn’t want to deal with the flak from gay groups. Why they didn’t go through a journal? I am not as sure about this. Nothing prevents this with follow up data and I am told that they will likely submit the Time 4 data to a journal.

    Leon – Please document your accusations about Mark Yarhouse. I have looked in depth at Cameron’s work and know Mark’s work very well. There is no comparison.

    Again, you hold Jones and Yarhouse to a different standard. Shidlo and Schroeder have not once, that I can find, condemned the way their study has been used by gay political groups. Again, if they have, please provide a reference and I will acknowledge it.

  • Ivan

    Yarhouse like Cameron?? Yeah… And pigs fly…

  • Ivan

    What book did you considering writing Dr. Throckmorton? Surely, IVP would be happy to publish it, as would any other Christian publishing house.

  • Mary

    I am truly amazed at the double standard being applied by the gay community. Being a liberal I am also concerned that the results of J & Y study could be misrepresented but the attacks (without thorough knowledge of the study) are overwhelmingly predjudicial.

    As for the idea that the study is relying on self description – what else can a researcher do? Should everyone then say “Well, until I see you having sex with the so called gender of your choosing – I will not believe you are gay, straight, ex gay, ex ex gay etc…??” At some point we have to rely on self description. As Jones pointed out – there are problems and concerns with MRI readings, testing etc… NOTHING, NOTHING is absolutly perfect. Not to mention with our understanding of sexuality and what it means to be gay, straight, not gay, changed, unchanged etc…

  • jag

    Warren -

    “jag – you said: “I know you’ve seen the posts here and on box turtle bulletin, etc…”

    Jim Burroway is main man over at BTB”

    Yes, warren, but I don’t think I quoted him as saying any studies were “great,” as you stated:

    “You quote Jim Burroway who says the design was great.”

    Where did I say this?

    Again, it would be uncharacteristic of me to say that any study is “great.” I referenced his website, but did I quote him in saying this as you say I did? Where?

    If I did, I would truly like to know.

  • jayhuck

    Warren,

    You said “Jones and Yarhouse’s decision to publish with IVP. I know they hunted for a secular publishing house for 10 months and no one would touch it because of fear of backlash from gay political groups.”

    How do you know it was because of gay political groups? Did Jones and Yarhouse say this? Did no one simply not want to touch this because of all the problems it has?

  • jayhuck

    Warren,

    My question is, why haven’t they put this somewhere where their peers in the scientific community could critically analyze it? Does it have to be in a book? Is it in any kind of reputable scientific magazine? Has the rest of the scientific community seen it or said anything about it?

  • Eddy

    Leon Otto:

    There are actually 4 or 5 topic threads where we are discussing the Jones/Yarhouse study. (Knowing us, there are threads on other topics where this has crept in…) Others were referencing Schroeder and Shidio–THEY brought them into the discussion.

    Warren is merely pointing out that S and S (which people were using to support their stands) suffers from some of the same ‘critical’ defects that J/Y does. I’m not sure that Warren is disparaging S and S as much as he’s saying “you’re bias is showing’” to some who have commented. (That’s my secret hope, anyway.)

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/ Warren

    jag – You asked me if I had seen posts about the study on XGW and BTB. Jim Burroway is the one who wrote the critique at BTB so when you asked about BTB you were citing the work of Jim.

    jayhuck – As I mentioned, I have had the same experience with a book. Jones and Yarhouse said in their press conference that their agent had shopped the book to secular houses and were told that the backlash was more than the secular houses wanted to deal with. It is a credible story to me in that it dovetails with my experience. Other prospective studies with multiple measures have been published in books first (I gave several examples in another post) and so while somewhat different is not unprecedented. I anticipate that the Time 4 data will be published in a peer reviewed journal.

    Eddy – You are not so secret with your hope :) but you are correct. I am not saying S&S have no value. But I am saying if we ditch J&Y, then S&S goes too since it has far more flaws than J&Y. However, we should not ditch either one because they provide important information we did not have and provide a piece of a big puzzle.

  • Karen Booth

    Regarding J/Y’s attempts to secure secular publishing, they write in their introduction … “Even with a strengthened manuscript, Vigliano (their literary agent) found door after door slammed in his face because of the topic of study and likely fallout for a publisher committed to such a project.” They indicate that although Vigliano was not inclined to be personally sympathetic to their project, he nonetheless treated it with seriousness and fairness. And, as did Warren, I recall J and Y sharing at the press conference that at least some of the turn-downs were due to fear of backlash from gay activist groups.

    In their intro, they also indicate the same sort of concern earlier in the writing process. When they sent the manuscript our for review, several colleagues desired to remain anonymous because of potential career repercussions.

    So much for academic freedom.

  • jayhuck

    Warren,

    Since the vast majority of the scientific community hasn’t even seen or had a chance to comment on this study yet, which study has more “flaws” is, in my mind, still up for debate.

  • jag

    Warren -

    “You asked me if I had seen posts about the study on XGW and BTB. Jim Burroway is the one who wrote the critique at BTB so when you asked about BTB you were citing the work of Jim.”

    Actually, if you would have asked for a point of clarification, I was not. I was talking about all those who critically commented about the study on those forums. Some did a good job displaying the multple flaws.

    And, it seems, consequently, I never did state that phrase that you linked to me about any other study design being “great.” gheesh Warren…try to be a bit more careful.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/ Warren

    jag – I said “You quote Jim Burroway who says the design was great…”

    I can see how you thought I was saying you said something. But what I meant was that you quoted Jim Burroway’s analysis as finding fault with the study but in contrast to your viewing his comments as negative, he also said the design of the study was great. I was contrasting the negative over there at BTB with Jim’s simultaneous assessment of the design. So I did not say you said anything but rather Jim.

    Sometimes written communication saves time and increases understanding and sometimes it doesn’t :)

  • jag

    Warren -

    Thank you for your point of clarification.

    Much appreciated!

  • jag

    Karen -

    ““if we dismiss self-report OUT OF HAND, then I don’t have to believe anyone on this blog who claims to be gay or lesbian, or anything else for that matter. How do I ever know they’re not just terribly deluded at the moment?”

    I truly don’t care if you believe me…and you should not care if anyone believes you. I live my own life, authentically me, and it really doesn’t matter who thinks what….but…I suppose that’s what being secure in your identity is all about.

  • Mary

    No Jag, that’s what trusting others is about. And how else can we do any sort of research unless we ask people how they percieve themselves? Let’s stay on task here and get back to the discussing of the research and not attacking other people.

  • Eddy

    Jan–

    I have a few problems with your generalizations. First, Karen specifically cited this blog in her statement. Anyone who reads here regularly should be aware that gay, celibate and ex-ex-gay are applauded and ex-gay is questioned and at times ridiculed.

    Even in the broader world, it’s not as black and white as you seem to think. Most Christians don’t see ‘ex-gay’ and ‘straight’ as the same thing…so they aren’t automatically fawning over people who admit to being ‘ex-gay’. And, in the past decade or so, the tide has shifted markedly. Most of my relatives, for example, offer no support to my ‘ex-gay quest’. Instead, they are more inclined to say ‘be true to your inner gay self’. So, in my case, I’d get more strokes and support for going gay.

  • jayhuck

    Karen,

    You said: “if we dismiss self-report OUT OF HAND, then I don’t have to believe anyone on this blog who claims to be gay or lesbian, or anything else for that matter. How do I ever know they’re not just terribly deluded at the moment?”

    I highly doubt that it would take dismissing self-reporting for you, considering other things you have said, to claim that gay and lesbian people are deluded.

    Self-reporting has merit – it does – the problem is that it CAN’T say ANYTHING about WHY change has taken place – ALL it can show us is that change has happened. It doesn’t identify if that change (as in desires, feelings, behaviors) is a product of repression, suppression, or real and authentic change. That is why the claims Evangelicals make along with said change is distorting the Truth of the matter. They can’t know objectively if real change is happening or not – just that there IS change.

  • Mary

    Eddy,

    That has been my experience as well. My family is almost determined that I am to be gay and that ex gay does not exist. It has become a contentious issue that is better not discussed. And yet, here I am. So Jan’s statement about self reporting to be ex gay not being relevant is not substantiated. And yes, the christian community on the broader scope does discriminate against ex gays, look down on, isolate against, etc… ex gays. It is not easy – and that is why soooo many do not say a thing.

  • jayhuck

    Eddy,

    Ex-gay and celibate are often the same thing, aren’t they? I mean, I’ve talked with Ex-Gay people who are celibate and have been a better part of their Ex-Gay journey. The only reason I said this is because, above, you seemed to separate the two. I do understand that they aren’t always the same thing, but, in my limited experience, it seems like celibacy is the primary way of living for most ex-gay people.

  • jag

    Eddy -

    “Anyone who reads here regularly should be aware that gay, celibate and ex-ex-gay are applauded and ex-gay is questioned and at times ridiculed.”

    The fact that this blog primarily discusses changing FROM gay to something else, doesn’t seem like it applauds being homosexual all that much – we just have some more progressive individuals who might vocalize that opinion. We have even had recent discussions questioning “gay affirming” therapy, questioning why gay/lesbian individuals should be protected from bullying, etc…

    You and I have not been reading the same blog – but I suppose, it’s all a matter of perspective.

    I think there are plenty of individuals who support all of those groups…and plenty of individuals who “question” all of them. So let’s be fair in the criticisms…

  • Ann

    It is not easy – and that is why soooo many do not say a thing.

    Mary,

    I believe you are so right about this – I know several people personally who wish to stay anonymous about their decision not to be actively involved in same gendered relationships anymore. They have quietly walked away and I have supported their decision to do so.

  • http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com Timothy Kincaid

    If I believed everything about sexuality that was self reported, I would believe that Bob Allen was only in the park restroom to avoid the storm and the scary black men.

    If I believed everything about sexuality that was self reported, I would believe that Ted Haggard is now fully heterosexual after three weeks of counseling and that he’s going to be ministering to people in a halfway house in Phonix.

    If I believed everything about sexuality that was self reported, I would believe that Sen. Larry Craig is not gay and was doing nothing inappropriate in the bathroom in the airport.

    If I learned anything in the past year it is that self-reporting about sexuality, while perhaps the only viable method in some circumstances, may not be fully reliable.

  • Eddy

    Jayhuck–

    Rather than repression and suppression, it seems my changes came from a combination of self-acceptance, learning a godly version of manhood vs a worldly one, forgiving and seeking forgiveness, and a study of marital love that challenged many of my aversive thoughts towards women. Would any of those qualify in your ‘real change’ category? If not, please suggest criteria for what could precipitate ‘real change’.

  • Mary

    Timothy,

    Then I guess you are not gay. If it’s just what we choose to believe about another person self reporting.

    Does that get the point across?? Or do all ex gays lie? And only gay people can be believed when talking about their sexuality?

  • Mary

    Eddy,

    I feel the ridicule. The patronizing – oh good for you statements. The doubting remarks questioning my very private thoughts by some people here – as if they really know my thoughts – suggesting I have same sex sexual fantasies. The constant disagreement no matter if I said the sky was blue. Yes, I feel it. And the patronizing idea that because I have a belief system that my intelligence quotient dropped a few decades. Uh Hmmm.

  • Mary

    BTW,

    Eddy, how are you doing?? I take it you are back home.

  • Karen Booth

    Jayhuck writes … “I highly doubt that it would take dismissing self-reporting for you, considering other things you have said, to claim that gay and lesbian people are deluded.”

    That is a completely illogical and mean-spirited interpretation, as I have indicated no such thing. I believe that engaging in same-sex behavior is sinful. I think that’s pretty straight forward and comes through in my postings.

  • jayhuck

    Eddy,

    You said: “Rather than repression and suppression, it seems my changes came from a combination of self-acceptance, learning a godly version of manhood vs a worldly one, forgiving and seeking forgiveness, and a study of marital love that challenged many of my aversive thoughts towards women. Would any of those qualify in your ‘real change’ category? If not, please suggest criteria for what could precipitate ‘real change’.”

    The problem is, there is no objective way in psychology to prove that what you are experiencing is a real and authentic change. All you are telling me is that there have been changes with you in feelings, in desires, and maybe even in behaviors – That is definitely change, but it in no way shows a change in orientation, or, if you prefer, a real and authentic change. The J&Y study asserts that a change in orientation is what is happening, when all they can show is that feelings, desires or behaviors have changed – that isn’t the same thing as being able to show an orientation has changed, or that real and authentic change has taken place.

    For example take the argument I sent to Warren. How many Ex-Ex-Gay people have said something similar to what you are saying above while they were Ex-Gay? From the ones I heard speak, probably most have in one way or another. While they were Ex-Gay they made claims they had changed, they claimed their changes came from living a godly manhood and from truly understanding marital love, etc…, some even got married. What we came to find out about them, though, is that they were only repressing their feelings – at least that’s what they said.

    The problem lies in the incredibly subjective processes of self-reporting and observations – BOTH, which do have merit. You can say your change is authentic, you can claim all sorts of things, but while we can prove change is occurring, we CANNOT prove why – and it is my understanding that J&Y were trying to do that – just look at the title of their study. All that can be proven is that feelings or desires or behaviors have changed. As I said before, these are real changes, but WHY these things have changed is not something we can measure. We can not know if people are just repressing or suppressing feelings in order to get to a more “enlightened state”, or if some kind of real change is occurring.

  • jayhuck

    Karen,

    My apologies – I wasn’t really trying to be mean-spirited. Are you saying, then, that gay people are not deluded in any way?

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/ Warren

    jayhuck said – “All you are telling me is that there have been changes with you in feelings, in desires, and maybe even in behaviors – That is definitely change, but it in no way shows a change in orientation, or, if you prefer, a real and authentic change.”

    You are now becoming dogmatic again. As well as dismissive of real change by saying it is not real or authentic. You seem to have an assumption that orientation can’t change because it can’t. I believe it might change and what Eddy reports is evidence in favor of that view. That does not mean aspects of sexual orientation operates the same way for all people. I am not sure about that.

  • jayhuck

    Warren,

    I’m not being dismissive of real change – I’m saying we can’t PROVE real change. I’m not saying orientation can’t change, I’m saying there is absolutely no objective way to prove it. And the conflicting testimonies of Ex-Gays and Ex-Ex Gays really give us all a great deal more to think about and do research on before we could ever make such a claim.

    The J&Y study did not prove real change – all it did, as so many studies before it have done, is to show change – YES – but only changes in perceived feelings, desires, etc. They did not show us WHY these things changed, yet they seem to make statements that they did.

  • jayhuck

    Warren,

    Perhaps a better question than WHY, is How these feelings, desires, etc… changed. Repressions, Suppression, Authentic change? – no one knows!

  • Lynn David

    Warren wrote: You seem to have an assumption that orientation can’t change because it can’t. I believe it might change and what Eddy reports is evidence in favor of that view. That does not mean aspects of sexual orientation operates the same way for all people. I am not sure about that.

    I do not doubt there is change in sexual attractions [SA] which represents true cognitive change (conscious mind). Maybe it is time to reserve sexual orientation [SO] for an aspect of the subconscious mind. And yes, I’d propose that SA & SO were, respectively, the result of higher brain functions of the neocortex (conscious mind) and more base instinctual functions of the limibic system (unconscious mind).

    SO would of course be a component (an often large component) of SA, but that doesn’t mean one cannot use reason to deny your SO as any part of a rebuilt SA. The only question is why? Care to devise a psychological/neurobiological study to determine if that be? A thesis for a grad student (or a life’s work).

  • Karen Booth

    Jayhuck writes …

    “Karen,

    My apologies – I wasn’t really trying to be mean-spirited. Are you saying, then, that gay people are not deluded in any way?”

    What I said is that if we must dismiss self-report “out of hand” then we have no way of knowing if anyone is deluded or not about their sexuality. (I certainly was for a large chunk of my life.)

    I believe from my Christian understanding that those who choose to act on their same-sex desires are engaging in sin and that those who teach it is OK to do so are in error.

  • Karen Booth

    Have you or are you going to read the book, Jayhuck? If not, your pronouncements about the study are beginning to wear thin.

  • Leon Otto

    Karen

    In Schroeder and Schildo study the “success ” stories all worked in some capacity in “ex-gay programs so I would not find them to be credible witnesses.

    Celivbate is not ex-gay, just celibate and Persoanlly i have to say that I find all testimonies of “ex-gays” to be suspect. Because they so desperately want it to be true that they’re more than willing to lie to the world and themselves. And after listening quite a few of those during my lifetime, I have to say that none of them was credible. And majority of them lived double lives.

    But Warren is most interested in attacking Schroeder and Schidlo and testimonies of those he and people like him have mutilated psychologically and spiritually so that we should believe a handful of religious bigots who can’t accept who tehy are and claim anything to find acceptance (and in some cases livelihood) from anti-gay churches.

  • Mary

    Leon,

    Maybe it would be a good idea to make friends with some real ex gays. And read the first chapter of the J&Y book. Some of your comments are sounding outdated.

    Jayhuck,

    My suggestion to you as well.

  • Jan

    Deleted because commenter was banned and posted under a different name

  • Ann

    Leon,

    You don’t have to believe anything – whether it is the truth or not. If you are looking for fault with an attitude of cynicism, then you will find it. Please don’t make blanket statements about people who claim they have changed – there are people who have made a personal decision that homosexuality was no longer part of their life plan and you or any research or study or organization will never know about them because they have made this decision anonymously – mainly to avoid comments just like the ones you made in your post.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/ Warren

    Jans – Since you are not a regular reader, perhaps it would be good for you to catch and read some prior posts. We do not deny that gays are victimized and in fact, have been very vocal in opposition to this. We do however advocate a kind of live and let live on the change front. If people want to pursue change for whatever reason, it is fine. If they determine not to, then that is their right of course.

  • Mary

    Wow Jan, brush up on your reading before brushing broad strokes over people you know little about.

  • Jan

    Excuse me, I mean Mary

  • Karen Booth

    Leon writes, “In Schroeder and Schildo study the “success ” stories all worked in some capacity in “ex-gay programs so I would not find them to be credible witnesses.”

    I don’t know enough about Shidlo and Schroeder to comment, but the Jones and Yarhouse study did not follow anyone who worked in some capapcity for ex-gay programs.

    The rest of your post is just broad generalizations and differences of opinion that I don’t choose to respond to.

  • Mary

    Jan,

    You know me??

  • Eddy

    Oh. look, Mary! Jan just provided us with some of the nastiness we NEVER experience here.

    Jan–

    I’ve been blogging here for some time and, on occasion, have decided from the get go that the person simply isn’t worth the trouble of trying to communicate with. Welcome to that list.

    BTW: if that sounded ‘snarky’ it pales against your 4 paragraphs essentially calling us either liars or deluded. (Since I’m obviously one or the other in your book, I’m sure you won’t mind if I choose not to respond to any further drivel you bring our way.)Sounds like a win-win situation to me.

  • Eddy

    Jayhuck–

    Re your post 49600. I used the word ‘change’ to describe my very real changes in an earlier post. You then introduced the concept of ‘real change’. When I used ‘real change’ later, I was using your words. But I don’t know what you mean. Was my change, however small it was, not real? What would real change be?

    You also use the word ‘orientation’ a lot. I’ve elaborated on what I think it means. You obviously take exception to my definition but you haven’t provided yours. How do you define orientation?

    Both questions go to your repeated statements that ‘there is no way to prove real change in orientation’. It’s obviously an important statement to you but it’s got those two ambiguities: ‘real change’ and ‘orientation’. In order to discuss this–or, lol, most anything we discuss on this blog–we need your clear definitions.

  • Eddy

    Jayhuck said: “The J&Y study did not prove real change – all it did, as so many studies before it have done, is to show change…” This almost slipped by me.

    Can anyone provide any info on these ‘many studies before it’? I was under the impression that J&Y was the first such study; I’m very curious about these many previous studies. Jayhuck? Warren? Anyone?

  • Eddy

    Warning! Warning! Warning!

    The following comments are entirely of a personal nature. You’re welcome to read them just be warned that they contain absolutely nothing related to the topic. (You’ll know by the 4th line if you want to go there.)

    Mary–

    LOL! With all the other stuff going on in this thread…I completely missed your question re how I’m doing and all. It was two weeks ago today that mom passed on. Very strange…even though we KNEW mom’s time was coming…and I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone as ‘ready’ to go…it’s still so very strange for those of us who still go on. Beyond any sense of sadness, there’s a constant sensation that the universe is off-center and that everything is out of kilter.

    Friends have speculated that ‘that’s the way it is between men and their moms’ and that ‘becoming an orphan’–even after living away from home more than 35 years–is, at the best, unsettling.

    I personally believe that this will likely be most difficult for me and my other single brother. Whether we knew it or not, mom had always been THE central person in our lives. I’ve noticed that it’s quite important to me that I find somewhere else in my large family to identify as ‘home’…that my family needs to establish a new ‘center’. The gathering place, the family news center, the contact center. All the things that mom (and her house) were. So, besides saying goodbye to mom, I also had to say goodbye to the home of my childhood. I know it will have a totally different look and feel the next time I see it.

    LOL! I’m glad I went up to the top and added that Warning! heading…because I decided I’m going to be my rambly self.

    I worked in a nursing home for a few years in the therapeutic recreation area. I’ve been aware of mom’s decline for some time and had been ‘antsy’ to get home since January. I had a strong sense that she could go at any time. So, I found the first excuse I could–Mother’s Day–that wouldn’t tip her off that she really had become that fragile. When one of my nephews announced he was getting married the same weekend that further ‘justified’ my trip.

    I talked to mom on the phone the Sunday before she went to the hospital. Several of my brothers, through the blessing of email, posted me almost daily. By the weekend, they sensed it could be anytime and one brother arranged for me to talk to her that Sunday.

    I learned later that ALL of us thought she’d pass that night–believing she was waiting to say goodbye to me, her only child who doesn’t live within 20 miles. But she woke up the next morning to ask how her granddaughter’s surgery had gone. The following day was 9/11 and mom knew my troubles with flying anyway; I KNEW she wouldn’t make me fly on 9/11.

    She slept hours at a time but, when awake, it seems she was always ‘checking up’ on somebody. A devoted Catholic, she had rosaries, prayer books, and prayer lists–people and concerns to take to God.

    The woman in the next bed had Altzheimer’s–was combative, cursing and vulgar. Mom, although she was barely getting enough oxygen to inflate her lungs, pulled my brother to her and said “that must be so terrible for her; I think I’m going to pray for her” and closed her eyes.

    On Wednesday, the phone in mom’s room rang; it was my cousin. In our teenage years, we referred him as ‘the 8th son’…and, secretly, I wished I could trade places and have two sisters! His mom, my mom’s only sister, has advanced altzheimers. Like me, he lives a great distance from home. My brother, squeezed her hand and said who it was on the phone, she woke up immediately and talked to him for 5 or 10 minutes. (It was the same brother who assisted with my phone call. He commented that the calls were quite similar in tone…as if mom were giving us a benediction of sorts. She reminded both of us, several times, to ‘always trust in God’. My brother’s description of her smile after she’d had the chance to say goodbye on behalf of her sister. Now, there’s a keeper. Mom went to sleep and, it seems that was the last thing on her list.

    I wanted to start this paragraph with the colloquial “you know,…” but it was one of mom’s early lessons. We’d be excitedly trying to tell mom something but we’d toss in ‘y’know”. “I was going up to the store, y’know, and…” You’d never get there though. At the very first y’know, she’d stop you with, “No, I don’t know”. The y’know thing being the horrible addiction that it is, the tendency is to say it after every 5 to 7 words. And EVERY time: “No, I don’t know, why don’t you tell me?” So, I won’t start this paragraph that way! Darn, it’s a whole paragraph already.

    So, the deal is, you read in the papers how someone passed away ‘surrounded by family and loved ones’. Well, it seems they finally moved mom to a private room to accomodate all the visitors. Immediate family alone (sons, wives, grandchildren) was 30 people!

    LOL! I think that’s my way of saying that I’ve got some good stuff to help me through the tough times. Knowing mom, she’d been praying our futures as well so I’m pretty sure I’m still enjoying the benefits of her prayers.

  • Mary

    Eddy,

    That is so true – all of it. And a good friend of mine lost his mom about a year ago. We just finished getting talking on the phone. Afterwards, I called my mom to ask her to say a prayer for my friend’s sister who is having trouble – when your mom is gone – I wonder – who is in charge of those prayers. So – I – I know what you mean by center.

    I’ll keep a vigil for you and your family during this transitional time.

  • ken

    In the letter you cited Warren it is very clear that Shidlo and Schroeder were studying the negative effects of conversion therapy. Thus soliciting for that specific sub-group wouldn’t indicate bias. If they tried to pass their data sample as representative of all conversion therapy subjects, that would be a problem. However, any decent peer-review committee would catch that.

  • jayhuck

    Eddy,

    You ramble eloquently! God be with you!

  • jayhuck

    Eddy,

    FYI – when I spoke of other studies, I was talking about other Ex-Gay studies that have been done – all for different reasons, of course, but all which talked about “change” of some sort. The ones I was thinking about are the Spitzer study, the S&S study – there may be others. The studies themselves weren’t the point of the post though :)

  • jayhuck

    Eddy,

    Sigh – I keep missing all your posts.

    You said: “Re your post 49600. I used the word ‘change’ to describe my very real changes in an earlier post. You then introduced the concept of ‘real change’. When I used ‘real change’ later, I was using your words. But I don’t know what you mean. Was my change, however small it was, not real? What would real change be?”

    My MAIN point is that it doesn’t matter what you believe or what you self-report about your change (Well, ok, it matters!!!! – it just doesn’t mean much when we’re taking about objectivity). The kinds of things you believe have changed are things that people who are now Ex-Ex Gay also reported in one way or another to substantiate their belief in their change. What I’ve been trying to say in multiple posts is that there is no way to PROVE – scientifically – WHY – or rather HOW – change is taking place. Is it suppression, repression, “real and authentic” change? No one knows. YOU can report on what you believe is happening, but that (self-reports and even observation) is not objective scientific evidence for use in determining HOW change is occurring. Does that make sense?

    I haven’t spent enough time thinking about this to figure out what might make up an objective study – I was just sharing my realization that the J&Y study – while it may indeed be the best Ex-Gay study to date – cannot objectively and scientifically prove WHY change is happening. It can show change -Absolutely – just as those other studies I mentioned showed change – but none of the studies can tell us How that change happened. It, the J&Y study, cannot disprove that what the participants were doing was simply suppressing their desires (not that they necessarily were). All they can show is that change is happening.

    Whew – I hope that clears that up. Sometimes I ramble as well, but not nearly as nicely as you!

  • Mary

    Jayhuck,

    The study was not designed to explain why.

  • jayhuck

    Mary,

    I realize that. The problem is, their title seemed to insinuate How – that’s all! And I’m not sure that a psychological study could, by itself, ever be designed to show us why – or How! I probably need to mull that over a little more, but it sounds as if you at least understood my point.

  • Eddy

    Jayhuck–

    Even though science IS limited in its capacity to PROVE the WHY, it CAN objectively measure and evaluate change. If the sight of a beautiful woman used to turn you off and now you can at least appreciate it…that can be objectively measured. If you never, ever considered the possibility of an opposite sex relationship and now you’re in one. Changes happened!

    Maybe not COMPLETE change but change nonetheless. And what about cases where incest, rape, molestation influenced a person’s orientation? Couldn’t therapeutic healing of that trauma and scar impact a change in the orientation? Once again, the change would be measurable…not PRECISELY measurable…but measurable all the same. It might even be a radical change. I am sorry that science hasn’t been able to ‘box this stuff up neatly’ for you.

    BTW: You can’t scientifically PROVE the existence of God, either. You can’t scientifically PROVE the WHY of why ex-gays change BECAUSE the WHY is often a religious motivation enabled by divine assistance. (Christ within you, the Holy Spirit beside you, God watching over you, the power and benefits of forgiveness and prayer, the truth that sets you free, learning to love yourself, emotional healing, fellowship, etc. …and SCIENTIFICALLY you can’t PROVE a single one has ANY effect on ANYbody.

  • jag

    Eddy -

    Thank you for your acknowledgement here:

    “You can’t scientifically PROVE the existence of God, either. You can’t scientifically PROVE the WHY of why ex-gays change BECAUSE the WHY is often a religious motivation enabled by divine assistance.”

    Perhaps the reason studies for the origin of the GLBT population have gone awry for this very reason. A natural variance of the population, designed by God, and existing throughout God’s creation at different amounts in different forms. It is hard to look at the work of God with a microscope – even though I am inclined to attempt it.

    I cannot say with any certain knowledge that those who are ex-gay have not made a genuine transformation, just as those who are ex-gay cannot say with certain knowledge that me being gay is not an intentional act of God as it seems to be throughout the species, cultures and generations.

    Truth is, if we do not know, we cannot say. But that “cannot say,” speaks to both sides of the argument – not just to one.

  • jayhuck

    Eddy,

    I have never, ever said that science – or more specifically, psychology can’t measure change. I agree that they can measure change. The problem is, as I’ve stated over and over again, ad naseum, is that psychology, at least the studies that have been done so far, haven’t been able to tell us WHY change is happening. I’m sorry to keep repeating myself, but we dont’ know if the change is due to suppression, repression, etc… We don’t know – and science hasn’t shown us that it is one way or the other.

    I agree about science not being able to prove the existence of God – and this ALL hearkens back to my statement about acknowledging the limitations of science and also religion – they both have a place, but its good to know that they, individually, can and cannot tell us.

  • swissalps

    Dear Dr. T (Please reply on this site):

    As you know, the posters whether it’s Jim Burroway, David Roberts, Tim Kincaid, etc. will be against reparative therapy to treat homosexuality & GID, even if it succeeds. But there is something that I would appreciate if you could address & post here.

    As known, the topics you write about surrounding r.t. incl. this 1 are also discussed on Box Turtle Bulletin. It has been my observation that discussions critiquing r.t. usu. involve preaching to the choir & as known, B.T.B. is preaching to the choir. Everything that is written bashing r.t. here is rerun on other webistes by some of the same posters. When I posted on BTB using my other ID of missionary way, they allowed my posts for a while & then stopped allowing my posts, because admittedly it became repetitive.

    1 reason that I’ve cut down the time I spend on the websites, incl. yours (no offense to you) is because the posters repeat the same thing. You have deleted my posts before which you said were repetitive. OK. Yet you’ve permitted other posters such as Tim Kincaid & others to write the same things again & again, incl. here. In short the other posters are also repetitive.

    But my ? to you is why not 1st review the posts before you allow them on your website? I ask this because the topic of homosexuality is something which has been talked about so many times & which essentially reruns the same points. Most H&L will write that if some1 is against H&L, that they must be religious fanatics, when not all of us are religous. But what are your thoughts on this? Because we usu. don’t raise anything significantly new & it’s the same posters writing the same thing that they wrote on other sites. Thanks.

  • Eddy

    Jayhuck–

    My point is that I agree with you. Science cannot PROVE the WHY. Furthermore, science will NEVER be able to prove WHY change is happening (except, possibly, in cases where therapy resolved some form of abusive trauma). That’s my point.

    Science will never be able to satisfactorily prove whether it’s repression, suppression or, as the ex-gays perceive it, receiving God’s empowering. And, as JAG pointed out, that goes both ways. Conservative Christians would accuse ex-ex-gays of giving in or capitulating rather than, as the ex-ex’es perceive it, receiving God’s enlightenment. And, unfortunately, science will not be able to help us much at all.

    For me, it’s not an issue. I don’t need proof. I KNOW the changes that have occurred. I believe they came by way of an assortment of heavenly assists…primarily the ones I listed in the previous post. People can call me deluded. They can believe I’m repressing or suppressing. (I used to say “I’m not repressing and suppressing; I’m confessing and receiving.”) I’m fine with that.

    I believe the call for ‘proof of change’ continues–energized by the anti-ex-gays. They have been demanding proof of ‘real change’ and, conversely, have also tried to prove that ‘real change’ doesn’t exist. I’m glad that, on this site, we’re agreed that you can’t prove it. That should spare us a few detours down the road.

    BTW: what I said in the previous post goes beyond science proving the existence of God. I’m not just talking about “God up in the heavens”…I’m talking about God intervening, empowering, enlightening, convicting, forgiving, enabling, leading, guiding, etc. I’m talking about God getting involved in response to confession, repentance, prayer, fellowship. I’m also talking about the power of a kernel of truth…whether God has inspired it or not. (Take the smoker who one day looks down at the burning cigarette between their lips and realizes, without a doubt, “I’m killing myself.” I’m talking no doubts. Not “I know this is bad for me” but “I’m killing myself.” Most likely, they will quit totally and with less difficulty than someone with a lesser conviction. There’s a power in the conviction…in the absoluteness. {I’ve heard that ‘a double-minded man is unstable in all of his ways’.} The power of resolute thinking can’t be measured. Can’t be defined. Can’t be proven. But, I’m convinced that power also exists.)

    It’s a sobering thought that you can’t be sure whether what’s happening in your life is due to the strengths of your own beliefs, God’s actual empowering or mere serendipity. (Or a delightful mixture perhaps.) I happen to enjoy the fact that some aspects of the human condition defy being defined. Sounds like we are fearfully and wonderfully constructed!

  • jayhuck

    Eddy,

    I disagree with you – Science WILL be able to prove WHY or HOW – I believe we can do it now, but its going to require instruments of measurement. I DON’T think any measurement is perfect, but I do believe there are those that are more objective and accurate than self-reporting and observation. For example, we can observe someone who might be having a heart attack then report signs and symptoms of the event – or have the patient self-report about their experience – All of these things have merit, but until we do lab and scanning tests, we don’t know for sure that what was happening was actually a heart attack – and the other tests MUST be done – hopefully that’s a better example.

    Eddy, I’m sure people of faith who are ex-gay don’t need proof – that makes complete sense to me. But if we are going to do scientific RESEARCH on change, then we absolutely need to do just that, and not limit our studies to the subjective processes of some psychological researcher. The problem is that if you want to use science to study ex-Gays, then USE science – but if you don’t, then don’t – But someone probably needs to make up their mind. Don’t use a tiny little bit of science, without peer review, without repeat studies and without more objective measurements and then make claims that orientation is being changed, when that isn’t being proven in the study. I’m fine with keeping the process a divine mystery, but its not the “anti-ex-gays” that did this last study, and its not the “anti-ex-gays” that are forcing Evangelicals to do research in this area.

    I wasn’t talking about “God up in the heavens” either Eddy – I think we were on the same page with this one. I do agree with you here. Science really can’t tell us anything about the imminent, transcendent and triune God.

    You said: “It’s a sobering thought that you can’t be sure whether what’s happening in your life is due to the strengths of your own beliefs, God’s actual empowering or mere serendipity. (Or a delightful mixture perhaps.) I happen to enjoy the fact that some aspects of the human condition defy being defined. Sounds like we are fearfully and wonderfully constructed!” — I absolutely agree!

  • jag

    Eddy -

    You and I agree on a lot here from different angles. You state:

    “I believe the call for ‘proof of change’ continues–energized by the anti-ex-gays. They have been demanding proof of ‘real change’ and, conversely, have also tried to prove that ‘real change’ doesn’t exist.”

    I would argue that there are two groups of people who have a vested interested in “proving” that change happens – the anti-ex-gays and the anti-gays. Funny, eh? Strange bedfellows…so to speak.

    The anti-ex-gays want to show that change is not possible, and that it isn’t even worth a shot….and the anti-gays want to show that it is possible so that we can say that being gay is deviant, changeable, and everyone could be ex-gay if they chose to live in accordance with their version of God’s truth.

    Truth is, we’ve been able to prove that – for some – orientation can shift a bit more toward heterosexuality…adding opposite-sexed attractions and minimizing same-sex ones. We also know that – for some – attempting to alter their orientation is unsuccessful.

    Why does it matter so much to have these results? It depends on which team you are on. Eddy and I have both stated we need a table in the middle.

    It’s interesting that these results are hoped to either: halt the progression of gay rights, or halt attempts at reorientation.

  • jayhuck

    Eddy and Jag,

    I think a table in the middle, with real respect for both paths is exactly what is needed – you are both spot on about that. Getting there though – whew – that’s going to take some doing! :)

  • jayhuck

    Ok – well, that’s not completely true – Science CAN show us how beautiful, intricate and complex God’s creation is – so while it can’t prove the existence of God (or a creator), it can, if we’re people of faith, tell us a few things about Him. In the same way, I suppose, that a painting or piece of prose says something, however small, about the artist?!

  • Ann

    Eddy,

    Regarding post #50448 – thank you for articulating this so well – I agree with you 100% – especially the last paragraph.

  • Lynn David

    I want to make a few points herein, after reading some of Eddy, Jag, and Jayhuck’s posts.

    First off all, science never proves anything. Yes, that’s right science proves nothing. Science provides factual evidence from which logical and reasonable conclusions may be drawn. And there may come to be a preponderance of evidence for a reasonable and logical conclusion by which for practical purposes approaches proof. But there is no rigorous proof in the sciences such as there is in mathematics.

    In the J&Y study, their grouping of persons into classes and the percentages for each grouping are NOT facts. The facts are one or two steps away in the answers they received to the questions they asked. The J&L classes and percentages are a logical interpretation by the authors based perhaps in their own biases. They are not scientific fact.

    As Eddy stated that “god’s grace,” “god’s will,” or the “power of the spirit of god” could have been at work. For this science – and religion as well – can provide no factual evidence, and thus cannot with logic and reason state these supposed factors are at work. However, science can provide factual evidence that the focus of a person’s will upon the idea of “god’s grace.” “god’s will,” or the “power of the spirit of god” may be a reliable attribute towards changing one aspect of a person’s life from certain behaviors, such smoking, obsessive sex, to drug addiction. I’ll be frank and say that I believe that there is ample evidence that such a religious focus of will does indeed often have the desired results. But that doesn’t allow for a reasonable and logical conclusion that a god was at work nor does it allow for the exposition of any “truth.”

    Also one may question what aspects of sexuality are being studied in works such as that of J&L or S&S or Spitzer. I’ve asked before, what is sexual orientation/attraction/preference? Dr T has presented in the past in this blog what he believes to be evidence that sexual orientation is fluid. But is it that specific definable trait (what is that definition?) that is fluid or is it another trait or aspect of any trait? Or are those persons who exhibit fluidity, simply those with a fluid orientation (ie [am]bisexual)?

    There seems to be a varied body of evidence that lessening of one orientation/attraction/preference does not afford and increase in the other. That is sexual orientation/attraction/preference is not fluid and would indicate that other related aspects of sexuality are being decreased. For this reason I would propose that a study such as J&Y is delving into several related aspects of sexuality but packaging if up as one – sexual orientation.

    My own preference (no where near fact, simply speculation or a hypothesis to be tested) is first of all not to use the term sexual preference. I would use an overall “catchall” term for all such included sexual aspects to be sexual attraction. Sexual attraction would (should) includes all willful conscious and subconscious aspects of sexuality which has representation in the conscious mind of the individual. Overall this is what is reported by an individual in a study such as that of J&Y.

    I would propose that the greater aspect of the totallity of sexual attration is a subconscious element which is what should be called sexual orientation. I would further propose that such a subconscious element is either a product of biology or the earliest of human neuro/psychological development such that this element tends towards immutability.

    Another aspect of sexuality which affects the overall sexual attraction is the sexual drive. A lessening of one’s sexual drive could be interpreted as a reduction in sexual attractions. Another aspect of sexual attraction is the social order into which one seeks entrance. Certainly there are many more aspects of sexuality included in sexual attractions including later psychological developments and sexual abuse. Listing these and others (i.e., sexual fantasy, sexual behavior, emotional attractions, social attractions, social behavior, and sexual self-identification) is probably the job (duty) of the psychologist/neurologist who delves into sexual attractions and their change (I’ve been perusing Google Searches and GoogleScholar Searches of the phrase).

    But overall it is the conscious mind which considers and reports on sexual attraction, the catchall. The conscious, willful mind can perhaps negate those aspects of sexual attraction which are derivative of the hypothesized subconscious, instinctual mind (such as sexual orientation), but perhaps only with great motivations such as that deriviative of the social order. Even then as reported by the president of Exodus, homosexual attraction (conscious recognition of the subconscious sexual orientation) may come to the fore.

    Eh… I did it again,….. Ramblin’man.

    But why is that the reparative therapy/SIT/Exodus crowd seems to have such a reliance upon Kinsey numbers instead of a system which more thoroughl describes human sexuality/sexual attraction/orientation such as the Klein Sexual Orientation Grid?

  • Eddy

    Jayhuck–

    I agree totally with almost everythng you said but am in total disagreement that science will ever be ABLE to PROVE the WHY of change. My last paragraph of the previous post is intended to demonstrate that even a real change may be ascribed to different motives and different enablements. Even the person changing can’t be absolutely sure if they’re ‘reading things right’. I simply don’t see how science could ever get to the point of mind (and soul) reading. As for me, I’m not looking for proof just as I’m not banking my retirement on winning the lottery. I suppose it could happen but it would me a most incredible long shot.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/ Warren

    Lynn David – There is a lot I agree with here but more on that later. I wanted to note that J&Y used Klein and the Shively DeCecco. These scales did find more shift from homosexuality than an emergence of heterosexual attractions. The 15% group had the dual change.

  • Lynn David

    Ahh… guess I better…. read the book! ;-)

    What!? You agree with me!? I guess surely on the ideas about science and what it can or cannot determine. But not those ideas I have on segregating components of sexual attraction, or dare I hope you agree there also? I think I feel faint… must be my low potassium levels….

  • Eddy

    Jayhuck==

    please believe me, I’m not picking on you…I keep coming back on this because your words do not reflect that you’ve gotten my point. I’d let it go except for your statement that you think ‘we’re on the same page’. You followed that with comments about ‘the imminent, transcendent and triune God. Since I labored to talk about a personal God…who directs, guides, empowers, convicts…your phrases seem to indicate that you missed that. Then, my final point would have been how do we know that conviction we feel is a misguided guilt or the conviction of the Holy Spirit. If it’s misguided guilt, we may succeed in resisting the behavior but it will be all done completely in our own strength. If it’s the conviction of the Holy

    Spirit, we can count on Him for strength, support and grace to assist us. The former would be ‘repression’ or ‘suppression’; the latter would be the result of divine grace. The end results may be the same but no one could PROVE when or if God’s grace and empowering entered the picture.

  • jayhuck

    Eddy,

    I believe that your words: “Since I labored to talk about a personal God…who directs, guides, empowers, convicts…your phrases seem to indicate that you missed that. ” – while these words are beautiful and true, I still think they can be summed up in the general description of IMMINENCE! I agree with all your adjectives used to describe God though – perhaps that is a better statement. They are the same words I would use to describe God – even though there are so many more.

    I was never talking about trying to prove when God’s grace and support entered the picture – If instead of using the words suppression, repression or “true change” you want to use “misguided guilt” or “conviction of the Holy Spirit” I suppose that’s fine, but I think those terms muddy up the picture. I think it is you that has missed the simplicity of my argument and seems – I’m sure unwillingly and unconsciously – to make it more complicated than it really is. All I’m suggesting is that we use less subjective means in the near future to test the claims made by SOME ex-gay people. I think that’s a reasonable thing to expect if the ex-gay community wants to bring science into the picture – that’s all. However, I’m also all for leaving the option open to letting this process remain a divine mystery – but what I said above still stands – if you want science in the picture, then let’s have science there, if you don’t, well…….

    When a study like the J&Y study makes a claim that “orientation” is being changed, I would equate such a change (a real change of orientation) with God’s grace and divine intervention, and not something like suppression and repression. If someone were merely repressing those feelings – as many Ex-Gays have claimed they’ve done – then, to me, that wouldn’t qualify as “real change”, or a “change of orientation”. If you agree with me on this, then, from your statements above (re: being able to prove the HOW or Why), it seems to me as if you’d agree that we can’t prove – in the J&Y study – that orientation has really changed – since you told me that we could never prove God’s involvement in the process. I DO think, though, that we can prove where God ISN’T involved (In my mind that would be when feelings are simply being suppressed or repressed) – does that make sense?

    Now, if we all we want to do is to define orientation as feelings and behaviors, which can be suppressed, or repressed – then maybe we can say real change has occurred, even if someone is only suppressing those feelings – but, from the way I hear most people talk about orientation, I don’t think most would agree with this.

  • jayhuck

    Eddy,

    No worries- I didn’t think you were picking on me – I think we might have a better understanding of each other now. I also feel like our exchanges are much less heated :)

  • jayhuck

    You know, on re-reading my last post I felt that I needed to make something clear. I did not mean to suggest that Ex-Ex Gay people weren’t experiencing, in their lives, the grace and love of God – during the time they were Ex-Gay or since they’ve become Ex-Ex Gay. I meant no offense to the group of men and women of faith who have come to believe that Ex-Gay was not, and could not be, a genuine or valid path for them.

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