Jones and Yarhouse Exodus study follow up

This morning at the American Psychological Association annual convention, Stanton Jones and Mark Yarhouse are presenting their Time 6 and final follow up to the study of Exodus participants seeking change of orientation. The paper is titled, Ex Gays? An Extended Longitudinal Study of Attempted Religiously Mediated Change in Sexual Orientation. They are presenting these data as a part of a APA symposium titled Sexual Orientation and Faith Tradition Symposium chaired by Dean Byrd.

You can review the paper in full so I will only highlight a few points in the post.

The paper begins by recounting the skepticism toward change evinced by the professional mental health associations. Then, they note an important limit and hypotheses of the study:

Our study addresses the generic questions of whether sexual orientation is changeable, and whether the attempt is intrinsically harmful, by focusing only on the religiously mediated approaches to change; this is not a study of professional psychotherapy. Our hypotheses for this study were taken directly from the prevailing professional wisdom: We hypothesized 1) sexual orientation is not changeable, and 2) the attempt to change is likely harmful. We already cited the American Psychological Association’s (2005) claim that sexual orientation “is not changeable.” Regarding harm, our study was framed in light of the American Psychiatric Association’s (1998) claim that the “potential risks of ‘reparative therapy’ are great, including depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior.” The tools of scientific study are ideally suited to investigate empirically such strong, even absolute claims.

I bolded the statement about the study not being an examination of psychotherapy because I predict that NARTH affiliated therapists and various religious conservative groups will not clearly communicate this point when messaging the results of this study. Despite the fact that Christian self-help groups are different than therapy as practiced by many psychodynamic therapists, I suspect some therapists will hope the public does not catch the distinction.

Now for some results. Retention is sure to be an issue as this study is discussed:

Retention. We began with 98 subjects at T1. Our sample eroded to 73 at T3, a retention rate of 74.5%. This retention rate compares favorably to that of respected longitudinal studies. 63 subjects were interviewed or categorized at T6, for a T1 to T6 6 to 7 year retention of 64%.

Kinsey scale changes:

Table 1

This table shows the shifts in Kinsey scale scores (7 is exclusively homosexual with 1 being exclusively heterosexual). You can see that the shifts on average were about a point on the scale – less than one for the entire group and more than one for the group which were deemed more gay identified at the beginning. Although statistically significant, this would not on average take the group to the straight side of the continuum but rather by considered bisexual by most observers.

They also used the Shively-DeCecco scale which asks participants to rand both same-sex attraction and opposite-sex attraction. As you can see below, the change reflected in the Kinsey moves was due to reductions in SSA and not increases in OSA.

Table 2

Regarding categorical self-assessments, Jones and Yarhouse report modest shifts.

Table 5

Regarding these changes, Jones and Yarhouse say:

Several results are particularly notable. Despite a smaller N for the T6 sample than at T3, we found growth in absolute size in the two Exodus “success” outcome groups moving from row 1 to row 3: Conversion cases grew from 11 to 14 and Chastity cases from 17 to 18. But the group that grew the most in absolute and proportional terms was Failure: Gay Identity which doubled in absolute size from 6 to 12. The percentage of those showing stability of outcome T3 to T6 (row 4) is greatest in columns 1 and 6: the Success: Conversion (73%) and Failure: Gay Identity (67%) categories, with slightly less in the Success: Chastity category (53%). Of the one subject each that shifted from the Success: Conversion and Failure: Gay Identity categories from T3 to T6, each moved to the Continuing category at T6. The largest absolute shift from T3 to T6 of those who participated in the T6 interview was a T3 Success: Chastity case that became a Failure: Gay Identity case; next largest was a Non-Response case at T3 that became a Success: Conversion case.

Most germane to our principal hypothesis that change of sexual orientation is not possible, 53% of the T6 sample of 61 cases that self-categorized (row 3) did so as some version of success, either as Success: Conversion (23%) or Success: Chastity (30%). At T6, 25% of the sample self-categorized as an Exodus failure (Confused or Gay Identity).

In my view, this means of description confuses success with change. Over half did describe some version of success but that is not the same as over half describing sexual orientation change. I will be interested to see how this is reported in the press.

The changes reported here are significant and no doubt welcomed by the people involved. However, they are not the types of changes which I suspect the various mental health groups mean by “sexual orientation change.” Whatever happened to the participants in this study, they do not appear to have gone from gay to straight — in the sense that people who have always been straight are straight. They have gone from gay to less gay and a bit more straight. I do not mean to suggest that this is not important information; it is. But I am wondering if anyone at APA would dispute the within category changes reported here. I am going to ask and will report what I learn.

Jones and Yarhouse seem to be aware that the results can be understood as a change in identity and not orientation. They write:

There is also the question of sexual identity change versus sexual orientation change (see Worthington & Reynolds, 2009). Recent theoretical (e.g., Yarhouse, 2001) and empirical (e.g., Beckstead & Morrow, 2004; Yarhouse & Tan, 2004; Yarhouse, Tan & Pawlowski, 2005; Wolkomir, 2006) work on sexual identity among religious sexual minorities suggests that attributions and meaning are critical in the decision to integrate same-sex attractions into a gay identity or the decision to dis-identify with a gay identity and the persons and institutions that support a gay identity. In light of the role of attributions and meaning in sexual identity labeling, is it possible that some of what is reported in this study as change of orientation is more accurately understood as change in sexual identity?

The entire section on identity and orientation in the discussion section of the paper is good reading. Finally, in light of the APA task force report, I wonder if the discussion section of the Jones and Yarhouse paper could be revisited. The APA report, while skeptical of categorical change, did not take a strong stance regarding harm. Actually, the APA report and the Jones and Yarhouse paper agree on the inconclusive nature of the evidence on that question.

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  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Good stuff, Warren. Thanks for the report.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Warren, you write … “Despite the fact that Christian self-help groups are different than therapy as practiced by many psychodynamic therapists, I suspect some therapists will hope the public does not catch the distinction.”

    I agree with you and am glad you highlighted the parts you did to make the distinction. But why do you suspect what you do? Could you clarify or expand a bit more?

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

    Karen – It is what NARTH does. Not sure how to expand on that, I have a blog of material on that topic. Not being flip just short for time.

  • Michael Bussee

    I predict that NARTH affiliated therapists and various religious conservative groups will not clearly communicate this point when messaging the results of this study. Despite the fact that Christian self-help groups are different than therapy as practiced by many psychodynamic therapists, I suspect some therapists will hope the public does not catch the distinction.

    Warren, Why would you predict such a thing? Are you suggesting that NARTH would deliberately mis-interpret the data to mislead the public?

  • Michael Bussee

    Although statistically significant, this would not on average take the group to the straight side of the continuum but rather by considered bisexual by most observers.

    They also used the Shively-DeCecco scale which asks participants to rand both same-sex attraction and opposite-sex attraction. As you can see below, the change reflected in the Kinsey moves was due to reductions in SSA and not increases in OSA.

    So, could we say that the wind is blowing in the same direction (SSA) but not with the same intensity?

  • Michael Bussee

    Although statistically significant, this would not on average take the group to the straight side of the continuum but rather by considered bisexual by most observers.

    This reminds me of what Joe Dallas explained during a radio interview in 1991: “I don’t think that they (ex-gays) mean that they are no longer homosexual”, and to Joan River’s audience that same year: “It is not a change from one end of the spectrum to the other. We are all both.”

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Thanks Warren. I wondered to what group or individuals you were referring. Isn’t it also possible that gay-affirming therapists will refuse to make the distinctions as well?

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    I hope to post some more over the next several days, but want to take the time to read the Yarhouse/Jones report first. Thanks for all the links, Warren.

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

    I suppose gay affirming groups could just negate the whole thing but I expect certain groups never to be happy.

    My concern is primarily the harm NARTH does by misleading Christian groups. For instance, OneNewsNow ran an article saying the APA report encourages clients to jettison their religious beliefs in favor of their sexuality. Not true. NARTH said their report of literature review was “new scientific research.” Not true.

    I am in the evangelical world and it is very frustrating to see the brethren misled.

  • Michael Bussee

    My concern is primarily the harm NARTH does by misleading Christian groups.

    Hope Exodus is listening, Warren.

  • Michael Bussee

    Here’s the problem: When it comes to conveying the message the “You don’t have to be gay” and that sexual re-orientation is possible, Exodus and NARTH are the only big games in town. They are and have been close allies.

    If Exodus were to break ranks with NARTH — as Waren has done — or even publically criticize NARTH’s affliations, “science” or truthfulness with the public — as Warren has done — the gay activists would have a field day. Exodus cannot and will not risk that.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    I am in the evangelical world and it is very frustrating to see the brethren misled.

    It is frustrating to see anybody misled. What do we do with the Mel Whites of the world? A problem on the other side of the fence. Those who are concerned have a responsibility to balance the concerns. One dragnet for all.

  • Michael Bussee

    What do we do with the Mel Whites of the world?

    Personally, I thank God for him. When Gary died, Mel White stepped in at the lvery ast minute to do the funeral — when the Calvary Chapel pastor backed out for fear he would be seen as “endorsing the gay lifestyle.”

    Ever meet Mel? He is a loving, gentle, devoutly Christian man. I praise God for him, for his courage, his faith and his compassion.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Mel and I have communicated, Michael. Nicest guy in the world, unless he’s feeling bitter about the usual stuff. I am hoping Mel is mellowing more as he gets older. But he has misled some in the flock. Nice isn’t what our Lord demands. I am sorry, too, but there are some things we’ll just have to set off to the side if we want to make nice with our chats here. I should not have brought it up. My bad. I actually want to talk to Mel again. It’s been a few years.

  • Michael Bussee

    In my view, this means of description confuses success with change. Over half did describe some version of success but that is not the same as over half describing sexual orientation change.

    As I have said, the question “Can gays change?” depends entirely on what you mean by “gay” and what you mean by “change”. Warren is pointing out that very important distsinction here.

  • Lynn David

    Our study addresses the generic questions of whether sexual orientation is changeable, and whether the attempt is intrinsically harmful, by focusing only on the religiously mediated approaches to change; this is not a study of professional psychotherapy.

    Yes, certainly not necessarily professional psychotherapy; you mentioned that they said that in the original release of their work:

    The authors were careful to point out that the participants were not engaged in professional therapy and so the variable of interest was participation in Exodus.

    And yet Exodus says on its website that one should usually find a ministry and a psycho-therapist [both of which are 'vetted' by Exodus]. I have seen some ministries associated with Exodus which advertise that they provide both (I found one advertise on their website that they prefer to conduct their theraputic services over the phone because people wouldn’t get too personal – I surmised this was because the therapist was identified as ex-gay, but I cannot be sure). No doubt some of the same things that conversion therapists seek to ‘uncover’ are outright told to those in the ministries. Certainly they’ve been bandied about at LWO and in numerous ‘testimonials.’ I remember one questionaire of their participants from People Can Change which cited numerous reasons and had a very high association with the ‘absent/distant father’ conjecture (97% contributing/71% significant).

    .

    The point is did Jones & Yarhouse ask if their respondants were involved in both, or require that they not be in therapy? Off hand, I cannot find if they did. I’d almost bet the answer is no….. so just how good is the study then concerning a ministerial setting only, when therapy, either personal or group, is often used by such ministries?

  • David Blakeslee

    The point is did Jones & Yarhouse ask if their respondants were involved in both, or require that they not be in therapy? Off hand, I cannot find if they did. I’d almost bet the answer is no….. so just how good is the study then concerning a ministerial setting only, when therapy, either personal or group, is often used by such ministries?

    No confounding variables, Please!

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    As I have said, the question “Can gays change?” depends entirely on what you mean by “gay” and what you mean by “change”. Warren is pointing out that very important distsinction here.

    All of which means we will continue to go round and round about this. I would like to think I could go away and come back to this blog after six months or a year and not see the same old debates being waged. Could I? I fear not, despite my desire to see it change.

    “I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and striving after the wind. What is crooked cannot be straightened, and what is lacking cannot be counted” (Eccl. 1:14-15). Methinks Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived for a reason.

    He ended his late-life observations in Ecclesiastes thus: “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.”

    That’s not meant to be my capitulation, but rather an appeal to see these differences for what they are, underneath the veneer of human desires. Our daughters included in their nightly prayers for years when they were growing up, a plea for “peace in the Middle East.” Their little hearts wanted to see that happen, even though they couldn’t fully grasp the real situation. Theirs is the generation that called Saddam Hussein “So Dumb Insane” back during the brief Gulf War, not knowing what was still to come.

    We’ve all got a lot of dumb insanity in us. It’s our flawed human nature. Peace is only so achievable in this world, whether inner or outer. This is one of those “God help us” moments, because we are rather incapable of helping ourselves.

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

    Debbie – Part of the reason a move to the congruence model would serve us is this endless debate over a non-essential matter.

  • http://pursuegod.wordpress.com Karen K

    If some are actually shifting to bisexuality that is pretty huge. That is the difference between having to live a single, celibate life and being able to marry and have a family– which is what it all comes down to really.

    Who cares if one has residual SSA or even an equal amount of SSA, if one can also be attracted to the opposite sex, then there really isn’t any issue. The distress many feel is with having to be single and celibate. Most return to homosexuality because they can’t hack being single and celibate.

    I am not sure why bisexuality seems to be swept under the rug or pooh poohed, especially considering the signficance of what that can mean for a person’s life.

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  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Lynn David writes, “I remember one questionaire of their participants from People Can Change which cited numerous reasons and had a very high association with the ‘absent/distant father’ conjecture (97% contributing/71% significant).”

    People Can Change is not an Exodus affiliate, nor is Exodus a member of PCC’s parent organization PATH.

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

    Karen – No one is negating bisexuality. However, if you are touting a change from gay to straight then this is a reasonable observation. Actually, what seems to be happening is that the group is going from bisexual to a slightly less gay bisexual. The Shively-DeCecco ratings of heterosexuality didn’t move over 6 years (see Table 2). Individual cases will be all over the place but as a group one cannot say as the reparative therapists often do, that this group realized their “heterosexual potential.” For the group, the degree of heterosexuality did not move.

    Bringing sexual desire under better control is a worthy objective for someone who values monogamy. For the participants who were able to reduce the desire or inclination to engage in homosexual behaviors, this is a beneficial outcome.

    So the scenario you describe may be true of some individuals (they add heterosexual responsiveness to a homosexual foundation) but it does not appear to be what happened to this group on average.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Debbie – Part of the reason a move to the congruence model would serve us is this endless debate over a non-essential matter.

    Who gets the honor of calling it non-essential, Warren? It’s not viewed that way by everyone, certainly not by that undetermined number every one is so hot on nailing down who have experienced genuine, all-the-way change.

    I am not sure why bisexuality seems to be swept under the rug or pooh poohed, especially considering the signficance of what that can mean for a person’s life.

    Wow, Karen. I am not following this logic. The significance of it in my life was a nearly destroyed marriage. I feel as if a lot of people are giving themselves permission to speak for me and mine. It doesn’t go over well sometimes, no matter how well-intentioned. Any SSA is enough to sink the ship at any time. The bisexual struggler has the same tough haul as the totally homosexual one. By the same token, predisposition to sexual sin of any kind can be destructive.

    The cultural elevation of bisexuality — check out the porn industry, for example — indicates it is not pooh-poohed by the power mongers. It has asserted itself in movements and in little cliques in schools, even Christian schools. It is an evil manifestation from the pits of hell. We are naive to believe otherwise.

    I have reached a point where I no longer know what I can contribute that is worthwhile here. I came, I saw, I conversed, and I believe we are going in circles and majoring on minors and semantics and nit-picky “scientific” or theological distinctions. It is looking too convoluted to be meaningful for me.

    As I am going on vacation in a couple days, it’s an appropriate time to bow out. I’ll likely be a reader only for a good while and see what happens. Anything I say would just be reiterating what I’ve already said. Don’t even know if it is being heard or who cares. My time is too valuable for that. I hope this will have been worthwhile in the long run. I pray so.

    Anyone who desires to contact me may do so via e-mail at debbie@theformers.com.

    I wish all here well.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    I finally had the time last night to read the Jones/Yarhouse paper and I thought it was very well written. I especially appreciate that it is written at a level that a “layman” can understand. And I think they did a good job of addressing and answering their two main hypotheses – the absolutist assertions that any change of sexual orientation is impossible and that the attempt to change is inherently harmful.

    One of the most intriguing statements for me was this one … “It would appear, then, that while change away from a homosexual orientation is related to change toward heterosexual orientation, the two are not identical processes.” I don’t care to get back into the argument of whether or not this means folk still remain homosexual or how we label them. I’m more interested in how the processes apply to practical ministry, and I hope Christians in the church and therapeutic communities will give much more thought in this area.

    Like Lynn David, I wish there were more specific aspects of the particpants’ experiences that were studied and reported. Jones/Yarhouse acknowledge that is was not within the scope of the study to either control or rigorously examine interventions or change strategies. “The design is not adequate for more nuanced research questions about exactly how such change comes about.” I would have liked to have had answers there, and I would also have liked to know what role local church participation played in their lives.

    Someday, I’d like to see a study done of ex-gays/post-gays who haven’t used either therapy or a specialized parachurch ministry intervention. I know several now – mainly men – who experienced freedom from SSA primarily through church discipling – attending worship and Bible study groups, intercessory prayer, spiritual accountability groups, etc. I think there may be many more of these people than we’re aware of.

    Finally, in one of their concluding paragraphs about reorientation or conversion therapy they write: “ … the present findings do not speak directly to the issue of the effectiveness of professionally based psychotherapy interventions, what are commonly called reorientation or conversion therapies. However, to the degree that the contemporary mental health field regards such conversion therapies as discredited on the presumptive basis that it is in fact impossible to change sexual orientation, these results may and perhaps should open the door for a reconsideration of the efficacy of such therapies.”

    I read this to mean that NARTH has every right (and probably a responsibility) to use the results of this study in an honest and honorable manner to argue the validity of their work. I’ll leave it up to the professionals on the blog to argue about whether that’s possible.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Hi Debbie,

    I’ve really appreciated reading and responding to your posts, and I hope you won’t leave. But I think you may have misinterpreted Karen K’s comments. I didn’t read that she disregarded bisexuality or it’s impact in the culture and church. I thought she was implying that ex-gay/post-gay critics may do so.

    Karen K., hopefully you’ll respond.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Warren, in your comment to Karen K. above, I hope you weren’t implying that Exodus is currently “touting change from gay to straight.” Since the thread is about Jones and Yarhouse’s study of Exodus ministries, it wasn’t entirely clear to me to whom or what you were referring. Were you thinking instead about the reparative therapists you referenced?

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    I was just talking to my husband, who is also a pastor, during my midmorning break about my overall frustration with the blurring of lines between therapy and ministry. He responded by saying, “Yeah, it suggests the Church should play by the rules of the enlightenment.”

    You may not agree, but I think he’s pretty profound. (LOL) That’s one of the reasons I married him.

  • AM

    Yes, I’ve got to agree with Debbie on this: ssa can and does sink ships — residual or not. It sunk my ship of a 20 year marriage. It apparently (at least ministerially) has sunk Ted Haggard’s ship. I think Karen K’s comment comes from not having had a straight, married relationship and trying to deal with the other. Countless gay Christians have found themselves in the same predicament for years. Exodus minstries are chock full of married people trying and oftentimes failing to conquer or change their ssa.

    Until one has walked that path, one does not really know. It’s easy to assess from the outside in. That is why so much of this intellectual discourse — as interesting as it is — is not real life. Real life is having an ex who will probably never speak to you anymore, ever. That is real life.

  • Michael Bussee

    Men with persistent, strong or exclusive SSA should not marry heterosexually. Religious groups should not encourage such unions. Not fair to the man, the woman — or especially the kids.

  • Michael Bussee

    Warren, in your comment to Karen K. above, I hope you weren’t implying that Exodus is currently “touting change from gay to straight.”

    I think we have pretty well established that is not what Exodus is doing. Behavior, identity and lifestyle change (holiness) is the goal — not heterosexuality.

  • Michael Bussee

    To Karen:

    I read this to mean that NARTH has every right (and probably a responsibility) to use the results of this study in an honest and honorable manner to argue the validity of their work

    Honest and honorable? That would be a refreshing change.

  • concerned

    Michael,

    and gays should stop telling men who are married that they will never be happy until they leave their wife and family and take up with another man. That goes for marriage councellors, academics, politicians, etc. who only want to prove that people cannot change so they go out and make it extremely difficult for anyone to honestly work in that direction.

    Don’t tell me this does not occur, because I have seen it implied on this blog site far too many times and the popular media is nutorious for this.

  • Mary

    Concerned,

    I get tired of it, too.

  • Michael Bussee

    Michael, and gays should stop telling men who are married that they will never be happy until they leave their wife and family and take up with another man.

    Concerned: Which gays are you talking about? I would never tell a gay man to divorce his wife. If they can keep it together and be happy, more power to them! Divorce is very painful — for everyone involved — and “taking up with another man” is no guarantee of happiness.

    I currently have two gay friends who have both been heterosexually married for over 25 years each. Both have told me they love their wives and that they will never leave their wives and families.

    Luckily, their wives are rather asexual, sex is very infrequent (every three months or so) and the guys fatanzise about other men to function. The marriage hangs together on their mututal affection, family ties and companionship. Both of these guys are Christians and both struggle with gay bookstore sex.

    The problem I see is not so much “the predisposition to sexual sin” mentioned by Debbie — like heterosexual guys being tempted to do their secretary — but the absence of OSA. Should men with no OSA be encouraged to marry?

  • concerned

    Michael,

    I appreciate you saying this, however, I have been on another blog site (which I will not mention the name of here, but it is much more progay) and they do not have the same way of thinking that you are describing. It is all about being in your face and exposing the lies of the ex-gay movement. This hurts marriages and men who are working very hard to keep it together. There are some gays who look very negatively toward hetersexuality in general, what more someone who has SSA and is married. It is the blatant, in your face, sarcastic, put downs that I cannot stand. You know why? Because this is the exact thing that they so often accuse others of.

    Another reprocusion of this kind of talk is the effect it has on the spouse. Just the other night my wife and I were discussing some of the issues we have in our marriage and she said to me “She did not like it when we have sex that I would be thinking of other men”. That floored me because it has nothing to do with me. I have never indicated to her that this was the case and it isn’t, but because she speculated that this was so or someone implied that it was I have no idea how long she has believed this. You don’t think this would have a damaging effect on a relationship. People often say things that they have obviously not put much thought into and these things sometimes hurt others. The gay community does not have a monopoly of the victim status and I can tell you there have been many inocent victims in this cultural war and they are not gay.

  • Michael Bussee

    Concerned: Please forgive me if this is too personal — and please do not feel any obligation to answer — but you mentioned that your wife assumed that you had to think of men to function, but that this has never been the case. I can imagine that this mistaken assumption might have caused your wife considerable pain.

    My own wife was deeply hurt that I had no OSA — and felt there was something wrong with her and with her faith. People told her to trust God and keep praying that I would be healed.

    I did not tell her that I had to think of men to function, but should could tell I had no real OSA. I had told her of my SSA before our marriage, but we both had faith that this would be healed in some way — and that God would create some OSA in me.

    Did you have any OSA before you married? Was this just towards your wife, or did you have it towards other females? Were you exclusively SSA prior to this? Bisexual to some extent?

    As I said, I will completely understand if these questions are too personal…

  • Michael Bussee

    I do wish that folks would quit saying that “our side” is saying that “gays can’t change”. Thas makes it sound like we think gays can’t change anything. Or that God is weak.

    Of course they can — and do. And of course, God can change anything.

    What we doubt, because we have seen no real evidence of it, is that exclusively SSA males can become exclusively OSA — and even ex-gays seem to mostly admit this.

    We fully acknowledge that folks can and do make other major changes — they alter destructive behavior patterns, overcome addictions, make positive life choices, adopt a new identity, deepen their walk with God, etc.

  • concerned

    Michael,

    I did have attraction to the idea of getting married and having a family but I was terrified of getting someone pregnant when I was not sure where my SSA would lead me. I also had a very poor image of some women because of my relationship with my older sister. Sex with men just seemed easier. On top of this there were voices from the gay rights people saying to me that I was gay for having these feeling and the only way I would ever be happy would be to act on them. I now see that acting on them never ensured any kind of happiness either, but honesty has.

    My wife knew of my struggles with SSA before we were married, but now 19 years later, I would have to say that up until recently I was the one who felt it was worthwhile holding my family together. The APA report gave me hope as far as the importance of religion in my life is concerned, but in terms of hope for this secular institution ever recognizing that change is important to some people I would have to say it has left me feeling very discouraged. I know that I do not rely on the APA for my hope, but it does bother me that they are so closed to looking at this issue without their own personal biases showing through. This is especially true in light of the fact that the Jones and Yarhouse report comes out just 5 days after they vote on the Task Forces recommendations. It all seems more political than caring to me.

  • Michael Bussee

    On top of this there were voices from the gay rights people saying to me that I was gay for having these feeling and the only way I would ever be happy would be to act on them. I now see that acting on them never ensured any kind of happiness either, but honesty has.

    This above all, to thine own self be true. Don’t listen to activists — on either side of this issue. Or the APA. Or Exodus. Listen to the Holy Spirit.

    By the way, my understanding of the APA Report is that it does acknowledge that (1) change and religion are both very important to some people — (2) that the client’s values should be respected — and (3) that sexual orientation or identity outcomes should not be imposed by the therapist.

    They did conclude that there was insufficient evidence that SOCE could change sexual orienation. That’s not a bias. That’s what the evidence shows. Even ex-gay-type programs tend to admit that orienation change should not be promised or expected.

    What did you wish the APA had said? I am not sure I understand.

  • concerned

    Michael,

    I did not wish the Task Force to say anything. If you look at the credentials of the members you can vary obviously see their bias and the fact that they claim there has been no recent studies to support that change is possible should come as not surprise as I have indicated many times on this blogsite that the science, especially the soft sciences, such as psychology and sociology have been very actively pursuing the politics of changing peoples mind on the issue of homosexuality for at least two decades now. So the outcome of the Task Force was infact better than I expected, but to tell you the truth I was not expecting much.

    When is someone going to do an honest study of the harm that is done to someone who is actively pursuing same-sex behaviour or the harm that comes in the form of increased risk of disease, especially HIV. OH! I am sorry those studies are already done, but for the most part they have been ignored.

  • Mary

    Michael,

    Many lay people will read the APA response and be fooled by the scientific jargon. I am not convinced that their response is unbiased. I find many biased statments, ways of concluding results and interpretations that come from the frame of mind that change is impossible and causes harm. That is also a fact. Much confirmation bias in the conclusions.

  • Michael Bussee

    you can vary obviously see their bias and the fact that they claim there has been no recent studies to support that change is possible

    They didn’t say this. They said there was insufficient evidence.

    When is someone going to do an honest study of the harm that is done to someone who is actively pursuing same-sex behaviour or the harm that comes in the form of increased risk of disease, especially HIV.

    Come on. There are LOTS of studies that show that promiscuous sex, gay or straight, increases the risk of disease. And, yes, sadly, many people (especially young people) are ignoring the facts.

  • Michael Bussee

    blockquote> I find many biased statments, ways of concluding results and interpretations that come from the frame of mind that change is impossible and causes harm.

    The report did not say that “change was impossible”. It said that the review of the published literature on the subject did not present sufficient evidence that SOCE resulted in sexual orientation change. Not the same thing at all.

    Also, it did not conclude that SOCE “causes harm”. It said that it may cause harm and that the literature was not convincing that it was not harmful. It concluded that those who claime SOCE is harmless had not made their case. Again, not the same thing at all.

    Mary, have you read the report? Could you please provide examples of the “many biased statments, ways of concluding results and interpretations” contained in the report, its conclusions or recommendations?

  • Michael Bussee

    I find many biased statments, ways of concluding results and interpretations that come from the frame of mind that change is impossible and causes harm.

    Sorry. Meant to “blockquote” your statement.

  • Michael Bussee

    Concerned and Mary: Have you guys read the same report I read?

  • concerned

    Michael,

    Where are the studies supporting traditional religious values that chastity or abstinence are not only an option but one of the best ways of avoiding these diseases. Why are these findings not being shouted out by the much cherished APA. I am sorry for my scepticism, but I have very little faith in their ability to come up with accurate results done in a truly scientific way, when they stack the deck before hand. I am powerless to see it any other way under these circumstances, but perhaps they can prove me wrong and I will have to eat crow some day, but for now I will be fasting in anticipation of real truth in the future when I can see that an attempt has been made to support the kinds of studies they claim are presently lacking instead of spending million on trying to discover some vague genetic influence to SSA.

  • Michael Bussee

    I repeat: Have either of you read this report. You both seem to be implying the the Task Force deliberately overlooked good, published evidence that sexual reorientation is possible through SOCE.

    Concerned: Here is an APA article on stopping the spread of HIV: http://www.apa.org/releases/sexeducation.html

    Read the second paragraph:

    Based on over 15 years of research, the evidence shows that comprehensive sexuality education programs for youth that encourage abstinence, promote appropriate condom use, and teach sexual communication skills reduce HIV-risk behavior and also delay the onset of sexual intercourse.

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

    I concur; please read the APA report and then make comments about it. The report supports a variety of options including the outcome that people refrain from gay sex.

  • Michael Bussee

    The AMA also mentions abstinence first in its recommendations:

    Researchers working with African American middle school students demonstrated that intervention programs that taught abstinence and condom use may be effective in curbing risky sexual behavior.

    To suggest that the APA has tried to squelch or minimize studies that show that abstinence reduces the risk of HIV is simply UNTRUE.

  • Michael Bussee

    Michael, Where are the studies supporting traditional religious values that chastity or abstinence are not only an option but one of the best ways of avoiding these diseases?

    All over the internet. Google “AMA on abstinence and HIV” or “APA on abstinence and HIV”. I found those two articles in the last five minutes.

    Why on earth would the APA want to squelch or minimize the fact that abstinence reduces the risk of HIV? They may be biased on the gay issue, but the medical facts on the relationship between HIV and early, risky, promiscuous sex are well documented.

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

    Of the one subject each that shifted from the Success: Conversion and Failure: Gay Identity categories from T3 to T6, each moved to the Continuing category at T6.

    That’s odd. In the book they told us that one of the eleven wrote them and told them that he’d lied about being a success and that he was now gay. Is this the one that they say is in “Continuing”?

    Most germane to our principal hypothesis that change of sexual orientation is not possible, 53% of the T6 sample of 61 cases that self-categorized (row 3) did so as some version of success, either as Success: Conversion (23%) or Success: Chastity (30%). At T6, 25% of the sample self-categorized as an Exodus failure (Confused or Gay Identity).

    I am wondering at the language “self-categorizing”. I don’t recall this being consistent with the book. In the original study there was self-categorizing, but it was about identity rather than orientation. I’ll have to read the new report.

    I think if they keep this up long enough, they’ll eventually get 100%. Of course that will only come as folks leave the study group and the population size dwindles down to only those who think they are improving. Perhaps a more honest report would be that at P6, one third (14% of the original 98 and 18% of the original 98) identify as successes.

    The Shively-DeCecco ratings of heterosexuality didn’t move over 6 years (see Table 2). Individual cases will be all over the place but as a group one cannot say as the reparative therapists often do, that this group realized their “heterosexual potential.”

    In other words, for every person that Exodus helped gain a little more OSA, they caused another to lose what OSA they started with. If, as Karen K says, being able to marry and have a family is what it all comes down to, then Exodus has completely ruined as many as they’ve helped.

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

    The subpopulation that is interesting is the Phase 1. They are the only population which did (more-or-less) real time reporting. They total population is poluted by including Phase 2, those who established a base for change on recollection from one to three years ago.

    If we look at Phase 1 Kinsey response, there is virtually no average change in attractions (4.87 to 4.83) and worse, from Exodus’ perspective, there was actually an increase in homosexual behavior. To repeat, for those who based their responses on how they actually felt at that time (and not recollection of “I was really gay then” from three years ago) gained from their participation no change in their attactions, and an increase in sex.

    I doubt that was the goal of either Exodus or the participants.

    Moving to Shively – here we see small change in SSA and virtually zero average increase in OSA.

    J&Y put a lot of emphasis on their “Truly Gay” subpopulation – those who reported as being the gayest gay in gay town on gay pride day. However, they make no distinction as to whether they were Phase 1 (gosh I’m gay today) or Phase 2 (gosh, before I joined Exodus three years ago I was really gay).

    Looking at the populations separately, one comes away with the observation that active participants in Exodus do not experience, on average, any change in their sexual orientation. However, if asked, they recall being far more gay than they are today.

    In other words, Exodus doesn’t change orientations, it changes recollections, perspective, and opinions about the previous lives of their participants.

  • http://www.transcong.org Karen Booth

    Warren, are you/were you at the APA meeting? If yes, how was the Jones and Yarhouse paper received?

  • Brian

    Thanks for sharing this totally unbiased study – which was funded by Exodus – from these very objective scientists from Regent University and Wheaton College! The very best science comes from these institutions. You know, if you want to do a scientifically rigorous study on fast food, you get McDonald’s to fund a couple of scholars from Hamburger U. Same idea at work here.

    I note that not a single study participant is heterosexual. The authors only discuss mean results and make no narrative note of any genuine conversion to heterosexuality. That is the bottom line. We can argue all day about bisexuality and the validity of self-reporting (in the context of respondents who are highly motivated to report change). But at the end of the day, not one red-blooded heterosexual. And this from a self-selected group of religiously motivated people.

    At the end of the day, if you spend 6-7 years haranguing yourself on a daily basis over how your homosexuality is a barrier to heaven and is the result of Daddy issues, and if you attend weekly group and individual sessions to bolster this view, then it is going to interfere with your processing homosexual feelings. You will either get a 1-point Kinsey shift, or you will convince yourself that there is a 1-point shift. If you obsess on anything, your attitude will change, at least so long as you continue to obsess.

    That doesn’t mean you are converting to heterosexuality, and even this advocacy piece shows that.

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

    Brian – The 1 point shift is a group average; some moved more than that within group. However, critics are correct to note that the shifts are modest and in some groups and conditions not there at all.

    However, this undermines your initial rant about objectivity. If the study was tainted in some way by bias, Jones and Yarhouse did a poor job of tainting it. They should fudged it a bit more don’t you think?

    Karen -No I was not there.

  • concerned

    Michael,

    Sorry for my rants, I was having a bad afternoon. I have not yet read the entire report, only the recommendations and conclusions. I do intend on reading in and will try to report back. I do feel that some of what they are saying is positive, I have just become quite tainted by the attitudes that seem to come to the surface by these kinds of things and the way we all want to use them to justify our own political slant. I think some of the comments I have seen here this evening demonstrate this.

  • Mary

    I just feel the APA skewed by saying that the glass was half empty when they could have used more the glass is half full terminology.

  • Michael Bussee

    Mary. Be honest. Have you read the report?

  • Michael Bussee

    The report says basically the same thing that everyone else, including Exodus, has been saying, that sexual reorientation from gay to straight is not happening — just some shifts in the intensity and frequency of SSA — and maybe, for some gay guys, a little shift towards the straight end of the spectrum.

    What do you want the APA to do, lie?

    I have no political slant on this. If the evidence was there, that guys do change from gay to straight, I would be the first to shout it from the rooftops, and to offer a very public apology for saying that they don’t change from SSA to OSA.

  • Michael Bussee

    However, critics are correct to note that the shifts are modest and in some groups and conditions not there at all

    If the study was tainted in some way by bias, Jones and Yarhouse did a poor job of tainting it. They should fudged it a bit more don’t you think?

    Yup, Warren. That’s what I would think. They could have made it look a whole lot better if they had wanted to. Jones and Yarhouse’s study seems to echo the APA report — that there is insufficient evidence of conversion from gay to straight through SOCE.

  • Michael Bussee

    Warren: I watched the “modest” and “not there at all” for five years — working directly, on a daily basis, with exclusively SSA men and many bisexual men.

    Behavior changed, for some. Identity changed, for some. The intensity and frequency of SSA lessened, for some.

    Some got worse. Some, sadly, gave up hope and faith in God, convinced that they had failed Him.

    On the bright side. Many found a closer walk with God. Years later, many of my former clients said that, even though their orientation did not change, that their Exodus experience was postive and life-changing.

    But none of the hundreds of SSA men we worked with ever became heterosexual. Now I realize that should never have been our goal or expectation.

  • Mary

    Michael,

    I am on page 40.

  • William

    I just feel the APA skewed by saying that the glass was half empty when they could have used more the glass is half full terminology.

    Yes, Mary, you perhaps have a point there. But I would put it in more specific terms: they said that the glass was 99.9% empty, when they could have used more the glass is 0.1% full terminology.

  • Jayhuck

    The report says basically the same thing that everyone else, including Exodus, has been saying, that sexual reorientation from gay to straight is not happening — just some shifts in the intensity and frequency of SSA — and maybe, for some gay guys, a little shift towards the straight end of the spectrum.

    Yeah – that’s my understanding and seems to be what Warren said as well.

  • Brian

    Warren Throckmorton said:

    “Brian – The 1 point shift is a group average; some moved more than that within group. However, critics are correct to note that the shifts are modest and in some groups and conditions not there at all.”

    I know that it was a group average and I am critical of the fact that they omitted the data on individual shifts. Why wouldn’t they include these data? I also note that they had no narrative discussion of any individual case in which there was a shift to Kinsey 1. Given the tone of the report, I think it unlikely that they would have omitted discussion of such a case if it existed.

    Throckmorton:

    “However, this undermines your initial rant about objectivity. If the study was tainted in some way by bias, Jones and Yarhouse did a poor job of tainting it. They should fudged it a bit more don’t you think?”

    What you call a rant, I call a critical review. :-) Anyway, the answer to your question is “no” I don’t think that the statistical results undermine my point about bias. As I see it, there are different kinds of bias. There is bias in the gathering of evidence. There is bias in the interpretation of evidence. And there is the outright fabrication of evidence to satisfy a predetermined outcome. These are all different, and you can have one without the others.

    In this case, I think there is bias in the interpretation of evidence, as evidenced by the narrative that is included in the report. They clearly want to emphasize the importance of the 1-point shift and not the fact that even this most selective, motivated group of participants failed to truly convert. They also don’t acknowledge that the modest diminishing of homosexual attraction reported could be the result of ongoing Exodus sessions obsessing over the pathological and religiously problematic status of homosexuality, as opposed to durable, self-sustaining change. (My own experience is that, while therapy is continuing, one does have a diminished homosexual desire. You can’t have weekly or semi-weekly sessions about the pathology of homosexuality and not have it affect how you process homosexual feelings. When the therapy ends, I’d bet money that the 1-point shift is lost.)

    I don’t think there is any fabrication of evidence so that is off the table.

    That leaves the third category, bias in the collection of evidence. This would go to whether their questionnaires, their acceptance of drop-out rates from T1 to T6, etc. were in the range of accepted professional standards. The authors assert, rather defensively, that they are within the accepted range. I don’t have the background in this area to say whether that is true. I would ask you to share your opinion on this.

  • Mary

    William,

    That would be your perspective. They used language and tone to intonate that 99 percent that you speak of ….

    And even AA does not have the success rate that SOCE has. And all of those participants experience much of the same challenges and benefits. Go figure… it’s okay to be a drunk who gets help, falls off the wagon, and tries again to be succesful but when applied to SOCE – it is called harm and failure.

  • Eddy

    Brian brought up the role of support groups and ongoing anti-homosexuality input and it’s likely role in causing and maintaining the 1% shift. I assume we all agree that what we hear…what the voices that surround us are saying…that these do have the capacity to influence us.

    This ties in to my morning musings on the front porch. I wondered how much the barrage of attacks saying that change is impossible has influenced success. When I first became a Christian, I had a few behaviors that were deemed unacceptable and that I endeavored to change (or should I say ‘quit’). The only one that was challenged was quitting the gay stuff. “I know of someone who tried that once and, he made it for a few years, but then he went crazy.” Gee, how encouraging. This was particularly insidious because the inference was that the insanity just snuck up on him one day.

    I’ve heard less talk of insanity over the years but now the possible outcomes are suicide, attempted suicide, self-hatred. “Stay on this ex-gay road and these things might very well happen to you.” On one hand, I appreciate the concern; on the other, I figure…okay, you’ve said it, now let it go.

    When I first got onto MySpace years ago, when I got brave enough to try groups I sought out ‘ex-gay groups’. Even though Gay Christian support groups existed on MySpace, people of that POV felt it was their duty and responsibility to visit the ex-gay groups and remind them of these potential dangers. Personally, I found this both offensive and ludicrous. The assumption that the individuals who found the ex-gay group didn’t weed through the pro-gay groups on their way in is unfathomable. This all-consuming ‘need to educate’ sometimes goes overboard.

    I am not attempting to refute Brian’s conclusion. His talk of how the voices that surround us can impact us connected with my own morning musings about those negative voices and their potential impact. I simply offer this as ‘food for thought’.

  • Mary

    Hang out at a bar long enough and you will drink. Listen to negative talk and you will succumb. Surround yourself with people who are in the experiencing of trying, making mistakes and finding new ways to succeed and you are apt to do the same things. No one says it is easy. It isn’t easy to look at all that is available, pick through, see what belongs to your own experience and what does not, find support from friends who are similar in their background and coping techniques ( not just ex gays who are religious but ex gays who are women who find their SSA attaches to a similar origin than say another woman’s SSA) And to really go through the pain of discoveries and losses. It is a long process and like any other long term and stable change to a person – it takes years – not two years, not 18 months. And other sexual behavior does not need to include sexual intercourse or dating and that may not even happen for several years. I left lesbianism a lont time before I really started to date or even care about the other sex. I knew I wasn’t gay anymore but I didn’t feel the need to “prove” not being gay by exhibiting straight behavior either.

  • Fg68at

    @concerned ~ Aug 10, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    When is someone going to do an honest study of the harm that is done to someone who is actively pursuing same-sex behaviour or the harm that comes in the form of increased risk of disease, especially HIV. OH!

    concerned ~ Aug 10, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    Where are the studies supporting traditional religious values that chastity or abstinence are not only an option but one of the best ways of avoiding these diseases.

    Yes we can say with no study, when you have no sex, there is no STD. But is chastity for ever the best thing for all people? And there is a comparison between heterosexuals, they can have one partner for her life (Austrian is Catholic) and homosexuals, that can never have a partner.

    “All” say, that orientation and identity can change, but no one see, that behavior can change. But it had changed in foretime. And not everyone have the unique “homosexual lifestyle”. One year no sex = no gay? The christianity and conservatives, in their way also the whole “normal” society give a script:: No chastity, you are out of moral codes, you have many sex an no partner . There is nothing worthily to conservation in your partnership. This is your life. A gay man have everytime many sex. Chasity is the best. No chasity, out of moral, out of order.

    This is the script that is spread. From some gays and from many conservatives. Before i had my CO, i have had this in my had. Sex with same sex, patnership with other sex. And after my CO i had seen first only a glimpse of the diversity gay world. But then i found a youth group. And they where not going every day in the bars (which was my first connection).

    That scripts from others, which are taken over self, can be braked, that have we seen with effiminate in US in 1969 and then the hypermasculinity (Village People goes over in the mainstream). And in Amsterdam was this years before, when the police think, that 3 dance clubs are better than cottaging.

    But it can only change, when there is freedom. And not when it is said: I hate the sin (sex) but i allow it in the private. But i don’t allow not a damn of partnership in my ambience. I do all for heterosexual partnerships, but homosexual partnerships are not in the moral code. They are only bad.

  • Michael Bussee

    Eddy” Why, why, why do “you guys” (I don’t mean you personally, necessarily) accuse “us guys” of saying that change is impossible?

    That is NOT what we are saying. We are saying that it does not seem that change from exlcusive SSA to exclusive OSA is happening. It may indeed be possible. The loch Ness monster may exist.

    Putting that phrase (“change is impossible”) into our mouths misrepresents what we are saying. It makes it sound as though we are saying that gay people shouldn’t try to change ANYTHING about their lives.

    LOTS of changes are possible! Changes in behavior, changes in belief, changes in identity, changes in lifestyle,etc. Positive, dramatic life-schanges. What does not seem possible (at least based on good scientific evidence) is to change an SSA male into a straight guy through SOCE. Even Exodus seems to acknowledge that it is highly unlikely.

  • Brian

    @Eddy:

    Read Mr. Busse’s post above. I think he makes a lot of sense.

    FWIW, I went through this process. It didn’t work. I didn’t go crazy and I didn’t become self-hating/depressed/suicidal. But I did waste a lot of time, money, and energy on what was, at best, a very long shot. Your thoughts and feelings will change somewhat while you are focusing on the “problem” on a daily basis. But no green shoots of heterosexuality are forthcoming, as even this study attests. Eventually, when the therapy ends (or when it has been going on so long that it becomes just a part of daily life) the thoughts readjust to what they were before.

    Some things you can’t change and that’s that. I’m not saying it has never been done by one or more of the 110 billion people who have lived on Earth. But it isn’t anything you should remotely expect to happen. If you want to spend your life pursuing this, then that is your right and no one should condemn you.

    As I have noted in comments here before, the main reason this issue becomes such a hot button and both sides think they have a vested interest in the outcome is due to a misunderstanding of civil rights law (i.e., that civil rights protection depends upon the immutability of the characteristic protected). I have no doubt that our budding scholars from Regent University and Wheaton College think their study is important not because a tiny, highly-motivated, self-selected sample self-reported an average 1-point Kinsey shift after 7 years of ongoing Exodus sessions. I think they believe it is important because if they can show “mutability” in someone – anyone – then they have destroyed gays’ claims to “minority status”. As both a legal and political matter, this is false. If Warren ever wants to deal with this topic in a post, I would be happy to say more.

  • Ann

    Brian,

    Thanks for sharing your experience with the process, however, it should not be held up as the example for all. Exodus, Narth, Wayne Besen, or the HRC can only have a certain amount of influence on an individual. When it all comes out in the wash, it is a daily decision we make to live the kind of life we value.

  • Mary

    @ Ann,

    Thanks. I agree. It is a very individual life for all of us.

  • Michael Bussee

    But no green shoots of heterosexuality are forthcoming, as even this study attests.

    Brian: Could not have said that better.

    Some things you can’t change and that’s that. I’m not saying it has never been done by one or more of the 110 billion people who have lived on Earth. But it isn’t anything you should remotely expect to happen. If you want to spend your life pursuing this, then that is your right and no one should condemn you

    One of the ladies on this blog said something to the effect that this sort of “healing” (for exclusively SSA males to become exlusively OSA) happens “very seldom and “should not be the expectation of the client or loved one.” All here seem to agree that, at the very least, this type of healing “should not be promised.”

    Facts are facts. Studies show it. Over and over and over. Exclusively SSA males do not change their sexual orientation to exclusively OSA through SOCE.

    I am not saying its impossibe — and I am not saying they “can’t. I am saying they don’t.

  • Eddy

    Michael-

    Eddy” Why, why, why do “you guys” (I don’t mean you personally, necessarily) accuse “us guys” of saying that change is impossible?

    Okay, now, if you didn’t mean me personally, why on earth did you direct it to me and post it soon after my post of this afternoon?

    If you didn’t mean me personally, then please be assured that I have no intent nor any responsibility to answer for these nameless minions you speak of. Especially not when I’m saying something that’s being ignored in the process.

    But if you really did mean me, personally, and I believe you did then here’s an answer of sorts:

    Why, why, why do you twist everything I say? Nowhere in my post did I use the phrase ‘change is impossible’. Instead I quoted an old friend and what he said to me. And he wasn’t talking about attempting a change to heterosexuality but rather any attempt to quit ‘being gay’.

    Why, why, why do you miss my point and instead turn it into an accusation? My point is that perhaps we ought to consider that the naysaying, the confrontations suggesting that ex-gays are deluded, the confrontations telling them they are leading others into delusion, the insinuation that they’ve led many to thoughts of suicide and to self-hatred…that just maybe these words also contribute to the failure rate.

    Putting that phrase, ‘change is impossible’ into my mouth…suggesting that I had put it into your mouth misrepresents what I was saying.

    Brian–

    I read Mr. Bussee’s statement and then I reread it. I can see how it made a lot of sense to you; I would hope you can now see why it didn’t make a lot of sense to me. Things that didn’t make sense: 1) addressing it to me if it didn’t really mean me 2) expecting me to answer to something I didn’t say and don’t know who said 3) the timing of the statement after a post where I simply mused on the potential detrimental effects of naysaying 4) the fact that it simply avoided that point altogether (as if it hadn’t even been spoken…not acknowledged for yea or nay) while bringing up one that wasn’t made. Yeah, NONE of that made any sense to me.

  • Brian

    Eddy:

    I’m afraid you lost me with this back-and-forth argument with Busse. Let me clarify: the last paragraph of his post at 4:29 pm on Aug 11 is what I think is worth giving a good read. Also, I hope my sharing my own experience and perspective was helpful and not discouraging for you. Everyone is different and each person should choose his or her own path in life. But expectations should be grounded in reality.

    Ann:

    I agree with you that my own story is not “an example for all.” That having been said, I am interested if you know of anyone who has converted from homosexuality to exclusive heterosexuality (i.e., Kinsey 1). Rarer than the white lobster, harder to find than interstellar dark matter is this cherished person. In all seriousness, you seem to have been involved in this issue for some time: have you ever met anyone who self-reported going from Kinsey 5 or 6 to Kinsey 1?

  • Ann

    Brian,

    I honestly cannot judge how a person sees themselves – it would be arrogant for me to think I can. I have known individuals who are anorexic and still consider themselves overweight. I have know people who say they are happily married and cheat on their spouse. I know people who do not have vaginas and are happily married. I know people who never thought they would have children and now they do. I know people who were same gender attracted and now are attracted to their opposite gendered spouse. I just don’t know how to measure a person’s life to answer your question succinctly. The people I know who have separated from the life they once identified with usually do not refer to it anymore. I have only known several people who fit the question you pose – they say they no longer are attracted to the same gender. I also know people who say they are tempted but will not yield to the temptations because in the long run, it does not add value to their life, rather it takes away from what they really value. I also know individuals who value their same gender partners/spounses and the life they have together. From what I read about you going through the process, I gather that at one time you did not value homosexuality and wanted to change to heterosexuality. I am not sure if that is a realistic goal for most – we cannot pretend something about ourselves did not exist. Like I said, we have to decide what we value in our lives and then live a life that accomodates those values. Sometimes it means just separating ourselves from that which we do not value and see what serendipitous journey our life will take from there. Most of us need support and encouragement so I am grateful for groups that facilitate that.

  • Eddy

    Brian–

    Why are you suggesting a back and forth argument with Bussee when I only posted ONCE prior to his post addressed to me but possibly not to me???

    As I stated, your comment about the impact of peer support and ‘the hammering of the truth’ (for lack of a better phrase) was what caused me to consider that this was a good a time as any to cite the possible impact of naysaying and the constant questioning.

    Michael’s comments to me missed this, my main point, and instead introduced an unsubstantiated allegation on his part that he kind of addressed to me but kind of didn’t. I didn’t appreciate that. I still don’t. I enumerated my reasons but somehow you’ve rendered them invalid or incomprehensible.

    His last paragraph is one I could have written and may in fact be a product of lengthy discussion he and I have had in the recent past. So telling it to me–when he knows I already know it–is confusing. Makes me wonder if he’s really talking to me or he’s pontificating for the greater blog but using me as his launching point. Even this wouldn’t be that offensive if he actually acknowledged the point I endeavored to make.

    Since what I actually said isn’t what either you or Michael is talking to me about, please understand if I choose not to further respond to your non-responsive comments.

  • Fg68at

    Different factors:

    The ex-gay-movement comes everytime with psychical health depression, STD, substance abuse in lifetime for homosexuals.

    This study comes with psychical health in the last 90 days before Tx, when i read correct a review of the book.

  • Larry

    Ann ~ Aug 11, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    Brian,

    Thanks for sharing your experience with the process, however, it should not be held up as the example for all. Exodus, Narth, Wayne Besen, or the HRC can only have a certain amount of influence on an individual. When it all comes out in the wash, it is a daily decision we make to live the kind of life we value.

    Wow this is a pearl of genuine insight.

    I would add that the negative personal experieces of Mr Bussee and the way he chooses to live with his life choices should also not be espoused an example let alone as appropriate for a Christian. However, it is obviously drives his very negative tone throughout this blog. I which he would use his intellectual prowess in a positive service of our LORD rather then these divisive circular arguments.

  • Michael Bussee

    I would add that the negative personal experieces of Mr Bussee and the way he chooses to live with his life choices should also not be espoused an example let alone as appropriate for a Christian.

    Larry. Tell me. How do I live my life? And how did you conclude that I don’t serve our Lord in a positive way?

  • Ann

    However, it is obviously drives his very negative tone throughout this blog. I which he would use his intellectual prowess in a positive service of our LORD rather then these divisive circular arguments.

    Hi Larry,

    It has been my observation and personal interaction with Michael that he has been very thoughtful, very intelligent, very introspective, and very willing to understand what others have to say about any aspect of this subject. There are others who post here who are not. Please go to the topic “Thoughts of the status of reorientation wars” and read some of his posts and I think you will see the kind of man he is.

  • Michael Bussee

    Thanks, Ann. But, I have not always been “very willing to understand what others have to say about any aspect of this subject.” I am very passionate about what I believe — and it gets the best of me sometimes.

    I do want to serve Him — and I do what little I can in my church, my family and my community. I know I could and should do more.

  • Michael Bussee

    Larry said:

    I wish he (Michael) would use his intellectual prowess in a positive service of our LORD rather than these divisive circular arguments.

    I think it is divisive and not a positive service to our Lord to hold that the homosexual issue is “central” to Christian faith — when it is not. This divides us into two groups:

    (1) Real, bible-believing, Lord-serving Christians (the one’s who believe homosexuality is somehow central to Christian faith) on one side and

    (2) Those who don’t believe it is central — and who therefore aren’t really Christian, don’t really believe the Bible and aren’t really serving HIm.

  • Eddy

    The issue of homosexuality’s status as ‘not central to the Christian faith’ hasn’t been discussed in this thread. Instead it’s a quote from the recent ECLA statement referenced by Michael on “Does the APA advise a church switch?” I really believe it deserves its very own thread but, until that happens, it might be best to have the ‘central to the faith’ discussions all on the same thread. (I don’t know about any of the rest of you, but I start getting my threads mixed up…especially when we’re having some of the same conversation in two or more threads at once.)

    It’s a bit of a non-sequitur on that thread but at least it does have the ‘church’ tie in; I’m not sure how it fits with this thread that doesn’t really reference established churches at all.

    Larry didn’t even actually say what he personally believed about homosexuality from a Bible standpoint; he merely cited his impression that Michael’s comments were negative and divisively circular and that Michael’s life ought not to be considered an appropriate model. Not less than two weeks ago, when I made an off-handed reference to Michael as the poster child of the ex-ex-gays, he seemed to agree that he should not be held up as a model or standard.

    Like Michael, I am ‘guessing’ that Larry probably believes homosexual behavior is sin but I must admit it’s only a guess. The irony is that Michael seems to be accusing Larry of presumption when he wrote:

    Larry. Tell me. How do I live my life? And how did you conclude that I don’t serve our Lord in a positive way?

    And yet Michael seems to be presuming Larry’s Bible viewpoint (along with reinterpreting what Larry said: Larry did not say that Michael didn’t serve the Lord in a postive way; he said he wished he’d use his intellectual prowess more productively in the Lord’s service rather than majoring on the negativity and circular talk.) It’s possible that Larry was only commenting on the misuse of this one particular gift and encouraging Michael to focus and accentuate the postiive.

    When is it right and acceptable to presume? Is it a privilege granted only to a few?

  • Michael Bussee

    By the way, Larry, I happen to agree with you that:

    the negative personal experieces of Mr. Bussee and the way he chooses to live with his life choices should also not be espoused an example let alone as appropriate for a Christian.

    Yes. I admit that I am a poor example — even on my good days. I have never suggested that others should follow my path — or use me as a model of appropriate Christian living.

    God forbid! That is between them and the Lord. The only example we should follow is Jesus.

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