Former Love in Action Director: I’ve never met a man who experienced a change from homosexual to heterosexual

John Smid was once the director of Love in Action a longtime Exodus International affiliate based in Memphis, TN. I have always found John’s candor refreshing. My first contact with John was at an Exodus meeting where he questioned the slogan, “change is possible.”

In addition to support groups, LIA also had a live-in program known for rigid behavioral rules as a means of reducing same-sex attraction. That program is now closed and John is no longer with LIA.

In recent months, John has developed a ministry called Grace Rivers and has taken a different course in discussing homosexuality. A blog post last week is one that is quite relevant to the claims about change of orientation, recently ignited by the release of a paper in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy containing the final data from Jones and Yarhouse’s study of Exodus participants.

Perhaps the best way to summarize it is to quote significant parts and comment as I go. I recommend reading the entire piece. In response to a reader who asked:

John,

I have been reading your posts since the beginning. Every week I have more questions. I’m sorry, I don’t understand where repentance fits into all of this. I don’t mean to be harsh….I just honestly don’t understand.

Are you saying homosexuality isn’t wrong or are you saying it is wrong, but we have to be patient while God’s goodness brings the homosexual to repentance? I see that you are saying homosexuals can be Christians, but can they remain that way…never expecting a change?

Smid replies:

Repentance from something means it has to be something you can control, like actions. So often people will say someone needs to “repent” from homosexuality. It is something that actually cannot be repented of! People are, or they are not, homosexual. It is an intrinsic part of their being or personally, my being. One cannot repent of something that is unchangeable. I have gone through a tremendous amount of grief over the many years that I spoke of change, repentance, reorientation and such, when, barring some kind of miracle, none of this can occur with homosexuality. The article today is a great example of how we as Christians pervert the gospel as it relates to homosexuality as though homosexuals aren’t welcome in the kingdom unless they repent (which many interpret to change). But since homosexuality is not “repentable” then we put homosexuals into an impossible bind.

About change, Smid writes:

Surely, indiscriminate sexual behavior, stealing, gossip, and other “behaviors” are things that need to be considered when we speak of walking in the kingdom of God. God desires to transform us into His image more and more each day. But in the larger story of the gospel, biblical repentance means to turn our lives to God’s kingdom and away from the kingdom of the world. To change our allegiance from the god of this age, to the Lord of Lords! In this repentance, it allows God to be in the forefront of our lives and we decide to allow His kingdom to reign in us. Therefore we enter into a road of change, transformation. The issue then is what will that change look like for each of us. Yes, there are homosexuals that make dramatic changes in their lives as they walk through the transformation process with Jesus. I have heard story after story of changes that have occurred as men and women find the grace of God in their lives as homosexual people. But, I’m sorry, this transformation process may not meet the expectations of many Christians. I also want to reiterate here that the transformation for the vast majority of homosexuals will not include a change of sexual orientation. Actually I’ve never met a man who experienced a change from homosexual to heterosexual. I have met some women who claim that is the case but then again, male sexuality and female sexuality are vastly biologically different so this would not be a fair comparison.

Change is a change of mind, a change of behavior and intention but according to Smid, it is not a change of attraction. John notes that some women can make a better case for categorical change, but men and women are different.

John then describes his situation as being a “homosexual and yet in a marriage with a woman.” Mixed orientation marriage is a phrase that makes sense to John as he is deeply in love with his wife but is clear that they are not of the same sexuality.

John Smid has been in the thick of the ex-gay ministry world since at least the mid-1990s, serving on the Exodus board and as the director of one of the most visible ministries in the nation. He has known and knows many more people who have tried to change than I have known. I think his experience is incredibly relevant for the church still struggling with how to address GLBT issues.

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  • http://www.gracerivers.com/articles-on-homosexuality John J. Smid

    Warren,

    Thanks for posting this link to my recent article in response to a friend’s question.

    Just for clarity, I was involved with Love In Action from 1987 to 2008. I was on the board of directors for Exodus for eleven years, my last meeting was in 2008.

    I in no way want to negate the love, affection, and satisfaction that some men and women experience in being in a mixed orientation marriage. And for some who may lean more towards bi-sexuality then the marriage would reflect those attractions.

    And to also clarity (which I have in other articles I’ve written) many have changed their behaviors from homosexual to heterosexual but as I have had so many conversations with men who have been involved in ex-gay ministries who in honesty, continue to have primarily homosexual attractions and yet have made choices for celibacy, or heterosexual marriage.

    We have a human freedom to make those kinds of choices but it is very important to consider our choices and their potential outcomes. I think those who have married after significant ex-gay experiences enter into those marriages with more honesty and therefore are able to have marriages with more integrity and subsequently more successful in long term faithfulness.

    But, the days are coming in the ongoing evolution of the ex-gay experience where we may be facing ongoing realities of that life experience. I believe that as these men get older, more discoveries will be revealed in the etiology of homosexuality, ex-gay experiences, and same sex desires.

  • Mary

    This is refreshing to read. I was not and am not a strong adovocate of in-house therapy. I’m glad to see that more people are speakijng up against what the conservative christian wants to hear. Yes, some people change – some don’t. Many will have these feelings for the rest of their lives and guess what – still be faithful Christians. For all the issues that Christians seem to divide on, this one just seems like it is going to be one of those that in the future won’t be such a beig deal, thankfully.

  • Teresa

    How many persons on this Blog alone; have excoriated you Warren, and many of the rest of us homosexuals, who have said over and over; the data, the facts don’t support orientation ‘change’. Yes, many of us know the change of living harmoniously with our faith beliefs without shame and guilt because of who and what we are … whatever that looks like for all of us gays.

    As you say, Warren, John Smid has to know and worked personally with hundreds upon hundreds of gay persons … for him to say that he doesn’t know of one man who has changed his orientation … from gay to str8 … NOT ONE!! I’m blown away by this. Warren, the statistical percentage for orientation change is even smaller than I imagined.

    I’m impressed with Mr. Smid’s courage and honesty in revealing all of this. It takes a big person to admit that 20 years of hard work didn’t effect the ‘change’ he so desired … not for himself, and not for anyone else. 20+ years to find out that there are plenty of gay Christians … and, no, that is not an oxymoron … and, no, Mr. and Mrs. Christian, that doesn’t have to look anything like you think it should.

    Will Dr. Nicolosi and NARTH have anything to say about this? I understand their faith beliefs; but, why can’t they be satisfied with a gay person living congruently with their faith belief. Why, of why, the insistence that one has to be str8?

    The only answer is that these people, like NARTH, truly have an antipathy towards gay, bi, or transgender persons. They truly do. They see us as ‘less than’. Or, perhaps, they’re jealous of us. Now there’s a novel thought.

    Warren, each day, you are vindicated in your research, and in your integrity in publicly presenting that research and findings in a Christian manner … let the chips fall where they may. Kudos to you, Warren.

  • Lynn David

    Youth often makes many a mistake.

  • Michael Bussee

    I applaud John’ honesty and courage. I had the pleasure of meeting John at a conference for gay Christians. As former Exodus leaders, we talked at length about what “change” meant — and what it did not. I agree with him when he says:

    I have heard story after story of changes that have occurred as men and women find the grace of God in their lives as homosexual people. But, I’m sorry, this transformation process may not meet the expectations of many Christians. I also want to reiterate here that the transformation for the vast majority of homosexuals will not include a change of sexual orientation. Actually I’ve never met a man who experienced a change from homosexual to heterosexual.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Teresa – Thanks. I doubt NARTH will say anything about any of this.

    NARTH had the opportunity between 2005-2006 to move in the direction of congruence and decided not to go that way. Given who they have speaking at their upcoming conference, it is clearer than ever that the congruence model is not anti-gay enough for them.

  • Michael Bussee

    I also want to reiterate here that the transformation for the vast majority of homosexuals will not include a change of sexual orientation. Actually I’ve never met a man who experienced a change from homosexual to heterosexual. ~ John Smid

    In the decades since Exodus began, the real question has never been “Can Gays Change?”. Of course they can! The real question should have been, “What can gays change — and to what extent?”

    As is turns out, they can change attitudes, beliefs, group affiliations, marital status, “identity”, labels, lifestyles, intentions and behaviors — the very same thing that straights can change. .

    What John’s (and many others’) direct and personal experience with the “ex-gay” movement has shown (and what the science seems to show) is that this thing we call “sexual orientation” (especially in men) does not change from homosexual to heterosexual, no matter how much one might like it to.

  • DAVE G

    Thank you, Michael, for this clarification. But please go a little further and analyze what is entailed in “Sexual orientation.” Apparently, it includes attraction to persons of the same sex (gender), and it includes a sexual response to that person’s presence. Is this response valid for all persons of the same sex, or only to particular persons?

    And how does this physical response differ from classic psychological conditioning of a physical/physiological response to select stimuli associated with a biological function? Has the individual been sexually aroused by gay pornography or interpersonal experience with another same-sex person?

    Most data supplied by the gay community just seems so subjective, I find it hard to nail down any objective data that does not imply a learning/conditioning experience.

  • http://wthrockmorton.com Warren

    DAVE G – Perhaps you should correspond with John Smid. He is offering data and he not from the gay community.

  • Michael Bussee

    Dave G.: Whether this thing we call “sexual orientation” is learned, “conditioned” or inborn, I do not claim to know. All I know is that during my years with Exodus (and in the decades since I left) I have never met a man who changed sexual orientation from gay to straight. John was with Exodus much longer than I was and he hasn’t either. If there is good science to support the idea of sexual orientation change in homosexual men, I have not seen it.

  • William

    DAVE G – Apparently, a heterosexual orientation includes attraction to persons of the other sex (gender), and it includes a sexual response to that person’s presence. Is this response valid for all persons of the other sex, or only to particular persons?

    And how does this physical response differ from classic psychological conditioning of a physical/physiological response to select stimuli associated with a biological function? Has the individual been sexually aroused by straight pornography or interpersonal experience with an opposite-sex person?

    If you already know the answers to these questions – and even if you don’t, you can soon find them out, since persons with a heterosexual orientation are far from thin on the ground – then you will know the answers to analogous questions about persons with a homosexual orientation.

  • Ken

    DAVE G# ~ Oct 11, 2011 at 11:36 am

    “Apparently, it includes attraction to persons of the same sex (gender), and it includes a sexual response to that person’s presence.

    No, sexual orientation refers to the gender of the person someone is primarily emotionally and sexually attracted to. It does not simply refer to same-sex attractions. If a person is primarily attracted to members of the opposite sex he or she is said to be heterosexual (or straight), if primarily attracted to members of the same sex, then homosexual (or gay). And if generally attracted to both sexes (or shifting between them) bisexual.

    “Is this response valid for all persons of the same sex, or only to particular persons?”

    I know of no definition that would require a person be attracted to all members of a specific gender.

  • http://www.myspace.com/librettistlyricistsongwriter Drew VanDyche

    Hey All:

    Here’s my concern. If there are at least three different kinds of communication accompanying a communication transaction; explicit (what I directly state), implicit (what I indirectly state), and null ( what I state when I don’t say anything at all – also what voices in this conversation are not being heard), then I would have to say that the voice I’m not hearing most loudly right now, is that of a person like me who currently classifies as 75% gay, 25% bi-curious. Of course, it’s clamoring in me, since it’s about me…duh, however…this is much bigger than just me.

    Having listened to Dr. Joe Pearson (a literal fundamentalist who supports a biblical position for the acceptance of homosexuality), even though he denies that he is saying such, I feel like there is an implicit imperative in the argument that says, “if you can change, then you should.” (This comes from an underlying belief still at work in many who are slowly shifting their positions that say “yes, but homosexuality is not God’s best for you.”) And I wonder if that’s not at the back of John’s mind as well.

    And yet, why should I?

    If I find that my core personality is that I am available to love intimately (sexual expression included) persons of any gender orientation/identification why should I not be allowed to exercise that perogative? I mean, I have daydreams about having a husband and a wife. It seems that both realistically and economically it is more feasible to live in a chosen family community and raise children nowadays with the assistance and input of many other like-minded ones. (It takes a village to raise a child.)

    Another perspective:

    Now, I don’t want to claim that I understand the full position of the polyamorous community, but as I currently understand it, the poly constituency talks about the detriment of single-sourcing (expecting one other person to provide all the missing pieces or complimentary counterpart to your life).

    And what about trans people? Where is their voice within this conversation?

    Thank God I go to the Pacific School of Religion where even if I don’t agree with everything that is spoken of as the Word of God, I at least get to hear the voices of the oppressed, the marginalized and the formerly silenced. I do not believe that there is only one God-given Point of View (POV), but I do believe that there are many POINTS TO VIEW. We were created multi-dimensional creatures and yet, everyday we are encouraged/enticed/ordered to accept a binary status quo.

    Granted the binary is necessary in order to interact and function in this world in order to accomplish things, but unless we have a broad spectrum representation of the many voices in our diverse community, then many possible “answers” to the dilemmas of humankind are going un-recognized.

    We are on the verge of a critical mass in consciousness shift, and John’s own transparency of his on-going internal work in self-awareness, God-awareness and world-awareness is a wonderful example of what I am seeing around me more and more each day. People being unshackled from the chains that bind them and set free from the captivity of their own programming.

    God is not the panacea for the masses, but in my opinion having some kind of belief in a higher power is the key out of the captivity of the matrix, and the best virus that our human software can get to bring a person present to the personal God in whom we live and move and have our being. But like Plumb says in “God-Shaped Hole” (pull it up on youtube) that’s (just) MY POV.

    Namaste’!

    Drew VanDyche

    Love in Action 1988

    aka Drucifer, Drewski, Drewblood, Drewlicious and thank you Anthony, also Drew Barrymore.

  • Michael Bussee

    Former Ex-Gay Ministry Leader Comes Out, Recants Previous Teachings

    “Smid is on his own journey, and will likely continue to work things out for himself. As Ex-Gay Watch points out, “There is a certain haziness to Smid’s new statements, and rather than taking an unambiguously pro-gay stance, he errs on the side of caution.” Nevertheless, his words are revelatory and speak to the harms of ex-gay therapy and how little evidence there is supporting their effectiveness. He joins a chorus of other former ex-gay leaders who have apologized for trying to shame gays and lesbians into rejecting their sexual orientations.”

    http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fthinkprogress.org%2Flgbt%2F2011%2F10%2F11%2F340335%2Fformer-ex-gay-ministry-leader-comes-out-recants-previous-teachings%2F&h=KAQAUmvwtAQDO4L8hLz0x_6xAL0Rnojn7CLlcILLqAxd6JQ

  • Ken

    I’m not sure how coincidental this is, but Jones & Yarhouse just published a long-term studying on conversion therapy, specifically, from religiously based therapy. So far I’ve only read (conflicting) media reports about it. I haven’t been able to get a copy yet.

    The cite is:

    Jones, Stanton L., Yarhouse, Mark A;A Longitudinal Study of Attempted Religiously Mediated Sexual Orientation Change, Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy 37;5 pp 404-427.

    Has anyone seen the actual paper?

  • Michael Bussee

    Ken: Dr. Throckmorton has reported on it extensively.

    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. ~ Warren Throckmorton

    http://wthrockmorton.com/2009/08/09/jones-and-yarhouse-exodus-study-follow-up/

  • Ken

    Yes, I was familiar with the 2009 symposium report. However, my understanding is that this is a continuation of that study (and presumably with about 2 years more data), and I wanted to know if there was anything significant added to the new paper or if it was mostly just a re-write of the symposium paper.

  • http://www.comingout4christians.net Dave

    Ken ..

    I am not sure but perhaps you are referring to the older study which was just recently published in a scientific journal and .. as a result … is getting some mention. See here

    If this is not it and there truly is a new study hopefully Dr. Throckmorton can update us about that.

    Dave

    P.S. There is also the study referred to in this blog post.

  • DAVE G

    Yarhouse, et al, and the APA Task Force report both say that “gay change to straight” is not sufficiently documented to be an accepted option, per se, but identity perception and behavior change can be aspired toward.

    My observation is that sexual response is mostly biological –hormonal, glandular, etc.–and the gendered persons toward whom it is directed is derived from the experiential history of the individual.

    It also seems that persons whose familial roots are unsecured tend to instead lean toward their sexuality for identity formation. Our sex-saturated current culture is symbiotic for them, and whether they are hetero or homo, this defines their identity perception.

    When biological function is associated experientially with hetero, homo, or bi emotionally, the brain pathways become imprinted, even to the point of addiction.

    Thus, morality strives toward intact natural families and avoidance of behaviors that violate the pattern, in order to maintain a healthy civilized society.

  • Teresa

    When biological function is associated experientially with hetero, homo, or bi emotionally, the brain pathways become imprinted, even to the point of addiction.

    DAVE G., where are you coming up with this stuff? Your observation based on what? Are you a physiologist? Are you a researcher that has a Paper you’d like to share with us?

    Or, is this simply your faith belief, masquerading with some ‘big words’, to prove your bias?

    Forgive my snarky comment; but, your comment is simply very ‘strange’.

  • Michael Bussee

    Yarhouse, et al, and the APA Task Force report both say that “gay change to straight” is not sufficiently documented to be an accepted option, per se, but identity perception and behavior change can be aspired toward.

    I think this squares with the actual life-experience of “ex-gay” men: behavior, lifestyle and “identity” changes, but not sexual orienatation change. What concerns me is why homosexual men would “aspire towards” such change in the first place.

    Were they living an unhappy, closeted, guilt-ridden and sexually compulsive “lifestyle” because they somehow believed this was the only option? Did they think they had to try to become heterosexual in order to live responsible, productive and balanced lives? Did they fear rejection by family and friends if they didn’t try to “change”?

    Had they been taught (by church, family, society) that homosexuality was “broken”, “sinful” or “disordered”? That their parents were to blame? That their relationships (and all homosexual relationships) were “counterfeit” and doomed to end in disappointment? Did they believe that if they did not “repent” that they were doomed to eternal torment?

    The potential risks of ‘reparative therapy’ are great, including depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior, since therapist alignment with societal prejudices against homosexuality may reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient.”

    “Many patients who have undergone ‘reparative therapy’ relate that they were inaccurately told that homosexuals are lonely, unhappy individuals who never achieve acceptance or satisfaction.”

    “The possibility that the person might achieve happiness and satisfying interpersonal relationships as a gay man or lesbian is not presented, nor are alternative approaches to dealing with the effects of societal stigmatization discussed.”

    “Therefore, the American Psychiatric Association opposes any psychiatric treatment, such as ‘reparative’ or ‘conversion’ therapy which is based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon a prior assumption that the patient should change his/her homosexual orientation. The American Psychiatric Association recognizes that in the course of ongoing psychiatric treatment, there may be appropriate clinical indications for attempting to change sexual behaviors. ~1998-DEC-14, the American Psychiatric Association “

  • ken

    DAVE G# ~ Oct 12, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    My observation is that sexual response is mostly biological –hormonal, glandular, etc.–and the gendered persons toward whom it is directed is derived from the experiential history of the individual.

    Where exactly did you observe this phenomenon? Because what you seem to be claiming here is: 1st people have sex, THEN they know who they are attracted to. Now, except in the cases of child rape, I don’t know of ANYONE for whom attractions work this way. Of everyone one I know personally (and have read about), attractions, desires, fantasies, etc all came well before any “experiential history” was made.

  • Michael Bussee

    More public apologies from John Smid, this one to a former member of Love In Action:

    I am in a position of evaluating what has happened to many people from my 22 years involved in Exodus and Love In Action. Please allow me to share some of my thoughts.

    Kyle, I am very sorry for being part of a system that didn’t validate your experiences with homosexuality. I am sorry for being a part of a system that didn’t understand the difference between addiction and sexual orientation. I am sorry for not knowing what you really needed and for not being part of a system that would validate your true life experiences.

    I am sorry for the role I played in causing you to feel ashamed, unimportant, insignificant, and devalued. I am sorry for the ways I was involved in a counseling program that brought you such confusion, especially as a young man who really didn’t know how to differentiate for yourself.

    Kyle, being in the position of an authority over a program that utilized tools designed for helping people with addiction to erroneously respond to a homosexual orientation causes me great grief today.

    I desire more than anything that you would know you are deeply loved by God and that He sees you, your heart, and your homosexuality and does not condemn you. If the road of grace is wide enough for me, it is wide enough for anyone.

    http://serendipitydodah.wordpress.com/2011/07/19/the-pain-of-reparative-therapy-my-story-part-fiveconclusion-by-kyle-luebke/

  • StraightGrandmother

    Michael, thank you for the information and the link. I recommend that everyone follow Michael’s link and go read the entire blog written by Kyle. It is quite moving. Dunno why but the other day something Michael wrote made be go google his name, it was a comment he made about being a former ex-gay leader. So I thought who is this guy? I just read comments here and don’t go searching around people’s backgrounds but because of that comment I did.

    So Michael, I was surprised to read that you were one of the original guys who created Exodus. I think that gives you a lot of credibility when commenting on if people can change from homosexual to heterosexual or not. So now we have you and also John Smid saying it doesn’t work. I think that is pretty powerful, you were inside guys.

  • Michael Bussee

    Thanks. I think John has done a very courageous thing. He has faced and has told the truth. It will come at some cost. He will face considerable scorn from “both sides” of the “change” debate.

    But he is a man of deep faith, which means he had to be completely honest with himself and those he feels he may have harmed during his time with Exodus. I expect to see him take even more steps “out”.

    I completely trust John’s testimony that in all his years of searching and hoping, he did not see sexual orientation change in “ex-gay” men. And he searched much longer than I did.

  • http://six11.wordpress.com Shawn

    I have an honest question, looking for answers and not an argument.

    So what I gather from this article and others posted in response to this, is that change never happens for people, that it’s a worthless pursuit, and that we should just accept that homosexuality is not sinful (according to scripture). And this can be backed up by the lack of “change” that occurs in people.

    I guess my thoughts are, what if people don’t want to be gay, and are looking for help? Do we tell them, “Face it, you’re gay. Live it out; no one can change – ever.” Or, do we help them pursue the type of change they are looking for – one that does not harm them or is forced?

    Please understand, I do not advocate forced “ex-gay” therapy, or help that brings harm to people. And I believe that change looks different for people. However, doesn’t the message of “change is not possible” also hurt those looking for help?

    While the majority of gay men and women may not go “completely straight” in orientation, you do have to admit that there are those who have experienced great change in their attractions/behaviors towards the same-sex. Maybe this is all people are wanting. Maybe this is the change their hoping to be possible. And it is.

    • http://wthrockmorton.com Warren

      Shawn – Shifts along a bisexual continuum are not insignificant, nor are they worthless. I don’t know why you would think that given everything else I have written here.

      See again this article for an example of how this can go within the congruence paradigm. Pursuing relational and spiritual goals could clearly bring about changes of various sorts. However, it infrequently leads to changes in attraction that could be labeled categorical.

      When you bring in behaviors, you are overgeneralizing what I and others are saying. No one said SSA people cannot alter their actions.

  • Tim

    Shawn’s question is one I would have wanted to ask – well stated question, bro. Look forward to responses!

  • Teresa

    Shawn, I don’t think anywhere on this Blog have you seen Commenters saying that persons with same-sex attraction cannot pursue the therapy that would help them achieve healthy goals.

    If your are not gay, yourself, the conversation needs to start from a different premise. First, the term ‘change’ has become so over-used, so indiscriminately used, so deliberately mis-used, do deceptively mis-used, so meaningless … it’s difficult to have a decent conversation.

    Yes, Shawn, persons with same-sex attraction can change their behavior (meaning living a chaste life); and, yes, amelioration of those attractions can change overtime. Sometimes, as with str8 folks, they seem to wax and wane … this, however, means nothing, overall. Do str8 men and women run around with the same level of attraction to others? Being chaste, having less attractions in a certain period of life … does not mean a gay person is str8.

    The point is, Shawn, the huge point, from people who have spent years and years working with gay people, people who are gay themselves … have spent years, thousands of hours, hundreds and hundreds of people … trying to change orientation for others and themselves … and, orientation did not change.

    Shawn, if you’re str8, do you think ‘reparative therapy’ could make you gay? Think about that.

    You must understand, also, Shawn, that a lot of gay folk will do anything to hide that they’re gay. We’ll marry, we’ll lie, we’ll hide out, we’ll dress differently, we’ll try to ‘man-it-up’, femme-it-up … all kinds of things … but, in the final analysis, we’re still same-sex attracted.

    Shawn, please listen to what John Smid is saying. Hear what he’s saying. He’s been there, done that, and bought the tshirt. He has immense credibility.

    No one is saying here, that men and women with unwanted same-sex attractions should not pursue therapy that would help them. In fact, that is encouraged. What seems to work best for us gay persons with unwanted same-sex attractions is to find therapists who will help us live in harmony and congruence with our faith beliefs … accept who we are, beloved children of God, and then pursue how to live life in that context.

  • StraightGrandmother

    I understand what you are saying Shawn. I came here to Warrens website last winter with an open mind looking for answers. I am, as my name indicates, a heterosexual grandmother. I thought this would be a place I would find real science on the matter. After hanging around here and learning I have come to the conclusion that the only therapy that should legally be offered persons who are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual transgender or intersex is therapy that helps them be happy with themselves as they are. In other words reconcile yourself to being who you are naturally.

    After a bit I was thinking more like you, well what if people really don’t want to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex, shouldn’t there be help for them to be straight heterosexual? I have come to the conclusion, no, there should not be. Because the goal of that is to couple with a person of your opposite sex, therefore you are involving a second innocent party into “your” therapy. And after reading the Jones Yarhouse study it really doesn’t work out for the heterosexual spouse. The few successes are not worth the horrible failures. To open your eyes go read a website called the Straight Spouse Network. Read the open forum over there.

    It was after reading those stories and seeing the results of the Mixed Orientation Marriage study from Jones Yarhouse when I made up my mind that the only appropriate therapy is therapy that helps you reconcile yourself to your true nature. Now for religious reasons people may wish to remain celibate but that is, as for me, in my opinion, that is as far therapy should go. If being gay, lesbian, bi-sexual transgender or intersex is against your religious beliefs and you don’t want to change religions well then therapy should help you remain celibate. I don’t think any therapy ever should attempt to help you change your behavior to act contrary to your inborn nature.

  • William

    Well, Shawn, I can’t speak for anyone else on here, but here’s my honest answer to your honest question.

    To anyone who is gay and doesn’t want to be, I would say, “There are people whose sexual orientation has changed of its own accord, but they are the exception, not the rule, and there is no known way of actually engineering a change of this kind. Either it will change or it won’t. The overwhelming likelihood is that it won’t, especially in the case of males.”

    If someone wants to try an ex-gay or reparative therapy program, it’s not for me to try and stop them, but I certainly wouldn’t encourage it, and if my advice were asked I would certainly advise them against it. I don’t see it as helpful to encourage anyone to embark on what will in all probability turn out to be a wild-goose chase. I know that Wayne Besen’s style isn’t to everyone’s liking, but I believe he was absolutely right when he replied to a would-be ex-gay who was lamenting that his sexual orientation still hadn’t changed, “Life is short. Every day you waste on the ex-gay myth you will never get back. Every dollar you throw down the ex-gay drain you will never recover. …But, hey, it’s a free country.”

  • StraightGrandmother

    And perhaps one more thought. There are literally millions and millions of happy people who are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender who have found true love and a life partner/wife/husband. Millions of people lead happy gay, transgendered, and intersex lives. It is a myth that a person who is gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender or intersex is, in every case emotionally damaged and broken, that they need fixing. That is a myth.

    I don’t think sexual minorities need to change anything at all about themselves, I think it is we heterosexuals who need to do the changing. We need to simply do what Dr. martin Luther King Jr. said we should do, we need to judge people by the content of their character.

  • Michael Bussee

    As one of the founders of the “ex-gay” movement and one who has followed the movement for decades, I share John’s direct observations about orientation change in “ex-gay” men. It doesn’t seem to happen. Teresa says is well:

    The point is, Shawn, the huge point, from people who have spent years and years working with gay people, people who are gay themselves … have spent years, thousands of hours, hundreds and hundreds of people … trying to change orientation for others and themselves … and, orientation did not change.

    I also agree with her statement that:

    No one is saying here, that men and women with unwanted same-sex attractions should not pursue therapy that would help them. In fact, that is encouraged. What seems to work best for us gay persons with unwanted same-sex attractions is to find therapists who will help us live in harmony and congruence with our faith beliefs … accept who we are, beloved children of God, and then pursue how to live life in that context.

  • Teresa

    StraightGrandmother stated:

    I think it is we heterosexuals who need to do the changing.

    SG, I never quite thought of ‘change’ in the way you’ve stated here. Can str8 folks who believe being homosexual is sinful, awful, horrible, of the devil, worthy of imprisonment or death, perverted, deviant, etc., … can these folks ‘change’? Is there some reparative therapy that might help them str8’n out their thoughts on this?

    Interesting slant, SG.

  • Teresa

    SG said:

    After a bit I was thinking more like you, well what if people really don’t want to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex, shouldn’t there be help for them to be straight heterosexual? I have come to the conclusion, no, there should not be. Because the goal of that is to couple with a person of your opposite sex, therefore you are involving a second innocent party into “your” therapy.

    The few successes are not worth the horrible failures. To open your eyes go read a website called the Straight Spouse Network. Read the open forum over there.

    Another good point, SG. However, I would temper what you’ve said with the thought there are some of these marriages that do work. It takes honesty from the get-go on the part of the homosexual. No deception can exist to make this married journey successful. Honesty on the part of the homosexual to know this journey can only be taken with “to thine own self be true”. Honesty on the part of the str8 person to know what they may be getting into. The gay person may love their partner; but, that love may be in an entirely different way than the str8 spouse is expecting.

    Couples’ therapy before marriage would be most helpful, I think. I do think it’s do-able; but, here again, the stats are not real comforting for the success of this choice. A deep faith commitment for both partners, in my opinion, is absolutely necessary, coupled with honesty.

    But, that seems to be what it takes for str8 marriages, no?

  • StraightGrandmother

    Teresa=

    SG, I never quite thought of ‘change’ in the way you’ve stated here. Can str8 folks who believe being homosexual is sinful, awful, horrible, of the devil, worthy of imprisonment or death, perverted, deviant, etc., … can these folks ‘change’? Is there some reparative therapy that might help them str8?n out their thoughts on this?

    StraightGrandmother= Sure they can Teresa, they can change. Straight folks can and should change, and turn away from condemnation and DISCRIMINATION against persons who are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender and intersex. How does this change happen? I believe the most important first step in creating mass change is when our governments end DISCRIMINATION against sexual minorities.

    When it is perfectly legal in 31 states to tell a gay or lesbian couple at a restaurant, “Sorry we don’t serve fags here,” when that is legal, it gives cover and protection for individual citizens to DISCRIMINATE. It gives approval. And when a Human Resources Manager in one of the 31 states where it is perfectly legal, says to a young college graduate looking for her first entry level job, “Sorry we don’t hire Dykes here” it continues and promotes DISCRIMINATION.

    Teresa, I believe mass change will happen when our governments stop practicing DISCRIMINATION, when it is against the law to DISCRIMINATE people do eventually change. It is not as if this is the first time, we have sung this song before for other minorities. We merely need to repeat what works and that is to end Government sponsored DISCRIMINATION against sexual minorities. The 14th amendment promising EQUAL Protection under the law is promised to all. It is about time America lives up to that promise. Yes Teresa, heterosexuals can change.

  • Michael Bussee

    I would temper what you’ve said with the thought there are some of these marriages that do work.

    I agree with this — and so does Dr. Amity Pierce Buxton (herself once married to a gay man who later came out). At a conference where she and I both spoke, she shared that she has interviewed hundreds of such “mixed orientation” couples and found that about 1/3 “end almost immdediately” after the disclosure, about 1/3 “hang on but end up divorcing a few years later ” and the remaining 1/3 “figure out a way to make it work”.

    http://www.straightspouse.org/theother.shtml

  • StraightGrandmother

    Teresa & Michael, Perhaps a review of Mixed Orientation Marriages is the thing we need here, especially look for my comments where I highlight some of the data

    http://wthrockmorton.com/2011/07/15/new-study-sexual-behavior-changes-but-not-sexual-orientation/

    Looking at the world through rose colored glasses all sexual minorities would be honest and up front with their future spouses, but in the real world that is not what happens. The Str8 Spouse finds out after the knot has been tied in the vast majority of the cases. The heterosexual spouses reported at 60.6% that the sexual minority disclosed their sexual orientation after marriage. The next highest response at 14.8% is that their spouse never has disclosed their sexual orientation. Only 21.3% of the respondents said that their spouse told them before their marriage that their sexual orientation was same sex.

    The truth is of that of the third that attempt to stay together after disclosure that one of them is gay/lesbian, only about half remain intact for three or more years. AND look at the statistics of the half of a third, 44% go out and have same sex extramarital affairs. In the area of sexual fidelity, sexual minority spouses reported a higher than average number of extramarital relationships (44.2% indicating an extra- marital relationship), whereas national averages are at about 10% of women and under 25% of men (Laumann et al., 1994).

    Same Sex Sexual Fantasies during intercourse, does the spouse know?

    93 sexual minorities responded

    60 (64.5%) No

    33 (35.5%) Yes

    I am not saying it never works, but I do know that I would not want one of my heterosexual children to marry a sexual minority, the odds are stacked against them. Marriage is hard enough without having a core part of marriage, sexual relations, be a problem right from the get go. Sex should be fun, not a chore to be slogged through. Why not encourage people to marry (and legally permit it) persons who they are naturally sexually compatible with? I do think discouragement of Mixed Orientation Marriages is the way to go, because of the harm to the heterosexual spouse. Knowing these statistics how can you condone therapy that has as it’s goal a coupling in a Mixed orientation Marriage? It is not one person who is harmed it is the innocent straight spouse AND the sexual minority. And we know, we know for a fact that 80% of the sexual minorities are NOT going to do the right thing and disclose to their spouse before marriage their true sexual orientation? Why should 80% of straight spouses have to go through this?

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion, after we become informed. My opinion is, the risk is to great to even start any therapy to put sexual minorities on this path to mixed orientation marriage. Let them be happy in their true nature and marry a person who they are sexually attracted to. Everyone is better off, everyone. There is no harm here to anyone in my solution. Isn’t that the first rule of medicine after all, “Do no harm.”

    http://christianpsych.org/wp_scp/wp-content/uploads/edification_4_2.pdf

  • StraightGrandmother

    I just re-read again John Smid’s comments

    We have a human freedom to make those kinds of choices but it is very important to consider our choices and their potential outcomes. I think those who have married after significant ex-gay experiences enter into those marriages with more honesty and therefore are able to have marriages with more integrity and subsequently more successful in long term faithfulness.

    John, well the data does not seem to bear out your opinion,n as the sexual minorities in the Jones Yarhouse study were all from Ex-Gay groups and the majorities of their marriages did not last and 44% of them who stayed together and tried to make it work cheated on their spouse with a same sex person. They did not display integrity as 80% of them never even told their future spouse that they were same sex orientation.

    After carefully reading for a second time what John Smid wrote in his comments it appears to me that he is still promoting that people still go to Ex-Gay therapy to learn how to act str8 but be honest with your straight spouse about your same sex attractions.

    So in other words, ex-gay therapy and ex-gay groups still are the way to go, and no you will never be str8 but you can learn to cope, you can learn to change your behavior to str8 and marry an opposite sex spouse because he did. But just realize that you will always be same sex attracted but still you can make it work with an opposite sex spouse. Did I read this right and summarize it right?

  • Michael Bussee

    It appears to me that he is still promoting that people still go to Ex-Gay therapy to learn how to act str8 but be honest with your straight spouse about your same sex attractions. So in other words, ex-gay therapy and ex-gay groups still are the way to go.

    I don’t think so. Let me check with him personally and see if he can clarify.

  • Teresa

    StraightGrandmother# ~ Oct 14, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    Good thoughts, SG. I think the best any of us can do is seek out the least biased information we can find … that in itself is often a herculean task … be willing to be patient in informing ourselves … setting aside our own prejudices as best we can … and, then, perhaps with the help of a counselor or therapist, make decisions that we can live with, based upon what we believe is important … that includes the str8 spouse in a mixed-orientation marriage. If the gay spouse in a mixed-orientation marriage has been up-front, blunt, and candid with the str8 spouse prior to marriage, I don’t see the str8 spouse as an aggrieved party or the victim. We have to do all the same footwork on any number of issues in our lives.

  • Michael Bussee

    SG: John assures me that he is in the process of writing another blog entry to try to give answer to some of the many questions he is getting. I imagine it is not an easy piece to write.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Teresa=

    If the gay spouse in a mixed-orientation marriage has been up-front, blunt, and candid with the str8 spouse prior to marriage, I don’t see the str8 spouse as an aggrieved party or the victim. We have to do all the same footwork on any number of issues in our lives.

    Teresa, I dunno. I guess if you marry a person after full disclosure and it doesn’t work out because of TGT (The Gay Thing (I learned that acronym while reading the comments at the Straight Spouse Network, I feel cool now like I know this secret language)) well you kinda have nobody to blame but yourself.

    On the other hand, let’s take gay same sex attracted men for example. What if they go to these ex-gay groups and are assured that they can make a mixed orientation work and they believe it. The same sex attracted men are not given the true statistics and they believe their therapists, they look up to them as experts. They are told it can work, you will still always be same sex attracted but so what, you can deal with it, so they go for it.

    They give full disclosure to their future spouse and then in 7 years, and that is the important statistic the cheating starts at 7 years, the marriage breaks down. Now who is to blame? Isn’t it the ex-gay group and it’s leaders or therapists who promised the same sex attracted men that this is doable when they know statistically it isn’t? That it is rare for this type of marriage to thrive and survive, I kinda still see both the sexual minority and the str8 spouse as victims.

    Maybe I’m going overboard Teresa, but these marriages with such a high failure rate is not something that I think should be promoted or encouraged, even if the sexual minority is asking for help to live that life. I never forget the str8 spouse in the mix. It is not just one person leading their life as they want, they are involving another person. A person who will never get their youth back again.

    It can be Teresa that my Faith is not so strong that I would ever deny my natural sexual orientation for it, I can’t imagine that. In other words I would never give up my marital sex life (even at my age still enjoyable) for God. If my faith taught me that I had to go be with a woman or I would be damned to hell I know I could never ever do that. I just could not go to years of therapy and go against my attraction and arousal for men because my religion told me that is what I had to do to be on the right side of the Father. I know I would have to find a religion compatible with my natural sexual orientation. It can be that my faith is not as strong as persons who are same sex attracted who actually can do that. Possibly their Faith is simply stronger than mine. Especially I couldn’t do it after having a taste of heterosexual sex with someone I love. Maybe virgins can do it if they are especially strong of faith, but I see why so few are successful at it. It seems to me to be Herculean to successfully live in a mixed orientation marriage.

    I do see what I am saying here, I am saying that other people should not have the choice, nobody should help them and that too seems wrong. I guess I can concede that if a highly religious person with unwanted same sex attractions is fully told over and over again that this isn’t going to work and they insist that this is what they want and IF a future spouse is also told the true facts of life that it statistically isn’t going to work, then people are free to do as they please, it is a free country. In this case I would suggest they live together first before getting married.

    I sincerely hope that civilization changes so that people who have same sex attractions don’t find any shame in them and therefore do not choose this pothole filled path.

  • DAVE G

    I’m sorry my schedule doesn’t allow for constant monitoring of this blog, but I do learn a lot from it when I can.

    For Teresa & Ken, I welcome you to test my concepts in a well-designed and objective –even double-blind study. Ken, experiential history can include fantasies, desires, attractions –but first they have to be perceived as options. —E.g. the married couple in Germany who were barren until someone informed them about intercourse –in the news a few years ago.

    Thus morality teaches which options to avoid –because the consequences are not good for humanity as a whole. And every culture develops its own mores, apparently based on collective experience through many generations.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Michael B, Please let me know when he writes it, I will be interested to hear his opinion and thanks for checking on this.

  • StraightGrandmother

    @DaveG, Pls cite your source for your comment

    the married couple in Germany who were barren until someone informed them about intercourse

  • http://six11.wordpress.com Shawn

    Wow – much has been going on since this morning. Sorry I’ve been away. I wanted to answer some of the questions directed towards me.

    First, though, I want to say that I did not mean to offend anyone (especially you Warren). I was just confused with some wording and wanted to ask questions instead of assuming the wrong thing.

    @Tersea – yes, I do deal with same-sex attractions. I am happily married (10+ years and counting) with three kids; though I wouldn’t say I’m 100% straight. However, I don’t refer to myself as gay either. I was, but I don’t label myself that anymore.

    I believe that God is after change of behavior (living for Him vs. living for self), but more than that, He’s after our hearts. My love for Him leads me to live according to His word, thus saying “no” to desires that go against His word. This is my belief, anyways. Also, I should note, that I didn’t get married to “change” myself. I fell in love – something that never happened to me before in a relationship. It’s a wild story …. but, yeah, my wife wasn’t my savior – Jesus is. Haha.

    @Warren – again, I’m sorry if I offended you. Just wasn’t sure what was being said. Thanks for allowing me room to ask my question and understand.

    @Straightgrandmother – I’m a bit confused when you talk about same-sex attracted people getting married. Are you talking about getting married in order to change (feel like a straight person) or are you talking about in general? If it’s for the first reason, I totally agree with you. That does severe damage to both parties. However, if you’re talking about the second reason, I’m not sure if I agree with that. God has used my wife tremendously to bring healing to me (not just same-sex issues). I married for love – and she was well aware of what she was getting into before we even started dating seriously. Marriage can be a good thing, if it’s for the right reasons.

    @William – The kind of “therapy” I advocate is one of the spiritual sense. If our hearts aren’t being connected back to God, first and foremost, then not much is going to happen. He is the one that brings the “change” … not us, not therapy, not programs, etc. I think some people need counseling – regardless of sexual orientation – but even that should be coupled with spiritual discipleship.

    Some input into the other discussions going on:

    All this talk about stats and marriage is a bit troubling. Mixed orientation marriages, where one partner insists on labeling themselves and living as a gay man/woman doesn’t make sense to me. Why would you get married to the opposite sex then? However, for those who deal with same-sex attractions but who are looking to move beyond, yes, some data notes the failure of these marriages. But, remember, their numbers are small, the study doesn’t include everyone (no one contacted me about the study or ever looked at my marriage of 10+ years). I’m not saying that some marriages don’t work, but some do. The same logic could be used in talking about straight marriages, couldn’t it?

    “You know, son, you shouldn’t get married to a woman. It will most likely end in divorce anyways, or so says this study. Just stay single.” But what about the millions of marriages that have worked? Sometimes, I think we focus so much on the stats in studies, that we forget about the stats outside of the studies.

    As for people who don’t agree with homosexuality from a biblical standpoint ….

    Teresa and SG, though I hold to a traditional view of scripture, I in no way advocate or support that harmful discrimination of gays and lesbians. Check my blog … I advocate quite the opposite. GLBT people are people; they matter to God, and so they matter to me. They should have the same rights as every other American. Just because I believe in the traditional view of scripture concerning homosexuality, does not make me a bigot. Please, when you talk about Christian bigots, note that some of us aren’t.

    Wow – this comment is super long. Thanks for allowing me to ask my question and for the conversation.

  • Michael Bussee

    Michael B, Please let me know when he writes it, I will be interested to hear his opinion and thanks for checking on this.

    Will do.

  • ken

    DAVE G# ~ Oct 14, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    “For Teresa & Ken, I welcome you to test my concepts in a well-designed and objective –even double-blind study.”

    Why should we test your (unsubstantiated) claims?

    And I’d still like to hear where you got your observations about sexual response from.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Shawn = Teresa and SG, though I hold to a traditional view of scripture, I in no way advocate or support that harmful discrimination of gays and lesbians. Check my blog … I advocate quite the opposite. GLBT people are people; they matter to God, and so they matter to me. They should have the same rights as every other American. Just because I believe in the traditional view of scripture concerning homosexuality, does not make me a bigot. Please, when you talk about Christian bigots, note that some of us aren’t.

    StraightGrandmother= Applause Applause Shawn! You are not a Bigot Shawn. Bigots insist that everyone lives according to their beliefs and and values and denies individuals the right to pursue their own self selected pursuit of happiness. Peace and Love.

  • Teresa

    Shawn, I happen to be a gay, single woman who has a conservative, Christian faith belief. That belief has driven the choices I make in my life … for me, chastity in regards to my same-sex attraction.

    So, we’re quite on the same page on, Shawn. Please read my Comment:

    Teresa# ~ Oct 14, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    I’m happy to hear of your successful marriage; and, 3 children. Your story is great to hear. We all have to be open to others, and their personal stories. So, I’m glad you shared yours.

    What I love about this Blog is the fact that there are a number of different viewpoints, different stories, different outcomes, different ages … a great diversity of opinion and life in general surrounding the are of sexuality … and, other sundry items.

  • http://six11.wordpress.com Shawn

    Thank you Teresa. Did you post that comment on my blog? If you did, it didn’t show up for some reason.

  • Teresa

    No, Shawn, the Comment I indicated was on this Blog: My name, Date, and Time.

    I happen to agree immensely with the idea that the more “We Let Go, and Let God”; the more we individuals with same-sex attractions accept ourselves as we are, work within faith beliefs that are affirming to our being loved by God, as we are, right here and right now … the more ‘change’ we will undergo in the ways God wants for each one of us, as unique individuals. Rarely does that ‘change’ look anything like the individual thought it would be.

    Final comment on mixed-orientation marriages. I think our society places much, too much, emphasis on being sexually attracted to one another. I think for centuries many people, perhaps most people, married because that’s what was needed for survival, that’s what was expected, that’s what made sense in many pragmatic ways. Often persons, I suspect, didn’t much ‘like’ what was before them, didn’t necessarily feel any sexual attraction toward the person they were to marry, but they accepted that’s how things were, and moved on with their lives.

    So, following along those lines, why shouldn’t mixed-orientation marriages work, given the principal ingredients of honesty, commitment, sharing and living a faith belief, and a genuine love and concern for one another. Sexual attraction, in my opinion, does not need to be a key ingredient to a successful marriage. Successful mixed-orientation marriages may be uncommon; but, so are same-orientation marriages, today.

  • William

    @ Shawn:

    I’m sorry, Shawn. This won’t do. Here we have the former director of “the oldest established member ministry of Exodus International” (as LiA describes itself), who ran the ministry for over two decades and was on the board of Exodus for 11 years, admitting that he has never met a man who experienced a change from homosexual to heterosexual.

    He’s not the first to make an admission like this, and I’m sure that he won’t be the last. To take just one example, back in 2001, Jeremy Marks, who founded and ran the UK ex-gay ministry Courage for more than a decade, whose marital situation is practically identical to that of John Smid, and who had made the same sort of claims (“Today I am able to walk free of the struggle with homosexuality…The years of frustration and misery have borne good fruit, equipping me to help show the way out of homosexuality to others in similar need.”) finally admitted that, despite 14 years of striving, his sexual orientation hadn’t changed and neither had that of any of the clients of his ministry: “None of the people we’ve counselled have converted no matter how much effort and prayer they’ve put into it.”

    The bottom line is that the ex-gay process very seldom works, if ever.

    The kind of “therapy” I advocate is one of the spiritual sense. If our hearts aren’t being connected back to God, first and foremost, then not much is going to happen. He is the one that brings the “change” … not us, not therapy, not programs, etc.

    The facts are what they are, and this kind of religious rhetoric can’t cancel them out. Yes, no doubt an omnipotent God can bring a change in anyone’s sexual orientation at any time, but it’s patently clear that, by and large, he doesn’t.

    You asked earlier, ‘doesn’t the message of “change is not possible” also hurt those looking for help?’ Well yes, people may well experience as hurtful the news that something that they want is either impossible or highly improbable. But in the long run it is far more deeply and lastingly hurtful to advise or encourage them to waste precious years of their lives (not to speak of money) in pursuit of a chimera.

    Your own domestic situation appears to be more or less the same as that of Smid and Marks. If you are happy with that, then I am happy for you. But Smid has rightly said that it is not something that it would be wise or realistic to prescribe or advise for others.

  • Teresa

    William said:

    @ Shawn: Your own domestic situation appears to be more or less the same as that of Smid and Marks. If you are happy with that, then I am happy for you. But Smid has rightly said that it is not something that it would be wise or realistic to prescribe or advise for others.

    William, I think you’ve really hit on something here. I was going to write something similar to what your Comment has expressed. I’ve given this a lot of thought; and, the following comes to mind:

    @Shawn

    Although in several prior Comments, I’ve expressed the fact that mixed-orientation marriages are possible, I must agree whole-heartedly with William’s point.

    First, Shawn, things are what they are for you today; but, we have no idea what the Shawn of 10-years from now will be saying. John Smid never in his wildest dreams could have believed, 10+ years ago, he’d be saying what he’s saying today. Michael Bussee had no idea, I’m sure, that he’d be the person he is now, with what he was years ago. When we’re speaking of sexuality, and relational journeys, life has a way of turning things upside down for many of us. My own journey testifies to this.

    Second, our current culture is not the culture of centuries ago, so I think it was wrong for me to cite that historical time as an example for us today. Our culture is what it is today, and this, our current world, has drives and expectations that were unnecessary years ago … but, absolutely, necessary for us today. Mixed-orientation marriages today from the people I’ve personally known, (which is not a small number, btw), as well as testimony from others who have worked quite a bit with mixed-orientation marriages … is most often have been train-wreck waiting to happen.

    Third, while your message is certainly non-confrontational, kind, considerate and thoughtful of others, it seems to me to be the old “pray away the gay” message, wrapped in a new container … Shawn.

    The kind of “therapy” I advocate is one of the spiritual sense. If our hearts aren’t being connected back to God, first and foremost, then not much is going to happen. He is the one that brings the “change” … not us, not therapy, not programs, etc.

    Shawn, don’t you think Exodus’ Ministries’ (and, NARTH’s) chief focus is/was being connected with God? We see the results of that today, all around us. Don’t you think John Smid spent untold hours trying to bring others to a relationship with God?

    Fourth, Shawn, do you think many gays who live in monogamous, committed relationships have not had deeply transforming, heart connectedness with God? Aren’t their stories as valuable, and worth celebrating as yours?

    Fifth, I must admit very candidly for myself, at least, pondering your ‘testimony’ that, I was left somewhat saddened. Not unhappy for your current life situation, Shawn, but saddened that I was/am incapable of what you say God does for homosexuals … but, not this one.

    @William:

    Your Comment was excellent.

  • Teresa

    Last note: where are the wives in these relationships … mixed-orientation marriages? What is their history, their story? Have they had to make most of the adjustments, emotionally and sexually, to make these marriages work? Where and what will they be many years down the road?

    Have these men thought about what their wives are missing from these relationships? Have the wives thoughts about this … when they do, what will that look like for all concerned? Is this simply a replay of “all my friends in high-school were girls”?

  • StraightGrandmother

    Theresa, You said what I was thinking, re “Pray Away he Gay” & Shawn.

    I went to his website (if you click on his name you can get over there) and read his whole story , and many other pages. He seems like such a nice person that I did not want to confront him and suggest that his conversion, the taking away, or shall we say, lessening of Same Sex Attractions may not be controlled by him forever. I was glad you and William commented.

    After I read his website I went over to the Straight Spouse Network and read a few of their stories. Here maybe this is what I should do, I’ll repost a comment(s) from the Straight Spouse Network below. Then that will show a comparison between Shawn and the other side of the coin.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Comments from the Straight Spouse Network

    Random #1

    So here I am, like everyone else here, in a place I never in my worst nightmares expected to be. Sunday night I decided to check my e-mail after my husband went to bed. He had left his account open, and there I saw his “matches” on a sex website….all male. So I clicked on the links, and there was his profile, complete with photos. I reacted as you might expect–just shy of a full-blown panic attack. Since then I have been in a daze, can’t eat or sleep, can’t stop thinking about this. And I have no one to talk to. I can’t tell my family or my pastor, as he is my husband’s good friend.

    I don’t know what to do next. i looked at his e-mail again tonight and discovered he has arranged to meet someone while I am at work. I feel like Alice falling down the rabbit hole. I am 59 & have been married almost 34

    years. What makes this even stranger is that my husband has been very ill for the past few years ( fibromyalgia and degenerative disc disease) and is on full-time disability. He has been in such pain and on so many drugs that we have not had sex since he got sick. Now he is feeling better, and this happens?!

    My question is …how do I confront him? How do I decide what to do next? Part of me is so angry because I have been there for him for all these years through 12 surgeries, 2 bouts of depression, etc. But part of me is terrified because I only work part-time and my health insurance and retirement are all through him. I don’t even know if I can afford to separate from him, as we took a big cut in pay when he went on disability. I hope someone can respond to me because I don’t know where else to turn. Thanks for listening.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Comments from the Straight Spouse Network

    Random #2

    Do these lines sound familiar to anyone?

    1- I did not look at gay porn (I do not know how that got in my computer)

    2- I did look (out of curiosity), but it did not do anything for me, I am definatly not gay

    3- I did get turned on, but it was just the porn, never a real man

    4- I did fuck men, but it did not mean anything, I love only you

  • StraightGrandmother

    Comments from the Straight Spouse Network

    Random #3

    So we talked again. I’ve had such a roughly emotional day that what would cure my ails is getting… Ummm… Shimmied. But alas, no shimmying going on around here so…. We talked (all those women in the world that wish their man would talk and all I want is to get… shimmied)… I told him how I feel – how I always feel.

    He grabbed me and pulled me onto him and kissed me. Oh God can he kiss! (I taught him well…) I wanted… And then he pulled away and said, “See? I can do it. It’s easy.”

    I stood up from straddling him, unable to deny my desire, but somehow still thinking with the part of me that’s so hurt. I said, “Is your dick hard?”.

    He said, “No.”

    I said, “That’s the problem. I know you can turn me on, but can you get turned on?” Point well proven.

    Sorry for the somewhat graphic nature of this post, but I feel like it is the perfect example of what’s missing between us. This is what my whole sex life will be forever if I stay… *sigh*

  • StraightGrandmother

    Comments from the Straight Spouse Network

    Random #4

    Stbxw = Soon to be Ex Wife

    I’m not truly sure a lack of intimacy can be contrued as a sure sign of homosexuality. Lots of other potential reasons: medical, time, other relationship issues, stress, etc.

    Hindight though certainly would say the lack of intimacy would be a definite clue.

    Stbx and I had a relatively “normal” (whatever that means)

    sex life prior to marriage. Our romantic weeklong honeymoon cruise (after a sexless wedding night) netted TWO lovemaking sessions. She claimed sea sickness most nights. Little did I know she actually meant semen sickness.

    We were blessed with pregnacny shortly after marraige, And intimacy over the decade became probably about twice a year on average. The passion level clearly wasn’t there during the biannual events. I might as well have been pleasuring a watermelon with a strategically drilled point of entry (enjoy the picture). I attibuted the frequency and passion level to stress, time, kid around, schedules, etc, and frankly just became complacent in my sexuality. Me reaching over and trying to start something with zero results became the norm. Rejection times a couple thousand (literally) atempts became the norm. Great way to make you feel like a worthless unattractive piece of shit.

    When she outed herself (as the realtionship continued to decline in all aspects), it made the sexual rejection after all these years tons more understandable. A gift in a way? Fuck no. Still ten years of rejection. Just with explanation. Like putting a bandaid on a machete wound.

    The biggest clue (again, in hidsight), coupled with the lack of sex is her complete lack of femininity. Also the way she super-strongly thought any lez or three way jokes (a guy thing) I made were disgusting.

    Lack of intimacy can definitely be a clue, but is not an answer unto itself.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Comments from the Straight Spouse Network

    Random #5 (I guess this is enough)

    Hello Andrew and welcome to the club that noone wanted to join.

    I have been into this sludgepot for about two years now. Short version of long story: In Summer of ’09 our already rocky relationship (then married close to 9 years) started to deteriorate rapidly. No “love yous” on the phone. No hello or goodbye kisses. Certainly nothing else. Was already down to about twice a year anyhow, extremely mechanical, zero passion), I just kinda went with the flow as these cycles have happened in the past. Fast forward to our anniversary in mid-fall of ’09. I made a very romantic dinner for two, had our son (8) already fed and entertained. Wrote a very loving card to her and lavished her with gifts. She was polite, and that’s about it. I laid out a nice lingeree set for her on our bed that night, she sneered at her and at me and said “I wont wear that.” I went to bed sobbing myself to sleep, yet once again untouched. A few weeks later I got invited to leave the bedroom as I allegedly kicked too much (only at home a couple of nights a week due to work). A few days after that she reamed me a new asshole like noone ever had before. Told me how she didn’t doesnt and wont love me, all our problems are my fault, I bring her down (and then it got really bad!). She outed herself a few days later, sayaing she knew since her teens (we are late 40’s) but wanted to “conform to society” but something just “clicked.” And then she walked out the door to see friends. Thirty years for her to process. Ten minutes for me. We lived together as roomates/coparents until early this year, when she moved several hours away to be with her gf a friend from high school who has been openly out forever. The divorce is slothing along. Living in a loveless, sexless, communicationless household is the lowest level of hell.

  • StraightGrandmother

    The above comments from the Straight Spouse Network are why I strongly, strongly would discourage anyone to seek to change or attempt to control their same sex attractions and attempt to marry in a Mixed Orientation Marriage!

    I found that website through a reference here on Warren’s website and my eyes have been opened. This is why I say we all need to consider the Straight Spouse and the harm that they experience in a Mixed Orientation Marriage. This Pray Away the Gay is not only about 1 person, when the gay/lesbian/bi person goes forward and marries an opposite sex spouse you now involve a second person.

  • http://six11.wordpress.com Shawn

    Wow.

  • Michael Bussee

    The above comments from the Straight Spouse Network are why I strongly, strongly would discourage anyone to seek to change or attempt to control their same sex attractions and attempt to marry in a Mixed Orientation Marriage!

    So would I! If they are already married and trying to “work it out”, God bless them. I hope they do. But most can’t — and it’s irresponsible to advise people to try it.

  • Michael Bussee

    “…you now involve a second person.”

    And as the family grows, a third, a fourth… Kids pay the price.

  • http://six11.wordpress.com Shawn

    I consider myself a strong person when it comes to critics. I’ve read a lot of comments about my story and ministry over the years. But never have I been cut this deep, and on such personal levels.

    I’m deeply sorry for even commenting in the first place.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Shawn, I did not mean to hurt you. I have a difference of opinion with you, it is not personal. But it is hard, as you are advocating and promoting something that I truly recently have come to believe is very harmful. I encourage you to go and read these stories from the Straight Spouse network for a good couple hours, go ahead. You will see that I didn’t cherry pick anything, they are ALL like this and even worse, the pain and well just deep deep pain that these straight spouses experience are all like what I have posted above and even worse. Go ahead here is the link Open Forum Straight Spouse Network.

    http://www.voy.com/86426/

    Michael Bussee I hope John Smid spends some time reading at the Straight Spouse network Open Forum as he reflects and solidifies his thoughts.

  • Michael Bussee

    SG: I wanted to let you know that John is working on a detailed response to questions that he has been getting this past week.

    I wrote a seven page response to last week’s article and subsequent reactions but honestly, I am not ready to send a response.

    He goes on to say:

    Many people have written comments publicly, and I’ve heard from people personally.

    Some have said “hurray”! Others have been ponderous and have further questions. There have been the warnings of caution regarding my journey of searching God for His thoughts and answers to my questions.

    And yes, I have received a couple of rebukes that I have embraced a different “gospel.” Someone even called me to tell me that I am in threat of losing my salvation sharing that in their theology that can happen and they are in fear for my soul. Needless to say, I’ve been very busy this week.

    http://www.gracerivers.com/stretching-week/

  • Teresa

    Shawn said:

    I consider myself a strong person when it comes to critics. I’ve read a lot of comments about my story and ministry over the years. But never have I been cut this deep, and on such personal levels.

    I’m deeply sorry for even commenting in the first place.

    Shawn, you don’t have to apologize for commenting. If I’ve offended you, I apologize for that. Can you separate the issues brought to bear from the personalities, here? Deal with principles, and not personalities?

    However, Shawn, you know this issue is very personal, and very sensitive. No one has said your choice is wrong, for you. The caveat is the seeming ‘implication’ in your ‘ministry’ that everyone will be able to attain what you have. Everyone who develops a relationship with God, will be transformed and ‘changed’ like you, and be able to accomplish what you have.

    Isn’t that what you were saying? Isn’t that what your life story, and ministry is all about? If not, if what I’ve just stated is not what you meant, and you care to comment further; please, please disabuse us of our wrong notions.

  • Patrocles

    I’m not much impressed.

    Labels like homo-, hetero- or that oh-so-convenient bisexual are no serious object of scientific research. Asking people if they “were homosexual” then and “are” or “are not” homosexual now isn’t a contribution to the progress of human knowledge.

    The central point is arousal: Can you get aroused by the anticipation of mating a woman? You wouldn’t learn that by prayers. You wouldn’t learn it by the Nicolosi type of therapy (even if Nicolosi has some good ideas). You might indeed learn it by a classical sexual therapy curing impotency, like the therapies of Masters and Johnson.- but nobody seems to have tried such a therapy. Perhaps it has to be refined for the particular inhibitions of so-called homosexual men.

    So we have not arrived at an endpoint of SOC- therapy; we haven’t started yet.

  • http://www.exgaywatch.com Emily K

    I believe Masters and Johnson admitted their studies were frauds, but I can’t be certain.

    And if there were a sexual therapy that cured impotency, Viagra wouldn’t be such a blockbuster.

  • Patrocles

    An interesting idea. Did change-oriented gays ever test Viagra?

    I there a difference between a “homosexual” and a “heterosexual” lack of arousal?

  • Patrocles

    Michael Bussee wrote October 12th:

    “What concerns me is why homosexual men would “aspire towards” such change in the first place.”

    Thereafter follow a lot of hypothetical reasons and a quotation from the APA. Both imply that there are no legitime reasons why homosexual men would aspire to be aroused by the opposite gender.

    But that’s nonsense. In fact, as the Straight Grandmother showed, gay men may – as well as impotent straight men – wish to maintain or improve a marriage.

    Perhaps, in the narrow mind of the APA liberals, people are to marry only as a result of sexual attraction. Or they have to divorce at the moment sexual attraction disappears. But life isn’t so. People marry out of all possible reasons, good or bad. And they legitimately wish that attraction/arousal accords to their marriage, not the opposite. And psychologists should adapt to people’s legitimate wishes, people shouldn’t adapt their wishes to the psychologists’ ideas.

  • Jayhuck

    Patro-

    Thereafter follow a lot of hypothetical reasons and a quotation from the APA. Both imply that there are no legitime reasons why homosexual men would aspire to be aroused by the opposite gender.

    Makes me wonder if there are heterosexual men who would aspire to being aroused by the same sex?

    But that’s nonsense. In fact, as the Straight Grandmother showed, gay men may – as well as impotent straight men – wish to maintain or improve a marriage.

    Are you talking about same-sex or opposite-sex marriages here?

  • http://six11.wordpress.com Shawn

    Teresa …

    However, Shawn, you know this issue is very personal, and very sensitive. No one has said your choice is wrong, for you. The caveat is the seeming ‘implication’ in your ‘ministry’ that everyone will be able to attain what you have. Everyone who develops a relationship with God, will be transformed and ‘changed’ like you, and be able to accomplish what you have.

    Isn’t that what you were saying? Isn’t that what your life story, and ministry is all about? If not, if what I’ve just stated is not what you meant, and you care to comment further; please, please disabuse us of our wrong notions.

    I encourage you to check out a piece I wrote about change on my blog: http://six11.wordpress.com/youth-workers/glbt/the-change-question/.

    Even on this post, I have never said that the end result for every gay person is to have a story like mine. Change happens in different ways for different people. My whole goal in ministry is to help people reconnect with their Father God; to help them see themselves as He sees them – His child. That’s it. This is my goal for Six:11, this is my goal for the students I pastor, this is my goal for my family and this is my personal goal.

    And, I’m sorry, but when you say “No one has said your choice is wrong, for you” … many of you have said that. My marriage is sham … my testimony is a sham … it’s a matter of time before I’m divorced … I should have never married my wife … look at the harm I’ve brought on to my wife and kids, cause statistically, my marriage won’t last much longer … etc. Really? My marriage and my life are being matched up to a bunch of numbers? You all know me that well to make such predications?

    Yes, this is a personal and touchy issue. I just thought if you gave compassion to others, it would be returned to you in the same manner.

  • http://exgaywatch.com David Roberts

    Shawn, I don’t think you would encounter such reactions if Exodus, et al, had started their work with the truth. They could have said that willful change of sexual orientation (attractions, etc) is so rare as to be an unreasonable goal, but we will help you cope and be accountable if you feel your theology precludes you from having intimate, same-sex relationships. If your same-sex attractions attenuate in the mean time, well fine — just don’t expect that. This would be stating the truth and would therefore not be a problem.

    However, your comments here carry with them the baggage of years of lies and distortions by such groups. That’s not something you can do much about in the short term. I think I know enough about you to say that you are not of the Exodus ilk, though there are some things on your website with which I disagree. But I believe you remain teachable and open to the facts.

    You need only to stroll through some of the ex-gay ministry literature — current and historical — to understand why people respond as they do when you get into “change” issues. Your own experience may be the exception that proves the rule, I don’t know. But you don’t seem to imprint it on others as is so common in the ex-gay world.

    To answer one of the questions raised on your website, telling someone who does not want to be gay that change is an unreasonable goal may indeed cause some hurt, but it has the advantage of being the truth. In the end, I think far fewer lives will be hurt by being truthful about that than the alternative.

    Thanks for the bday wishes, btw :)

  • ken

    Patrocles# ~ Oct 15, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    “Both imply that there are no legitime reasons why homosexual men would aspire to be aroused by the opposite gender.”

    No, Michael didn’t imply that. He was simply saying the reasons he was familiar with for why gay men wanted to become straight.

    “Perhaps, in the narrow mind of the APA liberals, people are to marry only as a result of sexual attraction. Or they have to divorce at the moment sexual attraction disappears. ”

    If you had been paying attention to SGM’s comments, you would see that the reason most of those mixed orientation marriages failed was because of same-sex cheating by the gay spouse. It isn’t simply that the spouse no longer has any attraction, but in fact attracted to other (same-gender) people.

    “And psychologists should adapt to people’s legitimate wishes, people shouldn’t adapt their wishes to the psychologists’ ideas.”

    Only if the client’s wishes are realistically attainable and not likely to harm the client (or someone else).

  • Teresa

    Shawn said:

    And, I’m sorry, but when you say “No one has said your choice is wrong, for you” … many of you have said that. My marriage is sham … my testimony is a sham … it’s a matter of time before I’m divorced … I should have never married my wife … look at the harm I’ve brought on to my wife and kids, cause statistically, my marriage won’t last much longer … etc. Really? My marriage and my life are being matched up to a bunch of numbers? You all know me that well to make such predications?

    Apologies again, Shawn, if that attitude was implied in any of my comments. However, if you read closely, some of my comments, supported the idea the for some gays, mixed-orientation marriages do work.

    It will do none of us any good to treat one another in an un-Christian manner. As you rightly felt put upon by some of our remarks, so did some of us feel ‘less than’ by implications of what, perhaps, were our misperceptions of what you were trying to say.

    From your Blog about ‘change’:

    So, then, can people “change”? Yes, some can and do. Some people are able to leave their same-sex attractions behind, 100%, and marry. Others are able to deal with their attractions, and not succumb to them, and either get married or live a life of celibacy. (If we are honest, the majority of “ex-gays” fit into this category.) The issue of “change” is not about changing one’s sexual orientation, then, rather it is about changing how one lives their life. See, “change” happens, for everyone, how much or how little, though, depends on the person.

    Shawn, I can see from this one paragraph of yours, that your ‘definition’ of ‘change’ is quite realistic. Without wanting to ‘put you on the rack’, so-to-speak, isn’t your definition of ‘change’ pretty much the Exodus version: “the opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality, but holiness”?

    I wonder, Shawn, really wonder why the onus is always put upon homosexuals? Is there an opposite of heterosexuality? Is the opposite of heterosexuality, holiness? Where’s the ‘change’ message for str8 persons?

    This isn’t about you, Shawn, at all. So, please, do not take this as an affront to you. It’s about me, and my impatience and perception that somehow I need to be ‘fixed’ or ‘changed’ … that somehow, I’m someone’s ‘little project’.

  • Teresa

    Shawn’s statement:

    Yes, this is a personal and touchy issue. I just thought if you gave compassion to others, it would be returned to you in the same manner.

    I think, Shawn, most of us on this Blog do comport ourselves reasonably well, most of the time. Unfortunately, your comments were not given the respect they should have been shown. Apologies, again.

    I would ask you, Shawn, though to put yourself in our shoes … as we should try to do with you. How would you feel if you were single, alone and gay; having been through the ‘change’ approach, and the ‘change’ you sought never happened … but, someone keeps telling you it will? Can you understand the despair, disillusionment, sadness at not being able to achieve that? Very sensitive issue, Shawn, very sensitive, indeed.

  • Jayhuck

    Shawn,

    And, I’m sorry, but when you say “No one has said your choice is wrong, for you” … many of you have said that. My marriage is sham … my testimony is a sham … it’s a matter of time before I’m divorced … I should have never married my wife … look at the harm I’ve brought on to my wife and kids, cause statistically, my marriage won’t last much longer … etc. Really? My marriage and my life are being matched up to a bunch of numbers? You all know me that well to make such predications?

    I’m coming to this conversation late, and I have to admit I haven’t read every post on this thread yet, but it does seem that Teresa and David, at least, have tried to have a compassionate exchange with you. I also am sorry if people have suggested your marriage is a “sham”. You are right when you say that we don’t know you and that none of us can judge you. It seems as if you might be misinterpreting some of the data that was posted, but I’ll leave it to other posters to deal with this issue.

    The only thing I hope for is that you treat same-sex marriages with the respect that you hope to see your own marriage treated.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Shawn From your Blog

    So, then, can people “change”? Yes, some can and do. Some people are able to leave their same-sex attractions behind, 100%, and marry. Others are able to deal with their attractions, and not succumb to them, and either get married or live a life of celibacy. (If we are honest, the majority of “ex-gays” fit into this category.) The issue of “change” is not about changing one’s sexual orientation, then, rather it is about changing how one lives their life. See, “change” happens, for everyone, how much or how little, though, depends on the person.

    StraightGrandmother – Shawn if a person with unwanted same sex attractions wishes to change and not have them any more what is the most likely outcome? In my research the most likely outcome is that they will always have them. The most likely outcome is that if they attempt a mixed orientation marriage that it will fail. But what do you lead with in your blog about this??? You LEAD, you open your blog with the most unlikely outcome and put that out there first using yourself as the example. You use yourself as the example of what can be attained as the very basis of your blog.

    A more truthful description of what the outcome will be for the vast majority of people with unwanted same sex attractions is that they will not be able to “control” their same sex attractions and be exclusively faithful to an opposite sex spouse. That is the truth. So I find it misleading of you to hold out a Mixed Orientation Marriage as the first result of Pray Away The Gay efforts on your blog.

    A more accurate, or more truthful statement would be similar to…

    So, then, can people “change”? The issue of “change” is not about changing one’s sexual orientation as it is quite rare to ever change one’s sexual orientation, then, rather it is about changing how one lives their life. See, “change” happens, for everyone, how much or how little, though, depends on the person.

    The vast majority of people with unwanted same sex attractions never achieve opposite sex sexual attraction and arousal. It is not a matter of trying harder, it is simply not achievable for them. Most of them cease seeking to change their natural same sex attractions and live a same sex attracted life. Some do this openly others keep up a false heterosexual front.

    A small minority of people with unwanted same sex attractions are able to lead a life of celibacy. Remaining always same sex attracted, and never sexually opposite sex attracted but consciously choosing never to act on their same sex attractions.

    It is very rare that people with unwanted same sex attractions are able to suppress their same sex attractions (but they are always there) sufficiently to marry an opposite sex spouse (Mixed Orientation Marriage) and maintain this marriage in sexual satisfaction for both spouses, and sexual monogamy for their lifetime.

    It is extremely rare for homosexual and heterosexuals to ever change their natural sexual orientation (which sex we they are emotionally and or sexually attracted to and aroused by) especially men. At the center of the human sexuality spectrum are people who are bi-sexual. Often times it will appear to the outside world that someone has changed their sexual orientation when actually they are simply bi-sexual and have chosen to live an exclusive heterosexual or homosexual life.

    Shawn you hold out your life story which includes a Mixed Orientation Marriage as achievable if you simply turn your life over to God and pray hard enough. I don’t think you present this outcome fairly, you do not give the statistical scientific facts of how achievable this is, kind of a sin of omission if you will. Because this is a big part of your story that you put out there, it is only fair for you to expect comments back on it. In other words you hold out to the world via the internet this idyllic that you have achieved with the help of God, but you seem to be upset that I comment about it and question how achievable this is for others. You put it out there Shawn. I am trying to figure out how I can make my opinion known in a way that does not offend you.

    Shawn I would like to ask you what about the people who Pray real hard but never are able to suppress their natural sexual orientation in order to live at a minimum a celibate life? Their human need for love and companionship within their natural sexual orientation is simply not able to be changed or suppressed through prayer. What about them Shawn? What is your guidance to them Shawn. Is it just keep praying and try harder, ask for repentance because according to your faith and not all faiths, any slippage is a sin, just keep praying harder? Turning away from religion and considering their psychological health, do you think this is healthy for them? Do you think, “Just Pray Harder” will result in guilt and depression when after years and years they never achieve celibacy even? Let me ask this question in a different way. Through Pray and religious beliefs, are all homosexuals able to achieve at a minimum celibacy if they pray hard enough, study the Bible, and turn their will over to God? Is this achievable for everyone?

    And is praying harder, more fervently, and trusting more and more in God result in a homosexual, or all homosexuals even, being able to achieve a Mixed Orientation Marriage? In other words is it, the more you pray and turn your life over to God the higher you will be able to rise in the no homo life? You can rise from Celibacy to Mixed Orientation marriage based on how hard you pray and how fervently you turn your life over to God? Is it based on prayer and the actions of the homosexual? If you pray harder can you move further away from homosexuality towards a heterosexual life, or at least a heterosexual looking life?

    I mean you no harm or insults, and wish only the BEST for you Shawn, it is not personal. But I do think you should work on the text of your website and more accurately present in Ascending Order what can be achieved through prayer and faith. Please try and not skip over my questions and cherry pick to only answer a few. Please remember those straight spouses in the Mixed Orientation Marriages when you reflect on this. Please remember their stories as well Shawn.

  • http://six11.wordpress.com Shawn

    @Teresa, I’m sorry, too, for the last post. It was kinda rash. Please forgive me. I accept your apology, too.

    @Dave – I agree, Exodus should have been more clearer … and a bit more compassionate 😉

    @Others

    The end result of any life – straight or gay – is to glorify God with the life we live. Am I honoring God? Is my heart surrendered to His will and not my own? Am I loving others with the same love God has for me? Am I spurring others on in the faith? Etc.

    My blog is much more than just a “gay blog”. Read it. I’m constantly calling the church to a higher standard – God’s standard, not just gays and lesbians. Talking about homosexuality is something I specifically deal with on the site, but it isn’t the majority (at least I try not to make it as such).

    What God has brought me through and into is my story. Never have I, nor never will I, force my story onto others. I do not hold my testimony up and say, “This is the standard. Now live it.” I think I’ve stated pretty clearly what I mean by “change” and how the church should rethink their idea of change.

    Marriage isn’t for everyone. I know that. With the single people I counsel, I make them quite aware of what is involved in marriage, and that they shouldn’t consider this path unless they feel lead to do so. I’ve been through two horrible divorces with my parents, so I know full well what they do to families – especially kids.

    I am committed to my wife. I have no problems being intimate with her (not that it’s any of your business). We have a great marriage, and I fall more in love with her as time goes on. We are committed to this. Say what you will – quote a study – this is my experience and my life. It may not be “the norm”, but it’s the one I’m living and to me it’s normal.

    I believe in a big God, who can do anything. I believe that God works outside of the box science tries to put Him into – people and data. After all, God created science, it didn’t create Him. Anything is possible with God (Matthew 19:26). When our focus gets off of ourselves and onto Him, when we desire His image rather than our own (i.e. “straighthood”), when we begin to seek Him regardless of the obstacles in our life, we begin to see that not only is it possible but it is worth every step.

    Again, our goal in life is to make His name known and to live as His child, bearing His image.

    If you want to further talk, email me. Other than that, my blog speaks for itself. Thanks for the conversation.

  • Patrocles

    Jayhuck (Oct 15)

    “Makes me wonder if there are heterosexual men who would aspire to being aroused by the same sex?”

    Interesting question. The problem is that Partner A doesn’t rise to the expectations of Partner B, but would like to. Now could that Partner A be a heterosexual?

    In theory, yes. There are a lot of cases in which gay men are deeply in love with non-responding straight men. So, the straight man might want to remain close and enjoy the intimate friendship, but might be not able to respond sexually, and regret this.

    Does this happen in reality?? I remember a gay Swiss author who describes a partnership in which one man was only turned on by a woman-like appearance, – but they didn’t of course not look for therapy, they solved their problem in that way that the second man played a woman in order to have sex.. There may be much more complicated partnerships in life as we think. But I suppose that most men, and in particular most gay men, in such a situation would simply separate friendship with one partner from sexual outlet with another partner.

    I can’t speak for homosexual women. Traditionally, we assume that women are less apt to separate intimate friendship from sex. But that may be a prejudice.

  • Teresa

    I can’t speak for homosexual women. Traditionally, we assume that women are less apt to separate intimate friendship from sex. But that may be a prejudice.

    Patrocles, several questions arise from this short paragraph.

    First, who’s the we in the assumption that women are less apt to separate intimate friendship from sex?

    Second, does this sentence speak only about homosexual women?

    Third, whose prejudice… yours?

  • StraightGrandmother

    From time to time I check back on John Smid (who I was never aware of thx Warren for another chapter in my education) which I do by checking out his Grace Rivers blog. If you read his blog articles he says he is a real people pleaser, he wants people to like him and he says he also can get defensive and he is working on that. This is what he says about himself in his writings. Every now and then I check back on him which I did a few days ago. Pls keep in mind I don’t have an ax to grind I never even hear of the man until this article.

    I read his latest blog article on how he wants to now create a ministry to bring sexual minorities to Christ. So I am following along and read this from the article-

    We have it in mind to explore a third voice regarding ministry with the gay community:

    Neither a voice of condemnation

    Nor a voice of permissiveness;

    I commented on his article and asked that he define

    Nor a voice of permissiveness

    As we all understand what a voice of condemnation is, what is this “permissiveness” he is referencing.

    I also suggested that he buy John Shore’s new book “Pigs with Wings” which was a collection of letters written to John Shore from sexual minorities and their torment with religion. And then John Shore intersperses the letters with his religious beliefs. I suggested to John Smid that he buy the $10 Kindle Book (Kindle has a free app to read Kindle Books on your computer) because it looked to me like John Shore is already reaching Smid’s target demographic, look at all the letters he got.

    There was nothing attacking in my comment at all, only asking for clarification on what “Permissive” is and my recommendation of a book I thought would help John Smid. Guess what? He pulled my comment. Okay okay we all need to keep a very close eye now on John Smid, because if my comment was pulled, and it was, something is not kosher here. He is starting to remind me of that Richard [cha-ching] Cohen guy

    http://wthrockmorton.com/category/ihf/

    http://www.gracerivers.com/around-the-world/#comments

  • http://exgaywatch.com David Roberts

    Quite frankly I wondered about that myself. I’ve posted a comment asking the same thing, so perhaps he will respond this time. You are right to be concerned if your comment was pulled over that.

    I should add that I first heard the slogan “100% Grace, 100% Truth, No Compromise” from Alan Chambers, president of Exodus.

  • http://www.gracerivers.com John Smid

    Dear Straight Grandmother, and David,

    I did not “pull” your comments, frankly, I am on vacation visiting family and am not working hard to make sure everything is all caught up. On my website comments must be approved in order to show up and I just haven’t gone in to approve all of the comments that have been sent in.

    And regarding “watching John Smid closely” I am on a journey which is a delicate one as you have pointed out. I have chosen to be pretty public about it all because of my public ministry all through the years. As I have said I can get defensive and honestly when you so quickly accused me of pulling your comment I have to admit I got a little defensive about that.

    I had no problem with anything you said in your comments on my website. The only comments I have not approved were a couple of them that were personally challenging my character publicly when I believe that should be done privately. In those cases I have emailed the person and dealt with their questions or challenges individually.

    Also, David, the same thing applies, I haven’t approved your comment as yet and I plan on responding to your questions about “permissiveness” when I get home and can respond appropriately.

  • Teresa

    Thank you, John Smid, for taking the time to comment here. It must be hard to read about yourself in the 3rd person; and, all that entails. I know the same applies to all persons who put themselves ‘out there’, which certainly includes our generous Blog owner, Warren.

    Of course I know that putting oneself out-there, whatever position one holds, makes one fair game, in a worldly way. I guess, because I’m a Christian, your appearance here, makes me want to be mindful in a way I hadn’t thought about before. Fair-game should never be in the spiritual lexicon of a Christian. Christians are not a pack of wolves, circling prey, virtual or otherwise … waiting for the kill. This applies to me, wherever I land on the politicized religious spectrum.

    Thanks for showing up, John Smid.

  • StraightGrandmother

    John Schmid,

    Well that certainly makes me feel better :)

    I was sure I saw my comment posted after I wrote it and went back today to see if there was a reply and it was gone. And there really isn’t anything wrong or in anyway attacking you in my comment. So when I went back and it wasn’t there you can see why I thought what I did. And I guess I am not the only one to assume this.

    I will wait for you to further write what

    a voice of permissiveness

    is.

    Basically I am waiting for you to lay out your theology, will it be-

    1) Come join us God Loves you, we welcome you as you are. And then later on when they are in the fold, “Well now that you know and Love Christ don’t you want to follow his word and stop sinning and abstain from homosexuality?”

    2) Come Join us God Loves you as you are and bring your gay partner with you and we will respect you as a couple and marry you when the law allows. Gay love is not a sin in our ministry.

    So I will wait patiently John until you reveal yourself. My perception is that you are trying to thread a needle and on this issue I myself don’t see the third way you talk about so I am darned curious to see what you come up with.

  • http://www.comingout4christians.net Dave

    SG .. my guess would be that the third way affirms attractions/identity but skips the whole anti-gay identity .. anti-gay political rhetoric .. allowing individuals to make their own decisions about their own lives and morals. In short .. probably much like the SITF congruence model where people seek to live a life congruent to their beliefs. (Again, just a guess on my part)

    Dave