First study to refer to ex-gays discredited

In 2000, I presented a paper at the annual conference of the American Psychological Association outlining studies which referred to ex-gays, i.e., people who rejected gay as an identity for religious reasons. That presentation was part of a larger symposium organized by Mark Yarhouse and Doug Haldeman on religious and GLB issues. In 2002, that paper was published in the APA journal Professional Psychology: Research and Practice.* That was the same year I was given the Freud Award at the NARTH conference.

In that paper, I summarized a study by psychiatrist E. Mansell Pattison and his wife Myrna Loy Pattison, titled “‘Ex-gays’: Religiously Mediated Change in Homosexuals.” The Pattisons interviewed 11 men in the Melodyland church in Anaheim, CA who claimed to have changed from gay to straight. One of those men was frequent commenter here Michael Bussee. Another was Gary Cooper, the man who left that ministry and Exodus with Bussee when they both acknowledged that they had not changed their orientation. In other words, two of the 11 had not changed at all.

Today, on the Religion Dispatches website, I describe that study in more detail and interview Michael Bussee about his participation. I encourage you to go read it and comment here or there.

The study continues to be used by NARTH as well as other groups to claim sexual reorientation works. The problems with the study provide more evidence that NARTH’s use of old data (125 year landscape review) is flawed.

*Throckmorton, W. (2002). Initial empirical and clinical findings concerning the change process for ex-gays. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 33, 242-248.

  • ken

    Interesting, so according to the Pattison study, the term “ex-gay” (where the term was coined) did mean change from gay to straight.

    Warren, have you been able to track down any of the other 9 participants in that study?

  • StraightGrandmother

    Warren, I’ll have more to say later but in the meantime can you kindly send the actual award back to NARTH? Just mail it back to them and have them remove your award on their WIKIPEDIA page. Just get rid of it.

  • ken

    SGM,

    I wouldn’t recommend he send it back. I’m sure NARTH would LIKE to get that back. Cause while Warren has it, it can be said that even NARTH’s award winner is questioning their ethics and integrity.

  • Michael Bussee

    Warren, have you been able to track down any of the other 9 participants in that study?

    SG: I knew each of the participants personally. I selected the guys who were interviewed. They attended our weekly Bible studies and couseling sessions. Although I have lost touch with them, I know for a fact that at the time of the study not one of them had actually changed their sexual orientation from gay to straight. Some had experienced a decrease in “SSA”, but I don’t recall any of them claiming to be heterosexual.

    All were still “struggling” and some were experiencing “falls”. All of us were “claiming” our “healing” on faith. “Ex-gay” was the term we used to express the hope that what had “already been changed in Heaven” would eventually “manifest” itself on Earth. Such a belief was common in Charismatic churches of the time. It’s what Yarhouse has referred to in his study as “likely overly optimistic projections of anticipated success.”

  • StraightGrandmother

    Michael Bussee, one day I will write about my grandmother, when she was a child there were still Indian attacks. I can’t write about it now but to you and Warren I will simply repeat what my grandmother and mother, and now I say,

    So late smart…

    Also can be stated as

    With age comes wisdom…

  • David Blakeslee

    Warren,

    Thanks for posting this. My impression is that your relationship with Michael Bussee has been transformative of your political agenda. In that regard, Michael is to be commended for seeking you out and challenging your assumptions (and mine)…for extending truth and grace.

    Thanks for your courage Michael.

  • StraightGrandmother

    David Blakeslee=

    My impression is that your relationship with Michael Bussee has been transformative of your political agenda.

    StraightGrandmother= What? I wish Warren would get a political agenda. So far I mainly just see him verifying and debunking research on sexual minorities and debunking mis stated historical facts.

    I would LOVE to see some politics from Warren, ENDA, DOMA, DADT, Marriage Equality, these would be good for a start.

    I would love to see a topic on the Michigan Senate’s anti- bullying law that leaves an exception for Christians to bully, a/k/a Cruelty For Christ. Did he write about when New York passed Marriage Equality? Maybe he did but I don’t recall it. The only politics he regularly writes about are African Politics, issues related to cruel punishment for sexual minorities.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Michael Bussee =

    I knew each of the participants personally. I selected the guys who were interviewed. They attended our weekly Bible studies and couseling sessions. Although I have lost touch with them, I know for a fact that at the time of the study not one of them had actually changed their sexual orientation from gay to straight.

    StraightGrandmother = WOW! You know Michael, hindsight is always 20/20. In a situation like this my mother would tell me, “Well did you learn anything?” I guess we all learned that people who are currently participating in religious based therapy groups are not trustworthy research candidates because of their fealty to their religion.

    It has been 10 years since Spitzer did his research project I sure wish to heck he would go back again for a second pass with the same people he originally interviewed.

  • Michael Bussee

    David: Thanks. It’s been transformative for me as well. I have learned a lot from him and I genuinely respect his dedication to finding and expressing the truth about “ex-gay” and “reparative therapy” programs.

    Straight Grandmother: I would also like to see Warren express clear support for doing away with any laws that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

  • David Blakeslee

    SG,

    …transformation does not always include adopting the opposite position.

    In this case it means abandoning arguments that do not stand scrutiny…and undermining those who continue to use them for political ends;

    here and abroad.

  • Patrocles

    I’m not a flaming fan of Kinsey’s rating system – Kinsey seems to have mingled feminity in men and homosexuality, two factors whose connection can only be studied if they are defined separately.

    On the other hand, there’s something to say for Kinsey’s gradualist approach. Basically, it undermines the idea of “categorical” change likewise for those who maintain it and for those who deny it: Where there are only degrees, there’s nothing categorical. But it would shift the interest to gradual change. (With still undebated questions, like: From which Kinsey number onwards may a (gay?) man be morally justified to marry a woman?

  • http://exgaywatch.com David Roberts

    StraightGrandmother= What? I wish Warren would get a political agenda. So far I mainly just see him verifying and debunking research on sexual minorities and debunking mis stated historical facts.

    I would LOVE to see some politics from Warren, ENDA, DOMA, DADT, Marriage Equality, these would be good for a start.

    I’m not entirely certain this would be a good idea.

  • ken

    David Roberts# ~ Nov 12, 2011 at 10:39 am

    “I’m not entirely certain this would be a good idea.”

    I agree with David Roberts on this one. Leave the politics to politicians. Scientist should stick to science. If Warren were to start letting politics color his judgments, he could end up no better than NARTH.

  • Throbert McGee

    I’m not a flaming fan of Kinsey’s rating system – Kinsey seems to have mingled feminity in men and homosexuality, two factors whose connection can only be studied if they are defined separately.

    My impression (which might be mistaken) is that Kinsey’s original “scale” was based almost entirely on tabulating the numbers of real-life consummated homosexual acts with another person of the same sex. (Thus the significance of strict heterosexuals being “Zero” on the scale — because the score reflected a count of homosexual contacts.) However, the original scale gave little or no weight to masturbatory fantasies, though it would seem like a no-brainer to many people today that a sufficiently consistent pattern of homosexual fantasizing is pretty significant.

    But anyway, whether Kinsey’s approach overvalued male femininity or undervalued wank-fantasies, that doesn’t necessarily matter, because psychologists today are (AFAIK) using a different scoring methodology, even if it’s still a 7-point scale named after Kinsey.

  • Michael Bussee

    If Warren were to start letting politics color his judgments, he could end up no better than NARTH.

    I think he could voice opposition to discriminatory laws without compromising his scientific judgement. Standing up for equality under the law is something NARTH would never do. You can be for both – good science and good public policy.

  • Throbert McGee

    I would also like to see Warren express clear support for doing away with any laws that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

    Why would you want to wish the attendant tsuris on a nice guy like Warren?

    Seriously, I’ve been a participant for years on Republican/conservative/libertarian gay sites (like gaypatriot.net) as well as libertarian-leaning, non-gay sites that sometimes support “gay rights legislation” and sometimes argue against it (like volokh.com). And I can attest that there are bean-counting, fault-finding attack dogs on both sides who are ready to pounce on people for not being ideologically pure enough or for having mixed loyalties.

    For example, if Warren declared that he supported SSM legislation but opposed ENDA, some people would take his opposition to ENDA as proof that he’s essentially homophobic, and others would take his support for SSM as proof that he’s been brainwashed by the Militant Homosexual Agenda. (I have no idea what WT’s stance is on either SSM or ENDA, but I will say that it’s possible to be for or against either or both based on costs/benefits analysis and other pragmatic considerations, without ever getting into moral or theological arguments about homosexuality.)

    So I think it’s much better for Warren to stay fairly neutral on American political debates about sexual orientation and gender identity, except perhaps to remind conservative Christians that “well, the plaintiffs could have avoided the discrimination by changing their religion, or by hiding their religion” is not a viable defense in cases of alleged religious discrimination, although everyone agrees that religion is a learned and mutable trait.

  • Michael Bussee

    I was thinking along the lines of an ecologist expressing disapproval of clear-cutting the redwoods. :)

  • http://exgaywatch.com David Roberts

    It’s not that I don’t think he should have or make known his opinions on particular political issues, I’m just not sure it would be helpful to what he is doing now. Making general statements of support for say, laws that prevent discrimination against LGBTs, is not the same as using his “bully pulpit” of sorts to slice and dice individual legislation. That would change the nature of his message. Uganda is different, mainly because of the barbarity of the proposed laws.

    Mostly I’m thinking that he might lose his influence with certain groups who need to hear that one can be an evangelical Christan and still follow the facts where they lead. There aren’t enough people in that niche, and bringing up divisive politics (perhaps that’s redundant) can make it easy for those with strong opinions to make instant judgments on what they will find here.

  • David Blakeslee

    David Roberts, SG and others,

    I think Warren’s impact politically is the in the form strongly confronting the leaps in logic that the ‘Christian’ right makes about science. That is powerful both here and in Uganda.

    Sticking to the facts on the ground, rather than twisting them into the dogmas we learned, is an important gift; and the responsibility of everyone who seeks to speak with authority about SSA, culture, freedom and values.

    To repeat, Thanks Michael for seeking Warren out with facts that did not fit the ‘Melodyland’ narrative so neatly. Your courage and integrity are so valuable, first to be true to yourself and second to come back and lovingly and firmly correct the record.

  • Michael Bussee

    I think Warren’s impact politically is the in the form strongly confronting the leaps in logic that the ‘Christian’ right makes about science. That is powerful both here and in Uganda.

    I agree. Thanks, Warren. And thank you, David.

  • Jayhuck

    Throbert -

    And I can attest that there are bean-counting, fault-finding attack dogs on both sides who are ready to pounce on people for not being ideologically pure enough or for having mixed loyalties.

    True enough. I’ve frequented both of the sites you mentioned in your post and can back up what you say, but, honestly – so what? You almost always see these types of reactions with just about any issue. Sometimes they seem more prevalent when dealing with civil rights issues. Its good to be reminded of this though I suppose. My point is that these types of reactions are not new

  • Joe

    So far I mainly just see him verifying and debunking research on sexual minorities and debunking mis stated historical facts.

    Debunking research, with a twist, would be more accurate, I think .

    Even if the study could be trusted, only 1% of the original 300 cases were reported as categorical shifts from gay to straight.

    For these and other reasons, the study was open to criticism even before Bussee’s disclosure. However, based on the experience of Bussee and Cooper, there is even more reason to question the study—

    Even if only 1% had a categorical shift from gay to straight, that would be enough to prove that change is possible, correct?

    as well as the objective of sexual reorientation in general.

    Now, because of yet another flawed study, we throw out the baby with the bath water.

    Is it now your belief that Sexual Reorientation-should be discounted as a myth?

    Something that is beyond the realm of reality as we know it? In a word- Fantasyland!

    Tell me Warren…have not your views changed over the years?

    Yet, you are still referred to as the definitive authority on the subject? God forbid…

    Norman Doidge MD, a Canadian-born psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, researcher, and author of “The Brain That Changes Itself” (2007) would disagree.

    His claim, is that the brain can change a huge amount, very encouraging news to anyone who is stuck in any habit or pattern of behavior. Be that sexual and/or otherwise. I think he would call it, in a word-hope.

    I guess all his research is flawed too, the plasticity of the brain is all bunk when it comes to sexuality?

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Joe – It is always nice when critics post what they think is a clincher but it turns out that the citation works against them.

    Citing Doidge is like that. His research as you call it, has nothing to do with sexual orientation. http://wthrockmorton.com/2009/09/17/brain-plasticity-and-sexual-orientation-wrapping-up-with-a-couple-of-experts/

  • ken

    Joe# ~ Nov 15, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    “Debunking research, with a twist, would be more accurate, I think.”

    And what would that “twist” be? If you have reasonable arguments, supported by verifiable evidence to counter Warren’s claims, by all means present. I know Warren is open to hearing reasonable counter-arguments/evidence. Because he is a man who knows how to evaluate scientific evidence, even if it goes against his own beliefs. Are you?

    “Even if only 1% had a categorical shift from gay to straight, that would be enough to prove that change is possible, correct?”

    Yes, if such a shift could be demonstrated, it really would only require a single verifiable case, to prove it is possible. However, even if there was a 1% change rate, such change would still be incredibly rare. And further, call into question whether the treatment had anything to do with that change.

    “Tell me Warren…have not your views changed over the years?”

    yes, his views have certainly change. the question you should be asking is “why did they change?” And I believe that is because he followed what the research results were (and were not) saying, and he changed his views accordingly. Rather than try to twisted them to fit is own beliefs.

    “Yet, you are still referred to as the definitive authority on the subject?”

    Warren was never a “definitive authority” on the topic of sexual orientation, esp. with regards to attempts to change orientation. However, he is qualified enough to be considered an expert in that area.

  • William

    Joe:

    Even if only 1% had a categorical shift from gay to straight, that would be enough to prove that change is possible, correct?

    I don’t know what percentage of people who play the National Lottery win the jackpot, but most weeks someone does, so that’s enough to prove that it’s possible to win it, correct? But I certainly wouldn’t advise anyone to plan their life on the assumption that they’ll win it; on the contrary, I’d advise them to act on the assumption that they won’t.

    To be sure, the two things aren’t exactly comparable. Many would maintain that both are money-wasters, but going out and buying a lottery ticket doesn’t usually take long, whereas trying to change one’s sexual orientation can swallow up years – sometimes even decades – of a person’s life.

  • Joe

    I was surprised to see that you had not deleted my post, untill I read your response links.

    Joe – It is always nice when critics post what they think is a clincher but it turns out that the citation works against them.

    Not looking for a clincher, just a different point of view. One not so narrow as yours.

    And you, as usual misconstrue my point. That sexuality is fluid, not static, is my point.

    You state it here…

    The gay man was not changing his sexual orientation but his attraction preferences.

    Change is the topic. If our attraction preferences can change from black to white to red to yellow, then why not from male to female? It doesent seem so far fetched to me.

    Actually, (below) on association, a foot fetish comes to mind.

    Even if part of the brain is strongly associated with a particular sexuality it should be possible to change it. Stopping a sexual activity and avoiding stimulation of that brain region, and plunging into some other intense brain activity for months would lead to a diminishing of the intensity of that sexual response. Months is about the timescale of first significant change. That can be true for learning a musical instrument too!

    To this proposition, Safron responded,

    But the devil is in the details here. How large is the change? How permanent? People can frequently modify their behavior on short time-scales but find themselves going back to their old ways on longer time scales. These arm-chair speculations are no substitution for real studies actually looking at the efficacy of therapy designed to change orientation.

    No substitute indeed. Safron makes a good observation. What does plasticity mean in terms of durability?

    On durability, the examples in the book would be a good place to start. Don’t you think?

    And then how would be able to know unless research can find some verification. Unless the Whiteheads are keeping secrets, we can only go on what research we have. Apparently, learning a new orientation is not as easy as learning a new musical instrument, given the modest changes reported in existing studies.

    I don’t think anyone is so naive as to believe the easy musical instrument comparison, but easy was not their point. That change is possible was their point.

    All you did was distract/distort from that…

    Wouldn’t you agree?

  • ken

    Joe# ~ Nov 16, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    “If our attraction preferences can change from black to white to red to yellow, then why not from male to female? It doesent seem so far fetched to me.”

    100 or so years ago, phrenology didn’t seem that far fetched either, turns out it was. Behaviour modification (which basically what the argument for brain plasticity is talking about) has been tried for decades, with little to no success in changing orientation.

    “That change is possible was their point.”

    Change in what? behaviour? identity? orientation? further, “possible” doesn’t mean likely. Very few people here say that change in orientation is impossible. However, many will say it is highly unlikely. Further what Warren (and others) have been pointed out is that past claims of changes in orientation have turned out to not be true.

  • joe

    Hey Ken

    I can’t post… so…Do me a favor?

    You like research.

    Google this. *Throckmorton, W. (2002). Initial empirical and clinical findings

    concerning the change process for ex-gays. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 33, 242-248.

    Pay particular attention to what Pattison said about the change in his study.

    You will see the debunking twist.

  • ken

    joe# ~ Nov 18, 2011 at 6:15 am

    I’m assuming you were specifically referring to Warren’s paper and not places where the paper has been referenced (which you will also get if you search the way you described).

    “Pay particular attention to what Pattison said about the change in his study.

    You will see the debunking twist.”

    do you mean this:

    Pattison and Pattison interviewed 11 men who claimed to have changed sexual orientation as a result of participation in an ex-gay ministry. All of the men had identified themselves as “gay” by age 15. Nine gave themselves a Kinsey rating of 6 (exclusively homosexual), with one rating a 5 and the other a 4. 2 Postchange, 5 of the men rated themselves as exclusively heterosexual, with 3 having a Kinsey rating of 1 and 3 having a rating of 2. Three of the 11 participants reported no homosexual fantasies, behavior, or impulses. Although some of the men reported homosexual fantasies postchange, Pattison and Pattison did not interpret this finding as evidence that the men had not changed. Rather, they wrote that their data “suggest the gradual development of a rejection of the homosexual object choice as an increased cathexis of the heterosexual object is developed” (Pattison & Pattison, 1980, p. 1555). Thus, the basic shift was assumed, but the implications continued to develop at different rates for each individual.

    or do you mean this:

    Rather, as he stated in the original conclusions section (Pattison & Pattison, 1980, p. 1560), he considered the report to be an instance of “folk healing.” The participants had viewed themselves as changed, and the Pattisons had documented that some kind of change had occurred from the participant’s frame of reference.

    In either case, I’m still not seeing the “debunking” twist you refer to.

    In this post Warren has simply re-interviewed one of the participants (Michael Busse) and highlighted how a person believing (or wanting to believe) he has changed his orientation isn’t the same as actually changing orientation. And in the 10 years since Warren wrote the paper, he has realized how significant this difference (between belief and reality) is.

  • http://www.wthrockmorton.com Warren

    Ken – yes, and in the ten years since that paper was published, I also realized that not all who said they changed really changed in the way they said they did.

    Joe seems to think because I wrote something once, that I am forever bound by it. In politics, I guess that is flip flopping. In academia that is honesty.

    People are free to live how they believe they should live. I will always support that. Religious devotion and faith are powerful motivators and organizers of personality. However, they do not appear to alter essential sexual responses, even as they motivate people to choose actions in contrast to those impulses. Asi es la vida.

  • Joe

    Ken, you have got to be kidding me!

    Did you read the whole piece?

    Warren in this post says:

    The study continues to be used by NARTH as well as other groups to claim sexual reorientation works.

    Warren in his review starts off by stating

    This review does not answer the controversial question, Do ex-gay ministries

    help people change sexual orientation?

    He then explains the difficulties in the concept of sexual orientation itself.

    The practical implication of this discussion is that one’s presupposition

    concerning sexual orientation may influence how one views the data concerning

    change.

    Essentialist theorists (and therapists) may assume that change reported in the literature is simply change in sexual identification, whereas

    constructionists may be more inclined to view change data as evidence of the

    socially constructed nature of sexual orientation ( Richardson,

    1993 ).

    Moreover, there is no

    consensus of a direct, physical means of assessing sexual orientation. Gonsoriek et al. did not abandon the concept of sexual orientation, but they concluded that “given such significant measurement problems, one could conclude there is serious doubt whether sexual orientation is a valid concept at all” (p. 46).

    This post was a jab at NARTH…Well, how exactly does NARTH view this study?

    And, on Pattison I meant this:

    Although it is not clear from the data presented in Pattison

    and Pattison’s (1980) study that the participants did, in fact, change

    sexual orientation, the report does shed some light on processes that might

    catalyze individuals in their attempt to sustain identity change. href=”#c27?>Pattison (1981) cited Frank’s (1973 , p. 853)

    observation that “folk therapy proceeds from the explicit assumption of an

    ideological frame of reference.”

    Pattison claimed the change was ideological, (A reorganization of their lives) I believe that would put him in the constructionists camp. It all depends on what you mean by change, there is a big difference.

    The participants had made an ideological commitment that involved a reorganization of behavior, cognition, emotional responsiveness, and social interaction over time. Implicit in their ideological commitment to one set of beliefs was a rejection of another set of beliefs. Thus, although this value position is offensive to some, adopting such a position seemed for these persons to be associated with maintaining a desired

    reorganization of their lives.

    If by ex-gay we mean simply a “reorganization of behavior” then we really don’t have an issue with the study results, do we?

    We can twist and tweak the facts (just as I have done here) to make things appear in our favor.

    Warren, in this latest post is implying a different type of change than was originally intended. I think.

    If you read Warren with an open mind, I think you will see this pattern is quite prevalent.

    If you can’t see that then you are not really looking, which I find surprising, you are very good at checking facts.

    @ Warren

    Joe seems to think because I wrote something once, that I am forever bound by it. In politics, I guess that is flip flopping. In academia that is honesty.

    You’re the one that referenced the paper, I simply looked it up.

    Religious devotion and faith are powerful motivators and organizers of personality. However, they do not appear to alter essential sexual responses, even as they motivate people to choose actions in contrast to those impulses.

    According to the paper, people choosing actions in contrast to their impulses would in fact be change. Had they at one time simply given in to them. An ideological change for sure, which in some camps (again according to the paper) would be considered an orientation change.

    Sometimes it seems we really just don’t mean what we say.

    Such is life…right Warren?

  • Michael Bussee

    It all depends on what you mean by change.

    I completely agree. Gays can and do change the very same things straights can change: behavior, “identity”, “lifestyle”. No one claimed they can’t. But do gay men actually change their sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual through programs like Exodus and NARTH? The evidence so far says, “Very rarely, if at all.” Even Alan Chambers says he doesn’t think he has met one.

  • Jayhuck

    Joe,

    I honestly believe that as long as people are clear, VERY clear about what “change” means, and that for the majority of people, perhaps the vast majority of people, change does not mean an essential change in orientation, then I think we would all support such claims and the groups that make them. The problem is that too many ex-gay groups for too long seemed to support the idea that change was just that, a real and practical change in orientation – now we know it is not.

  • ken

    Joe# ~ Nov 18, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    “Warren in this post says:

    The study continues to be used by NARTH as well as other groups to claim sexual reorientation works.

    Yes, NARTH is well known for making claims about research that are not accurate. Sometimes to the point that the original authors have issued statements saying NARTH is distorting their work. Are you trying to claim Warren is wrong and that NARTH isn’t using this study to claim reorientation works?

    “If by ex-gay we mean simply a “reorganization of behavior” then we really don’t have an issue with the study results, do we?”

    According to Pattison (the person who coined the term), “ex-gay” meant a change from being homosexual to heterosexual. However, since then the term has been used to mean so many different things it is essentially meaningless.

    “Warren, in this latest post is implying a different type of change than was originally intended. I think. ”

    I simply see it as Warren saying “change” doesn’t really mean what he thought it did 10 years ago. Even EXODUS has realized that.

    “According to the paper, people choosing actions in contrast to their impulses would in fact be change.”

    A change of behaviour perhaps, but NOT a change in orientation. And more to the point, those changes in behaviour may not be lasting changes. Especially, when those that have tried to change realize that their orientation hasn’t changed.

  • Michael Bussee

    According to Pattison (the person who coined the term), “ex-gay” meant a change from being homosexual to heterosexual.

    Actually, I think Jim Kaspar and I coined the term about 1975 when we started our minstry “EXIT” — for EX-gay Intervention Team”. I regret we ever did. It has led to nothing but confusion.

    That’s just how we were “identifying” ourselves at the time. Pattison simply used the language we we using to describe our faith in “change”. We meant it as a statement of hopeful expectation, not as a way saying that we were now heterosexual.

    Some years back, Joe Dallas of Exodus told an LA radio audience that “ex-gay” did not mean “ex-homosexual”. He went on to say that it was “a convenience” that really meant “a Christian with homosexual tendencies who would rather not have those tendencies”. He said it “just rolled off the tongue easier.”

    It may indeed “roll off the tongue easier”, but it’s confusing and misleading. Even Alan Chambers has said that he wanted to “do away with it entirely and see to it that it is never used again” He said, “It’s more confusing than anything and does not really reflect what the ‘change’ process is all about.”

  • ken

    Michael Bussee# ~ Nov 18, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    “Actually, I think Jim Kaspar and I coined the term about 1975 when we started our minstry “EXIT” — for EX-gay Intervention Team”.”

    Ah so YOU where responsible for the term and Pattison got it from you.

    thanks for clearing that up.

  • Michael Bussee

    Regarding his own study of Exodus subjects, Yarhouse noted that the focus was “largely behavioral anyway”. He wrote:

    “The authors urge caution in projecting success rates from these findings, as they are likely overly optimistic estimates of anticipated success.”

    He also cautioned:

    Also, from more of a pastoral perspective, it would seem that heightened expectations for categorical change increases the risk for disappointment, resentment, and shame for those who do not experience as many gains as they had hoped.”

    http://wthrockmorton.com/2011/11/04/a-new-test-of-orthodoxy/

  • Michael Bussee

    Ah so YOU where responsible for the term and Pattison got it from you.

    Yup. My bad. I guess we assumed he understood we were using at as a statement of faith and that we didn’t mean it literally. Pattison sort of got it when he commented:

    “The term “ex-gay” had been deliberately selected by them to denote an ideological position in opposition to “gay liberation.”

    I know it’s hard to understand. One of the Biblical passages we relied on very heavily was “By His stripes we are healed.”(Isaiah 53:5)

    Past tense.

    It was a big part of the “charismatic” frame of mind at that time. We believed “it was finished”– already complete and true in Heaven. By proclaiming it, we would help to bring about its “manifestation” in the here and now. Folks who were “claiming” their healing from cancer or other maladies were encouraged to do the same thing.

    And when it didn’t happen, they were told (as we were) that they didn’t have enough faith. That led to all sorts of “disappointment, resentment, and shame for those who did not experience as many gains as they had hoped.”

  • Michael Bussee

    If I have misunderstood Dr. Yarhouse, I apologize. Perhaps he would be willing to clarify here that his study should not be used as “proof” of sexual orientation change from gay to straight. It seems to me that many people are mis-using it to argue that it does.


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