Alan Chambers: 99.9% have not experienced a change in their orientation

As noted Friday, President of Exodus International, Alan Chambers, spoke that evening as a part of a panel discussion at the annual conference of the Gay Christian Network.  Audio of the panel is now up at GCN (Part 1, part 2). During part 2, about 5:30 into the file, Alan Chambers is asked, I think by GCN Executive Director Justin Lee,  about the way Exodus and member ministries describe the work they do. Specifically, Lee asked about the slogan “change is possible.” Chambers responds by discussing his views of sexual orientation change, saying

The majority of people that I have met, and I would say the majority meaning 99.9% of them have not experienced a change in their orientation or have gotten to a place where they could say that they could  never be tempted or are not tempted in some way or experience some level of same-sex attraction. I think there is a gender issue there, there are some women who have challenged me and said that my orientation or my attractions have changed completely. Those have been few and far between. The vast majority of people that I know will experience some level of same-sex attraction.

There was also some discussion of change meaning a change of viewpoint and behavior but the consensus was that Chambers was giving an honest appraisal of the aspect of sexuality that involves essential attractions. As one who once defended sexual reorientation change efforts, I have to agree with Chambers’ assessment. Credible reports of change are rare and do come more often from women than men.

Now, I wonder. Will this news be reported by Christian media, or become part of the evangelical blackout?

 

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  • Lynn David

    I am one of tens of thousands of people whom have successfully changed their sexual orientation. — Alan Chambers (From NARTH).

    The majority of people that I have met, and I would say the majority meaning 99.9% of them have not experienced a change in their orientation or have gotten to a place where they could say that they could never be tempted or are not tempted in some way or experience some level of same-sex attraction.

    So, if both statements are truthful, then for every 10,000 persons (0,1%) who have changed their orientation 999 times each 10,000 or 9,990,000 (who attempted change?) have not so changed their homosexual orientation. Or maybe he was earlier talking about straights trying to go gay?

    Methinks NARTH certainly won’t do the math and report Chamber’s new wave of thought. The word “candid” isn’t necessarily in the lexicon of many Christians when speaking about gays, lesbians, and the word change.

  • Bob Finch

    Warren, I listened to the discussion and was very impressed with the civilty shown by all participants. And while he did say 99.9% I really wonder if he meant that to be taken as a statistic or figure of speech since he went on to acknowledge that he had met people who claimed that their sexual orientation had changed?

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  • M. Worrell

    This makes total sense to me. There is no place in Scripture that promises that God will remove temptations from us. It is entirely focused on the reality that temptations will come relentlessly, and we must be focused enough on God and His concerns that we prefer Him in the moment to the promise of the temptation, or to what we think we want or need at the time.

    Certainly temptation is diminished if we remove ourselves from certain circumstances, etc. But I think this is a healthy development in thinking that will remove an insurmountable (and dubious) barrier between homosexuals and the promise of the Gospel.

  • Kyle

    Warren – do you think Chambers still holds that some persons experience the development of some heterosexual desires, in addition to homosexual desires? It sounds to me like he is saying that few have received 100% change – that is, few never experience same sex attraction. But isn’t this consistent with Chambers also holding that gay persons sometimes can develop straight desires in addition to gay desires?

    I’m not saying this position is right, but it looks like Chambers can be interpreted as allowing for *some* success in change efforts to change desires.

  • Tobias

    Maybe I interprete too much but I have a feeling that for Mr. Chambers, “being gay” and “homosexual orientation” actually means something that has nothing to do with either attraction or behavior. I think for him it means “believing that I will find fulfillment in a relationship with another man” and “being straight” means “believing that I will find fulfillment in a relationship with a woman”.

    Reading the things he says from this viewpoint, it makes much more sense to me. This does not change the fact that he is not clear at all about this and so his writings are very misleading to people with another definition. If this is because he is too confused about this fact or if he chooses to be deliberately misleading, I cannot say.

  • Teresa

    Kyle, I don’t want to step on any answer, Warren, will give to your question to him; but, I do have a thought or two concerning this.

    First, I don’t think there’s any doubt that homosexuals can have deep feelings for those of the opposite sex. That’s a given. Further, I think Alan Chambers loves his wife. I think the difference is the sexual component. If I’m not mistaken, Alan Chambers in his biography said his marriage was not consummated for 9 months. That’s telling.

    The point is, Kyle, is Alan, or whomever, sexually attracted, sexually aroused by their partner? Does it really matter, after all, if both partners are aware of what’s going on, what it means for intimacy on a sexual level, not just orgasm … will it work? I surely think it can, if both partners understand what they’re in for.

    But, you do ask a valid question, Kyle. There are 2 questions buried beneath the overall ‘change’ topic. One seems to have been pretty well answered, for almost all gay persons, no matter the gender. If you’re gay, you will probably have same sex attractions, forever … waxing and waning … the same as str8 persons.

    The 2nd question, is it possible for that one magical opposite sex person to come along for a gay person to be sexually aroused? Is that simply a ‘bi’ thing going on?

    Is Alan Chambers sexually aroused by his wife? Is John Smid sexually aroused by his wife? Is Jeremy Marks sexually aroused by his wife? Is that what’s going on here for them; or, is it, indeed, the deep love of good friends w/o the sexual arousal? It’s not our business, but it’s an interesting question.

  • DAVE G

    When will Alan, Exodus, and the psychological community recognize that sexual orientation and sexual attraction are not the same thing?

    Perceived identity has changed –except for when the individual experiences a sexual urge in relation to another person of the same sex. This comes from an operant conditioned response developed to associate natural sexual drive to same-sex intercourse. Because of the emotional concomitant of the sexual response, the neural pathway of association is imprinted in the brain, and is very difficult to extinguish. Thus the temptation (drive) for sexual intercourse is always associated with smae-sex partners.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ Jarred

    Now, I wonder. Will this news be reported by Christian media, or become part of the evangelical blackout?

    I also wonder if Alan himself will make efforts to broadcast this message more widely and with such clarity. This isn’t the first time that Alan has made such a candid admission while in certain company that he’s fairly certain will not take the message back to his financial backers and whatnot. In other cases, he’s willing to leave the “change is possible” slogan unqualified, knowing perfectly well how most of his supporters and would-be followers will interpret that slogan.

    I’ll be impressed with Alan’s candor when he and the rest of Exodus drop the slippery slogan for something more accurate. Perhaps “Lifelong celibacy is possible.” Or even “Physiologically functional sexual relations with members of the opposite sex are possible.”

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ Jarred

    Teresa: Something else to bear in mind is that actual attraction is not necessary for sexual arousal.

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

    Lynn David,

    I think the first quote was from the period when Alan, along with much of the ex-gay ministry at the time, was creatively defining “sexual orientation” to mean something other than what it means.

    I commend Alan’s honesty. I commend the movement of Exodus away from self-deception.

  • Kyle

    Theresa -

    Yes, those are essentially my questions, and my questions regarding Chambers’ beliefs. Does Chambers believe that (at least some) genuinely gay people (rather than bi) can experience the development of heterosexual erotic desires in addition to their homosexual erotic desires – either for one person, or in general? Is he just denying categorical change here? I was wondering if we were over-interpreting Chambers’ comments here, such that he still had room to affirm change of desires to some degree.

    You make great points that perhaps most (all?) of these relationships are about the deep love of friendship, while remaining non-sexual. Perhaps this love just brings

    I’m not so much commenting on my own views as I am trying to discern Chambers’. I want to follow the scientific evidence where it leads, regardless of my moral commitments on this issue.

  • Kyle

    Whoops – “Perhaps this love just moves these gay people to please their spouses while still remaining themselves exclusively gay.”

  • Salty Gawd

    I appreciate many of the comments on here because there at least appears to be interest in trying to understand mr chambers statement. I especially like the comment about wanting to follow scientific evidence despite moral leanings. That said, there is an amazing amount of misinformation present within the Christian community about homosexuality. And I believe that if you want to understand this community, you must separate the two and discard the morality viewpoint. Being straight or gay is not about who you have sex with. It’s who you’re attracted to. So Alan Chambers successfully consummating his marriage is not proof that he’s now straight. I don’t believe for one second that he’s straight. But I believe he had sex with his wife even though I’m guessing he’d much rather be in a gay relationship. But “morality” gets in the way of truth sometimes.

  • Michael Bussee

    I cannot speak to how Alan feels about his wife. I suspect, as Wendy Gritter stated during the panel discussion, that he loves her deeply. I loved my wife deeply. But that didn’t make me heterosexual.

    John Smid loves his wife deeply, but he says he is gay. I know many gay men (some still married and some now divorced) who love their wives. That doen’t make them heterosexual. It means that they are (or have been) in mixed-orientation marriages.

    Sadly, most of these marriages fail — with much pain for all involved, especially the childen. And yet, these marriages are often held up as proof by “ex-gay” ministries that “gays can change”.

    Perhaps Alan’s admission that 99.9% of the people who come to Exodus don’t change their orientation will convince more gay men that they shouldn’t take that risk — and gamble with their children’s happiness.

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  • steve

    teresa, your observations are interesting. saying that is it no one else’s business is absolutely correct… neither is anyone’s private life.

    i have been married to the same woman for over 25 years. she knew i was gay before we married. i remember feeling very angry with myself for falling in love with a woman; it totally floored me. but my sexual orientation has never changed. i’ve said many times that i am one woman short of being totally gay. seriously, mixed orientation marriages can and do work remarkably well because we are both are on the same page in regards to honesty and integrity. i will always wonder what life would have been with a male partner… but i guess we all have our ‘wonders’.

  • Karen

    I don’t think Alan is saying that 99.9% do not experience any change. He refers within that also to those who have not “gotten to a place where they could say that they could never be tempted or are not tempted in some way or experience some level of same-sex attraction.” The key word is “never”

    That essentially defines him. He has said he is very sexually attracted to his wife and that he enjoys sexual relations with her. But he admits still having some same-sex attraction. So he argues that his own life is a testimony of success because he was able to experience change (so as to have a hetero marriage) even if he still does have residual SSA. In other words, “change is possible” but there may be temptations once in awhile because that is part of living the Christian walk. This is actually a very common assertion in the ex-gay movement. “I have changed. It doesn’t mean I don’t have temptations once in awhile–what Christian doesn’t–but those don’t have any power over me and they are more like an annoying fly than anything serious.”

    I have to agree with commenters above who are skeptical. I don’t place a lot of stock in this kind of statement. The entire Exodus website is still geared toward change is possible, as is most of their literature etc. When the website focuses on reality such as celibacy and mixed orientation marriage I will be more receptive. When the website actually starts reporting statistics such as according to Yarhouse and Jones 77% of participants did not develop opposite sex attraction, then maybe we will be getting somewhere. Exodus needs a fundamental paradigm shift in how it approaches ministry. Virtually all ex-gay ministries, with Exodus at the helm, focus their support groups on working through developmental issues–all the while saying its not about heterosexuality, but holiness. Sure, its not about heterosexuality, but let’s spend every week talking about our bad childhoods and masculinity/femininity so that we can repair what is at the “roots of homosexuality.”

    I am not opposed to acknowledging that a very small minority experience change, but why is the whole mission dedicated to the 23%? Because of the culture war. Because it makes people feel like better Christians. Some don’t think it sounds successful enough to just be celibate.

    I try to avoid posting on blogs anymore, but this whole thing gets my ire because I have watched this contradictory performance by Exodus for over a decade. And more and more I have seen the harm that lack of truthfulness on change has caused people. I don’t have any reason to trust the current leadership. I’ll wait until I see significant action to back up the words. But I don’t expect it.

  • Kyle

    “But “morality” gets in the way of truth sometimes.”

    This is true. We have to look for the truth, and sometimes our desire to see people “change” or “get better” blocks the truth of the situation. In this case, traditional Christians’ desire to see people become heterosexual has blocked them from the science of the matter. This does not by itself mean, of course, that the moral conviction is itself wrong; just that we cannot let our morals get in the way of truth. And of course, we do have to be willing to revise our morals if we find evidence against them.

    In this case, the zeal to change homosexuals in heterosexuals has blocked many traditional Christians (particularly Protestants) from seeing celibacy as more than a sad alternative to marriage.

    But I think I agree with Karen that Chambers is not meaning to deny that some people (more than .1) experience newly developed straight desires in addition to their SSA. He still believes, from my interpretation, that a decent number do experience at least that much change, even if not categorical change.

    Whether or not this is right, I don’t know. I’m sure at least some change to some degree. And I’m sure there are some men who randomly develop other-sex attraction for one woman. Perhaps Chambers is one of those men. But it does seem like Chambers does not mean to deny that *some* change in attraction is more than .1% likely, even if not guaranteed.

  • Rick S.

    “This makes total sense to me. There is no place in Scripture that promises that God will remove temptations from us. There is no place in Scripture that promises that God will remove temptations from us. It is entirely focused on the reality that temptations will come relentlessly, and we must be focused enough on God and His concerns that we prefer Him in the moment to the promise of the temptation, or to what we think we want or need at the time.”

    Ugh. What the “ex-gay” movement has been claiming up till now has not been that their reason-for-being is to “fight” against “temptations,” but that a gay man would now start desiring women. Yet, even the late Alan Medinger said that for virtually all “ex-gays”, himself included, the sort of automatic arousal and intrigue that real heterosexual men experience towards women simply does not happen. There’s a difference between committing to celibacy and experiencing change. It is a bit disingenuous to bait with a promise to experience change, then to switch with a call to celibacy.

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  • http://aebrain.blogspot.com Zoe Brain

    @Steve wrote:

    i’ve said many times that i am one woman short of being totally gay. seriously, mixed orientation marriages can and do work remarkably well because we are both are on the same page in regards to honesty and integrity. i will always wonder what life would have been with a male partner… but i guess we all have our ‘wonders’.

    You could say that I’m one woman short of being totally straight.

    Had I looked female when I was married, yes, I would probably have chosen a male partner. I’m very conventional. But maybe not, I wasn’t attracted to guys at all until puberty (at age 47..), and not for some months after that. I don’t know.

    I did fall in love. I still am in love. My body was male enough, for a while, that with technical help we could have a child. Just one, with 13 miscarriages along the way, but really it was miraculous I wasn’t completely sterile for all of my life instead of most of it.

    Had I looked female, I never could have had children, the bits of female reproductive system I had were vestigial. scraps of tissue, totally dysfunctional. I would have been happier, no doubt, not having to live with Gender Dysphoria, pretending to be male because there was no alternative, but my son wouldn’t exist.

    47 years of hell for my son? A bargain! A trade I’d do again in a heartbeat.

    I’m glad that part of my life is over now though. I don’t think I’d have the strength to do it again, now I know what normalcy (or something close to it) is like. But I’d try to.

    Rationally, being a woman who looks like a man, or a man who looks like a woman, shouldn’t be too awful. It should be bad, but not unending horror. For some reason, it is though, trust me on that. About half at least attempt suicide. 40% do so without completing it, we don’t have good figures for the proportion who succeed in their aims.

  • David

    With this statement, statements from Smid and other “ex-gay” leaders and the conclusions of Robert Spitzer a few years ago, the debate has now narrowed considerably. It is no longer a debate over whether homosexuals can change into heterosexuals. It is now a debate between, on the one hand, those who say that such change never happens and, on the other hand, those who say that such change might occur in a tiny fraction of one percentage of a small cohort consisting of most highly religious, highly-motivated self-selected individuals.

    Please note that, Chambers’ 99.9% reference is not to gays and lesbians generally, but to those who were self-motivated to join Exodus and make a commitment – sometimes lasting years or decades – to change. If anything, then, an assertion that .1% might achieve orientation change (assuming even that is true and that there is no self-reporting bias) would be wildly overstating the rate of potential change in the general gay population.

    As a practical matter, this really ends the debate for gay people as to whether sexual orientation change is a realistic goal. But as a political matter, it doesn’t. The Religious Right believes that if even 1 gay person somewhere in the world at any time in history has changed, it means that homosexuality is “mutable” and therefore not entitled to civil rights protection. As a matter of law and public policy, this is nonsense, but it is what they believe and they won’t stop hyping ex-gays for that very reason.

  • Carol A Ranney

    I don’t understand how Alan can say the things he said about Exodus (that they don’t say change in orientation is possible etc) when this is straight off their website!

    (From the Exodus website) Exodus is a worldwide network of men and women who have found freedom from homosexuality… Reparative therapy — a holistic, counseling method used by a minority of counseling professionals in addressing unwanted same-sex attraction — may be one of many tools helpful to some in this process. It raises a broader issue, “Is change in homosexuality even possible?” We know this to be true from the thousands of individuals within our network who have experienced it. (From “Love Won Out” on the Exodus website) We exist to help men and women dissatisfied with living homosexually understand that same-sex attractions can be overcome. It is not easy, but it is possible, as evidenced by the thousands of men and women who have walked this difficult road successfully. …helping people who want to better understand the many factors that can lead to someone adopting a homosexual identity; and assisting those who struggle with unwanted same-sex attractions and want to discover how they might also start upon the path ? a difficult path, as noted above ? to overcoming those desires.

  • Carol A Ranney

    I felt a bit sorry for Alan, but I really think the grilling he got at the end was important. He doesn’t call himself gay but SSA. So according to him (and assumedly Exodus), there is something lingering about “gay” that is wrong. Maybe by gay he understands “the promiscuous gay lifestyle.” People need to understand what the mainstream means by the word gay, not avoid using it like a plague, because the term is here to stay. The Exodus website is full of change-talk that specifies homosexual change. (I also noted that they are against hate crime law–because ppl might be prosecuted for expressing their religious beliefs!!?) When the group bore down on Alan at the end as far as having a clear statement on the Exodus website about what they do and don’t mean, what “change” they are actually talking about…he got a little squirmy, but I hope he takes it to heart and presses for real, tangible change.

  • Carol A Ranney

    @ Zoe, I’m glad you were a survivor, and for your astute and insightful comments on here. I’m happy for you that you have a son. Whatever you do or don’t believe, I’m glad for the Bible’s statement that in Heaven there will be no marriage or being given in marriage, but we will be “like the angels.” Presumably not encumbered by sexual orientation, hormones, genger dysphoria and all the rest. My heart goes out to you in your expressed “unending horror.” On this forum, you are greatly appreciated for who you are. Hugs from a fellow traveler.

  • David M.

    We appear to have two people posting here who go by the name “David.” The post above timestamped “Jan 9, 2012 at 9:24 pm” is written by another David. I have been posting mostly on the article about Dr. Fitzgibbons. I considered posting as David G., but there is also a Dave G., and that’s just too confusing. So I’ll use my middle initial instead of my last and post as David M. — unless someone else is posting under that name. I apologize for the change of monikers, but at least that’s a heck of a lot easier than a change of orientation.

  • http://lightningjukebox.blogspot.com Lightning Baltimore

    David wrote:

    The Religious Right believes that if even 1 gay person somewhere in the world at any time in history has changed, it means that homosexuality is “mutable” and therefore not entitled to civil rights protection.

    How utterly disgusting. By that token, the very existence of Michael Jackson “proves” that race is not immutable, and therefore should deserve no civil rights protections. I should hope we could all agree this is nonsense.

  • Never Say “Never” When It Comes to Sin

    Mr. Throckmorton:

    First, what’s your motivation in spreading this news? Is it to dispel any hope that a same-sex attracted person could ever undergo change? It’s critical that we define what “change” means. Is confirmation bias at work here (the tendency to favor information that confirms one’s beliefs or hypotheses)? How much do you consider evidence of people whose same-sex attraction has diminished significantly enough that they can honestly and happily find themselves married to a person of the opposite sex?

    Second, aren’t you suspicious of the way Alan Chambers defines change of sexual orientation as the total absence of temptation? Should we expect that a sober alcoholic never experiences the temptation to drink? Should we expect that a humbled man never experiences the temptation of pride? Should we expect that a woman whose tongue has been chastened to never experience the temptation of gossip again? Should we expect a pastor who once had an addiction to pornography to never experience temptation on the Internet? No! So too, it’s unreasonable to think that a person who has a history of same-sex attraction will never experience temptation. When it comes to sin, Wesley, we know that we should never say “never.” I wonder if Chambers subscribes to a perfectionist model of sanctification, in which a person can totally overcome sin. If so, then I disagree strongly with him. For most of us, sanctification is a messy journey.

  • Rick S.

    “Should we expect that a sober alcoholic never experiences the temptation to drink? Should we expect that a humbled man never experiences the temptation of pride? Should we expect that a woman whose tongue has been chastened to never experience the temptation of gossip again? Should we expect a pastor who once had an addiction to pornography to never experience temptation on the Internet? No!”

    Yes, that phony analogy again. Alcoholics Anonymous does not make a promise that you will now find in filtered water the same pleasure one used to find in alcohol. It merely claims that by adherence to its program, with the support of fellow recovering alcoholics, one will find the strength to resist alcohol.

    By contrast, Exodus and other “ex-gay” ministries makes the wild claim that gay men will start to desire and long for women the way they current desire other men. Yet after so many decades, they are forced to admit that simply does not happen. Yes, some guys get married, and even love their wives, but more than a few report that they have to struggle, not only against “same-sex” temptations, but to feel sexual desire for their spouses. That something which among genuinely heterosexual marriages is automatic should require effort with an ex-gay marriage should give one pause.

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  • William

    “First, what’s your motivation in spreading this news? Is it to dispel any hope that a same-sex attracted person could ever undergo change?”

    Why do you disapprove of spreading this news? A change of sexual orientation is an extremely rare phenomenon. Why should that fact be kept dark? Why should we encourage people to hope for something that they’re almost certainly never going to get?

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  • Michael Bussee

    “Lessening” of homosexual attractions is indeed a “change”. Celibacy is a “change”. Being in a mixed orientation is a “change”. No longer engaging in compulsive, anonymous sex is a “change”. Gays and straights alike can change these things. No one claimed they can’t.

    But those “changes” are not heterosexuality. Would a man be homosexual if his straight desires were “less”? Many staights experience a lessening of their libido over time. If he refrained from straight sex, but still only found women attractive, would we say his orientation had changed? No.

  • StraightGrandmother

    I am thinking that Alan Chambers changes what he says depending on his audience. Here is a good article at ex-gay watch, describing Alan Chambers receiving the Daniel Award from World Magazine.

    I won’t repeat my comments here but basically I’ll just say that he does a Bait and Switch which is the same point

    Rick S.# ~ Jan 9, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    makes here on Warren’s blog. You can clearly see this taking place in the World Magazine interview in the article on ex-gay watch

    http://www.exgaywatch.com/wp/2011/12/exodus-alan-chambers-wins-award-re-branding-begins/

    I won’t repeat but you can read my comments over at ex-gay watch.

    Now here in January 2012 we see Alan saying something else a month later. He is not consistent, and that is not the mark of a Leader.

  • Kyle

    When you think about it, it’s odd that mutability or immutability should factor into civil rights legislation at all. Religion, for instance, is mutable, but protected under civil rights legislation. Race is immutable (well, typically I guess!), and also protected. Sexual orientation is probably immutable the vast majority of the time, but why should that factor into legislation either way? We have to ask the deeper questions of whether someone’s sexual orientation is relevant to a given public job, or whether, in fairness, we should extend civil marriage to gay couples as we do straights.

  • Michael Bussee

    “I am one of tens of thousands of people whom have successfully changed their sexual orientation.” — Testimony at NARTH, April 2004

    “The majority of people that I have met, and I would say the majority meaning 99.9% of them have not experienced a change in their orientation.” — Testimony at CGN, January 2012

    I have to admit I am terrible at math. I flunked Algebra in Junior High School. So, could someone help me out here? How many people would Exodus have to have seen over the past 35 years for “tens of thousands” to equal .01%?

  • Tobias

    @Michael: It’s 0.1% and I’d say at least 20 million (0.1% of which is 20000 which might qualify for tens of thousands) :)

  • Reinhold Weicker (Germany)

    I strongly agree with Kyle (Jan 10, 2012 at 11:24 am). The fact that many Americans think that immutability is a prerequsite for civil rights protection seemed always strange to me. Article 3 (3) of the German constitution, even in its present form (not mentioning sexual orientation) lists “political views” and “religious views” as something that cannot be a basis for discrimination. Clearly, political and religious views are something that can be changed – and they are still protected by civil rights. So I think that civil rights protection holds, independently of mutability or immutablility. Let the researchers argue about mutability or immutablility of being gay or straight – civil rights protection should be independent from the result.

  • Michael Bussee

    Tobias, thanks! As I said, arithmetic is not my forte. My Dad was a math teacher and my daughter loves calculus. Sadly, the math gene seems to have skipped me. :)

  • Tobias

    @Michael: You’re welcome. I studied maths but contrary to what most people believe this doesn’t mean that I’m good at calculating. :)

  • Jeremy Schwab

    I’m not sure what Alan meant by this comment, but I assume he meant that “99.9%” have not experienced a complete reversal to where there is no temptation at ALL. I’m not sure I would agree that the “99.9%” figure is correct.

    For me personally, I know that I have seen a massive shift from working with Dr. Nicolosi. My SSA (same-sex attraction) is less than 50% of what it was 2 years ago and I have gradually seen an increase in OSA (opposite-sex attraction). That doesn’t equate to a 100% reversal, but it is a hopeful sign.

    I am still involved with both Exodus and Courage and I appreciate their ministry and support. I do sometimes get frustrated with both though because I feel that they do not focus nearly enough attention on promoting the therapies that can significantly reduce SSA. (I.g.: Reparative Therapy, EMDR, Journey into Manhood, etc.)

    I wouldn’t claim any particular group, program, or therapy is a cure-all, but I know from personal experience (and that of dozens of my friends) that significantly reducing (and nearly eliminating) same-sex attraction is possible.

  • Michael Bussee

    The point is: “Reducing SSA” is not the same thing as heterosexuality. It’s a change in libido. Heck, I know straight people with almost no sex drive. It doesn’t mean they are now homosexual.

    Look at it this way: If a straight man experienced a “reduction in OSA” but all of his remaining attractions were still heterosexual, would we say he had changed his orientation from gay to straight? No. Would we say he was heterosexual if he was now attracted to both sexes, like Jeremy says he is? No.

    Why not just level with the public and say, “We help people with ‘unwanted SSA’ to avoid gay sex. We help them change their behavior. Some experience a lessening of their homosexual attractions. Some develop some bisexual feelings and some remain exclusively homosexual in attraction. But we are sorry if we have implied that they become heterosexual through our programs. 99.9 % don’t.” Why is there such a resistance to saying that?

    In 2004, Alan told NARTH that “tens of thousands had successfully changed their orientation”. Now, it’s less than 99%. How can both of those statements be true?

  • http://www.exgaywatch.com Emily K

    so… a man and a woman fall in love with eachother, have a romantic and sexual relationship, even seek out a permanent commitment. This = celebratory events.

    a man and a man (or woman and woman) fall in love with each other, have a romantic and sexual relationship, even seek out a permanent commitment. This = tempation/sin.

    This double standard always puzzled me.

  • http://www.gaychristian101.com/Exodus.html Rick Brentlinger

    It is difficult to escape the conclusion that Alan Chambers is adept at not telling the truth. As sincere as he appears, his documented lies pile upon themselves and testify against his veracity. I document a few of Alan’s lies here.

    It may be helpful to point out that Exodus and Alan Chambers struggle with the term gay because they believe everyone is born heterosexual and no one is born homosexual.

    They prefer SSA or same sex attracted because that allows them to maintain the fiction that no one is born gay.

  • Michael Bussee

    Randy Thomas (former VP of Exodus) is already hitting the blogs, explaining that Alan only meant that 99.9 % of Exodus members will still experience “some level of unwanted SSA”. He wants to make it clear that Alan wasn’t saying that people don’t actually change their sexual orientation from gay to straight.

    So, let the spin and the furious back-peddling begin! What was really accomplished here? He made a comment that he can (and will) easily explain away. He’s a master at that.

    There will be nothing like a sincere apology for misleading the public and harming untold numbers of victims. Exodus will still stay friends with NARTH, will still spread junk science and will still make parents feel “guilty” for their kids being gay.

    They will still tell LGBT kids that they are “broken” and in need of “repair”. They will still fight against equal rights. They will still fight against anti-bullying programs. They will still mislead the public about “change”. And they will still shame and reject those who don’t achieve it.

    So, some ex-leaders confronted Alan about the lies and the harm done. That’s a good thing. But he showed no signs of really listening — and survivors have been re-traumatized. Yes, “something good” may yet come of this, but at this point, I remain highly skeptical.

  • http://collegejay.blogspot.com College Jay

    Jeremy, I would say that for everyone like you, there are probably 99 of us (if not more) who not only experienced no change, but who were severely hurt, both financially and emotionally, by the ex-gay movement.

    If we lived in a society where nobody cared who I did or didn’t sleep with, and where one could explore his or her sexuality freely without the threat of being kicked out of church, cut off from family, or denied civil rights, that would be a different story. We don’t live in that world. This isn’t something where informed adults are calmly deciding they want to attempt to change their sexual orientation and are willing to take the risk on controversial therapies and resources.

    This is a situation where controversial therapies are being promoted as necessary, because change in sexual orientation is promoted as necessary if one wants to remain in the church, remain a part of the family, keep their job, go to Heaven, etc. If you made your decisions without that kind of emotional or spiritual blackmail hanging over your head, more power to you, but that is not the majority’s experience and, frankly, that’s why these fringe therapies shouldn’t be promoted more than they are. Their distance from Journey Into Manhood and NARTH is one of the few good things Exodus has accomplished in recent years.

  • Kyle

    Given the clarification of Chambers’ views, it looks like, indeed, all he was saying is that no one completely eradicates SSA. He was not saying people do not develop opposite sex attraction, just no complete reversal of attraction.

    It’s true that diminishment of SSA is not the same as going from gay to straight, but I’m puzzled by this comment:

    “Some develop some bisexual feelings and some remain exclusively homosexual in attraction. ”

    How can someone develop bisexual feelings while at the same time being *exclusively* homosexual in orientation?

    Again, I’m not saying Chambers or anyone else is right about a noteworthy percentage of people developing OSA. I’m just trying to understand the various positions and claims here.

  • DAVE G

    “Perceived identity has changed –except for when the individual experiences a sexual urge in relation to another person of the same sex. This comes from an operant conditioned response developed to associate natural sexual drive to same-sex intercourse.”

    I was wrong by referencing only operant conditioning; clearly classical conditioning is also involved, interacting with biophysical sexual urge due to ovulation or semen supply.

    I think these are implied in previous comments, but academic psychology needs to be applied to understand the underlying dynamics.

  • ken

    Kyle# ~ Jan 12, 2012 at 8:47 am

    “Some develop some bisexual feelings and some remain exclusively homosexual in attraction. ”

    How can someone develop bisexual feelings while at the same time being *exclusively* homosexual in orientation?

    You can’t. From which one can conclude he is talking about 2 different groups of people.

  • Michael J

    This discussion has finally turned to where I am today. In the conservative Evangelical Christian Church the is no room for homosexual attraction. The word Grace does not seem to apply to allowing each man to determine what path he should follow. Randy & Alan make statements that could be true for some.

    I am at the other end of the spectrum. I was raised straight with gay desires. I stifled them through my teenange and college years; relegating homosexuality to dreams and fantasy. I never had sex before marriage. I married and then consumated. I attempted to carry out my fantasies through sexual encounters with my wife. What I found was that I wanted so much more than my wife was willing to offer. Our sexual intimacy was always imited and I have always had to fantacize over other men in order to have sex with my wife. Sexual frequency has been less than several times a year for a long time.

    More than thirty years later, I am still committed to my marriage, we have three grown children and look to a future of grandchildren close by. I created a life that left no room for my sexual desire.

    This past summer, I have found that I need to know the other part of my life. I have connected with several men. I have struggled with the spiritual and moral issues that I have feared facing for over 40 years. I look in the Gospel of Mark and see that God sent His Son as Savior for all of us. His GRACE is larger than human comprehension. This new life I am choosing for myself is a clandestined prison. It should make me not want to go forward in the new relationship.

    I have read so many blogs and articles about why a gay man should not start a relationship with a married man. I swore I would not put a man I loved through that. Here I am, A married man, who is in love with a man. I have total pleasure when I am with him. I depend on the fact that God is by my side, aware of my selections and there for me. My sin is not that I am sexually active with a man. My only sin is that I am already married to my wife.

    I am committed to stick to the marriage until death do us part. I have made sure that my lover understands the committment and have also stated that if this is more than he can handle, I will understand and back off. We have had a rough time with our emotions when apart. But when we are together, we are as God would intend two lovers to be.

    Where does that leave me? At times it leaves me emotionally separated from God. I am trying to deal with the morality that I was brought up in, yet be true to whoI am discovering that I really am.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Michael J, I do empathize with you, however what you are doing is cheating on your wife, no matter how you try and rationalize it that is what you are doing. This is not fair to your wife, and against your marital vows.

    I will support you if you turn away from your lover and go back to sexual monogamy with your wife.

    I will support you if regrettably you leave your wife and start life anew with your new lover.

    I will NOT support you keeping a man on the side. What you are doing is very narcissistic, you are protecting you. Note I do not condemn you for as you say in your words, “Here I am, A married man, who is in love with a man.” It happens many times years, even decades into a Mixed Orientation Marriage. It happens that suddenly a person of the same sex will come into your life and you are swept away.

    You cannot have your cake and eat it too. Be honest with your wife and let the chips fall where they may. Your marriage is not just about YOU, there is your wife. If she wants to let you have a man on the side it is not our business, but that is for her to decide, not for you to decide FOR her. If you read the stories from the straight spouses the one thing they all crave is the TRUTH, no matter how devastating it is, they want to know the TRUTH.

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

  • David M.

    @Michael J.

    I have been right where you are, with the exception that one of my daughters was still living at home. I was like you a heterosexually married gay man. Love snuck up on me in a relationship I had with a man, now my partner. For the longest time, I rationalized my feelings for him. Then our relationship became sexual. I wrestled with what to do more than I have wrestled with anything in my life. I broke up with him multiple times, but I could never make it stick either for me or him.

    My wife found out about our affair. I offered even to have no contact with him till my daughter moved on to college, but she wouldn’t have it. I had to completely end it with him or move out. I moved out. Even then, I wrestled with the morality of it and tried to break it off. But I couldn’t bear the thought of never seeing him or talking with him again.

    Today, we are happily together. I am grateful he was patient with me going through so many ups and downs.

    Where you are is agony. It is truly an impasse. Being true to myself meant losing so much of the life I had imprisoned myself in, as you say. On the “lost” side, my ex-wife wants nothing to do with me. I was already in the process of changing careers. My family of origin has become quite distant, and that is something of an ugly story. I have ended my connections with an evangelical church, and now attend an Episcopal Church. On the “kept” side, my two daughters still love me, though I have not seen my younger daughter nearly as often as I would like. I am now a grandpa, and my older daughter wants me to be an active one in her son’s life. It remains a challenge for me (not intellectually, but relationally) to rebuild my relationship with God. Bottom line: I am, for the first time in my life, at peace with myself and my sexuality.

    I have an odd sense, Michael, that somehow God has orchestrated all of this. My journey led through adultery, and I will not try to justify that. Still, I believe somehow that things have happened as they had to happen. I was so fortified psychologically and theologically against leaving my marriage and living as a gay man that about the only way I could have become more integrated with my sexuality was by being blindsided by falling in love. The drive to consummate that love was so strong that there is no comparison between it and the kind of love I felt for my wife. I needed to find integration. I needed it psychologically after decades of anxiety and depression. I needed it spiritually; though it may sound paradoxical to some, I had to become fully myself in order to go further in my relationship with God. The whole episode was like a bomb dropped into a collapsed mountain pass. There was a lot of collateral damage. But I believe it may have been the only way I could have gotten beyond being stuck at that impasse.

    I will offer you no advice except to be honest with yourself, and to listen for the still, small voice of God rather than the loud, fierce voice of the god you may have been taught to fear. That’s enough.

    David M.

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

    Michael J.

    I cannot share the limitations of David M.’s advice. You must – for yourself, for your soul, for your peace of mind – you must be honest with those who have a right to demand honesty from you.

    And the first in line in your wife.

    She deserves not to be deceived. It may cost you a lot. You may have to either give up your marriage or your affair.

    But being gay does not entitle you to dishonesty. Just because you stopped lying to yourself doesn’t mean that you get to start lying to everyone else. It isn’t fair to her. It isn’t fair to you. And it isn’t fair to me.

    Because what you are doing now, you are excusing in the name of being homosexually attracted – as though this somehow excuses you from being honest and responsible. You are living up to a stereotype of “what the homosexuals are like – selfish and only about sex”. And when you do so, you hurt me.

    I commiserate with your pain. I understand your longing. But you need to step up to your responsibilities and man up. Because the last thing my community needs is another selfish lying jerk hurting everyone around him.

  • David M.

    @Timothy Kincaid

    When you invoke such a heavy sense of morality, for Michael J., I suspect, you are invoking the very thing that keeps him locked in a prison of duplicity. You are invoking the thing that tells him he must remain married no matter how much harm he does to himself. You are invoking the thing that, in his moral system, requires him to repress his sexuality.

    We each see things from our own perspective. I had to get beyond my overactive sense of righteousness in order not to be killed by it.

  • Boo

    “I am committed to stick to the marriage until death do us part. I have made sure that my lover understands the committment and have also stated that if this is more than he can handle, I will understand and back off.”

    You’ve already broken your marital vows and therefore your commitment. Like it or not, you’re an adulterer. You didn’t choose to be born into a society that pressured you to try and be something you’re not, but you are choosing to lie and cheat on your wife. You’ve gone from living one lie to living another. And it isn’t only yourself you’ve hurt in all this. You haven’t been what a husband to a heterosexual woman is supposed to be. And now on top of that you’re cheating on her. You are not being fair to your wife, even if she never finds out. As painful as it will probably be, telling her the truth is the only long term solution that isn’t going to leave everyone miserable.

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

    David,

    I’m sorry if I’m coming off as having to heavy a sense of righteousness or, I suppose, self-righteousness. That isn’t my intent.

    I guess I should note that reality and objective are not always in sync. I do recognize that reality may be that he is incapable of being honest at this time. However, the objective of honesty should never be dismissed.

    And really, while I have sympathy for Michael J, I have even more for his wife. I simply cannot put the harm he’s doing to himself at a higher priority than the harm that he is doing to her.

    Yeah, it’s a bit stern, I suppose. But I don’t want him to think that it’s okay to cheat and lie about it. And I ESPECIALLY don’t want him to think that my community thinks that it is okay to cheat and lie about it.

  • http://www.exgaywatch.com Emily K

    Honesty, honesty, honesty.

    Be honest with your wife. It is not fair to her. Her sexual relationship is sub-par (since you are not even thinking of her when you engage in the act). Since you have found such completeness in another man, why not give her the chance to do the same?? Why deny her the pleasure you have so “completely” found in another?

    Tell her about your affair. If she still wants to be with you, fine. Be prepared to think a way to explain it to your kids, however – they’ll have questions no doubt.

  • David M.

    @Timothy K.

    I don’t disagree with you. I’m just reflecting on my own experience really. Nobody had to tell me I was doing wrong to my wife. It seemed no matter which way I turned, I was wrong. I was wrong if I left her and I was wrong if I stayed.

    It has struck me often how violently people react to the spouse having the affair. They are such easy targets. And that makes me suspicious of the violence of the reaction. See, I’m also gay, and gays are easy targets too.

    I think our reaction to marital unfaithfulness often obscures the realities of the situation. Rarely is an affair merely one spouse’s fault. The story is more complicated. Michael J. made it clear that his wife has not been, let’s say, enthusiastic about sex. Neither was mine. For Christians, Paul has something to say about spouses withholding from one another. This is a kind of marital unfaithfulness too.

    And to tred on dangerous ground, why do some women marry gay men to begin with? In some cases, it’s a matter of ignorance or deceit. But are there other psychological dynamics at work? My point is not to blame the victim (the wife). My point is that these matters are complicated, and rarely do I as an outsider have enough information to know what’s really going on.

    I’ve said enough. I agree with all the calls for honesty — to society, to the husband, to the paramore, to the spouse. But honesty can be quite difficult when one’s world is spinning and right-side-up is hard to find.

  • Nancy Irving

    What an interesting discussion.

    It’s ironic that conservative Christians often accuse gays of “recruiting” straights into homosexuality. I am not that well-versed in this area, but I am sure I have never heard of any organized attempt by “reformed straights” to “repair” other straights by reorienting them to homosexuality; but apparently, from what I read here, there exists a whole raft of organizations–one might almost say, a whole industry–run by “reformed gays” to “repair” other gays by reorienting them to heterosexuality.

    Who then is doing the “recruiting”? And shouldn’t we protect our youth from these dastardly “recruiters,” LOL?

  • StraightGrandmother

    Nancy, I am with you. Up until about a year ago it never even crossed my mind that a gay man would marry a straight woman. I learned this while doing research on sexual minorities here on Warren Throckmortons blog. Yes there is a whole “industry” of ex-gays (former homosexuals who now claim to be heterosexual) who are out “recruiting” people who are gay to repent, repent, repent, and turn themselves into heterosexuals (religious indoctrination) with the help of God. God can make you straight :)

    Also there is a whole industry of Psychologists who are “recruiting” people who are gay, to turn into a heterosexual by telling them that it is their parents fault that they are gay. In fact homosexuality doesn’t even exist! Yes you read that right, no one is a homosexual, ALL people are heterosexuals but simply have a homosexual “problem” which can be overcome in therapy. They really believe that Nancy. Don’t believe me? Go read at NARTH for a while. Or better yet, here on Warren Throckmorton’s blog type in key words reparative therapy or NARTH. There is this whole other world you and I were not aware of.

  • http://www.cominogout4christians.net Dave

    @Michael J .. I just wanted to mention that GCN .. http://www.gaychristian.net has a forum for folks like yourself who are in mixed orientation marriages. I am just putting this out there as a place where you could talk to plenty of folks who could likely best relate to your situation.

    Blessings,

    Dave

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  • http://?btgproject.blogspot.com/2012/?01/?lets-keep-telling-our-stories.h?tml Ben Humphries

    Reorientation: Time to pull the barn down

    This article, referencing the 99.9% statement made by Chambers, is referenced in this article written by Wendy Vanderwal of New Directions, Canada

    Driving home today I saw a barn in ruins. I didn’t have my camera with me, but it looked a lot like this photo I found. What struck me about the image of this barn was that the roof seemed to be strong and intact – continuing to fulfill its protective role. But underneath the shelter of the roof, the barn itself was in disarray. It seemed to me a good metaphor for the current state of reorientation ideology.

    I’ve been thinking a lot about the system that upholds a focus and expectation that those who experience predominant same-sex attraction can and should pursue a shift towards opposite sex attraction. The system’s protective mechanism connects reorientation to other more politically inclined measures. Such a line of thought might go something like this: “If same-sex attracted people can change their attractions through prayer, support groups, accountability, therapeutic intervention, and strong motivation, then the idea of fair and equitable treatment for gay people is an unnecessary capitulation to a group of unmotivated, ungodly, selfish people who don’t care about normative sexuality and its connection to the strength of marriage and child-rearing.” Such reasoning has caused Christians, including Christians who had pursued such a process of change yet continued to experience same-sex attraction, to raise their voices in opposition to anti-discrimination legislation, anti-bullying measures, equal benefits initiatives, and civil gay marriage. Many did so believing they were upholding godly standards and that there was “no such thing as a homosexual person …. only heterosexual people with a homosexual problem.” They believed the theories of straight therapists who really have no idea what it is like to be same-sex oriented and the testimonies of those who claimed to have met the expectations of reorientation.

    But what if these straight therapists have lost their objectivity? What if their reputations and careers have been built on being pioneers and leaders in this area of therapeutic intervention? What if they fail to see the invitational circle that so amplifies their clients’ desires to be straight that they self-report success that is then interpreted as absolute?

    And what if the vast majority of those experiencing same-sex attraction and motivated by religious conviction are too frightened, ashamed, disappointed or disconnected to be able to honestly and authentically report the complex nature of their sexuality, attractions, convictions, commitments and self-expression? What if language meant one thing to one person and something different to another person – and assumptions about complete victory, freedom, transformation, and change were assumed but not intended?

    In the last number of years we have seen an increase in articulating a more honest and clear self-assessment regarding this idea of reorientation. When I first came to New Direction, David, the support group leader for the ministry, told me in no uncertain terms that he was still only attracted to men. And while David’s no-nonsense commitment to honesty was shared by a few others who were single like him, it did not seem to be the norm in ex-gay circles and particularly among those who were married. As the years went on and I became a familiar figure in this world, I began to hear more nuanced stories behind closed doors. The need for honest self-disclosure was real and did happen with trusted colleagues. But then Alan Chambers and other Exodus leaders began to publicly acknowledge that same-sex attraction was still part of their experience – one that they daily chose to submit and surrender in light of their commitment to Christ and their spouse. This took a tremendous amount of courage – and it wasn’t always well received by those who had a lot vested in this reorientation system. But with these courageous admissions the system that had become more politicized than perhaps any of the ex-gay leaders ever intended, began to crumble.

    Along a trajectory of public statements, Alan Chambers recently indicated on the GCN panel that 99.9% of folks do not experience a full and complete change in their sexual orientation. I’m sure Alan would want to nuance that by stating that some individuals do experience various shifts in their attractions, that there are seasons of diminished or heightened attractions, and that there is the reality of fluidity particularly for women. These are complex matters after all and binary black and white categories aren’t very useful for the vast majority of us. But this kind of nuanced, mysterious and unpredictable experience of attempting to manage ones’ sexuality is a far cry from the clear-cut claims of reorientation.

    Just today, I received a book in the mail called, “Why I Slept with my Therapist: How One Gay Man Tried to Go Straight” by Brian Kraemer. I didn’t read the whole book yet – but read some key sections and skimmed the rest. It is one of the many accounts I have heard of the extreme measures individuals have pursued in the hopes of eradicating their same-sex attractions. Anyone who suggests that such folks didn’t try hard enough has clearly never really listened to these accounts.

    So where does that leave us? It leaves us with a barn barely standing except for the roof ~ a roof of political power, straight privilege, anxious legalism, shame-based religion, and sacred cows.

    My dad used to have a barn like that on his property. For a few years it just stood there, an empty relic of a time gone by. But at some point, this skeleton holding up a roof was too much of a hazard and my dad, along with the friends he recruited to help, took the time and energy to pull that barn down.

    The time has come. This generation of young people knows it and many refuse to go anywhere near this unstable mess. Its time those who have propped up reputations and a spirit of entitlement move aside so that the barn can come down – so that those who might yet be trapped inside the web of expectation, shame and denial might emerge into the light.

    The reality of being same-sex attracted is what it is. If this is your experience, it will not be in the best interest of your spiritual, emotional or relational health to try to hide it or convince yourself that it has changed if it has not. You still have choices and decisions in front of you. You can still choose how you want to describe this reality in your life and with whom you want to share it. You can still choose the beliefs and values that are important to you. You can still choose to live in alignment with these beliefs and values. If that means you remain faithful to your opposite gender spouse – that’s wonderful. If that means you live a celibate life – may it be life-giving for you. If that means you open your heart and mind to things you never allowed yourself to consider – may you receive generous wisdom and discernment in the journey.

    But run out of this barn before it crashes around you. I’ve seen too many lives sucked into hopelessness, depression, and suicidal ideation all to prop up a power-play roof that cares very little about your personal life and health.

    God loves you. Your experience of same-sex attraction doesn’t change that one little bit. He knows your heart. He sees you. And he invites you into his rest.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Very, VERY, VERY thoughtful comment Mr. Humphries.

  • StraightGrandmother

    When I clicked on your name Mr. Humphries your website didn’t load so I am providing the link in case others are interested

    http://btgproject.blogspot.com/2012/?01/?lets-keep-telling-our-stories.h?tml

  • Michael Bussee

    I think Wendy Gritter has expressed this beautifully:

    “Along a trajectory of public statements, Alan Chambers recently indicated on the GCN panel that 99.9% of folks do not experience a full and complete change in their sexual orientation.

    I’m sure Alan would want to nuance that by stating that some individuals do experience various shifts in their attractions, that there are seasons of diminished or heightened attractions, and that there is the reality of fluidity particularly for women.

    These are complex matters after all and binary black and white categories aren’t very useful for the vast majority of us. But this kind of nuanced, mysterious and unpredictable experience of attempting to manage ones’ sexuality is a far cry from the clear-cut claims of reorientation.”

    http://btgproject.blogspot.com/2012/01/reorientation-time-to-pull-that-barn.html

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  • Fg68at

    “gender issue there” : Women are in the statistics every time more in the middle of Kinsey-Scale, Men more on the extreme.

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  • http://www.BridgingTheGapsMinistries.org Charlene E Hios

    No one ever is freed from temptations. If you are in the flesh then you are going to be tempted in one way or the other however this does not mean that you have to give in to it.

    A person can be 100% heterosexual in their behavior and still experience thoughts and temptations.

    99.9% of married men experience sexual attraction to women other than their wife but this does not make them not faithful.

    If Alan and you too Warren would just say “almost all people who have ever lived on earth have experienced unwanted sexual temptation and those who have grown away from homosexuality are no different” it would be more clear.

    For Alan to say that 99% don’t change their orientation is harmful and he will ultimately pay for this when he meets his maker. Basically he is saying that you can not change so why bother trying. This is quite irresponsible of him to say the least.

    My story, I identified for almost 20 years as a lesbian, as a butch. I believed I was born that way. Then I came to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. A loving church embraced me and accepted me just as I was. After two years of struggling with why would God’s word say homosexuality was a sin if He in fact made me that way I came to realize that homosexuality was indeed wrong, it was not God’s design, and then over the next 10 years through much prayer I have been freed from the same gender sexual attraction. Now my sexual attractions are towards the opposite sex. What an interesting new adventure. Waiting for God to send the right man my way.

    Do I still have same gender sexual attractions? Very rarely! Do I have opposite gender sexual attractions, yes indeed!

    Do I still have temptations and sexual thoughts, yes, occassionaly . . . but they no longer have that power over me that they use to.

    I know that I am not alone in my healings. I personally know at least 30 others, both male and female, who have experienced the same reversal of sexual attractions over the course of a twenty year period.

    so, if I know 30 people, well, there are way more out there like us so again for Warren and Alan to say that 99% of folks do not have successful change of orientation is incorrect.

    Of course they are going to hear from the group who have yet to experience the freedom from same gender attractions so they must realize that their data is one sided . . . just as Kinsey’s was a bit one sided given he questioned and used data from males who were in prison. Of course they are going to have a higher % who have homosexual sex given they are in all male prisons . ..

    Thanks. If you want to talk about it I can be reached at charlene@bridgingthegapsministries.org or call me at 415.465.0517

    Charlene <

  • William

    I think that Alan Chambers said the right thing, Charlene. “Tell the truth and shame the devil,” my nan always used to say.

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

    Charlene wrote:

    Do I still have same gender sexual attractions? Very rarely! Do I have opposite gender sexual attractions, yes indeed!

    Do I still have temptations and sexual thoughts, yes, occassionaly . . . but they no longer have that power over me that they use to.

    Charlene – Males who are basically straight in their orientation do not have intermittent same-gender attractions; women are more fluid and may have such attractions in an emotionally close relationship with another woman, and still be basically straight. Some gay men can be attracted to a small group, maybe only one woman, but not to women in general while retaining SSA. They often report that the SSA seems more distant to them while they are in these relationships with women, but that it doesn’t go away. There are bisexuals who seem to have an ebb and flow of attractions to both men and women. What you are describing seems to fit in with what is observed. However, Alan is describing people who have a particular set of attractions to the same sex and then completely lose those and develop a commensurate level of attraction for the opposite sex. As I have found as well, people who say that has happened to them are rare. More often the story is as you have described, you start out saying you have completely changed and then you say you still have SSA.

    None of those observations are to minimize the religious and existential commitments you have made to live in accord with your faith. I applaud and respect these decisions. I just believe we need to be honest about what is happening. Alan has come to that place as well, and I respect him for it.

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  • Esther Davis

    I think i know the reason for this. it is definitely not because same-sex attraction is inborn. In some cultures, sexual orientation is not expected to be fixed and in those cultures it usually does not function that way. We define things in such a hard way, “this is what you feel now, therefore this is what you are, and what you always will be.” This thinking is very deep-seated, and very bad. same-sex attraction is enculturated, and anything that is enculturated will feel natural, obvious and inborn even though it is not. It seems to me in my dealings with lgbt men that the issue is feeling like they can’t relate to other men or aren’t like other men or don’t “have what it takes”. Gender issues for men are harder to heal from in this culture, period. When men in a sociology of gender class choose to violate the unconscious and unquestioned norms they learned to see, they can end up in jail, the hospital (due to sever beating) or thrown out of school! According to the gender studies prof., it is not so with women. women have fought for years to loosen the nooses of social expectations around our necks where men have not yet. It is harder to feel like you are a man if you’re in the tail-of-the-bell-curve in areas associated with masculine needs/ways/etc. The bounds of what ‘s “ok” are stricter for men. also, expectations for the masculine gender role are more in sync with what this culture values than female norms are (we use terms like “kick-ass” to explain that something was just wonderful. We use terms like to “lame” say that something does not make the grade, etc). For men to find freedom, they may well have to reject the very fabric of our somewhat violent, hierarchical, and lord-over-others societal mind-set and that is a bigger job. It is also a very needful one for more reasons than one.

    My freedom from same-sex attractions came when I no longer believed the lies about what makes a woman feminine and a man manly. I stopped believing I was “not like other girls” and discovered that God made us all much more different from each other than society deems acceptable (I am talking many areas of life where you can be outside the accepted norm but not be sinning).

    Science that claims the brain is hard-wired to be gay or straight overlook the fact that the brain develops and redevelops in the early years of life and that behavior/necessity drive the building of neural pathways. Some things about me may be inborn, and if i believed those things were inherently masculine i would never be free of same sex attractions. i do not believe that though, and so i am free. I stopped watching TV with it’s messages of how I need to buy stuff so i’ll measure up, too. the only times i have struggled with it again was when reading so-called science telling me that the way i am is outside natures cut-out pattern for women and the all functions there-of. Paul warned us that people would be deceived by “science falsely so-called” and some of these comments illustrate that. If you struggle with SSA’s i do not recommend reading those things, they will not help. If i do not doubt myself in this area, i have no desire for other women.

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  • ken

    Esther Davis says:

    September 6, 2012 at 12:07 am

    ” same-sex attraction is enculturated, and anything that is enculturated will feel natural, obvious and inborn even though it is not. ”

    homosexuality is a natural variation of sexual/affectional orientation. It has existed thoughout recorded history and cultures.

    “It seems to me in my dealings with lgbt men that the issue is feeling like they can’t relate to other men or aren’t like other men or don’t “have what it takes”. ”

    While some gay men (and some straight men) have trouble relating to other men (or are effeminate), many do not. And attempting to “cure” gay men by getting them to “man up” is ineffective in changing orientation. Which is what Alan was saying, He finally realized that doesn’t work. And that the vast majority of men who tried to change their orientation didn’t.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ Jarred

    If I read Esther Davis’s comment correctly, I will give her credit for one thing: She is the first person I’ve seen who seems to be suggesting that gender essentialism may be the cause of homosexuality rather than the solution to it.

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  • justsid

    So basically what all the religious people, NARTH, and allies of Exodus, are saying is, “we can’t turn you into Heterosexual but we can turn you into Bisexual”!? It sounds like a lamer excuse every time one turns around. Why not let LGBTQ’s be LGBTQ’s and stop calling an Orange an Apple?

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  • Craig Wilson

    Chambers says –

    “The majority of people that I have met, and I would say the majority meaning 99.9% of them have not experienced a change in their orientation or have gotten to a place where they could say that they could never be tempted or are not tempted in some way or experience some level of same-sex attraction.”

    I find Alan to be very confusing at times. First to which of the conditions does the 99.9% apply to? There are at least four noted and none are quite wholly the same. Change in orientation or never tempted, etc.? This is not clear.

    Then from Dr. Throckmorton a curious statement from an academic:

    “As one who once defended sexual reorientation change efforts, I have to agree with Chambers’ assessment. Credible reports of change are rare and do come more often from women than men.”

    Isn’t this a classic error and curious from an academic? Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence yet the Dr. “agrees”?

    I read some of the academic studies on homosexuality and while not an expert Dr. Throckmorton’s concurrence with Alan is odd and then troubling when coupled with the following quote below. (Also the appeal to “once defended sexual reorientation…” is a kind of appeal to authority in reverse.)

    I don’t know what to make of Dr. T’s cynicism bordering on sarcasm:

    “Now, I wonder. Will this news be reported by Christian media, or become part of the evangelical blackout?”

    As a Christian I don’t understand this attitude? Is it appropriate coming from a Christian in the academy?

  • ken

    Craig Wilson says:

    May 11, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    “First to which of the conditions does the 99.9% apply to?”

    given that the “99.9%” is just a number he made up, I fail to see why it is important exactly which case it is applied to. What is clear is that he is saying for the vast majority of cases he is familiar with the claims of change in sexual orientation are not true.

    “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence yet the Dr. “agrees”? ”

    Not in this case. The question being asked is “does therapy work to change a person’s orientation?” So the absence of any significant cases of a change in orientation that can be shown to have been caused by therapy does show that the answer to the question is “no” for the general case. Now this fact isn’t the same thing as saying no one has ever experienced a change in orientation.

    “As a Christian I don’t understand this attitude? Is it appropriate coming from a Christian in the academy?”

    the attitude comes from Warren’s personal experience with many christian (evangelical?) groups that do not know much about the recent (within the last decade) research into sexual orientation. Which indicates their sources of information about sexual orientation are lacking. He posted about that here.

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