Equine Assisted Therapy Pastor Denies Gay Therapy Story

UPDATE 1/5/13: But now see this: EAP Brochure describing homosexuality as an addiction.

When I asked Bell whether or not this brochure was his, he wrote back (1/4/13) saying:


Why do you ask?

Do we need to modify the current investigation to include that of

harrassment and electronic stalking?

You had no desire before to verify any content that included us. You decline, as do others, to print the requested retraction.

O.A.T.S. in Virginia

This just gets stranger and stranger.


This just came in my inbox from Virginia pastor Raymond Bell:

We are contacting the respective groups we feel should be aware of some events over the last several days.

Beginning on December 20th and article (source unknown) began circulating on the internet alleging contact with us as well as slandering our company.

The following have published this article and republished the article:

Instinct Magazine

Gay Star News


And the blog of Professor Warren Throckmorton of

Grove City Christian College

As the entities were identified, contact was made and they were advised we had no knowledge of the article and had never been contacted despite being named as a source. They were each directed to post and publish retraction.

They have declined.

As this is internet based it crosses both state lines and international boundaries making it a matter for federal offices and federal authorities.

We ask that your office investigate as to the conduct of these groups and if within your reach to remove any operational privileges, rights, licenses, or other operational provisions.


Raymond Bell



Overcoming Adversity Through Silence

in cooperation with

Cowboy Church of Virginia


Bell is referring to a post I put up earlier today. I did not republish the Gay Star News story but instead referred to it as an illustration. I contacted Bell and then he replied indicating that he had not spoken to reporters. I changed my post to reflect his communication to me about the Gay Star News story on December 20.

Mr. Bell’s complaint is with Gay Star News. It is perfectly reasonable to report what another source has said. In the event of a misquote or allegation of a made up story, it is also reasonable to report that which I did in the earlier post and am doing now.


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  • Norm

    Gay Star News seems to be the primary source for all of the articles I’ve read recently. It’s hard to take Bell’s claim of “slander” seriously if he refuses to specify how Gay Star News‘s article is inaccurate.

  • Patrocles

    As I said before, good journalism makes things understandable. Only bad journalism makes things strange and incomprehensible.

    For example, pillow-beating is often recommended for overcoming rage or aggressive emotions. (It seems to have begun in Gestalt therapy.) There’s nothing particular strange in pillow-beating as part of a reliving bad memories w.r.t. parents. You can, of course, concoct out of that a story in which the pillow-beating is itself a SOC therapy.

    If you have understood that rhetorical pattern you can concoct a whole bunch of sensationalist stories about absurd therapies.

    For example, EAP is often used to promote self esteem. Now, every approach called “reparative” will promote self esteem; so it’s quite rational to use EAP in it. The more juicy pretensions about a “horse cure” of SOC are obviously not quotations but inventions of the journalist.

    A scientific use of such stories is only possible when we know something about rhetorical stratagems and are able to weigh facts against rhetorical patterns.

    • Patrocles – Perhaps you missed the post where I linked to half a dozen articles demonstrating that beating pillows facilitates aggression and is not now recommended by anyone in the mainstream.

      The statements re: horse cure may or may not be an invention. Sure the reporter could have made it up. But if Mr. Bell is not being honest, he would not be the first person to say something to a reporter and then wish he hadn’t. I don’t know either the reporter or Mr. Bell so I am reporting it all.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Look, they have pointedly NOT denied doing horse therapy to turn you from gay to straight. What they are denying is that they ever talked to the press about it. Most likely Gay Star News got the story from a friend or family member of someone taking the “therapy” because the family member is laughing their Bhutto off.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Above make that, “laughing their butt off”

  • Zoe Brain

    Or perhaps they don’t consider anyone working for GayStarNews to be a journalist. Especially if the reporter doesn’t tell them who they’re working for. As far as they know, they haven’t talked to a journalist, merely answered an enquiry from a poor soul in need of help.

    Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) offers experiential psychotherapy sessions to diagnosed or diagnosable clients. Natural horse and herd behavior are observed and honored as a model for healthful human behavior. Equine-assisted exercises are designed to elicit metaphors and self-awareness. These exercises help clients recognize their own behaviors and patterns and create their own solutions.

    The phrase “horse puckey” comes to mind. Also Haruspicy (reading goat entrails) and similar un-evidenced philosophies.

    Maybe I’m too cynical. Maybe there is some evidencial basis. But I bet they charge for their services.

  • Zoe Brain

    Some extreme homophobes have peculiar ideas.

    Come to think about it, being around billy goats and stroking their heads and faces, could be a cure for male homosexuality. A male couple who feel attracted to each other could each roll in the billy goat pish or allow the goat to spray them on a daily basis. they would then give each other a wide berth for the day. Any time they feel close to sinning with each other, they allow the billy to spray them. That should calm things down. I guess it would take about twenty one days. both males would begin to associate the attraction to a person of the same sex with billy goat pish and a bbbadddd, bbaddd smell. Then you take them to a luxuriously furnished room with a wonderful perfume wafting through the room and show them pictures of females who are appropriately clothed and nice looking girls. Every time you show a picture of a woman you make them eat a chocolate or a favourite food choice. You also must make an education program that will restore their sexual balance. So bad smells are associated with same sex attraction, good food, peaceful music and positive things.


  • Norm!

    Hi Straightgrandmother,

    It would be very dishonest if Gay Star News got the story from a friend or family member. Their article specifically quotes Raymond Bell as talking to Gay Star News — although not necessarily that he knew he was talking to their specific publication.

    It’s understandable that Gay Star News‘s reporter would not disclose his profession or publication considering Bell’s alleged anti-gay viewpoint. However, it’s a little troubling that Gay Star News has not yet responded to Raymond Bell accusations.

  • Dave

    I think it is likely that this is one of those internet hoaxes. The infonet can also be the disinformation net. I did several google searches for horse therapy and homosexuality and came up with nothing except the (allegedly phony) news articles. I don’t see how their ministry could reach this alleged client base without some internet sponsoring of what they allegedly do on their website. Unfortunately, they may need to send notices to many more news sources than they listed in their email to Dr. Throckmorton .. this (false) story is spreading fast.



    I usually respect Prof. Throckmorton’s writings. However, this report should have been checked out on a second source before public posting. Especially when the sources are not highly reputable academic journals or newspapers. From what has been provided on this blog, it is impossible to know the truth of the claims about Pastor Bell. If the report is not true, Pastor Bell has been slandered.

  • Michael C

    “If the report is not true, Pastor Bell has been slandered.”

    As StraightGrandmother pointed out, Bell has not denied using horses to “cure” homosexuality. If the information for the Gay Star article was either questionably obtained or completely fabricated, I don’t think it would be considered slander if it were actually true.

  • The whole thing is strange. The minister won’t deny using EAP in this manner but the GSNews won’t/hasn’t commented either.

  • Dave

    Strange indeed .. their website alert seems to be a ‘circle the wagons’ approach .. suggesting criminal intent in those who will not enter a dialog with them. Why not simply deny that they use EAP for this and be done with it? Odd..

    Anyway .. I did some fishing on the internet and found that this EAP program comes directly from a person named Greg Kersten.

    I found this by following the Cowboy church’s links .. see here:


    The above page has a link to the OK Corral Series here: http://www.okcorralseries.com/

    ANd the OK Corral Series give credit to Greg Kersten. Greg Kersten apparently also founded the EAGALA .. an organization that he is currently suing . See here: http://gregkersten.com/

    The only reference I can find to any sort of gender therapy or gay therapy is at the EAGALA site .. http://www.eagala.org/search/node/gay

    As you can see on the list on the above page .. several practicers of EAP mention gender identity or gay issues as something they work on through EAP.

    So there seems to be some link between EAP and this kind of therapy .. Whether Pastor Bell practices it in the programs he sponsors is unknown.


  • Norm

    Hi Dave, I’m wouldn’t interpret the few member listings on EAGALA site that mention gay to mean they use EAP to change gay and lesbians. It may merely mean they welcome gay and lesbians clients. It’s bewildering that they mention gay/lesbian issues in their profile though. I’m not quite sure how working with horses can be used in counseling for marriage problems, chronic pain, etc.

  • Dave

    I didn’t say they were using it for change .. I just reported what I found. Its still a mystery…


  • Jon Trouten

    Truth Wins Out has a copy of Cowboy Church’s brochure, where it claims that their equine therapy program helps people overcome an assortment of “addictions”, including homosexuality: http://www.truthwinsout.org/news/2013/01/32681/

  • Jeremy

    I have never heard of “equine therapy” or any of this story, but I think everyone should not how excited and giddy you and Wayne Besen seem to be about jumping on ANY and ALL stories (no matter how ridiculous) that you can use for your agenda. without validating any of the information. I have much more respect for him because at least he is honest about what both of your intentions are.

  • Jon Trouten

    I wasn’t aware that I’m acting giddy or promoting any agenda. I actually do know a bit about equine therapy through a nearby program called Miracles In Motion, which works with disabled youth and adults. I do know that it isn’t an ex-gay tool.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Jeremy, people will laugh at a farce. It can’t be helped, what is funny is funny.

  • StraightGrandmother

    Warren I hope you change your headline back after reading their brochure found on Truth Wins Out.

  • Mary

    In their defense (albeit it not strong) they call homosexuality an addiction – so I guess the equine therapy is able to lesson addictions, one of those being gay.

  • Mary

    ooops lessen