Wayne Besen is circulating a letter from John Evans critical of Love in Action. Besen claims Evans was a co-founder of Love in Action. In Evans letter, he doesn’t say he was a co-founder. Evans refers to himself as an “original member” and an organizer of LIA. According to several independent sources I consulted, John Evans cannot be considered a founder; Frank Worthen was the founder.
Frank Worthen started Love in Action in 1973 along with support from a minister named Kent Philpott. John Evans may have been one of the original people to respond to Frank’s 1973 ad about Love in Action.
Why the focus on the founders of these groups?
I just made contact with Kent Philpott, the pastor who all agree was a co-founder of Love in Action. He confirms that Frank Worthen was the other co-founder of Love in Action. John Evans came into the ministry as a member after it was started. He and others (60 plus people the first year) surely did contribute to the organization of the effort but according to Rev. Philpott (who knew nothing of the recent focus on LIA), John Evans was not a founder.
I am at a loss to understand the fascination with founders. I know of no one who doubts that some people change their mind and beliefs about homosexuality, leave ex-gay ministries and live as gay. Even if these false claims (e.g., about Exodus founders and now Love in Action founders) were true, it would not prove what that change never occurs. By confirming the real story about the founding of LIA and Exodus, I do not think all people will now be required to believe change always occurs. One of the main issues for me is credibility. I have come to the conclusion that I believe nothing from those who make these claims unless I confirm them myself.
Another addendum (8/6/05)
I am learning that all of this is pretty complicated. For instance I was wrong above that John Evans was one of 60 people who were merely organizers. He was one of the original group that helped name Love in Action. There are other aspects of the story though that I am looking into. Here is what I can say at this time. Love in Action would have occured without the involvement of Mr. Evans but it would not have happened without Kent Philpott and Frank Worthen. And I think all agree that it was an unnamed woman in the first meeting who suggested the name. Also, the suicide attributed to Love in Action has been done so quite unfairly in my assessment.