I am not attending the NARTH conference; Dr. Blakeslee resigns

Call me crazy but I have decided not to present the Sexual Identity Therapy Guidelines at the NARTH conference in November. In addition to other reasons, I am in disbelief that the leadership of NARTH has not come out against the article by Gerald Schoenewolf regarding political correctness. I fear that this is a cloud over NARTH that can only be dispelled by decisive action and clear statements.

Furthermore, I have been informed that David Blakeslee has resigned his membership in NARTH and the NARTH Scientific Advisory Committee, in part due to the ambiguous responses from NARTH regarding the Schoenewolf controversy. David will be adding remarks in an update here soon.

22 thoughts on “I am not attending the NARTH conference; Dr. Blakeslee resigns”

  1. looks like someone tried to make an update to the site and made a mistake. Likely they moved a pointer to where the content was actually stored. It’ll probably be back up on monday.

  2. I couldn’t help but notice that all of the content on NARTH’s web site has disappeared. It’s been missing for at least 24 hours.

  3. Jason – You a little behind the times – this was in 2006 – but anyway glad to have your comments.

    I take strong exception to your view that NARTH is the only source for therapy regarding SSA issues. In fact, I see the organization as a pretty biased and misleading source. And in fact it is too bad that political issues dominate NARTH. Take a look at the website and you will find NARTH fighting all kinds of political battles.

    There were two SIT conferences since 2006 but they were not open to the public. I think you are right that we should do that. Watch this space because if the SIT folks ever organize a conference, it will be announced here.

  4. Thats sad to hear, the NARTH Conference is the only place in the earth to find good resources about SSA therapy. For example we travel each year from latinamerica.

    Meanwhile you discuss about “doctrinal issues” between NARTH and therapist a lot of new therapist get lost without new approaches like Sexual Identity Therapy Framework and this impact of course in a lot of clients that can be benefit with frameworks like this….

    Its very sorry that political issues are still dominate prior therapeutic agenda.

    At least you should try to organize a Conference

  5. I meant to type a more intelligent response to this, but it’s getting very late, and I have school early in the morning tomorrow.

    Still, I wanted to say that even though we hold very different views when it comes to gay therapy, I give credit where credit is due, I thank you for speaking up against this paper. It should not be condoned by anyone, considering the atrocities it trivializes.

    Don’t let what people are saying keep you from doing the right thing! 🙂

  6. I’d like to share my story. I was born in Kenya as a missionary kid and brought up in a strong evangelical church. I graduated from Oral Roberts University and I’m gay. The greatest challenge of my life was to accept myself as a gay man when I had been brought up to believe that being gay is unnatural, among other things. Although my family remains completely unsupportive after almost 16 years of knowing my sexual orientation, the dignity and strength that I’ve gained from SELF-acceptance has been invaluable.

    Read more…


  7. NARTH is a scientifically ridiculous organization, and frankly, laughed at by the scientific community for years. In keeping any hope of scientific credibility, one should distance themselves as far as possible.

  8. Ned Stringham also resigned from the Scientific Advisory Board and did not attend the convention. However, while seemingly wounded, NARTH seems to have gone on. Dean Byrd has been appointed President-elect and Dave Pruden is acting Executive Director. I have heard from multiple sources that membership is quite low but there is no independent verification of what those numbers are. I was told by someone who attended that the conference attendance was the lowest in years.

  9. What ever came of this? Did anyone else resign? I believe in change but it looks like NARTH is self-desctructing.

  10. Due to holidays, slow in coming, but…

    Good. Long over due. But you knew that.

    To go back to my Baptist roots…

    “One does not bargain with the devil.”


    And the devil is known by his lies.

    Welcome aboard: what took ya so long???

  11. I note that there has been no response from EXODUS regarding the NARTH artciles or the resignation of Mr Blakeslee. NARTH is still linked to Alan Chamber’s blog. I also noticed all the links to conservative Republican organizations and individuals. I keep scratching my head. What ever happened to the EXODUS I knew?

    I am still trying to get used tto the fact that EXODUS is no longer the “loose-kniw coalition of ministries”. Now, it seems, it has become just another blatantly political special interest group

  12. “I fear that this is a cloud over NARTH that can only be dispelled by decisive action and clear statements.”

    I have been out of touch for awhile. Has their been any cloud-lifting recently?

  13. Now, if we could only convince Alan Chambers and his friends at FOTF that distancing themselves from NARTH would be a good thing for them as well. For better of for worse, you ARE known by the company you keep.

    Last Sunday, our pastor urged all “ministries” to remain non-partisan. Or, was Jesus a Republican?

  14. Wow. I turn my back for a second and look what happens. Dr. Blakeslee and Warren, excellent decisions.
    Remember I mentioned how the article was a rehash of a longer piece over at freecongress.org?http://www.freecongress.org/centers/cc/index.asp. Anti-black, Anti-Jew, anti women in the workplace, and anti-gay. These people are leading the charge in the culture wars that the Christian right has bought into. This isn’t just a NARTH thing. It’s pandemic. It’s dangerous to all walks of life.

  15. Mr. Blakeslee said:

    “All sides are helped by fidelity to the truth and by loving one’s neighbor as one’s self.”

    Now THAT bears repeating. Perhaps all sides of this debate should adopt it as organizational and professional POLICY. We might even be able to re-start the very good discussion we had going awhile back on this blog on “Common Ground” — in the weeks back before the malodorous “NARTH bombs” exploded.

  16. Craig: I take exception to your characterization of people at NARTH as “wackos.” They see things differently than I do but they are trying to do what they believe to be correct.

    David: Well said.

  17. Just IMAGINE… “the creation of some other group dedicated to principled therapy and research rather than invective and activism” and that would

    “provide the privelege of debating what a study means or what is or is not effective treatment rather than whether slaves were “better off”.

    Now THAT would be something!!!

    I might even be willing to be a member of such a SCIENTIFIC organization, not because I believe gays can or should be “changed”, but because it would be nice to see this debate removed from politics and put back into some scientifically respectable framework.

    While we are at it, it would be REALLY nice to see EXODUS return to its roots, disentangle itself from political causes, “get out of bed with NARTH” (as EXODUS co-founder, Robbi Kenney suggested on this blog) — and get back to bringing the Gospel to gays.

  18. NARTH has the power to be a good organization if they allow someone else to engage in activism and they focus on making scientific comments about same-sex attraction.

    Every organization has flaws, some of them serious, most are remediable. There are many good people at NARTH who need to lead it based upon its identity as a scientific organization. If it is led in another way, it needs to change its identity to an activist organization.

    Until it is clear which path they choose, I decided I could no longer identify myself with them. As long as they inserted political opinions and poor advice into serious reviews of scientific research, I could no long identify myself with them. As long as they stubbornly defended such action and claimed they were being attacked by legitimate criticism, I could no longer identify myself with them.

    I have been to NARTH conferences and found a diversity of ethnic and religious backgrounds represented. I cannot understand why they would stand so strongly behind an article which is so offensive and would be so easy to repudiate. Over the last few weeks they have had several opportunities to rethink this decision and they have failed everytime. I cannot help but think that non-scientists have too much pull in such decisions.

    Sometimes organizations change because of the vision they renew. Sometimes they change because outside pressures require they do so. Sometimes they change, because internal pressures redirect them.

    In the current political climate I would prefer that NARTH survive, change, and provide an important balance in the debate about same-sex attraction. The current debate about same sex attraction would not be as lively and varied were it not for NARTH and its contributions. I think they can can do even more and do it much better. We will see.

    Some good friends who have disagreed with my decision have argued that the APA suffers from the same problem of cherrypicking its data to support a political agenda (See Redding, 2001). I will continue to fight against that hegemony at APA, but I cannot succeed in that fight if the colleagues I respect and support are making the same mistakes as those at the APA.

    So, I resigned.

    I hope all scientists on both sides of this intense debate will renew their efforts to both create good science and interpret the results they discover accurately. I believe NARTH would not exist at all if that devotion to truth at the APA had not been significantly weakened. All organizations (churches, schools, research organizations, and professional associations) assume many responsibilities when they lead, chief of which is a devotion to the truth. I look forward to NARTH refining its mission and through that process providing necessary balance in this debate.

    All sides are helped by fidelity to the truth and by loving one’s neighbor as one’s self.

    David Blakeslee

  19. Perhaps this will either be a wakeup call for Narth to rethink itself, or will result in the creation of some other group dedicated to principled therapy and research rather than invective and activism.

    Yeah, I’ll probably still disagree but at least I’ll have the privelege of debating what a study means or what is or is not effective treatment rather than whether slaves were “better off”.

  20. I think you have taken a very honerable position, at considerable risk to your standing among some of your colleagues. But I think that when it comes to those colleagues who matter, your principled stand will be applauded.

    I continue to be astonished at NARTH’s continuing to ignore the situation, as well as their increasingly hysterical tone on NARTH’s blog.

    Warren, you’re a-okay in my book.

    I look forward to seeing Dr. Blakeslee’s remarks.

  21. I’m very happy for both of you.

    The NARTH blog right now appears to be in a state of paranoid fanaticism–this Sojourneer character apparently is immune to reason.

    Rather than address the legitimate, logical criticisms from the gay activists, he side steps them and instead posts a hundred articles which depict Ex-gays and NARTH as ostracized victims.

    Absolutely ridiculous.

    My support for NARTH goes only as far as the following phrase : “the right to self-determination.”

    Hell, I don’t know what those wackos are thinking these days. I’m sorely disappointed.


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