Calling All Former Participants in Studies of Sexual Orientation Change Efforts

Writing on Tuesday about Joseph Nicolosi’s new reparative therapy study got me thinking about the other studies of sexual orientation change efforts which have come and gone. I know a few participants in the Spitzer, Shidlo and Schroeder, Jones and Yarhouse studies who once told researchers they had changed orientation but now identify as gay. I suspect some have stayed about the same as they were when they participated in the research. It would be interesting to find out if there are any patterns in experience since those studies were published.
With that in mind, I am calling for subjects in any of the studies designed to assess sexual reorientation to contact me. If you participated in the Spitzer, Shidlo and Schroeder, Jones and Yarhouse, or any study which asked if you had changed orientation (including my 2005 study), please contact me at this email ( Those interested don’t have to reveal their identities at first and feel free to write with any questions about this effort.
It seems pretty clear to me that some erosion in the percentage of people claiming change has occurred since Exodus International shut down. Several former leaders in Exodus have recently come out as gay and there may be others who participated in studies from that era who have gone in a different direction. While this isn’t exact science, it may help to shed some light on the long term experience of those who once claimed to have changed orientation.

For Those Interested in Mars Hill Church History, Wenatchee the Hatchet Has Organized Some Links. A Former Elder's Wife Speaks Out

marshilleverettaskfundsFor Mars Hill history buffs, Wenatchee the Hatchet has done a service for you. Go check out his post with links tagged and organized topically.
Also, wife of a former elder Jen Smidt has spoken out about her experiences at Mars Hill. According to Jen, she once said something Sutton Turner didn’t like and the next day Turner rebuked her husband for it.
WtH has a lengthy account and analysis which I won’t try to compete with.
It occurred to me recently that a final accounting of Mars Hill was never made public. I assume the assets were sold and divided up between the legacy churches but no final reporting ever became public. Secrecy persisted until the end.
For all of my posts on Mars Hill Church and The Trinity Church see below:
Mars Hill Church
The Trinity Church (the post-Mars Hill church Mark Driscoll started in Phoenix)

New Sexual Reorientation Study Off to a Shaky Start; Michael Bailey's Brain Scan Offer is Still Good

After the closing of Exodus International, the wind went out of the sexual reorientation sails. In June of last year, former ex-gay organization Exodus International leader Alan Chambers said the movement was “gasping for air.”
However, a quiet breeze may be blowing still as demonstrated by a study being conducted by one of the luminaries of reparative therapy, Joseph Nicolosi and relative newcomer Carolyn Pela.  Nicolosi and Pela summarized their preliminary findings at a meeting of the Christian Association for Psychological Studies a year ago. Nicolosi described the study on his website:

Dr. Pela described the study as being longitudinal with a within-group repeated-measures design.  Their dependent variable was psychotherapy as conducted at Dr. Nicolosi’s Thomas Aquinas Psychological Clinic.  The independent variables were (1) well-being as operationalized by the Outcome Questionnaire 45 (OQ-45.2), a highly respected measure of psychotherapy process and outcome, and (2) separately assessed dimensions of sexual orientation, namely, thoughts, desires, behavior, and identity.  Data collected to date involved 102 male psychotherapy clients who presented with ambivalence, discomfort, or distress regarding their SSA.  Eighty-one participants had been involved in the study long enough to have well-being assessed and data on change were available from 56 participants at the time of the CAPS presentation.

I am pretty sure the dependent and independent variables are reversed in his description. The independent variable is what is manipulated in an experiment and the dependent variable is a measure of results (see this brief explanation). That problem aside, what did they find?

Findings from preliminary data collected over a 12 month period indicated statistically significant reductions in distress and improvements in well-being, significant movement toward heterosexual identity, and significant increases in heterosexual thoughts and desires with accompanying significant decreases in homosexual thoughts and desires.  Effect sizes for these changes were generally in the moderate range, which suggests they are robust and not likely to be statistical artifacts.  The findings did not discover significant change in heterosexual or homosexual kissing or sexual activity.  These findings appear to have been the result of very low base rates in these behaviors among study participants leading to floor effects and a subsequent lack of change, as it is not possible to change a behavior in which participants are not engaging.

To summarize, the participants were thinking straighter but not doing anything about it.
To me, this result is understandable. If one is in treatment with the stated goal to think more about heterosexual outcomes, then there would be strong motivation to produce those experiences when asked. However, the test for any actual change will be when therapy is over and the regular rehearsal of such ideas isn’t happening. The difference between process changes (how a client feels during therapy) and outcome changes (what remains after therapy is over) is often great. Reorientation therapy studies are filled with people who said they had changed during the study but then felt differently months or years later. Thus, follow up must be a key component of any therapy study.
It should be pointed out that this study isn’t a true experiment since there is no control group. There isn’t a way to test for the effect of the passing of time. Spontaneous fluidity has been reported and it isn’t clear without a control group that psychotherapy is responsible for any change that is reported (or to what degree the therapy is responsible). Without a long term follow up and a control group, this study won’t provide much more information than we already have.
Finally, if Nicoloso and Pela truly want a potent and believable pre and post measurement, they should take Northwestern University professor Michael Bailey’s offer to conduct brain scans of the participants. Some years ago, Bailey informed Nicolosi that he could bring his patients to the lab to test their automatic responses to erotic cues. Nicolosi never took him up on the offer. I recently asked Bailey if the offer was still good. He answered in the affirmative. Pre (or even mid) treatment scans compared with post-treatment scans would help to offset the lack of a control group.

K.P. Yohannan Ordains 12 New Bishops Including Son and Gospel for Asia Board Member Daniel Punnoose

On March 2, Daniel Punnoose, the son of Gospel for Asia founder and Believers’ Church Metropolitan K.P. Yohannan, was confirmed as a Bishop in the Believers’ Church in India. This sets the stage for Yohannan to turn over the GFA empire to Punnoose when Yohannan decides to retire.

Daniel Punnoose - Fourth from the left
Daniel Punnoose – Fourth from the left

Gospel for Asia is being sued by former donors who claim that GFA engaged in fraud and misuse of funds.
Metropolitan K.P. Yohannan
Pope KP2

Arkansas Legislator Wants Howard Zinn's History Books Banned from School; Why Not David Barton's Book Too?

From the indispensable Arkansas Blog by Max Brantley:

Just in from Rep. Kim Hendren: Legislation to prohibit any publicly supported schools (you, too, charters)  from including in curriculum or couerse materials any books or other material authored by Howard Zinn.

The usual target is Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. Remember in 2012 when the History News Network asked readers to rate the least credible history book in print? Zinn’s A People’s History was scorned, coming in second in the least credible lineup. Do you recall which book came in first?
Wait for it…
Yes, David Barton’s first edition of The Jefferson Lies was voted the worst history book in print, even beating out Zinn’s opus by nine votes.
So Rep. Hendrin, shouldn’t you add this book to your banned list? If you want to eliminate bad history from the Arkansas schools, you might need to expand your horizons.
Seriously, I don’t think the legislature should ban books but while we are talking about the silly proposal, let’s at least recognize that historians have called out revisionism on the right and the left.

Ecclesia College President Oren Paris Among New Indictments in Arkansas Bribery Scandal

The other shoe dropped today.
After Arkansas state representative Micah Neal was indicted for his part in a kickback scheme involving Western Arkansas non-profits, including Ecclesia College, speculation mounted that state senator Jon Woods would also be indicted. The fate of others mentioned in the Neal indictment was not as clear. However, today a federal grand jury released indictments of Woods, Ecclesia College president Oren Paris III and their mutual friend Randell Shelton, Jr.
Read the indictment here.
According to the indictment, Neal, Woods, Shelton and Paris conspired to defraud the citizens of Arkansas.
Paris indictment
The purpose of the arrangement was to enrich all of those indicted. From the indictment:
Purpose AR Bribes
The indictment spells out in detail the communications between Paris, Wood and Shelton.
Despite the indictment, Ecclesia’s board is standing by their man. A couple of hours ago, the college posted the following letter on their Facebook page.
Board letter
Ecclesia College also lists a Board of Regents with notable Christians such as Pat Boone, David Barton, and Eric Metaxas.

Honorable Bob McEwen
Dr. David Barton
Pat Boone
Dr. Steve Henderson
Dennis Lindsay
Dr. H. D. McCarty
Eric Metaxas
Twila Paris
Winkie Pratney
Valentin Vale


Now Evangelicals Leaders Want to Preach the Gospel

Giddy with power, evangelicals leaders who brought us Donald Trump now want to turn the page on the nightmare that was the 2016 campaign. Greg Laurie started a call for Christians to ignore the bad news all around us with Franklin Graham, Eric Metaxas, James Dobson and other Trump (and some never-Trumps) supporters signing on.

The Year of Good News
In a time of bad news, distracting news, divisive news, disorderly news, and, sometimes, depressing news we—as Christians and as leaders—want to recommit ourselves to making sure that the Good News of Jesus cuts through it all. We call upon Christians in America to make 2017 “The Year of Good News.”

The first month of the Trump administration has been chaotic with assaults on basic liberties, including religious freedom. After a year of telling people in the pews that they need to get involved in politics to elect Donald Trump, now these leaders are telling us we need to rise above politics.

Therefore, we commit to preach louder than our nation’s politics, and we aim to make the message of Jesus Christ transcend the monopoly of our media. We confess our only hope of unity is on the level ground at the foot of the cross of Jesus, and our only hope of healing is in the victory achieved through his empty tomb.

Reactions to the Religious News Service article about the effort are worth looking at.

I guess having the Executive branch of the US government working on your behalf and special interests would be good news to you. Not such good news for the rest of us citizens.
This doesn’t sound right: Fellow believers are to “make 2017 the ‘Year of Good News'” – why again? Let’s all proclaim “the Good News that God loved us so much He sent His Son to this earth on a rescue mission” – for what compelling reason? It’s all because of: “the monopoly of our media … fake news, distracting news, divisive news, disorderly news, and, sometimes, depressing news … the divisions and distractions dividing our nation and disorienting our culture … our political, racial, and cultural divisions”?! (Harvest Christian Fellowship, Feb. 28, 2017)
No, thanks, I don’t do it for political reasons, or out of political motivation – post-election time! Who do they think they are?!

Now I am waiting for these leaders to tell Trump that they don’t want the Johnson Amendment eliminated. If they are going to focus on the Gospel, then no need to intertwine the Gospel with politics is there?
So now that they won, they want the rest of us to ignore the consequences. I suppose I would too.
The initial signers:

  • Greg LauriePastor, Harvest Christian Fellowship
  • Cathe LaurieSpeaker, Author
  • Franklin GrahamBilly Graham Evangelistic Association
  • Al MohlerPresident, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Anne Graham LotzAuthor
  • James DobsonAuthor, Family Talk with James Dobson
  • Jack GrahamPastor, Prestonwood Church
  • Steve GainesPresident, Southern Baptist Convention
  • David JeremiahPastor, Shadow Mountain Community Church
  • Chris TomlinMusician, Songwriter
  • Max LucadoAuthor
  • Russell MoorePresident, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
  • James MacDonaldFounder and Senior Pastor, Harvest Bible Chapel
  • George WoodGeneral Superintendent, Assemblies of God
  • Eric MetaxasAuthor, Speaker, Radio Host
  • Kevin EzellPresident, North American Mission Board (NAMB)
  • Robert MorrisPastor, Gateway Church
  • Ronnie FloydSenior Pastor, Cross Church
  • Joe FochtSenior Pastor, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia
  • Brian BrodersenSenior Pastor, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa
  • Joel RosenbergAuthor
  • Levi LuskoPastor, Fresh Life Church
  • OS HawkinsPresident, Guidestone Financial Resources
  • Randy AlcornAuthor
  • Willie JordanCofounder and President, Fred Jordan Missions
  • Rev. Samuel RodriguezPresident, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
  • Skip HeitzigFounder and Senior Pastor, Calvary of Albuquerque