David Matheson was a well known defender and practitioner of reparative therapy for many years. He founded Journey Into Manhood with Rich Wyler. JIM was inspired by New Warriors Training Weekend and the Manhood Project. The Manhood Project and their weekend getaways came to the public eye after several bad experiences by several men who attended the events. One committed suicide and directly attributed his mood decline to the Mankind Project.
The premise of Matheson and Wyler was that gay men don’t experience themselves as masculine. Due to lack of masculinity, they are attracted to men instead of women. JIM seeks to provide members with masculinity building experiences along with lots of hugging and touching. Ultimately, the foundation for their work is in the psychoanalytically influenced work of Elizabeth Moberly and Joseph Nicolosi. They believed gay people were attracted to others of the same sex due to a reparative drive which propelled gays to seek the love they missed from their same-sex parents. Theoretically, if a gay person could get non-sexual connection from same-sex peers, the deficit would be filled and heterosexual longings would naturally emerge.
In practice, this hasn’t worked out well. Numerous former ex-gays have become ex-ex-gay. For instance, John Smid once ran Love in Action, an ex-gay camp in Memphis. He is now married to a man. Randy Thomas was number two man at Exodus who is now dating a man. Most recently, Matheson has announced that he is living as a gay man.
Matheson’s announcement will surely send shock waves throughout the small reparative therapy community. He has been one of the most articulate defenders of gender affirming counseling and reparative therapy. After about two decades of being at it, he is still gay.