Yours truly is quoted in this article by Ed Fletcher on a Sacramento area Exodus ministry. Alan Chambers is also quoted as is Greg Herek. Chambers reflects on his experience:
Chambers said he grew up in the church, but as an adolescent discovered he was attracted to men. As a young adult he had relations with men. He said he found a church that would accept him and led him to the Exodus ministry.
He said for him temptation still exists, but he no longer wants to act on those feelings, has been happily and faithfully married for 11 years, and has two children.
“That is success for me. Not heterosexuality, so to speak,” Chambers said, “but a life that is congruent with my faith.”
Of course, the last sentence is music to my sexual-identity-therapy ears – at least coming from one (Mr. Chambers) who embraces Evangelical Christianity. I should take care to say that sexual identity therapy recognizes that the value direction of sexual identity work comes from the client. For Alan, given his core commitment to Christianity, this was the option that fit him best.
Others of course, do not find the same outcome.
Jacques Whitfield, a Sacramento attorney, said he tried for years to squelch his homosexual feelings and attended meetings with the group at Sunrise Community Church in Fair Oaks. Finally, he decided he couldn’t change.
“I was in the program because I wanted to do what is right. I wanted to preserve my family,” said Whitfield, who is the new board chairman of the Sacramento Gay and Lesbian Center. “And if this was a choice, I could choose not to be gay.”
Whitfield was married for 11 years and spent much of that time trying, with the help of the church, to resist his attraction to men.
“The people who run the program are well-meaning,” he said. “They love God and they want to do the right thing.”
“I don’t believe that sexual orientation is a choice,” Whitfield said. “I think you can abstain, but that doesn’t make you straight.”
The Mr. Fletcher brings in the professors.
Psychologists disagree that you can change sexual orientation.
“It’s maybe among the most controversial subjects you could bring up,” said Dr. Warren Throckmorton, an associate professor of psychology at Grove City College in Pennsylvania.
While some studies suggest people have happily changed, others chronicle harmful psychological effects of trying to change sexual orientation.
Throckmorton, who blogs about sexual identity at wthrockmorton. com, said he allows clients to set their own course. Throckmorton said research that relies on self-reported data isn’t conclusive.
Some people will report changing their sexual orientation through some form of counseling or therapy, but that doesn’t mean it actually worked or that trying it is worth the effort, said Gregory Herek, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis.
“Being gay is a perfectly normal sexual orientation,” Herek said.
Reading the comments section of this article, I am re-instructed in the role of observer bias. Several commenters take Mr. Fletcher to task for being too hard on religion, and then in the same thread, several others say he is too easy on archaic religious views.