Living Waters.. What do you say?

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Joined in 2007
August 17, 2008, 17:18

can you email me or pm me with the questions? I dont know if i’ll remember asking you on the 5th.

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
August 17, 2008, 18:15

can you email me or pm me with the questions? I dont know if i’ll remember asking you on the 5th.

you can ask about the last two paragraphs on the list below on the 5th.

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
August 17, 2008, 18:18

Questions for Ex-Gay Ministry Leaders

1. Do you know of anyone who was completely gay (not a bisexual) who has become completely heterosexual?

2. Considering that scientific research demonstrates that homosexuality is not caused by sexual abuse or by poor parenting what do you think made you gay?

3. Would you honestly say that you are a ‘normal’ heterosexual person at every level of your being?

4. Can you guarantee me that if I go through your program that I will be completely heterosexual? Would I be completely heterosexual without being married or would I have to become married to prove it?

5. What accountability mechanisms do you have in place to ensure that you don’t ‘fall’. If you were truly healed, would this be necessary?

6. Do you have the same accountability in place to stop you having sex with a person of the opposite sex? Why not?

7. If you were to be unfaithful to your spouse, would it be more likely to be with someone of the same sex or the opposite sex?

8. Even though it may not have been your experience, do you think it is possible to be gay and live in a long term, monogamous relationship?

9. Do you think that long term same-sex relationships are built on sex or love, support and respect? So what is the difference then between gay and straight couples?

10. There seems to be many former ex-gay leaders here in Australia, the UK and the US who are now coming out and apologising for the negative impact they previously had on people they’d taken through their programs, saying they acted in ignorance. How do you respond to that?

11. We now know that people have suicided, self-harmed or attempted suicide because of the enormous pressure they were under whilst going through ex-gay programs. How do you feel about that and how do you personally deal with the knowledge that you have contributed to this?

12. It seems that almost everyone who is supposedly ‘ex-gay’ lived a tormented life of sexual addiction and self destructive behaviours. Heterosexuals have the same experience but don’t blame their sexual orientation for this. It seems to me that you get sexual addiction and abuse mixed up with sexual orientation. Shouldn’t you be working on helping people with their sexual addiction and not concentrating on the sexual orientation?

13. Are you a qualified and registered psychologist or counsellor? (usually the answer is no ). So if I find your program has a negative impact on my mental health, can I sue you for damages?

14. In some situations, like prison and other all male environments, men have sex with men but don’t turn out to be gay. When these men leave prison they return to living as heterosexuals. It’s called ‘situational homosexuality’. How different is that to you know being married and having sex with your wife?

15. How frequently are you tempted to have sex with someone of the opposite sex like any ‘normal’ heterosexual man would?

16. Considering that there are now 10,000’s of gay Christians who have come out, live moral lives, have a strong faith and believe that God loves them just as they are, isn’t your ex-gay message becoming redundant and obsolete?

17. Do you agree with all the directions that the American organisation Exodus has taken? In what areas do you differ from them?

18. If success is classed as changing from homosexual to heterosexual, what substantiated figures do you have on the percentage of successful outcomes from your program that is not just anecdotal.

19. Considering the majority of ex-gay ministries reject the growing scientific evidence that same-sex-orientation happens prenatally through both genetic and hormonal influences, how do you respond to those who are born with gender or genital ambiguities which is obviously biological.

There are some extremely pertinent questions (not appropriate for me to put on this forum) that can be asked of an ex-gay ‘married’ person about the sexual behaviours with their spouses; practices that most heterosexuals would enjoy but would be uncomfortable, or even repulsive, to a same sex oriented person. Of course when asking such personal questions the person would protest that what they and their partner did behind closed doors was none of my business. To which I would reply “Exactly, I agree it’s highly offensive question. So why do you feel it is your right to talk about the way my partner and I make love behind closed doors and label it disgusting. The intimacies of our love making in private is no one else’s business but ours”.

There is also a particular question (which I can’t put up here on the forum either), that should be asked of a particular Australian ex-gay leader because of the testimonial he gave at the National Forum on Marriage in Canberra 2004. It was after this forum the Australian government of the time amended the Marriage Act to state that marriage would only ever be ‘defined as between a man and a woman to the exclusion of all other’ thus making same-sex marriages illegal in Australia (the only country in the world to do this). Because of this ex-gay leader’s twisted experience, the impression he gave was that all gay men are paedophiles. Exactly what people at the forum wanted to hear. We not only know this is a fallacy but research has demonstrated numerous times that this is predominately a heterosexual problem. It was not only an extremely irresponsible statement made on that day but also highly offensive to gay men such as myself.

Here is a statement I made for the Beyond Ex-gay site in the US that summarises what I’ve said.

Before you invest the time, money, emotional energy and possibly years of your life trying to go from gay to straight, ask the ex-gay leaders what guarantee they can give you that it will work. If they are honest with you, the best they will be able to offer you as a degree of ‘heterosexual functionality’, but the gay never actually goes away. Then ask yourself what would be the best way to spend your time, money and emotional energy…..rejecting yourself or accepting yourself.

After 22 years of trying to change including ex-gay programs, exorcisms and 16 years of marriage, I came to the realisation that loving myself was far healthier than hating and rejecting my true self. Like 1,000’s of others today, I finally discovered that I can live a wonderfully fulfilling, moral life as an openly gay man and still have my faith.

Joined in 2007
August 17, 2008, 23:03

wow, great questions AVB. Those are questions that I’m sure any ex-gay cannot directly answer, or cannot asnwer without putting a spin on it. Remind me to ask you abt the last 2 paragraph on the 5th 😉

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
August 18, 2008, 09:17

thanks Nick……I haven’t been researching this area for the last 8 years for nothing.

It began back in 2008 when I began a yahoo group for people who had gone through ex-gay programs. that has consistently remained at about 200 people. I’ve connected now with so many people who’ve told me there stories.

I keep up with as much scientific research in this area as possible.

I’m also networked with people in the UK and US who have devoted their lives to working in these areas. you’ll see those groups in the resources area.

I attended the first ex-gay survivors conference in the US in 2007…….so all this has kept informed and up to date so I’m not just speaking from personal experience but an informed position….on both sides of the debate…….even read a number of books on the Koorong bookshelves…..which are not helpful but detrimental… you well know.

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
August 18, 2008, 13:29

Here is an additional important question that i’ve just added……obviously this is a work in progress. 😆 😆 😆

19. Considering the majority of ex-gay ministries reject the growing scientific evidence that same-sex-orientation happens prenatally through both genetic and hormonal influences, how do you respond to those who are born with gender or genital ambiguities which is obviously biological.

Joined in 2006
August 18, 2008, 15:28

Thanks Anthony and everyone for their input.

In the end, Dad was too sick to go… whether that was just a cooincidence? I couldnt go, had to see Phil off at the airport.

But I did text him later that afternoon thanking him for his want to understand and learn. Heather also reminded me that, at least the topic of homosexality is being talked about these days.

Great set of questions to ask those people Anthony, love it. And I will stop being lazy and having my feet stuck in concrete, refusing to read up on stuff cause it is scary and challenging.. and go take a look!!

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
August 18, 2008, 17:25

if you feel your Dad would like to meet up with me for a chat about things I’m happy to do that for you Lloyd……it may not being something he’d want…..but who knows…..depends on how open he is to learning.

Joined in 2007
August 18, 2008, 18:13

What a fascinating topic. Almost makes me want to reveal another little piece of my own story…

I did Living Waters twice, in 2005 and 2006. Once of the most loving, warm, supportive bunches of people I ever met. Seriously.

In an interesting way, I doubt whether I ever could have ‘come out’ without that experience. The truly big, life-changing thing I learnt from Living Waters was that talking about how I felt, in a safe environment, was so much better than keeping it to myself in a bubble of shame and guilt. My time with LW was what made it possible to actually talk to someone about my sexuality, without breaking down and bursting into tears.

They also had some quite valuable things to say about what it means to be a mature, adult male.

Of course… the one thing they definitely DIDN’T do for me was teach me how to be straight. At the end of the 2nd year there was talk of me being invited back to be one of the ‘group assistants’ the next year (forget the actual terminology), but in the meantime there was my brief stopover in San Francisco and the rest is history… always wondered if they somehow found out, because they never DID ask me back for year 3…

I really wish that we could somehow distil and offer all the really GOOD things from a program like Living Waters, and repackage them, to communicate to young GLBTI Christians how they can live and grow within their sexuality, instead of being covered in shame.

I guess I was one of the lucky ones, given the numerous referrals I’ve seen here (and elsewhere) to the damage caused by LW and other programs. But for me personally I actually see LW as a significant part of how God brought me to where I am today.

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
August 18, 2008, 19:32

you are not alone in your experience Orfeo……there are some today that felt their time in these programs was helpful on some levels. After all ex-gay ministry leaders aren’t evil. they are usually motivated by good intentions and a heart to serve people…..well at least the ones I’ve met.

I guess you are one of the blessed ones…..because you found your sexuality was not evil or dysfunctional…..but you didn’t find that out through living waters i would guess.

It is an amazing relief to finally talk to someone about the dark secrets. I had the same experience when I went through Australias first ex-gay program. it was all wonderful initially…..over time it turned bad.

obviously you are feeling this to be a safe space…..every now and then you tell us more and more about your story. 🙂

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