What would you say to him/her? Are they wasting their time?

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Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
August 8, 2009, 15:45

I heard recently of a person who was considering going to the ex-gay ministry Liberty Christian Ministries

If you had a friend doing this what would you say to them?

Would you advise them?

Would you try and stop them?

Would you encourage them?

Joined in 2008
August 8, 2009, 17:43

This is a good topic. I’ve thought of this before and here’s what I think. I would ultimately let him go, because it is his choice and his faith, but I would first give him my opinion and tell him about my beliefs. I’d make sure that he is aware of the alternatives and aware of the different views of the Bible. In short, I’d have a long talk with him about it to make sure his heart is in the right place and then I’d let him go. I can’t make decisions for him.

Edited to add this…

They have this quote on their website… I think their agreement with this quote shows where they stand.

“There is no such thing, strictly speaking, as a homosexual or a lesbian. There are only people who need healing of old rejections and deprivations…”

Leanne Payne

The idea that gay people are gay because they were rejected or deprived is not only moronic and ignorant, but also extremely dangerous. How can you say you love someone, but call a key element of his or her being depraved?

Joined in 2008
August 8, 2009, 20:43

I would do something similar. Talk to them about what ex-gay ministries do, how they operate, what their methods are, refer them to other people who have been through ex-gay ministry programs etc … ultimately it is their choice to attend or not …

If they were interested, I’d also refer them to reputable, science based information sites about sexual orientation …

Joined in 2007
August 8, 2009, 22:26

Hmm. I don’t know how much people know about homosexual ministries these days but they can differ greatly. The two biggest in Sydney are Liberty and Living Waters and they are totally different in their approaches in the sense that LW offers therapy programs and personal counselling sessions. It’s very hands on. LCM is more general giving seminars and working in a capacity to refer people on to more personalised services. I don’t think I’d bother saying much if someone was to go to LCM because its only a seminar and that person has as much right to explore the conservative options as the more progressive ones. Yet, if someone was to partake in a three-week LW retreat where you lived, breathed and ate “homosexuality is sin” more caution may be required.

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
August 10, 2009, 00:24

I may be wrong Sandy but I was under the impression that they did more than seminars.

the site says.

Maintaining an office and handling calls from people looking for support, counsellors or educational resources. We do not offer counselling directly but seek to refer interested people to various counsellors with expertise in the area of unwanted same sex attraction

Basic Beliefs

1. Our teaching is based on the Bible. We believe that in the Bible God gives us the only true pattern for living in this world.

2. We believe God’s intention is that sexual activity be expressed only within the boundaries of heterosexual marriage. The Bible warns us against any deviation from this standard.

3. We believe the Bible teaches that homosexual acts are not in accord with God’s plan for humanity.
While we are aware that many men and women experience same-sex attraction, we recognize the distinction between same-sex attraction and homosexual acts.

4. Christ died for all sinners, not only heterosexuals. We seek to encourage churches to be supportive to those in their midst who struggle with unwanted same-sex attraction. To that end we provide education, support and resources.

5. There are a number of factors which contribute to the development of same-sex attraction. The things which may be of assistance in healing and restoration include education, prayer, counselling, support and healthy friendships.

I think this comment on the site is also an interesting one At LCMI the goal of change is not reorientation into heterosexuality

I would have thought that would be the goal for going to such a ministry…..unless of course you were going because you had a sexual addiction or had been sexually abused……these issues of course are very different though then a persons orientation.

Joined in 2007
August 10, 2009, 01:02

As far as I am aware LCM works as a referal agency. It holds seminars in order to attract interested parties and preach generalised conservative theology. It then works to refer people out to other organisations including counseling. It doesn’t actually offer any personalised help or “cure” itself I don’t think, or at least that isn’t my experience.

When you compare it to LW, which is kind of cult-like in a sense: having its own therapy groups, leadership training, social networks and resources all branded with the LW “cure” they are quite different in approach if not in goal. For someone looking into ex-gay programs I know which one I’d be steering them towards. At least with LCM the onus is on you to call and the attend whatever specialised help you seek. With LW I imagine it’s all too easy to get caught in the flow. Coffee with a LW rep leads to attendance at a therapy group whereby you have to complete a certain number of sessions to even hope to be cured, which may lead on to private counseling from another LW rep because the group counseling doesn’t work, after a set period of time you’re a candidate for leadership training and so on.

I’m not saying the goal of the organisations are different, they are ex-gay after all. I’m just saying one approach is slightly less horrifying than the other.

Actually I think ex-gay ministries shy away from teaching that heterosexuality is the goal. Its not very PC anymore. The goal is to be in right relationship with God and you don’t need to be heterosexual for that, you just need to be fighting against your homosexuality and praying for deliverance. That’s my take anyway.

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
August 10, 2009, 13:49

from memory you had some experience with both groups didn’t you.

I remember that you and I had actually planned to meet up at the Liberty Christian Ministries day seminar with Deb Hersh….the day before you took off to the States….unfortunately it didn’t happen.

At least I got to meet Deb and also Simon.

Joined in 2009
August 10, 2009, 15:57

Madness but that what they do, trying to change people. I was part of exodus movement, I have tried to change my self but I failed. From my failure I learned, if someone willingly walks that path it is just a matter of time for them to realise.

I will just say to the person, the truth well set you free.

Joined in 2007
August 10, 2009, 22:57

I’ve had an on again off again kind of deal with a few of the sexuality ministies. Trouble is, I could never muster much enthusiaism for heterosexuality and I was dealing with my homosexuality pretty well on my own so there wasn’t really a need. For some reason I automatically skipped the “I want to be straight” phase and pro-gay’ness never really sunk in so I just plodded along on my own, not straight but not exactly waving rainbow flags either. It works for me. It is however difficult to explain to people like Simon who goes home to his wife. Nice guy though. I’ll never forget listening to whatshisname from LW (the American guy who founded it?) and he was saying how he struggled and blah blah blah and eventually got married and every single person in the auidence went “awwwww”. I mean come on, seriously? People are insane. 🙄 😆 He made a point of saying heterosexuality wasn’t the goal though. It was just oh so convienient that he got married and everything.

I remember that day I was supposed to meet you; sorry that never eventuated.

Joined in 2009
August 10, 2009, 23:11

I’d definitely allow them to visit – I’ve met Simon; Liberty is better off than some of the others.

In fact, I’d encourage attending a seminar after my obligatory cautions. Sure, I can present my opinions and sources about sexuality and relationships – but I think he can divulge the information himself.

A substantial part of this stance is for personal reasons.

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