Bible News Radio host Stacy Lynn Harp interviews Daren Mehl of Voice of the Voiceless. Voice of the Voiceless is a non-profit organization whose mission is to defend the rights of people who are virtually never given a voice in the public square, and — in fact — often told that they don’t exist or are lying: Former homosexuals, individuals that have unwanted same-sex attraction, and the families of these truly marginalized people.
Daren Mehl is joined by Jeremy Schwab, founder of Joel 2:25 Ministries who today, like a dozen other ministries and allies, had their Facebook page removed without warning. The ex-LGBTQ community is the canary in the mine of Christian persecution. The LGBTQ lobby is probably the largest influencer running the narratives of anti-Christian testimony, anti-Christian discipleship, and anti-Christian evangelism.
Daren and Jeremy go through several articles the LGBTQ lobby has put out as targets their community for erasure by big tech. Daren shows videos that this censorship in the name of ‘conversion therapy bans’ has always targeted the Church and Christians. And there is crazy amount of evidence that change is possible, even a leading LESBIAN researcher is trying to end the ‘born gay, can’t change’ narrative.
Response to UN CT
Dear Independent Expert,
Your request for information suffers from an immediate case of the fallacy of equivocation. Your definition of Conversion Therapy (“C.T.”) conflates anything and everything that could possibly relate to a change in sexual orientation or desistence or detransition from a gender identity incongruent with one’s sex. This results in being in an incredibly difficult position to be able to discuss the nuances necessary to intelligently understand this topic.
Your definition of C.T.:
- any purported treatment having the objective or presenting itself with the objective to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
- gay cure
- Reparative therapy
- ex-gay therapy
- sexual orientation change efforts
- religious and spiritual interventions
- smartphone app-sponsored programs offering a 60-day “gay cure”
- some licensed medical professionals
- administering of cognitive-behavioral therapies
- physical interventions
- electric shock treatment
- aversion techniques
Henceforth, when we use the term C.T. as broadly as you have, we will also use sufficient detail as needed to insure we are able to speak to the nuances you’re missing. To become an “expert” on this topic, you should be very precise as to which types of approaches in the broad group of C.T. you are discussing.
You stated that “recipients of these treatments include lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse people, ranging from children to adults.” In reality, clients who voluntary seek C.T. do not embrace such LGBTQ identities. Recipients of these treatments identify as heterosexual individuals struggling with unintentionally eroticized same sex attractions or egodystonic homosexuality. The married heterosexual man who, out of curiosity (questioning), discovered gay porn and became addicted but decided it wasn’t for him and needs help to end the destructive behavior to save his marriage. Or the male child who had no inclination toward same-sex erotic behavior but was sexually abused by a man from the ages of 5 to 15 and has neuroplastic-induced reorientation of erotic attraction and thus desires to resolve those issues to return to his authentic heterosexual self. There is a large community of such people who have had positive outcomes from the use of certain types of C.T. See www.voiceofthevoiceless.info www.changedmovement.com www.twoprisms.com www.therapyequality.org/factsheet
“The report will explore the human rights implications of these practices and interrogate their relationship with violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. It will discuss the forms and scope of “conversion therapy” (hereinafter, “C.T.”) as it is practiced across the globe, its impact on the persons that are subjected to it, measures adopted to prevent its practice and to penalize or prosecute those who perform it, and remedies provided to injured parties. Finally, the report will formulate recommendations.”
The human rights of this issue are not limited to just the violence and discrimination reported by individuals. The human rights of this issue also include the right to self-determination (which is one of the foundational ethical principles in psychotherapy) and the free practice of religion. Individuals have the right to seek out therapies, religious practices, and other practices to address their outcome goals. Your request for information should be widened as there are more human rights to consider related to C.T. (By your own definition it includes religious practice and speech.)
Claims of persons being involuntarily subjected to C.T. are highly suspect and likely exaggerated. The majority of clients obtaining C.T. willingly seek it out and go through standard informed consent procedures. Many people seek assistance to address known or believed incongruency between their sexual orientation or gender identity and their religious beliefs or understanding of their authentic self. Preventing access to desired practices of C.T. would in itself be a human rights violation.
“The information-gathering process will also include a literature review and expert meeting, a consultation, and possibly a survey.”
I would recommend that you review literature from www.therapyequality.com/factsheet and from www.changedmovement.com as these present specific research information and testimonies, respectively, that you have likely not reviewed as they are regularly censored from coverage in media or search engines. If you create a survey, we recommend you include the possibility of positive outcomes of therapy or counseling, religious practice, and note that some people seek it out rather than are forcibly subjected to it. After all, they have human rights as well.
“These practices appear to be based on the assumption that seeking to change a person’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity deviating from what is seen as the norm in a particular time and a particular place is an acceptable societal, community, family and personal objective.”
Assuming the motivations are limited to seeking norms, i.e. statistical commonness, ignores any moral imperatives from a person’s religious beliefs and/or cultural beliefs. Aligning your behaviors and identity to your religious convictions as a personal objective for practices of C.T. is a human right.
“Forms of “C.T.” have been condemned by world health associations, United Nations entities and human rights mechanisms such as the Committee against Torture, which have expressed that the practice can amount to torture, cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment. It appears to produce long-lasting negative effects on individuals subjected to the practice, as it can lead to physical and deep psychological harm, such as depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness, and suicide. It also appears that children under legal age are especially vulnerable to it.”
Your definitions of “C.T.” include some behaviors which could be regarded as torture, such as electro-shock. However, other therapeutic modalities listed previously do not exhibit this property. Trying to group the beneficial and effective forms of therapy with the ineffective or harmful forms is merely the fallacy of equivocation, where the definition of “C.T.” changes from one use to another. Additionally, you’re making an argument to authority, another fallacy, rather than based on conclusive or nuanced research. As stated previously, please visit www.therapyequality.org/factsheet for more nuanced and decisive statements.
“In a few countries, such as in Malta and Ecuador, [Conversion Therapy] is considered a criminal practice.”
In Malta, we can see the immediate effects of a poorly executed C.T. ban. Like your own practice of broadly defining C.T. to include anything and everything that addresses human sexuality or gender identity. Take the following example:
Matthew Grech raised controversy after his audition on the musical talent show X Factor, where he used his pre-audition interview to explain how he had led a “homosexual lifestyle” in the past, but had then “found God”.
The Government in fact released a statement following the airing of the show, condemning any “homophobic” comment and said that the broadcast of such a clip did great damage and put at risk many youths who are vulnerable for gay conversion practices.
Malta has conflated life experience, religious beliefs, and personal testimony with C.T. when they discriminated against the religious beliefs and personal testimony of the television talent show contestant Matthew Grech. He shared his experience of a change in sexual orientation which he attributed to faith. They misconstrued his experience as “Conversion Therapy.” The Malta government went as far as to say that children exposed to his testimony may be harmed.
“Even though “C.T.” seems to be widespread, information on the subject is insufficient. There is little systematized knowledge on:
- The social norms, beliefs and systems that underlie the practice;
- The consequences of these practices on victims; and
- Good and best practices in legislations, jurisprudence and public policy in relation to these practices.”
Your view of “C.T.” being widespread may be due to your over-broad definition of the term, which is itself merely a strawman argument. We recommend reviewing www.therapyequality.org, which is full of information that is sufficient to show therapies are helpful and research in this field is extensive and productive.
The characterization of “C.T.” as the singular “the practice,” is in error. Your definition of “C.T.” in fact includes many disparate practices. Your belief that social “norms” underlie “the practice” is itself also an unfounded assumption. It is not “norms” which guide beneficial and effective therapies and therapeutic techniques. In some cases, such as Christianity for the religiously motivated (such as Matthew Grech or myself) direct commands from the Apostles, such as 2 Peter 1:5-7, seem to be conflated as C.T.
If you want to ensure all human rights are protected by your report, you should also research the benefits of these practices on people who seek them out.
Your title of “expert” of “human rights” will not be justified until you include those who have experienced change of sexual orientation or desisted or detransitioned from a transgender identity. Voice of the Voiceless ([email protected]) can provide a delegation from our former LGBTQ+ identified community to speak on our life experiences. We can also provide licensed mental health professionals to speak to the practices which are not torturous or harmful but quite beneficial and effective to those seeking them.
The United States Constitution provides easily systemized knowledge on the best practice of disallowing far-reaching governments from interfering with religious exercise.
“The consultation process aims at gathering information on the above mentioned areas through input from all relevant stakeholders, for the ultimate goals of raising awareness and supporting effective State measures through identifying best practices in legislations, jurisprudence and public policy, as well as shortcomings and discrepancies with human rights norms, in relation to “C.T.” To inform my report, I am seeking inputs with information, data and views from all relevant stakeholders…”
Relevant stakeholders MUST include those who have willingly benefitted by effective religious practices and therapeutic modalities you’ve lumped into C.T. To leave out the formerly homosexually identified individual who has had a change in sexual orientation, or the de-transitioned or desisted individual would be a failure of your report to reflect the entire truth and represent all the individuals impacted by your report. An intentional oversight of our stakeholder community would disqualify anyone having the title of “expert” on C.T. and leave your report as another form of propaganda feeding the bigotry against us, resulting in further denial of our human rights.
“Are there definitions adopted and used by States on practices of so-called “conversion therapy”? If so, what are those definitions and what was the process through which they were created or adopted?”
The ones we’ve seen are uselessly broad and are very ineffective to prevent harm. The definitions are sufficiently vague so as to include items which are sought out and used beneficially. As stated previously, the lazy use of a broad and vague statements to define C.T. will have negative impacts on our community’s human rights.
“What are the current efforts by States to increase their knowledge of practices of so-called “conversion therapy”? Are there efforts to produce information and data on these practices?”
States are restricting their ability to understand these practices by not including the voices of those who have benefitted from some of the “C.T.” techniques you’ve grouped in with the negative “C.T.” Many people have been helped by talk therapy and religious practices. Please review www.voiceofthevoiceless.info, www.changedmovement.com, www.twoprisms.com, and www.therapyequality.org for examples of voices that are being censored by states.
“What kinds of information and data are collected by States to understand the nature and extent of so-called “conversion therapies” (e.g. through inspections, inquiries, surveys)?”
None. There is no evidence in the United States of an epidemic of “conversion therapy” going on with licensed therapists. For example, in Minnesota, “The MN Board of Marriage & Family Therapy has not issued a disciplinary or corrective action order where conversion therapy was a relevant fact. Accordingly, there is no public Board finding or determination addressing conversion therapy.” These therapy bans seem to be preemptive based on hysteria of an imaginary epidemic of aggressive conversion therapists coercing clients.
Voice of the Voiceless has found no evidence that any data on information addressing the training or educational materials describing techniques, steps or processes in a therapeutic modality described by those materials as “Conversion Therapy.” Therefore, we suggest re-framing the investigation into specific techniques or modalities which have been proven to be harmful.
Has there been an identification of risks associated with practices of so-called “conversion therapy”?
There are indisputable harms caused by some of the practices lumped under the term “C.T.” However, other modalities lumped under this term have been investigated for client-reported harm, finding equal or lower rates corresponding to typical client-reported harm rates from other forms of licensed therapies. Of note, most client-reported harm of beneficial and effective therapeutic modalities fell into the category of increased awareness of one’s own emotions, which many therapists consider to be an intermediary step in the healing process. By the APA’s own admission in the 2009 taskforce report, there is insufficient rigorous data on modern forms of SOCE to show harm. (Page 42)
Broader statutory rules or administrative policies to ensure accountability of health care and other providers
Currently the laws in some states are preventing health insurance companies from reimbursing individuals who seek help to reconcile eroticized same-sex attractions with their faith, or even address abuse related to same-sex experiences, even though those insurance policies cover other psychological services. This is a violation of their human rights for equal access to healthcare. Restricting the healthcare for individuals seeking it could lead to further depression and suicidal ideation.
Are there any State institutions, organizations or entities involved in the execution of practices of so-called conversion therapy? If so, what criteria have been followed to consider these as a form of valid State action?
Organizations are performing “sex change” surgeries on individuals or recommending untested hormone treatments for minors. This is the true definition of conversion therapy, which is harmful.
There is no scientific data to prove that homosexual attractions or behaviors are biologically determined or that sexual orientation is immutable. There is research indicating sexual orientation can change and not a viable category for rights.
 APA Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation. (2009). Report of the Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
UN Request for InputCall_for_Inputs_EN
We received information from the author of the book, Achieving Heterosexuality: A Universal, Scientific, and Faith-Based Perspective
The book has been removed from Kindle and Amazon. The notice from Amazon
To which the author replied with the following text:
With the prevaricating LGBTQ narrative, it is difficult to understand what is and what is not objectionable. On the one hand, experts such as Dr. Lisa Diamond (APA) definitely state that sexuality is FLUID. This means that sexuality may flow from heterosexuality to homosexuality, BUT it also means that homosexuality can flow to heterosexuality. As a matter of fact, it usually goes from homosexuality to heterosexuality. (Ask Lisa Diamond). If you read the book, Achieving Heterosexuality, you will find that it is the most compassionate of books, offered to those who want to explore the fluidity of their attractions. The book also attests to individuals’ first person testimonials about their journeys, many of which refer to their faith in Jesus Christ. To deem this book as offensive is to deny me my constitutional rights of freedom of religion and freedom of speech.
It sounds to me that Amazon is bowing down to the demands of extreme LGBTQ who deem any idea/belief contrary to theirs as hate speech. When one bows down to the demands (not based on science but on propaganda) and silences free speech, Amazon stands alongside Hitler who controlled what could be read by burning books that mainly told the truth. It wasn’t Hitler’s truth, so those books must have been evil. How can Amazon think they are any different?
In case you want to know why I wrote this book, it is because children are the target of many sexual crimes, and many have developed UNWANTED same sex attraction because of their victimhood. Think about your own son or daughter. If they had been raped (repeatedly) as children by a same-sex adult, would you just tell them that they are gay, like it or not? With legislators “voting” away their right to affirm their heterosexuality through heterosexual affirming therapies, these youngsters are being raped twice. That Amazon would renounce any balanced viewpoint, which, by the way, is based on indisputable fact-check-able data and allow ONLY the views of the LGBTQ is an abuse of power and another crime against these children and young adults.
And we all know what Orwell said about the abuse of power…but, will you still selling his books if we start using what he said against you? Amazon’s action in removing my book and books like mine is just the beginning of a socialist, dictatorship by those in power. By removing these books, Amazon is raping children and young adults again. Without our books, they may never know that change is possible.
I challenge those in authority to read my book, to read the bitter stories of those who lived unhappily in the gay lifestyle, to see the results of therapy that uncovers the wounds of childhood, and to see the journeys of those who did authentically use the mind’s ability to FLUIDLY move towards heterosexuality.
This response was received by Amazon:
Help us send your support to reverse Amazon’s decision to censor alternative views on homosexuality, Christian testimony, Christian discipleship, and scientific exposition.
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In a February 16, 2014 article titled: “More States Likely to Ban Sexual Orientation Change Therapy,” Washington Times reporter Cheryl Wetzstein quoted anti-ex-gay extremist Wayne Besen as saying the following:
“The bans on sexual-orientation change efforts are likely to follow the path of marriage equality, with Maryland and Massachusetts the most likely states to approve bills this year.”
But that ban in Maryland didn’t happen, and on July 31, 2014 the legislative session in Massachusetts ended for the year, and with it died another bill that would ban therapy for minors with unwanted same-sex attractions (SSA) who seek help from licensed mental health practitioners to reduce and eliminate unwanted homosexual feelings.
H3907, titled “An Act relative to abusive practices to change sexual orientation and gender identity in minors” was authored and sponsored by openly gay Rep. Carl Sciortino, who this year announced that he had contracted HIV and subsequently left his seat in the legislature.
After legislation to ban therapy for minors in California and New Jersey became law in 2013, gay activists just assumed other states would follow. But thanks to the hard work of ex-gays and their allies, both locally and nationally, the #TherapyEquality campaign by Voice of the Voiceless, Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, and Equality And Justice For All, has been working!
While “marriage equality” is becoming a reality in more states, “therapy equality” for individuals with unwanted SSA is also gaining traction, even in the most liberal of states like Minnesota, Illinois, Maryland, and Massachusetts. Why? Because lawmakers are hearing, and listening, to the stories of many who testified that therapy saved their lives. But you won’t hear their stories in Time Magazine, who gives free publicity to anti-ex-gay activists.
Stories like Charles Peters, who was molested by his gay boy scoutmaster when he was a child and struggled with sexual confusion and the effects of trauma for many years. But with the assistance of licensed therapists who helped him heal those wounds, he has resolved that trauma is now free to pursue his dream of family and marriage to a woman.
Robin Goodspeed also has an amazing story, but you won’t hear it on CNN, and Oprah won’t give her a sit down interview. She was told year after year by gay-affirming therapists that she was “born gay” and should just accept it. She struggled for years with the underlying issues, depression, and anguish that was causing her homosexuality, unable to find a therapist who could really help her. She lived for many years as a lesbian with a partner until she could no longer deal with the incongruence of who she really was – a daughter of God, born a female, not born a lesbian.
But now, gay activists are getting desperate. They can’t seem to convince legislators that states should promote “marriage equality” for gay-identified individuals, while at the same time deny #TherapyEquality for those who do not believe they are born gay and seek to resolve the issues that lead to their unwanted homosexual feelings. That’s because it doesn’t make sense. You can’t demand equality for some homosexuals while denying the rights of other same-sex attracted individuals to leave a lifestyle they find unfulfilling.
Their latest campaign, #BornPerfect is an effort to recycle the defunct, archaic theory that people are born gay in order to end what they call “conversion therapy” for youth. The spokespeople for their cause, to end licensed therapy, are a small group of former religious ex-gay leaders, who never went through therapy and instead tried to “pray away the gay,” which surprisingly didn’t work!
Because of their own failed efforts, these individuals, like former Exodus International President Alan Chambers, are projecting their failure onto everyone else. After all, if they didn’t change, how could anyone else possible do it?
So they’re teaming up with the National Center for Lesbian Rights in their crusade against licensed mental health therapy, which they never received themselves, nor did any of them ever practice! They got some free publicity from BuzzFeed today:
“At one time, we were not only deeply involved in these ‘ex-gay’ programs, we were the founders, the leaders, and the promoters,” they said in the letter. “Together we represent more than half a century of experience, so few people are more knowledgeable about the ineffectiveness and harm of conversion therapy. We know first-hand the terrible emotional and spiritual damage it can cause, especially for LGBT youth.”
Again, it’s important to reiterate who these people are. They are not licensed therapists or scientists. Among others, they are Michael Bussee (Co-Founder of Exodus International), John Smid (Executive Director of Love in Action), and Yvette Cantu Schneider, who once made behavioral decisions to leave homosexuality, but never went through therapy.
Schneider recently partnered with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance for Defamation (GLAAD) to say she no longer supports the ex-gay movement, although she is, ironically, still faithfully married to her husband, who she claims is her soul mate, despite her same-sex attractions. She was a long-time poster girl for ex-lesbians at some prominent pro-family organizations, struggled with untreated anxiety, the roots of which are often trauma-related, for years. She labored on campaigns such as Proposition 8 to deny gay marriage in California, but never dealt with the underlying trauma that was causing her anxiety.
Just this week, she revealed that years later she received some new age therapy that reawakened some of the “feminine goddesses” she was repressing, and wham, she’s back to her authentic self and completely happy, and still married to her husband, yet she claims she hasn’t “changed.” Now she joins the ranks of ex-ex-gays like John Paulk, who appeared on the cover of Time Magazine in the late 90s as a success story for change, but now is recanting. Like Schneider, Paulk never went through therapy and did his work.
When a same-sex attracted person fails to resolve the underlying issues that cause homosexual feelings, the desires often remain and fester for years. In my personal and professional experience, real, transforming change occurs when one heals the wounds at the core, through good therapy, the support of committed friendships, and the love of God.
You see, when one looks a little deeper into stories like Yvette Schneider, John Paulk, Alan Chambers, and others who say they changed, then later recant and say they didn’t really didn’t change, you find a typical character flaw. Narcissism.
I know this well, because I too once struggled with same-sex attractions, and by the grace of God and thanks to some good therapy, I have resolved the issues that caused me to feel homosexual attractions.
Narcissism is a personality disorder and character defect that all of these individuals, and many of my same-sex attracted clients (including myself, at one point) struggle with at some point in their lives. The roots of this disorder are usually deep wounding, sometimes from an insufficient emotional connection with a parent(s), other times with peers, growing up. It has nothing to do with homosexual feelings, and everything to do with unresolved hurt.
When a child doesn’t get the praise and affirmation of those closest around him/her, they grow up with a deep hole in their soul, and the only way to fill that hole is through attention, affection, and affirmation. One can achieve this in a healthy way, by healing the wounds, forming loving attachments in present day, and asking God to remove these character defects.
But too many public ex-gays fail to do this, and end up settling for imitation love while at the same time, suffering with addictions and emotional disorders, all the while experiencing the notoriety of the spot light, without the intimacy of loving relationships. This occurs in many of the ex-gay marriages that do not work out – they mean well, but they are often too wounded and end in divorce. Then, they recant and say, “my homosexuality never changed” – as if the same-sex attraction was the result of their failed marriage.
Any good therapist knows this is a cop out, because sex is not about sex. It’s about intimacy, attachment, and bonding. That’s what really makes a relationship successful and committed.
So what drives these nine former ex-gay poster boys and girls to come out and say, “we never really changed?” Unfortunately, the same thing that drove them to say they did change years ago. Being in the public spot light and doing something “good for God” is a great way to deflect from one’s personal, unresolved issues. But one can only maintain it for so long until the house crumbles. If you don’t do your work, resolve the issues that lead to same-sex attractions, and remain faithful to what God has called you to do, you will eventually collapse.
Psychologically speaking, it’s too painful for these nine individuals to admit “they didn’t do their work,” so it’s easier for them to point the finger at those who have while projecting their own failures onto everyone else.
Do not be fooled. God uses people to achieve His plans. Licensed therapists, unlicensed religious counselors, and everyday people, to help us heal. Hundreds of these religious leaders, such as Anne Paulk, Steven Black, DL Foster, and Tom Cole, to name just a few, have done their work and continue to walk in freedom. That is the power of God. He uses everyone for His plan, and he doesn’t favor one specific type of therapy or ministry over another. Our God is much bigger than that.
The truth is, we’re all born perfect, perfectly in the eyes of our Creator, who loves and wants the best for us. But it doesn’t mean that anyone is born gay. We don’t need a fancy hash tag on Twitter to realize that. What we do need is a good old-fashioned reality check. He created them male and female. This article was originally published on August 2, 2014 at: http://barbwire.com/2014/08/02/0900-therapyequality-comes-massachusetts-gay-activists-getting-desperate/