Conversion Therapy Guru Brought Suffering To Many

One of the leaders to the “conversion therapy” hoax has died. There are in this country thousands of people, mostly men, who paid money and were subjected this fraud. It was driven by the religious idea that homosexuality is a sin and through religion that sinful behavior can end.

The fellow that died, Joseph Nicolosi, never owned up to the harm he had done nor was called to account. Yet, there is plenty of testimony from those he took money from and left worse off than before they knew him.

This contrasts with Alan Chambers, the head of a now closed Christian conversion therapy organization, Exodus International.  Chambers recognized its harm and apologized for the harm he had done.

During the several years when conversion therapy was the darling of the Christian right, requests were made for data on its success. No organization ever released this data. There were countless examples of people who went through the programs, were considered such successes they were hired for staff position but then left to live as homosexual men.

The entire history in Christianity of considering homosexuality a sin and treating homosexual people as if they are defective or have something wrong with them has been one of the great mistakes in the faith. It has caused lots of misery and has not changed the sexual orientation of a single gay person so far as we know.

There is hope that in one generation homosexuality will not be considered sin within Christianity.


46 Responses

  1. When one converts from sin to grace, the feeling varies from relief to ecstatic. There is no eternal joy in slipping back to sin. Those who mistake their joy for any sort of sin, whether it is sexual, financial, etc. are only fooling themselves.

    1. entech

      Matt, are you speaking from personal experience? Many Christians believe in the idea that we are born in sin, born sinners, cannot be otherwise without the freely given an received gift of grace.

      Could you explain your last sentence, it doesn’t read, to me at least, as if that is what you meant. mistake their joy for any sort of sin possibly it is actually the converse.

      1. entech, since your post was rational and seemingly directed at discussion, I will respond.

        The last sentence was a bit clumsy, I’ll admit.

        For those who mistake their SIN as a source of joy … Certainly, fulfilling one’s lustful, sinful pleasures or illicitly enriching one’s self financially to the detriment of family, etc. is wrong, i.e. son. It may feel good at the time but the feeling is hollow. Hence, the alcoholic. Hence, the drug addict. Hence, the spousal cheater. Hence, the homosexual.

        The only way to discern if one is fooling one’s self is to look for and find absolute moral truth. Many people will pat you on the back for your sins. It justifies their own behavior. Few will pat you on the back for doing the right thing.

        1. Jinx

          That’s just crazy talk I’ve heard through out my years from the sanctimonious believers. 10:14 by the worm

          1. No, Jinx, that is Catholic doctrine. Absolute moral truth is something you don’t want to hear.

            Sanctimony, definition: pretended, affected, or hypocritical religious devotion, righteousness, etc.

            There is nothing pretended, affected or hypocritical about my religious devotion, belief or righteousness. I am not righteous in my own self but in the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

            Matthew 5:11. Thanks for the persecution. If worm be your greatest insult you are a persecutor of low amateur status.

        2. Grandma

          I know a gay couple who have been together for more than 25 years. They both do good things for their neighbors and their city, their friends and relatives, and their greater community. I have always found them to be kind, considerate, loving, generous and helpful towards those in need. If that is sinful, sign me up.

          1. Jinx

            I do to Grandma and they have one of the best loving, respectful relationships a couple can have and are a good role models for many other couples. They are active in their community, foster parents for troubled youth and will help anyone they can, especially the elderly, needy children and the disabled. We need more couples like them, gay and straight!

      2. entech

        Matt 8:05. I am assuming that I was correct in thinking that “converting from sin to grace” was not from personal experience. My understanding is that you are from a family that has been Catholic for a long time so that conversion would not apply. I am also assuming that you have had periods of contemplation if not doubt so that atr most it would be a return to grace. Nonetheless I can imagine what you mean, especially in early Christian days when the idea of a personal God for the individual and promise of everlasting life were an amazing revelation (no pun intended) after the pagan mish mash, A lot of the problems in the early days came from the refusal to accept the State Gods.
        When I came to religion in school it was not such a big thing partly just another subject but also considering the time, early fifties, many of the teachers were returned fromWW2, and were both influenced by and an influence on the theartre and literature of my early youth. Discontent with the expectation that things would revert to a form of the master class and working class of pre-days was high resulting in novels like room at the top and plays like look back in anger. So along with teachers that found it hard to take it seriously and a Church of England which in country England never did shake off Latitudinarian influences. As a youth I read all og George Orwell’s writing and all of the novels of Graham Greene (A catholic convert and an exploration moral ambivalence). With all of this my slide into religious thinking and out again was easy and has left me with a distaste for the more doctrinaire religions.

        We have all been to the conversation about a definition of sin. If we take a generalised definition we can think of “not doing what is expected of you”, whether it be in accord with the mores of the time or some rules set down by a higher authority. I expect you to take more literally a definition that is breaking the laws set down by God, I tried reading about it in the Catholic Encyclopaedia but it was too long. You say that mistaking pleasure seeking and fulfilment for joy (and happiness?) is a mistake is for me too much of an absolute Much of what you call sin can well be thought of as wrong because of the harm it can cause to self or community. Examples of self harm would be Drug abuse, alcohol abuse; spousal cheating is more ambivalent and one that depends on your idea of an absolute moral law received from an absolute moral law giver. I would be happy to continue the conversation on this theme, starting with the need to demonstrate the existence of the needed law giver, not denying the possibility but questioning the need and the actuality.

        A last note, for now, on cheating and homosexual activity, the last I cannot see as being a sin, the former is possibly relative. In the Trobriand Islands They have long standing customs that kept a whole group of people together as a community over a wide area and many islands. Reciprocal expectations and mutual obligation are two major factors. The concept of the ‘big man’, similar to what the Asians call ‘ face’ – honour, self esteem is prevalent. Marriage is arranged and essentially it is to keep relationships among the groups stable and peaceful. Atwedding a gift is given, a ‘big man’ can give a gift of extreme value, a tribal heirloom so to speak, freely given in the knowledge that it will eventually return from reciprocal gift giving and a mutual understanding. Another example of a big man is one who can give his wife a huge store of yams, not as food as such, but so that she can lavishly entertain the whole village and only expect part of the feast will be repaid in the future.
        Where this system differs a lot is in the idea of “spousal cheating” as you like to call it. Marriage is arranged to seal inter village friendship and solidarity and would include loyalty in defending mutual rights and obligations. Loyalty in a sexual sense is not required; a woman has a husband from a duty and obligation but may also have a lover whom she finds more physically attractive and compatible. The husband would not be jealous, after all she comes home. The part most western cultures would find counter intuitive is the social custom whereby the lover gives the lady presents for her husband, if she did not accept and take these presents home she would be considered immoral. This has been the custom for many generations of peaceful and trouble free existence, how can someone from outside say that this is not what I believe therefore it is wrong, it is immoral and it must be stopped. Perhaps even say that they are heading for eternal punishment from a God they have never heard of.

        1. Matthew J Noah

          I am a sinner. The temptation of homosexual behavior has never occurred to me. The experience of the Confessional brings forgiveness and grace, amazing grace. It is free to those who seek it. However, true belief comes with a cross.

          1. entech

            I am a sinner
            As a common belief is that born a sinner, some even say he can’t resist sin without some kind of divine intervention. I hear so many say this very thing that it has become a trite and meaningless phrase, trotted out as needed.
            The temptation of homosexual behavior has never occurred to me.
            I guess it has never occurred to most people, but most people don’t seem to need to say it. Personally I would prefer to say I have never felt an attraction to another man as a sexual being, but i have no basis to criticize those that do and those that act on it.
            The experience of the Confessional brings forgiveness and grace, amazing grace. It is free to those who seek it.
            When I was talking about a “return to grace” i had meant to suggest that it was confession rather than conversion in your case.
            However, true belief comes with a cross.
            Does this mean that my (few) Jewish and Muslim friends, who seem to me to be sincere in their beliefs are simply wrong or that they don’t really believe. The big question is How do you know this for certain?

  2. Michael Ross

    God loves homosexuals as he does all sinners. Some Christians may seem harsh and judgemental but that is a condition of the heart and only God knows man’s heart. You call it “hate” to tell a person that homosexuality is sinful but is it loving to just be silent and let homosexuals destroy themselves by indulgence? Just being a practicing homosexual cuts 20 years off life expectancy. more than a 2-pack-a-day smoker with higher rates of many diseases, drug and alcohol addiction and suicide.

    Social engineers have made gay lifestyles acceptable and are making complete idiots of millions of Americans (gay and straight) who now think 2 men or 2 women are a marriage.

    1. Michael 9:10 Just being a practicing homosexual cuts 20 years off life expectancy. more than a 2-pack-a-day smoker with higher rates of many diseases, drug and alcohol addiction and suicide.

      A little care in presenting such a statistic would in order here. First, I’d like to know how data was collected which came to this conclusion. For good reason, the gay community has had a history of secrecy. For this reason I am skeptical of how researchers would track the deaths of gay people. Kinsey found gay men had numerous sexual partners. His staff did not know where to get a sample of gay men for research so they went to gay bars, the places where men not only have many sexual partners but may well brag or exaggerate.

      Second, in Wikipedia, there is a page discussing life expectancy for different races and economic classes. White middle class men had a life expectancy of about 77 years. For Native American men in rural areas of South Dakota it is about 58 years. This is the 20 year difference your data on gays claims. The difference between white and black men is six years.

      In the Wikipedia conclusion paragraph it says, “..socioeconomic inequities are the root causes of most differences..” in life expectancies. That is to say, collective action by society by acceptance and equal opportunity can increase the life expectencies of Native Americans, blacks and gays.

        1. Michael 6:53 That link does not say homosexuals, on average, die 20 years earlier than heterosexuals. It took the average age of gay people who died of AIDS during the AIDS epidemic of the 1980’s. It is not research data, it is propaganda. This is typical of what the gay community puts up with, unfounded accusations that they are irresponsible citizens.

          If you have any actual research found somewhere other than a propaganda site, please post it.

    2. Juan Ruiz

      “Some Christians may seem harsh and judgmental ”

      From the Edict of Milan, and even before, Christians were always judgmental: about non-believers, non-Christians, and even other denominations. Guess they all forgot the admonition “Judge not…”

      1. Juan Ruiz, for a man who presents himself as an intellectual I am disappointed with the simple-minded, “Judge not …” comment. None of us are eternal judges. We have no power to condemn to hell just as we have no power to send one to Heaven. But Christ gave humanity His church on earth. To Peter He proclaimed in Matthew 18 an, in particular, Matthew 18:15-18,

        “If your brother* sins [against you], go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.
        * i If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that ‘every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’
        j If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church.* If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.
        * k Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

        We are not supposed to be empty-headed. God gave us a brain and a free will to discern what is good and evil. Adam and Eve sinned and opened mankind’s eyes to right and wrong.

        An individual Christian can ‘call out’ another person, Christian or not, about sin. It starts 1-on-1. It can escalate all the way up to excommunication when the Church tells a person that their actions have excommunicated themselves from Christ and Christ’s Church. That still leaves the door open for a person to repent and come in to communion with the Church.

        “Judge ye not lest ye be judged” should be relegated to the ash heap of trite phrases that should never be repeated.

        1. entech

          Been trying to be polite and not too personal, but i can’t resist with this one.

          “Judge ye not lest ye be judged” should be relegated to the ash heap of trite phrases that should never be repeated.
          This should apply to most Scriptural quotes. No matter who is spouting them.

          1. Matt Noah

            Scripture is the Word of God and will not be dismissed. God “spouted” them. For your homework assignment read the Ten Commandments.

    3. You are correct and there is more bad news below the surface. Fidelity in the male-male relationship is rare. The mental health problems, suicide rates, etc. of homosexuality is sky high. Taking a page from Jon’s playbook, we don’t need to provide a link to proof since it is patently obvious to any rational person.

      1. Jinx

        How would you know that. There are numerous Gay couples who have been monogamous for 20, 30 and 40 years or more.

  3. Jinx

    “Judge ye not lest ye be judged” should be relegated to the ash heap of trite phrases that should never be repeated.”

    March 12, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    This tenet is found in most religions past and present, including catholicism, and underlies certain commandments. Why do religious extremists like the slimy green worm undermine this simple but powerful and significant message from any Bible printed? worm is one of the most judgemental righteous pricks who claims he contributes something to RRFT.

    In other words, keep your nose out of other peoples business because your listed human inspired and written bible quotes are not justification of what you do to others on this blog.

    There is no hell to be condemned to but rumor, misdirection, lies and verbal attacks cause such misery to others that is just as harmful or worse than physical attacks or abuse.

    1. entech

      there is a hell
      Matt, you make many such assertions, may I ask how you know for certain. You often speak in terms of “absolute” , especially morality and a moral law giver – how can you be absolutely certain that what you expound is in fact the “absolute truth”?

      1. Matt Noah

        Read the Catechism of the Catholic Church on Hell. The existence of an invisible, spiritual “place” is a matter of belief, i.e. faith. There is plenty of personal experiences of people who have been given a vision of Hell. Study Fatima and what the 3 children experienced.

        For those who need a so-called scientific proof of Hell, then please also prove love and hate. There is no science. If you think you can prove it with evidence such as loyalty, affection, violence, etc. you are just involved in semantics. If you could prove love that way then you must accept God, Jesus Christ, etc. by the devotion of the Faithful.

        1. Matt 9:51 If you could prove love that way then you must accept God, Jesus Christ, etc. by the devotion of the Faithful.

          That’s an old saw, heard it first over four decades ago. So, if I love my dog unconditionally, it is on a par with religion. Carrying that forward, the way some in religion do, the love for my dog is so important and universal in meaning it is “the truth.” Being the truth, the love for my dog needs to be enshrined into our nations laws. After all, we are a “dog nation.”

          Since you relationship with the faith is a personal matter not a matter of science, like your love for your family, it should be treated in politics and law as a personal matter. Creationism should be treated as a personal matter, not required in public schools. Abortion is a religious issue, a personal matter like the love for my dog. It should not be treated as something bigger than my dog.

          1. I’m glad you agree it is a time-tested argument which makes sense today. Old saws is a nice way to dismiss an argument you don’t like. Chive on.

          2. Matt 12:42 I’m glad you agree it is a time-tested argument which makes sense today. Old saws is a nice way to dismiss an argument you don’t like. Chive on.

            I noticed you wisely did not try to resolve the unresolvable. That would require you to explain why something like the love for my dog should also be put into law and into national use like “under dog” or “in dog we trust.”

            Oh yeah, the majority likes “under dog.” The majority liked Hitler–probably liked slavery and segregation.

        2. entech

          Matt @ 11:54 I asked how you could be so “absolutely certain” about your “absolute truths” in particular referring to the existence of hell.
          @ 9:51 you suggest I read some of the writings of your Church. This is only a statement of beliefs, as you say a matter of faith. There are many others with faith as sincere as yours, Jews, Muslims even Lutherans does their faith also equate to “absolute truth”?

          Love and hate are emotions that can be demonstrated, scientific proof is a bit difficult as is proof of many things. The mothers love for her child is demonstrated by many efforts and sacrifices. Hate is demonstrated by your railing against Jon. You can see, feel and touch the mother and child, if one were in your area it would be possible to see you and Jon. I can see no way of demonstrating the existence of something simply from faith, faith itself is clearly demonstrated even to the extent of being maintained in spite of evidence to the contrary.

        3. Jinx

          Catechism, written by men, used by men to hide behind their racism, misogyny, need to control mass populations’

      1. Matt Noah

        Jinx, correct, there is NO PROOF that you are a victim of abuse by a priest. You have offered none. Therefore, put yourself in the category of fake news until you reveal yourself and your proof. Only then can you state “NO PROOF!” when commenting on this blog.

        1. Jinx

          What a despicable slimy little worm you are. I will tell you nothing about my successful case against the diocese. I refuse to expose innocent people to your fanatical ranting, my Mother is still alive and I would never risk her being ostracized and ridiculed from mean spirited people like you. She knows about it but she will not be hurt by my experience or successful case.

          There is not one shred of evidence either for or against the existence of any god and that just gets your goat because your god, doctrine and catechism offers no proof what so ever.

          I will not prove anything to you and I could care less what you think you big bully worm. You treat others horribly on this blog and I will call you on it. Jon is much nicer than I am, I would ban you and your senseless arguments. You obnoxiously push your beliefs as inalienable truths and hide behind your so called logic to justify your position. You certainly lack kindness, charity and empathy towards others…..3 traits your biblical Jesus exalted.

  4. Alan Manning Chambers

    Thanks for the shout out, Jon. The truth of grace set me free from a life and ministry of condemning others even though I didn’t think that was the kind of ministry I was doing or leading. The grace that you reference, Matt, isn’t grace. It’s law. The law is death and sets no one free only imprisons.

    1. Condemnation is quite different than pointing out sin. Ready your Bible. It is called love. If you were on your merry path to eternal damnation and I said nothing, would that be love? No.

      1. Jinx

        Fool, its judgment and omnipotence you mime over and over to others. Its not your business to call others out, its not love but proselytizing your beliefs. It builds your ego so you can feel like a good little worm but you are anything but.

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