Skip to comments.What About Ex-Gays? Does their existence prove that it's impossible to change sexual orientation?
Posted on 10/01/2014 8:46:21 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
While speaking in Singapore at a seminar sponsored by Focus on the Family, I was asked the question: What about ex-ex-gays? Does their existence prove that it is really impossible for people to change their sexual orientation?
This past July, Time magazine ran a story entitled, "9 Ex-Leaders of the Gay Conversion Therapy Movement Apologize." The article stated that, "Former members of organizations that advocated therapy to 'cure' homosexuality have joined LGBT groups in rejecting the concept."
Last year, John Paulk, formerly a very prominent ex-gay married to his ex-gay wife Anne, went back to his gay lifestyle after 15 years of marriage. (While working on my book A Queer Thing Happened to America, I wrote to John asking him how he was doing, and he replied that he was enjoying married life and raising his children. He has since left his wife.)
Do these significant failures demonstrate that change in sexual orientation is impossible? Certainly not.
First, for every well-known ex-ex-gay, there are 10 or 100 or 1,000 unknown ex-gays, meaning people who formerly lived as homosexuals but no longer do. Only God knows their numbers, but I run into them all the time, often smiling broadly as they share their stories with me after hearing me speak at a meeting.
These people are, by and large, not involved with ex-gay ministries and have nothing to prove by their stories and nothing to gain financially. They just want me to know about the new life they have experienced in Jesus, and quite a few are now happily married with children. (For a great example of this joy-filled new life, watch this 5-minute video.)
Second, the term ex-gay has lots of different meanings (some leaders like the term and others don't), ranging from, "I used to be involved in same-sex relationships and I am no longer am," to, "My romantic and sexual desires have changed from homosexual to heterosexual," along with everything in between.
I know some ex-gays who are thrilled to be free from their old lifestyles despite the fact that they have not become heterosexual, and they are overflowing with contentment, living for God as celibate singles.
I know others who, through counseling or a deep spiritual encounter with the Lord, literally went from homosexual to heterosexual (this is more common than you might realize), and they have lived like this for decades now.
A former lesbian wrote to me, "I experienced God's love in a supernatural way after I chose to obey Him and deny my same-sex attractions. Those feelings have since disappeared gradually as my attention shifted from self-love to living for Jesus."
This is her story, and I believe her, just as I believe the stories of those who tell me they tried to change and could not.
Some fail, and some succeed. Some experience radical change, others do not.
But isn't this similar to what happens in many areas of life, where some people are greatly helped by a specific type or counseling or a unique spiritual experience and others point to that same counseling or experience as being destructive in their lives?
The only fully-documented, book-length, longitudinal study of the question of ex-gays, entitled Ex-Gays?, by Stanton Jones and Mark Yarhouse, came to very positive conclusions, despite being ridiculed by gay activists.
Third, there are often other factors involved in a person's failure to change, and it would be wrong to make generalizations based on their personal stories, even if they have much in common.
And since the Bible clearly states that change from all kinds of deep, life issues is possible (see 1 Corinthians 6:9-11), and since many have truly experienced change, I find it far better to believe that change is possible while at the same time showing compassion to those who have struggled or fallen.
Fourth, plenty of people are not happy living as homosexuals, be it because of their spiritual convictions or because of relational or health issues. (For a recent documentary sharing powerful testimonies, see "For Such Were Some of You.")
Do we tell them, "Hey, there's no reason for you to think about changing, since there are prominent ex-ex-gays saying that change is impossible"? God forbid.
Fifth, we need to emphasize holiness more than heterosexuality. As one former lesbian remarked, "God never said, 'Be thou heterosexual for I the Lord thy God am heterosexual,' but rather, 'Be thou holy for I the Lord thy God am holy.'"
Put another way, the Word of God does not say that without heterosexuality no one will see the Lord but rather, "without holiness no one will see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:14).
If someone wants to get to the root of their same-sex attractions, I'm all for it. Some have been changed through the process of discipleship, some through inner healing or deliverance, some through an unexpected spiritual breakthrough, and some through counseling.
But if we focus on changing someone from homosexuality to heterosexuality rather than from homosexuality to holiness, there is the possibility of great frustration and even disappointment and backsliding.
Sixth, human nature is frail and homosexual attractions are often very deeply rooted, to the point that people believe they were actually born gay.
That's why we must join together grace and truth when reaching out to those who identify as gay or lesbian, demonstrating compassion and longsuffering without compromising the truth of the gospel.
The bottom line is that homosexual practice, under all circumstances, is sinful, and nothing can possibly change that fact, but it is equally true that there is liberty and new life in Jesus, and those willing to take up the cross and follow Him will never need to look back.
Since I expect gay bloggers and ex-ex-gays to respond to this article critically, if you are one of the many who, by God's grace, have come out of homosexuality, please take a moment to respond here as well. It will glorify the Lord and encourage others too.
Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University. He is the author of 25 books, including Can You Be Gay and Christian, and he hosts the nationally syndicated, daily talk radio show, the Line of Fire.
Conservative: “What About Ex-Gays? Does their existence prove that it’s impossible to change sexual orientation?”
Liberal: “They’re lying.”
I’m an ex-alcoholic.
In that, I crave drinks every night, but seldom drink and do so in moderation (and then only due to social requirements) because I realized it was impacting my health and work.
Alcoholics run in the family, including a couple of family members that were adopted-out of the family and with whom we reconnected, so it appears to have some sort of genetic issue there.
I suspect most male queers are much the same, in that few rational people would chose that lifestyle.
There is no genetic test or procedure (experimental or otherwise) that can determine ones sexual orientation. When people claim to be gay and we believe them, what were really doing is taking them at their word. We believe their claim, we believe their testimony and we believe their declaration that they are gay.
But there are some people who are suddenly skeptical when one claims to be ex-gay. They dont believe the ex-gay claim, they dont believe the ex-gay testimony nor their declaration that they are ex-gay.
When somebody uses a certain standard to measure the credibility of what one group says, but then refuses to use the same standard to measure the credibility of what another group saysthereby ignoring the claims of the second group (ex-gays)he should ask himself why he believes one group and not the other... This is a double standard.
One can only hope that some "Liberals" will realize that not everyone is a liar and, worse, too stubborn and/or arrogant to change for the better and see good changes in others.
Our good Lord would surely want all to come to Him.
Homosexuality is committing sexual acts with someone born with and having the same sexual genitalia. It is a CHOICE. Everything else is smoke and mirrors.
You could be a victim of environmental estrogen toxins, or poor health decisions that affect your hormones, but just because you have a disease or problem doesn’t make the choice to sin ok. Someone else may have been a victim of environmental toxins that make them prone to violent behavior. Does that make it ok for them to murder? No.
Akin to someone with 15 years of sobriety going back to the drinking lifestyle. (And for someone with a drinking problem, it isn't just the alcohol - it's the other stuff that goes with it that is as much a part of the attraction).
Some heroin addicts never return to it, some do - doesn't mean recovery is not a viable lifestyle.
I'm a sinner saved by grace - doesn't mean I don't still sin, but I choose holiness more often than not.
Isn’t there supposed to be a bi gene too?
Guess that hasn’t been made-up yet.
Yes - I was thinking the same thing. There are many “pathologies” that we suffer, or in varying degrees to which we are bound.
Few of us are free from besetting sins (”as a dog returns to its vomit, so does the fool...”). Sexual sin (promiscuity, homosexual acts, pornography, serial adultery, etc.), is just another facet of our sin nature.
If freedom from sin were so easy to master, Christs need not have come and sacrificed himself on the behalf of mankind.
Some might say "But the 'former gay' will still be attracted to members of the same sex". I respond, "So what? I'm married, yet that doesn't stop me from being sexually attracted to cute young women? As long as I do not act upon it and stay faithful to my wife, then all is fine."
RE: Isnt there supposed to be a bi gene too?
Well, while we’re at it, what about the pedophilia gene? Or the transgender gene?
I agree. Why would anyone choose something that will inevitably lead to unnecessary grief?
2. Alcoholics run in the family, including a couple of family members that were adopted-out of the family and with whom we reconnected, so it appears to have some sort of genetic issue there.
From the Internet
But alcoholism is not determined only by the genes you inherit from your parents. In fact, more than onehalf of all children of alcoholics do not become alcoholic. Research shows that many factors influence your risk of developing alcoholism. Some factors raise the risk while others lower it.
One of my oldest friends (and her mother) went through the entire AA experience. And THEY were the ones who said that alcoholism is not genetic.
They even said that research shows that East (Oriental) Asians have problems with alcohol.
Alcohol flush reaction From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Alcohol flush reaction (also known as Asian flush syndrome, Asian flush, Asian glow, among others) is a condition in which an individual develops flushes or blotches associated with erythema on the face, neck, shoulders, and, in some cases, the entire body after consuming alcoholic beverages. The reaction is the result of an accumulation of acetaldehyde, a metabolic byproduct of the catabolic metabolism of alcohol, and is caused by an aldehyde dehydrogenase deficiency.
This syndrome has been associated with an increased risk of esophageal cancer in those who drink. It has also been associated with lower than average rates of alcoholism, possibly due to its association with adverse effects after drinking alcohol.
More from Wikipedia:
It is commonly thought that the flush reaction is caused by an inability to metabolize alcohol.
To the contrary, around 80% of Asian people (less common in Thailand and India) have a variant of the gene coding for the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase called ADH1B, whereas almost all Japanese, Chinese and Korean people have a variant of the gene called ADH1C, both resulting in an alcohol dehydrogenase enzyme that converts alcohol to toxic acetaldehyde at a much higher efficiency than other gene variants.
In about 50% of Asians, the increased acetaldehyde accumulation is worsened by another gene variant, the mitochondrial ALDH2 allele, which results in a less functional acetaldehyde dehydrogenase enzyme, responsible for the breakdown of acetaldehyde. The result is that affected people may be better at metabolizing alcohol, often not feeling the alcohol "buzz" to the same extent as others, but show far more acetaldehyde-based side effects while drinking.
Many people with some eastern European DNA in them MAY have a residual "Genghis Khan" Asian gene or two, high cheekbones, slight slant of the eyes, inability to process alcohol the way Europeans and Africans have.
It's not unknown, given the general sweep of Ghengis Khan's effect on the entire continent of Asia.
3. I suspect most male queers are much the same, in that .
Homosexuality is a choice. I finally DID look it up on the vast array of Google sites.
General results: Young adults from 13-16 (early to mid-teens) choose their sexual orientation.
If there were ANY Western scientists who REALLY, really, REALLY wanted to prove something was genetic, it was THIS choice of ANYTHING other that heterosexuality.
What this huge array of scientists discovered was that there was NO gay, bisexual or non-sexual/asexual gene.
The WHY of it all, why these youngsters CHOOSE something other than heterosexuality, is the mystery.
However, I think that we ALL probably realize that young teenagers do NOT have the intellectual or emotional maturity OR foresight to realize the repercussions and consequences of their CHOICE at that early age.
You ARE correct in saying that "few rational people would chose that lifestyle."
Do YOU believe that early-mid teenagers are rational enough to make those life-time choices? Some are, I suppose, but, IMHO, not many.