By Bryan Fischer
Follow me on Twitter: @BryanJFischer, on Facebook at “Focal Point”
How many examples does it take to prove that change in sexual orientation is possible?
We know that it’s possible to bat .400 over the course of a major league season, because one man, Ted Williams, did it in 1941. We know that it’s possible to hit 73 home runs in a single season, because one man, Barry Bonds, did it in 2001. We know that it’s possible to score 100 points in an NBA game, because one man, Wilt Chamberlain, did it in 1962.
So all it takes is one man to prove that homosexuals aren’t inevitably trapped in that lifestyle, and that sexual orientation is not an immutable characteristic like race. As the saying goes, it’s impossible to meet an ex-black, but it turns out that it is not impossible to meet an ex-gay.
In fact, there are a bunch of them out there.
And the research proving that change is possible has now been published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, which takes that snide and snarky objection away from the deviancy cabal.
Stanton L. Jones and Mark A. Yarhouse have published a longitudinal study of “religiously-mediated sexual orientation change” in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy. It’s found in Volume 37, pages 404-427 for any doubters in the crowd.
Despite the constant bloviation from homosexual activists, who insist that change is impossible and attempted change is harmful, these researchers found in fact the opposite is true.
Now the American Psychological Association in the past has stuck its fingers in its ears and mindlessly intoned, “[H]omosexuality … is not changeable” and that “potential risks of ‘reparative therapy’ are great, including depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior.” The APA is dead wrong.
Jones and Yarhouse followed 61 individuals over a 6-7 year period who completed reparative therapy work with Exodus International. Of these 61 men and women, 53% had successful outcomes. Twenty-three percent reported a successful conversion to heterosexuality, both in orientation and functioning, while an additional 30% achieved behavioral chastity as well as substantive “dis-identification” with a homosexual orientation. (Twenty percent of the subjects abandoned the process and fully embraced a homosexual identity.)
As far as the process itself being harmful, psychological distress did not in fact increase on average, and significant improvements in distress actually accompanied the interventions for many.
The authors are careful to caution against exaggerated projections based on their research, but clearly their findings are a dramatic challenge to the meme out there that change is impossible and that even the attempt to change is harmful.
As the authors point out, there are a couple of takeaways here. One is that since change is clearly possible, the autonomy of persons seeking to change orientation should be respected and honored.
The chances of that happening with the “I’ve made up my mind, don’t confuse me with the facts” crowd? Slim and none. The left is profoundly anti-science and will be predictably anti-science in responding to these findings.
Likewise, were homosexual advocates honest and committed to honor the findings of scientific research, then they would not reflexively invalidate reparative therapy for people seeking change.
Alas, their blind, irrational and emotional commitment to their agenda will make that impossible for all but the few open-minded folks out there.
One of those open-minded individuals is a former president of the American Psychological Association, Nicholas Cummings. When the researchers published preliminary findings in a 2007 book, Ex-Gays? Cummings, said, “This study has broken new ground … and it opens new horizons for investigation … I have waited over thirty years for this refreshing, penetrating study …” He went on to refer to the book as “must reading” for therapists, counselors and academic psychologists.
These findings echo what Columbia psychiatrist Dr. Robert Spitzer said in 2003 after studying 200 former homosexuals who had reported some measure of change:
“The changes following reparative therapy were not limited to sexual behavior and sexual orientation self-identity. The changes encompassed sexual attraction, arousal, fantasy, yearning, and being bothered by homosexual feelings. The changes encompassed the core aspects of sexual orientation.” (Emphasis mine.)
Spitzer’s remarks are particularly significant since he led the politically-driven coup that removed homosexuality from the American Psychiatric Association’s official list of mental disorders in 1973.
And the APA is going to need to update its website, because this scientifically inaccurate statement is posted there: "To date, there has been no scientifically adequate research to show that therapy aimed at changing sexual orientation ... is safe or effective."
Well, now there is “scientifically adequate research” to show that change is possible. Will the APA come into the 21st century and admit it? Don’t hold your breath.
Even Attorney General Eric Holder is trapped in the depressing and anti-science mindset of secular fundamentalists, since he said last February that he believes “sexual orientation is a characteristic that is immutable.” Sounds like we need a new attorney general.
Bottom line: change in sexual orientation is possible, and this study is proof. Let’s be done with the biological and psychological nonsense that people are “born that way” and that there’s nothing that can be done about it. Scripture and now research both say something quite different.
(Unless otherwise noted, the opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Family Association or American Family Radio.)