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LOVE IN ACTION CO-FOUNDER: "MY MINISTRY SHATTERS LIVES"

by : Wayne Besen
Sunday July 31, 2005 - 14:54
5 comments

LOVE IN ACTION CO-FOUNDER: "MY MINISTRY SHATTERS LIVES"

by Wayne Besen

CO-FOUNDER OF MINISTRY THAT RUNS TEEN ’EX-GAY’ BOOT CAMP SAYS GROUP SHATTERS LIVES AND CAN CAUSE SUICIDE

Love In Action Co-Founder John Evans Unveils Powerful Letter Rebuking ’Ex-Gay’ Ministries

NEW YORK - Author Wayne Besen released an explosive letter today by Love In Action’s co-Founder and former ex-gay John Evans, which rebukes gay conversion groups saying that they "shattered lives". The group he started has recently made headlines because it runs a boot camp for gay teens called "Refuge" that tries to turn adolescents heterosexual, often against their will.

"In the past 30 years since leaving the ’ex-gay’ ministry I have seen nothing but shattered lives, depression and even suicide among those connected with the ’ex-gay’ movement," Evans writes in his letter to John Smid, Love In Action’s current director. "I challenge Christians to investigate all sides of the issue of being gay and Christian. The Church has been wrong in the past regarding moral issues and I’m sure there will be more before Christ returns."

Evans, a gay man, founded what may be the first modern ex-gay group in San Raphael, Calif. in 1973, along with a heterosexual preacher Kent Philpott. Evans left his life partner of ten years to start the gay conversion group. He later dropped out after he realized it didn’t work and his best friend committed suicide because he could not turn heterosexual.

"Having the founder of Love In Action step forward to admonish the ministry he started speaks to the utter hopelessness and futility of these groups, not to mention the danger they represent," said Wayne Besen, Author of Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth (Haworth, 2003). "Most disturbing are the compulsory gay boot camps for teens which are tantamount to child abuse. They should immediately be shut down."

In May, 16-year old Zach told his fundamentalist Christian parents that he is gay. Horrified by the news, they vowed to fix him by sending him to an "ex-gay" boot camp in Memphis to be reprogrammed. Like a modern day message in a bottle, Zach used his Internet blog to send an SOS.

"I told my parents I was gay," he wrote. "This didn’t go over very well," and "They tell me that there is something psychologically wrong with me, and they ’raised me wrong.’ Today, my mother, father and I had a very long talk in my room, where they let me know I am to apply for a fundamentalist Christian program for gays."

The next day, Zach threw another bottle into the Cyber-sea.

"It’s like boot camp. If I do come out straight, I’ll be so mentally unstable and depressed it won’t matter."

Besen is a nationally recognized advocate for gay and lesbian rights. He has been a guest on leading news and political talk shows. He made international news when he photographed "ex-gay" poster boy and Love in Action graduate John Paulk cruising a gay bar in Washington, D.C.


FULL TEXT OF LETTER

July 30, 2005

Love In Action
ATTN: John Smid, Director
Memphis, TN

Dear Mr. Smid:

We as born again Christians believe the Bible to be the inspired Word of God. We Basically agree on the fundamentals of salvation. I’ve been a born again Christian for over 50 years and I’ve noticed Christians reading the same scriptural passages, yet arriving at different personal interpretations regarding moral issues. Some of these issues that have divided Christians within recent years have been slavery, women’s rights, the Charismatic movement and other issues, including divorce.

Within my lifetime, I’ve known members of my own family being asked to leave churches they had attended for years over issues of divorce and re-marriage, yet later welcomed back when a different interpretation of scripture was explained.

Today, the subject of homosexuality is being discussed among Christians. Most Christians find the subject too uncomfortable to make a personal investigation, but rely upon the traditional Christian condemnation of homosexuality. There are more scriptures dealing with divorce than homosexuality, yet, today, Christians give each other the freedom of personal interpretation regarding divorce. I’m sure homosexuality will be added to the long list of disagreements among Christians.

In 1973, when I helped organize the "ex-gay" ministry called Love In Action, I admit I had never heard of a different view of homosexuality or made an effort to research the issue. I held to the traditional Christian condemnation that all homosexuality was sinful.

One day, I read a booklet by Dr. Ralph Blair called, "An Evangelical Look At Homosexuality." I prayed before reading this booklet and was shocked, yet refreshed, because I had never heard such remarks regarding this subject from another Evangelical Christian.

I wrote Ralph Blair that I would like to discuss his views regarding this matter and his return letter informed me he could meet with me at my home in San Raphael, Calif. The night he arrived I invited several of my friends who were also involved with Love in Action to join us. We studied the scriptures dealing with homosexuality. I had struggled most of my life with this matter and I would continue to try to be "ex-gay" if it were God’s will. Over the past 30 years I have studied both sides of this subject and now know it’s not my sexual orientation that’s wrong or sinful. But one should allow the Holy Spirit to guide his or her life whatever one’s sexual orientation. I challenge other Christians to study the scriptures to show yourself approved unto God and don’t be afraid to challenge the traditional condemnation of homosexuality.

The Church has been wrong in the past regarding other issues and I’m sure there will be others before Jesus returns. I know my views regarding homosexuality and being Christian does not agree with most Christians and I’ve been accused of being "deceived and tricked by the Devil."

God alone knows my heart and Jesus Christ means too much to me to go against the leading of the Holy Spirit as he guides me as a born again Christian. Someday, each of us will stand alone before God to give an account of our lives and I want Him to be satisfied with me.

I just returned from the 25th annual Conference of Evangelicals Concerned, a group of gay Christians who know that it is possible to be both gay and Christian. In the past 30 years since leaving the "ex-gay" ministry I have seen nothing but shattered lives, depression and even suicide among those connected with the "ex-gay" movement.

At the E.C. conference I met gay Christians who have an even closer relationship with Jesus. The Holy Spirit seemed to hover over the entire conference. The closing communion service seemed as if Jesus Himself was there saying, "Come to me all who labor and are laden with the burden of trying to conform to the impossible conclusions of others, and I will give you rest."

Again, I challenge Christians to investigate all sides of the issue of being gay and Christian. The Church has been wrong in the past regarding moral issues and I’m sure there will be more before Christ returns.

Love in Christ,

John Evans
Original Member of Love In Action, 1973

http://www.waynebesen.com/columns/2...



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> LOVE IN ACTION CO-FOUNDER: "MY MINISTRY SHATTERS LIVES"
Monday August 1 - 21:24 - Posted by 73cf9e0c3bedc430...

Psychological counselling based on religious nonsense will come out as psychological nonsense. Anyone using Old Testament quotations as a basis for legislation concerning human affection or sexuality, man-woman relationships, etc., is intolerably meddlesome and living in a fabulous past. But these True Believers wish to proselytize the world, intend to impose their dogma on every living person, or make them suffer the consequences of not heeding religious dogma and seminary teachings. The True Believers will use lies, misdirection stealth, deceit, or simple imposition to install their symbols, icons, dogma, quotations, etc. on the entire world or kill all disbelievers in the attempt. They tried it several times in the past, and there is no reason why they will not try it again, except for bothersome laws that Bush will soon eradicate.




> LOVE IN ACTION CO-FOUNDER: "MY MINISTRY SHATTERS LIVES"
Tuesday August 2 - 11:49 - Posted by 27137ac02089d7f2...

That is because the Christian life is so empty. It has no meaning. That is why Christians must meddle in every one else’s lives. They have nothing of value or interest in their own lives or families. The neighbor’s lives are always so much more interesting to the Christians. Even their marriage thing is phony. They claim they think it is so sacred yet they divorce and remarry more than any of the other groups which makes it all just a big joke.



> LOVE IN ACTION CO-FOUNDER: "MY MINISTRY SHATTERS LIVES"
Sunday August 14 - 14:04 - Posted by bbbe8c00f1a28aaf...

WHEN A HOMOSEXUAL PERSON PRAYS DAILY WHO ARE THEY PRAYING TO? GOD DOES NOT HEAR A SINNERS PRAYER. HE CANNOT AND WILL NOT GO AGAINST HIS WORD. HE WOULD HAVE TO GO BACK AND RESURRECT ALL THAT HE KILLED IN SODOM AND GOMORRAH IF HE COULD CHANGE HIS MIND. HIS WORD SAYS THAT THOU SHALT NOT LIE WITH MANKIND AS WITH WOMANKIND; IT IS ABOMINATION (LEV 18:22). YES GOD lOVES US ALL BUT WE HAVE TO CHOOSE HIM OVER THIS OLD FLESH. PLEASE BE NOT DECEIVED. JESUS IS SOON TO COME. RESIST THE DEVIL AND HE WILL FLEE.




> LOVE IN ACTION CO-FOUNDER: "MY MINISTRY SHATTERS LIVES"
Sunday August 14 - 18:54 - Posted by a7cbb3a2f96b383c...

I must respond to that last comment, as it is not only heretical but also quite deceptive. First of all, he writes, “God does not hear a sinner’s prayer.” We know from Paul’s writing that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). That makes us all sinners, which is a traditional belief held by the Church. To say that God does not hear a sinner’s prayer is ridiculous, because the very act of repentance, of seeking God’s forgiveness, is when a sinner comes before God humbly. The commentator says one smart thing that God “cannot and will not go against his word.” That’s true, but he foes on to misquote and misuse the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in ways it was never intended. So what is the story of Sodom and Gomorrah about…

Well, God sent some angels to warn Lot about the destruction of Sodom. The destruction clearly had to do with Sodom’s sin before this story, since God already intended to destroy the town. So, in the story a group of unscrupulous men surrounded a house where angels were visiting Lot in what was doomsday for the city of Sodom. The men from the town sought to sexually assault/demean these angels (who appeared to be men to them). Clearly, this is a story of rape and violence. This single potential act of same sex violence is not designated as the reason for the destruction of the city of Sodom, but rather Lot states, "Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. Don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof” (19:8). Hospitality is the sin in this story, and Lot makes that quite clear. It helps to understand that hospitality was an almost sacred convention during the time this was written. Also, read Matthew 10:5-15 and you will see that Jesus compares the inhospitality the disciples face with that of Sodom and Gomor’rah. Dr. Daniel A. Helminiak has a great section on this in his book "What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality." Further, Ezekiel 16:48-49 clarifies "This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, surfeit of food and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy."

The commentator also writes, “Yes, God loves us but we have to choose him over this old flesh.” It is true that we are called to follow the way of the spirit, but that path does not neglect the body, rather we are to honor the body as God’s temple. We are not called to neglect the physical part of ourselves and our physical needs. Many people are called to physical intimacy and companionship and the Church recognizes this as a sacrament. Homosexuals often feel the same calling to loving and committed relationships. Some are called to celibacy, but Scripture makes clear that celibacy should not be embarked upon unless one has the gift of celibacy, which one either has or doesn’t (Matt 19:10-12; 1 Cor 7:7-8). For more information about the six “clobber passages” often used to condemn homosexuals, or for a list of books which study these verses in context, visit my website www.truthsetsfree.net. The devil has hijacked the issue of homosexuality to divide Christians and non-believers alike. We need to rightly divide (i.e. study) the Word of God as we are called to do (John 12:48), yet so often fundamentalist Christians are more eager to justify their fears and prejudices than to truly seek what the Word says on these sensitive issues. When that happens we find messages like the one I am responding to.

In Christ,
Justin R. Cannon
Founder of TruthSetsFree.net Ministiries
www.truthsetsfree.net



> LOVE IN ACTION CO-FOUNDER: "MY MINISTRY SHATTERS LIVES"
Wednesday August 17 - 01:54 - Posted by 578e3a4a4a4e8044...

To 69.***.40**

The verse you use to "prove" God does not hear sinners is John 9:31. It is not God’s view on the topic. Rather, it is John the Apostle, quoting the man who was born blind and reveals this new convert’s imperfect understanding of prayer.

For a Jew, the belief that God does not hear sinner’s prayers indicated the Jewish belief that the nation of Israel was God’s chosen people, while the Gentiles - "sinners" in the context, were not God’s chosen people and therefore, God did not hear THEIR prayers...

Would you be so kind as to give me a verse in the Bible that says the sin of Sodom was homosexuality? If that is the teaching of scripture, surely you can come up with verses which SAY that, can’t you?

A Florida Reader






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