Landmark Study: Change for Homosexuals Is Possible

Predictably, homosexual activists are already touting the “failure rate” revealed by this study. However, many of the same activists have denied that people can change their “orientation” (i.e., their homosexuality) at all, a claim that is belied by Jones’ and Yarhouse’s research and ample evidence in the real world. Hopefully, this will be the first of many serious studies proving the reality of change to skeptical secularists and the media.

Another factor from my experience as a close observer of the “ex-gay” phenomenon is that many former homosexuals do not linger in “reparative therapy” programs, or participate in them at all. They attribute their dramatic and (relatively) rapid transformation to the power of God, and likely would not show up in a study of this kind. In fact, these “unstudied” overcomers would appear to be the most successful ex-homosexuals because they’ve moved on with their lives — as “reborn” Christians move on after overcoming any besetting sin. Moreover, they are not proud of their former sinful lifestyle and may not even wish to discuss it.

Who knows how many thousands of formerly “gay” men and “ex-lesbians” fit into this category — who will likely never be a statistic in this type of research? — Peter LaBarbera

The following is taken from a Baptist Press report on the ex-“gay” study. For the full Baptist Press article, click HERE.

Landmark Study: Change for Homosexuals Is Possible 

By Michael Foust, Baptist Press

Sep 14, 2007

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–In what some are calling groundbreaking research, a new four-year study concludes it is possible for homosexuals to change their physical attractions and become heterosexual through the help of Christian ministries.

The data was released Sept. 13 at a news conference in Nashville, Tenn., and will be published in the forthcoming book, “Ex-Gays?” (InterVarsity Press) by psychologists Stanton L. Jones and Mark A. Yarhouse. Thirty-eight percent of the subjects followed in the study said they had successfully left homosexuality, while an additional 29 percent said they had had only modest successes but were committed to keep trying. In another significant finding, Jones and Yarhouse said attempts at conversions do not appear to be psychologically harmful.

Experts in the field call it the first scientific study performed on a sample of individuals undergoing Christian counseling, monitoring their successes and failures from the beginning. A follow-up study is being conducted and will be released in the future.

“These findings contradict directly the commonly expressed views of the mental health establishment that change in sexual orientation is impossible, and that if you attempt to change it’s highly likely to produce harm for those who make such an attempt,” Jones, professor of psychology at Wheaton College in Illinois, said at the news conference.

The research is certain to be criticized, particularly by homosexual activist organizations. Yarhouse, professor of psychology at Regent University in Virginia, said their literary agent tried for 10 months to find a secular publisher but “no one would touch it.” IVP is a Christian publisher.

The study followed 98 subjects — 72 men and 26 women — over a period of between 30 months and four years. Interviews were conducted three times, although by the third interview several subjects had quit the study, leaving the sample with 73 subjects. Some of them quit because they believed they had successfully changed and didn’t want to participate anymore, while others quit because they no longer wanted to change, the study said.

All the subjects were being counseled by various ministries of Exodus International, a Florida-based organization that seeks to help people leave homosexuality through faith in Christ.

At the end of the study, the subjects were placed in six categories, in order from success to failure:

  • 15 percent reported their conversion was successful and that they had had “substantial reduction” in homosexual attraction and “substantial conversion” to heterosexual attraction. They were categorized as “success: conversion.”
  • 23 percent said their conversion was successful and that homosexual attraction was either missing or “present only incidentally or in a way that does not seem to bring about distress.” They were labeled “success: chastity.”
  • 29 percent had experienced “modest decreases” in homosexual attraction and were not satisfied with their change, but pledged to continue trying. This category was labeled “continuing.”
  • 15 percent had not changed and were conflicted about what to do next.
  • 4 percent had not changed and had quit the change process, but had not embraced the “gay identity.”
  • 8 percent had not changed, had quit the process and had embraced the “gay identity.”

[Malfunctions in the taping of interviews accounts for the remaining 5 percent.]

The study was released as an American Psychological Association task force is examining the organization’s policy on counseling homosexuals. The task force reportedly is stacked with those of a more liberal perspective, and Christian psychologists fear the APA will change its policy to one that officially condemns the idea that change is possible. The report is due next year.

Said Jones, “We hope our research will say to people, ‘Slow down. Let’s have a civil dialogue. Let’s talk about people who are making autonomous adult choices about what they do…. Let’s give people the opportunity to exercise their religious freedom.”

Bob Stith, the national strategist for gender issues for the Southern Baptist Convention, said he hopes the study will impact churches.

“It is important for the church to recognize that [changing] is difficult,” he told Baptist Press. “The first time I went to an Exodus conference, my wife and I were stunned with the level of struggle that many of the people were still having. We had to reevaluate our whole perspective on that. I’ve worked with drug and alcohol addicts for years, and I’ve seen the same thing…. I’ve sent some to live-in rehabs, and they leave because it’s too hard. Personally, I have seen more people walk away from homosexuality than I have from drug and alcohol addiction.”

He added, “We know that Christ changes lives. You can’t quantify that.”

Many of the subjects had been sexually promiscuous prior to the study. Of the initial group of 72 men, 33 percent had been involved with more than 30 male partners, while 21 percent had had 10 to 30 such partners. The females were far less promiscuous, with only 4 percent having had more than 30 female partners and 8 percent having had 10 to 30 partners. The large majority of females, 80 percent, had had between one and nine female partners.

In addition, 67 percent of men and 69 percent of women reported having been touched sexually prior to age 13.

Click HERE to read the rest of the Baptist Press article.

This article was posted on Sunday, September 16th, 2007 at 8:28 pm and is filed under A - What does the Bible say about homosexuality?, B - Ex-Homosexual Testimonies, Born that Way?, Hateful Homosexual Attacks on Ex-Gays, News, The Bible, Churches, & Homosexuality. You can follow any updates to this article through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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