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Daniel2

Prominent FAIR-Featured LDS SSA Therapist now identifies as gay and dating men

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4 hours ago, Gray said:

This is right up there with the domineering mother/distant father theory of sexual orientation.

You missed my point.   I am not saying that those experiences make someone gay.   I said those experiences can lead people to think they are gay when they do not have any congenital same sex interest.

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Since there have been concerns about the privacy of Matheson's exit from the reparative therapy fold, I figured it's worth sharing his press release and other interviews as quoted by The Salt Lake Tribune.  Admittedly, I'm not privy to the 'confidentiality' of the FB group he originally posted on, so I'm not sure about how that all played out (and Kllindley, I'm trying to be honest, candid, and fair about your concerns here, so I'm trying to extend the olive branch over what it appears you feel as if my actions/motives/behavior have been suspect here).

I am glad this article sheds a lot more light on th Matheson, and look forward to listening to his podcast as mentioned in the article to hear from him in his own words.

Mods, I don’t know why the last part of the article is stricken through—-it copied and pasted that way, but if anyone can fix that and you’d like to, please feel free to do so)

Quote

‘I had to make substantial changes’ — former reparative therapist comes out as gay, renounces past conversion efforts, hopes for shifts in his LDS faith

 
‘I had to make substantial changes’ — former reparative therapist comes out as gay, renounces past conversion efforts, hopes for shifts in his LDS faith
 
(Courtesy photo) David Matheson, Latter-day Saint therapist.
87dc83a7-5bad-410e-a434-5850859389dc.jpg
 · Published: 16 hours ago 
Updated: 13 hours ago 

A prominent gay Latter-day Saint counselor — who once preached and practiced so-called “reparative therapy” to change a person’s sexual orientation and was married to a woman for more than 30 years — announced this week he is ready to date men.

“A year ago I realized I had to make substantial changes in my life,” David Mathesonwrote on Facebook. “I realized I couldn’t stay in my marriage any longer. And I realized that it was time for me to affirm myself as gay.”

Matheson’s “coming-out” has roiled the LGBTQ community, especially among members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The Utah-based faith teaches that being gay is not a sin but acting on same-sex attraction is. Heterosexual marriage is taught as the highest goal for males and females, which leaves many of the faith’s LGBTQ members yearning to alter their orientation or somehow diminish their attractions.

Matheson has been a big player in the debate over these widely denounced change efforts, known variously as reparative or conversion therapy. He was executive director of now-defunct Evergreen International, which advocated such therapeutic interventions for Latter-day Saints who were feeling tensions between their attractions and their faith. That support group closed its doors in 2014 — just as same-sex marriage was legalized in Utah — and was replaced by North Star, which addressed the same audience but took no position on reparative therapy.

Most of Matheson’s clients at the Center for Gender Wholeness were Latter-day Saints — as were those who attended “Faith and Feelings” gatherings at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City and in Utah County, along with the experiential weekend Journey Into Manhood (now Brothers Road).

Matheson’s declaration of his sexuality comes at a time when Utah is considering a move to outlaw “conversion” efforts for minors — a proposal he supports.

Today, Matheson “unequivocally renounces” reparative therapy, he said in a news release, which “presupposes that being LGBTQ is something that can and should be changed.”

He has not practiced that therapy for a number of years, Matheson said, and “strongly oppose therapy for minors that is aimed at bringing about a change in sexual orientation. The potential for harm to young people is very high.”

Matheson should know — he tried to change his own orientation.

“I first noticed real feelings toward other boys in my early teens,” the counselor recalled on Thursday’s “Mormon Land” podcast. “But I didn’t want to. I was horrified by the idea of it.”

This was the 1970s, and gays were “brutally condemned by [the faith’s] highest leaders … as perverts, wicked, weaklings and evil” and homosexual relations as “a crime against nature.”

Matheson had “this deep, deep desire to learn to live as a quote unquote normal person.”

He internalized those stigmas and let them guide his work as he shifted from reparative efforts to therapies intended to reduce the “shame, anxiety and effects of trauma” experienced by LGBTQ individuals in society.

“I realize now that, alongside the very valuable work I did, I also perpetuated some judgments that had caused me shame … through some of the therapeutic practices that I now regret using,” Matheson said in the release. “ ... I am heartbroken at the thought that I may have brought pain to any of the men I was so diligently trying to help.”

Matheson is not “renouncing my faith or my past work,” nor is he condemning “marriages between same-sex attracted and a straight person,” he wrote on Facebook. He’s not “giving up or jumping ship.”

He believes he was not “faking it in the past,” and that not all of his work was damaging to his clients.

“My time in a straight marriage and in the ‘ex-gay’ world was genuine,” he wrote, “and a sincere and a rich blessing to me.” But he acknowledges his own role in “perpetuating homophobia,” Matheson said, and has removed his book, “Becoming a Whole Man,” from the virtual bookshelves “until I can review and remove content I no longer agree with.”

Kendall Wilcox, a gay Latter-day Saint who co-founded Mormons Building Bridges to connect church members and the LGBTQ community, applauds the move and hopes Matheson will follow up his words with actions.

“Dave was a major voice in LDS Family Services circles, teaching Mormon therapists how to respond to LGBTQ clients,” Wilcox wrote in an email. “It seems to me, for there to be true reconciliation of his past work and the harmful homophobia it perpetuated, there needs to be some effort on his part that is commensurate with the level of impact he had in his previous work. Otherwise... there is no real learning, growth, or healing.”

Joshua Weed, a Latter-day Saint therapist in Seattle, is even more skeptical.

"While I can, from personal experience, attest that [coming out as gay] will likely bring him great peace,” said Weed, who split from his wife last year to live as a gay man, “I am also disturbed by his multiple public statements regarding his clinical work.”

Weed said he himself was “harmed by reparative therapy in my youth,” so he has always “staunchly denounced [it] professionally.”

He has seen practitioners such as Matheson “claim to have ‘renounced’ reparative therapy by name, [yet] their work often continues to employ reparative therapy techniques that are very harmful to the most vulnerable of the LGBTQ population.”

North Star President Bennett Borden doesn’t know Matheson personally but wishes him “nothing but the best in his spiritual journey.”

As an institution, North Star rejects reparative therapy, Borden said. It follows the “best practices” set out in the document, “Resolving Distress Between Faith-Based Values and Sexual and Gender Diversity: A Guide for Mental Health Professionals.” 

The group does not “prescribe a method of dealing with these issues,” the North Star leader said. “We do believe that someone’s sexual attractions do not define them. They can choose whatever path to peace they find most beneficial.”

For his part, Matheson no longer believes that intimacy between two people of the same sex is sin, but he still attends his Latter-day Saint ward in the Salt Lake Valley every week and believes top church leaders are “prophets, seers, and revelators.”

“I’m a person of many contradictions, and that’s one of them,” he said. “But I have to try to weave my two worlds together.”

Is Matheson hopeful about what the future holds for LGBTQ members in the faith? Yes, he said on the podcast, but it may take time.

It’s like being a little kid on a road trip with your parents, and you need to relieve yourself, he explained. You tell your father, “I’ve got to go. Dad, pull the car over. I’ve really got to go.”

Your father replies, “just hold it,” Matheson said. “We’ll be home in 30 years.”

https://www.sltrib.com/religion/2019/01/24/i-had-make-substantial/

 

 

Edited by Daniel2
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The article above contains a link to the 45 min MormonLand Podcast (a production by The Salt Lake Tribune, not to be confused with Mormon Stories) interviewing Matheson sharing his journey, views, and current state.  I’ve just listened to it in its entirety, and I highly recommend listening to it. 

I’m pleasantly surpised by his interview and I am truly pleased, appreciative, grateful, proud I felt at Matheson’s willingness to be honest, candid, vulnerable, open, and aware of his past, his intentions, his regrets and apology, his desire for wholeness and self awareness of finding a wholistic approach to wellness.

I am glad to see that he has had a very significant change in his therapeutic approach in the last 14 years since I saw him. I am 100% in agreement with everything Matheson shares in his current podcast, and hope it spurs dialogue, especially to diminish the polarization which is never helpful. 

Kllindley, I assume you were most upset at the author of the Truth Wins Out article that I originally linked, and Matheson briefly addresses that, too, and doesn’t blame the LGBT community’s anger even as he gently responds with a call to decrease the political rhetoric and increasing polarization. Had I had this link first, I would have shared it first, so I’m glad Matheson is publically continuing to promote dialogue. 

Finally, he only briefly mentions his wife (it appears to me out of respect for her privacy), but does say his kids are doing really well and are very supportive. I wish his wife and kids all the best, as I wish Matheson himself and anyone else going though similar types of struggles. 

Edited by Daniel2
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On 1/21/2019 at 5:17 PM, kllindley said:

Daniel, maybe you don't remember, but your comments in the aftermath of the Believer Documentary were personally offensive and stuck with me.  So, yes.  When I saw that you had posted about this issue, I picked up the conversation where it left off.  

I guess Wayne wasn't interested in presenting the whole context.  I learned about David's divorce yesterday as a part of a private facebook post to a private facebook group.  That post was shared with Wayne by someone who had committed to keeping information shared there confidential.  So I'm sure part of my anger comes from the fact that a group that should have been a safe source or support was severely compromised.  

Again, I apologize for misreading that you were talking about individual therapy sessions you had with him.  I will absolutely stand up when false claims are made about Journey into Manhood.   Just as I would expect you to when someone comes on here and says "I know all gays are shallow and sex obsessed because I have a friend who was gay and he was."

I have no problem discussing the impact he had on the community or discussing his situation. IN fact, I would think that we should have a more thorough discussion about all the circumstances that led to these events in his life.  I think it is important to consider what he meant that he did not see this decision as a repudiation of his work, but as an illustration of why it is correct.  I would want to know what he meant by saying that his marriage and work were genuine and that he did not regret them.  In fairness, that is not what you did.  You posted a piece from a man who hates Mormons and hates anyone who dares not embrace a gay identity.  What kind of a discussion were you hoping to have?  

Kllindley, you’re correct—I don’t rememver my comments around the “Believer” documentary being unfair or offensive. Striving to cause offense is not my M.O., and I try hard to be considerate to all and seek to understand others’ views as much as I try to share my own thoughts and feelings, whether I disagree with them or not.  In fact, that’s been one of my constant goals in posting here over the last 15 years, as I first started posting as an active, believing member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints defending the Faith. 

As others have mentioned, I’m not a perfect person, and sometimes my patience wears all too thin. I stumble and make mistakes and say things I regret later. But I hope I not only always try to apologize and make restitution, but that I also learn from those personal failures.

I’m also very aware of the limits of written communication and how it can be misunderstood, taken out of context, and misinterpreted by any of us, even when we strive to be clear and articulate and careful. As far as misunderstandings go, I’ve faced my own fate share of being on both the “author” and the “reader” side of that fence.

All of the above said, I am sorry that I caused you personal offense in the “Believer” discussions. I’m happy to revisit, discuss, and definitely try to better understand those comments of mine in which you felt I was being unfair or offensive, so as attempting to avoid doing so in the future. 

Now, you suggest that because I “posted a piece by a man [who youbcharacterize as] who hates Mormons” that I was approaching this in a... perhaps disingenuous(?) way that you seem to suggest was in poor taste. Klindley, I posted the only news I had seen.... the only news I was privy to... the only news I was aware of. As as Board rules require, we must post supporting documentation to back up our claims. The Truth Wins Out source was all that came out, first, and even though you decry that author as “hateful,” I didn’t see that much “hate” in the news source I posted. Further, while you seem offended Besson didn’t include more of Matheson’s own words in his coming out post, implying Besson was somehow unmindful of the pain that Matheson, his wife, and children may have been experiencing, you simultaneously were denouncing Besson from sharing any of it at all. I was not personally aware of anything more Matheson had said, and I was trying to share the news source that at least shared Matheson’s words. While I understand now that you were angry and confidences being violated, that wasn’t entirely clear when I posted it, but I understand in retrospect that that’s what Besson likely meant/was glossing over when he said “a post obtained from a private FB group.”

That all said, again, as soon as I became aware of the most recently linked articles and the MormonLand podcast in which Matheson has now personally explained what he meant about how/what aspects of his therapy worked, what didn’t, what he means by “sexual fluidity” and what he doesn’t mean by it, what he meant when he said his marriage “worked” and how it didn’t, how he opposes any ideology that begins by saying that homosexuality is bad, how People Can Change—>Journey into Manhood—->Brothers Road (which he co-created) are based round the ideology that homosexuality is bad and can be overcome, how he supports efforts to ban any conversion therapy for minors and disavows any type of reparative therapy (which he himself used to practice), and how he would never recommend to LDS gay men mary women....well, as soon as I found better, cleaner, more direct quotes, I shared them as they became available. And yes, I am very much open to dialogue and discussion. I love Matheson’s own approach to open dialogue—in many ways, his and my journeys reflect each other. 

So, with an attempt to extend that olive branch, I welcome your voice and responses to the ongoing conversation and look forward to hearing your thoughts and answering any questions or ideological challenges/requests you might want to raise, as they relate to Matheson, myself, yourself,  Dan Reynolds and my past comments on “Believer,” or any other aspect of the discussion. 

Edited by Daniel2

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23 minutes ago, Daniel2 said:

Kllindley, you’re correct—I don’t rememver my comments around the “Believer” documentary being unfair or offensive. Striving to cause offense is not my M.O., and I try hard to be considerate to all and seek to understand others’ views as much as I try to share my own thoughts and feelings, whether I disagree with them or not.  In fact, that’s been one of my constant goals in posting here over the last 15 years, as I first started posting as an active, believing member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints defending the Faith. 

As others have mentioned, I’m not a perfect person, and sometimes my patience wears all too thin. I stumble and make mistakes and say things I regret later. But I hope I not only always try to apologize and make restitution, but that I also learn from those personal failures.

I’m also very aware of the limits of written communication and how it can be misunderstood, taken out of context, and misinterpreted by any of us, even when we strive to be clear and articulate and careful. As far as misunderstandings go, I’ve faced my own fate share of being on both the “author” and the “reader” side of that fence.

All of the above said, I am sorry that I caused you personal offense in the “Believer” discussions. I’m happy to revisit, discuss, and definitely try to better understand those comments of mine in which you felt I was being unfair or offensive, so as attempting to avoid doing so in the future. 

Now, you suggest that because I “posted a piece by a man [who youbcharacterize as] who hates Mormons” that I was approaching this in a... perhaps disingenuous(?) way that you seem to suggest was in poor taste. Klindley, I posted the only news I had seen.... the only news I was privy to... the only news I was aware of. As as Board rules require, we must post supporting documentation to back up our claims. The Truth Wins Out source was all that came out, first, and even though you decry that author as “hateful,” I didn’t see that much “hate” in the news source I posted. Further, while you seem offended Besson didn’t include more of Matheson’s own words in his coming out post, implying Besson was somehow unmindful of the pain that Matheson, his wife, and children may have been experiencing, you simultaneously were denouncing Besson from sharing any of it at all. I was not personally aware of anything more Matheson had said, and I was trying to share the news source that at least shared Matheson’s words. While I understand now that you were angry and confidences being violated, that wasn’t entirely clear when I posted it, but I understand in retrospect that that’s what Besson likely meant/was glossing over when he said “a post obtained from a private FB group.”

That all said, again, as soon as I became aware of the most recently linked articles and the MormonLand podcast in which Matheson has now personally explained what he meant about how/what aspects of his therapy worked, what didn’t, what he means by “sexual fluidity” and what he doesn’t mean by it, what he meant when he said his marriage “worked” and how it didn’t, how he opposes any ideology that begins by saying that homosexuality is bad, how People Can Change—>Journey into Manhood—->Brothers Road (which he co-created) are based round the ideology that homosexuality is bad and can be overcome, how he supports efforts to ban any conversion therapy for minors and disavows any type of reparative therapy (which he himself used to practice), and how he would never recommend to LDS gay men mary women....well, as soon as I found better, cleaner, more direct quotes, I shared them as they became available. And yes, I am very much open to dialogue and discussion. I love Matheson’s own approach to open dialogue—in many ways, his and my journeys reflect each other. 

So, with an attempt to extend that olive branch, I welcome your voice and responses to the ongoing conversation and look forward to hearing your thoughts and answering any questions or ideological challenges/requests you might want to raise, as they relate to Matheson, myself, yourself,  Dan Reynolds and my past comments on “Believer,” or any other aspect of the discussion. 

I appreciate that. Yes, a big part of what had me so angry was the intentional violation of confidentiality in a place where I have shared deeply personal and private things with my personal identity fully known.  

Like I said, I am still not sure what conversation you'd like to have here.

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19 hours ago, kllindley said:

I appreciate that. Yes, a big part of what had me so angry was the intentional violation of confidentiality in a place where I have shared deeply personal and private things with my personal identity fully known.  

Like I said, I am still not sure what conversation you'd like to have here.

For starters, can you give me at least a Cliff Notes version of what I said before around “Believer” that personally offended you? EDITED TO ADD: I’d like to know how I caused offense before tackling a new discussion to try to avoid making the same mistakes again.

Edited by Daniel2

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KUTV also interviews Matheson, thought it also quotes Besson... (I considered editing that part out, as he struck a negative nerve with You, Kllindley, but it appears that Matheson has publically addresses that in the previous post, and figured it was best to not try to maybe allow it to spur dialogue instead of  to censoring it out now). Matheson is interviewed in video at the link. 

Former conversion therapist says he regrets efforts to change sexual orientation

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) —

David Matheson knew his coming-out would be emotional, but he didn’t expect it would receive worldwide attention.

“All I wanted to do was come out; I didn’t realize it was going to go viral like it has,” Matheson told 2News in an interview Thursday night.

Matheson’s coming-out as a gay man carries a lot of weight, considering he was married to a woman for 34 years. For nearly two decades, Matheson practiced therapy that was aimed to change or suppress homosexuality. He also wrote a book called "Becoming a Whole Man," which claims to help men overcome the challenges of "unwanted homosexuality."

“I know people already who are really shaken because of who I am and what I’ve done in my past,” he said.

Matheson’s announcement went public this week in a post on a private Facebook page, "Journey Into Manhood," a group that says it helps men overcome homosexuality. A copy of the "Journey Into Manhood" post was shared with Truth Wins Out (TWO), a national organization that advocates against conversion therapy.

“David Matheson is one of the kings of reparative therapy,” said Wayne Besen, executive director of TWO.

TWO published excerpts of the Journey Into Manhood Facebook post regarding Matheson on its website.

“[Matheson] is the one people turned to for answers, so for him to say, 'This isn’t working,' is like Jenny Craig saying her food will make you gain weight and give you salmonella,” Besen said.

Besen called Matheson the nation’s "most notorious conversion therapist" in a post on TWO’s website.

“If conversion therapy does not work for authors like David Matheson who write books on the discredited practice, it is naïve to expect it to work for those reading such deceptive publications,” Besen wrote in the post. “Conversion therapy employs guilt and shame to browbeat desperate and vulnerable people into renouncing their humanity. This is the latest evidence that conversion therapy is consumer fraud and ought to be outlawed in all 50 states.”

Lawmakers will soon be consideringlegislation to outlaw therapy aimed at changing sexual orientation of minors in Utah.

Several states already have bans on the practice.

Matheson says he supports conversion therapy bans for minors. He adds that he regrets his practice of therapy to change or suppress homosexual feelings.

“As I look back, I can think of things that I said, I can think of people that I said things to, I can think of specific cases where I go, ‘I really regret, having written that, said that, perpetuated that idea,'” Matheson said.

WATCH: Jeremy Harris’ full interview with David Matheson

https://kutv.com/news/local/former-conversion-therapist-says-he-regrets-efforts-to-change-sexual-orientation

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IMO, the MormonLand podcast and this interview shouldn’t be missed by Latter-day Saints who want to better understand the LDS-LGBT experience, just as I think it shouldn’t be missed by members of the LGBT community who want to better understand the LDS-SSA experience. While he and I still differ on Faith (even as I support his decision to stay with the LDS Church, despite my leaving it), Matheson’s recent work (of which I was unaware) as a bridge builder and his call to end polarization and damage on all sides is laudable:

https://youtu.be/jx5qSCjbYcU

Edited by Daniel2

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1 hour ago, Daniel2 said:

IMO, the MormonLand podcast and this interview shouldn’t be missed by Latter-day Saints who want to better understand Dyer LDS-LGBT experience, just as I think it shouldn’t be missed by members of the LBGT community who want to better understand the LDS-SSA experience. While he and I still differ on Faith (even as I support his decision to stay with the LDS, despite my leaving it), Matheson’s recent work (of which I was unaware) as a bridge builder and his call to end polarization and damage on all sides is laudable:

https://youtu.be/jx5qSCjbYcU

Glad I listened to the Mormon Land podcast because I was full on condemning this guy. Now I understand it was his unacceptance of himself as gay that had led to him trying to reverse it in others and himself. But I listened in bed and slept through parts so I need to re-listen. If I've got this part wrong, please correct me. 

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On 1/25/2019 at 7:56 PM, kllindley said:

I appreciate that. Yes, a big part of what had me so angry was the intentional violation of confidentiality in a place where I have shared deeply personal and private things with my personal identity fully known.  

Like I said, I am still not sure what conversation you'd like to have here.

I've been on vacation the last few days, and haven't had time to post yet.  Additionally, I was hoping to receive some feedback from you about how I might avoid coming across as offensive given that you've said I've been such in the past, but given that I haven't heard back, I'll proceed as respectfully as I can and hope that if I say anything that causes further offense, you'll let me know.

I understand and empathize with anger in the face of the violation of confidentiality, and I do support safe spaces where individuals can and should feel comfortable and free to express themselves without fear.  In the vast majority of cases, and especially in the personal lives of private individuals, I am a HUGE proponent of respecting individuals' right to privacy, especially when "coming out" is concerned.  It's unfair, irresponsible, damaging, and even potentially fatal on multiple fronts to force private individuals out of the closet before they themselves choose to do so (if ever), and I am a big proponent of leaving that up to the individual her/him-self. I think the betrayal of that idea is well-portrayed in the recent film, "Love, Simon", when he is outed by a classmate, and the fallout that ensues, followed by the anger he shows towards that particular classmate.

So, while I absolutely support that idea in general, there are some exceptions to maintaining confidentiality and not outing someone.  First and foremost, I don't think the above applies to a public figure (i.e. a politician, therapist, clergy member, etc.) who publicly makes a living (political, financial, theological) off of  spreading anti-SSA/LGBT animus.  I believe that clergy who both condemn and encourage social/political restrictions against and punishments for sexual sin, but secretly participate in it themselves, should be outed and face accountability for their actions.  The same for politicians who have a track record of voting against equal civil rights for LGBT individuals while secretly engaging in same-sex sexual behaviors.   And the same for therapists who make their living off of perpetuating any type of conversion or reparative therapy over same-sex clients, while ultimately secretly engaging in such behaviors or seeking out those relationships themselves.

When I first posted the opening articles, I had first hand experience that Matheson had been engaging in conversion/reparative therapy, because I'd experienced it with and from him myself, so I felt he certainly fell into the last category about reparative therapists I just described above.  I DO agree that Wayne Besson was wrong in his approach and could and should have handled the situation better.  Specifically, since someone sent him a message from a private FB group (which, according to the group's own rules, was confidential), I believe Besson should instead have attempted to contact Matheson directly, advised Matheson that he had received the email, and given Matheson a chance to clarify, come clean, and set the record straight on his own.  If at that point, Matheson had refused or failed to respond, then I can understand that Besson would have advised Matheson that he would go ahead and share the only info he had, and let the chips fall where they may from there.  Of course, like many reporters of various styles and backgrounds, Besson represents his own personal media outlet and I imagine he wanted to garner the credit, the attention, the 'hits/clicks,' and his advertiser's paychecks from breaking the story himself.

EDITED TO ADD THIS PARAGRAPH: I also think outing someone on a limited basis is appropriate when the closeted person is secretly engaging in high-risk sexual  behaviors while exposing their unsuspecting spouse (such as a married spouse or otherwise committed sexual partner) to the dangers of sexually-transmitted diseases.  That doesn't seem to be the case with Matheson, though I am aware of others who've done so in now defunct groups like Evergreen, but I figured I'd clarify there are other exceptions. 

Two other thoughts: 

1st Thought) In the two direct interviews by the SLTrib and KUTV I posted earlier in this thread,  Matheson himself says he had already previously been outed to the "Journey Into Manhood/Brother's Road" (PCC/JIM/BR) community by a fellow co-founder of that same organization who disagreed with Matheson's change of heart, which Matheson certainly seems to condemn by saying that that person's outing him "was NOT COOL."  So, apparently, somewhere over the last year, Kllindley, that confidence had previously been broken by someone internally.  Of course, two wrongs DON'T make right, and my previous condemnation of Besson's tactics still stand.  But I just wanted to point out it wasn't only Truth Wins Out who were violating Matheson's confidentiality, here, and the side that condemns embracing/acting on SSA also outed Matheson prematurely amongst that community, according to Matheson.

2nd Thought)  As a founder of the organization of the PCC/JIM/BR organization and one of it's highest public figures, Matheson had already been outed to the PCC/JIM/BR community, and was dealing with the fallout there, so Matheson had already begun the process of coming out and had done so to large numbers of people in that group post.  And while you say that that was confidential, I think it's worth pointing out that there are clearly inherent risks (whether breaches in confidence or breaches in security via hacking) for a public figure like Matheson to post in a private but still quasi-public forum via the social media giant Facebook.  I have to imagine he knew the risks, and while he says he was surprised at the media attention and response, he continues to say he was in the process of coming out himself and has been doing so over the last year.  What I'm saying here, Kllindley, is that he himself seems far more at peace, centered, and understanding of Besson's actions and motives here than your reaction to it were.

In short, if what had happened to Matheson had happened to you, I would have decried it as much as you did here.  All things considered, I still agree that Besson behaved unprofessionally, irresponsibly, and should have given Matheson the opportunity to respond first.

I hope the above clarifies where I've been coming from in this thread.

Finally, regarding dialogue I hope to inspire from you: in the wake of all that's happened, I haven't seen any type of response from NorthStar OR on Brothers Road (formerly "People Can Change" and "Journey Into Manhood").  I imagine there's a lot of private discussion on the FB page you're a member of, and I don't mean to ask you to violate any of the confidences there... what I'm really interested in, though, is: do you think there is/will be/should be any type of acknowledgement or response from any of those organizations regarding this change of heart and approach by one the most (if not the most) prominent LDS-SSA therapist, who co-founded the very programs in question?  Or do you anticipate those organizations will simply drop his name, books, personal testimonial videos, and all other references from their website, program, and program history, without acknowledging such?  Is there anything you CAN share from us from that community in response?

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2 hours ago, Daniel2 said:

I've been on vacation the last few days, and haven't had time to post yet.  Additionally, I was hoping to receive some feedback from you about how I might avoid coming across as offensive given that you've said I've been such in the past, but given that I haven't heard back, I'll proceed as respectfully as I can and hope that if I say anything that causes further offense, you'll let me know.

My main problem with your previous comments was that you seemed to take a hard line position that unless the Church completely rescinds all teaching against homosexual behavior and condemns past heteronormative teachings, it was absolutely to blame for every LGBT suicide.  I know that you acknowledged some bitterness at that time, which you have every right to feel.  It just seemed that with that position there was not really enough common ground between us to have any meaningful conversation.  

 

2 hours ago, Daniel2 said:

I understand and empathize with anger in the face of the violation of confidentiality, and I do support safe spaces where individuals can and should feel comfortable and free to express themselves without fear.  In the vast majority of cases, and especially in the personal lives of private individuals, I am a HUGE proponent of respecting individuals' right to privacy, especially when "coming out" is concerned.  It's unfair, irresponsible, damaging, and even potentially fatal on multiple fronts to force private individuals out of the closet before they themselves choose to do so (if ever), and I am a big proponent of leaving that up to the individual her/him-self. I think the betrayal of that idea is well-portrayed in the recent film, "Love, Simon", when he is outed by a classmate, and the fallout that ensues, followed by the anger he shows towards that particular classmate.

So, while I absolutely support that idea in general, there are some exceptions to maintaining confidentiality and not outing someone.  First and foremost, I don't think the above applies to a public figure (i.e. a politician, therapist, clergy member, etc.) who publicly makes a living (political, financial, theological) off of  spreading anti-SSA/LGBT animus.  I believe that clergy who both condemn and encourage social/political restrictions against and punishments for sexual sin, but secretly participate in it themselves, should be outed and face accountability for their actions.  The same for politicians who have a track record of voting against equal civil rights for LGBT individuals while secretly engaging in same-sex sexual behaviors.   And the same for therapists who make their living off of perpetuating any type of conversion or reparative therapy over same-sex clients, while ultimately secretly engaging in such behaviors or seeking out those relationships themselves.

When I first posted the opening articles, I had first hand experience that Matheson had been engaging in conversion/reparative therapy, because I'd experienced it with and from him myself, so I felt he certainly fell into the last category about reparative therapists I just described above.  I DO agree that Wayne Besson was wrong in his approach and could and should have handled the situation better.  Specifically, since someone sent him a message from a private FB group (which, according to the group's own rules, was confidential), I believe Besson should instead have attempted to contact Matheson directly, advised Matheson that he had received the email, and given Matheson a chance to clarify, come clean, and set the record straight on his own.  If at that point, Matheson had refused or failed to respond, then I can understand that Besson would have advised Matheson that he would go ahead and share the only info he had, and let the chips fall where they may from there.  Of course, like many reporters of various styles and backgrounds, Besson represents his own personal media outlet and I imagine he wanted to garner the credit, the attention, the 'hits/clicks,' and his advertiser's paychecks from breaking the story himself.

EDITED TO ADD THIS PARAGRAPH: I also think outing someone on a limited basis is appropriate when the closeted person is secretly engaging in high-risk sexual  behaviors while exposing their unsuspecting spouse (such as a married spouse or otherwise committed sexual partner) to the dangers of sexually-transmitted diseases.  That doesn't seem to be the case with Matheson, though I am aware of others who've done so in now defunct groups like Evergreen, but I figured I'd clarify there are other exceptions. 

Two other thoughts: 

1st Thought) In the two direct interviews by the SLTrib and KUTV I posted earlier in this thread,  Matheson himself says he had already previously been outed to the "Journey Into Manhood/Brother's Road" (PCC/JIM/BR) community by a fellow co-founder of that same organization who disagreed with Matheson's change of heart, which Matheson certainly seems to condemn by saying that that person's outing him "was NOT COOL."  So, apparently, somewhere over the last year, Kllindley, that confidence had previously been broken by someone internally.  Of course, two wrongs DON'T make right, and my previous condemnation of Besson's tactics still stand.  But I just wanted to point out it wasn't only Truth Wins Out who were violating Matheson's confidentiality, here, and the side that condemns embracing/acting on SSA also outed Matheson prematurely amongst that community, according to Matheson.

2nd Thought)  As a founder of the organization of the PCC/JIM/BR organization and one of it's highest public figures, Matheson had already been outed to the PCC/JIM/BR community, and was dealing with the fallout there, so Matheson had already begun the process of coming out and had done so to large numbers of people in that group post.  And while you say that that was confidential, I think it's worth pointing out that there are clearly inherent risks (whether breaches in confidence or breaches in security via hacking) for a public figure like Matheson to post in a private but still quasi-public forum via the social media giant Facebook.  I have to imagine he knew the risks, and while he says he was surprised at the media attention and response, he continues to say he was in the process of coming out himself and has been doing so over the last year.  What I'm saying here, Kllindley, is that he himself seems far more at peace, centered, and understanding of Besson's actions and motives here than your reaction to it were.

In short, if what had happened to Matheson had happened to you, I would have decried it as much as you did here.  All things considered, I still agree that Besson behaved unprofessionally, irresponsibly, and should have given Matheson the opportunity to respond first.

I hope the above clarifies where I've been coming from in this thread.

To clarify, I'm not particularly concerned about Matheson's outing to the public.  He seems to be managing that just fine.  I am concerned about the safety of all the members of that group which was compromised.  That was my main problem with the violation of confidentiality.  I appreciate your understanding of the ways that this violation does damage trust.  

Again, my personal response to the betrayal of confidence was compounded by the lack of context in you initial posts.  I appreciate your desire for a deeper conversation and hope that we can have a meaningful one here.  Without that context, it seemed like throwing a match into dry brush, inviting those with animus against Matheson's work or people still involved in efforts to live congruently with their faith to lash out and attack.  

 

2 hours ago, Daniel2 said:

Finally, regarding dialogue I hope to inspire from you: in the wake of all that's happened, I haven't seen any type of response from NorthStar OR on Brothers Road (formerly "People Can Change" and "Journey Into Manhood").  I imagine there's a lot of private discussion on the FB page you're a member of, and I don't mean to ask you to violate any of the confidences there... what I'm really interested in, though, is: do you think there is/will be/should be any type of acknowledgement or response from any of those organizations regarding this change of heart and approach by one the most (if not the most) prominent LDS-SSA therapist, who co-founded the very programs in question?  Or do you anticipate those organizations will simply drop his name, books, personal testimonial videos, and all other references from their website, program, and program history, without acknowledging such?  Is there anything you CAN share from us from that community in response?

I highly doubt that either organization will make any official response.  And I'm not at all sure that they should.  I suspect several media outlets have tried to get Brother's Road to respond and just didn't like their response.    As far as I know, Matheson had withdrawn from the Brother's Road organization several years ago and from therapy entirely a couple of years ago.   David Matheson had no involvement in the organization of North Star.  He volunteered to contribute to the Voices of Hope video project, and his video has been removed at (I think) his wife's request.   I know that for the vast majority of people in both organizations, our trust was never in David Matheson.  Our trust is in the Lord and His promises to us.  While David's personal journey is to be honored and his agency to make decisions must be respected; the fact that he experienced a loss of faith is not unique.  Neither is any other person obligated to accept/adopt whatever narrative he subsequently chooses to put forward about his actions.  I am not going to speculate further or spread any additional gossip on the matter at this point.  If additional information is made public, I would be happy to address it. 

 

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On 1/30/2019 at 4:57 PM, kllindley said:

My main problem with your previous comments was that you seemed to take a hard line position that unless the Church completely rescinds all teaching against homosexual behavior and condemns past heteronormative teachings, it was absolutely to blame for every LGBT suicide.  I know that you acknowledged some bitterness at that time, which you have every right to feel.  It just seemed that with that position there was not really enough common ground between us to have any meaningful conversation.  

 

To clarify, I'm not particularly concerned about Matheson's outing to the public.  He seems to be managing that just fine.  I am concerned about the safety of all the members of that group which was compromised.  That was my main problem with the violation of confidentiality.  I appreciate your understanding of the ways that this violation does damage trust.  

Again, my personal response to the betrayal of confidence was compounded by the lack of context in you initial posts.  I appreciate your desire for a deeper conversation and hope that we can have a meaningful one here.  Without that context, it seemed like throwing a match into dry brush, inviting those with animus against Matheson's work or people still involved in efforts to live congruently with their faith to lash out and attack.  

 

I highly doubt that either organization will make any official response.  And I'm not at all sure that they should.  I suspect several media outlets have tried to get Brother's Road to respond and just didn't like their response.    As far as I know, Matheson had withdrawn from the Brother's Road organization several years ago and from therapy entirely a couple of years ago.   David Matheson had no involvement in the organization of North Star.  He volunteered to contribute to the Voices of Hope video project, and his video has been removed at (I think) his wife's request.   I know that for the vast majority of people in both organizations, our trust was never in David Matheson.  Our trust is in the Lord and His promises to us.  While David's personal journey is to be honored and his agency to make decisions must be respected; the fact that he experienced a loss of faith is not unique.  Neither is any other person obligated to accept/adopt whatever narrative he subsequently chooses to put forward about his actions.  I am not going to speculate further or spread any additional gossip on the matter at this point.  If additional information is made public, I would be happy to address it. 

 

Thanks for the response. I don’t have time to write a full one just yet, but will do so as soon as I am able. 

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On 1/22/2019 at 11:50 AM, rpn said:

IME, virtually every child who has been abused by a same sex person (especially those who responded physically), and many who participated in same sex behavior as a child believe they must be/are gay until  or unless they have someone who tells them that isn't necessarily true.   Kids who are taunted as being gay may also think the same thing.   And there are those kids who were molested or raped by opposite sex people who only feel safe with their own sex.

https://www.dailysignal.com/2019/02/01/doctors-pushed-her-to-get-sex-reassignment-surgery-now-she-knows-it-was-a-mistake/

Thought I'd share an article on the subject: 1st person

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3 hours ago, rpn said:

I’m skeptical that doctors “pressure” anyone into elective gender reassignment surgery, but if it did happen as simplistically and assertively as that article says, I believe it’s wrong for any therapist to try to rush and/or push their own personal ideology onto a patient instead of helping the patient process their own thoughts and feelings and find their own path to peace. That said, the topic of this thread isn’t about gender dysphasia, which is different than sexual orientation. If you’d like to discuss that topic, you’re welcome to open a separate thread.

 

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On 1/30/2019 at 4:57 PM, kllindley said:

My main problem with your previous comments was that you seemed to take a hard line position that unless the Church completely rescinds all teaching against homosexual behavior and condemns past heteronormative teachings, it was absolutely to blame for every LGBT suicide.  I know that you acknowledged some bitterness at that time, which you have every right to feel.  It just seemed that with that position there was not really enough common ground between us to have any meaningful conversation.  

Regarding your comment that you feel that I "seemed to take a hard line position that unless the Church completely rescinds all teaching against homosexual behavior and condemns past heteronormative teachings, it was absolutely to blame for every LGBT suicide"

No, I do not believe and never have believed that the LDS Church is or has ever been "absolutely to blame for every LGBT suicide."

Further, no, I don't feel the LDS Church needs to "completely rescind all teachings against homosexual behavior" in order to help lessen suicidality among it's LGBT members, nor do I believe that the Church "condemn past heteronormative teachings" in order to help lessen suicidality among it's LGBT members.

Yes, at various times I have felt a sense of bitterness towards individual members of the Church, as well as members of it's leadership, for specific things that have been said, actions that have been taken on personal levels, or inaction that has been taken, or a failure to correct misunderstandings or members who use past teachings as support for rejecting behaviors towards their own LGBT family members or friends.  That said, even with a healthy dose of self-awareness of my own potential personal blind spots, I believe it's fair to say that that bitterness has been limited to a handful (if even that) of my posts here, and hasn't colored the vast majority of how I've tried to conduct myself  towards you and others here on the board.

With the above clarifications in mind, I wanted to add some additional thoughts for context and what I recall about previous posts about suicide throughout the years here on the board:

I agree with the general medical consensus about the causes and treatment of suicide, and that:

  • the causes multifaceted and complex, that there likely many contributing factors, and that it's challenging to untangle them all
  • they clearly can and do vary from one individual to the next
  • they can also vary from one population to the next
  • I believe that those factors are not all equal; some factors are more significant than others, some are less significant. 
  • it's helpful to try to identify trends in high-risk populations to try to mitigate suicidal ideation
  • how we speak about suicide is important because exposure to it's discussion risks suicide contagion
  • the best available ways to assist individuals struggling with suicide is by offering support from trained professionals, supportive family members and friends, and other influential people in an individual's life

I have shared comments along the lines of my own religiosity in the LDS Church was a major cause of my own suicidial thoughts and tendancies.  Prior to what I believe was your time here at MDD, Kllindley, I've even posted a lengthy excerpt from my own personal  history describing how, at my lowest times in my life, my own fervent testimony against my homosexuality, and in light of a lot of the fare more caustically homophobic rhetoric from Church leaders in the 60's and 70's, caused me to warp and twist doctrines of the Church which glorified "losing my life to find it," misconstruing the concept that my same-sex attractions weren't part of my eternal self but thorns of the flesh that were tied to my body, and that suicide was actually part of a higher law in light of Christ's admonition to "cut off thine eye" and "cut off thine ear" if they offended our spiritual salvation for better that than to go to Hell, promises that same-sex attraction wouldn't exist in the next life, and according to an anecdote passed around my mission, Joseph Smith allegedly once said, 'if men could see even just the glory of the Telestial Kingdom, they'd kill themselves to get there,' that as Kimball and past leaders have suggested that it's better to die rather than loose one's virtue and prophets told their mission-bound sons that they'd rather they "come home in a pinewood box than to return home without honor or virtue in tact," etc. etc. etc... all leading me to a an ongoing (sometimes latent, sometimes more pronounced) decade-long personal struggle with suicide because I didn't see a way to reconcile the two aspects of myself.

For me, LDS doctrine informed my life and was my major driving force, not only regarding suicide, but regarding EVERY aspect of my life.  It informed, even dominated, how I interacted with family, friends, my life outlook, and all aspects of myself, whether in my head, heart, mind, or strength. Coupled with an intense fear of rejection from a very loving family and my broader LDS community, a fear of being separated forever from God, my family, and losing my soul, I loathed the attractions, which festered in unhealthy ways because I had no one to confide in except my prayers to God and my private confessions I whispered to my dog, the only living soul I felt I could confide in without judgement.  The toxic shame that Matheson speaks of strikes a very significant chord in me, but that shame was driven not by my own inadequacies or failures (I was raised by a warm, loving, masculine, Priesthood-worthy father, a patient, kind, and nurturing mother, and four rambunctious older brothers.... my natural mannerisms are what is traditionally viewed as 'masculine' in Western culture... I played sports in school and felt entirely comfortable around my male peers.... was never sexually-abused by anyone.... I didn't 'act on' my attractions until my late 20's, save for an isolated 'doctor-play-like' incident with a fellow boy scout which, upon confession to my bishop, he dismissed as 'normal' for my age.... I served a worthy LDS mission... etc).   Rather, my shame was driven almost entirely by an internal clash with my fervent testimony and learned cultural socialization that the feelings of romantic attraction and a desire to love, be loved, and express intimacy with someone to whom I was naturally attracted were abhorrent, repulsive, selfish, wicked, carnal, the result of my 'fallen nature,' a 'trial' to overcome.

It was during this time that I saw Matheson, who, despite learning of my past and my own failure to relate to any of the typical 'triggers' that Latter-day Saints traditionally attribute to "men struggling with SSA," urged me to continue therapy with him (at $240 per session, paid for out of my own pocket for fear of not telling my family) because he was sure he could help me... with the likes of Matheson's requirement that I stand over a punching bag and hitting it as hard as I could with a baseball bat while screaming angrily "DAD! DAD! DAD! DAD!"  When I expressed I didn't want to continue because of the love and admiration I had for my dad, he acted as if my response as indicative of something wrong with me.  That's when I finally walked out and never went back.

Through the support of a new religious community, I ultimately found an effective therapist and gentle guide in the form of an older gentleman, never LDS, who grew up Jewish and wasn't gay himself.  With 'no skin in my game' either way, he gently challenged me to overcome the painful suicidal scars of my past, self-inflicted because of my own internalized homophobia and cultural conditioning closely tied to my religious devotion and ideation.  He helped me see both sides of myself and learn to understand and accept the things I could not change, to have the courage to change the things I could, and the wisdom to know the difference.  And that was the doorway to self acceptance, love, and growth to be more than I thought I could be from either world.

So.... can Mormonism (or "the restored gospel of Jesus Christ") contribute to suicide in major ways?  In my case, it did... my story isn't everyone's. 

Finally, I firmly support the research published by The Family Acceptance Project.  Their work encapsulates my view of how we can best help support our sons, daughters, and everyone in between who is struggling against suicide.  Their work can be found here: http://familyproject.sfsu.edu/news-announce/family-acceptance-project-releases-family-education-materials-help-mormon-families

I hope this helps clarify where I'm coming from.  I will post more in response to the rest of your previous post later.  Best to ya.

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Personally, I reject the concept of sexual conversion. If we have learned anything, it is that sexuality is extremely fluid with very wide ranges for some individuals while being very narrow for others.

If we can teach anything to individuals, let us teach personal restraint. To be in control of our passions is a major step in a stronger discipleship to Christ. I reject any attempt to condemn those who fail in the same manner that I reject the attempt to aggrandize those who succeed. Our life in this mortal world is a personal journey to learn to submit our will to the Father and become a new individual in Jesus Christ. 

I don't know this Matheson fellow nor am I aware of anything he has ever taught about human sexuality. His path is obviously a very challenging one and I suspect it will continue to be so. 

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On 1/30/2019 at 4:57 PM, kllindley said:

Again, my personal response to the betrayal of confidence was compounded by the lack of context in you initial posts.  I appreciate your desire for a deeper conversation and hope that we can have a meaningful one here.  Without that context, it seemed like throwing a match into dry brush, inviting those with animus against Matheson's work or people still involved in efforts to live congruently with their faith to lash out and attack.  

I appreciate you explaining how you interpret posts that share news items without much explanation as inviting those with animus to lash out and attack.  That isn't how I see it, but from your words above, I can understand why you feel that is the case.  In contrast and by way of explaining my lack of extended context in my opening posts: often times I find news items online that are pertinent to the LDS/SSA/LGBT experience here and I will share those articles with a simple line or two of text, if necessary, to explain how they may relate to the scope of this board.  Sometimes I pose opening thoughts, ask questions, and invite conversation, other times I simply post the item and wait to see how our online community here responds.  From my perspective, sharing the news item without predisposing the conversation invites everyone----whether critic or supporter---to respond and contribute to the conversation as they will.  I certainly don't see that as giving critics any sort of tactical advantage in the conversation.  I hope that helps explain where I was coming from.

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On 1/21/2019 at 9:48 AM, Daniel2 said:

David Matheson was married to a woman,  was my own therapist for several months while I was living on the East Coast in 2004, and is featured in the following FAIR podcast (which is still an active link on the FAIR website):

David seemed to be happy with his life, and has not renounced that. As you note:

"During his tenure, he co-created the “Journey into Manhood” experiential weekend with Ben Newman and began serving on the board of directors of People Can Change."

There is lots of evidence that people do change. Sex drives lessen, and physical attractions dissipate during marriages, etc. I don't think anyone will deny that. Sexual attraction is by its nature a somewhat fluid thing. All you are really showing is that this is true in this case - not that men with SSA cannot be happy in a heterosexual lifestyle.

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TWO says that Matheson is living proof that these programs don’t even work for its most vociferous advocates.

“If conversion therapy does not work for authors like David Matheson who write books on the discredited practice, it is naïve to expect it to work for those reading such deceptive publications,” said Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen. “Conversion therapy employs guilt and shame to browbeat desperate and vulnerable people into renouncing their humanity. This is the latest evidence that conversion therapy is consumer fraud and ought to be outlawed in all 50 states.”

How is it proof? Did Matheson say he was unhappy living with his wife? Or with his prior lifestyle? Did he say his therapies or lifestyle harmed him? While I understand your anger at the therapies that you and your friend underwent, that doesn't mean that we should outlaw all sex therapy for those who want it. People go to sex therapists for many reasons - they have various difficulties - the sex therapies don't always work, and have unintended consequences - so should we outlaw Dr Ruth? I think that is just absurd. If people consider something to have value, even if it doesn't always work, I think we should allow it, even if sometimes bad things seem to result. If a therapy is abuse under the law, then I think under the law, a jury could hear those issues, and a bad therapist will not last. But to turn your bad experience into a vendetta against all therapists is I believe a very bad precedent, which is what I feel, ultimately, you are doing with this. I see some of the same problems you do, but I do not support your conclusions.

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18 minutes ago, RevTestament said:

David seemed to be happy with his life, and has not renounced that. As you note:

"During his tenure, he co-created the “Journey into Manhood” experiential weekend with Ben Newman and began serving on the board of directors of People Can Change."

There is lots of evidence that people do change. Sex drives lessen, and physical attractions dissipate during marriages, etc. I don't think anyone will deny that. Sexual attraction is by its nature a somewhat fluid thing. All you are really showing is that this is true in this case - not that men with SSA cannot be happy in a heterosexual lifestyle.

How is it proof? Did Matheson say he was unhappy living with his wife? Or with his prior lifestyle? Did he say his therapies or lifestyle harmed him? While I understand your anger at the therapies that you and your friend underwent, that doesn't mean that we should outlaw all sex therapy for those who want it. People go to sex therapists for many reasons - they have various difficulties - the sex therapies don't always work, and have unintended consequences - so should we outlaw Dr Ruth? I think that is just absurd. If people consider something to have value, even if it doesn't always work, I think we should allow it, even if sometimes bad things seem to result. If a therapy is abuse under the law, then I think under the law, a jury could hear those issues, and a bad therapist will not last. But to turn your bad experience into a vendetta against all therapists is I believe a very bad precedent, which is what I feel, ultimately, you are doing with this. I see some of the same problems you do, but I do not support your conclusions.

Uh.... I’m not sure where to begin in responding to this. I think you may not have read the rest of the thread yet, as subsequent posts quote Matheson himself and provide better details on his views, and it appears you’re making a whole lot of assumptions about what you believe I’ve said, what I am advocating for or against. 

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At SA meetings, we use the Serenity Prayer:

"God grand me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.  Thy will not mine be done."

Everything I have ever read regarding reparative/conversion therapy made it sound Skinnerian and dubious.  So in "A Mormon Rashomon," I wrote this:

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Quote

 

For example, I have a very different interpretation of the significance of the aversion/reparative therapy stories told in all three of these accounts. [41]   This is not because I believe that aversion/reparative therapy is valid, but because my reasons for believing it to be an inappropriate treatment are different.  In my current view, the main issue is not the direction of a person’s sexuality, but whether the overall pattern of behavior demonstrates sex addiction. Both heterosexuals and homosexuals can suffer from sex addiction, and that condition affects behavior via cravings combined with impaired judgment. Consider, for instance, whether sex addiction would be a reasonable diagnosis if the behavior was strictly heterosexual. For example, suppose that Steven had admitted to Emily that he’d had sex with at least twenty women during a six month binge, with some repeats, some just “fooling around,” and that “none of it meant anything” since he wasn’t in love. Suppose the post-divorce Gerald had his apartment filled with hardcore heterosexual pornography for Emily to view, and that on visits back home he brought an endless string of female lovers to introduce to the family? Would anyone be quick to dismiss the possibility of sex addiction in these cases? 

In all addictions, whether chemical or behavioral, the damage involves the enlargement of the dopamine receptors in the mid-brain, which produces increased craving, and a corresponding shrinking of the areas of the cerebral cortex associated with weighing risks and benefits in any action.  Bluntly speaking, addiction involves actual brain damage.  That damage affects cravings and the capacity to weigh consequences in a way that Alcoholics Anonymous pioneers accurately labeled as “cunning, baffling, and powerful.” Pelting the symptoms of that damage with disapproval or indulgence, excommunication or enabling, shaming or celebration does nothing to address the fact of the damage. All addiction involves the presence of a physiological basis for the combination of craving and impeded judgment.  Readers of the narratives in our Mormon Rashomon should ask, “Do any of the key figures display powerful cravings? Do any of the figures display impaired judgment regarding the risks and benefits of their choices in regard to those cravings?”

...

I see aversion/reparative therapy as an attempt to re-direct the symptoms while failing to recognize and treat the actual damage.

Kuhn explains that paradigms are established by means of "standard examples that embody a set of conceptual, methodological, and metaphysical assumptions."  Barbour says paradigms are "a research tradition established by historical exemplars."  They establish the "methods, problem field, and standards of solution."  In social politics, the particular stories we tell, or exclude are the means to "control the narrative."  Joseph Campbell talks about how one of the functions of myth is to "sustain a particular social order."   One of the things I noticed long ago about the focus on the failures of, and dubious nature of of reparative therapy is that they serve to support a particular narrative, a particular social order that savors the ideology in which people are born one particular way, and nothing can change that.

In all the discussion in this thread, no one has mentioned the possible relevance of sex addiction as a factor in behavior.  Reparative therapy does not treat sex addiction.  It attempts to reprogram sexual orientation.   About 1/4  to 1/3 of all the men I have known in recovery meetings have had male/male experience as a significant or exclusive factor in their behavior.  None of them supposed they were trying to change their orientation by coming to meetings.  None of them has regaled me with horror tales of such therapy.  But I have known many who have been very happy in monogamous m/f relationships.  Much happier than when they were acting out with numerous male partners.  They have learned through recovery that sex can be optional, that they can do without, and therefore, they can put other people and other things, including God and faith, first in their lives.

As I wrote:

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Furthermore, I know several men who can report and demonstrate that a homosexual who is not also an undiagnosed sex addict is capable of choices and behavior that a sex addicted homosexual cannot easily manage. Similarly, a heterosexual who is not sex addicted is capable of choices and behavior than an addict cannot easily manage.  Without addiction, there’s no longer a dichotomous choice; we get a different answer to Carol Lynn’s poignant question, “Could not other choices have brought us to some better destination?”

Which brings me back to the serenity prayer, and the need for "serenity to accept what cannot be changed, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

If the notion of sexual addiction is excluded from the narrative to the point of never being mentioned or discussed even as a possible factor in behavior, how can people ever benefit from the wisdom such knowledge might bestow?  It happens that one of the most defining attributes of sex addiction is a subjective conviction that "sex is my most important need" that is, it is the First and Great Commandment, to which all other considerations must compromise, and finally, sex addicts become "sharply attuned to the defects of others. Our ability to detect hypocrisy in others  seemed to increase in direct proportion to our own self-blindness, as though we had to sharpen our critical spirit to keep from looking inward."  (The White Book, 54).  That is, addicts voice grievances compulsively, grievances designed to justify and support and excuse their behavior.  So a part of recovery always involves "dismantling the grievance story," something that can be difficult when the grievance story itself "controls the narrative" and sustains a particular social order, in which which a foundational concern is that my will, not Thine be done.

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

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As a counterpoint to your post, Kevin, the following is from a Psychology Today 2012 article. The link to his book title embedded in the article provides info in the synopsis of his book and several reviews that add additional details and are well worth a read. I will look and see if there’e anything more recent:

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Sex Addiction: Rejected Yet Again by APA | Psychology Today

Hypersexual Disorder Will NOT be Included in the DSM5.

Posted Dec 05, 2012

The APA has pronounced that Hypersexual Disorder will NOT be included in the new "Bible" of psychiatry.

This is not a new debate. My book, The Myth of Sex Addiction, details the history of this controversy, from the days of the first DSM, when nymphomania was included, through the last several revisions, as sex addiction has been rejected, again and again. Every time the book is revised, the sex addiction industry tries and tries to get their pet concept termed a mental disorder. Legitimacy would allow them to bill insurance companies, would allow the pharmaceutical companies to market libido-suppressing drugs as treatment for sex addiction, and would give some appearance of credibility to those folks who get in trouble for sexual behaviors, and either cry “I’m a sex addict,” or get labeled as one by the media.

In the most recent revision process, two proposals were advanced to the DSM5 committees. A proposal of sex addiction was submitted to the Addictive Disorder workgroup, where it was rejected, on the grounds of having no scientific basis. But, an interesting second proposal was put forth to the Sex Disorders workgroup, for a concept called hypersexual disorder. Basically, this was a bare-bones, stripped down syndrome, that excluded all the addiction language, and tried to target merely a cluster of sex-related behavior problems.

Hypersexual disorder had some interesting research potentially supporting the concept, and looked like it was headed for inclusion in the DSM5, at least in an appendix, where it was regarded as something worthy of further research. The majority of alleged hypersexuals appeared to be men masturbating to online porn, and the porn addiction hysterics tried to use pop brain science to spice up their claims that hypersexual disorder, in the form of addiction to online porn, was dangerous, causing erectile dysfunction and CHANGING YOUR BRAIN!

But hypersexual disorder as a concept was problematic as well. It pathologized gay and bi males, calling their sexuality unhealthy. It offered an excuse to avoid responsibility by wealthy men acting out sexual privileges. The science used to justify this concept was, for the most part, bad science, with poor design, poor methodology and theory, and no validity to be applied to the general pouplation. Finally, hypersexual disorder was clearly just a synonym for sex addiction, which the industry of sex addiction treatment providers planned to use to legitimize their work.

But, the proclamation has come down from Mt. Sinai, and the forthcoming tablets of psychiatric commandments don’t bode well for the sex addiction industry. According to the DSM5 committee of the APA, hypersexual disorder has now been rejected entirely, even from “Section 3,” the section designated as “requiring further research.”

So, yet again, the APA has acted wisely, on the basis of scientific merit, and declined to endorse the concept of sex addiction, in any way, shape or form. Pop science, grossly exaggerated claims that your brain is being changed by sex and porn might play well in the popular media, but don't have any place in good science, or careful medicine. Sex addiction is a popular concept, that the media has embraced, and is one that an entire industry has grown up around. 

Over the past year, I've done hundreds of interviews with media around the world, on why I don't believe in sex addiction, and think you shouldn't either. The APA's decision is a wake-up call, to the popular media and to their incestuous partners, the sex addiction industry. Sex addiction is NOT a real disorder. It’s a morally-based concept that reflects our society’s conflicted feelings about sex. It is NOT a mental disorder, and never will be. (At least, until the debate renews again, with DSM6.)

Edited by Daniel2
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Dave Matheson is a fraud.  When I came out to my family, the first thing they asked me to do is to see a therapist.  So I agreed.  The most well-known therapist in Church circles was David Matheson.  He is the one that co-wrote the manual for Evergreen, the Church's guide to gay members that was supposed to somehow change them into straight members.  David Matheson was at the time practicing in Los Angeles.  I used to fly down there to meet with him for 3 hours every other week.  He sat across from me knee to knee telling me how he used to be gay and now he had no feelings what so ever for men.  So I had these sessions with him.  The first part was him helping me deal with family reactions to this issue.  That was very helpful.  Then he started in on the "reparative therapy" sessions.  He told me to imagine a big hole, as deep as I possibly could.  And standing at the edge of that hole, I was supposed to yell with all my anger for being gay.  The trouble is, I didn't have any anger.  I had long since worked through that issue.  And I certainly did not blame my father for being gay.  I went to 2 of these sessions and realized it was just a bunch of hooky.  That was my last contact with David Mathison.  Thank Goodness.  I probably came out of it better than most guys who went to him for a promise he himself now doesn't believe.  

Now 20 years later, he comes out and says he is still gay and nothing actually changed for him. 

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2 hours ago, Kevin Christensen said:

At SA meetings, we use the Serenity Prayer:

"God grand me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.  Thy will not mine be done."

Everything I have ever read regarding reparative/conversion therapy made it sound Skinnerian and dubious.  So in "A Mormon Rashomon," I wrote this:

Kuhn explains that paradigms are established by means of "standard examples that embody a set of conceptual, methodological, and metaphysical assumptions."  Barbour says paradigms are "a research tradition established by historical exemplars."  They establish the "methods, problem field, and standards of solution."  In social politics, the particular stories we tell, or exclude are the means to "control the narrative."  Joseph Campbell talks about how one of the functions of myth is to "sustain a particular social order."   One of the things I noticed long ago about the focus on the failures of, and dubious nature of of reparative therapy is that they serve to support a particular narrative, a particular social order that savors the ideology in which people are born one particular way, and nothing can change that.

In all the discussion in this thread, no one has mentioned the possible relevance of sex addiction as a factor in behavior.  Reparative therapy does not treat sex addiction.  It attempts to reprogram sexual orientation.   About 1/4  to 1/3 of all the men I have known in recovery meetings have had male/male experience as a significant or exclusive factor in their behavior.  None of them supposed they were trying to change their orientation by coming to meetings.  None of them has regaled me with horror tales of such therapy.  But I have known many who have been very happy in monogamous m/f relationships.  Much happier than when they were acting out with numerous male partners.  They have learned through recovery that sex can be optional, that they can do without, and therefore, they can put other people and other things, including God and faith, first in their lives.

As I wrote:

Which brings me back to the serenity prayer, and the need for "serenity to accept what cannot be changed, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

If the notion of sexual addiction is excluded from the narrative to the point of never being mentioned or discussed even as a possible factor in behavior, how can people ever benefit from the wisdom such knowledge might bestow?  It happens that one of the most defining attributes of sex addiction is a subjective conviction that "sex is my most important need" that is, it is the First and Great Commandment, to which all other considerations must compromise, and finally, sex addicts become "sharply attuned to the defects of others. Our ability to detect hypocrisy in others  seemed to increase in direct proportion to our own self-blindness, as though we had to sharpen our critical spirit to keep from looking inward."  (The White Book, 54).  That is, addicts voice grievances compulsively, grievances designed to justify and support and excuse their behavior.  So a part of recovery always involves "dismantling the grievance story," something that can be difficult when the grievance story itself "controls the narrative" and sustains a particular social order, in which which a foundational concern is that my will, not Thine be done.

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

I honestly don't get the point of your post and how it relates to this thread.  Are you claiming that just because you are gay you must somehow be sexual addicted?  Maybe you could explain why you posted this.

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On 1/30/2019 at 4:57 PM, kllindley said:

I highly doubt that either organization will make any official response.  And I'm not at all sure that they should.  I suspect several media outlets have tried to get Brother's Road to respond and just didn't like their response.    As far as I know, Matheson had withdrawn from the Brother's Road organization several years ago and from therapy entirely a couple of years ago.   David Matheson had no involvement in the organization of North Star.  He volunteered to contribute to the Voices of Hope video project, and his video has been removed at (I think) his wife's request.   I know that for the vast majority of people in both organizations, our trust was never in David Matheson.  Our trust is in the Lord and His promises to us.  While David's personal journey is to be honored and his agency to make decisions must be respected; the fact that he experienced a loss of faith is not unique.  Neither is any other person obligated to accept/adopt whatever narrative he subsequently chooses to put forward about his actions.  I am not going to speculate further or spread any additional gossip on the matter at this point.  If additional information is made public, I would be happy to address it. 

I can understand how both organizations would rather not address the issue because I'm not sure there's any response that could really add much of a positive spin on Matheson's departure.  That said, it feels.... wrong, for lack of a better word, for at least JIM/BR not to address something so profound as one's founding father renouncing the principles which he established.  For example, had Steven Covey ultimately publicly renounced the principles of "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" and gone on record as saying the principles he revolutionized didn't actually work, one presumes "Franklin-Covey" would issue a response.... To quietly erase and expunge Matheson and his influence without acknowledging it seems to me to send a message that there isn't strength in their position or convictions.

To me, and I sincerely mean this as a significant complement to you, I wish they would issue a statement very similar to what you wrote above.... 

"Matheson had withdrawn from the Brother's Road organization several years ago and from therapy entirely a couple of years ago.   David Matheson had no involvement in the organization of North Star.  He volunteered to contribute to the Voices of Hope video project, and his video has been removed at (I think) his wife's request.   I know that for the vast majority of people in both organizations, our trust was never in David Matheson.  Our trust is in the Lord and His promises to us.  While David's personal journey is to be honored and his agency to make decisions must be respected; the fact that he experienced a loss of faith is not unique.

I honestly think this was beautifully put, and well said, and I think that would be at least an attempt to speak from a position of strength rather than the silence that outsiders and former members perceive as weakness and/or whitewashing born of fear.  That said, I understand I am not those organizations, and I understand my views are not theirs, and they are, of course, free to set the limits as they see fit.

It's clear to me from a few of your comments above that you probably hadn’t listened to either the podcast or the KUTV interview of Matheson posted earlier in this threads, since he actually addresses some of the points in your post above that you seem uncertain of (i.e. "As far as I know, Matheson had withdrawn from the Brother's Road organization several years ago and from therapy entirely a couple of years ago." If you had listened to the podcast or the interview, you'd know for certain about those two aspects, because he discusses them in full). 

Have you listened to them? 

What were your thoughts on what he had to say about what does work and what doesn't work, therapeutically speaking? 

You've made the case here that sexuality is fluid--do you agree with what he had to say about fluidity in his interviews?

One final note:

According to a new article on the issue by MSN itself, we now know that it was Rich Wyler himself, Matheson's former business/therapy partner and JIM co-founder, is the one who outed Matheson (against Matheson’s will) to the private Facebook group you're a part of, Kllindley:

The announcement was revealed by fellow gay conversation advocate Rich Wyler, founder of the People Can Change organization, in a post to a private Facebook group obtained by Truth Wins Out (TWO), a group who fight against anti-LGBT prejudice and discrimination.  “David…says that living a single, celibate life ‘just isn’t feasible' for him, so he’s seeking a male partner,” Wyler wrote. “He has gone from bisexuality to exclusively gay.”

I wonder... were you and the other members of the Facebook group were as angry at and outraged towards Rich Wyler for his clear violation of confidentiality by outing Matheson to your FB group as you were at Besson for his breech of confidentiality...?

For anyone else interested, the rest of the MSN article is here:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/gay-conversion-therapist-announces-he-is-homosexual/ar-BBSA3Kx?li=BBnbcA1

 

Edited by Daniel2

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