It is a road show of high promises and low intellect, according to those who have experienced it. Its premise that folks can and must will themselves free of homosexual choices would be laughable were it not for the confused and desperate parents and others who try to buy into it.
The best coverage is probably from a year ago by Toronto Star reporter David Graham. You can read his whole piece here.
He is in his early 50s, but at 20, he dreaded his homosexuality. He turned to aversion (shock) therapy to rid him of his impulses. It didn't work.
He showed up when LWO came to Vancouver, British Columbia. So did 500 others. He notes:
This program pulls no punches. It does not even pretend to be politically correct. There are workshops denouncing the pro-gay Christian agenda, pro-gay messages being delivered in schools and the pro-gay interpretation of the Bible.There's plenty of blame to go around. These include "the absent, ineffective father and the cold, unfeeling mother - or is it the other way around." He also hears that LWO "does not condone the types of aversion therapies I endured. So I need to know how they perform this water-into-wine miracle, altering a person's sexual orientation."
They come armed with surveys and statistics to make their point that homosexuality is a developmental condition that can be treated, even cured. They scoff at statistics that suggest 10 per cent of the population is gay, arguing the number is much lower. They dismiss statistics on gay teen suicides, again estimating the numbers have been exaggerated to further the gay agenda. In short, the Love Won Out players believe, "there are no homosexuals, just heterosexuals with a homosexual problem."
Over nine hours I will be repeatedly reminded I am in a category of sinners that includes drug addicts and post-abortive women and "that Jesus hung a little longer on the cross for people like me."
Apparently, Love Won Out advocates a gentler therapy.
"The approaches are different for different people," (self-identified ex-gay Mike) Haley says during an interview in the basement of the church.
"We have to understand the root of their drives. We want to know why they are inclined to act sexually on their unmet emotional needs."
With that information they can establish a course of action based on "proper male bonding." While some men are content to attend drop-in sessions, or a 22-week program like Living Waters, others like Haley choose to immerse themselves in year-long residential programs, where they get a variety of treatments, including mentoring, prayer and counselling.In the most obtuse possible way, Haley suggests that as a homosexual begins to appreciate the love associated with appropriate male bonding, the inappropriate homosexual urges and fantasies slowly fall away. He acknowledges it is a life-long struggle and admits recidivism is a big issue.
The high failure rate has launched a third tier of homosexuals - ex-ex-gays determined to expose ex-gay operations, which they say only help homosexuals look heterosexual and stop homosexual activity.
Still, every year countless parents wipe the clear nail polish off their son's fingers, pry the baseball bat from their daughter's hands and enrol them in reorientation programs.
A Nov. 21, 2000 story in the Advocate, a gay and lesbian newsmagazine, reported this quote from Scott Melendez, who leads an ex-ex-gay group in Washington D.C. "The ex-gay movement thrives on renewable resources, on new people coming in all the time to replace the ones who realize it's a farce and leave."