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Elbow: Non-Profit Aims To 'Cure' Homosexuality, Protesters Disagree

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Non-Profit Aims To 'Cure' Homosexuality, Protesters Disagree

So basically, ever since I got to BYU I started hearing about the ever lucid and controversial organization of "Evergreen International" or as most people refer to it as simply Evergreen. I'm being honest when I say that I've never heard one positive comment from those who have gone to an Evergreen meeting. For the record, I've never attended any of their meetings, but have heard a bunch of stories from men and women who have.
I know that it's difficult to place judgement on an organization that I've never personally attended, but because of what's going on in my life, and the life of my amazing soon to be ex-wife, I feel like I've become an advocate for women who feel like they should marry gay men. My opinion is simple, and it may not be what some people are comfortable with, but I want every woman who is considering to marry a gay man to RUN FOR HER LIFE! And I sincerely mean that. There's no reason why a woman should try to force herself into a marriage that is full of homosexual thoughts, desires, and tendencies. It's not an environment for love to flourish and it's not an environment where self-esteem and self-worth can thrive.
Obviously I have some experience with this issue, and I know that I may be biased. And what about the gay men who are planning to marry a woman? Well I would have to give the same advice, but I do see that it's more complicated than just running away. Gay men want to marry women for various reasons. Some of them good and most of them honorable, but I see now that life isn't about tolerating relationships and sexual connections with a spouse who you are not organically attracted to, it's about LIVING! You can't live your life if you are constantly stifling impulses and feeling guilty for not feeling other unnatural impulses.
But I guess that's another post for another time. What I wanted to write about is the Fox report on how Evergreen International says it can help people overcome homosexuality, and how Lester Leavitt, who once turned to the organization for help, is saying now that for Evergreen International "there should be no reason for them to exist." I think it's important what he's saying, and I know that there are two sides to every story, but I just haven't heard anything positive about Evergreen so naturally it's easy for me to post something negative about them.
All I know is, my life is SO much happier, SO much brighter, SO much more filled with the spirit now that I am not trying to live contrary to how my spirit is programed. And I know that my wife says the same thing about her life. We are best friends, we always have been and always will be, and maybe that's why it's so easy for us to see our situation in such a positive light, because we haven't lost anything. In fact, we've gained out lives back.

19 Comments:

Blogger -L- said...

Wow.

Do you honestly believe it's okay to make generalizations about what other people should and shouldn't do? You think you can say someone else isn't "living" because they haven't made the decision you've made?

7:44 PM  
Blogger Elbow said...

Yeah, it's pretty cool to be me.

11:17 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

L,

Don't we all make generalizations about what people should and shouldn't do all the time?

I'm obviously biased as well, but it seems to me that Elbow is offering an opinion based on experience and common sense. And the available research generally backs him up.

That said, I'm sure Elbow would offer his support to you and anyone else who would seek to live differently.

5:30 AM  
Blogger Elbow said...

I just feel really passionate about this subject because it hits very close to home for me.

And of course, L, I fully support anyone who decides a different path, I respect your choice and I honor that but I want it to be clear where I stand. And I can't feel good about myself without standing up for what I believe in.
And I really believe that gay men shouldn't be married to women and women shouldn't be married to gay men.

10:02 AM  
Blogger -L- said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4:42 PM  
Blogger Distinguishing Preoccupation said...

I actually participated in Evergreen for more than a year. It really served a good purpose for me. I never followed their workbook nor did I take counseling directly from Evergreen, but I did repairative therapy off an on for nearly 10 years. For me, Evergreen was a good stepping stone. It provided me with a valuable learning experience to come to grips with the issue and I was able to talk openly about a more taboo subject. I'm grateful for my time with Evergreen and I love some of the guys that were there in the group. I still keep up with some of them. The thing that is most significant is that I know now, that I have exhausted every means to change myself. I now know that I cannot change my orientation. I have made peace with that. Were it not for Evergreen providing me with some sort of direction I don't know how I would have ever learned to address my issue of being homosexual in the context of my LDS heritage. I learned how to communicate about my feelings of homosexuality in a healthy way. Granted I believed I could change my orientation, but Evergreen never taught me that. It was all Spencer W. Kimball in the Miracle of Forgiveness and every Church talk I had read. The statement that God does not make homosexual people naturally lead me to believe that I could change my orientation. It's not Evergreen, but the Church that needs to step up and address the issue. Evergreen has merely taken the Church's stance and tried to put it into action. In the words of Samantha Stevens, "No one should be a repairative therapist unless they themselves have gone through repairative therapy." I have nothing against Evergreen. It served it's purpose at the right time and place. I can rest assured that I cannot trust the philosophies of men to give me answers. I have a friend who is gay and LDS. He never went through therapy nor did he seek out Evergreen nor has he done much research. I have. I know. I can move forward without looking back wondering if I had not done what I needed to.

-Caspian

8:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Elbow, I love you.

Someday we're going to talk more.

1:58 AM  
Blogger J G-W said...

I have heard statements very similar to that made by Caspian not just about Evergreen, but about other "reparative therapy" organizations such as Eagle's Wings ministry (local, here in Minneapolis) and Outpost. The comments were something to the effect of: "These folks were very loving and caring and nurturing. They helped me come to terms with my homosexuality in a safe environment." Those all sound like positive things to me.

I have also heard horror stories about reparative therapy and reparative ministries. And the word "horror" is not exaggeration. People who claimed that they were physically beaten in order to "exorcise" the demon of homosexuality. A fellow who went through 40 sessions of electroshock therapy until he was just numb. And of course a close friend of mine from BYU who went through round after round of reparative therapy, hoping for change, and never finding it and getting progressively more depressed until they had to hospitalize him in the Utah Valley Psych Ward to keep him from slitting his wrists. Horror stories.

I have heard folks from the reparative therapy side admit that the more extreme practices have existed, and I have even heard them give (and accept from them) their word that this is not supposed to be how reparative therapy is performed. And, like I said, there are the positive stories.

But all the positive stories I have heard have generally been, like Caspian's story, stories about how reparative therapy helped them come to terms with being gay, not making them heterosexual.

9:39 AM  
Blogger -L- said...

Chris, what "available research" are you talking about? Because if you're referring to Schow, that's precisely the misguided conclusion that I've discussed with him. People who don't understand the data or the science find it easy to reach, and it's not accurate.

I'm not looking for support (I'm happy and content whether you guys believe it or respect it or not), but it would be nice not to hear people air their unfriendly prejudices in such a manner. I thought you guys after all this time might know better. There are so many ways you could "advocate" for women that would be less ridiculous and offensive to me but still accomplish what I think you're trying to accomplish.

2:07 PM  
Blogger Elbow said...

L,

I don't know why you're so offended. All I said was from my perspective and experience, that gay men shouldn't be married to women and women shouldn't be married to gay men because it's from my point of view I don't think that it's healthy.

And if someone wants to live their life contrary to what I believe then that's fine, but I want to be honest about the way I feel.

I honor you and your family and your choice. I really respect you and am sorry you feel offended. That was not my intention. I simply wanted to express my voice and really put into words what I passionately feel.

5:26 PM  
Blogger Elbow said...

Anonymous,

I love you too.

And yes, someday we're going to talk more...well, maybe. It might be hard to "talk more" because you're anonymous which means that I don't know who you are.

5:28 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

L, I don't know why you're offended either. I usually know when I'm being provocative, and this certainly wasn't one of those times. I made no suggestions about your marriage, your family, or your happiness. I have no reason to doubt your assertions of happiness in your life, and I'm happy for you.

6:49 AM  
Blogger -L- said...

Well, having someone "advocate" for my wife prior to our marriage by giving her the advice to "RUN FOR HER LIFE" doesn't sit too well with me. Neither of you could muster comprehension of that? ;-)

Cautioning those considering marriage is a great idea. Making (or defending) generalizations like that... not so great.

Considering my state of mind for the last several days, I'm certain stress played into my over-reaction. I hope you'll forgive me. However, I still consider the view that marriages like mine are never a good idea to be completely narrow (and wrong), and I hope that if you honestly believe that, you'll find a way to be more sensitive and temperate in your manner of expressing it.

4:53 PM  
Blogger Elbow said...

L,

Considering what Chris and myself have recently gone through, you can't comprehend that I would most definately and whole heartedly stand by my advice to women that they should not marry a gay man? You can't muster comprehension of that? ;-)

I have to stand by my cautioning generalizations to those considering marriage because that's what I believe in, and for me to sugar coat it so that people don't get offended would weaken my convictions.

I'm sorry you were stressed out, but I've gone through too much to worry about being sensitive and temperate in the ways that I choose to express my views.

But I do want you to know that I love and care about your family and I again stand by the respect that I give to you for the way you live your life.

7:15 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

L,

I have no problem making and defending the general statement that gay men and straight women should not marry. What we know of mixed orientation marriages isn't encouraging in terms of long term success.

What individuals decide to do is a different story. You certainly seem to have entered your marriage with greater openness than I did mine. But I think you are exceptional in that regard. Many gay men enter such marriages because they feel they have no other good choices, because it's what's expected of them, and because they fear or are unwilling to accept their sexuality and the possibilities that come with it. I think that's unfortunate -- tragic, even.

I think the vast majority of gay men would be much happier with other men rather than with women; I think the vast majority of straight women would be happier with straight men rather than gay men. While I understand that you might feel threatened or attacked by such a view, I don't have any intention of apologizing for holding it.

9:56 AM  
Blogger -L- said...

Chris, I feel neither threatened, nor attacked by the view you've just explained. It was measured, temperate, and rational. While I still disagree with it (I'll save you the details... as if you don't know them!), that's not really the issue here. The thing that bothered me is the glib way things are taken far beyond that in this post, and the way you defend that, not the issue itself.

How would you both feel if I were to say that all gay men must marry women or they are simply motivated by selfishness and lack self control? How would you feel if I called you a derogatory name in the process to derisively compare our moral viewpoints? I know how you've reacted to far less than this and it hasn't been pretty.

Elbow, you keep talking about convictions as if the way you've expressed yourself here is inherently admirable. It's not admirable to stick to a view that fallaciously generalizes your personal experience to others. And, I would hope after all you've been through, you'd realize that being sensitive and temperate are sometimes more important than even being completely sure you are right.

7:45 PM  
Blogger Elbow said...

L,

Well, dude...I know that I most definitely did NOT call you a derogatory name, so I don't know what you are referring to. And I have never gone to someones blog like you have and told them in what manner they should share their point of view on a blog that belongs to them.

And what does your following sentence mean? "I know how you've reacted to far less than this and it hasn't been pretty." Again, I don't know what you're talking about and who cares if it's not "pretty?" Comments don't have to be pretty, L. You're very demanding in how you want people to view your situation and how they address you don't you think?

You know what? Yes. I do feel that the way I express myself on my blog is inherently admirable. Thank you for pointing that out because my journey and my path wich lead to my views and convictions are something that I'm very proud of.

And lastly...L, maybe if you were more at peace with your own situation you wouldn't have to rely on other people to treat you in "sensitive" and "temperate" ways so that you could feel good about yourself.

9:18 PM  
Blogger Elbow said...

L,

I think my response was too harsh and it doesn't convey too clearly what I feel on this matter. I also realize that I may have misunderstood your response in regards to "the pretty thing."

What I want to say is that I don't want to make a generalized statment but if anyone came to me and said I'm entering a mixed-orientation marriage I would heavily discourage them and most likely do anything in my power to make them understand what I consider the realities of that union. I feel in most cases mixed-orientation marriages are pursued for the wrong reasons and can be very disasterous in many ways even if both parties have all the information to begin with.

I am fully aware that I am not omniscient, so I guess I can't say that a mixed-orientation marriage can never be completely fulfilling, but I really think there is no reason to put ourselves through that union because God loves us no matter what we do and who we love.

11:54 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

How would you both feel if I were to say that all gay men must marry women or they are simply motivated by selfishness and lack self control? How would you feel if I called you a derogatory name in the process to derisively compare our moral viewpoints? I know how you've reacted to far less than this and it hasn't been pretty.

What, pray tell, are you talking about? I still am not seeing the attack that you are apparently seeing in what Elbow originally posted. Well, maybe the glib part. But where is he being morally superior? Where is he using derogatroy names?

11:19 AM  

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