Is Ex-Gay Therapy good?

January 7, 2015

1930452_34913840812_2424_nThere has been a lot of bad press recently on ex-gay therapy. Exodus International (once the largest umbrella ministry for those wanting freedom from their same sex attractions) closed its doors in 2013. It appears that much of the leadership have denounced their involvement in ex-gay therapy and are now living gay lives. There is also over-whelming complaints from people crying “abuse” & citing horrific experiences in ex-gay type therapy. These things continue to tell the world that change is not possible; it is cruel and damaging to expect change.

I can’t say that these people did not have bad experiences. There has been a lot of damage done in the church under the name of therapy, even with good intentions. People can jump into counseling or try to help out when in truth they have no idea what they are doing. Things are hurried and not done right. We are all human and we all make mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes have negative lasting effects on others.

I have heard stories of practices and methods used in ex-gay therapy as well as live-in programs that I do not agree with and am I’m thankful that God led me to the right place. My experience in an ex-gay live in program was a good experience! I got a lot out of it.

Before I go on, you need to realize we are living in a world where no one wants to be inconvenienced. Everything is “all about I and living a life that pleases # 1”. People do not seem to want to do anything that is hard or challenging.

In 2001, I moved to California and entered an ex-gay live-in program. With any recovery-based live-in program there is some structure and rules that can seem harsh at first, but the longer you are there the more freedom you are given.

The goal of the live-in program that I went to (and I believe it should be the goal of all ex-gay based therapy) was not to make gay people straight.

I know that this may be a shock to most. As Sy Rogers, my favorite ex-gay speaker, once said, “The goal is not to become straight as straight people go to hell too”.

The goal is to get people’s lives right with God. Everything else is brought to the light through that. When our relationship is right with God, He is free to work in us and change us.

The program I was in was basically discipleship. We talked about how to deal with temptation and other sexual issues, but the heart of it was basic discipleship. We learned how about and practiced having a devotion time. We learned about forgiveness, studying the Bible & a ton of other things. We also read a lot of great books. Counseling was available from local counselors for those who wanted to deal with issues from their past.

Some people’s sexual attractions are instantly taken away by a miraculous touch from God. Everyone coming into the program hopes for that, but those cases are rare. Most of the time people, who have had any lasting change, have had to work at it. It is not an easy process, which is why so few do it or give up.

I would see 25 to 30 men enter the program. Some came with the illusion that they would be changed but when the reality hit that they actually have to put forth the effort to actually change, they left feeling they had been cheated or that the program didn’t work.

If God instantly took away our issues we would learn nothing. It is through fighting our temptations and choosing to replace old habits with new healthy habits that we learn to fight and are better equipped to face life and the temptations & struggles that come along the way.

Anyone who has been promised that his or her sexual attractions will go away, have been misinformed. This can happen & does, but God may choose to never take them away.

Being married isn’t proof of healing or change either. There are lots of gay people married that still struggle with their homosexuality. There are some ex-gay leaders that, after years of marriage, have divorced their wives and decided to live a gay life. I have also seen people go through these programs and then decide to go back to their old life.

There is no judgment here. It is not an easy, road but with God it is possible. As I have said before, I may never see the change that I want but I trust that God is in control and I am happy serving Him and following Him. I don’t feel that I’m being deprived of anything or missing out on anything. I have no desire to be married and I love my life and being single. I am happy with friendships, family, my job and music. God continues to use Philippians 1:6 as well as a number of songs to strengthen me. If you want a list of the songs that encourage me, email me at joshuadinman@gmail.com.

I have 1 more post in this series of posts that I will be sharing. Probably next week. Stay tuned.



  1. Joshua- we met in 2011? Worked an event with my husband in IL that summer(?) for WOF. Anyway, I am also a FB friend. Just to give you context for my very sincere question….

    What do you make of this link below?

    I know we have similar values and my heart is quickened towards men who struggle with same-sex attraction (BFF since 2nd grade= gay man who now resides in CA)
    Also, I live in Madison, WI. the topic comes up frequently round here in the church…



    • Hey Becky-
      For some reason your info is not pulling up on Facebook. Send me a message. I would love to talk about this further.

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