CBS Sunday Morning recently ran a story about what they called “conversion therapy” – a vague, broad term used by opponents of professional therapy or spiritual support for those with unwanted homosexuality.
They depicted some pretty extreme and even abusive practices. They also interviewed our staff member Jeff Johnston. Unfortunately, they left out an important detail about his background. Let me allow him to explain:
You’d think that a segment critical of therapy for unwanted homosexual attraction would at least acknowledge there’s another side to the story – especially when one of the people you’re interviewing has a powerful testimony about how counseling for his unwanted same-sex attraction did, in fact, contribute to his journey away from homosexuality.
We work to approach this issue with love, truth, courage and humility. We know that sin has affected all of us in our sexuality and relationships. While we do not believe an individual typically “chooses” his or her same-sex attractions, we do believe that those who struggle with unwanted same-sex sexual temptation can choose to steward their lives in a way that aligns with God’s intentions for human sexuality. This is a reasonable goal for individuals working with a mental health professional.
We affirm the Scriptural teaching that homosexual strugglers can and do change their sexual behavior and identity (1 Cor. 6:9-11). In the process, some, like Jeff, also find their attractions changing, too.
Focus does not and has never offered sexual-orientation change therapy. Nor do we endorse or promote any one particular religious, psychiatric or psychological approach as the “one and only” way to go about addressing same-sex attractions and behaviors. Interestingly, the literature on responding to unwanted homosexual attractions shows that a wide variety of approaches have been effective in helping people who choose not to embrace a gay identity. God is very creative in bringing help and transformation to us and uses a variety of means to do so. Just as there are many paths that may lead a person to experience same-sex attractions, there are likewise multiple ways out. Individuals and their helping professionals are called to discern and pursue the most appropriate approach that best enables them to steward their sexuality in alignment with their chosen values.
Again, as Jeff so articulately and unequivocally stated, we support in the strongest of terms an individual’s right to counseling for unwanted homosexuality. Everyone should have the availability of professional therapy options for unwanted homosexual attractions and behavior. Coming between an individual and their counselor is unconscionable.