Monday, May 30

"Some Gays Can Change"

I recently received a well-written comment here that empathized with my frustration in relationships and the concomitant tension caused by attraction to guys. But at first I didn't publish it, because part of it didn't ring true to me.

The part of the comment that kept playing over and over in my mind said, "And as frustrating as this experience is for me, it at least brings me peace in the certitude of the immutability of those natural sympathies toward men."

My first thought was to appeal to the teachings of the prophets, and I immediately thought of Elder Oaks speaking about the possibility of change for some people. Or the talks that strongly instill the doctrine that homosexuality is not a part of eternal identity - it did not exist in the Premortal world, and like other physical conditions, will not exist for the righteous after death. But while the teachings of the prophets are enough for me, society functions on a completely different level. Yes, anyone who listens, ponders, and prays for guidance can know the truth of principles of the gospel for themselves, but if change is really possible - something that a true belief in the Atonement has to allow, as it is by definition "infinite and eternal" - then there should be more than just teachings of the prophets available as well. 

The prompting came to me that I needed to actually do some research on the scientific evidence supporting or refuting the possibility of real, meaningful change... and read the studies documenting change efforts, written by gay activists, university researchers, and everyone else, regardless of their innate bias. 

I already knew that homosexuality had been removed from the manual of psychiatry in 1973, with the exception of "unwanted homosexuality" - which could still be diagnosed and treated. Unwanted homosexuality was deleted 15 years later, in 1987. Whether the choices made by the American Psychiatric Association were due to gay activism or actual scientific studies, from my perspective, shouldn't be as relevant as the findings of current research.

The only problem is that, shortly after the time that homosexuality was deleted from the APA manual, research sort of dried up, especially compared to the visibility of homosexuality in the population at large. Again, whether that was caused by a lack of meaningful reasons to do the studies or a lack of funding tied to political motivations doesn't really reflect on the issue. But there have been studies - dozens of them - that have been done. And the results, today as I read them, have again shocked me.

Each study qualified "recovery" differently, from complete cessation of homosexual attraction and development of heterosexual attraction, to the simple cessation of homosexual attractions or the development of stronger heterosexual ones. But in each of the modern, unbiased, peer-reviewed and published studies of this "reorientation therapy," they detailed success. Real, meaningful change. But there are miracles... and maybe the studies were actually biased in some way. How could I really tell? And then I found the jackpot.

Robert Spitzer, in 1973, was the most influential psychiatrist to spearhead the exclusion of homosexuality from the APA and the deletion of moral exceptions in 1987. In 2000, the APA was set to take the next step - to declare reorientation therapy as dangerous, harmful, and illegal under the guidelines of the APA. In the social moray that ensued, he met hundreds of people who protested the resolution. They claimed, sincerely, that reorientation therapy had helped them make significant changes. A scientist to the core, Spitzer realized that this data went directly against his hypothesis... which also meant that this was his opportunity to have solid proof if he could show that there had been no meaningful change in homosexual attraction.

His study changed his mind, and preserved reorientation therapy as an option for men and women. In a NARTH press release (May 9, 2001) he explained the results of his study thus: "Like most psychiatrists, I thought that homosexual behavior could be resisted, but sexual orientation could not be changed. I now believe that's untrue--some people can and do change." NARTH is definitely a biased source of information. But using an exact quote is pretty safe. And that he was willing to release his findings to NARTH, or at least let them quote him, is indicative that their context was fitting with his own feelings.

He even found that 67% of the males studied who had, before, had no heterosexual attraction, now had good heterosexual functioning.

The caveat of the study was the timeframe necessary to achieve any meaningful change. Unlike a diet, or interventions for many social maladies, sexual reorientation therapy seemed to be completely ineffective for at least two years after beginning in earnest. To me, that's a long time to follow a dedicated, rigorous, outside-influenced schedule without seeing any results. And it could also explain why some people believe it doesn't work or is impossible. He also noted that complete change - as in total cessation of homosexual attractions and perfect functioning of heterosexuality - was somewhat uncommon, as was common in psychiatric interventions. But even in the cases where actual homosexual attractions did swap with heterosexual ones, the therapy gave clients a significantly greater quality of life - a direct affront to the APA's assertion that reorientation therapy is harmful.

His study was met with a firestorm in the media and his personal life. He released the data for meta-analysis and other scientists clamored for the opportunity to find flaws in the research. But each of them also changed their minds as they published articles showing that Spitzer - who really was a good researcher - had done it right. And the data was real. Eventually, his study was peer-reviewed and substantiated enough that it was published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior in October 2003 - psychiatry's leading journal in sexual functioning. And it stands there today.

More studies have cropped up since Spitzer's politically incorrect foray into sexual science, each showing the real possibility of meaningful change, but usually with the caveat that change takes time, huge amounts of effort, a multi-faceted approach, and happens on a scale instead of a yes or no.

So why have I not known about this? I mean, the social media is usually biased, but this much? Even among the community of Mormons who live with this, there is the permeating feeling that change is impossible, even though real clinical research shows definite evidence to the contrary.

I found a quote that made me realize that there are probably some real political reasons that society is inundated with sexual determinism. It was attributed to a member of the APA and published by the Harvard University Press " may be that for now, the safest way to advocate for lesbian/gay/bisexual rights is to keep propagating a deterministic model: sexual minorities are born that way and can never be otherwise. If this is an easier route to acceptance (which may in fact be the case), is it really so bad that it is inaccurate?"

So what does that mean for me? Honestly, it gives me an outlet for hope - some type of actual scientific basis to my beliefs that living the gospel, following the Spirit, and choosing the right will ultimately lead to the miracle of falling in love with a woman and raising a happy, eternal family. Will it happen for everyone who tries? Maybe not. Will it be perfect? Probably not. But some people can change... and I think it's worth the effort to see if I can, too.


  1. You, sir, are one of God's chivalry.

  2. Isn't it amazing that we say that we live in the 'Information Age' yet all that I see is propaganda everywhere I turn. It is such a testimony builder as to the dire need to keep the Holy Ghost with you, who is the ONLY source of truth in our lives. Thanks again for helping each of us remember the importance of the Gospel in our lives each and every day.

  3. I am so excited to read this post today! I’m so happy for you to have such an added measure of hope! Yesterday, I read your post about hypocrisy, and worried and prayed for you. I have been trying to think of something of comfort to say since… It looks to me like the Lord sent you His comfort already. I’m so happy about this! :D But I may have a small bit of insight worth reflection to add to the mix…

    I recall battling with one of my own personal struggles, and the Holy Ghost telling me “live your life, RIGHT NOW - as if you already have the life you want.” I found power in doing this. I found that much of what I wanted was already there just waiting to be discovered.

    I wonder if this might be a help to you. I wonder what would happen if you were to live your life, RIGHT NOW – as if you were already, totally and completely attracted to women. Know that at your innermost core you ARE ALREADY attracted to women. I pray for you to find it. I pray to let go of any lies and carnal desires of this Earth life which may have confused you into not knowing your TRUE identity, attraction and pure desires. I pray for you to let go of counterfeits. And hope and pray that you may love yourself TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY. You are so much more than you know! :D

  4. i've always found it interesting that people say this is one thing you can't change. because i agree - that would mean there is no hope. i'm so glad you found this research jackpot and have been bolstered in courage. there is hope, and you are doing what you need to. good luck!

  5. Can you please provide additional references besides this one paper by Spitzer? Have you seen the (sort of related) 2011 research paper by Mock and Eibach, also in The Archives of Sexual Behavior?

  6. Spitzer's own words to the New York times in 2007:

    "Although I suspect change occurs, I suspect it’s very rare. Is it 1 percent, 2 percent? I don’t think it’s 10 percent.”

    Spitzer is also on record as saying "of course, they [Focus on the Family] were delighted with that study. What they fail to mention — and it’s not, I guess, a big surprise — is that in the discussion I noted that it was so hard for me to find 200 subjects to participate in the study that I have to conclude that, although change is possible and does occur, it’s probably quite rare. And of course, they don’t want to mention that.”

  7. I, too, happened across both the Spitzer study and the Lisa Diamond quote while I was researching a presentation for a BYU English class--a presentation at the end of which I came out to the class! Most of the members of the class had very positive, if somewhat shocked, reactions, a result that leads me to believe that there are other ears ready to hear this information, too.

    My own experience with falling in love with a woman is that it happened when it was ready to happen; when the Lord saw fit for it to happen. I placidly sat through many dating talks at BYU thinking, "OK, when I find a girl I want to ask out, I will ask her out." Turns out my wife asked me on the first six dates . . . and I was as surprised as anyone that I was going along with it. But for me, at that time, it was absolutely, definitely the right thing to do. It may not be the right thing for everyone to do. It may not be the right time. It took me years to get to the right place. But it is possible.

  8. It would definitely be interesting to actually understand the numbers - as far as the people are involved. There is a major difference in my mind between persevering and actually going through some type of guided direction for a period of years. That it happens - and is possible - is the incredible part. And 1 or 2% is massive in my mind - just look at the number of truly religious people in the world, since religiosity is a major factor in many of the studies, and the available percentage drops. Factor out all the people who, for whatever reason, don't have a desire to change. 2% would be every member of the Church and what - 10? - of their closest religious friends. That's pretty amazing.

  9. Anonymous #2 -

    As much as I wish otherwise, the lay person doesn't actually follow references to check for accuracy and original context, or even to read the original sources. But finding them isn't really all that hard when you begin looking, so I'm not sure why you'd need more references. I read dozens of studies, from a lot of different people... and the only one that really stuck with me was the Spitzer one - especially with the background story about his involvement in gay activism at the APA. People who've read this post and felt compelled to do further research can do it just as quickly as I did.

  10. Re your comment that it's "pretty amazing" if it happens at all, etc., I refer you to further commentary from a UC Davis Psychology Department publication which addressed the Spitzer study:

    "The Spitzer study was immediately criticized on several grounds. For example, the sample consisted predominantly of activists recruited from "ex-gay" and anti-gay organizations. About two thirds were referred to Spitzer by so-called "ex-gay ministries," such as Exodus, or by the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH). Of those who participated, 78 percent had spoken publicly in favor of efforts to convert homosexuals to heterosexuality.

    This is a potential weakness of the study because activists are highly motivated to report that they successfully changed their sexual orientation. Consequently, they may present an inaccurate impression of themselves to researchers. Dr. Spitzer took the activists' testimonials at face value, with no checks on the reliability or validity of their self-reports. In his relatively brief interviews with them, Dr. Spitzer may not have been able to detect factual errors or misstatements – intentional or inadvertent – by the activists.

    Dr. Spitzer's study also appears to suffer from some of the same methodological flaws as the published studies discussed above. For example, only a minority of the participants (about 40%) were exclusively attracted to partners of the same sex before they attempted to change. As noted above, including bisexuals in studies evaluating the outcomes of conversion therapies tends to inflate the proportion of "successes."

    Dr. Spitzer did not claim that his findings could be generalized to the gay and lesbian population at large. Indeed, he was quoted in the New York Times as saying that, despite the findings from his study, the number of homosexuals who could successfully become heterosexual was likely to be "pretty low." He also conceded that participants in his study were "unusually religious" and were not necessarily representative of most gay men and lesbians in the United States."

    Anyone who is intellectually honest should give serious reconsideration to whether the Spitzer study is either accurate or realistic.

  11. The realm of social science is full of uncertainty and difficulties in finding and applying data. In every survey, there is a bias towered responses and a likelihood that respondents will lie or change their results to fit a given result. But rejecting peer-reviewed data simply because of inherent uncertainty in methodologies would also imply rejecting everything else reached through those same methodologies.

    I'm a bigger fan of finding ways to either specifically credit or discredit data - as Hershberger did when he did a Guttman analysis of the data and responses collected by Spitzer, specifically to determine if the respondents were telling the truth or had fabricated or embellished their stories. He initially did not believe the results, but his final response was, "The orderly, law-like pattern of changes in homosexual sexual behavior, homosexual self-identification, and homosexual attraction and fantasy observed in Spitzer's study is strong evidence that reparative therapy can assist individuals in changing their homosexual orientation to a heterosexual orientation. Now it is up to those skeptical of reparative therapy to provide strong evidence to support their position. In my opinion, they have yet to do so."

    I and every psychiatrist would agree wholeheartedly that change would require much more than just a visit to counseling - sexuality is a multi-faceted part of personal psychology... and as such requires a much more multi-faceted approach than other issues that may just use medication. A deterministic approach minimizes the reality of change, while current research focuses instead on the factors that influence change and making that change more easily tracked and quantified - very high religiosity, the ability to develop non-sexual relationships with other men, and other more or less associated factors.

    The Spitzer study wasn't designed to test for the probability of change, or even to determine the causes or components to change. It came from his desire to know the answer to one question - is it possible? And while his study doesn't answer many of the questions that proponents or critics claim, it does answer that one - at least in the eyes and hearts and minds of the men and women surveyed. Yes, real, meaningful change is possible. Rare. Difficult. Time-consuming. Imperfect. But possible.

  12. If a person feels compelled to change some aspect of their personality or psychology, the decision to pursue change is up to that individual. But to hold out the POSSIBILITY of change as a reason for pursuing it and making a value judgment on a person who does not seek change is an example of hubris. When a person in a position of authority suggests the possibility of change as a reason for pursuing it and makes that pursuit a condition of "worthiness" in a church context, it could even amount to abuse. You are free to pursue what feels right to you. But to suggest that others who choose a different path are less worthy in the eyes of God or human society is unbecoming.

  13. Skeptic -

    I try to avoid judging others on either side - those who make whatever decision, and those who feel like judging those who make decisions. I think it would be hypocritical if I were intolerant of others... just because they are intolerant of others.

    As far as knowing what is right in the eyes of God, I think I'll leave that up to Him and to His divinely appointed representatives here on the earth. I know what's right in my life, and can receive revelation for myself and those for whom I have priesthood stewardship. And I definitely don't receive revelation for or about others and how they should act in their responsibilities. The Lord acts through His servants, and without knowing everything about an event, I'd be guilty of judgment without all the pieces... and judgment in an area not under my jurisdiction.

  14. I apologize if I'm covering ground that you've already discussed but I am curious about your experience with therapies- reparative or aversive or otherwise. Have you engaged with such therapies? What has your experience been? What has that journey been like for you? I am genuinely interested in hearing your story.

    I join you in your quest for hope in dealing with the myriad issues and influences inherent to the process of coming to a personal peace with one's homosexuality and principles and ideals of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I think that is one of the things that all gay Mormons hold in common - we are all seeking a conscientiously earned peace. We all hold out hope for that peace and yet find it in different modes of reconciliation of all the attendant questions, doctrines, scientific studies, histories, and philosophies concerning the intersection of Homosexuality and Mormonism. The references I made to my growing sense of hope and peace were, of course, based on my own personal study of the science, history, doctrines, and philosophies and were not meant to be deterministic. I do not pretend that my experiences or reactions can or should be universally applied or expected of others. And I certainly would not want my feelings and statements to be construed as moral imperatives for others. I feel like my responsibility to myself and God is to be conscientious in my process and respectful and empathetic of others'.

    So I did feel a bit misunderstood and even judged when my comment about the immutability of my natural sympathies and the peace that knowledge has brought me, was described as ringing "untrue". I don't want to misunderstand your statement- were you saying it's not true for you or empirically and universally untrue and therefore not true for me?

    To be honest, I have come to that place of peace and hope through a thorough and ever-growing study of the words of the prophets, science (Spitzer, et al.), and my own wrestlings and revelations brought through the Spirit. I try to always be open to the ideas and insights of others more informed and intelligent than I as I work to reconcile it all with my personal experience. In suggesting the possibility that I may not experience heterosexuality, I do not believe that I am denying the infinite nature of the Atonement. In fact, I believe the Atonement is bigger than we can imagine or purport to comprehend. In other words, my thoughts and beliefs about myself cannot change or deflate the incomprehensible power of the Atonement.

    But most of all, I really appreciate that we are able to engage with one another and as a community of concerned saints around this delicate issue.

  15. KPW -

    I haven't had much experience with reorientation therapies. I had never even heard of them for most of my life, and then when I finally did, it was by people who had left the Church, who had less than stellar reviews of their experiences at month-long camps or whatever it was. I'm still not totally sure what I'm going to do from a therapy standpoint... as I don't really communicate about this issue outside of this blog, am beyond busy with life already, and I'm not sure where I'll find money for a good therapist... or how to find one. But, then again, I'm just now realizing that, as long as I fit in the category of "very religious" and "extremely motivated," and am willing to wait a few years to see any results, then there's reasonable evidence to support positive change.

    When I said your comment didn't ring true to me, it was about me. I realize that, for some of us, change won't come in this life. But, at least in my case, that's not true. And as strange as that may seem, that's how I look at everything posted here - if it doesn't apply to my life or it doesn't seem to be relevant, then I have trouble posting it until I figure out the right context or write something explaining my own response.

    I think we're on the same page as far as doctrines go. The Atonement is infinite, and also personal in its application. For Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, it kept them safe from the fiery furnace. For others, it gave them peace after they died in the flames. The Lord has the power to do anything, but whether or not it will happen relies on our faith and His will. And realizing that, as long as we are doing our part, everything will work out for the best, brings the incredible peace of which you spoke... and the peace that so many people in the world are searching for.

    Thanks for your comment.

  16. I definitely get your stance that you firmly believe that through the Atonement and psychological work, you can and will change (specifically, in this life...?).

    So I have another question - have you considered asking Heavenly Father if your experience of homosexuality will change? Have you asked if your position on the issue is correct? I know that is a tricky question with deep ramifications. I realize that some would find such a line inquiry with the Lord to be tantamount to heresy because of their interpretations of the words of the current Apostles, but I do belief in seeking personal confirmation - even with issues on which the Brethren have spoken.

  17. This is without reading above comments (sorry), so I hope I'm not being redundant.

    To me, the bias against reporting this kind of thing that you mention makes a lot of sense. You have to consider where we are coming from with popular reasoning about these issues. You talk about it being "on a scale" rather than "no to yes," which makes intuitive sense to me. However, when has society EVER been comfortable talking about a "scale" of sexuality? No one is willing to think that way.

    I think, for where we are now, it's better that people are realizing non-heterosexual orientations are real and allowing for that--anything that stops bullying, suicides, ruined lives, etc. is a good thing, right? People have to think of things in black and white before they can get nuanced. I hope eventually we can collectively get at the objective (read scientific) truth of sexuality, but milk before meat, and black and white before proper nuance seems to be the way it has to happen. I wouldn't look too hardly on this bias.

  18. KPW -

    I definitely have considered asking. And I've asked. Everything in my life goes up for question before the Lord... and He answers me. As far as my life goes, this change will eventually happen - it's been confirmed through prayer more times than I can count. How? When? I don't know. But eventually I will - and in the meantime I do my best and the Lord takes care of me.

    Trev -

    From a sociopolitical stance aimed at decreasing bullying, I don't think that black-and-white representation of a problem that really isn't... is actually effective. It essentially requires me to choose whether I am white or not - and if I don't fit the category of white, then I must be black... which suddenly gives everyone a reason to bully others - "innate" difference. But when I realize that it is on a sliding scale, and that outside and inside influences can change my position on a scale, it places bullies in a much less secure position in the first place... and gives me an understanding of where I actually stand, instead of being lumped together with people I've never met.

    Add to that the counsel given by the prophets, and also by current therapists who focus on movement on the scale - that early assumption of sexual identities (as in calling myself gay, homosexual, lesbian... during adolescence) has a significant effect on eventual manifestations of those feelings, and I think it's hugely detrimental to society to choose a cut-and-dry deterministic approach. If I don't fit the normal mold, then I have no other choice than to be an outcast, and no methods of remediation. If anything, I think that determinism, with its black and white approach, causes more harm than good... at least it did in my case, where I found myself on the losing side of an internal battle where I was trying to believe opposite to the current media impressions of the day, and felt pressured to label myself in one category or another. I'd much rather focus on being a son of God - hence why this blog is called (Gay) Mormon Guy... and not Gay Mormon Guy. I don't think that perpetuating deliberate untruths are worth the emotional distress caused by untruths to some of the people the untruths are trying to "protect." But, then again, I'm also probably not one of the people that the gay rights movement is trying to help. I've experienced far more discrimination and prejudice from members of the gay community than from anyone else; if perpetuating untruth is actually part of the plan (as is indicated in the quote above...) then maybe the movement is designed to profit a subclass of those with same-sex attraction, at the inadvertent (or explicit) expense of the rest of us.

  19. I feel no need to judge, analyze, criticize, or refute anything that you just said (as opposed to many others who have done so above).
    I merely want you to know that I appreciate your continued willingness to share of yourself and open your thoughts and experiences to criticism. Hang in there, keep up the good work. I'm glad you have such optimism. It's refreshing.

  20. :casia marie:,

    There can also be hope even when "change" does not happen: hope that you can live a meaningful and purposeful life even when the attractions persist, hope that you can have meaningful relationships with others when the attractions persist, hope that despite the attractions you can keep your behavior inline with your deepest convictions. Elder Oaks described such situations (ie, despite your best efforts the challenge persists) in He Heals the Heavy Laden. Healing is available to all whether in the form of removing the hardship or being at peace with the hardship. There is hope in either situation.

  21. In my opinion, Spitzer's study fell short of verifying his research hypothesis, which stated: “predominantly homosexual [men and women] can become predominantly heterosexual following some form of reparative therapy” (p. 405). The most significant downfalls to his research are (a) he did not follow participants through pre and post-therapy experiences, (b) he did not use a control or placebo group, and (c- he did not apply therapy in any systemized and controlled fashion. In short, his study is merely an investigation and not an experiment. His study is merely descriptive and verifies no causality between participants' self-report of change and the change method. In fact, Spitzer himself admitted this limitation in the study, "The issue of causality can only be answered by a study with random assignment of gay men and lesbians wishing to change their sexual orientation to either a treatment group (some form of reparative therapy) or a control group" (p. 413).

    So what can we really conclude from his research? Merely that participants' views and opinions changed. However, for some people, that is enough; it offers hope that an internal conflict can cease and one can find peace with their orientation.

    For others, like myself, I'd like to see more objective data that demonstrates sexual orientation (i.e., arousal to visual stimuli) can change. Such measures (e.g., penile and vaginal photoplethysmography), as Spitzer mentioned (p. 412) are more objective.

  22. Ryan -

    I agree - Spitzer's techniques were better suited to an investigative study than one used to determine causality. And the people interviewed indubitably used a wide variety of methods, as the number of ideologies on the subject is massive and continues to grow. But the study did what I think it needed to do - and what needed to be at least somewhat established to pave the way for other researchers to even attempt to get funding for the research that you and I would like to see more of - establish a likelihood and direction of further study, and give a basis of information for meta-analysis, as per characteristics shared between successful study participants. Mostly, though, I think it does effect a greater ability to see change - or, in addition, peace and happiness in the context of living a normal heterosexual life, even with the presence of homosexual feelings - in context - as something that is possible with a lot of work, available to those who are very religious and match a few more characteristics.

    Whether or not change is possible, along the continuum of sexuality, and the magnitude and eventual effect of that change, depends wholly on the individual... his goals... his initial development... and the stage at which interventions and subsequent ratings come about. There are thousands of men who think that life holds a dichotomy - either live dishonestly in the Church and try to keep the commandments, quelling an inward pain and ultimately exploding in flames or ending life from depression caused by societal pressure, or give up important moral values... values often far more valuable in their eyes than anything else. The fact that people have learned/changed/moved on/whatever happened in their lives, is enough to question the dichotomy... and, at least for some people, enough of a reason to keep living - according to their morals, or at all.

  23. I think relevant to this discussion is two point that are often left out. (A) That part of the requirement in this study for "good heterosexual functioning" is thinking of homosexual sex (ie someone other than opposite sex partner) during sex, and (B) That changes in orientation reflect attraction to only one person of the opposite sex (ie spouse).

    (A) This point highlights what many find a problematic part of the gay Mormon/religious experience. What does the partner in such a relationship think of their spouse thinking of someone else 15% of the time? For myself, that sounds a lot like infidelity.

    (B) It seems many who hope for change hope for complete transformation. Let's say the study really did demonstrate that 66% of the people in the study experienced change. that number itself is a little misleading. They report a change, but that change is very minimal when compared to the total transformation many hope for.

    My intent with these statements is not to be pessimistic or negative but to be realistic. Most reportjust enough change to think of their opposite sex parnter only 85% of the time and are still troubled by homosexual inclinations.

  24. Ryan -

    I'd be more than happy to be attracted to only my spouse among women... considering right now I can't say that I've really felt much for anyone female.

    As far as being only attracted to her, and to no one else, or still having attractions outside of marriage, I don't think that is a trial unique to homosexuality. There are a lot of husbands who have noticed women other than their wives. And while I don't have numbers on relationship dynamics, and sometimes wonder about the numbers anyway, I'd assume that some of them get those thoughts as well. Otherwise there would never be infidelity in the first place. The issue at hand is how they deal with those thoughts - whether they become part of the relationship, and then are acted out in affairs, or not.

    I guess what in trying to say is this - for a long time I believed the only way to be happy with myself was to somehow purge the same-sex attraction from my mind. Now I realize that dealing with it is definitely possible - and life can be awesome within the guidelines the Church has set - and I just want to fall in love with a woman so I can have a family. And hopefully that change/miracle/event/process will happen sooner, rather than later, in the grand scheme of mortality.

  25. The thing that makes me so skeptical about this Spitzer study is that I have yet to find one single person who has changed completely. I would dearly love to meet and talk with any person who was exclusively homosexual and managed to become heterosexual or even bisexual.

    Back when I assumed that I could change, I planned to write a book, or at least an Ensign article, as soon as I did change, telling my story and detailing how the change occurred, so that others could follow.

    Supposedly there are hundreds of men who have changed, but where is that book? Where is that Ensign article? We have In Quiet Desperation and several articles that tell the stories of people who weren't able to change. Can we meet and learn from just one person who was able to change?

  26. Jeff -

    Ty Mansfield, of In Quiet Desperation, got married to a girl a while ago. I'd assume that he fell in love with her, was attracted to her, and that the attraction was mutual enough that they wanted to start a family together. And I've met guys who were never attracted to anyone, and then fell in love with their wives. But I hear tons of stories that most people probably don't hear - stories that may never become public until the books are opened at the last day. But they're true nonetheless.

  27. There are a few success stories listed in the book "Understanding Same Sex Attraction - The LDS Edition" I highly recommend reading it. Also, I'm sorry that I don't have a source. But I recently (within the last year) read an ensign article of a woman who was struggling with SSA and changed.

    I have a friend who just got sealed last month. He was actively gay and fell in love with his wife.

    And I myself have changed. Granted I have always has a minimal attraction to men, but my attraction to other women was much more intense. I am still attracted to women, but don't think about it often. Sometimes I forget, until I see a victoria secret commercial or something and say, oh yeah, I forgot that I'm sometimes attracted to women. Its not a big deal in my life.

    Change is possible! I know it is. The only question is this life, or the next?

  28. Hey there Mormon Guy. I have spent the better part of my evening and into the morning reading and reading everything on your blog, and what an amazing breath of fresh air it is. My brother was consumed in his youth by pornography and SSA, and realized that this was not part of who he was as a child of God and wanted to change, which after years of therapy, counseling, but most importantly (which you promote very well) his steadfast faith in Christ and his atonement and the love of God, he has completely changed and now is happily married to a girl that is more perfect for him that I could have ever imagined.

    Unfortunately this is a very unpopular idea that one can change their thoughts and attractions (demonstrated even here in these comments), and he is silenced on every level, most surprisingly in places where this change should be accepted and celebrated, such as among close friends who are savvy to his struggle or even among his church leaders.

    My parents and my brother have both wrote amazing books on the subject about their experience, chronicling their own journey on this long and seemingly impossible road to recovery from pornography and sin, and have devoted a large portion of their life trying to reach out to others just like my brother who are desiring to overcome this temporal struggle. But they have been met by virtually no support and poor reception to their message, have been laughed at, mocked, and have even received death threats all because my brother was successful at changing. Of course they only promote this message through love and compassion for everyone, no matter their view on the issue. Deseret Book literally had my parents removed from their office because they didn't want to promote the idea of changing one's sexuality, especially when they are so adamant about promoting books like In Quiet Desperation where the overall message is to embrace one's homosexuality, rather than strive for change, which could explain, Jeff, why you haven't seen such a book.

    Numbers and statistics are great, but I think the fact that even one person is able to change should be proof enough that it is possible. I didn't come here to promote my brother's book, as I don't feel like this is what you intend for your comments, but anyone is welcome to contact me if they would like to talk to my brother or parents, or want a copy of their books. They often give them away for free, as they feel this message is so important. They are searching for people to hear their story, just as you have so wonderfully shared on this blog.

    I feel like your documentation here is a great resource to all who struggle with anything in life they want to overcome, because the doctrine and principles you share are applicable to everyone. Thank you for your honesty and testimony of God and his love for his children. Remain strong, change is possible.

    1. Could you post this comment again in the "Success Stories" section of the blog? That area gets much more traffic than this post, and your brother's and parents' book sounds like it could be a great asset for the cause.

      If you'd be able to send me a copy (electronic... since my mail is definitely not private :) ) I could also review the book and let your brother and/or parents write a guest post introducing it. That may be a step on finding people who are searching.


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