The Ex-Gay Survivor's Survey Results
Question 1. What kind of ex-gay activities did you participate in?
414 participants out of 417 answered this question.
It would seem that of these ex-gay survivors, most of them had experienced a three prong approach in their SOCEs which outnumbered any of the other options: prayer, counseling, and self-guided motivation (all three having almost the exact same numbers). Only about half of these participants attended some kind of drop-in group or ministry. Whether the counseling was with a licensed therapist, a minister, or some kind of ex-gay leader is not delineated. Coupling the statistical results and written responses shows dozens of attempted SOCE methods and organizations. There seems to be no standardized approach unique to SOCE’s that is showing up in this survey other than general religious (sometimes abusive) practices that can be applied to any “problem” for which a churchgoer might seek solutions - prayer, study, memorizing scripture, fasting, exorcism, etc. Finally, it is not clear why various ex-gay ministries have a propensity to use a “cleansing water” metaphor as their title, but as you’ll see in the written comments, there are almost a dozen different ones.
Below are as many responses as could be included. For the most part, these responses were left exactly as written. If they were edited or removed it was a result of protecting anonymity, improper grammar to the degree that the statement was significantly hard to understand, or the response was just too long.
On-line groups from Living Hope Ministries and on-line groups from Courage. Aversion therapy. I didn't even realize that was what it was until afterward. I made myself imagine the sound of the scourging at the pillar from the Passion of the Christ and told myself it was my fault every time I had an impure thought.
Drug therapies resulting in 8 months worth of memory loss.
Back in the 1980s I saw a psychiatrist in Philadelphia who said my gay fantasies were a result of "childishness," and that if I just got a job and learned to act like an adult my gay feelings would go away. He said gay people became gay entirely because of their environment. This psychiatrist still has an office.
Spent many years in denial believing that the more manly I was becoming the less gay I too was becoming. I was married for 14 years and have 1 son. My wife and I were sexually active throughout the marriage which helped to maintain the denial. After the marriage broke up I dated a couple of other women at had short lived sexual relationships. I am 61 and have had only one brief homosexual encounter in my entire life. My sexual life has all been a fantasy. It has only been in the last couple of years that I have been able to say to myself and others that I am gay and that this is not going to change.
I made myself imagine the sound of the scourging at the pillar from the Passion of the Christ and told myself it was my fault every time I had an impure thought.
Local church "interventions" preceded involvement with Exodus related groups
online chat groups
I was directly counseled by Alan Chambers.
Went through OUTPOST ministries TWICE!
Cleansing Stream Ministries
When I came out to my parents in college (19 yrs) they forced me to attend an Exodus group.
I did not go to any Exodus (or like) conferences, but after counseling (by an ex-gay counselor) and self-guided work through books by Alan Chambers and NARTH, I spoke at conferences for a collegiate ministry sharing my struggle and overcoming homosexuality (though it was all a lie). After coming out, I was forced to quit the ministry I was working for 5 1/2 years. They said they would welcome me as long as I was struggling with my sexuality (and sleeping around on the side) if I would go to counseling, but not if I was in healthy place and relationship by "out".
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Attended Sex Addicts Anonymous (before ever having had sex with anyone; simply because I had gay feelings)
4 years Love in Action resident (1992-96) One year staff LIA (2007). 6 months house leader "Courage" (Watford England) during 1994. 7 years monastic life (Eastern) Orthodox monasteries 1999-2006; Years of individual psychotherapy, periodically, as a client., from 1971 onward.
I had electronic shock therapy arranged by a doctor who was President of the Baptist Church
I am in a mixed orientation marriage (I'm a gay man married to a straight woman). I dated and got married during the ex-gay period of my life, but I didn't view my relationship with my wife as an activity to suppress my homosexuality.
Seven years of psychotherapy designed to help me accept a purely heterosexual life. As a bisexual that didn't really work too well. Trying to be purely gay later on didn't work too well either.
Regression Therapy (semi-hypnotic state and regress through past experiences from birth to present).
Tried various "spiritual warfare" techniques.
I was first exposed to an ex-gay ministry (Exodus) via a seminar at a Summit Ministries conference. After speaking to one of the Exodus representatives, he gave me a free book on the subject and encouraged me to seek counseling, which I did on his and another's advice.
Porn addiction therapy. I had never seem porn, but my church didn't know how to do ex-gay stuff for women at first. So as a 15 year old girl, I was instructed to read books like Every Man's Battle, a book written for middle aged men.
I was in the women's residential program of LIA in Memphis, TN in 2002.
Used "New Directions" books in group and individual therapy.
Celebrate Recovery. Being handed over to Satan by the church body
Prayer and research
-Breaking sessions (shaming me until I collapsed, sometimes for hours) -"Eye Bouncing", training my eyes to not look at people or body parts that I will be attracted to them by. Because of my high sex drive and an unclear explanation of "attraction", I began just staring at the ground. Only made eye contact when I had to. -Porn addiction therapy. I had never seem porn, but my church didn't know how to do ex-gay stuff for women at first. So as a 15 year old girl, I was instructed to read books like Every Man's Battle, a book written for middle aged men. Clarification: By "exorcism", I'm referring to people circling and screaming at "demons" to leave me. It was never referred to as exorcism. I was also not allowed to leave, tricked into participating, and was underage and my parents were unaware. Clarification: By "tried to heterosexually date", I was actually told most straight men would not be interested in me, being a woman attracted to women, and was encouraged to try to have a relationship with an ex-gay man. We had a romantic relationship, and broke it off when we got too close to sexual contact. Being attracted to all sexes and genders (but having never heard of such a thing), I did have a mild crush on him, but the pressure from our church complicated it all too much.
It was a camp my parents found through a church when I was 12, and that is where I spend summer between 7th and 8th grades.
Pure Life Ministries live-in program
Counseling w/ pastor
Went to a church group and fell in love with a member.
Teen challenge courseA heavy, heavy emphasis on scripture, prayer (individual, family, congregation), and strict holiness-pentecostal church network patterns of 'holiness' as a committed daily life of discipleship. Strict fasting to deepen or intensify prayer and seeking God. As a teen boy I could never quite manage the 30 day fasts that were preached as serious ideals. I could only make it without food for three days in a row, then I would have to eat something. Repeat exorcisms of demon forces (nobody could discern that I was completely possessed, but nearly every leader-prophet-minister discerned from God in some way that I was either being heavily 'influenced or assaulted or attacked' by demonic forces and/or heavily 'oppressed' by demons. Thus I came to be exorcized many times. The theory articulated by some spiritual leaders was something about demonic lust desires being all tangled up with teenage boy hunger for food, and though this seemed plausible to me at the time given that family in church was pretty much all I knew (or wanted to know), the link between sex and food never quite made total sense to me. Except that in regard to sex as well as food, I was supposed to be crucifying the flesh as a royal highway to being closer to God, and thus closer to being what God wanted/intended me to be as a teen man.
New Life Church (college church program) had an ex-gay program based out of columbus, OH. I went to the university of michigan, and my church sent me down there for meetings + arranged living arrangements for a year
Colin cook seminar
Love in Action 1988 - Survivor
I attended New Hope ministries in San Rafael California.
Once I learned that homosexuality was a demonic entity feeding off of disobedience; from what God intended. I stopped having sex, and I haven't had sex in over eight years. I have been praying since that time that God give me a wife. I am 52 years old, but many think I'm in my early 30's. I have been living with the AIDS virus this year make 32 years.
Mostly, I was accomplished at denial and self deprivation for most of my life (I am now 55). I joined Evergreen which is the Mormon ex-gay organization for a very short time. At age 19, I was enticed into Scientology with promises of being cured. That lasted about 2 weeks.
There was a group affiliated with Exodus international and other groups like it.
Was forced to endure Electroconvulsive therapy. Attended Evergreen International.
Love Won Out, Love In Action
Affiliated with, or similar to, Homosexuals Anonymous. Group meetings. Leader tried to heterosexually date and wanted to get married. I did not want either. Stopped going to meetings.
Followed intense personal direction and guidance from Priesthood Leaders
Read books about former gays.
Although I didn't attend the conferences, the group I met with for counseling was affiliated with Living Waters. I also participated in Cleansing Streams (Assembly of God/ Pentecostal) classes and other "deliverance" activities.
Repeat exorcisms of demon forces (nobody could discern that I was completely possessed, but nearly every leader-prophet-minister discerned from God in some way that I was either being heavily 'influenced or assaulted or attacked' by demonic forces and/or heavily 'oppressed' by demons. Thus I came to be exorcized many times.
3 year hetero relationship and engagement
A group called Challenge that met at my church once a week. Someone from Exodus spoke to us once.
For about 15 years I have finally realized that since I would not join the ex-gay movement or seek reparative therapy, it was brought to me. When I realized what was going on I felt betrayed, anger, in danger, isolated and felt death was a viable option. (Not that I want to die or would actually take my own life)
Dr. Joseph Nicolosi
Attended LIA (Love In Action)
I joined a college fraternity because I thought that that would help me be straight.
Attended an independent program in Irving, TX called RENEW
Attended Love In Action
Joined a church that tried to "work" my homosexuality out. Also made me keep thought diaries, threatened me with the loss of my salvation, threatened me with the Lord striking me down in disease or death.
Attended/worked at AIM (Alternative Identification Ministry) in Dallas Texas.
First Reichean therapy then Aesthetic Realism
Weekly group meetings
Attended Basis - the Danish Exodus
Was offered electroshock aversion therapy, but prayed about it and decided against it. Later received hypnotherapy which involved some touch therapy. Also had a therapist who employed masturbation therapy.
I drove the 2 hours to Harrisonburg, VA from Roanoke to participate in Cross Current, developed by Desert Stream Ministries. The Course was delivered by Greater Hope an affiliate of Exodus
Self guided books had nothing to do with sexual orientation.
I did counseling at River of Life fellowship in Phoenix, AZ from 1980 until 1984... it was one on one, along with some 12 step groups...
I tried to change my gender presentation and sexual orientation on my own, though I did not admit to myself that this was in fact what I was doing. For over 20 years, I was involved in very socially conservative Muslim communities that had strict rules for how women and men should behave. I did my best to become "properly" feminine and be an "ideal wife and mother."
Became a fundamentalist open air street preacher.
Attended church and listened to the sermons telling about how being gay is an abomination.
Lived with my former youth leaders and went through books and prayer together.
Online support network similar to HA (Homosexuals Anonymous)
Celebrate Recovery at my local church Every Man's Battle
Weekly Bible-study run by a local independent Pentecostal congregation in the early 1980's in Denver, Colorado. The church was City on the Hill, and the Bible study was called King's Ministries, hosted by a married couple whose name escapes me. They ran the group because they had a gay son living in California with whom they had cut off communication because of his "rebellious lifestyle."
3 months in Love In Action's residential program + one year and 9 months of one on one therapy with a minister I trusted.
Mostly on skype, not face to face, except once.
Participated in the online forums of Living Hope Youth. I tried to attend Living Waters but the program at my church was full.
Prodigal Ministries, Cincinnati Ohio EMDR, desensitization therapy
Drop-in group was a religious (Baha'i Faith) group for "homosexuals, persons with AIDS, and pedophiles)". The Baha'i Faith believing that they all have the 'same root cause'. Electro-convulsive therapy, nausea therapy during one on one counseling.
Love in Action survivor 1988
SOCE Survey Results are © Copyright 2013. Jallen Rix, Ed.D., ACS and BeyondExGay.com.