Reparative Therapy and Joseph Nicolosi Remembered

In an offbeat selection for “The Lives They Lived” section of the New York Time Magazine, Joseph Nicolosi is remembered by Benoit Denizet-Joseph NicolosiLewis as an “artist, innovator and thinker” who died in 2017.
I had a few things to say about Nicolosi when he passed, and a lot to say about reparative therapy during his life. This piece provides a view of a side of Nicolosi that I saw often — he simply could not be convinced that he could be wrong.

Joseph Nicolosi, Alan Chambers, and the 99.9% Claim

In 2012, I wrote about one of the incidents referred to in the NYT piece. In the article, Denizet-Lewis referred to former ex-gay ministry leader Alan Chambers’ dramatic and unexpected declaration that 99.9% of people who tried to change sexual orientation had not experienced a change. That was first reported on this blog in January, 2012.  Chambers made that statement at a conference of the Gay Christian Network. Causing an earthquake in the ex-gay world, Chambers said:

The majority of people that I have met, and I would say the majority meaning 99.9% of them have not experienced a change in their orientation or have gotten to a place where they could say that they could  never be tempted or are not tempted in some way or experience some level of same-sex attraction. I think there is a gender issue there, there are some women who have challenged me and said that my orientation or my attractions have changed completely. Those have been few and far between. The vast majority of people that I know will experience some level of same-sex attraction.

Denizet-Lewis makes it seem as though Nicolosi’s initial offer of a cure came in response to that statement. However, Chambers and Nicolosi had been disputing results since at least the year before.
The now inactive but enormously influential blog, ExGay Watch (here is my summary of that post) carried a story about an online dispute between Chambers and Nicolosi which began in 2011. In an email exchange, Nicolosi chastised Chambers for saying in an April 2011 Dr. Drew Show appearance that Chambers continued to experience attractions to the same sex. Nicolosi then offered to cure Chambers completely. Here is one of those emails:

Alan,
I have not seen yet your appearance on the T.V. show and of course, I always know how unfair and stressful these events are. But again, it is such a disservice to represent the alternative to gay but stating you are still struggling. It is not a very inspiring option to the many young people who may be hearing your message.
The point Alan is that you can get to a place where there is no more homosexuality. Really.
You can actually get to a place where you can willfully (sic) think of an SSA image and have no bodily sensation.
Why stop half way? Why not do further work and finish the task and have it completely behind you. consider this invitation, not only for your sake but also as a testimony of complete healing to truly motivate others.
We have the therapeutic tools to get you over what ever SSA is remaining.
You know I am your friend. I am willing to help you. I’ll work with you personally if you like.
Please consider this invitation I offer you as a brother (O.K., a Catholic brother) in Christ.
Joe
Joseph Nicolosi, Ph.D.
www.josephnicolosi.com
[emphasis in the original]

As Chambers told Denizet-Lewis in the NYT article, he rebuffed Nicolosi’s offer as unrealistic and unattainable.

He’ll Be Fine

Nicolosi believed male homosexuals experienced attractions to the same sex because they were estranged from their fathers. He simply would not accept the fact that many gay males have loving and close fathers. Even when confronted with fathers and sons who were obviously close, he picked at them until he found something he could dispute in their relationship. I worked with several families who were survivors of this kind of treatment.
On one occasion in a meeting with Nicolosi, I described a young man to who came out to his father first because he was close to his dad and knew he would understand. They were close all through school and when he came out, it was only natural for him to tell his dad. The young man was into sports and quite masculine in every way. In short, he was everything that Nicolosi claimed that a gay male could not be. When I was finished with my description, Nicolosi said, “He’ll be fine.” I asked what he meant. “He’s not gay; he’ll be fine,” he said. He indicated that the young man must be confused or having a stage but since he had such a good foundation, he couldn’t possibly be gay.
I realized at that point that it was probably hopeless to use evidence. Confirmation bias was strong with him, perhaps as strong as I have ever seen.

Top Ten Blog Posts of 2017

In 2017, the following ten posts received the most page views:
10. K-LOVE’s Pledge Drive: Money Behind the Music (2017)
9. Former Newsping Pastor Perry Noble Incorporates Second Change Church (2017)
8. American College of Pediatricians v. American Academy of Pediatrics: Who Leads and Who Follows? (2011)
7. After the Demise of Mars Hill Church Mark Driscoll Landed on His Feet with Over One Million in Donations (2017)
6. IRS and Postal Service Agents on Scene at Benny Hinn’s Office (2017)
5. Mark Driscoll Spins the End of Mars Hill Church (2017)
4. A Major Study of Child Abuse and Homosexuality Revisited (2009)
3. Former CFO at Turning Point Claims David Jeremiah Used Questionable Methods to Secure a Spot on Best Seller Lists (2015)
2. What’s Going on at Harvest Bible Fellowship? James MacDonald Resigns as President of HBF (2017)
and the #1 post is:

  1. Open Letter to Gateway Pastor Robert Morris from a Former Member of Mars Hill Church (2014)

 
Some past posts have aged well. The 2009 post regarding child abuse and non-heterosexuality has been in the top ten nearly every year since 2009.counseling image 2 Readers continue to be interested in Mars Hill Church and various players surrounding the demise of that church.
Although the page views don’t show it, the story that continues to be covered here and almost nowhere else is the Gospel for Asia saga. The target of federal scrutiny and two RICO lawsuits in the U.S., GFA has also initiated and been involved in various legal actions in India. Although the scope of the GFA empire dwarfs other organizations I have examined, it continues to fly along under the radar.
For a profile of my work and the role blogging has played in it, see this lengthy article by Jon Ward in Yahoo News earlier this month.

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The learn more about the sexual identity therapy framework, go here.

Audible Waters – We Three Kings 2017

In what has become a tradition around Christmas, I am again posting a selection from Audible Waters, a music project involving frequent commenter R. Jesperson. Here is Audible Waters’ video of their version of We Three Kings.
Enjoy and Merry Christmas Eve!
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIjX1jy1Z90[/youtube]

Precious Memories – Alan Jackson

As usual, I have been soaking in Christmas music during December. Also, as usual, this brings back memories of playing and listening to music throughout my life. The first song I recall singing in church was Precious Memories. I sang it in a quartet with my future wife, future father-in-law, and another friend from the church. I still love the simple harmonies and serene lyrics of this song and I really enjoy this simple version by Alan Jackson and hope you do as well.

Gospel for Asia Defendants Must Produce Evidence in RICO Case or Admit They Can't

Admirer kissing the hand of K.P. Yohannan. From his 2017 birthday video.
Admirer kissing the hand of K.P. Yohannan. From his 2017 birthday video.

On November 21, Gospel for Asia CEO K.P. Yohannan and his fellow GFA defendants were dealt a legal setback in federal court when Judge Timothy Brooks ordered them to respond to plaintiffs discovery requests for information. GFA initially argued that plaintiffs had made too many requests. Furthermore, GFA said they couldn’t get answers because GFA doesn’t control the relevant entities in India. Later, GFA argued that those entities (e.g., Believers’ Church) had decided to turn over documentation of how funds were used and hoped to offset the order on that basis. However, Judge Brooks ruled in favor of the plaintiffs.
The background is further explained in the order:

The matter currently before the Court, however, concerns a discovery dispute that has arisen between the parties [the plaintiffs Garland and Phyllis Murphy v. GFA] regarding information central to this case: namely, information regarding where donated monies were sent and for what purposes they were used. As is obvious given the nature of this case, Plaintiffs’ theory of fraud is premised on demonstrating that Defendants and their international partners did not spend the donated money in accordance with their donors’ wishes and, in doing so, violated promises allegedly made to these donors to do exactly that.
In order to demonstrate that these donations were not spent in conformity with these alleged promises, Plaintiffs served two prior sets of discovery on Defendants. Both of these sets, which included interrogatories and, by the Court’s count, at least 75 requests for production, sought to obtain information and documents that would either establish or refute Plaintiffs’ theory about where the donated money went. Given the information provided under seal to the Court and discussed during the September telephone conference, it is clear that Plaintiffs’ prior attempts to discover this crucial information were only partially successful. In short, these interrogatories and requests for production provided a wealth of information that illustrated how much money was collected by Defendants. But, this discovery information did nothing to clear up the confusion as to how this accumulated money was subsequently spent.
As such, Plaintiffs now once again seek answers to the same questions that they have been asking for months: was this donated money diverted to other causes and do Defendants have information or documents that would prove how the money was spent? In an effort to come at the problem from a different angle, however, Plaintiffs now seek to serve on the Defendants what amounts to over 1000 RFAs. While startling upon first read, this sizable number of RFAs consists entirely of the same six RFAs repeated for each of 179 different codes representing different categories of donations (e.g. a code for pigs and a separate code for bicycles).2 Each of these sets of RFAs is accompanied by a Request for Production asking for any documents in the Defendants’ possession that would reflect how this earmarked money was spent.

GFA was initially able to verify how much money they collected but the response to the requests for information did not address where the funds had been spent. Therefore, the Murphys came back with additional requests for information which GFA was hoping to avoid. GFA’s reasons were outlined in the order:

In their  Response in Opposition, Defendants object to this proposed set of discovery on several grounds, including the sheer number of requests, the improper nature of these requests given the purpose of Rule 36 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and the lack of need for these requests now that Defendants’ field partners have recently committed to providing information relevant to Plaintiffs’ inquiries.

Judge Brooks did not agree with these reasons and the rest of the order lays out his justification for the ruling against GFA. Regarding the number of requests, Brooks said the complexity of the case and GFA’s prior inability to get the information justified the plaintiffs requests. He declared their requests to be proper. Furthermore, in light of prior statements by GFA that they had no control over field partners, the discovery order was needed to make sure the facts could be determined.

Can Gospel for Asia Prove Money Was Spent as Promised?

On that question, GFA appears to be claiming two contradictory messages. First, the adamantly claim they are spending all funds as promised. But second, they are telling the judge and plaintiffs that they haven’t got control of the entities spending the money and so they can’t provide proof about how the money is being spent. Judge Brooks appears to be on to this contradiction. On that point, this section of the order by Judge Brooks is key:

Finally, Defendants object to these RFAs because they argue that they have been rendered unnecessary by recent commitments by some of Defendants’ international field partners to provide information related to Plaintiffs’ questions and because they personally do not have control over what their international field partners do. These objections are also unpersuasive to the Court.
As an initial matter, the Court applauds the Defendants for acknowledging and committing to carry out their duty under Rule 26(e) to supplement their prior answers to the interrogatories that were served on them in Plaintiffs’ First and Second Discovery Sets. However, these discovery devices are not mutually exclusive. See, e.g., 88 Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Fed. Practice & Procedure Civ. § 2253 (3d ed. 2017) (“a party need not elect between Rule 36 and the other rules and it may use the various devices at the same time.”). Therefore, the fact that Defendants might now have the ability to provide a supplemented answer to the previously served interrogatories does not alter the Court’s view that these RFAs are proper given the information that has been submitted to it by the parties.
Moreover, Defendants contend that the requested information is largely in the hands of third parties over whom Defendants exercise no control. As the Court advised Defendants during the telephone conference, if, after reasonable inquiry, Defendants do not have within their possession information by which they could honestly admit or deny these RFAs, then that is the answer that should be provided.  See, e.g., Wright & Miller,
Fed. Practice and Procedure § 2261 (stating that where a party does not know whether the matter it is asked to admit is true or not, it may reply that “it cannot truthfully admit or deny the matter”). If, in fact , it turns out that Defendants are correct that they do not have the means by which to document how their international field partners spent the money, then the replies to Plaintiffs’ RFAs will be very similar and simple-further supporting the Court’s view that this request is not unduly burdensome in light of the nature of this case.

Let that sink in. If GFA cannot “truthfully admit or deny the matter,” then how can GFA make the claim that donated funds are being spent as promised? If GFA’s defendants really can’t document how the field partners spent the money, then their claims to use donated funds in accord with donor intent are unverifiable. To donors and staff, GFA leaders have said they know where it all goes. To Judge Brooks, they have been saying we don’t have the means to document it.
Seems to me that a lot more donors should be asking a lot more questions.

 
 

Perry Noble Invites You to Win with Weight

I’m just going to leave this here:
Perry Noble Win Weight
When last we visited our intrepid preacher, he was fronting a new church – the Second Chance Church. Now he’s saying no to second helpings of whatever is on the menu with his new weight loss devotional series.  For only the perfect amount of $7, you get:

  • A 10-day devotional written to help you begin your journey
  • A custom workout plan (including printouts) to help you get physically fit
  • Access to a private Facebook Group for encouragement and support on your fitness journey
  • A workout playlist featuring some of my favorite songs

Perry’s favorite songs? That’s probably worth the seven bucks right there.
The video promo is surreal. He launches into his stories as if his church and marriage losses never happened. He says this is the best thing the Lord ever allowed him to produced.
Just in time for Christmas gift giving!
As an aside, just try getting through the entire video without blinking. I don’t think Noble blinks. I don’t know for sure because I keep blinking and maybe he blinks when I do. He has the most amazing ability to keep his eyes wide open for long periods of time.
 
 

Another Conservative Calls Out David Barton's History

Charles C. W. Cooke is the online editor for National Review Online and recently had this to say about self-styled historian David Barton.


Generally, an individual occupying such a position with NR is not known as a liberal or even a “liberal bastard” as Glenn Beck once said about David Barton’s critics. Thus, I was interested to see such plain language aimed at Mr. Barton, a darling of some within what is left of the conservative world.
The Twitter thread is filled with polite give and take wherein Mr. Cooke doesn’t give an inch, reminding his readers that once upon a time Mr. Barton once admitted using second hand quotes without providing proper context. Even then, Barton claimed he only did what those pagan academics did.


Cooke here refers readers to Barton’s efforts to backtrack after it was discovered that some of the quotes in his book The Myth of Separation could not be located in primary sources. Barton said it was his idea to take those quotes out of his books. However, that hasn’t stopped him from using quotes that are not in primary sources or manipulating the words of certain founders to get the meaning he wants (click the links for a few illustrations).
One of the most egregious instances of academic deception was Barton’s effort to pass off a diploma mill doctorate from Life Christian University as an earned degree. He has never explained why he went to all the trouble to create a video for his Facebook and YouTube accounts, post it for one day, but then remove it the next day when I revealed that the “earned” doctorate he proudly pointed to was given to him by a school he never attended. I wonder if donor funds went to pay the fee for that piece of paper.

Gospel for Asia's Religious Property Tax Exemption Questioned

WFAA ABC News Dallas tonight dropped a major story about Gospel for Asia. The tax exempt status of the homes on their Wills Point, TX is

Source TT Architects website
Source TT Architects website

being challenged because the homes are not occupied by ministers. According to TX law, the homes of ministers may be exempt and GFA claimed the homes of staff members were housing ministers. However, staff members working on all aspects of their nonprofit live there. It is simply misleading and dishonest to say they are ministers.
Former staffer Tom Sluberski is quoted and some good investigative journalism is reported in this piece. The RICO lawsuits are cited as well. It well worth the time to read it carefully.
Stay tuned for more GFA news coming up.

New Studies Point to Biological Basis for Male Homosexuality

A study out yesterday lends support to the fraternal birth order theory of male homosexuality. Also called the older brother effect, the effect has been hypothesized to relate to an immune response in mothers of sons. The more sons a woman has, the more likely her younger sons will not be heterosexual. Although without support up to now, supporters of the immune theory believe that having sons for some women create antibodies which react against proteins which effect brain development. Presumably, the brain development would be an areas which effect sexual orientation.
From the press release:

Groundbreaking research led by a team from Brock University has further confirmed that sexual orientation for men is likely determined in the womb.
In the first-ever laboratory study of mothers of gay men, the research was prompted by more than two decades of statistical data examining the ‘older brother effect’ which shows that biological older brothers — but not older sisters — increase the odds of homosexuality in later-born males.
The study, “Male Homosexuality and Maternal Immune Responsivity to the Y-Linked Protein NLGN4Y,” was published Monday, Dec. 11 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Brock Health Sciences Professor Tony Bogaert, lead researcher on the project, said the new study has produced some of the most significant findings in men’s sexual orientation research in the past 10 or 15 years. The team included researchers from Harvard and the University of Toronto.
“The implications of this study, especially if and when it is replicated by an independent team, are profound,” said Bogaert. “Along with more deeply understanding the exact origin of the older brother effect, it helps solidify the idea that, at least in men, there’s a strong biological basis to sexual orientation.
“This is the culmination of more than 20 years of research where we started looking at the older brother, or fraternal birth order, effect. The current study adds to the growing scientific consensus that homosexuality is not a choice, but rather an innate predisposition.”
Bogaert, an internationally recognized expert in human sexuality, said the study is groundbreaking for at least two major reasons:

  • It supports the conclusion, suggested by previous studies, that genes alone do not completely account for homosexuality.

  • It suggests that immunological factors should be considered along with genetic and hormonal factors as possible biological influences on sexual orientation.

The study did not link the proteins with specific neural outcomes but did find that mothers of gay sons demonstrated a different immune response than mothers of straight sons.

The team of psychologists and immunologists tested 16 women with no sons, 72 mothers with heterosexual sons, 31 mothers of gay sons with no older brothers, 23 mothers of gay sons with older brothers, and a control group of 12 men.
The women’s antibody reactivity was measured to two proteins (PCDH11Y and two forms of NLGN4Y) found only in males, both of which are expressed in the male fetal brain.
The team found that mothers of gay sons, especially those with older brothers, had significantly higher antibody levels to both forms of NLGN4Y than did the control samples of women, including mothers of heterosexual sons.
“It seems that some women during their first male pregnancy, or just after their first male birth, begin to detect this foreign substance (the NLGN4Y protein) and start to develop an immune response. And then later, with further male pregnancies, the high levels of antibodies directed toward this substance may change brain development in these later born males,” Bogaert said.

If the work is replicated and it can be demonstrated that these antibodies influence brain structures associated with non-heterosexuality, e.g., the hypothalamus, then the evidence for the immune connection would be even stronger. Since antibodies in response to multiple male births would only effect a small number of gay males, there must be other pathways to non-heterosexual brain development. As I review several lines of research, I believe there are other ways in addition to the immune hypothesis (e.g., hormones, epimarks) that the neural basis for non-heterosexuality could come to be.

Genetic association study

Just last week, a genome association wide study found yet more ways in which the DNA of gay males differ from straight males. Alan Sanders andphoto-1456434893711-6a909e9cd81d_opt his team reported that they found those differences in a gene which is involved in helping to form the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus repeatedly shows up in studies where gay and straight males differ.
Charles Roselli has studied the hypothalamus in rams and found that “gay rams” (male oriented rams) demonstrate size differences in the preoptic area of the hypothalamus. Here is a 2013 video where he described his research: