InterVarsity Press to Publish Research on Religiously Mediated Change in Sexual Orientation

Here is the official announcement of the release of research regarding religiously mediated changes in aspects of sexual orientation. Conducted by Stanton Jones and Mark Yarhouse, this study will likely influence the discussion of this topic for quite some time. Next week will be a big week in Nashville with the American Association of Christian Counselors World Conference, the Exodus Regional Conference and several other events around town. Watch the blog for more information and events.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

InterVarsity Press to Publish Controversial Research

Westmont, IL — In September, InterVarsity Press will publish the results of a longitudinal study conducted by researchers Stanton L. Jones (Wheaton College) and Mark A. Yarhouse (Regent University). Ex-Gays? A Longitudinal Study of Religiously Mediated Change in Sexual Orientation directly addresses two of the most contentious and disputed questions of our day—Is change of sexual orientation possible? and Is the attempt to change harmful?—and the findings of the study appear to contradict the commonly expressed views of the mental health establishment. InterVarsity Press will hold a press conference at the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) World Conference on September 13, 2007, in Nashville, Tennessee, to announce the results of this study.

In a joint statement, Jones and Yarhouse explain the reasoning for their research: “We are evangelical Christians committed to the truth-seeking activity of science. In conducting and reporting this study, we took seriously the words of one of our heroes, C. S. Lewis, who said that science produced by Christian persons would have to be ‘perfectly honest. Science twisted in the interests of apologetics would be sin and folly.’ ”

Stanton Jones is provost and professor of psychology at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. He is a member of the American Psychological Association and served on the Council of Representatives, the central governing body of the APA, representing the Psychology of Religion division from 1999-2001. He has published many other professional and popular articles and books, including Modern Psychotherapies, coauthored with Richard E. Butman.

Mark Yarhouse is professor of psychology and director of the Institute for the Study of Sexual Identity (www.sexualidentityinstitute.org) at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia, where he has taught since 1998. He has written extensively for professional publications and has authored several books, including Modern Psychopathologies, coauthored with Richard E. Butman and Barrett W. McRay, and Sexual Identity Synthesis, coauthored with Erica S. N. Tan.

The InterVarsity Press book, scheduled to be published in September 2007, is the most scientifically rigorous study of its kind to date, and uses multiple measures regarded as “industry standards.” Knowing their results would generate controversy, Jones and Yarhouse have thoroughly described the rationale for their procedures. George A. Rekers, Professor of Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Science Emeritus at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, states that the study “meets the high research standards set by the American Psychological Association that individuals be validly assessed, followed and reported over time with a prospective, longitudinal outcome research design.” The study will set the standard for all future work in this field and demands a serious reading from social scientists. Publisher Bob Fryling comments, “In a highly politicized environment, this book is another ‘inconvenient truth’ of scientific research data countering prejudice and ignorance.”

Founded in 1947 as an extension of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA, InterVarsity Press serves those in the university, the church and the world by publishing thoughtful Christian books that equip and encourage people to follow Jesus as Savior and Lord in all of life.

PRESS CONFERENCE INFORMATION

American Association of Christian Counselors Conference

September 13, 2007

Opryland Hotel

2800 Opryland Drive

Nashville, TN 37214

Room: Jackson E/F 3:30 p.m. Central Standard Time

MEDIA CONTACTS

PRINT: Heather Mascarello, 630.734.4012, hmascarello@ivpress.com

ELECTRONIC: Heather Mascarello, 630.734.4013, kkcarnet@ivpress.com

Although results of the research are embargoed until the press conference, my endorsement of the book is as follows:

Can some motivated people alter aspects of their sexuality through religious ministry? With the publication of Ex-Gays? A Longitudinal Study of Religiously Mediated Change in Sexual Orientation, Stanton Jones and Mark Yarhouse have produced the most rigorous study to date to address this question. Knowing their results would generate controversy, the authors have thoroughly described the rationale for their procedures. While the authors fully acknowledge that change in sexual attractions did not occur for some individuals, they offer cogent and compelling reasons to believe that participation in religious ministry resulted in durable changes for others. The Jones and Yarhouse study will set the standard for all future work in this field and demands a serious reading from social scientists. For anyone interested in the study of sexuality, values and human change, this book is a must read.

Iowa court rules that marriage licenses must be issued to same-sex couples

Ok, since several posts end up being about same-sex marriage, here is a way to do it on topic. I am not going to get into it much, but have at it (without name-calling or questioning motives).

By now, most folks know, an Iowa District Court judge ruled that marriage licenses must be issued to same-sex couples and of course we’re off to the Iowa Supreme Court. Eventually, we will all be before the U.S. Supreme Court so arguments aside, that is where the final say will occur.

The case was Varnum v. Brien. Click the link to read the opinion.

Press statement from Omaha gay organizations about Gaylibrary.com

Statement by the boards of Citizens For Equal Protection of Nebraska (CFEP); Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) Omaha Chapter and Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) Omaha Chapter:

Contacts: Bob Dorr, PFLAG, 402-333-7064; Michael Gordon, CFEP, 402-714-3810

“While CFEP and the PFLAG Omaha and GLSEN Omaha Chapters respect the spirit of freedom of speech, we do not condone violence in any way, shape or form. Any web site statements that suggest violence as an option in responding to injustice against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are absolutely inappropriate, unconscionable and beyond the pale.

“We have met with the developer-owner of GayLibrary.com and of several related web sites and expressed our concerns about some material on those sites. The developer-owner has cleansed the sites of language that, we believe, could encourage violence. We will help the developer-owner stay vigilant to make certain that no such language reappears. We are discussing what further action we might take such as contacting other groups to relay our concerns.

“The GLSEN Omaha and PFLAG Omaha Chapters and CFEP have worked hard for many years to end bullying in our K-12 schools, and particularly to end bullying and harassment based on real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity and expression. We believe in safe schools for ALL students, faculty, staff and patrons. Members of PFLAG Omaha, GLSEN Omaha and CFEP serve as presenters and panelists in an Omaha-area program that promotes safe school environments for all youths. Our Safe Schools program reaches 50 or more audiences each year, including many college classes of future teachers. Our groups always have advocated staying within the rule of law and wouldn’t dream of deviating from that principle.”

These gay organizations clearly take this issue seriously and have responded with an appropriate statement. I hope one of the other groups contacted will be the Rainbow Outreach where Brian Wyant remains coordinator. I also would like to see Mr. Wyant issue a statement as well.

UPDATE: 8/19/07 – Brian Wyant is no longer listed as a board member/coordinator on the Rainbow Outreach website.

“Multimedia manifesto” sent to NBC by Virginia Tech killer

In a disturbing turn of events, NBC News disclosed earlier this evening that Cho Seung-Hui sent a package of video clips, photos, and writings overnight mail on Monday to NBC News. The package was mailed between the first and second assaults. Naturally quite distressing to the families and traumatized, this information provides some insight into the mind of this very troubled man. More news is emerging that he was disturbed for some time and those in my field will be analyzing this situation for some time to come.

Virginia Tech Shootings

Even though I am no longer a college counseling center director, I maintain relationships with my colleagues in that field via a discussion list for college counselors. As you might imagine, there is much chatter on the list about this horrific tragedy at Virginia Tech today. As of 1:37pm, the Virginia Tech counseling staff was locked in their offices through the morning but have plans to remain open late tonight. A campus alert has been issued and the school will be closed tomorrow. Details are emerging about the circumstances.

Colleagues have been quite generous with offers to travel to Virginia Tech to assist as needed. My prayers are with the families and staff there…

As the news of this tragedy was coming in, I was teaching about video game violence in social psychology class. We had just seen a video featuring a speech by Jack Thompson, attorney who specializes in suing violent video game makers. Thompson, in a sense, prophesied Columbine by warning about the impact of video game violence on kids on the Today Show days before the event.

Some papers have predicted that this shooting might revive a debate on gun regulation, however, I hope with Dr. Phil on last night’s Larry King Show, that the debate will include discussion of the culture of violence, which includes violent video games.

UPDATE: 4/17/07 – More details are being reported about the mental status of Cho Seung-Hui. Grove City College Alumna, Professor Carolyn Rude (’67), chairwoman of the university’s English department, has been widely quoted saying Cho’s papers were so disturbing that she referred him to the university’s counseling service.

UPDATE: 4/18/07 – Clearly demonstrating premeditation and severe mental illness, NBC News received a packet of information mailed by Cho Seung-Hui between killings on Monday.