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Why York Archbishop John Sentamu is Wrong about Conversion Therapy

Why York Archbishop John Sentamu is Wrong about Conversion Therapy
Reparative Therapy has proven itself a powerful tool for change

By David W. Virtue, DD
March 30, 2018

"The sooner the practice of so-called conversion therapy is banned, I can sleep at night," boldly stated John Sentamu, Archbishop of York recently.

He is wrong; in some cases, fatally wrong. By denying the possibility of conversion, or reparative therapy as it is also known, he is saying that change is not possible, but sexuality we know is malleable, expandable and reconstructable and not always easily classifiable. "The evidence from science is very clear that sexual attraction is not immutable. There is very realistic hope for change for those who desire it. A high percentage of those who believe themselves to be gay or bisexual end up becoming heterosexual, even without professional help", says Dr. Bruce Atkinson, a therapist and lay Anglican leader.

As one shrewd observer told VOL, Sentamu likes to be on the winning side in a debate and this was an easy call.

The truth is this, If the archbishop is against any kind of therapy to reduce unwanted same sex attractions (SSA) then he must believe that SSA is normal, natural and God-given. This would mean he is against any kind of effort to help a person conform himself to our God-given design; that is, he is encouraging such persons to identify with their brokenness. The archbishop by his rejection of conversion therapy, not only embraces sexual sin, he is telling people who are broken and lost sexually that it is okay to stay that way and live it out.

He is also saying that all those people who have undergone successful therapy to change their unwanted same sex attractions are wrong and should never have undergone such therapies. He is also denying that the gospel has the power to change lives and fundamentally he is saying that people who voluntarily choose to change their sexual desires are wrong in doing so.

At a deeper level, he is denying the stories of thousands of men and women who have come out of that lifestyle and gone on to marry and raise families. There was a time when full page ads were taken out in major US daily newspapers picturing former homosexuals now happily married. Today such ads would be outright rejected; the politically correct leftist editors would never allow them. The LGBTQI political correctness mafia would be all over them.

Sentamu is denying both science and scripture. There is no evidence of "born that way" nor is there any evidence of a gay gene, and Scripture is ontologically clear that sex between men will meet the harshest of God's judgements, no exceptions. (Rom. 1:18-21). Our sexuality grows out of God's creation decree.

Furthermore, I have personally witnessed reparative therapy sessions by a qualified psychiatrist and psychologist assisting those with SSA that, in fact, work. Years I ago, I flew to London and sat for a long weekend listening to some 150 men tell their stories. They came from England and from as far away as Israel. They came voluntarily, there was no coercion. They came hungry for change. I listened to their stories which always involved a malfunctioning relationship with a father or mother. A psychiatrist and two therapists sat quietly listening to their stories.

When the therapists, one of whom was Dr. Joseph Nicolosi (now deceased), a man who had led hundreds of men out of homosexuality into heterosexuality and who headed The Thomas Aquinas Psychological Clinic in Encino, California, spoke, it was with amazing grace, compassion and understanding. Together the therapists gently pushed the men, drawing out of them what they had experienced growing up and helping them to understand how they got boxed into their present situation and how they could move on with their lives. There was no pussy-footing around the issue, no simple sympathy, empathy or feel your pain therapies. In many ways it was tough love. There were no immediate 'conversions' or 'praise the Lord' healings. What took place was the hard slog of healing, working through years of dysfunction and then sometimes a breakthrough.

After two days of listening, I began to see the beginnings of transformed lives. Some of the men were smiling, some cried, others raised their heads, realizing that they were not alone, that they were not weird or full of self-loathing because they wanted to change their attractions. I have no idea how many experienced total liberation or were simply experiencing the first stirrings of change. Only God knows. But this I do know as I watched and listened; conversion therapy is not only possible, it can and does work and lives can be transformed.

My own observation is that in reparative therapy people change to varying degrees, and change might well be a lifetime process. Total change is usually not a realistic psychotherapeutic goal, one therapist told me. But to deny change at all is wrong. Dead wrong.

At his website www.josephnicolosi.com, Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, Sr. reveals how he has assisted hundreds of clients with their goal to reduce their same-sex attractions and explore their heterosexual potential.

He began this work in 1981 as the originator of reparative therapy. His pioneering work ended when he passed away suddenly last year. But a dedicated staff of licensed therapists trained by Dr. Nicolosi still remain, and they are available to carry on his work.

His clients would tell him the following: "I know, on some deep level, that I'm a heterosexual man. But I'm troubled by homosexual attractions that prevent me from being who I really am."

Many men were victims of homosexual sexual abuse. They don't believe that "gay" could ever describe them. But that childhood experience has left them with attractions that they find compelling, although ultimately not satisfying. These feelings interfere with their values, their marriages and deeply held beliefs of who they really are.

There are many other factors of childhood that can lead a man down a homosexual path. Some men had a negative experience with women (such as a disempowering mother) that blocks them from being attracted to females. Others failed to make a strong connection with their fathers, and in adulthood, they romanticize maleness. Still others successfully made the initial bond with their fathers, but the father was not effective enough to protect the boy from the trauma of a "crazy-making" mother; the boy then develops a longing for a salient man to intervene and "rescue" him, which becomes eroticized as he grows older. Many of these men don't consider themselves gay.

The legitimate therapist will not simply accept at face value, the client's gay feelings. He must always ask "why," rather than locking the client into an unwanted gay self-identification, writes Dr. Nicolosi at his website.

Perhaps you, too, believe that these feelings do not represent "who you really are."

Former American Psychological Association President Nicholas Cummings, Ph.D., during his years as Chief Psychologist at Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco, said, "Of the patients I oversaw who sought to change their orientation, hundreds were successful," USA Today reported.


In 1992, Dr. Nicolosi and two psychiatrists organized a professional association called the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH). Today, NARTH has over 1000 members around the world.

In "What Research Shows: NARTH's Response to the American Psychological Association's Claims on Homosexuality." This paper examines over 100 years of scientific literature on the subject of overcoming unwanted sexual attractions; it offers substantial evidence that for at least some people, these attractions can be modified. Gay activists, who almost uniformly oppose our work, still admit that for some people, "sexual fluidity" is a reality.

We are not alone in this belief. If gay doesn't define you, YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE GAY. Archbishop Sentamu, take note.

There are numerous "client stories" of Dr. Nicolosi's work to those who have an open mind to change.

Here is the story of one man's journey. http://www.josephnicolosi.com/collection/davidsstory

From the UK comes this: http://anglicanmainstream.org/why-we-must-stop-the-government-from-outlawing-the-ex-gay-movement/

We also invite readers to click on these two excellent videos: https://www.core-issues.org/vos-dvd

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