Friday, June 08, 2012

Research to be presented on changing LDS LGBT sexual orientation

Bill Bradshaw will report some of the data from a recent on-line survey of 1600 LGBT Latter-day Saints at the Family Fellowship Forum, Sunday, June 24, 2012 at 4:00 p.m. in the Social Work Auditorium on the campus of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

The talk will focus on the experience of these respondents in trying to change their sexual orientation. The results should shed light on an ongoing debate about the validity such therapies.

The following excerpts of Mormon group still using discredited 'gay cure' therapy (Salt Lake Tribune, Peggy Fletcher Stack)  provide some background to the ongoing debate, particularly about Evergreen International (which reportedly receives financial backing from the church, and includes General Authority speakers at their conferences).

The author of a controversial 2001 study claiming that gays can change their sexual orientation has now disavowed his conclusions, but a Utah organization for Mormons plans to continue using so-called reparative therapy in its efforts to help or "cure" those with same-sex attraction.

David Pruden, executive director of Salt Lake City-based Evergreen International, is sticking with the study's initial conclusions -- even though the author, Robert L. Spitzer, is backing away from them. Pruden told The Salt Lake Tribune the group has no plans to remove Spitzer's initial research from its website.

Spitzer "defended his methods for 10 years. To suggest that his feeling 'sorry' somehow changes the data in any way is totally unscientific," Pruden wrote in an email to The Tribune. "Science is not about the researcher's feelings one way or the other. Good science asks a question, sets up a research process and then the data leads where the data leads."

Evergreen, a nonprofit support group for Mormons who want to "overcome homosexual behavior," is not officially affiliated with the LDS Church, but a leader of the Utah-based faith addresses the group each year.

Spitzer wrote in a letter to a psychiatric journal that "I believe I owe the gay community an apology," because of his study, according to a recent New York Times story.

"The study had serious problems," The Times reported.

Pruden, however, argued Spitzer's initial work has since been validated.

Elan Karten and Jay C. Wade at Fordham University "did their own follow-up study to test Spitzer's results," Pruden said. "(His) results were generally confirmed."