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Banning Sexual Conversion Therapy

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

homo-therapyAs the Executive Director and on behalf of the Board of Directors of Grace Rivers Ministry, I’d like to make the following statement regarding the banning of Sexual Orientation Conversion Therapy.

At Grace Rivers Ministry, we believe that a person must make healthy, authentic, and respectful decisions about how they will act upon their sexual desires. We believe people should be given the freedom by loved ones, the culture, and religious institutions to make those decisions without condemnation or coercion within appropriate limitations such as rape, pedophilia, sex slavery or sexual acts that will emotionally or physically damage another person. We also believe that a person considering marriage to a person who has a different sexual orientation should do so with great caution, counsel, and honesty with themselves and the one they are considering marrying.

We know that within religious culture there is vast disagreement as to what the Bible says or doesn’t say about homosexuality or transsexuality. Due to these diverse perspectives we believe a person should also have the freedom to believe and to follow their religious convictions in their actions and sexual relationships. However, we do not believe that a person’s sexual orientation can be changed through counseling, conversion therapy, Reparative Therapy or religious practices such as deliverance, or exorcism.

We believe that messages that communicate that someone’s sexual orientation can be changed through such processes or that one’s orientation should attempt to be changed to conform to society or religious belief can be tremendously harmful. At times these messages or practices can even be toxic to a person’s sense of self and psychological well being.

It is also our experience that when a person marries someone with a different sexual orientation (“Mixed Orientation Marriage”) that this marriage is destined to have great complications including the probability of divorce in time. We advise an honest evaluation of the potential effects prior to making the decision to enter into a mixed orientation marriage.

We stand against counseling practices aimed at changing one’s sexual orientation. It is our conviction that it is far better to provide support, counsel, and mentors to help people accept their sexual orientation as it is. It is within these supportive actions and relationships that we believe a person can far better make healthy and appropriate decisions as to their sexual practice and relationships.

Psychological problems, addictions, unhealthy relationships and the potential for suicidal ideations and actions can come as a result of coercion to change, or condemnation for individuals whose sexual orientations are different from the hetero-normative. When youth struggle with accepting their homosexuality or transsexualism and they do not have healthy and supportive mentoring, this can delay their emotional and sexual development causing immature, harmful and potentially damaging consequences.

I have personally been negatively impacted and I’ve experienced the consequences brought about by sexual conversion therapy. I also have led hundreds of men and women through sexual conversion therapy over a period of two decades. I’ve seen the harm and painful outcome of this inappropriate attempt to alter or change a person’s sexual orientation or identity.

We believe that sexual conversion therapy should be considered harmful, destructive, and should be banned as the toxic practice that it is.

John J. Smid, Executive Director

Board of Directors, Grace Rivers Ministry

BornPerfectWe support of the Born Perfect campaign. NCLR (National Center for Lesbian Rights)  has launched #BornPerfect: The Campaign to End Conversion Therapy in the next five years by passing laws across the country to protect LGBT kids, fighting in courtrooms to ensure their safety, and raising awareness about the serious harms caused by these dangerous practices.