Does Prodigal Ministries (PM) do Conversion/Reparative Therapy (C/RT)? This is a question we frequently are asked. Unfortunately, individuals with no association with PM often publically claim that PM does do C/RT.
When I have asked such individuals, “to define Conversion Therapy or to define Reparative Therapy” in most cases they cannot do so. Similarly, when searching for the definition of C/RT online we find general definitions.
Searching the WWW we can come up with general definitions like: ‘Psychotherapy aimed at changing a person’s homosexuality’. And,
‘The practice of trying to change an individual’s sexual orientation from homosexual/bisexual to heterosexual using psychological or spiritual interventions.’
Based on these general definitions, we can say unequivocally that Prodigal Ministries does not engage in reparative—or conversion—therapy. Nowhere in our writings or our speaking has PM ever proclaimed to do C/RT. The propaganda that PM does C/RT comes exclusively from those that do not know us.
But, I will help put into words how those that proclaim PM does R/CT to define C/RT. They define Conversion and Reparative Therapy in this way: Any form of professional counseling or lay-counseling that does not affirm, condone and nurture a gay identity, gay relationships or gay sex. Basically, if you do not help someone assimilate into a gay identity, relationships and behaviors then what you are doing is Conversion or Reparative Therapy.
Who Comes to Prodigal Ministries?
Men and women come to Prodigal Ministries of their own volition. They come of their own choosing because they want the support we offer.
Individuals seek us out because we are Christians. Individuals, seek us out because their priority is developing a deeper relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit while desiring support and inspiration to pursue and experience God’s design and intent in their sexuality and relationships.
Men and women seek the support we offer for various reasons:
• Fear of disease or having an STD including HIV
• Sexual compulsion/addiction/sexually risky behaviors
• Unfulfilled in gay-identified relationships and, or community
• Desire for a traditional family
• Sexual ethics different from the gay-identified community
• Deeply held spiritual convictions regarding The Creator’s design and intent for human sexual relating.
• Reoccurring issues of the past. Seeing themselves recreate dysfunctional relationships relating to their past.
• Aware of inordinate ambivalence towards the same-sex i.e. fears and lusts.
• Desire their sexual identity, behaviors and desire to reflect their deeply held values.
• Though gay-identified and engaging in gay-sex they know they are really heterosexual in design and intent.
Individuals seek our support for one, two or more of the reasons listed above.
No one coming to PM has ever come to PM reporting that “Society just won’t accept me as gay so I want to make changes in my life.”
If shame is present within an individual related to their same-sex attraction a goal of counseling is to eradicate the shame surrounding the SSA. The goal is not to eradicate the SSA, because there is no guarantee of that outcome.
Then who is Prodigal Ministries? And in what practices do Prodigal Ministries engage?
Prodigal Ministries is a Christian discipleship and counseling ministry supporting men and women with same-sex attraction (SSA) or gay-identified who are pursuing sexual purity and relational wholeness in accordance with The Creator’s design and intent.
With Jesus anything is possible.
Like all people seeking counseling, our clients seek changes in behaviors, thinking, desires, relationships, effects of their past, the path to the future, identity and spiritual life. PM is here to support individuals with those same goals. Changes in these aspects of their personhood may effect change in their sexuality. For many, they report a resounding, “Yes, we have experienced change in our sexuality.” Many of our clients do report a heterosexual identity, desires and functioning.
We counter the harmful claims that “no one can change” with stories of transformation. But, that is not to say ‘that we are in the business of changing people from gay to straight.’ We provide their stories to counter the culture that says, ’No one can change.’ By saying, “People can experience transformation, including their sexuality” we are not saying that all people change and that we change them.
Because a person does not experience change in their sexuality does not mean that no one can experience change in their sexuality. Likewise, the fact some persons have experienced change in their sexuality does not mean that everyone will experience change in their sexuality. Each person is to express how change happened (or did not happen) for him/herself. Only an individual can speak to the change they have experienced and to what degree. PM does not speak for them, does not guarantee a particular outcome and does not measure the success of our counseling based on the client’s change in sexuality. Success is based upon the client’s obtaining his/her goals.
Our mission is not to take away an individual’s unwanted homosexual attractions and replace it with heterosexuality. Even if a person states their goal is ‘to change from gay to straight’ PM does not promise that it can deliver on the goal. We do not guarantee feelings of heterosexuality.
Those whose same-sex attractions remain are supported in their place as functioning and contributing members of the Body of Christ just like other followers of Jesus. Their value and worth as offspring of God is intact.
We operate on Biblical principles and directives as lead by the Spirit of God. We posture ourselves in a spirit of gentleness, humility and love to all people regardless of their sexual desires (homosexual or heterosexual).