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Living Waters Ex-Gay Ministry In Montreal

Jim Burroway

September 28th, 2007

Peterson Toscano has learned that the Living Waters ex-gay ministry will be giving a twenty-five week “healing program” at a conservative Anglican church in Montreal, Canada. Headed by Andrew Comiskey, a former president of Exodus International, Living Waters has been expanding aggressively, with a presence in Canada and Europe. Former ex-gay leader Vonnie Pits issued an apology for her role in a Living Waters-based program she set up in New South Wales, Australia.  Peterson observes:

Often Living Waters uses extreme methods that involve forms of exorcism (deliverance/healing prayer) and rely on teachings that believe that people become gay through demonic influences and the sins of ancestors. This is a simple explanation of what they believe, but you get the idea. This is a group that is far far off the radar and not based in science or reality. They also charge for their services.

Read the stories of Christine, Eric, Euguene and Tom (a former Living Waters leader) to find out a little about their times at Living Waters programs.

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toujoursdan
September 29th, 2007 | LINK

I wonder what the conservative Anglican Church is.

Montréal is a very progressive diocese. They have put forth a resolution asking the bishop to allow same sex blessings. The vote is set for October and is likely to pass (though that doesn’t guarantee that the bishop will approve the request.)

I wonder if this is in response to that.

Timothy Kincaid
September 29th, 2007 | LINK

You have to love Peterson and Christine for compiling and proving witness of the lives of people who have been through all the various ex-gay programs.

Larry Houston
September 30th, 2007 | LINK

I attended the first Living Waters program in California, in the late 1980s. Each week we received photocopies of the material. Andy was writing the handbook at the time. The first edition was titled Pursuing Sexual Wholeness. The current edition is titled Pursing Relational Wholeness.

The parameters of the discussion are best framed, “Who one is, a homosexual” or “what one does, homosexuality”. The support for the latter is the strongest. Homosexuality is a relationship issue. Homosexuality is an illegitimate attempt to meet the legitimate need for intimacy in same-sex relationships.

I self-identify as a former homosexual. I ask for affirmation and validation in my identification as a former homosexual. Support for homosexuality in the church is through a call for “social justice” for all individuals. Does this call for “social justice” include those individuals who self-identify as former homosexuals, ex-gays, and former lesbians.

Ken R
September 30th, 2007 | LINK

I self-identify as a former homosexual. I ask for affirmation and validation in my identification as a former homosexual. Support for homosexuality in the church is through a call for “social justice” for all individuals. Does this call for “social justice” include those individuals who self-identify as former homosexuals, ex-gays, and former lesbians.

Yes it does Larry. However, that call does not entitle you to force us to conform to your interpretation of Scripture. You claim to know the truth by your website. But I believe you only know YOUR truth when it comes to YOUR situation.

For example you may wear a size 9 in a shoe size but you don’t tell someone that wears a size 11 to force it to stretch to their foot because you know the size works for you. The person may constantly struggle to make it fit but in the end it just won’t work. There will be pain to follow. Sure, they can walk around in a size 9 and tell themselves over and over its just fine but for how long? Simply, just because it works for you (being ex-gay) doesn’t mean it does for everyone else.

Hop on over to Beyond Ex-Gay and read some of the testimonies of former ex-gays.

http://www.beyondexgay.com

Martin Lanigan
September 30th, 2007 | LINK

Larry,

“I self-identify as a former homosexual. I ask for affirmation and validation in my identification as a former homosexual.”

You are perfectly entitled to do both, however, I am perfectly entitled to ignore you. I suspect you are simply trolling for attention.

How you experience your sexuality in no way resonates with how I experience mine. Your assertion that homosexuality is “an illegitimate attempt to meet the legitimate need for intimacy in same-sex relationships” is simply empty rhetoric.

Assertions advanced without meaningful evidence can be dismissed with no evidence whatsoever.

Have a nice day.

Ben in oakland
October 1st, 2007 | LINK

And Larry, if it is all about your religious beliefs, then your beliefs about homosex are no more valid than anybody else’s, and no more so than your religious beliefs.

All theology is a matter of opinion, not evidence. Your beliefs are evidence only of your beliefs, not reality.

Please answer two question for me. as a jew, i totally reject the Christian story. Does that bother you?

David in Tampa
October 8th, 2007 | LINK

I’m a christian, I love God, I’m also gay and I spent 25 years of my life trying to become what I thought the bible said I had to be which is “a straight man”. I’ve been through living waters as well as being involved in two live-in discipleship ministries like “love in action” in Tennessee and “freedom at last” in Kansas. Unfortunatley I wasted those 25 years because I was scarred to compromise my “religious beliefs” and allow myself to become open-minded and teachable as well as humble. My family and church beleived what they beleived and I just assumed everyone was right.

I submitted myself to the “so called authorities” in my life and as a result my life was almost destroyed. God stayed with me and His Grace finally brought me to a place of interpreting scripture appropriately in light of science and todays culture. I attend a wonderful all inclusive church where gay and straight alike attend and I’m finally becoming the man God created me to be and loving it. Literal interpretation of scripture can be dangerous and is used by the religious community to condemn what God has created and blessed. Jesus was crucified for going against the religious leaders of His day, so we are in good company.

I want to say that I’ve read all the above comments and I find myself feeling extremely dissapointed about what I’ve read because much of what I read was simply defensive in posture.

Let me elaborate…Larry’s comment about his experience of change and personal belief about homosexuality not being appropriate for him was followed by a simple question. “Does Social Justice apply to him as well?” An appropriate response would have been a simple yes, it does apply.

I feel very protective of Larry because he was sharing his heart and not attacking anyone. Come on guys! You’re better than that and how do we really know that Larry wasn’t born a straight man and simply needed to find his center and come to grips with his own God given sexuality. Prudence demands that each person is different and clearly there are straight men who are confused about their sexuality as well as gay men who are ashamed and want to change because of their own religious upbringing.

I think the problem here is that we try to put all our eggs in one basket and that type of thinking stems from traditional teaching of religious values which must be challenged and brought into the light. I think Alfred Kinsey’s scale of human sexuality is a good reference for this topic because clearly we were all created different by God. I believe in the Bible but it in itself is not the last Word. The final authority for me is the Word of God revealed by the Holy Spirit through proper, sound interpretation; looking to Jesus and His will for my life. He gets the last word and you’ll find no condemnation from Him if you interpret scripture in it’s context; with mind and heart, from an unbiased point of view, utilizing science, cultural changes, linguistic translation of specific words and a little common sense. I’ll end with this..we are supposed to love each other, not beat each other up. How can we strive for social justice if we attack each other and refuse to affirm another persons experience without being defensive?

Timothy Kincaid
October 8th, 2007 | LINK

David,

Thank you for sharing your testimony. If you haven’t done so yet, please go to http://www.beyondexgay.com and add your story to the compendium of those whose experiences are like yours.

As for Larry, I too feel for him. But please don’t make assumptions about Larry based solely on this one comment. I think those who responded to him here did so in the context of his cumulative comments.

Jason
October 9th, 2007 | LINK

Timothy, David,
Or it could be this little gem, too:

“Homosexuality is an illegitimate attempt to meet the legitimate need for intimacy in same-sex relationships.”

He didn’t preface that quote by saying “for me….”, or “In my life…”, it was a blanket statement.

To then ask, “does social justice include me, too?” is a bit like smacking someone in the face and then asking them to please pass the potatoes. I exaggerate, but my point is it’s not very genuine or generous to insult a class of people and then ask them for help and or acceptance.

Tolerance only works if everyone exercises it.

Leap Blogging at Bene Diction Blogs On
January 9th, 2008 | LINK

[…] a presence in Winnipeg. This extreme US program (gays can be cured) is described in detail at Box Turtle Bulletin. Published 33 minutes ago // Used for showing and hiding user information in the comment […]

JM
January 16th, 2010 | LINK

“I’m a christian, I love God, I’m also gay and I spent 25 years of my life trying to become what I thought the bible said I had to be which is “a straight man.”

I have never, ever heard a counselor advise this. It is far different from a chaste man. The wrong-headed stance of so many in the church for so long is at this point a straw man. The choice is not gay or straight. The choice is married or single. As for the rightness of gay marriage, each has to come to his own conclusion, but if the Church has been wrong about that, I think confidence in its broader message is a bit of wishful thinking.

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