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Posts for March, 2008

Interview With Ex-Gay Survivor Jacob Wilson

Daniel Gonzales

March 9th, 2008

Jacob Wilson attended Love In Action the summer of 2005 while the whole Zach fiasco was unfolding. Jim Burroway interviewed Jacob about his time at LIA while we stood out front of Memphis’s Central Church where the Love Won Out ex-gay conference was being held.

Jacob speaks about “drinking the kool-aid” having convinced himself his same-sex attractions were lessening. He also speaks about how Love In Action made him feel like “part of myself was dying inside” and lastly the value of affirming friends, family and loved ones now that he’s trying to move beyond his ex-gay experience.

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Interview With Ex-Gay Survivor John Holm

Daniel Gonzales

March 6th, 2008

I managed to pull ex-gay survivor John Holm aside for an interview as we stood out front of Memphis’s Central Church where Love Won Out was being held. I asked John about believing he was “changing,” dating girls, and his switch from Southern Baptist to Quakerism. John attended Living Hope Ministries in Arlington, TX as well as Nehemiah Ministries in Urbana, IL.

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In other news, Beyond Ex-Gay has just released a photo album of our Memphis weekend.

Low Turnout at Love Won Out

Jim Burroway

February 26th, 2008

Anti-gay activism in America seems to be on the wane. Last September we reported on the very low turnout at the Family Impact Summit in Tampa, FL. They had hoped for about a thousand to show up, but on the first night, they made barely a hundred (organizers blamed “traffic”). On the final evening, they managed to draw about four hundred which featured Ken Blackwell and Tony Perkins, despite nearly continual live on-the-scene broadcasts from a local Christian radio station. Attendees grumbled at how difficult it was to drum up support for conferences like these.

Then there was the Watchmen On the Walls conference in Lynnwood, WA in October. Organizers there had hoped that 600 to 700 people would show up, but news reports estimated the attendance at a little over a hundred.

Now Focus On the Family’s CitizenLink reports that the Love Won Out conference in Memphis drew about six hundred. Previous draws in other cities approached eight hundred to over a thousand. I could get used to this trend.

Video: Inside “Love Won Out”

In this multi-part series of videos Box Turtle Bulletin editor Jim Burroway discusses attending Love Won Out.

Daniel Gonzales

January 14th, 2008

Today’s videos focus on Joseph Nicolosi, who until recently always delivered Love Won Out’s opening session on “The Condition of Male Homosexuality.” In the first video Jim recalls an encounter with a greiving father attending LWO. Jim believes the message of LWO is serving to keep a relational wedge between the father and his son. In the second video Jim discusses Joseph Nicolosi’s acknowledgment that one of his former patients, Daniel Gonzales, is outside the church conference protesting.

Driving A Wedge Between Father And Son
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Nicolosi Acknowledges Former Patient Now Protesting

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How ‘Love Won Out’ Is Promoted Through Local Churches

Daniel Gonzales

January 6th, 2008

The most visible sign Love Won Out is coming to your town is the billboard that generally goes up about a month before the conference date. I’ve long suspected LWO is also promoted from within local churches and now have confirmation of that. LWO’s website has undergone considerable re-tooling in response to the paradigm shift caused by the emergence of the Ex-Gay Survivor’s Movement.

It’s not part of that response but the LWO site now includes resources for local churches that wish to put together groups to attend/promote the event. See “Church Resources” on the LWO site here. Most interesting is a PDF checklist titled “Promotional Plan.” Checklist items include:

-“Put LWO information in your bulletin” on four consecutive Sundays prior to the event. A sample bulletin text is provided.

-“Dates to make introductory announcement from your pulpit” again on four consecutive Sundays prior to the event.

-“Let Dr. Dobson assist you in introducing LWO to your congregation by playing the promotional CD.”

-Brochures Focus will provide to put on information tables.

-At your next church staff meeting choose 5 staff/lay leaders “who need to hear this message.” [There’s something about that phrasing I find creepy.]

-Discounted group rates for organized groups of more than 10 people ($40/person, the regular advance rate is $50).

-Recruit members of your church to volunteer at the conference.

The most comical part is LWO’s continued paranoia about security. Following the item about recruiting volunteers is a note that reads:

“*PLEASE recruit only volunteers that you or your pastoral staff can personally recommend”

Disputed Mutability: More On Her Visit To “Love Won Out”

Jim Burroway

December 19th, 2007

Disputed Mutability is at it again. Her second post on “Love Won Out” is as thoughtful as her first.

When I attended Love Won Out, the talk on “The Condition on Male Homosexuality” was given by NARTH’s then-president Joseph Nicolosi. What a horrible talk that was. Thankfully, the Love Won Out conference I attended in Phoenix on Feb 10, 2007 was the last conference that Nicolosi participated in.

When Love Won Out went to Omaha in April, Nicolosi was replaced by Joe Dallas, who has been giving the talk on male homosexuality ever since. I was able to listen to audio of Dallas’ talk several weeks later and found his more nuanced and considered tone a huge improvement over Nicolosi’s. Disputed Mutability’s latest entry bears that out.

But while Dallas offers a somewhat more balanced overview of the possible causes of homosexuality (acknowledging that biology may play a role), DM notes that he nevertheless only discussed his developmental theory:

The funny thing is he went on from there to simply present the developmental theory, as if none of his cautions and qualifications mattered. I found this puzzling… Once you recongize that the theory probably doesn’t apply to 100% of the cases, why would you devote 100% of your remaining time talking about it? Does Love Won Out have anything to offer the person or family who can’t find themselves in the developmental picture?

DM’s question reminds me of a co-worker a few years back who was fond of saying, “Sometimes when your only tool is a hammer, all of your problems end up looking like nails.”

Video: Inside “Love Won Out”

In this multi-part series of videos Box Turtle Bulletin editor Jim Burroway discusses attending Love Won Out.

Daniel Gonzales

December 18th, 2007

Today we present two contrasting messages found at Love Won Out, one celebrated publicly and the other disclosed more privately. In the first video Jim looks at Mike Haley’s speech (in a general session) in which he proudly displays his marriage photos having achieved successful change. Then Jim contrasts this with Alan Chambers small breakout session in which he discusses frankly the life of struggle all ex-gays can expect.

“Mike Haley – The Hope For Marriage”
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Alan Chambers: “I live a life of denial”
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Video: Inside “Love Won Out”

In this multi-part series of videos Box Turtle Bulletin editor Jim Burroway discusses attending Love Won Out.

Daniel Gonzales

December 16th, 2007

In this segment Jim recounts Nancy Heche’s speech in which she describes praying her daughter, Anne Heche, out of lesbianism. This is one of the most bizarre moments of Love Won Out so we’ll let Nancy’s do her own talking, here’s the video:

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Video: Inside “Love Won Out”

In this multi-part series of videos Box Turtle Bulletin editor Jim Burroway discusses attending Love Won Out.

Daniel Gonzales

December 11th, 2007

Love Won Out isn’t just about selling the idea to parents that their children can change, there’s a political element as well Jim Burroway discovered. Here Jim describes a “fear inducing” speech by Dick Carpenter on how homosexuality is handled in public schools. Carpenter takes relatively benign videos promoting tolerance for children of gay couples and presents it as propaganda. Carpenter presents the material but never explains what the implications of the videos clips are supposed to be. Those in attendance, including Jim, are left to wonder.

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Video: Inside “Love Won Out”

Daniel Gonzales

December 5th, 2007

A few years ago, Warren Throckmorton popularize the phrase, “I do exist” through a video which highlighted the testimonies of ex-gay individuals. The idea behind the video was to provide proof to counter the argument that nobody really changed their sexual orientation. (Just last January, the video’s lead spokesperson, Noe Gutierrez, withdrew his support for the project, but that’s another story.)

That title, “I Do Exist,” is the theme for our next video, where Jim Burroway objects to the one-sided presentation at Love Won Out of what it means to be gay.

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The “Love Won Out” Series:
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word “Change” Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For “Change”

Disputed Mutability on “Love Won Out”

Jim Burroway

December 3rd, 2007

The blogger Disputed Mutability finally got around to posting some of her impressions about the Love Won Out conference in Indianapolis last October. This is the start of a series of posts I’ve been looking to for a long time. She identifies as ex-gay (“until a better label comes along”) and is supportive of the ex-gay movement, (“in the deepest, truest, and purest sense”), she is often critical of many of the culture-war aspects of ex-gay ministries. She is also one of the smartest and wittiest observers of the movement I’ve come across.

I had several pull-quotes set aside that I was going to repeat here, but DM isn’t one to be pull-quoted or soundbit. Just read her review and go with the flow. It’s wonderfully rewarding.

Okay. One quote, which has almost nothing to do with the rest of her post. I just wanted to highlight it because I couldn’t agree more:

Driving in, we saw a small cluster of protesters in the dark (Indianapolis at 7:45 am on the day before the end of Daylight Savings is pitch black!), no more than 15 I’d say. The only sign I could make out then was “PFLAG.” There were no protesters when we went out for lunch. We counted 12 on our drive out at the end of the day–I tried to make eye contact and smile and give a friendly nod to each as we drove slowly by, but mostly got blank stares from dour faces. One guy finally did grin back at us and wave; we waved back of course. I was shocked at how somber they all seemed–they wore the same vaguely constipated looks of solemn judgment that the quiet brand of antigay protesters wear. I understand they must have been saddened by the goings-on inside the church, but to me it seems like a poor way to change hearts and minds. It wasn’t very seductive.

This has really bothered me about most responses to Love Won Out. I had similar thoughts at the Palm Springs event in 2006. I mean, we’re supposed to be, like, gay, aren’t we? LWO tells everyone at the conference how miserable and angry we are, and then when the conference is over they look at us as they drive off and we’re standing there confirming everything they heard about us. I mean seriously, I thought we were supposed to be more creative than that.

Video: Inside “Love Won Out”

In this multi-part series of videos Box Turtle Bulletin editor Jim Burroway discusses attending Love Won Out.

Daniel Gonzales

November 12th, 2007

Attention Towleroad Visitors: The video you’re looking for is the second one on this post.

Healthy Expectations For The Prospect Of Change
The whole point of the Love Won Out conferences, put on by Exodus International and Focus On the Family, is to convince parents, loved ones, pastors, teachers, gays, and anyone else that “change is possible.” They often do this without defining what change means, and they often sugarcoat the likelihood of change for everyone. But if you’re lucky enough to attend the right breakout session given by just the right speaker, you just might catch the most honest assessment for the possibility of change you will ever hear.
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Who Seems To Be The Most Genuine?
That’s a tough one. Does being genuine require that one be consistently honest?
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See also:

The “Love Won Out” Series:
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word “Change” Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For “Change”

Video: Inside “Love Won Out”

In this multi-part series of videos Box Turtle Bulletin editor Jim Burroway discusses attending Love Won Out.

Daniel Gonzales

November 5th, 2007

Advice Given To Parents
Last weekend, Exodus and Focus On the Family held another Love Won Out conference in Indianapolis, Indiana. If that conference was like the others this past year, it was mostly attended by parents of gays and lesbians, and not so much by gays themselves who are interested in change.

And if that conference was anything like previous conferences, the information those parents heard was something of a mixed bag. It’s easy to focus on the negatives, but it’s also important to recognize that it wasn’t all horribly wrong. Love Won Out speakers were able to offer some advice to parents which might actually be useful to them — at least in terms of trying to keep the lines of communications open with their children.
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All Gay People Have Been Sexually Violated
While Love Won Out offers some examples of useful information to parents, other examples can be quite damaging. Here, Jim Burroway discusses one parent’s reaction to hearing Melissa Fryrear say she had never met a lesbian or gay man who hadn’t been abused.
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See also:

The “Love Won Out” Series:
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word “Change” Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For “Change”

Video: Inside “Love Won Out”

In this multi-part series of videos Box Turtle Bulletin editor Jim Burroway discusses attending Love Won Out.

Daniel Gonzales

October 29th, 2007

A Culture Within A Culture
Love Won Out can sometimes be somewhat mysterious to those who are outside the evangelical world. What’s more, homosexuality and the ex-gay movement largely exists outside the experience of the typical evangelical church-goer. This makes Love Won Out a unique culture within a culture.

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Blaming Fathers For Gay Sons
Most of the Love Won Out audience consists of mothers and fathers of gay sons and daughters. Guess who Love Won Out singles out as the main culprit behind their son’s homosexuality? Don’t take my word for it — you can hear it straight from Joseph Nicolosi’s lips.

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See also:

The “Love Won Out” Series:
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word “Change” Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For “Change”

Video: Inside “Love Won Out”

In this multi-part series of videos Box Turtle Bulletin editor Jim Burroway discusses attending Love Won Out.

Daniel Gonzales

October 22nd, 2007

Why I Attended Love Won Out

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Assumptions About What It Means To Be Gay

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See also:

The “Love Won Out” Series:
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word “Change” Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For “Change”

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