In part 4 of 4 in this series, the contributors discuss their reactions to an article published in the Salt Lake Tribune on September 27, 2015 that details the interventions and principles employed at Journey into Manhood weekend retreats and the linkages between that organization and the larger LGBT LDS community. The contributors first extend their empathy and understanding of what it must be like for those who have found significant support from such programs to feel that they or their beliefs are being attacked. They go on to analyze the substance of the ongoing conversations within the LDS LGBT community about this topic. They close with their hopes for a future where young LGBT Mormons are not subjected to ideas within their faith community that shame them or or their parents nor cast a pathological shadow over their being homosexual or transgender.
In June 2015, an organization called JONAH which offers sexual orientation change interventions, was found by a New Jersey jury to have committed consumer fraud for having offered services that they were not able to fulfill. Three individuals from the LDS LGBT/SSA community participated in that trial. Two of those individuals, Pret Dahlgren and Jeff Bennion who were members of the board of directors of the LDS/SSA group North Star, testified on behalf of JONAH about the benefits they’ve experienced from interventions which were relevant to the case.. Also referenced in the course of the trial was another organization that similarly offers sexual orientation change interventions called Journey into Manhood and its parent company People Can Change which are popular among many in the LDS/SSA community, most particularly in the North Star community. Since the jury’s verdict was announced, two letters-to-the-editor have been published in the Salt Lake Tribune: one calling on North Star to clarify its relationship to Journey into Manhood and distance itself from any sexual orientation change programs, and the other was a rebuttal defending individuals’ right to participate in these programs as a means of addressing their “unwanted” same sex attraction as they see fit. Recently, as a result of the public response to the affiliations between Journey into Manhood and its philosophies, North Star issued an announcement that both Pret Dahlgren and Jeff Bennion have resigned from the board of directors.
Contributors: Jay, Josh,Tom, Laura, Kendall
Music by Micah Dahl Anderson