Mel Seesholtz assesses the weaknesses of the recent ex-gay study by Stanton Jones of Wheaton College and Mark Yarhouse of Regent University.

The Thomas Project: A study designed for specific results

A well-known, peer-reviewed research study of ex-gays that was conducted by Robert Spitzer in 2001 made fundamental mistakes of methodology, according to those peer reviewers: telephone interviews, no physical monitoring, slanted definitions of “success” and “change,” biased pool of subjects — in a single round of 45-minute telephone interviews. Was it really worth Jones and Yarhouse’s effort, and Exodus’ money, to spend five years repeating the same mistakes — this time conveniently skipping the peer review?

It is puzzling that Exodus and Focus on the Family claim to be pleased by study findings that — at best — only 11 percent of ex-gay program participants report a modest degree of bisexuality after 5 years. Who do they believe they’re fooling with talk of “change” in sexual orientation when — according to Christianity Today — nearly all the “successes” are bisexuals* who acknowledge they are constantly fighting off same-sex urges?

Seesholtz sums up the selectivity of the study, which appears to have utilized ex-gay activists ex-gays recruited by Exodus as subjects of the study:

A weak methodology that included only participants likely to yield the desired results: junk science encouraging potentially harmful “therapeutic” practices.

The study failed to provide objective scientific evidence of true change in sexual orientation. Seesholtz concludes:

That being said, should individuals have the right to seek “ex-gay” therapy? Yes: caveat emptor. Before entering into such programs, however, those offering such “treatments” should be required — ethically and legally — to tell prospective clients the scientific, medical facts.

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