NARTH, Andy Comiskey Malign Gays, Affirm ‘Freedom from Homosexuality’
Ex-gay Andy Comiskey says that being gay is about self-absorption and lack of self-restraint — but gays can change.
In an interview with reparative therapist Dr Joseph Nicolosi, of NARTH, Comiskey says he can’t help but see gay activists as conflicted. They are denying their God-given selves, he says, and efforts to promote same-sex marriage are vain attempts to prove “how good and normal I am.”
But the exchange opens with the issue of sexual orientation change and whether “anyone can be completely free of homosexuality.” Comiskey, whose Exodus-affiliated Desert Stream Ministries runs the Living Water program to help gays find “healing from sexual and relational brokenness,” replies that he has “heard people report that.”
Nicolosi pushes Comiskey further:
Nicolosi: There are men that I’ve worked with who have said, “I have no more homosexual desire.” In our final sessions, they may consciously try to conjure up the old gay fantasies, the porn images, whatever, and it’s just nothing: “That’s it. Finished.” I tell them, “I’m sorry to have spoiled your fun.”
Comiskey: Yes, I can understand that.
Nicolosi: Or a man sees a good-looking guy in a gym locker room and he says to himself; “I remember I used to get a charge from that, but I just see him now as a nice-looking guy and that’s it.”
Clearly Nicolosi, who earlier alluded to Exodus International’s apparent turnaround on the subject of change, wants Comiskey to say unequivocally that gays can essentially be cured of their homosexual orientation. He claims his own clients get to the stage where they feel no sexual attraction whatever towards other men. But Comiskey instead talks about a “continuum” of change, where people make a “movement” from gay to straight attractions. Everyone’s at different stages, he says, to which Nicolosi responds that “some are able to go two steps; some, ten steps.”
And then the quibbling begins. Nicolosi posits a scenario where a man sees another man and gets a “zap,” a feeling of “Wow!” in the genitals or chest. He acknowledges that gays recognize that feeling as homosexuality, and he even says it is the same bodily response. But if that person tells himself the feeling is simply his “old way of relating to men,” is it homosexuality? Nicolosi says no, and Comiskey agrees.
In other words, you’re healed from your homosexuality, even if you still get an erection over a hot guy. With the bar set so low, is it any wonder Nicolosi’s success statistics are so impressive?
Comiskey tempers his response by saying that the person who gets the same feeling but interprets or experiences it in a new way is still working on his problem:
I would say [it’s not homosexuality]. That momentary experience indicates that the person continues to work out a clear sense of self-acceptance in the light of seeing another man to whom he may be tempted to abdicate himself. I don’t see that as an indicator of essential homosexuality, but as an indicator of continued integration that he is still working out.
Evidently still uncomfortable that Comiskey is still not affirming that gays can be “totally free from homosexuality,” Nicolosi presses him again:
Would you agree that “still working out” might mean that in two years, he may walk down the same street, pass the same guy and feel nothing or almost nothing, thinking to himself: “Oh, nice looking guy… next,” and nothing more?
“Exactly,” Comiskey replies.
Feeling those gay attractions and reinterpreting them is what healing is all about, he continues. It’s part of contributing to one’s integrity as a “normal man.” To accept the alternative — being gay — is to live “small, within that closed horizon of fantasy and self-absorption.”
We self-absorbed fantasists think highly of you, too, Andy.
We’re left with the same story the ex-gay movement has been telling for forty years: We used to be gay and now we’re healed. Scratch the surface, and you find the real story is this: We still have same-sex attractions; we just manage them differently now.
Comiskey’s Desert Stream Ministries is an affliated ministry of Exodus International, the ex-gay organization currently trying to play both sides of the divide and rebrand itself as inclusive but still conservative.
Sounds to me like they are trying to create a bunch of non-sexual zombitrons. Telling yourself you’re not attracted to someone of the same sex doesn’t make you attracted to someone of the opposite sex. There are those, religious types, who argue that celibacy is the best idea if you can force yourself to be not attracted to the same sex. Trick is, celibacy is not something that is taken on just for lack of better options. It’s considered a calling. I’m going to guess a lot of the Catholic church’s deviance problem has to do with people trying to convince themselves they’re called to be celibate when, in fact, they are simply repressing their true sexuality. Ex-gay groups confuse what’s happening to people who they are calling a success. These people are broken down by being persuaded that lack of feeling is healing. Shame on these groups for the harm they do.
So a “successful” reparative therapy outcome is just a change of opinion? Who are you going to believe, me or your lying [insert appropriate body part here]. How can these guys be so clueless and still make their life’s work out of this nonsense?
Alan, what part of the big ship SS Exodus is Desert Stream Ministries? Will they be turning soon or will they abandon ship?
@ David Roberts: I wonder — Is this chummy interview with Nicolosi a sign of growing unrest within Exodus? Exodus has removed all NARTH books from its website. They even seemed to have deleted any references to NARTH from the Exodus homepage. Alan Chambers has admitted that 99.9% don’t change their sexual orientation.
And yet we have Andrew Comiskey (also of Exodus) in an chummy interview with Nicolosi (proudly displayed on the NARTH homepage) about the “debate between two groups: psychotherapists, many of whom are in NARTH, vs. some spokesmen [Alan Chambers] in the ex-gay movement who deny complete change.”
Is this the sign of a house divided against itself?
My thoughts exactly.
It’s the same old thing. Homosexuality is an action, not an orientation. you’re not really gay unless you are doing it.
Unfortunately for them, the reverse also seems to be true.
Ben, its even more than that.
Not only are you ‘straight’ so long as you are not doing it, you are also ‘straight’ so long as you call your innate sense of what is attractive in the erotic or romantic sense, something vaguely clinical like ‘unmet needs’, or ‘continued integration that he is still working out’.
And Nicolosi calls himself a psychologist?
How does this guy still get people coming to him? Well, there is a never ending sdtream of young gay men born into fundamentalistis communities who end up conflicted.
I have to say, writing as a heterosexual, this article is completely dumb. The men that they describe are not how heterosexual men are. Heterosexual men do not get any type of turn on from a guy, never. Trust me I am married to a hetro man, it is all T & A to put it bluntly.
Not once did they talk about the guys, and notice the whole article is about men, being attracted to women. If the opposite of homosexuality is heterosexuality then why isn’t their discussion about how all the men get spontaneous erections walking down the street if they see a hot babe? How the “recovered” gay men were attracted to men, but now it is women.
With enough suction and friction any woman can get any man to at least a limpid erection, but oh my word does that make him straight? If you gotta do all that work all the time, and I bet it doesn’t last long (guessing here, but that is my hunch) can you really say that the man is sexually attracted to the woman? I think behind closed doors this is how mixed orientation marriages must work.
I don’t believe this article. I don’t believe it for a second. I think it is all chicanery, hocus pocus, monetary self interest on the part of Comiskey & Nicolosi.
They are stroking each other, Cominske, “We need good psychoanalysts like you Joey” ; Nicolosi, “Our clients need your support groups Andy”
They are simply keeping the cash register ringing, you refer clients to me and I’ll refer clients to you. It is a circle, that is all it is. Cha-Ching!!
And 10, or 15, or 20 years later when the “recovered” gay meets somebody of their same gender they simply can’t resist, the marriage is toast, the straight husband/wife is devastated, and Andy and Joey are in their Florida retirement community sipping margaritas living off their very fat 401k(s).
A little off topic but interesting. On John Smid’s blog he told me that from 1987 – 2008 there were only 461 people who, I don’t know what to call it, “went through” I guess, Love in Action. I will copy and paste his comment-
“In California, out enrollment was 12 per year. They stayed for the entire year then some remained for a second year. We had housing for 36 people.
In Memphis, our program changed from a one year program to a “work until you graduate” program and during that time I believe it was about 12 per year as well average. There were groups at night and the residents worked a full time job during the day.
Then in 2000 we changed to a “non-working” full time program. The length of stay was one month, to nine months depending on the client’s program. So, the number increased quickly due to the shorter range of time.
There were only 185 during the years I was in California and the rest were from the Memphis program.”
These are awfully small numbers if you ask me. I wonder how many clients Nicolosi & these ex-gay ministries really have.
Dave R. maybe it would be a good idea to prepare some questions and contact John Smid and do an interview.
Well said, Straight Grandmother!
We het women and het men know, we’re going to be het whether we’re having sex or not. There is no PRACTICE in it. There is no manual or instructions necessary for you to know what your attraction is, how it feels. Of course there needs to be instruction on treating another person ethically, and honestly, and navigating those attractions that way to optimize happiness.
But NARTH works at cross purposes to that. It’s dishonest to say a person’s op sex attractions are more desirable, as is the result. Because us hets go through a lot of insecurity about ourselves, about trust and who our preferred and most desirable love interests are too.
With heterosexuality comes a lot that needs growth and honesty, but to say that hets on one hand are to be responsible for attracting and changing gay people as much as religious discipline is supposed to, is unfair and usually disastrous.
VOLUNTARY celibacy is indicative of several things: some kind of burn out on a succession of bad relationships, or a fear of committing to any (whether experienced or not), for the same reason.
None of which are actually all that healthy.
But involuntary celibacy that’s exploiting socio/political and systemic bigotry and the emotional and spiritual damage done to gay people is exceptionally unhealthy.
No one expects heterosexuals to give up their sex lives (however irresponsible or bad a succession of outcomes), on condition of being discriminated against.
Few, if any, have to worry about whether or not their workplace cares they have a sex life, as long as it doesn’t interfere with their work competence.
It’s only gay people who are discharged, fired, whether a sex life is in evidence or not, regardless of work performance.
It also is an essential part of the discussion that gay people are a MINORITY anywhere, so the pool of compatible mates is much, much smaller to glean from than it is for hets. And with so much deliberate and spiteful attacks and lack of support for commitment and relationship success for gay people, that shrinks the pool even further.
I’m mentioned it before that het women and men, shouldn’t have to compete for spouses with gay people.
How it would truly suck for a single het woman, to know that het men are encouraged in perhaps a small community to marry lesbians. And the lesbians got a husband, and the het woman went without. That would make me mad, and confused. Indeed, the whole ex gay issue IS confusing and changes up like tide pools.
It’s bad enough that the anti gay use bitter ex straight spouses of gays and lesbians as tools and smear gay people as deceptive, when it’s NARTH that encourages that deception!
NARTH and those who support what they do and want to continue it are indifferent to the disasters they cause, and continue to insist what they do is successful and more people should try it.
Years ago, I talked to a 26 year old named Chad Thompson who insisted he was no longer gay. I read his book (they all insist you read their books), and it was evidence of drinking the NARTH Kool-Aid, than a person with independent thoughts on his motives.
I liked Chad. But thought him essentially SO clueless about what it is that makes het men and women attracted to each other without intervention.
In other words, he wasn’t going to attract the kind of het woman in a way that’s healthy for either of their needs.
Nor did he understand at all how it all really works.
But the most important point I had to make to him was that I resented the constant insistence that gay people disappear. That they never have the opportunity to really teach hets in general what and who they are and NARTH made such interchange, education and experience impossible for the truth to be known.
I resented NARTH and others like them taking it for granted that hets didn’t WANT to know, and that I was sick of their interfering with ME and other people learning what we had to and needed to.
It’s like those people that constantly think Jews should be converted. Jews being a minority under siege for centuries, that there have been cultures that already want them gone and think the world is better off without them, for more people to come along and try to make more Jews disappear was disgraceful, dangerous and unnecessary.
That’s how I saw the constant conversion mission against gay people.
They have been warred on and forced into the shadows. And most people STILL are uneducated and don’t understand who gay people are.
A celibate gay people who denies that identity and disparages other gay people isn’t who I want to hear it from. Yet, these are the gay people NARTH constantly wants to speak for ALL gay people.
When Michael Brown made an appearance here, I told him as much. I told him he could step aside, or I’d push him. His choice.
Some of us het people don’t like being treated like we’re stupid and shouldn’t take the time to understand our gay brothers and sisters. More the fools are people like Nicolosi and Brown, that think they know what’s best for what us hets WANT to know.
I guess this is now the straight girls space for ranting, LOL! That is okay, Dave is pretty generous.
I totally agree with you. Especially the part about wanting to eliminate all sexual minorities from the population. That is what they are attempting to do though, isn’t it? Turn them all straight, and if they can’t be straight then guilt them into being asexual. If it was ethically legal for them to do it I have no doubt they would be dispensing saltpeter to the “failures”
The only women I can comprehend sticking with a NARTH graduate would have to have been a virgin who didn’t know any better, that is the only thing I can figure out. I love having sexual power over my man, LOL, the fact that he always wants it and I decide if he is going to get “it” or not. I can’t imagine having to always be the initiator and having to prime the pump. If that would be the case I would not have any sexual power because he is not after it. And can you imagine having to give BJ’s each and every time in order to “wake” him up? Even a virgin is going to figure it that out after a year or two of always having to start by giving a BJ. That is going to get old real quick.
Some of these NARTH graduates regrettably do marry a straight spouse but we know very very few of these marriages last a lifetime.
And for what purpose must sexual minorities deny their natural sexual attractions? For God? Baloney, change religions, religion is taught/learned after all. There are now plenty of religions they can call home.
It is better and healthier for everybody to just be our natural selves. And not only that, it isn’t like there are huge numbers of sexual minorities, maybe 2% – 3%, why do so many, get so worked up, over so few? I can’t figure it out, I honestly can’t figure it out. The only good thing is times ARE better. No they are not anywhere near perfect, but they are better than they were. Still to many kids getting bullied, still to many people are assaulted (did you read about that young man from Chile?). But little by little it is getting better, we are making progress.
One thing is for sure Regan, I would not want to meet you in a dark alley, you are fierce! But that is what I like about you.
Moderator: Comment below was made by someone who had been banned years ago from participating at XGW. While originally it was held back, we are releasing it posthumously for those interested in Falzarano’s frame of mind two days before his death.
That’s why our ministry parentsandfriends.20m.com does not affiliate with Exodus International. The unbiblical false teachings of “once saved always saved” CANNOT be supported in Holy Scripture. Read Hebrews chapters 3,4,6-12. Where it mentions that someone can fall away from their faith.
Bob Davies past president of Exodus supported the false teaching of “once saved always saved”. The ones that have made it out of the gay lifestyle are the ones who stand by Jesus’ teachings when scripture says “if you love Me you will obey what I command” and the Lord Jesus says “to refrain from all sexual immorality” (whether you are homo or heterosexually tempted!!!)
Bravo to Andy Comiskey for standing up to the now corrupt teachings of Alan Chambers and Exodus. I brought this to the attention of the Exodus leadership in 1999 (as a warning) and instead of listening, they put me out of leadership. As Christians it is better to be right then popular. Look at Jesus’ example./ There will be a split at Exodus soon and the new organization will be formed leaving the deadness of Exodus international behind if they don’t repent of their unbiblical teachings. I have been involved with the ex-gay movement for almost 23 years. Exodus was so powerful then and must come back to its roots or God will remove His protection from it!!!