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Friday, July 19, 2013

RNS article on JONAH lawsuit

article on JONAH lawsuit also published at Huff Post

My second comment on the RNS website

*the first comment I posted there is at the end here as well 

Mike Jones

MarcoD is referring to point #9 in the legal document linked to in this article. I’ve worked through the first 32 of the 116 points in that document for your review and consideration. So as not to use up further space here, please see my blogThe Google Blogger blog post there is entitled, “RNS article on JONAH lawsuit.”

So, working through the link provided in the RNS article:  The Plaintiffs’ Complaint, etc., by Lite DePalma Greenberg, LLC.

 §  RE: 1.) Purporting? 
§  From gay to straight – (please define these terms)
§  RE: 2.) So they suggest that it’s all the same – ex-gay, reparative, conversion.  All the same therapy.  So, this means that they are saying that changing an identity is what they are challenging,
not changing of attractions, and not of a change of a complete shift in sexual attractions.  Gosh, they really dug themselves a hole.  RE: 3.) Mental-health costs resulting from what?  The damage of someone not seeing enough shift in their sexual attractions?  Or, what commenter, MarcoD is stating (in the RNS article about this case)?  RE: 4.) The therapy is based on a moral issue, not a mental disorder issue.  RE: 5.) What is meant by ‘significantly scientifically sound’ in the APA statement?  An interesting combination of words that were needed to make their point.  RE: 6.) They aren’t talking about identity shift, or behavior shift.  And they aren’t defining what they mean by change – does it mean only a complete shift?  What about a shift from straight to bisexual, bisexual to gay, gay to bisexual….?  ‘Potential risks…’  This is the same reasoning that hospitals are using for patients staying for shorter periods of time or only receiving outpatient treatment, because of the high risk of getting a resistant strain of infection that is fostered by the more sterile environment of a hospital environment.  Really was the therapy presented as being about changing from gay to straight – when the lawyers here can’t even define what these terms mean?  RE: 7.) Joe’s logic does make some sense.  RE: 8.) Richard is still in business as international Healing Foundation.  Richard encourages holding therapy not cuddling.  Changing or somewhat shifting attractions is not the same as changing someone’s orientation.  Clients being instructed or invited?  RE: 9.) So, this is what he is talking about, “remove all clothing during both individual and group therapy sessions including an instruction to Levin to hold his penis in front of Defendant Downing.”  Hummmm, this sounds like some of the sexual exploration activity of teen boys in sports locker rooms.  Is that activity healthy or not?  Holding therapy is to reflect the healthy holding that the majority of boys, especially in past generations, never received from their fathers, that fathers today are much more willing to provide.  Many men who are straight were also harmed by being called faggots and homos when they were growing up.  RE: 10.) Are they sure, that it was about if ‘any lack of progress’ occurred, that the blame was purported as failure to work hard enough?  How does this fit into the spiritual idea of progress?  RE: 12.)  that it is God doing the changing?  RE: 11.) ‘Can cost’  What did they actually pay?  Why would any lawyer make a statement about what it could cost someone?  Yes, we can be depressed when what we want doesn’t happen.  What if they wanted their same sex sexual attractions to be eliminated and the counselor wanted them to have a different identity or a slight shift in attractions?  Even counselors who are Christians often offer what they would say is secular counseling – and only bring up faith if their clients do.  ‘Identity as gay’ What does that mean?  What level or degree, when they are referring to ‘same-sex attraction’?, emotional, relational, romantic, sexual?  RE: 15.) it sounds like JONAH expanded their focus.  RE: 17.) Alan Downing is a life coach, which suggest that his role is to coach people.  Sure are parallels to the degree and focus of high school football coaching, for instance to have the boys be tough, work through the pain, not intimidated…  Hummm, no football coaches are licensed.  RE: 24.) they have to put the word, convert, in quotes to be able to use it here, because they know the therapy is not about a complete conversion from completely homosexual sexual attractions to completely heterosexual sexual attractions.  RE: 25.) Sure is a difference between suppressing and eliminating a desire.  Why do they join the two concepts here?  We’ve already determined that it is spiritual, or a cultural issue and not a mental disorder.  RE: 26.) Again, note that they have to put the word, cause, in quotes, because they know the approach does not say certain factors are the sole cause.  Whereas our society is stating that our genetics is the only causation of people to have same sex sexual attractions, typically stated as you were born gay.  While not defining the term, gay, or not addressing emotional and personality, and interest dispositions toward certain aspects of life unrelated to sexual arousal.  Now, they are backtracking and only saying that JOHAH says “a main cause” is a deficient father-son relationship.  That is a cause of a lot of challenges for boys.  RE: 27.) What is the definition of the term, change, here?  A shift to some degree, and maybe primarily in terms of relational and emotional dynamics, as opposed to a complete change in sexual attractions?  What does Joe mean when he says to overcome a homosexual problem?  Same thing, is he talking about a complete shift change in sexual attractions or something about identity and emotional and relational problems?  RE: 28.) One of the greatest stated goals of sports coaches is to develop the character of the boys and girls, and to encourage their relational skills in other contexts beyond competitive sports.  They don’t even define whether the same-sex attractions are sexual or not.  When all gay and lesbian and bisexual individuals will say that their identity and their behavior is about way more than just sexual attractions.  RE: 29.) As these same factors can cause straight individuals (those who experience no same-sex sexual attractions) to seek therapy.  RE: 30.) Why do they keep using the term, mainstream, unless there are other perspectives outside of the mainstream.  Does the mainstream make something right, and does it make something other than the mainstream wrong?  Society has been highly critical of the tobacco industry, but that hasn’t caused people to stop smoking.  Just a point of reference, how many Hollywood stars smoke?   RE: 31.) There is some harm in all approaches to medicine and counseling.  That is inherent in the process.  So, this statement has a distinct meaning in a context.  Why can’t they say, same-sex sexual attraction?  All men and all women have some level of same sex attraction that is relational, and often that is emotional.  Why can’t they be more specific?  RE: 32.) Again all about a potential risk, not a guaranteed risk.  This is like medicine in general, there are potential risks and the industry is very comfortable explaining those as part of do no harm.  And people are told that affirming a gay identity would cause them not to feel what?  No loneliness?  Hummm, a severe threat also to persons who have benefitted from this therapy?  They are affected persons as well.  How does this square with the requirements of the APA that counselors go in the moral direction that their clients desire?  RE: 33 -39.) They take the time to define merchandise and people, but they don't define, gay, homosexuality, straight, identity, orientation, etc.  I agree that part of this is because the JONAH folks aren't that clear, either in their definition of terms, but the lawyers for the plaintiffs are much less clear in the use of their terms.  RE: 43.) Sounds like roughly the going rate for counseling  RE: 44.) They said that identity was a choice, not orientation.  RE: 45 - 47.) Nudity is defined as being fully unclothed.  Is wearing pants but not a shirt considered nudity?  Is modeling for underwear, like Steve Grand did, considered nudity?  Where are severe body image issues to be addressed?  RE: 50.) This is an accepted therapeutic practice.  RE: 51.) Yet, the same freedom of expressing past situations is encouraged at AA meetings.  RE: 52.) If this is so about becoming straight, was this about identity, behavior or attractions?  RE: 53.) The current marketing image of a gay man is to be straight acting, and for a lesbian woman is to be feminine appearing.  RE: 55.) This one does sound extreme.  RE: 56.) In numerous cases it does, because same sex sexual attractions are influenced by peer dynamics.  RE: 58.) Yes, it is rare that enough processing of emotions happens in any counseling setting.  50 minute sessions often contribute to this.  RE: 59.) Which in numerous cases is true; just not true in other cases.  RE: 60.) Even straight men are much more comfortable engaging in this today, as our culture is shifting.  RE: 61.) More likely by percentage of a category or by numbers?  Pedophilia is not the same as engagement with older teens.  In regards to the term, generally.  Similarly as society mistakenly thinks that generally people are harmed by this therapy.  Accuracy is rarely desired to be heard by either side.  RE: 62.) Is the non-gay affirming, same sex sexually attracted person considered a part of the category of LGBT?  RE: 63.) Gay individuals are more likely to molest older teens and vulnerable adults than straight individuals, by percentage of frequency of each group (if any definition of what, gay vs. straight, can be determined).  RE: 64.) What do they include in their category of modern therapeutic practice?  RE: 66.) They are still not defining what the term, gay, means.  Is it about identity, orientation, attractions, behavior, and how is gay different from bisexual?  RE: 67) Why do they need to put the term, unnatural, in quotes?  Again, because they don't want to admit that spiritually, it can be used to describe same sex sexual behavior.  RE: 67.) What type of attractions to men would disappear, relational, emotional, romantic, sexual?  And was he actually told his attractions toward men would disappear or that they might disappear, or that they might be reduced?  And again, is this about sexual attractions, or other forms of same sex attractions?  RE: 68.) What is the difference between the word, possible, and the word, probably, and the word, guaranteed?  They used the word, possible.  Again, what type of attractions are being talked about.  What does the term, dramatically, mean?  RE: 69.) Sounds like a name it to claim it approach.  Sounds familiar with a sports coaching philosophy that says if you believe you can will you will win.  RE: 71.) Is this any more bizarre than saying that we know that humans are born with their sexual orientation?  And that it is not impacted by other factors after conception or birth.  RE: 72.) This is what draws most people to each other, not just people of the same sex.  We are drawn to our compliment, or to the things that we don't have as much of ourselves. 
§  Seriously, do I really need to go through all 116 points to make my point? 
I made it through more than half of them....

And just for context, remember 5 years ago, when the news highlighted this class at U. of M.?
University of Michigan offers Course on How to be Gay 

For reference, this is the first comment that I posted at RNS:

Mike Jones

This is my email/journal posting to myself today in regards to this article:

Fascinating nuance here:

While orientation is almost never chosen, it is always influenced.

Of course the article doesn’t say that RHN (Restored Hope Network) started up 2 years ago.
‘falsely promising that it can help’ So, what does help mean? What does promising to help mean, as compared to promising to solve something?

What is significant? What is significant harm? Harm like when you get an infection when you are in the hospital?

Or, that sexual orientation can be changed. Lots of people who said their orientation was straight now say it is bisexual. Lots of folks who say their orientation was straight now say it is gay. Again, how do they know what orientation is, except by personal attestment – other than hooking you up to a plethysmographand Washington State showed how often inmates there could trick its results.

Your identity is always your choice. Your orientation of whether you are bisexual as opposed to whether, either, you say your orientation is gay or straight, is also primarily your choice. In our society and culture today this is because hardly anyone who actually is technically bisexual, claims that as their orientation. At least Angelina Jolie does. I appreciate her honestly.

Hummmm, however, is Charles LiMandri talking about identity or orientation? Of course he is a lawyer. He should be able to use terms correctly…..

Funny, because individuals who are Jewish would say God of the OT (as opposed to Christians who would say Jesus of the NT) is the one who actually does the changing.

“This will very much depend on what the religious group said and what the SPLC is able to prove,” Laycock said. “To the extent that the prospect of conversion depends on religious faith, it’s going to be very hard to make a fraud claim.”
Too bad that the JONAH folks didn’t talk about predispositions toward something, instead of only about learned behavior, because that would have made their, learned behavior, statement make more sense.

 JONAH, which was started in 1998 by two Jewish families, believes that “homosexuality is a learned behavior and that anyone can choose to disengage from their same-sex sexual fantasies, arousals, behavior and identity — if motivated and supported in that process,” according to its website.

 The APA followed what the APA (American Psychiatric Society) was saying.
In a 2009 report, an American Psychological Association task force studying conversion therapy found that “enduring change to an individual’s sexual orientation was unlikely” and “some participants were harmed by the interventions.”

‘unlikely’ is the same term doctors give to people who only have a small percentage chance of being helped, or we could say changed in some sense of that word, by what the doctor is doing. ‘some…were harmed’ is the same as what doctors would say about any treatment that they provide. Why do we hear all the disclaimers in TV ads about some can be harmed by all of the medical drugs being advertised these days? Even weight loss with or without medical treatment is unlikely not to harm some.

No one is saying it will do harm to everyone. Some are harmed. Is it likely that some harm will happen to most everyone who seeks help? Yup, I think so. But there is harm to guys (and women too) who play football. Let’s take them off the field at least when we see that they do have a concussion.

Sure any counseling treatment doesn’t work and thus harms some people. People would possibly say that the latest rehab treatment for Cory Monteith actually harmed him because he then had to act like things were better than they actually were for him deep within him. And his emotional release was to go to Vancouver. And we could say that because he had been away from drugs for a month or so his body was harmed in that it wasn’t as able to handle the same amount of either alcohol or maybe heroine as it could before.
Amazing how folks don’t want to put things into context. Same for the Trayvon Martin trial. Charlie Rose did a great segment on this two days ago. And still Trayvon’s father is saying the one female jurist already had her mind made up before the trial started. I get why he is saying this. But he is really saying it’s about the law as is on the Florida books right now. All the folks on Charlie’s show said that by the law, this was the only verdict that could have been handed down.
And there was no research to support why the APA (American Psychiatric Association) removed it in 1973. But that is very rarely brought up.
Hummm, but now there are all kinds of debates about the changes to the APA DSM-V. With some saying we are all a bit depressed. 

Of course LiMandri has a point. The folks coming to JONAH probably also thought same sex sexual behavior, and possibly not same sex sexual orientation was sinful, or they wouldn’t have come. (unless they were forced to by others, yeah, I get that).

So, the crime doesn’t begin until they decide to change their idea of what sin is.  
But then why does LiMandri go and say this?:
“You don’t get to define what a sin is,” LiMandri said, adding that JONAH doesn’t force anyone to change their sexual orientation. “They just say if you want to change and bring your life into conformity with your own values, we’re they’re to help you.”
He knows as this article states, that some Jews think it’s okay.

He won’t even define what is changing….. Arg. What does, ‘bring your life’ mean? It can only be about either behavior or identity.
All movements and positions are flawed if they won’t place position points on the Bell Curve, in order to show perspective.
The banning therapy to minors is a real sticky one for me. It is really about if the minors feel they have chosen freely. What is parental role in these things? How does all of that change in one day when a child turns to whatever age that State’s age of consent is?
What does ‘scientifically’ even mean?. I sure learned a lot about what this doesn’t mean when I read all of these research studies when I was in grad school. I discovered that science is closer to religion that I had previously thought.
I even think the mirror approach could be okay at times. I’m amazed at what ends up being helpful to certain people.
TJ Helmstetter has to use the term, so called, because JONAH doesn’t call it that. Like pro-gay therapists who want to force you to affirm a gay identity when you don’t want to is ethical either? Again, the difference between identity, orientation, attractions, behavior… And what those terms are heard to mean, as opposed to what they mean.
But then LiMandri isn’t defining what ‘heal’ or ‘wounded’ means or even what ‘come to him’ means, especially when he is Jewish and is talking about the OT idea of God.
But LiMandri said it’s not the SPLC’s role to tell people they can’t change; self-determination is up to individuals. He said that in the Judeo-Christian worldview, there exists the belief that people have a wounded nature, but “God can and will heal you if you come to him.”
Funny what Murray ends with saying.
For Murray, it is problematic to say that people with same-sex attractions should seek reparative counseling. 
It didn’t change Steve Grand’s attractions, but it did help him, he says, in a lot of ways. But it still didn’t help him enough not to deceive people about who Nick Alan is to him in All-American Boy.
The only way he could say this:
“I think my challenge with that is the understanding that people believe that God did not make them correctly,” Murray said, “and that they actually believe that it is easier or better for them to have to change something about themselves than to come to an understanding that God made them and knows them and loves them as they are.” 
Would be by implying that you are not affected by family factors, environmental factors, societal factors, cultural factors, religious factors, peer factors, abuse factors, in terms of your sexual attractions. He has to hinge everything on the false idea that ‘orientation is inherent at birth’ with no scientific proof to support that – and tons of scientific proof to dispel it.
Of course God loves them as they are, but then he says he wants them to keep changing, growing, maturing, unfolding….. So, again, Murray, doesn’t have the ability to speak clearly. Because God knows us, is precisely why he wants to keep changing us. The question is whether that is about attractions or behavior, identity or orientation. What our understanding of God is. If you take the Brian McLaren perspective, he would say he wants God to change folks with a gay orientation to not be sexual until they are in a gay Christian marriage.
Do you think if we were to get them into a room with me, for a few hours, and keep them there and press them on these things, we would get any different of a response? Or is it just the reporter, Corrie Mitchell, who is presenting things this way? The Corrie Mitchell hotlink name only gets you to the other articles that were posted by her at RNS
Hummm. She is only an intern at RNS according to Linkedin. And only doing that since June of this year, it says.
I’ve haven’t posted a comment to RNS before, but somehow I feel like I should now, so, here it goes….
Mike Jones


And since the Huffington Post also carried this RNS article I posted a comment there:

27 minutes ago (11:07 PM) I think it would be valuable if the lawyers on both sides of this case were to define the terms that they are using. I think this would bring less confusion to this issue.

And, sometimes the experience of a writer impacts how they present the details of a story.

I read this article first today at the RNS site. I was curious about some things. I discovered that the writer of the article has only been an intern with RNS for the past 6 weeks. I wanted to explore the details of the article further. In the original article posted at RNS, one of their hot links, "the lawsuit" took you here.

If you are interested, I have made available my perspectives about some of the 116 points presented in this Complaint. I've also included there for your reference, the comments that I made about this article at the RNS site. They are posted at my blog.  The blog post there is entitled, “RNS article on JONAH lawsuit.”