Showing posts with label Dallas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dallas. Show all posts

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Fighting against Self-Righteous Fundamentalism and Bigotry

Yesterday, I received an email from an old friend who was really upset by my efforts with Joel 2:25 International and Reparative Therapy. His email includes the misunderstandings I hear most often from those critical of my journey and my ministry work. I hear their anger. I also believe though that they are transferring the anger they have toward self-righteous fundamentalists who have said and done hurtful things in the past. 

It appears that they also assume that I am saying and supporting that same bigotry. I am NOT. If there is one thing I wish they would understand, it is that we really are on the same side in the fight against Self-Righteous Fundamentalism and Shame.

I have provided his original email along with my responses below:
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Dear Jeremy:

I just read the article in Towleroad where you are promoting David Pickup, your mentor's reparative therapy billboard that just went up in Dallas.  Given our past conversations, I have held my tongue because I felt like I was addressing a brick wall, but I really can no longer be silent. http://www.towleroad.com/2015/01/billboards-promoting-reparative-therapy-planned-in-dallas.html?onswipe_redirect=no&oswrr=1 I've also read on your Facebook recently where you were touting your Russian launch of Joel 2:25 (your reparative therapy organization).   Given the hatred the Russian president and government has put into law in Russia and the torture that we've seen gays endure in those horrific videos there, I now find your organization even more disgusting.  

If you were to ask anyone in our Russian group, they would tell you that Joel 2:25 has been a source of support and encouragement for them. Everything we do is about improving self-esteem and self-worth and reducing or eliminating shame. We fight hard against bigotry, intolerance, and violence and we have been able to help a few men and women escape from family situations that were as you described.

An investigative reporter who initially had the same view interviewed several of our guys from Eastern Europe and the Middle East. She originally thought she would prove that we were causing "harm." After she interviewed them though, she contacted me and said she had changed her mind. Everyone she talked to said that Joel 2:25 was one of the best things that had ever happened to them. She is still critical of our views, but when she published her article, she was fair in sharing what these men had actually said about their experiences in Joel 2:25: LINK: Gay Men in Homophobic Countries Turn to Controversial U.S. Groups for Help 

I gave an hour long television interview which was broadcast via satelite to Iran. My entire focus was on helping the viewers understand that Same-Sex Attraction was NOT a choice and that it was no one's "fault." I also got a few minutes at the end to speak directly to anyone watching who was experiencing SSA themselves. Here is what I said in those last few minutes: VIDEO LINK: Message to Iranians with Same-Sex Attraction (SSA) - Farsi

I, along with others in the gay community, the community you were once a part of and have now rejected, will continue to fight your dangerous organization along with the others like Northstar that you so proudly congratulate on your Facebbook page, along with your praise of the cast of "My Husband Is NOT Gay."  Your words:  "I'm thankful for the courage and bravery of my friends Curtis & Tera, Prett & Megan, Ty, Jeff & Tanya and others from NorthStar and Joel 2:25 who have been willing to share their testimonies with many of us for several years and now in a very public way."  I  too watched the show and I find those GAY men, like YOU, who are trying to suppress and live a life that is UNNATURAL to the way they were created by God just sad and pathetic, full of frustration and yes, self loathing.  I find their wives even sadder, non-trusting and frustrated in a sham of a marriage!  (they and you should read this article -- how unsuccessful gay Mormon men and straight women are with marriage -- 70% end in divorce compared to 25% straight Mormans.

Religion has damaged so many of us, but thankfully, many of us have used the minds and intelligence we were given to learn that we are perfect just as we were created.  I've said it before to you -- you question the creation -- YOU --  you are questioning the Creator - GOD.

I'm sure you read the suicide note of 17-year-old Leelah Alcorn, the transgender teen who took her life recently.  Her note stated that her parents had put her into Christian therapy where she was told that she was WRONG.   They tried to repair someone who WAS NOT BROKEN, just as you were not broken before you immersed yourself in reparative therapy.  (her letter is below if you haven't read it)

I read Joshua Alcorn's post and am as devastated by his suicide as you are. It is a horrific tragedy. I cannot imagine the pain that he must have gone through which led to his Gender Identity Disorder and then to his suicide. This young man needed unconditional love - not to have his genitals surgically mutilated at the age of 16. There was nothing wrong with him or his male body. It is a tragedy that the "transgender" propaganda convinced him that the only way he could be happy would be change who he is.

I do not know what kind of church his family went to or what kind of counselor they talked to. I do know that IF he had gone for real Reparative Therapy it would have helped him to heal and accept himself as a man. I have three friends in Joel 2:25 who are Ex-"Transgendered." They would also encourage anyone in Joshua's position to seek out healing. I do not know what other emotional wounds he had though so I do not know whether that would have prevented this suicide. This kind of tragedy goes much deeper than politics.

Just this week, Randy Thomas, a former "ex-gay" poster boy and VP of the now defunct Exodus International (the organization that you were once a part of that you once highly praised to me) came out as gay BECAUSE a gay Christian friend of his committed suicide.   "His death shook me to my core and made all the questions I had been asking were even more stark, consequential and pressing."

I've known Randy for several years. He's never really been an "ex-gay poster boy."  He never went for Reparative Therapy nor attempted to address any of the underlying issues he had. During his time at Exodus, he was proud to be a "celibate gay christian" and fought against everything anyone tried to do to bring real healing and address the real issues (rather than "pray away" or "white knuckling"). His recent "coming out" is not a change. He never left the "gay" identity in the first place. That is his choice and I respect his right to make his own decisions, but he and Alan Chambers have never been spokespersons for the rest of us. 

You once were very troubled and asked why I once told you that  "Blood is on your hands, Jeremy".  Well, these are just two examples.  There are thousands more and if you can't see that, Jeremy, you simply aren't looking and DO NOT WANT TO know the truth and the danger of your mission.

I am strongly against you and Joel 2:25 and other reparative therapy organizations because THEY ARE KILLING PEOPLE, making people feel less than, perpetuating self-loathing.   So, I will increase my fight to counter and fight you by showing those with religious damage and family rejection that they are PERFECT, just as they were created.   I will fight you and these organizations, especially on behalf of gay and transgender teens like Leelah, who have no choice when their parents force them into reparative therapy which kills the spirit of a young person, defeats them where suicide many times feels like their only option!  

I can understand your anger toward fundamentalists who have judged and shamed people like us. I am angry at them too. I fight alongside you against that bigotry. I am saddened that my work and that of RT has been in any way associated with that in many people's minds. Everything we do in Joel 2:25 and everything about Reparative Therapy is focused on improving self-esteem, self-worth, and self-acceptance while eliminating shame. 

You have fought and continue to fight to keep laws from passing that prevent reparative therapy for children, those under 18.  I will continue to fight UNTIL more laws are passed (like in CA and NJ). I will fight you until Joel 2:25, Northstar and David Pickup and your rhetoric are extinct, just like Exodus International and Evergreen have gone belly-up!   You have proudly authored the endorsement of reparative therapy in the Texas Republican platform.  Well, I will say it again and yes, I know my words are strong and harsh - but they are true -- BLOOD IS ON YOUR HANDS!l   

Do you not find it ironic that you argued above that Joshua Alcorn should have had his genitals surgically mutilated at the age of 16 to CHANGE his entire gender and yet you want to ban counseling for anyone that age who wants to change their sexual behavior? Which is more invasive and likely to cause lifelong harm?  Why not encourage young men like Joshua to accept themselves as they were BORN instead of forcing 16 year olds who do not want the gay life to embrace your "gay" label?

 I find you and these organizations extremely dangerous, appalling and disgusting -- not unlike the 9-ex-leaders of Gay Conversion Therapy who recently apologized to the LGBT community. (http://time.com/3065495/9-ex-leaders-of-the-gay-conversion-therapy-movement-apologize/)

Just like Randy, these 9 self-proclaimed "leaders" never went for Reparative Therapy. None of what they describe has anything to do with what we promote. They fought against the idea of emotional healing from the beginning. They went from being fundamentalist "pray it away" to the opposite extreme. Neither of which is healthy. They have nothing to say on the topic because they have participated in or experienced any of what they now claim to be experts on.

The billboard you've endorsed reads:  Reparative Therapy.  Real Therapy.  Really Works.  Given our conversation about how you still have SAME SEX ATTRACTION (which are three words for one -- GAY) -- you're own life proves it does not!   In other words, to quote my character 'Brother Boy' (a character you've quoted to me) -- IT AIN'T A WORKIN'! " 

Yes, I have seen a massive decrease in my SSA, but that's not really the main focus of Reparative Therapy. The focus is on removing shame and healing emotional wounds. It is not expected to be a "cure" becuase the SSA is not a disease. It is a normal need that must be met in healthy ways. The therapy has helped me (and everyone I know who has ever actually tried it) to find peace, self-acceptance, and healing. 

So, yes, I'm angry and fed up with you and your cohorts -- and you have a fight, and a very public one on your hands, as you will hear on The Del & Emerson Show today (if you choose to listen) as long as you keep spouting that  which disputes those authorities who I promise use their brains (American Medical Association,  American Psychological Association and most leading professional medical and social science organizations) instead of holding on to an archaic book that promotes slavery, stoning adulterers and rebellious children AND equates eating shellfish as the same abomination as men lying with me.  

The AMA and others have all copied from the one general statement issued by the APA Council on LGBT which consisted of 7 therapists. 6 of these 7 are openly gay (a strong bias) and none of these 7 ever practiced SOCE (Reparative Therapy) nor spoke to anyone who had.

They re-stated the general "warning" given for ALL therapies but said on page 87 of their report that they had not found any specific evidence of anyone being harmed by Reparative Therapy itself.  Even if I took their biased political stunt as authoritative, it provides no indication that RT has ever actually harmed anyone.

Everything we do in Joel 2:25 and everything about Reparative Therapy is focused on improving self-esteem, self-worth, and self-acceptance while eliminating shame. Those are all good things regardless of what choices a person makes in the future.

I acutally heard from a lady last night who has been in our Joel 2:25 women's group for the past year who said finding our group saved her life. I have heard from many guys in our other groups that every aspect of their lives have improved from being a part of this community. I hear this feedback all the time from all over the world.

Pax Christi,
          Jeremy Schwab  
          Jeremy@Joel225.org  
http://www.Joel225.org 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

I made the "top 5 list" for 2014

Wow, it looks like I made the "top 5 list" for 2014.

Texas Observer:  "Five Texas-Sized Examples of Anti-Gay Bigotry in 2014
by: John Wright

http://www.texasobserver.org/five-texas-sized-examples-of-anti-gay-bigotry-in-2014/


I'm sad that some would see my efforts as "Anti" anyone. They are not.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Most Encouraging and Unexpected Shout-Out

Ok, I fear this will sound prideful, but this was actually a very humbling experience for me this morning. This caught me off guard this morning and was totally unexpected. It made me cry at the moment and then I went numb to it, but I just listened to it again on the Podcast and started crying again. It's definitely the most encouraging thing anyone has ever said to me.

My friend John is the pastor of this new church "Normandy." I went to his service after Mass this morning and he preached on the "Parable of the Sower" (Mark 4:1-20). At the end he pointed to me and referenced my SSA ministry work and the Joel 2:25 M.A.N.S. group I started a while back. He said:
“Jeremy, you are a 30, 60, 100 fold guy. Bro, it is unbelievable. What you have done is unbelievable bro. You are more fruitful than I could ever hope to believe in. I am so proud of you. I can’t even stand it. You are good man. You are a godly man. Bro, I am so proud of you. I’d get into a foxhole with you any day of the week.” 
Here is a link to the audio: http://www.normandychurch.com/sermons/ (February 10th Parable of the Sower - 54:00 mark)

Right before that he had played an audio recording of a story of a simple man in Australia that led tons of people to Christ through street evangelism, but never knew until two weeks before his death that any of them had received his message. That story starts at the 44:00 mark. At the 54:00 mark John talked about wanting to reap a harvest of "30, 60, 100 fold." Then he pointed to me and his comments (54:25 - ) are what blew me away. The entire sermon is awesome as well as all of his other sermons (not just this part that I'm narcissistically pointing out) ;)

Pax Christi,
Jeremy

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Reply to my old gay bible study group

Last week, I got an email from an old friend in the bible study group that I used to attend with my ex-partner, Tim until about six months ago. His email was about my choice to leave the gay lifestyle. 

He said he feared I was being "brainwashed." His email really upset me. I wanted to respond immediately, but knew I shouldn't at that moment. I finally calmed down and wrote this response (below): 
 
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Hi ______,

I appreciate your email and concern. I care about you and the rest of the men in the group as well. As I mentioned I never intended to sound judgmental or critical of anyone else. I realize that different churches have varying views on the morality of homosexuality. There MAY be several ways of interpreting the Hebrew in Leviticus or the Greek words in Romans. I don't really know. In the past I used to get bogged down in that and I had a lot uncertainty and doubt.

My decision this past year wasn't really about that specific issue though. I remember hearing once that "sin is a failure to love." At first I thought that was a watered down perspective, but I think it might be accurate.
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."  - 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Over this past several years I've realized that I only feel homosexual feelings (romantic or physical) when I feel inadequate in my own sense of self or masculinity and/or when I perceive that another guy has the qualities (personality or physical) that I feel that I lack. It is impossible for me to be attracted to another male or female person (romantically or physically) without first seeing them as an Opposite of myself. Since I am undeniably a Man (biologically and psychologically), attraction to another Man first requires a lot of insecurity about myself as well as a lot of false hopes and illusions about what the connection with the other Man will somehow provide. 

From my own experience I can see that ALL of my previous homosexual relationships (or encounters) started with me first feeling hopeless, jealous, envious, and distrusting, and then impatiently (and desperately) self-seeking my own end to the detriment of the other Man. This was usually followed by a false pride/boasting to cover up the emptiness that followed. The exact opposite of 1 Cor 13.

Regardless of how anyone spins Leviticus or Romans, THAT is sin. It is NOT Love. It is the exact opposite of Love in ever way shape or form.

You mentioned that you didn't believe me when I said "I didn't love Tim" and that you could tell I had feelings involved.  What I meant is that I FAILED to love him. I wanted to and even tried really hard to, but the homosexual feelings got in the way. I can only speak for myself and I have no room to judge or condemn anyone else, but I know with certainty I cannot Love someone and pursue a homosexual relationship with them at the same time. For me, those are mutually exclusive things.

I had strong romantic feelings for Tim, but those were barriers to Love. They were not Love in and of themselves because they were not oriented toward Tim's best good. They were geared toward filling voids in myself that no other human being can meet in the first place. Even though we will never see each other in person again, I have more real Love for Tim now than ever before. I pray for him every day and fast/pray for him often. I pray that God will heal his wounds (including those that I inflicted through my sin and selfishness).

You mentioned that you thought I was "over-selling" my current state of happiness. I appreciate your concern on that, but I really am happier than I've ever been in my life. I did not mean to imply though that everything is easy or perfect now. There are challenges and difficult days, but things are still infinitely better than ever before. Sometimes they are harder than before. It used to seem so much easier to believe the demonic lies about myself and believe I was inadequate or flawed and then suppressing my true self and looking for some other man to be a man For Me.

I still feel the inadequacy and insecurities that have driven my homosexual challenges in the past, but not nearly as often. When I do, I find it much harder now to even begin to believe the lies that used to make homosexuality a temptation. It's about 20% of what they used to be.

Sometimes that makes situations harder to deal with in the short-term. I was so used to using homosexuality to medicate and numb out everything. It is a lot harder to face things head on, but I've noticed whenever I do, I tend to grow a lot more and get a lot stronger from it. That usually builds my confidence and enables me to see that I wasn't less of a man after all.

Over the past six months, I've been drawing more and more closer to Jesus and he has been increasing my capacity to give and receive real Love. The more real Love I have in my life the less and less I feel defined by homosexuality, the "gay" label, or even the "ex-gay" label.

I don't see any evidence that homosexuality is an "orientation" on its own. Looking at my own body and others, I can see that it was just a distortion of it. Regardless I don't see any reason to define myself by it anymore. Even if the remnants of it were to remain till I die, it still wouldn't be worth forming a separate identity or label out of it.

I have to admit I was a little offended by the "brainwashing" comment, but I realize you didn't mean it in a hostile way. The only person who has That much influence over me is Jesus and I WANT him to brain-wash me...and wash my Heart and everything else.:)

I start most days now with 6am mass at a catholic church near my house. I go to a non-denominational Bible study group on Tuesday nights that is not ex-gay related. The guys in my Bible study group have been Awesome in helping me stay accountable to break the addiction of porn and other bad influences online, but they were only helping me to reach a goal that I set for myself. They didn't initiate that work. I ASKED them for help and I bought software that enabled transparency for that process.