In September, InterVarsity Press will publish the results of a longitudinal study conducted by researchers Stanton L. Jones (Wheaton College) and Mark A. Yarhouse (Regent University). Ex-Gays? A Longitudinal Study of Religiously Mediated Change in Sexual Orientation directly addresses two of the most contentious and disputed questions of our day—Is change of sexual orientation possible? and Is the attempt to change harmful?—and the findings of the study appear to contradict the commonly expressed views of the mental health establishment. InterVarsity Press will hold a press conference at the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) World Conference on September 13, 2007, in Nashville, Tennessee, to announce the results of this study.
It appears that the study was conducted with clients of Exodus International, an ex-gay referral ministry, and that information was collected via annual telephone question and answer sessions. We do not yet have anything to review, so we can only speculate on the methodology and validity of the information gathered. However, from what we have heard it seems likely that claims of 30-50% “change” will be made.
Unfortunately, the tone of the IVP release is rather disconcerting. For instance, George A. Rekers is quoted as saying:
The study meets the high research standards set by the American Psychological Association that individuals be validly assessed, followed and reported over time with a prospective, longitudinal outcome research design.
Rekers is not a person one would normally choose to endorse a study where impartial, scientific truth is the goal. A staunch critic of homosexuality, Rekers makes use of material from the discredited Paul Cameron:
In the study of homosexual parenting with the best research methodology to date, Cameron and Cameron obtained a random sample by a one-wave, systematic cluster sampling of six U.S. metropolitan areas…
IVP Publisher Bob Fryling goes on to say:
In a highly politicized environment, this book is another “inconvenient truth” of scientific research data countering prejudice and ignorance.
An inconvenient truth for whom? It would seem even the publisher is tainting the study with posturing and spin. In light of IVP’s decision to actually publish a book by ex-gay guru and disgrace Richard Cohen, this is just one more disappointment.
Once all the grandstanding is over, we will do our best to bring out whatever facts are available for your review.