by Ricky Chelette, Executive Director
In recent months, LGBT activists and allies have made a concerted effort to silence the voice of LHM in the public arena. A campaign was launched by one individual and was quickly picked up by others who wrote over seventy articles on multiple continents that declared LHM to be a “conversion therapy” group. One writer defines “Conversion therapy,” to “include hypnosis and electric shocks.” Our times of worship may be sublime, and the truth of God’s Word is often convicting, but there is no hypnosis or electric shock done, nor has it ever been done at LHM.
In fact, LHM offers no therapy at all. We are a discipleship ministry that journeys with individuals and families as they embrace the truth of God’s Word, an ancient text that defines who we are in Christ and how we are to live. In our modern world, however, these orthodox, biblical teachings of God’s Word seem to be threatening, hate-filled, and even dangerous to some.
Caving to the cries of activists who grossly misrepresented LHM’s mission and activity as dangerous and even “life-threatening,” Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon quickly pulled the LHM app. The app was filled with expository teachings of various books of the Bible, weekly devotions, and personal testimonies of God’s transformational work. The app had happily resided on all platforms for more than three years.
When Google refused to remove the app—a move we appreciated as a stand for diversity of expression and freedom of religion—the same group mounted another campaign and garnered more pro-gay support to pressure the tech giant to surrender to their demands. Soon, congressmen and the powerful Human Rights Campaign, a pro-LGBT activist group, used its influence and removed Google from their Corporate Equity Index. In reaction, Google caved to their demands, removing the app from their store as well. According to an article in Reuters online, “HRC said the app was ‘life-threatening to LGBTQ youth…’” This seems rather contradictory since these app providers host more than a dozen pro-gay apps that are designed to encourage sexual exploration and provide a means for individuals to hook-up for anonymous sex – an activity that has proven to be dangerous and even life-threatening.
If these app providers had read the testimonies or listened to the personal experiences of individuals available on our website, they would see that LHM is about helping people find life, not destroying it. The stories of lives changed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ fill the history of mankind, and the testimonies of those who have participated in LHM are no exception. LHM offers ideas and a way of thinking from a Christian perspective. If you choose to believe those ideas, transformation can take place in your life. If you decide those ideas are not to your liking, you simply reject them and pursue other ideas. At LHM, no one forces anyone to believe anything or do anything.
If you read through the accusations of the pro-gay activist groups who attacked LHM, you will repeatedly see vague and un-cited references to the American Psychological Association (APA) that state groups like LHM harm LGBT youth. But if you actually read through APA texts, such as the report of the APA Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation, you will find that they are supportive of “telic congruence,” the practice of a person living their life in line with their value system. This stance is part of their commitment to diversity, which includes religious inclusion. In their official statement on diversity, the APA states “psychology has no legitimate function in “arbitrating matters of faith and theology” or to “adjudicate religious or spiritual tenets” (p. 432). In the task force report, they go further to state,“the appropriate application of affirmative therapeutic interventions for those who seek SOCE involves therapist acceptance, support, and understanding of clients and the facilitation of clients’ active coping, social support, and identity exploration and development, without imposing a specific sexual orientation identity outcome.” Pg. V
It seems odd that pro-gay activists would rely so heavily on the APA, using it at times as a verbal bludgeon to shut down any dissenting voices, when the APA itself encourages licensed mental health professionals to be accepting and supportive of those who choose not to act on or embrace their same-sex attractions. In my opinion, it is the very presence of dissenting voices that demonstrate that we have achieved true diversity, not the uniformity of opinion that these groups who oppose LHM seem to desire.
I am amazed and humbled at the influence granted our little ministry in the heart of Texas. To think that an app which is completely free and only accessible to those who freely choose to download, read, and/or listen to the content therein, could be so life-threatening, is astounding. We certainly believe that ideas have consequences, but we also know that those consequences are made by conscious choices we make as free and thinking individuals.
Though the voice of LHM has been diminished in this one arena, the darkness that has prevailed has only given more clarity to the Light of Christ, which continues to shine through this ministry. The truth is we could not have paid for the publicity we have received over the past few months. Hundreds of excited and grateful people have contacted the ministry, commented on articles written, and been made aware of a ministry that they didn’t know existed.
In late November, the staff and I were praying and we asked God how we might reach people who need to know there is another option for those who have a conflict between their faith and their feelings. Little did we know that God would work in such incredible ways to get His Word of hope to so many around the world.
The Light of God’s Truth is a formidable force. Emperors have fought against it, tyrants have persecuted and silenced it, cultures have tried to eradicate it, but it has continued to shine even brighter amid the darkness. LHM will continue to proclaim truth and hope to those who have ears to hear. We will not be dissuaded. We will not surrender to cultural pressures or political correctness. We will continue to love God’s people and all people as we help them embrace the fullness of His fearful and wonderful work reflected in our lives as men and women created in His image! We ask that you continue to pray for LHM, our staff, and those who participate in our ministry in the US and around the world. We also ask that you support the work of LHM and let others know that there is hope and help through Christ found at Living Hope Ministries.
To the praise of His glorious Name!