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Ex-Gays?: A Longitudinal Study of Religiously Mediated Change in Sexual Orientation Paperback – September 24, 2007

3.6 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Pastors, students, and any who desire to keep abreast of the controversies about homosexuality will benefit from reading this volume." (Daniel F.A. Hitchcock, Pro Reg, March 2010)

"The authors are to be commended not only for the rigor with which they designed and prosecuted this study, but also for the various clever means they used to obtain methodological reviews and other necessary feedback from experts who were opposed to the very idea of the study." (Dennis W. Cheek, Perspectives on Science + Christian Faith, September 2008)

"The authors remind us of their awareness of the sensitivity and controversy of the subject matter. They are constantly restating the methodology they used to address the topic of changing sexual orientation. The authors do make an intelectually cogent case that various passages in both Testaments do (literally, and by implication) condemn homosexual activity per se, but admit that others are free to interpret these passages differently. They challenge some widely accepted results of identical twin studies that supposedly support concordance and the likelihood of genetic causes. The overall conclusions is that in some focused programs with a religious or faith-based purpose, some homosexuals do 'change.'" (Bill Boushka, on Bill's Book Reviews and News, February 6, 2008)

"Congratulations on your book. It is well and thoughtfully done, and the meticulous adherence to your experimental design gives added weight to your findings. Your carefully executed research demands a substantial and credible reexamination of current, politically driven, politically correct dogma that homosexual orientation is immutable and that the therapeutic address thereof threatens patient well-being. In a best-case scenario, your research might even pursuade the organized mental health movement to return to almost forgotten principles that it is the patient's right to choose, and that the patient has the capacity to do so." (Rogers H. Wright, fellow and past president of divisions 12 and 31 of the American Psychological Association, founding president, Council for the Advancement of the Psychological Professions and Sciences)

"Psychologists have long championed and cared for the 'other' of our society--the weird, the abnormal, the minority and the less powerful. Although this book may at first appear to attack the other--in this case, those who consider themselves gay--this book is the other of psychological research. This book addresses ideas that are other than the ideas of psychology's power centers and power brokers. It addresses questions about homosexuality that are not asked by the mainstream and the majority of our discipline. Yet, like most any 'other,' it deserves a hearing, whether or not we agree with it. It especially deserves a hearing because it follows the principles of those who deserve hearings in psychology--careful scholarship and empirical rigor." (Brent D. Slife, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist and Professor of Psychology, Brigham Young University)

"This study is a groundbreaking classic--scientifically erudite and clearly presented. It shares irrefutable data gained over time that serve to explode arguments based on ideology and anecdotes. Its irenic and thoughtful discussion invites an open forum where scientific evidence and rational thinking are allowed to dominate discussion of the subject." (Merton P. Strommen, Ph.D., Founder of Search Institute and Fellow in the American Psychological Association)

"Can some motivated people alter aspects of their sexuality through religious ministry? With the publication of Ex-Gays? Stanton Jones and Mark Yarhouse have produced the most rigorous study to date to address this question. Knowing their results would generate controversy, the authors have thoroughly described the rationale for their procedures. While the authors fully acknowledge that change in sexual attractions did not occur for some individuals, they offer cogent and compelling reasons to believe that participation in religious ministry resulted in durable changes for others. The Jones and Yarhouse study will set the standard for all future work in this field and demands a serious reading from social scientists. For anyone interested in the study of sexuality, values and human change, this book is a must-read." (Warren Throckmorton, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology and Fellow for Psychology and Public Policy, Grove City College, coauthor of the Sexual Identity Therapy Framework, and producer of I Do Exist)

"Research in the controversial area of homosexuality is fraught with ideology and plagued by a dearth of science. This study has broken new ground in its adherence to objectivity and a scientific precision that can be replicated and expanded, and it opens new horizons for investigation. It is the kind of scientific research I had in mind when in the mid-1970s I introduced my successful resolution in the APA Council of Representatives that homosexuality is not a disease, but a complex constellation of factors that requires scientific investigation to further our understanding of its etiology, its many parameters and its subjectivity to change. I have waited over thirty years for this refreshing, penetrating study of an imperative, though controversial, human condition. This book is must-reading for psychotherapists and counselors, as well as academic psychologists studying human behavior and sexuality." (Nicholas A. Cummings, Ph.D., SC.D., Former President, American Psychological Association; Distinguished Professor, University of Nevada, Reno; President, Cummings Foundation for Behavioral Health)

"Professors Jones and Yarhouse provide a well-designed, conceptually and philosophically sophisticated longitudinal study of intervention efforts aimed at changing homosexual orientation. Their data address the question, Is such change possible? They also cogently address related controversial questions such as the ethical issues involved. They embody all the characteristics of first-rate scholarship (for example, they modestly note the methodological limitations of their study). However, this is a groundbreaking study that will hopefully be judged by the normal standards of scholarship rather than be prejudged by its religious element or its tentative positive results." (William O'Donohue, Ph.D., Nicholas Cummings Professor of Organized Behavioral Healthcare Delivery, University of Nevada, Reno)

"With this landmark study, Drs. Jones and Yarhouse have made a major contribution to a controversial area. The findings from their study support the importance of client autonomy and client self-determination as therapists provide a range of options to those who seek help for unwanted same-sex attraction. The book is required reading for those interested in the best practices and evidence-based care for this clinical population." (Dr. A. Dean Byrd, Ph.D., University of Utah School of Medicine)

About the Author

Stanton L. Jones is provost and professor of psychology at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. During his tenure as chair of the psychology department (1984-1996), he led the development of Wheaton's Doctor of Psychology program in clinical psychology. He received his B.S. in psychology from Texas A & M University in 1976, and his M.A. (1978) and Ph.D. (1981) degrees in clinical psychology from Arizona State University. He is a member of the American Psychological Association and served on the Council of Representatives, the central governing body of the APA, representing the Psychology of Religion division from 1999 to 2001. In 1994 he was named a Research Fellow of the Evangelical Scholars Program of the Pew Foundation. He was a Visiting Scholar at the Divinity School of the University of Cambridge and a Visiting Fellow at Clare Hall, University of Cambridge, for the 1995-1996 academic year. Jones authored the lead article, "Religion and Psychology," for the Encyclopedia of Psychology, jointly published in 2000 by the American Psychological Association and Oxford University Press. His article in the March 1994 American Psychologist, titled "A Constructive Relationship for Religion with the Science and Profession of Psychology: Perhaps the Best Model Yet," was a call for greater respect for and cooperation with religion by secular psychologists. Jones has also written, with his wife, Brenna, a five-book series on sex education in the Christian family called God's Design for Sex. He is also the coauthor of Modern Psychotherapies (with Richard E. Butman) and Homosexuality: The Use of Scientific Research in the Church's Moral Debate (with Mark A. Yarhouse) and editor of Psychology and Christianity: Four Views. He has published many other professional and popular articles and chapters.

Mark Yarhouse (PsyD, Wheaton College) is the Hughes Endowed Chair and professor of psychology at Regent University where he directs the Institute for the Study of Sexual Identity and is a core faculty member in the doctoral program in clinical psychology. A licensed clinical psychologist, he practices privately in the Virginia Beach area, providing individual, couples, family and group counseling. Yarhouse has published over eighty peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters and is author or coauthor of several books, including Ex-Gays? A Longitudinal Study of Religiously Mediated Change in Sexual Orientation, Modern Psychopathologies, Understanding Sexual Identity: A Resource for Youth Ministers, Sexuality and Sex Therapy and Homosexuality and the Christian: A Guide for Parents, Pastors, and Friends. He serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Psychology and Theology and Christian Counseling Today and has served as an ad hoc reviewer with Journal of Homosexuality.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 414 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Academic (September 24, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 083082846X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830828463
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #722,244 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I was one of the subjects of the longitudinal study and can attest to the bias of the researchers in favor of reparative therapies. The study took meticulous steps so that on paper it would appear that it was conducted in a scientifically sound and unbiased manner. However, each time I was asked to complete the assessment the interviewer would go over disclosures that explained the study was being conducted as part of their coursework at a Christian college. There were numerous instances when the interviewer would ask that I clarify an answer to one of the items on the assessment, usually when my original response was not in support of reparative therapies. After some years I began to experience deep anxiety over answering the questionnaire and dreading the interactions with the interviewer(s). When I decided to drop out of the study I received a call from one of the authors who told me that if I pulled out from this study completely there would be "eternal consequences". I remember him clearly stating that the "souls of an entire generation" could be affected if I did not continue and stay with my initial course of answers-- which were born out of intense pressure put upon me by the church and ex-gay ministries I attended. When I finally found the courage to stand up to the institutions representing ex-gay and reparative therapies they all responded in much the same manner, with condemnation and instillment of fear. I am not aware whether or not my responses were ever included in the final study but I was one of those who attempted to withdraw and had to suffer judgement and being chastised by one of the so called leaders of this study.
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Format: Paperback
This is clearly the best scientific study yet conducted on change of homosexual orientation and on the question as to whether attempts at such change are inherently harmful. My academic peer review found this investigation to be the most rigorous, well-designed empirical study to date on these questions. This 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.

Using well-accepted, standard psychological measures, Jones and Yarhouse found solid evidence that homosexual orientation can be significantly changed. And their careful scientific search found no evidence that spiritual or psychological harm directly results from attempting such change. Because so many secular psychologists and psychiatrists mistakenly assumed the opposite of these clear scientific findings, this groundbreaking scientific study sets a new landmark in the field of therapeutic change for unwanted homosexual orientation.

Given the practical constraints facing any scientist for these research questions Jones and Yarhouse employed a prospective and longitudinal research design that measures up to widely-accepted professional standards. This study's authors are cautious, basing their conclusions only on systematically gathered and appropriately analyzed scientific data. Jones and Yarhouse assessed individuals who met fairly rigorous standards of "homosexualness," using every established measure of sexual orientation that has empirical support in past scientific research as well standard psychological measures of distress and spirituality that are among the best currently available.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Detailed, five-year surveys of the ex-gay movement are much needed and long overdue, and so the raw data collected by Stanton Jones and Mark Yarhouse are a welcome addition to available research. (For related research, search for books about ex-gay research by Ariel Shidlo or Jack Drescher.)

The conclusions based upon the Jones/Yarhouse data, unfortunately, appear biased: Both Jones and Yarhouse work at conservative Christian universities, and compromises in study design and execution were made in order to secure the cooperation of ex-gay members of Exodus International, an organization that claims to support people leaving homosexuality. This book quickly secured endorsements from ex-gay and antigay therapists, but support from mainstream mental-health professionals has thus far been lacking.

Watchdog web sites including Box Turtle Bulletin, Truth Wins Out and Ex-Gay Watch have found the following shortcomings, which I hope are addressed in future studies:

-- The study was conducted by two supporters of ex-gay ministries.

-- They originally sought 300 participants, but after more than a year of seeking to round up volunteers, they had to settle on only 98 participants.

-- During the course of the study, 25 dropped out, and one participant's answers were too incomplete to be used.

-- Of the remaining 72 only 11 reported "satisfactory, if not uncomplicated, heterosexual adjustment." (direct quote). Some of these 11 remained primarily homosexual in attraction or, at best, bisexual, but were satisfied that they were just slightly more attracted to the opposite sex, or slightly less attracted to the same sex.
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