won out

Love Won Out

Love Won Out is an ex-gay ministry launched by Focus on the Family in 1998. It was founded by John Paulk under the direction of James Dobson. Its purpose is to exhort and equip Christian churches to respond in a Christ-like way to homosexuality from the "Biblical point of view."

The ministry asserts that its mission is to help men and women "who struggle with unwanted same-sex attractions", believing that "same-sex attractions can be overcome ", and asserting that "there are no conclusive studies supporting any specific biological or genetic cause for homosexuality. It is the opinion of Love Won Out that"The foundation of society for the family is marriage of a man and a woman for life...Scripture is very clear in its condemnation of homosexual conduct, for such sin is a deviation from God's creation and design." Dr. James Dobson adds that God loves the homosexual as much as any other person.


Love Won Out holds conferences four times a year in various places in the United States. The conferences "exist to help men and women dissatisfied with living homosexually understand that same-sex attractions can be overcome." Conferences have counseling sessions, seminars on homosexuality and advice for families with gay or lesbian relatives. There are also group lectures, where participants hear "powerful stories of ex-gay men and women." In addition, conferences challenge Christian churches to reach out to the gay community.

"Love Won Out" approach to Homosexuality

"Love Won Out" claims that "The media and others have misrepresented male homosexuality as a pre-determined, biological condition", and claims that "Contrary to the popular myth that homosexuality is genetic, same-sex attraction is a preventable and treatable condition " The conferences focuses on what it terms "the family dynamics that can lead to the development of same-sex desires." The conference stresses that homosexuality is abnormal, warning, “The goal of gay activists is to ‘overhaul’ America with the message that homosexuality is normal and healthy. Popular television shows and elementary school classrooms are the breeding ground for a dramatic shift in how sexuality is portrayed. This multi-media presentation poignantly reveals the motives behind gay activist's influential impact on western culture.”

Cynthia Burack of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute commented "Unlike the political arenas of the anti-gay movement that explain homosexuality as a choice, the ex-gay movement is grounded in a model of homosexual development that emphasizes the childhood origins of same-sex desire." Focus on the Family concurs with one position of the American Psychiatric Association when it states “some people believe that sexual orientation is innate and fixed; however, sexual orientation develops across a person’s lifetime,” though it disagrees with the Association's stance that "homosexuality is not a mental disorder".

Love Won Out states that "homosexuality is easier to keep out than remove once it is in place...protect your child." (Love Won Out Conference Guide, pg 22) In order to preserve our children from the "myths" that homosexuality is to be tolerated, "They offer practical tools in directing children toward a healthy heterosexual identity, and imparts insight into what parents can do to safeguard their children from those who would tell them otherwise." They state that they help people who want to understand better the many factors that can lead to someone's adopting a homosexual identity; and assist those who struggle with unwanted same-sex attractions and want to discover how they might also start upon the path to overcoming those desires. The Love Won Out conference does this by first explaining, "Homosexuality, at its root, is not a sexual problem - it is a gender-identity problem." (Love Won Out Conference Guide, Pg 12) They go on to claim, "there is no such thing as a homosexual; homosexuality is a Gender identity disorder." (Love Won Out Conference Guide, pg 12) "Gender identity determines sexual orientation, Boyhood effeminacy predicts adult homosexuality (75% correlation)." (Love Won Out Conference Guide, pg 31) According to their theory, homosexuality in males is caused by a triangular structure of either; “a over emotionally involved, dominant mother with a quiet, withdrawn, non expressive and/or hostile father, and a temperamentally shy, timid, introverted, artistic, imaginative son." They go on to say often there is poor communication between the mother and the father with the son's having a special relationship with the mother and a guarded, ill-at-ease, antagonistic relationship with the father. (Love Won Out Conference Guide, pg 12-13) Love Won Out outlines proactive steps of intervention, affirming, clear, consistent gender message, "you are a boy. It's good to be a boy" and corrections, "Gentle disapproval, Teach him what's good about being a boy." (Love Won Out Conference Guide, pg 31)

Affiliations with Exodus International

Focus on the Family is in affiliation with Exodus International. Exodus International is one of the major groups in the ex-gay movement. Exodus-affiliated ministries provide support for persons with homosexual desires by giving them what they call is"freedom from homosexuality" which can include abstinence,"lessening of homosexual temptations, strengthening their sense of masculine or feminine identity, correcting distorted styles of relating with members of the same and opposite gender." Exodus International's position is not that reorientation of same-sex attraction is necessary but that it is possible; they do not conduct clinical treatment but believe reparative therapy can be beneficial. Love Won Out maintains, "The sin of homosexual behavior, like all sins, can be forgiven and healed by the grace revealed in the life and death of Christ. All sexual sin affects the human personality like no other sin, for sexual issues run deep into our character, and change is slow and uphill-but is possible nonetheless." (Love Won Out Conference Guide, pg 7) Exodus International aims to facilitate change in accordance with Focus on the Family's Love Won Out.

Mike Haley speaks in the Love Won Out conference and is chairman of the board of Exodus International."Having been involved in the homosexual community as a teen and young adult, Mike offers tremendous insight into the causes and recovery of the homosexual condition. He has a degree in education and is pursuing a master's degree in counseling. Mike is the director of gender issues for Focus on the Family's Public Policy division and helped develop the Love Won Out conference. He also serves as chairman of the board of Exodus International." (Love Won Out Conference Guide, pg 9)

Focus on the Family also works with Genesis Counseling: "Reclaiming Godly Sexuality." Genesis Counseling is headed by Joe Dallas who claims the Genesis view of sexuality is "the sexual union between man and wife." Joe Dallas attacks "pro gay theology."

Affiliations with NARTH

Love Won Out questions if homosexuality may be unhealthy. Love Won Out cites a statistic that according to a study by (NARTH) The National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality: "500 studies show self-destructive, maladaptive behavior associated with a gay lifestyle." (Love Won Out Conference Guide, pg 31). NARTH is engaged in the research of homosexuality as an illness. They advocate therapy as a method of changing the sexual orientation of gay, lesbian, and bisexual people. NARTH opposes the American Psychiatric Association's 1973 declaration that homosexuality is not a mental disorder.

Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, on November 4, 2006, represented NARTH at the Love Won Out Conference speaking on "Prevention of Male Homosexuality" and on "The Condition of Male Homosexuality". "Dr. Nicolosi is the president and principal research investigator for the National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH)" Dr. Nicolosi is the clinical director of the Thomas Aquinas Psychological Clinic in Encino, Calif., where he specializes in the treatment of men with unwanted homosexuality. (Love Won Out Conference Guide, pg 9).

Homosexuality and Politics

Focus on the Family believes that homosexuality is detrimental to the future welfare of families. Focus on the Family maintains a strong stand against same sex marriage, the Matthew Shepard Act or any other gay rights issue, often referred to by Focus on the Family as part of "The Gay Agenda". "...Homosexuals are entitled to the same basic rights as other citizens. Focus on the Family stands against any movement to deny them rights, persecute them, deprive them of employment or housing or harass them in any way. Nevertheless, Focus does take strong exception to the activist movement that seeks to gain special privileges and protected minority status for the homosexual community. It says there is no evidence that homosexuals as a class are discriminated against in the present society; they are not like African-Americans, Hispanics or other historically disadvantaged groups, for their identity is based on changeable behavior, not on unchangeable skin color or ethnic status. Additionally, homosexuals have far higher average incomes, education that most Americans, along with a significant political influence." (Love Won Out Conference Guide, pg 7)

It teaches what it believes the goal of the gay agenda is "Normalization through desensitization, Undermining parental moral authority, and equating homosexuality to heterosexuality." (Love Won Out Conference Guide, pg 19) Love Won Out also works to equip parents to protest gay tolerance in our schools.

Love Won Out states that "marriage will continue to be 'redefined.'" It believes that Same-Sex Marriage may mean for our society: "possible threats to freedom of speech and religious liberty." (Love Won Out Conference Guide, pg 37) The conference makes a point to "effectively argue for the benefits of traditional marriage to their friends, co-workers and legislators," and says that gay marriage is not in the best interest of our families and children. The organization states that same-sex marriage places adult desires above the best interest of our children, "same-sex marriage intentionally creates motherless or fatherless families." (Love Won Out Conference Guide, pg 37)

Controversy and Criticism of Love Won Out

Critics complain, \"While Focus on the Family has the right to prey on people who want to \"change\", they also have the responsibility to tell the truth, which they do not. Instead of honesty, conference participants will get heavy doses of scientifically bankrupt theories and misleading information that conceals the true failure rate of so-called reparative therapy.\" Others urge caution on therapy designed to change a person's sexual orientation because it is ineffective and can sometimes be dangerous. The APA says that attempts to change sexual orientation can lead to \"depression, anxiety and self destructive behavior.\" \"The American Psychological Association, for instance, declared in 2006: 'There is simply no sufficiently scientifically sound evidence that sexual orientation can be changed. Our further concern is that the positions espoused by NARTH [the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality] and Focus on the Family create an environment in which prejudice and discrimination can flourish.'John Paulk the ex program director of Focus on the Family and Exodus International, was found lounging in a Washington, DC gay bar in September of 2000. This was omitted from Paulk's biography for the Love Won Out conference. In an article Anything But Straight they comment: \"Exodus International and NARTH scrupulously avoid documenting their work. When asked by Newsweek magazine why he kept no statistics, Nicolosi replied that he 'didn't have time.' These groups continue to exist, not to help people, but to help religious political leaders like Focus on the Family's James Dobson and former Moral Majority leader Jerry Falwell deny gay people equal rights. Their message is simple: Since gay people can 'change' they do not deserve protection from discrimination.\"

Protesters continue to follow the controversial conference in large numbers at each of its stops around the country. They often carrying signs claiming \"God loves everyone, even the homosexual,\" \"love is love,\" and \"gay the way God made me. James Dobson responded \"Gay activists come with pre-conceived notions about who we are and what we believe and about the hate that boils from within, which is simply not true. Regardless of what the media might say, Focus on the Family has no interest in promoting hatred toward homosexuals or anyone else. We also don't wish to deprive them of their basic constitutional rights. The Constitution applies to all of us.

Not all gays feel the same way. When Love Won Out went to Palm Springs, a city known for its gay and lesbian community, it received an official welcome letter from its mayor, Ron Oden, and the city sent ambassadors to attend the event.

Truth Wins Out

Truth Wins Out is a non-profit think tank founded by Wayne Besen as an educational organization that \"fights against the ex-gay myth, and provides accurate information about the lives of GLBT people.\" Truth Wins Out is a leading critic of the ex-gay movement and speaks out against Love Won Out, terming it \"The single biggest ex-gay threat individual (gay) communities face\" and \"a smorgasbord of hate and misinformation\" Truth Wins Out works to organize protests and counter conferences to dispute the statements of the Love Won Out conference.

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