Good news! The ex-gay group Evergreen International, sponsored by the Mormon Church, has shut it’s doors. Bad news! It’s merging with another LDS ex-gay group, North Star, that is every bit as bad.
Apparently, the Mormon Church realizes that it can’t support two ex-gay groups, particularly in the face of increased self-acceptance and increased bad press. So the church decided to put two wrongs together and make an even bigger wrong, creating what it calls “the largest single faith-based ministry organization for Latter-day Saints who experience same-sex attraction or gender-identity incongruence.”
Former Evergreen members have horror stories to tell. One of the most memorable came from Justin Utley, whom Evergreen tried to convince was molested as a child.
North Star isn’t any better, of course. Truth Wins Out has chronicled the group’s bizarre beliefs, which include defending the Mormon Church ban on African-American leaders prior to 1978. North Star spokesman Jeff Bennion likes to reiterate how sinful homosexuality is and has argued in favor of conversion therapy for minors.
As for gay marriage, Bennion is for it, in his own warped way:” In one sense of the word, we have had gay marriage for some time. I should know. I am in one. I experience same sex attraction, and yet I am married. In my case, however, I am married to a woman.”
With increased self-acceptance and increased bad press, ex-gay groups are having a hard time of it these days. The most notorious, Exodus, shut down last year after 37 years. However, unlike Evergreen, Exodus went out in a blaze of apologies for the harm it caused. Too bad, Evergreen (and North Star) couldn’t follow its example.