A journey into manhood with ABC Nightline, Wayne Besen, Ted Cox, William Bradshaw and Boyd Packer

 x-posted at Daily Kos, Pam’s House Blend, and Street Prophets.

And this particular journey will be (mostly) televised.

ABC Nightline …

After watching the two segments embedded below, Wayne Besen asks ABC Nightline:

Do people really need to spend $650 to suppress their desires?

I was incredibly disappointed with ABC Nightlines segment that aired last night about the bizarre group People Can Change, which hosts Journey into Manhood (JIM) weekends. JIM takes closeted men with religious hang-ups into the woods, where they hug each other to allegedly become more masculine. The goal of this male bonding is to remake these repressed homosexuals into heterosexuals.

Money buys manhood for Mormon in mixed-orientation marriage? (Part 1):

Money buys manhood for Mormon in mixed-orientation marriage? (Part 2):

Ted Cox …

Required reading: What Happened When I Went Undercover at a Christian Gay-to-Straight Conversion Camp

Ted Cox, the writer of that undercover report on his weekend Journey Into Manhood, was invited to present his findings to the Cal Poly Brights and the result was this brilliant presentation:

Ted Cox: Undercover in the “ex-gay” movement (Part 1 of 9):

+ Parts 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Dr. William Bradshaw …

Many Mormon Stories podcast listeners will already be familiar with one aspect of Dr. Bradshaws life from Episode 191, which featured a recording of the most recent lecture he gave at BYU on the biological origins of homosexualitya lecture he has arranged and given every year for the past several years. Dr. Bradshaw first became prompted to study the research on this subject when his son Brett came out about his homosexuality. Since that time, the Bradshaws have been active members in various LDS groups for families working to support their GLBT children. They are currently serving as the presidents of LDS Family Fellowship. Brett and his partner are married and living in California, where they are raising their daughter.

Dr. William Bradshaw (Part 4 of 5) – Homosexuality and the LDS Church:

Boyd K. Packer …

Top LDS ‘Apostle’ Boyd K. Packer: Mormons will always oppose Satan’s counterfeit marriages:

Shorter Boyd:


Pssst … Hey, Boyd!

Hey, Boyd!

Mormons first!

It Gets Better – Jesse from Salt Lake City, Utah:


Original MoHomie: Nightline’s Journey Into Manhood

The weekend portrayed was a reunion of sorts, not an actual, regular JIM weekend. The report included some exercises, but not nearly all of them. There are more intense and personalized exercises throughout the weekend, I understand. The ones portrayed in the report reminded me of some in which I participated at an Evergreen Conference in 2006 or 2007, when Rich Wyler presented about the experiential weekend in a workshop.

Ex-Gay Watch: Journey into Manhood Investigated by ABCs Nightline

Patterned after the equally bizarre Mankind Project, Journey into Manhood is nothing new to those who keep up with pseudo-therapies which make wildly unscientific claims of success in changing people from gay to straight. JiMs founder, Richard Wyler, doesnt even try to claim a professional background that would qualify him as a therapist or a researcher. Claims made by the organization have as much factual weight as those made on behalf of male enhancement pills on late night cable anyone can claim anything.

DallasVoice.com: Nightline goes inside ex-gay therapy program near Houston and then airs a puff piece about it

In case you missed it, Nightline aired a piece last night about Journey to Manhood, a so-called ex-gay therapy program in New Caney, Texas, outside Houston. You can watch the piece by Dallas-based ABC News correspondent Ryan Owens here, or read a text version here.

Houston Press “Hair Balls” Blog: Nightline Examines Local “Gay Cure” Program; Gays Cry Foul

Last night’s Nightline featured a report on the camp in New Caney that purports to help gay men get rid of all that glorious gayness.

Journey Into Manhood — with a name that says gays aren’t men, you can guess where it’s going — gave ABC exclusive access to a session. In return, critics say, ABC delivered a puff piece.

Box Turtle Bulletin: Nightline features Journey Into Manhood tonight

Built on the premise that gay men are really just wanting to connect with their fathers, JIM is a hodge-podge of psychobabble and Cohen-style cuddling. It will be interesting to see how ABC handles this story, but the practices of Journey Into Manhood do not lend themselves to the light of exposure.

The New Civil Rights Movement: ABC News Toys With, Teases Americans Who Want To Go From Gay To Straight

ABC News Nightline, when Ted Koppel anchored, had been an intellectual, smart-persons look at the headlines and issues of the day. Now, it seems, Nightline is ABCs version of Christine ODonnells mouse with human brains, a hybrid of Nancy Grace on HLN and 60 Minutes.

TruthWinsOut.org: Nightline: Journey into Manhood Poster Boy Cruises Men With Wife; Analysis of Puff Segment (UPDATED)

The problem is, it does not work, the techniques are based on junk science and the attendees, which pay $650 to be manipulated, can be psychologically harmed. JIM is a strange brew of New Age psychobabble mixed with fundamentalism, weaved into a scam that can accurately be described as consumer fraud, in my view.

Warren Throckmorton: Journey into Manhood on ABC Nightline tonight

Well, if they do what they normally do, this should be entertaining.

I wonder if they will do the Cohen hold?

AfterElton.com: Watch: ABC’s “Journey Into Manhood” Examine Going From Gay To Straight

This week the ABC News program Nightline examines the reparative therapy organization Journey Into Manhood. Below you can watch the report which includes both men who claim they’ve benefited from the therapy and those who say they’ve been hurt by it.

Queerty: Journey Into Manhood’s Ex-Gays Still Actively Cruising Dudes

Conversion therapy outfits like Journey to Manhood, the ex-gay getaway retreat created by Richard Wyler and David Matheson, usually frown on reporters trying to infiltrate their secret dens of mischief. But Wyler and Matheson (pictured below) made an exception for Nightline, letting cameras roll as self-hating homosexuals engage in a $650 course of changing their sexuality. Well, letting cameras roll at a reunion a made-for-TV regrouping of former clients.

Good As You: To watch: ‘Journey into Manhood’ so as to not, uhm — journey into another’s manhood.

Tonight on “Nightline”: De-gaying one’s self via John Williams’ Olympics theme song: Unfortunately, “pole vault” has a whole other meaning in these “ex-gay” games.

Upcoming Events (courtesy of NorthStarLDS.org):

North Star does not currently sponsor any specific activities or events. We do, however, provide a calendar of events sponsored by other individuals or groups which we have reason to believe are in general harmony with the mission of North Star and the values and standards of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

November 2010

Friday-Sunday, November 12-14
Journey into Manhood
Near Houston, TX

December 2010

Friday-Sunday, December 3-5
Journey into Manhood
Near West Palm Beach, FL

LDS standards like these?

Q. How did [Journey Into Manhood] come about? Who developed and runs the program, and who are the staff?

A. My own [Ben Newman] healing journey included more than two years in reparative therapy, a year in group reparative therapy, several years in a Twelve Step recovery group, and five years thus far as a participant, trainee and co-staffer in the New Warrior organization, which trains men from all walks of life in personal growth, emotional healing and living lives of “mission,” integrity and connection to feeling. All of these resources were immeasurably helpful, each in different ways. My vision was to combine the best of these resources into an intensive weekend that would help men jumpstart their healing from unwanted homosexuality, and also would be available to men for whom weekly reparative therapy was just not accessible in their area.

I shared this vision with [Evergreen’s] David Matheson, a friend who is a psych assistant in reparative therapy, and he was immediately enthusiastic. Together, we created the weekend outline and exercises. We brought in Arthur Goldberg, co-founder of JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality), who helped spread the word. We also brought in two of my colleagues from my local New Warrior men’s group, who had no experience with the homosexual issue but had significant experience facilitating deep emotional work with men.

J.O.N.A.H.? This JONAH?


Chino Blanco

--- We are men of action, lies do not become us. ---

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8 Responses

  1. Hellmut says:

    Thanks, Chino, for the excellent media review.

    Access has always been the bane of honest journalism. If you don’t play ball, “sources” will not talk to you.

    There’s a lot that you can do to cultivate access to alternative sources but that would take work.

  2. Chino Blanco says:

    Yeah, you’ve honed in on the key point. Electing to trade accuracy for access sucks.

  3. chanson says:

    Wow, I just sat down and watched the Nightline videos, and I’m amazed. Is this what news has become — infomercials?

  4. profxm says:

    Any chance you can summarize Ted Cox’s presentation? He’s a bit long-winded and meandering and I lost interest after #3.

    Otherwise, yeah, not surprised by any of this stuff. Since the APA has thoroughly refuted reparative therapy, anyone claiming to do it has to be a crank.

  5. Chino Blanco says:

    The best summary is probably Ted’s piece on his visit to JIM. Since he’s a fellow exmo and we’ve got a mutual friend, I’ll ask if he’d be interested in posting an update here at MSP.

    With bloggernacle permas running outfits like North Star, the cranks are walking among us. Care to drop by with a defense of your promotion of Journey Into Manhood, Jeff? I think the thing that really bugs me is how your customers – guys like Preston – wind up paying twice: once when they pay tithing, and again when they fork out the $650 for your JIM nonsense.

  6. Alan says:

    Well, while Journey into Manhood (and its focus on “masculinity”) seems ridiculous, there are still generally a lot of people who think that even if sexual orientation can’t change, per se, that homosexuality is a sin. They don’t really think about what people who are same-sex attracted are supposed to do, except “struggle.” But the APA has kinda been forced to think about ethical therapy for these people. That’s why they have notions like “sexual orientation identity” for people who are same-sex attracted, but then focus on other parts of their self. I have mixed feelings, since either you have this therapy or these people fall through the cracks and land in camps like Journey into Manhood.

  7. Jean-Pierre says:

    This is pure snake oil. Lots of suckers will pay $ for a quick fix. Just like those with illness will pay for snake oil.

    Dr. Spitzer
    If people can recognize that being a homosexual is something that cannot be changed and that efforts to change are going to be disappointing and can be harmful, if that can be more widely known that would be very good. ”

    This is so ridiculous that it must help the effort to ban reparative therapy in California and later nationwide.

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