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John Smid, Former 'Ex-Gay' Leader, Says He Is Gay And Changing Sexual Orientation Is Impossible (VIDEO)

John Smid Exodus International Leader

First Posted: 10/20/2011 3:41 pm Updated: 12/20/2011 5:12 am

The former director of the ex-gay Christian ministry Love in Action has now come forward saying not only that he is gay, but that it is impossible to change one's sexual orientation.

In an appearance on Chris Matthews' "Hardball" program earlier this week, Smid -- who was previously considered one of the foremost leaders of "reparative" or "ex-gay" therapy -- expressed sentiments about sexual orientation that, by all accounts, were a far cry from his earlier beliefs.

"For me, I am married, I've been married for 22 years, I love my wife dearly, we have an amazing relationship," said Smid, who resigned as Love In Action's executive director in 2008. "But at the same time, I do experience homosexuality...it's a part of my history, it's a part of the life that I live."

As the Memphis Flyer is reporting, Smid previously issued an apology to former Love in Action clients last year, and credits Morgan Jon Fox, the openly gay director of the new documentary "This Is What Love in Action Looks Like" for helping to shift his mindset. "We taught very heavily [at Love in Action] that any homosexual choices were against God's will, and they were sinful and wrong. We were very straightforward about that," Smid is quoted as saying. He now runs Grace Rivers, a monthly Christian fellowship group for "those who call themselves gay and want to seek a relationship with God in a place where they're free to do that."

Watch Smid's "Hardball" appearance, along with other videos about so-called "reparative" or "conversion" therapy, below:

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  • Bachmann's Alleged Involvement

    In July,gay advocacy group Truth Wins Out released video footage allegedly shot undercover at the Christian-affiliated Minnesota clinic owned by Michele Bachmann and her husband, and claimed to find evidence of conversion therapy being performed on the premises. "Michele Bachmann wants to be in the Oval Office and wants to be the president of the United States," Wayne Besen, "It's important to know what her true beliefs are and what goes on in this clinic."

  • 'Gay Barbarian Horde' Invades Bachmann's Clinic

    Last July activists dressed as "gay barbarians" traveled to Bachmann's clinic to protest its alleged "pray the gay away" practices. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/21/michele-bachmanns-glitter-prank_n_906165.html" target="_hplink">A press release issued by the group reads:</a> <blockquote>Today a horde of gay barbarians descended upon Michele and Marcus Bachmann's "pray away the gay" clinic and demanded that Marcus come out and discipline them for their "deviant" behavior. Marcus Bachmann, who conducts "reparative therapy" at the clinic intended to convert homosexuals, has said that gays are "barbarians who need to be disciplined." The horde requested to speak directly with Bachmann and experience some "discipline" for themselves. When Marcus was no where to be found, the barbarians glittered the empty waiting room and reception area while chanting, "You can't pray away the gay -- baby, I was born this way!" The action was organized by the same young man who threw glitter on Newt Gingrich, starting a national trend in political protest of anti-LGBT sentiments from political candidates and campaigns. "Michele and Marcus Bachmann think gay people are barbarians?" asked LGBT activist Nick Espinosa. "I think its clear to everyone who the real barbarians are, based on the Bachmanns' archaic views on LGBT equality."</blockquote>

  • Gay Conversion Therapy Victim Comes Forward

    Earlier this month, "I'm From Driftwood" featured a video interview with Samuel Brinton, who was raised in rural Iowa and subjected to forced Christian conversion therapy. "We then went into the 'Month of Hell,'" Brinton explained. "The 'Month of Hell' consisted of tiny needles being stuck into my fingers and then pictures of explicit acts between men would be shown and I'd be electrocuted."

  • Prominent 'Ex-Gay' Doctor Retracts Claims Made In Key Gay Conversion Therapy Study

    This week the psychiatrist who published a controversial 2001 study proclaiming that "highly motivated" gay and lesbian people could change their sexual orientation <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/11/robert-spitzer-ex-gay-psychiatrist-retraction_n_1417679.html?ref=gay-voices" target="_hplink">retracted his initial claims.</a> Psychiatrist Bob Spitzer, who had ironically led the effort to declassify homosexuality as a mental illness in 1973, told American Prospect that he now wants to retract his study, while addressing several of the ample criticisms against its findings. "In retrospect, I have to admit I think the critiques are largely correct," said the 80-year-old Spitzer, who is now retired and suffering from Parkinson's disease. "The findings can be considered evidence for what those who have undergone ex-gay therapy say about it, but nothing more."

  • John Smid Discusses 'Praying The Gay Away' With Chris Matthews

    The former director of the ex-gay Christian ministry Love in Action <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/20/john-smid-former-ex-gay-minister-sexual-orientation-_n_1022417.html#s423190&title=Gay_Conversion_Therapy" target="_hplink">came forward last October</a> to say that not only that he is gay, but that he believes it is impossible to change one's sexual orientation. Though Smid admitted he did "experience homosexuality" on the show, he arguably stopped short of embracing his sexual orientation. "I would say predominately, I am attracted to men," he said. "At the same time, I've chosen to be married [to a woman] and a lot of people make that choice."

  • Not Born This Way?

    Richard Cohen, director of the International Healing Foundation and author of "Coming Out Straight" and "Gay Children, Straight Parents," believes that people can change. "There is no credible scientific evidence to suggest either a genetic or biologic basis for homosexual desires in men or women," he said. "So people are not born this way...it's always a confounding of many different factors that lead people to experience these desires...people don't choose this, the choice is: do they want to lead that life, or do they want to change?"

  • Gay To Straight With Prayer?

    In an appearance on "Dr. Drew" earlier this year, psychologist Joseph Nicolosi -- a founding member of the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) -- said he continues to support conversion therapy: "People can change, people have a choice, people should be given a choice," he said. "If a person chooses to exercise his heterosexual potential...we provide that therapy...it doesn't work for all people, but it works for some."

  • Pat Robertson Advises Father To Seek Conversion Therapy For His Gay Son

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Filed by Curtis M. Wong  |