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Discussion > Association for Baha'i Studies handout  

The following was a handout at the ABS (Association for Baha'i Studies) Annual Conference August 12-15, 2010, Vancouver, BC, Canada:

Re-thinking Same-Sex Attraction: And the General Principles of How to Overcome It
By Lynne Schreiber

General Principles of How to Overcome Same-Sex Attraction
1.Education & Independent Investigation of Truth
2.Support
3.Healing & Growth through Relationships
4.Personal & Spiritual Development

1-"To the question of alteration of homosexual bents, much study must be given, and doubtless in the future clear principles of prevention and treatment will emerge.“ (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, 22 March 1987)
2-“God has given man the eye of investigation by which he may see and recognize truth. He has endowed man with ears that he may hear the message of reality and conferred upon him the gift of reason by which he may discover things for himself. ... Man is not intended to see through the eyes of another, hear through another's ears nor comprehend with another's brain. ... Therefore depend upon your own reason and judgment and adhere to the outcome of your own investigation; otherwise you will be utterly submerged in the sea of ignorance and deprived of all the bounties of God.” (Abdu'l-Baha, Foundations of World Unity, p. 75)
3- “One could have concluded that homosexuals could well establish stable relationships with one another for mutual support, … This, indeed, is the conclusion that some churches and governments have come to. But Bahá’u’lláh, having divine knowledge of human nature, shows that such a relationship is not a permissible or beneficial solution to a homosexual’s condition.” (Letters of The Universal House of Justice, 5 June 1993, Homosexuality, p. 11)
4-[Homosexuality]… “is regarded by the Faith as a distortion of true human nature, as a problem to be overcome..." (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to a National Spiritual Assembly, 11 September 1995)
5-"Whether deficiencies are inborn or are acquired, our purpose in this life is to overcome them..." (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to a National Spiritual Assembly, 11 September 1995)
6-“To be afflicted this way is a great burden to a conscientious soul. But through the advice and help of doctors, through strong and determined effort, and through prayer, a soul can overcome this handicap.” (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, 26 March 1950)
7- “[T]he Faith does not recognize homosexuality as a “natural” or permanent phenomenon. Rather, it sees this as an aberration subject to treatment…” (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, 22 March 1987)
8-"The view that homosexuality is a condition that is not amenable to change is to be questioned by Bahá’ís. …The statistics which indicate that homosexuality is incurable are undoubtedly distorted by the fact that many of those who overcome the problem never speak about it in public, and others solve their problems without even consulting professional counsellors." (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to a National Spiritual Assembly, 11 September 1995)
9 -“Observe My commandments, for the love of My beauty.“ (Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 20)
10- “Psychiatric treatment in general is no doubt an important contribution to medicine, but we must believe it is still a growing rather than a perfected science. As Bahá'u'lláh has urged us to avail ourselves of the help of good physicians Bahá'ís are certainly not only free to turn to psychiatry for assistance but should, when advisable, do so. This does not mean psychiatrists are always wise or always right,…” (From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to the National Spiritual Assembly of the British Isles, June 15, 1950, Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 284)
11-“Turn to your Bahá’í brothers and sisters, who are living with you in the kingdom. Indeed, the believers have not yet fully learned to draw on each other’s love for strength and consolation in time of need.” (Letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, dated May 8, 1942, in Directives of the Guardian, pp. 40-41, #109)
12- “As for the responsibility of Assemblies and of individual Bahá’ís, certainly all are called upon to be understanding, supportive and helpful to any individual who carries the burden of homosexuality.” (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, 22 March 1987)
13-“If, therefore, a homosexual cannot overcome his or her condition to the extent of being able to have a heterosexual marriage, he or she must remain single, and abstain from sexual relations.” (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to a National Spiritual Assembly, 11 September 1995)
14-“There are, of course, many kinds and degrees of homosexuality, and overcoming extreme conditions is sure to be more difficult than overcoming others.” (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to a National Spiritual Assembly, 11 September 1995)
15- Any individual so afflicted must, through prayer, and any other means, seek to overcome this handicap.” (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to a National Spiritual Assembly, 6 October 1956)
16-“The Universal House of Justice will pray that, armed with the guidance con­tained in this letter, the National Spiritual Assembly will act with love, sensitivity and firmness to assist the believers both to gain a deeper understanding of their true and ennobling purpose in life and to make a strong and determined effort to overcome every handicap to their spiritual development” (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to a National Spiritual Assembly, 11 September 1995)
17-“By responding to the Message of the Manifestation of God we learn how we should live and draw on the spiritual strength which comes with it. Through studying the Word of God and training ourselves to follow His commandments, we rise to the full stature that He has designed for us.” (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual, 17 September 1993)
18- “If others hurl their darts against you, offer them milk and honey in return; if they poison your lives, sweeten their souls; if they injure you, teach them how to be comforted; if they inflict a wound upon you, be a balm to their sores; if they sting you, hold to their lips a refreshing cup.” (Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 24)
19- “Through sincere and sustained effort, energized by faith in the validity of the Divine Message, and combined with patience with oneself and the loving support of the Bahá’í community, individuals are able to effect a change in their behaviour; as a consequence of this effort they partake of spiritual benefits which liberate them and which bestow a true happiness beyond description.” (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual, 3 July 1990)

Resources
Heart of Female Same-sex Attraction, Janelle Hallman
Restoring Sexual Identity: Hope for Women Who Struggle with Same-sex Attraction, Anne Paulk
Emotional Dependency, Lori Rentzel
Coming out of Homosexuality – A New Freedom for Men and Women, Bob Davies & Lori Rentzel
Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality: A New Clinical Approach, Joseph Nicolosi
Growth into Manhood, Alan Medinger
Out of the Shadows: Understanding Sexual Additions, Patrick Carnes
When Homosexuality Hits Home, Joe Dallas
Someone I Love is Gay, Anita Worthen & Bob Davies
www.exodusinternational.org/
www.narth.com/
www.peoplecanchange.com/ (Support for men who seek to grow, heal and change regarding same-sex attraction.)
Understanding the roots of lesbianism, Free audio format, www.laughterfrompurity.com
Development of male homosexuality, Free audio format, www.laughterfrompurity.com
Bahá’í Resources (dealing with trauma and spiritual development)
It is Not Your Fault, Patricia Romano McGraw
Drawing Nigh to Baha’u’llah, Adib Taherzadeh (Audio series, June 16-17, 1984 Alaska Summer School)
References
American Psychological Association (2009). Report of the American Psychological Association Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation.
Karten, E. Y., & Wade, J. C. (2010). Sexual orientation change efforts in men: A client perspective. The Journal of Men's Studies, 18, 84-102.
Moberly, Elizabeth (1983). Homosexuality: A New Christian Ethic.
Throckmorton, Warren (1998) Attempts to Modify Sexual Orientation: A Review of Outcome Literature and Ethical Issues, Journal of Mental Health Counseling, October, volume 20, pages 283-304.
Throckmorton, Warren & Yarhouse, Mark A. (2006). Sexual Identity Therapy: Practice framework for managing sexual identity conflicts.
Whitehead, Neil & Blair, My Genes Made Me Do It! A Scientific Look at Sexual Orientation.
August 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarb
very sad that ABS would allow such weak scholarship...
August 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDCO
It's a sad day when Baha'is of influence in our community resource such right-wing groups as NARTH, Exodus Int, and peoplecanchange. These same groups are essentially anti-Baha'i in their scope and agenda, anti non fundamentalist Christian. In a sad note a close Mormon friend of mine went through GreenView (who uses similar methods as these groups) , at this facility they used electro-shock therapy on him as they made him watch gay porn, they turned off the shock treatment when straight porn was being played. Is this what we want the Baha'i Faith to become?
August 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSean
Lynne Schreiber's first point is "Independent Investigation of Truth." I suggest she do a little more of it, and stick to scientific facts.
August 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDan Ware
It's time we spread these quotes far and wide. Since they seem to now be an official part of Bahai scriptiure. So why should seekers be given only the beautiful quotes such as "Earth is but one country and mankind its citizens". Seekers need to also be given the knowledge that being a gay person is a handicap to overcome Let's teach teh Faith you all!
August 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPey
Pey Jan,

My sentiments exactly. I tried to foster dialogue with other Baha'is (there is still some small glimmer of hope), but for the most part the Power Players or those of "influence" have decided we shall buddy up with Fundies of other Faiths to deprogram us gays with Victorian remedies for Homosexuality. Why is it when Homosexuality is discussed in the realms of science , we are always reminded that science is in flux and is tainted with the current trends of society , yet other biological/medical issues are validated by the current understanding?
August 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSean
Exactly Sean. I posed this question to the Universal House of Justice a year or s ago. My question was "If homosexuality is a medical problem and a competent doctor tells the homosexual that they should live their life as gay to avoid depression and be happy, then the Bahai community should accept that prescription; as they do when a Bahai has to take a medicine with alcohol or use a prescription drug." Their answer (through their secretariat office; so I doubt they even read my letter) was a resounding NO. I should find the letter and post it for you all here. But it shows the hypocrisy that you speak of Sean.
August 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPey
It would be great, Pey, if you could share both your inquiry and the UHJ response here. This is the sort of thing Baha'is really need to know about, as well as others who are checking in here who might not be Baha'i.

Barb
August 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarb
Pey,

Dude that letter would be awesome to post on here! Looks like the only doctors they approve of are from NARTH and Exodus Int, the most respected in their profession for sure!
August 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSean
Hi Barb. Here was my letter from 2008:

Dear Sirs,
I would like a clear and final decision on how openly gay couples and individuals would be treated in the Bahai community. Would we have our voting rights removed for openly stating that we are gay and living with a partner? Or would we be fully accepted with voting rights and all?

I understand the difficult decision that you must face. On the one hand you feel that you must follow the admonitions written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, on the other there is tremendous damage being done to gays inside the Bahai community. I am just one of those individuals who suffered as a gay youth in the Bahai community.

I have a solution that may be worth investigating. Baha'u'llah extols his followers to seek professional medical help when they have an illness. For this reason, no Bahai would ever lose his voting rights for drinking a medicine with alcohol that is prescribed by a doctor, correct? Letters written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi also state that homosexuality is a disorder- one that may need the help of competent physicians. Then in the exact same way, if a homosexual has consulted a competent physician (all of whom do NOT recommend that a homosexual try to overcome his sexuality) and is now living a happy spiritual life- he should be FULLY accepted by the Bahai community. To remove this individual's voting rights or make him hide his sexuality in order to function in the community would be an incredible injustice and the height of hypocrisy.

I hope to hear an unambigious reply from your office. For now, I have decided to remain inactive, but with the hopes that your leadership will bring the Bahai community to not only greater acceptance of gay families, but encourage the Bahahi community to evolve into a haven for such families and individuals. I will leave you with an incredible link to a book that I hope you will read. I just pray that the religion of my forefathers will act differently from those in this book: www.crisisbook.org
September 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPey
And this was their response (2 months later I might add!):
Dear Bahá’í Friend,

The Universal House of Justice has received your email letter of 15 October 2008, and
we have been asked to convey to you the following.

Your comments about your experience in the Bahá’í community have been noted. We are
to assure you that to regard homosexuals with prejudice and disdain would be entirely against
the spirit of the Teachings.

With regard to your suggestion that Bahá’ís be allowed to live with a partner in a
homosexual lifestyle without losing their voting rights if a physician were to recommend this
course of action, the Bahá’í writings unambiguously affirm that marriage is a union between a
man and a woman, and sexual relations are only permissible between a couple who are married
to each other. These teachings are set forth in the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh and in the authoritative
statements of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi and are not susceptible to change by the House
of Justice. Therefore, it cannot adopt your suggestion.

The doors are open for all of humanity to enter the Bahá’í community, irrespective of their
present circumstances. Associated with this invitation is the expectation that all those who
accept Bahá’u’lláh as a Manifestation of God will make a sincere and persistent effort to modify
those aspects of their conduct which are not in conformity with His Law. For some, this may
involve a prolonged personal struggle. However, it would be a profound contradiction for
someone to profess the intention to be a Bahá’í, yet consciously reject, disregard or contend with
aspects of belief or practice ordained by Bahá’u’lláh.

With loving Bahá’í greetings,

Department of the Secretariat
September 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPey
And of course this was my follow up response to them (probably to him/her because I doubt the UHJ even read my letter):
First thank you for your response. But I have to say I'm dissapointed in your response, yet it is what I expected. You will allow people to consume alcohol if prescribed by a doctor (something specifically forbidden by Bahaullah). But, you disregard a prescription by a doctor to allow a homosexual to find stability and peace in a healthy/intimate relationship. You condemn gay families (not Bahaullah; I've yet to see a specific quote from Him in regards to adult consenting gay relationships) but you still believe that this is not prejudice. What then is prejudice? You have pre-judged the relationship of two same sex adults and their children as not worth of fully participating in Bahai community life.
I am still a Bahai (albeit not active) and I always will be. I believe that justice is the most important thing before God's eyes, not blind adherence to what was written by the secretaries of Shoghi Effendi to individual believers years ago.
I pray for the Bahai youth being brought up, like I was, to regard their sexuality as a disorder to overcome. You say that the Faith stands against any type of prejudice against homosexuals, yet the Bahai community by insisting that gay couples are not fully welcome in the community, you are discriminating. Your views only feed Bahais in other countries to continue to discrimination not only inside the Bahai community, but outside as well. Did you know for instance in 2003, the Guyana NSA wrote to the government against a proposed non-discrimination law that would protect gays/lesbians as well as other in society. And of course the recent protests in Uganda againsts gays where the Bahais were involved. Such actions by local Bahais, the trauma felt by Bahai youth (some whom I'm sure have committed suicide since they couldn't "overcome") and the loss of activity of thousands of good Bahais fall squarely on your shoulders because of the rigidness of your views. Good day.
September 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPey
Thanks, Pey - it's great that you have offered us this.

And thanks, Daniel, for the video bit - don't miss it, folks!

Barb
September 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarb
Thank you so much Pey for sharing this.

I think as more and more people learn that the Baha'i Faith is homophobic, they will make conscious decisions to look elsewhere. It is heartbreaking, but this sort of veiled hatred and bigotry is not what the world needs at this time. I for the life of me do not understand why the Baha'is have chosen this dark, sad path towards prejudice and hatred. I cannot tell you how disappointed my friends, colleagues and family are that the Baha'is are so homophobic. I think we offered a light, some hope... and the disappointment in the Baha'i community and its institutions is remarkable.

My only hope is that more and more GLBT people share their communications publicly, like you have. The world needs to see this homophobia.

Thank you for your integrity, honesty and energy.

Daniel Orey
September 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDCO
My take on this is different:

stick to the script as closley as possible, and not make a fuss

lets start with
(1)(Hazrate) Bahaullah is the messiah for today.
(Christs name would have sounded as unusual in 2nd century AD Rome as 'Bahaullah' does in todays world, for the non-Bahai readers here)
(2)So his word is the word of God latest version.
(windows 95,CE,NT,XP,Vista....)
(3)House of Justice are the official guardians / administrators of his cause
(4)So what they say also goes.
(lets not forget we elect them)
(5)Hazrate Bahaullah wrote over 100 books most of them exhortations and medidations, with hundreds of principles and acts to do and follow
(6)we all do our best - this is the word of God -- divine inspiration starting with the obligatory prayers.
(7)Basically Im not Hazrate Bahaullah, or a hand of the cause, or even an NSA member
(8)So of all these laws -- from not drinking alcohol, to backbiting to modest dress onwards
these are spiritual laws, and basically these laws have to be used with wisdom in living a Bahai life.
(9)so if one or two of these laws have to be 'reinterpreted'
(10)just do it and keep quiet about it :0)
(11)Dont tell dont ask dont have any problems ;0)
(12)Moslems who became Bahais in the east 100 years ago were advisted to keep both wives and treat them fairly.
American Bahais were permitted to drink until 1930s or so (I have a small drink of alcohol once a year maybe, I use alcohol in my kitchen also. I call t his a little bit of common sense)

(13)Which means I want a mini yorkshire terrier I can dye pink

:0).

Have a nice day.
September 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSweetie
Thank God for folks who make a fuss....

As in, the American Revolution, the Protestant Reformation, Tahirih...

God bless the fuss makers.
September 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarb
Sweetie,

Leave us in peace. We are only interested in sincere dialogue.
September 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSean
Sweetie darling (watch AbFab- I'd think you'd like it!). I followed your script above- which was difficult because it is written so strangely, but I followed it. Only problem is- there is no law against homosexuality. Unless you are referring to a letter written by a secretary of Shoghi Effendi to an individual? Is that what you mean? Well honey, those are just hadiths in the Bahai Faith. Just like in Islam, hadiths are used to persecute Bahais. Now Bahais use these letters written to individuals as LAW- instead of focusing directly on what Bahaullah had to say. The Universal House of Justice (who make laws; sorry they can't be Guardians too- read AB's WIll and Testament to understand) has not made a law to exclude gay families. And even if they did- well a future UHJ could change such a law. So I regret to inform you that your script is flawed. Cheers!
September 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPey
Pey,

I was wondering where you were for all these wonderful posts. There's just something about them I can't put my finger on .... could they be from one of our wonderful "Youths"? :)
September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSean
Via JMG: Quote Of The Day - Wayne Besen

"We blame the anti-gay industry for fighting measures to end bullying in schools, and school officials who turn a blind eye to brutality. We are fed up with what amounts to anti-gay schoolyard muggings that are foolishly dismissed as ‘boys being boys’. In reality, it is ‘boys beating boys’, and these bullies receive tacit approval for their violent, homophobic behavior by teachers and certain vocal segments of society.

"The goal of Exodus International and Focus on the Family is to purge LGBT people from society, although they disingenuously frame the issue as eliminating homosexuality, which is not possible. When you target homosexuality, the result is persecution and punishment of LGBT people, and in many cases it leads to gay bashing or suicides. The anti-gay industry should dismantle these despicable programs and work towards creating solutions instead of suicides." - Truth Wins Out executive director Wayne Besen, responding the rash of suicides among the nation's LGBT youth.
September 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDCO
If you are a baha'i then you believe that Baha-u-allah is from God our creator. If you are a baha'i then you believe what Baha u allah tells us. Not some of it but all of it. You can not pick and choose which teachings you believe in. If you believe he is who he says he is then you know and trust that what he says is truth, and if you don't understand something then you would naturally study, pray and meditate on it. If you do not believe that he is who he says he is then maybe you are not a baha'i. A baha'i is a follower of Baha u allah. It is simple you believe or you don't. No one is making anyone believe anything they don't want to. The baha'i faith is for all mankind and Baha u allah is the divine physician, but a doctor can not help those who don't want to be helped. Baha'i followers are to love all people. All of mankind is suffering in one way or another. Each person has there own tests and difficulties. Our job as baha 'i are to love one another and try to help one another.

My husband and I have a grown adult son who is gay and a baha'i and we love him more than anything in this world. He is wonderful person with many wonderful qualities. My husband and I believe that there are many factors that contributed to his feeling attraction for the same gender. We believe it was his innate nature of being highly sensitive and creative artistic person born into a society that ridicules that in boys. He always felt rejected by his male peers and his dad who loved him didn't have a lot in common with him.

Today his dad and he have a very close relationship and his dad has worked hard at letting him know he loves him by displaying open affection to him and spending lots of time together. They even go on road trips and my son looks forward to being with his dad. Once my son was awkward about displaying affection to his father but now they both reach out to each other for strong hugs.I have seen a huge change in my son. He used to mostly talk to me about things now he talks to his dad first every time. I am very happy to see this. We don't know all the answers yet but we know how to love.I believe Heterosexual males are the ones who need to embrace as true brothers all men no matter what. A man is a man if he has a penis regardless of his nature.
January 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShannon
Shannon ,

Very nice reply. Many of us here do believe who Baha'u'llah says he is, and do see in his Most Holy Book Baha'u'llah saying that intercourse between an adult and a child is a prohibition, not a bond, union, relationship , and loving marriage between two adults of the same gender. To challenge the current interpretation is considered wrong , but in light of the advance in science and medicine , we are seeing Homosexuality as being a variation found in nature. Sexuality is complicated , and nothing in God's creation is Black or White. Please keep on loving your son for who he is, you are both true Baha'i rolemodels. If you ever need to talk to other Baha'i Parents , mine are available to contact, they would love to correspond.
January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSean
I would like to clarify that I do not believe that homosexuality is genetic or that anyone is predetermined to be gay. I believe the same boy who is gentle, sensitive and creative who developed a close bond with male role models and accepted and bonded with his male peers would feel heterosexual and that same child in an enviroment where he did not connect with male role models or bond with peers would eventually feel homosexual feelings. When someone feels rejected it is our natural inclination to want to be accepted and feel loved, so often these boys would turn back again to their mothers and later in school years to girls they now feel comfortable with. I have been reading up a lot on this subject and what I further came to understand is that whomever a person identifies themselves with they will naturally feel an attraction to the opposites of them selves. So typically girls and boys become attracted to the opposite gender. But what happens when you IDENTIFY with the OPPOSITE gendre? Logically you become attracted to your own gender.

So although I have no experience with this, It seems logical that if this is so, then if the homosexual man seeks out kind heterosexual male role models and peers who they can form bonds of long term friendships with and seek a councilor, only for the purpose of healing childhood hurts and pain. Then maybe this could eventually affect profound change.

This to me seems in accordance with what I read in Lights of Guidance, written to an individual believer, on behalf of the Gaurdian " To be afflicted this way is a great burden to a conscientious soul. But through the advice and help of doctors, through a strong and determined effort, and through prayer, a soul can overcome this handicap". We must always remember that the advice was always "to seek out competent physicians". There are a lot of incompetent ones out there too people!

(It helps to look up the words" affliction" and "handicap" in the dictionary as each has a gentler and more respectful meaning that what people may first realize.)

However, as a mother I am learning or trying to accept that I can not do anything to help my son but pray for his continued spiritual growth and love him. My husband can only love and develope a closer bond with him but the rest is up to my son. It will be up to him if he seeks out council or a mens group or something like that. A person can not make change in their life if they do not seek it for themselves.

It would be wonderful if our faith had systems in place to help people and families struggling with this, however, the baha'i community is still too new of a faith and systems that may be in place in the future, unfortunatly for us, are not in place yet. So we need to look outside the faith and seek out council from other people who have experience and are learning about these issues. Preferably people with personal experience.

I live in Canada which is another hurdle for us because as far as I can tell there is no help for anyone baha'i or otherwise in Canada like there is in the United States and Europe where people are testing new theories and pioneering new thoughts on the subject. People like our family with a commitment to find the truth but not necessarily the popular theory that it is genetic which has no scientific proof and I can not accept as it does feel like truth to me or seem logical.

I hope that I have not offended anyone but I am just speaking from my heart and seeking to understand.
January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShannon
Shannon,

You offend no one as you are trying your best to find logic in an area you may or may not have a full grasp on. Please look at what 99% of medical mental health professionals say about homosexuality, this has nothing to do with an absent father/ nuturing mother scenario , that is a Victorian-era stereotype. It is very common to meet Gay men who have very loving Fathers like my own, as well as Straight men who have absent Fathers and doting Mothers. The medical and scientific organizations since the early 1970's have said that homosexuality is a variance in human sexaulity , hardly a "new theory". The World Health Organization says that homosexuality is a variance in human sexualuty, this being a branch of the UN, a Baha'i -loved Institution. We cannot forget that in areas of science the Guardian is fallible, he said so himself, his schooling in the 1920's most likely never included human sexuality as a course at Oxford, and during this era they thought of Homosexuals as "handicapped" and sent them to mental hospitals for lombotomies, electro shock therapy, as well as removing their testicles. We as Baha'is should really turn to Modern Science with this topic , not past Science , or "Fringe Science" embraced by Fundamentalist Christian groups that inlcudes "Reparative Therapy". The road you and your Family are on is not easy, but stay the course with acceptance and love. Love is always the answer.
January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSean
I can not accept that homosexuality is genetic and then our creator says that sexuality is only meant between a man and wife. That means that homosexuals will have to be chaste and alone for the rest of their lives.

I wonder how many people have with an open mind given reparative therapy an honest look without prejudice. Or at least looked at the fundamental premise that maybe their is truth here that it is psycholgical not physical.

As regards to strange practices like shock therapy etc. Yes, anyone looking hard enough to prove their own point can always find some one doing something crazy as the world is full of that. There have been cases where teachers, coaches etc have abused their authority of the innocent children they are charged with but that doesn't mean that all teachers are bad. On the contrary most teachers are wonderful or at least normal. Also there are many types of teaching practices some good, some not so good and some great. But it has only been because people were willing to try new things and learn with open minds that we found what was great. If we discount reparative therapy without being open minded then we could be closing a door on healing. Maybe just maybe they have something there and it isn't perfected yet.

I have listened to many accounts of people who say it has helped them with varying degrees from complete healing to peope who sometimes have set backs. They all say they are happy. I listened to a tape of a man who was gay for 15 years and never felt authentic or happy then he went for counciling, and joined a weekly mens group (who were all heterosexuals), who actually had the biggest effect on him and after awhile one day realized he did not feel attraction to men anymore and in fact felt attraction to women. He now is married with children and says he has never been happier.Now he is trying to help others like himself who are seeking the same thing.

The one thing I did notice is that people who believe in reparative therapy say they are only there to help those who are seeking this. They just want to give options to those people out there who may feel like they did. What is wrong with that? Generally, from what I understand a man is only encouraged to come to thier groups if they want to be there and not because they were coersed by family. If the person doesn't want something no therapy or anything will have an effect even if it is good.

As regarding our own situation, our son wants to just focus on University right now and is not in a relationship. He does not believe that it is genetic. but neither does he want to change nor does he want counciling etc.


No one knows the answers yet so let's all keep an open mind. Let's not push our point of view on others but respect each other while we are on the journey to find truth.
January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShannon
Shannon,

We can agree to disagree. Being raised in the Baha'i Community my whole life I (like many other GLBT Baha'is) researched and looked into the "medical" aspect of homosexulity , the possibility of therapy, and counciled Doctors and Therapists as suggested by the Guardian and the Universal House of Justice. Everyone who I talked to told me I was born this way, or there are for sure genetic "aspects" to being homosexual , that I should accept myself for who I am, and not to try to change or live a lie (being that it would do more damage). I have a good friend in the late 1990's who went to a Reparative Therapy Center (Greenview) , an Institution of the Mormon Church, my friend went through shock therapy. My friend had no other choice , but to go to this Center as an adult , otherwise his Mormon Family would disown him. I do not have all the answers myself , but my life experience being openly Gay since 1996 ( I am 32 years old) I have been around 1,000's of GLBT people , many who have gone through Reparative Therapy, this gives me the clear impression that there is a genetic aspect to Homosexuality. Even the Universal House of Justice has gone on record that there "may" be a genetic aspect to Homosexuality. I wish you well on your jouney of truth.
January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSean
I wish you well on your Journey too.
January 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShannon
Shannon asked: The one thing I did notice is that people who believe in reparative therapy say they are only there to help those who are seeking this. They just want to give options to those people out there who may feel like they did. What is wrong with that?

The problem Shannon is because "those people" could be vulnerable individuals, especially young people who hate their sexuality so much they fell that the only way to honor God and their parents is to overcome that sexuality that God and their parents so dislikes. Even if the parents try their best to love their child, still... the dissapointmen shines through. The child knows. And worse than that, the individual believes Almighty God is also dissapointed. I know. I was there. And a day did not go by in my Bahai youth that I did not ask God to either strike me down or remove these horrible feelings that so dissapointed God and Bahaullah. But guess what Shannon, my thoughs of suicide went away when I finally accepted that I was 1) ok and not an abnormality as the UHJ has labeled me 2) that Bahaullah never said anything against loving/committed same-sex parnterships. So I'm quite fine now. And I want to make sure that no vulnerable person, especially the young ever goes through the hell that I went through when active in the Bahai community. Reparative therapy is NOT an innocent thing. It cuts deep into our hearts. It is offensive and wrong; so we fight it. You either stand on the side of justice or you don't Shannon. Your choice. God in the end will be the judge of all of us. Peace!
February 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPeyam
Btw Shannon, please watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSQQK2Vuf9Q&feature=related

A straight couple did not create this incredible young man. A same-sex couple molded this individual. A same sex couple Shannon. The same thing that the Universal House of Justice says that Bahaullah and Almighty God consider to be an abnormality, a sin, a punishable action in a future Bahai society. Do you really believe that Shannon? I no longer do. I believe in justice, the most beloved thing in God's eye. THAT is what Bahaullah teaches- nothing more. Peace!
February 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPeyam
I thought this was a baha'i discussion site for baha'i's who believe in Baha u allah and who are trying to have a dialogue. I did not realize it was a anti baha'i site disguised as a baha'i site. I am sorry you have suffered so in your life. I think you should look toward good thoughts toward other people and not assume everyone has bad intentions. In my experience the baha'i community has only shown love for all people. I will unsubscribe.

Peace
February 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShannon
Shannon... don't unsubscribe... just read, and feel the pain by many of us who have been discriminated against... the love you feel in the Baha'i community stops when you are openly gay... many of us are hurt, have a little anger, and hope that folks like you will develop compassion and listen to what we are saying... its not all rosy and pleasant for many, many Baha'is... the inability of many Baha'is to step out of their comfort zone and really feel, to see, to interact with unpleasant or diverse elements is exactly what is keeping the Faith form growing.
February 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel Orey
I'm sorry my truth hurts to hear Shannon. But is this what you expect from Bahais in your community that feel as I do? Do you wish them to just unsubscribe? I already have. I'm not active in the Bahai community. Why? Because true dialogue never existed- at least for me. Maybe it does in your community- I don't know. Either way, you choice if you want to remain or not. I however, refuse to self-censor my feelings. I did enoug of that while inside the Bahai community. Conformity is NOT unity. Peace!
February 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPeyam
I read over what I wrote and I realize I have nothing to apologize for. I find it highly offensive that someone would take my words to mean it was an "anti-Bahai site". Where is the dialogue and true consultation that is touted in the Bahai community if this is the attitude that Bahais have? Does it not seem at least a little bit cultish? It just baffles me. My friend Catholic friends don't deal with this type of "run away and plug your ears" attitude as soon as someone is challenged. His church allows for open dialgoue and it is aCahtolic church! The only place where you encounter suich attitudes are in small evangelical type churches or something like the Jehova's Witness. What in the world is going on with the Bahai community?!
I feel sorry more so for your son Shannon. I don't doubt your love for your son, I don't doubt that you are trying your best to understand, but I can guarantee you that your son feels the words that you have written here, your dissapointment in his sexuality and your hope that he eventually tries to change and come back to the YOUR understanding of Bahaullah. If you tihnk he doesn't feel that, you are very mistaken. I hope the best for you.
February 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPeyam
Thank you Pey - you are spot on. - Daniel
February 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel Orey
No problem Daniel. You know, this of all the discussion topics on this page has the most responses. 35 to date. That should say something to people like Shannon. Reparative therapy is pure evil and should not be accepted one iota. If that makes me anti-Bahai in her mind, then so be it. I see attitudes as Shannon has shown to be cultish and just as much anti-Bahai.
February 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPeyam
Ok, I know Shannon is long gone, but I have to dissect her misinformation. She wrote above:
"I have been reading up a lot on this subject and what I further came to understand is that whomever a person identifies themselves with they will naturally feel an attraction to the opposites of them selves. So typically girls and boys become attracted to the opposite gender. But what happens when you IDENTIFY with the OPPOSITE gendre? Logically you become attracted to your own gender.
So although I have no experience with this, It seems logical ..."
Shannon that's the problem, you really have no experience in any of this, but we do. Yet you don't want to listen to us out of fear. And that is so sad. But in dissecting Shannon's research above, where exactly do I fit in? No I was not the most masculine guy, but I was not by any means feminine. I had both female and male friends with whom I bonded. I had a father that was very much a part of my life as was my mother. My closest buddies in high school were a group of guys- not women. And yes I had to pretend through all those years. Finally when I came out as an adult, those same high school friends wondered why I had just not told them sooner. The reason was because of the Bahai community, made up of people like Shannon, who were still trying to convince with their research that I really was sick and needed help. So I'm sorry Shannon, but the problem with all this research that you have dug up is that it is trying to find an answer to something that is very simple- your son has no physical attraction to someone of the same sex. The level of intimacy that you feel with your husband, is what he can feel with a man, and never with a woman. Accept it. You can rack your brain for years trying to listen to bogus research (mostly funded by right wing christian groups), and in the end your son will NEVER truly feel sexual intimacy with a woman that leads to the building of a family. But if you open your heart and mind, then you will accept that he can one day have that with a good man. Or you can continue on your fruitless search to change him.
February 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPeyam
Sean, Peyam, Daniel.....Thank you so much for sharing your hearts
March 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMSullivan