The Devil Made You Gay
September 21 2009 6:00 PM EST
November 17 2015 5:28 AM EST
Speaking to a gathering hosted by the "ex-gay" organization Evergreen International, Bruce C. Hafen, an elder in the LDS Church, told audience members that they can diminish their same-sex attractions and shouldn't allow Satan to persuade them they cannot.
Hafen spoke at the19th annual conference of Evergreen International, a nonprofit group that promises to help Mormons "overcome homosexual behavior" and "diminish same-sex attraction." He said the devil -- which Hafen called "the adversary," according to The Salt Lake Tribune -- tries to "convince you that you are hopelessly 'that way' so that acting out your feelings is inevitable; he is lying... He is the father of lies.... If you are faithful, on resurrection morning -- and maybe even before then -- you will rise with normal attractions for the opposite sex."
The Tribune also reports on the contrast between conversion therapy and a resolution passed by the American Psychological Association last month advising mental health professionals not to tell clients that they can change their sexual orientation. Programs like Evergreen International persist despite the "long-standing consensus of the behavioral and social sciences," according to the APA, which describes homosexuality as a "normal and positive variation of human sexual orientation."
Hafen criticized the gay rights movement and rejected homosexuality as biological, saying same-sex attraction is "not in your DNA." He also derided the APA's 1973 decision to remove homosexuality from the psychiatric manual of mental disorders.
Responding to Hafen in an interview with the Tribune, University of Utah psychology professor and researcher Lisa Diamond called his assertions "hilarious" and "absolutely untrue" and called the APA's 1973 decision a "triumph of science over prejudice."