Sexual Healing: Self-Help and Therapeutic Christianity in the Ex-Gay Movement

Tanya Erzen

in Religion and Healing in America

Published in print December 2004 | ISBN: 9780195167962
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199850150 | DOI:
Sexual Healing: Self-Help and Therapeutic Christianity in the Ex-Gay Movement

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New Hope Night is one of the most dramatic events of the year for the ex-gay men who have come to heal their homosexuality at New Hope Ministries. It is the first time they testify about their personal struggles with homosexuality in front of the other members at the Church of the Open Door, the ex-gay-affiliated church based in California. The ex-gay movement, of which New Hope Ministries is a part, is a product of the confluence of religion and therapeutic culture. It draws heavily from the self-help and recovery movements' notion of twelve steps to conceptualize healing homosexuality. In their rhetoric and practices, men and women at New Hope have replaced the concept of sexual orientation change with the idea that homosexuality can be healed through religious belief and therapeutic means. As part of the twelve-step model, the ex-gay movement focuses on sexual addictions that stem from homosexuality. Personal testimony is central to healing sexual addictions, and people are urged to constantly confess sexual lapses to one another in small accountability groups and more public forums.

Keywords: New Hope Night; ex-gay movement; self-help; healing; homosexuality; religion; New Hope Ministries; Church of the Open Door; sexual addictions; personal testimony

Chapter.  7675 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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