"Ex-Gay" Was Coined at Melodyland Church in Anaheim; Participant Now Wants It Buried, Too
Now, a participant in that study says it was flawed.
It's none other than Michael Bussee, whose name may have a familiar ring to it. The former Weekly cover boy and another Melodyland leader, Gary Cooper, joined other ex-gays in founding Exodus International, the controversial evangelical organization that claimed to turn gay men straight through prayer. Bussee and Cooper famously left the ministry--and their wives--in 1979 to become a couple. Cooper died in 1991, and Bussee went on to become a leading critic of sexual reorientation ministries.
|Michael Bussee is again at the center of the religion-based sexual conversion debate.|
These men, including Bussee, then simply said they were no longer homosexual and professed their faith in God to be deemed ex-gay in the study by Pattison and his wife and co-author, Myrna Loy Pattison. That's how Pastor Ralph Wilkinson's Word of Faith church did things in those days: you professed something publicly then expected to be delivered from it.
"We professed that we had been healed--past tense--because it was part of the theology to claim your healing in order to bring it about," Bussee reportedly tells Throckmorton.
While the Pattisons asked their subjects about attractions, fantasies and the intensity of desires, there were no questions that seemed to get at whether the answers were genuine--and, more importantly, no follow-up to see if this expressed ex-gayness actually stuck, according to Bussee.
It's important to reiterate, it did not stick with Bussee.
However, conversion theology has stuck around since the Pattisons got their study published in American Journal of Psychiatry ("'Ex-gays': Religiously Mediated Change in Homosexuals"). It's now even advocated by GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachman's seemingly light loafered husband, Marcus Bachman. Read Throckmorton's piece for a careful evisceration of the study and conversion theology.
- The Closet and the Cross: Three decades ago, Michael Bussee
helped found the mammoth ex-gay ministry Exodus International. Now, he's
one of the movement's biggest critics