PORTLAND, Ore -- After the recent airing of the ABC 20/20 story slamming gay conversion therapy, viewers were left with the conclusion that counseling for change is dangerous.
But what is true? The truth is that many strugglers are looking for a way out. They suffer from depression, illegal drug use, higher STDs, HIV/AIDS and attempt suicide at higher rates. Many people want hope. They need freedom. And where else can they go if all avenues for healing are shut down? As Auschwitz survivor, Eli Wiesel wrote, "Just as man cannot live without dreams, he cannot live without hope. If dreams reflect the past, hope summons the future."
The Restored Hope Network is the largest coalition of Christian ministries, therapists, and pastors who offer hope through Jesus Christ to those hurting from sexual and relational brokenness, especially those impacted by homosexuality. Executive Director, Anne Paulk, explains that no one is trying to force anyone to change. "We simply want to offer the hope of the cross; the death of an old destructive life for one of wholeness and freedom."
In June, hundreds of people will gather in San Diego for the annual Restored Hope Conference. Already gay and lesbian groups in the area are calling people who believe in change through Jesus Christ, "scam artists" and "bullies hiding their homophobia behind the Bible." Paulk says nothing is further from the truth. "Our objective is to help the most vulnerable by providing tools and workshops to those working with same-sex attracted people or those who are struggling themselves."
The conference will be held June 16 and 17 and include speakers like Joe Dallas, Janet Mefferd, Ron Citlau, and Linda Seiler. "We are not a public-policy group, politically affiliated, or tied to any single denomination," says Paulk. "What we are is a partnership of people who believe that God can set us free from any form of sin and redeem us so we can experience full life in Jesus Christ."