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Two logos used by Evergreen.

Evergreen International, Inc. was a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization located in Salt Lake City, Utah, whose stated mission was to assist "people who want to diminish same-sex attractions and overcome homosexual behavior". It adhered to Christian and particularly LDS teaching and supported the doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). The organization stated this task could be accomplished with the help of the Lord and, in some cases, psychological counseling. Evergreen was founded in 1989 as a grassroots organization by men who were seeking to deal with their homosexual feelings in ways congruent to the teachings of the LDS Church.

Contents

TeachingsEdit

Evergreen stated that by using the atonement individuals could change, overcome, and transition away from the condition of homosexuality and homosexual sins, and they could diminish their attractions to those of the same sex. The organization also agreed with all teachings and policies of the LDS Church "without reservation or exception", but stated that it was not "affiliated with the Church".[1] Evergreen also taught that "to be successful in diminishing erotic same-sex attractions and overcoming homosexual behavior, you must be willing to make a total commitment to the change process. It is our testimony that when you do all that you can and are willing to employ all the resources that are available to you, God's grace will make up the difference."[2]

They published a map that outlined the major areas that people may have to address to diminish their same-sex attraction and successfully overcome homosexual behavior. It included the following elements:

  • Read books on same-sex attraction, masculinity/femininity, addictions, and related subjects from LDS authors, Christian authors, and professionals.
  • Personal prayer.
  • Develop personal relationship with God and Jesus Christ.
  • Develop one-on-one, nurturing relationships with family, close friends, and acquaintances.
  • Provide service to others, both inside and outside Evergreen.
  • Experience activities as a bridge to the real world (for example, ski trips with men/women who don't experience SSA)."[3]

General Authority AddressesEdit

General LDS church leaders spoke at nearly every Evergreen annual conference from 1996 to 2011.[4]

 
Joseph Smith Memorial Building chapel where many Evergreen Conferences were held.
  • 2000 – Elder Alexander B. Morrison of the First Quorum of the Seventy addressed members of Evergreen at their 10th annual conference which was held in the church's Joseph Smith Memorial Building and stated, "Avoid as the plague social interaction with persons who justify, encourage or engage in homosexual behavior. Stay away from places where those challenged by same-gender attraction congregate."[5]
  • 2005 – At the 15th annual conference Elder James O. Mason of the Second Quorum of the Seventy directed, "Can individuals struggling with some same-gender attraction be cured? “With God nothing should be impossible” (Luke 1:37) ... The right course of action remains the same: eliminate or diminish same sex attraction." "Feelings of attraction toward someone of the same gender should be eliminated if possible or controlled."[6]
  • 2007 – Church seventy Douglas Callister spoke at an Evergreen conference and urged listeners to battle their challenge of "same-gender inclinations" and thoughts through prayer, fasting, and taking the sacrament.[7]
  • 2009 – Elder Bruce C. Hafen of the First Quorum of the Seventy gave an address at the 19th annual conference promising, "If you are faithful, on resurrection morning—and maybe even before then—you will rise with normal attractions for the opposite sex. Some of you may wonder if that doctrine is too good to be true. But Elder Dallin H. Oaks has said it MUST be true, because 'there is no fullness of joy in the next life without a family unit, including a husband and wife, and posterity.' And 'men (and women) are that they might have joy.'"[8]
  • 2010Keith B. McMullin of the Presiding Bishopric addressed the 20th annual conference and counseled that "If someone seeking your help says to you, 'I am homosexual' or 'I am lesbian' or 'I am gay,' correct this miscasting. Heavenly Father does not speak of His children this way, and neither should we. It is simply not true. To speak this way sows seeds of doubt and deceit about who we really are. It belittles, depreciates and disparages the individual."[9] He further teaches that the "such limitations" as same-gender attraction won't exist after death, though "in and of itself it is neither evil nor sinful".[10]

TherapyEdit

"Evergreen does not advocate any particular form of therapy"[11] but did provide suggestions on how to choose a therapist and information on individual and group therapy. Evergreen stated that some people had lessened their same sex attractions by using the following therapies: gender wholeness, reparative, reorientation, and re-education.[12] The website referenced the works of Joseph Nicolosi who says reparative therapy can help people "explore the source of their problem, develop nonerotic same-sex relationships that diminish the sexual attraction they feel toward men, become more secure in their gender-identity, and enjoy heterosexual relationships." The therapy is based on the view that homosexual attractions develop because of incomplete gender-identity development and defensive detachment from other males.[13]

While some of these therapies offered to reduce same-sex attractions, Evergreen made clear that "therapy will likely not be a cure in the sense of erasing all homosexual feelings," but would "strengthen masculine identification" for men.[12] The LDS Church has stated that it does not have a position on "scientific questions" such as the cause of homosexuality.[14] Evergreen followed this stance.

Association with NARTHEdit

The National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), also known as the NARTH Institute, is an organization that (since 2014) functions under the Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity (ATCSI).[15][16] It offers conversion therapy and other regimens that purport to change the sexual orientation of people with same-sex attraction. NARTH was founded in 1992 and has been described as "a multi-disciplinary professional and scientific organization dedicated to the service of persons who experience unwanted homosexual (same-sex) attractions (SSA)".[17]

The Evergreen website referenced the therapeutic methods of NARTH founder Joseph Nicolosi as "beneficial".[13] Nicolosi worked with A. Dean Byrd (an Evergreen Board member, Director of Clinical Training for LDS Social Services, and Brigham Young University professor) to author several papers on reparative therapy.[18] Byrd also served as president of NARTH and also published an article[19] in the LDS church's September 1999 Ensign.[20] Additionally, David C. Pruden served as director of Evergreen and as an officer for NARTH. Likewise, Director of LDS Family Services Jerry Harris served in NARTH leadership.[21]

EffectivenessEdit

Participants in Evergreen programs claimed success in diminishing same-sex attractions and overcoming homosexual behavior.[22][23] As many as 40% of Evergreen members were in heterosexual marriages.[24] Warren Throckmorton reviewed Understanding the meaning of change for married Latter-Day Saint men with histories of homosexual activity by J. W. Robinson. Robinson interviewed seven heterosexually married men who had been through Evergreen and previously identified as gay. They believed that they had a spiritual transformation which changed their orientation. They also stated that they were no longer troubled by feeling different or rejected by heterosexual men, emotional attraction to men, sexual attraction to men, feeling bad about same-sex desires, social isolation, or compulsive sexual thoughts and behaviors. Robinson found that their change came from a new understanding that prior same-sex attractions did not require them to be gay.[25]

Relations with the LDS ChurchEdit

Although it functioned independently of any church, Evergreen was religiously based on the teachings of the LDS Church. The organization adhered to its teachings "without reservation or exception." Evergreen had LDS general authorities on its board of trustees and taught LDS Church principles to Latter-day Saints and ecclesiastical leaders by coordinating with the Church as well as by hosting various events, such as firesides (informal evening gatherings of church members), workshops, and conferences. General LDS church leaders spoke at nearly every Evergreen annual conference from 1996 to 2011.[4]

Closure and transition to North StarEdit

In January 2014, Evergreen International announced it would merge with North Star.[26][27]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "About Us". Evergreen International. Archived from the original on 9 December 2004. Retrieved 24 March 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  2. ^ "A Christ-Centered Approach". EvergreenInternational.org. Evergreen International. Archived from the original on 24 July 2012. Retrieved 29 October 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  3. ^ "Map of the Way Out". EvergreenInternational.org. Evergreen International. Archived from the original on 24 July 2012. Retrieved 29 October 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  4. ^ a b "Popular Speakers and Presenters at Evergreen conferences, Firesides, and Workshops". evergreeninternational.org. Evergreen International. Archived from the original on 24 July 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2017.
  5. ^ Morrison, Alexander. "Some Gospel Perspectives on Same-Gender Attraction". EvergreenInternational.org. Archived from the original on 24 July 2012. Retrieved 29 October 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  6. ^ Mason, James. "The Worth of a Soul Is Great" (PDF). EvergreenInternational.org. Archived from the original on 24 July 2012. Retrieved 29 October 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  7. ^ Hart, John L. (1 October 2007). "'Battle is within': Live standards, receive blessings". LDS Church News. Deseret News Publishing Company. LDS Church.
  8. ^ "Elder Bruce C. Hafen Speaks on Same-Sex Attraction". Mormon Newsroom. 2009-09-19. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
  9. ^ "Remarks by Bishop Keith B. McMullin to Evergreen International". LDS Church. Mormon Newsroom. 20 Sep 2010. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  10. ^ "Remarks by Bishop Keith B. McMullin to Evergreen International". LDS Church. Mormon Newsroom. 20 Sep 2010. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  11. ^ "Myths", EvergreenInternational.org, archived from the original on 2012-07-24
  12. ^ a b "Therapy", EvergreenInternational.org, archived from the original on 15 April 2005
  13. ^ a b Park, Jason. "Therapy". Evergreen International. Archived from the original on 15 April 2005. Retrieved 29 November 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  14. ^ "Interview With Elder Dallin H. Oaks and Elder Lance B. Wickman: "Same-Gender Attraction"", Additional Resource, Mormon Newsroom, LDS Church, 12 December 2012
  15. ^ "The Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity". The Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  16. ^ Sutton, Philip M. (November 2015). "Professional care for unwanted same-sex attraction: What does the research say?". The Linacre Quarterly. 82 (4): 351–363. doi:10.1179/0024363915Z.000000000147. PMC 4771007. PMID 26997676.
  17. ^ "Recommended Friends". desertstream.org. Desert Streams. Archived from the original on 21 May 2015. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
  18. ^ Nicolosi, Joseph; Byrd, A. Dean; Potts, Richard W. (June 2000). "Retrospective self-reports of changes in homosexual orientation: A consumer survey of conversion therapy clients". 86. Psychological Reports: 1071–1088.
  19. ^ Byrd, A. Dean. "When a Loved One Struggles with Same-Sex Attraction". ChurchofJesusChrist.org. LDS Church. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  20. ^ "Controversial Leader of 'Ex-Gay' Therapy Group Steps Down as Criticism Mounts". NBC29 News WVIR Charlottesville, VA. 7 Dec 2006. Retrieved 29 November 2016.
  21. ^ "Narth Officers". narth.com. NARTH. Archived from the original on 3 August 2004. Retrieved 29 November 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  22. ^ "FAQs (Frequently-Asked Questions): How many people have changed?", Evergreen International, archived from the original on 2012-07-24
  23. ^ Park, Jason, "Can I Resolve my Same-sex Attractions?", EvergreenInternational.org, archived from the original on 2012-07-24
  24. ^ Winters, Rosemary (September 16, 2009), "Words of love: 'I don't care that you're gay'", The Salt Lake Tribune
  25. ^ Throckmorton, Warren (June 2002). "Initial empirical and clinical findings concerning the change process for ex-gays". Professional Psychology: Research and Practice. 33 (3): 242–248. doi:10.1037/0735-7028.33.3.242. Archived from the original on 2008-05-04.
  26. ^ "Evergreen International – North Star". northstarlds.org. Retrieved 2017-04-01.
  27. ^ Stack, Peggy Fletcher (January 2, 2014), "Longtime support group for gay Mormons shuts down", The Salt Lake Tribune

External linksEdit