Conversion Therapy and Urban Legends

WickedAre you familiar with the Tony-award-winning Broadway musical Wicked? Wicked recounts the life of Elphaba, also known as the Wicked Witch of the West, and her best friend Glinda, the Good Witch of the North. Only this retelling of the story puts an incredible spin on these two characters and what we know of them from the movie The Wizard of Oz.

It turns out that Elphaba is actually the “good guy” who has been forced to take on a reputation of being evil and dangerous. We really only know of the urban legend that is the Wicked Witch. Glinda, on the other hand, is actually calculated and manipulative. She is only after power and a spotless reputation in the eyes of the public. All is not what it seems. All is not what the masses have been told and led to believe.

We understand Elphaba’s plight.

What the Masses Believe

A recent USA Today article highlighted that an increasing number of states are banning what is commonly referred to as “conversion therapy,” particularly for minors. The article defines conversion therapy as “an attempt to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity through tactics as obvious as hypnosis or as subtle as inducing shame.” The list of state bans is growing. So is the list of bans on freedoms for adults who, due to their religious convictions, are seeking help for themselves.

Unfortunately, the masses are believing what they have been told. “Conversion therapy” (and all of the negative—and false—implications associated with it) has become a catch-all term describing any therapy or ministry like Outpost that addresses issues related to unwanted same-sex attractions or gender identity confusion. Another broad and undefined term, “sexual orientation change efforts,” has also become a catch-all expression. It usually refers to any activity associated with the intention of changing someone’s sexual orientation. “Sexual orientation change efforts” has become synonymous with the dangers of “conversion therapy.” We have become the stuff of urban legends.

What We Don’t Do

For the record, Outpost Ministries does not do “conversion therapy.” We don’t even do “sexual orientation change efforts,” if that means trying to turn people from “gay” to “straight.”

What We Do Do

Outpost Ministries has a much higher calling. We are here to turn people into Christ-followers, especially in regard to their sexuality. Jesus had a lot to say about the proper and holy use of our bodies. Many people come to us seeking help in aligning their lives with their (and our) sincerely held religious beliefs regarding sexual expression. There are actually individuals who, under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, conclude they no longer ought to be involved in behaviors where they are acting upon their same-sex attractions. They desire clarity in their identity as sons and daughters of God.

Priorities

At Outpost, we focus our attention on the character of the God-man Christ Jesus, the perfect human, and upon the character of Creator God, in Whose image we are all created as males or females. What does that mean? We try to flesh it out―literally. Our bodies are the location of our devotion to Christ. We worship him in our bodies. Like Romans 12:1 says, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship (ESV).”

Our “religion” is integral to the way we live our lives. Our spirituality profoundly affects our sexuality. And it is that priority order: God is first, we are second, not vice versa. As we bring our sexuality under the lordship of Jesus Christ, no matter our struggle, we are progressively healed and transformed.

All for Love

By the end of Wicked, Elphaba is not able to turn the tide of public opinion against her. But she concludes that what others think of her really doesn’t matter. She knows the truth, and she has found true love. We too doubt that we will be able to turn the tide of public opinion. We are concerned that this minority of people, who are tempted by same-sex attractions but wish to avoid acting upon them out of love for Jesus, will be shut out of the public discourse. But in the end, we can’t let what others think hinder us. We too are in love. We know the Truth, and He has set us free.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

About Dan P.

Dan P. is Pastor of Ministry Relations and has been on staff since 1993.

About Candace O.

Candace O. is Outpost's Communications Manager.