“Help Us Uncover Hidden Conversion Therapy Programs” is the call to action in a recent article about Sexual Orientation Change Effort Bans. It is a call for children and students to report parents and pastors to the LGBTQ watchdogs so they can “scrutinize” the conduct in question and work toward “stronger oversight” of church activities that might be “conversion therapy” in disguise.

Excuse me for having images of Communist leaders using children to spy on Christian parents come to mind. That’s exactly what this sounds like.

The LGBTQ community despises “conversion therapy” in any form. They blame conversion therapy programs for causing emotional trauma. Conversion therapy is even blamed for suicides. Support for conversion therapy is viewed as wishing that certain people were dead. If you support conversion therapy, you are, at best, considered indifferent about whether “LGBTQ children” live or die.

Seen as a matter of life and death, no wonder many hate it.

What is it that is being hated?

That is my question.

What is “Conversion Therapy?”

Failed legislative language in Virginia defined “conversion therapy” as, “any practice or treatment that seeks to change an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity, including efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same gender.”

That definition includes the reprehensible practice of electrocuting children to create an aversion to certain images. (Which is already illegal.) The definition also includes a youth leader who teaches Biblical Sexual Ethics and urges his listeners to avoid all sexual immorality. (That would be an effort to change behavior.)

I went to a Christian University and joined a support group for young men who are attracted to the same sex. We gathered together under a campus pastor to study Biblical Sexual Ethics and to encourage one another to walk in holiness.

My experience there was like any other Bible study with a focus on sexual purity. I didn’t feel any pressure to “change” my “sexual orientation or gender identity,” but I was exhorted to avoid sexual sin and to follow Christ with my whole heart.

I would never have thought to call my experience “conversion therapy.” Those meetings do fit the legislative definition, though. There was an effort by the leaders to change behavior.

One man who was at my side at these meetings has changed his mind about pursuing the Biblical Sexual Ethics taught there. As he walked away from that understanding, he also adopted a different position about the Bible study. He now calls it “conversion therapy,” and condemns it.

Hearing someone use the label “conversion therapy” to describe this group was shocking to me. This wasn’t the nasty and cruel emotional manipulation that pushes people toward suicide! It was a gentle older pastor who simply cared for these young men and pointed us to the truth of what the Bible says.

That pastor was engaged in “conversion therapy” according to the political forces trying to ban the practice and root it out from every corner of the church.

Now those political forces want you to report any “hidden” conversion therapy programs that might be taking place in youth groups or churches. They warn that the programs might be “masquerading as innocuous religious youth groups or family counseling programs.”

Is it really a masquerade, or is it honestly just an innocuous religious youth group?

The group I was part of was not evil. Its purpose was not to push young people to “change” their “sexual orientation.” The call to sexual purity promoted in that group was the exact same call made to any students: remain sexually pure and obey Scripture.

That call to remain sexually pure and obey Scripture is exactly what is being attacked by a conversion therapy ban.