A prominent gay conversion therapist and active member of the “ex-gay” scene has announced his intentions to start a new life as a homosexual. David Matheson, author of the book Becoming a Whole Man and creator of several experimental programs which seek to “address incongruous same-sex attractions” revealed he is now seeking to date men.
The announcement was revealed by fellow gay conversation advocate Rich Wyler, founder of the People Can Change organization, in a post to a private Facebook group obtained by Truth Wins Out (TWO), a group who fight against anti-LGBT prejudice and discrimination.
“David…says that living a single, celibate life ‘just isn’t feasible' for him, so he’s seeking a male partner,” Wyler wrote. “He has gone from bisexuality to exclusively gay.”
In a further statement to TWO, Matheson, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, confirmed the statement from Wyler, adding his time in a straight marriage and the “ex-gay” world was “genuine and sincere and a rich blessing to me.”
“I remember most of it with fondness and gratitude for the joy and growth it caused in me and many others. But I had stopped growing and was starting to die,” he said. “I wasn’t faking it all those years. I’m not renouncing my past work or my LDS faith. And I’m not condemning mixed-orientation marriages. I continue to support the rights of individuals to choose how they will respond to their sexual attractions and identity. With that freedom, I am now choosing to pursue life as a gay man.”
His announcement was rejected by Chaim Levin, who claims to have been psychologically damaged after attending Wyler’s and Matheson’s Journey into Manhood gay conversation program.
“While I am pleased for Mr Matheson that he has found a path forward for his life, I can’t help but think of the hundreds if not thousands of people who are still stuck in the closet, a closet that was created in part by Mr Matheson himself,” Levin told TWO. “I hope that Mr. Matheson will do whatever he can to rectify the harm that he’s inflicted on many people in the LGBTQ community, myself included.”
According to a New York Times article from 2007, Matheson, who received a Masters of Science degree in Counseling and Guidance from Brigham Young University in 1996, began a full-time gay conversion practice in New Jersey in 2004 for which he charged $240 for a 90-minute session.
“The therapy I do really just uses standard, normal therapeutic principles,” he said. “Cognitive therapy and emotion-based therapy, standard therapeutic approaches, with an emphasis on helping them feel more comfortable in their masculinity.”
Discussing the Journey into Manhood weekend retreat with ABC’s Nightline in 2010, Matheson said: "For some people 'gay' is never going to work. That kind of life and that kind of living is never going to gel—ever—with their value system. For those men, that's why we exist, so that they can have another way, another approach of dealing with their sexual feelings."