Ex-gay leader apologises

Ex-gay leader apologises

A former board member of ex-gay group Exodus International and head of a controversial American ex-gay centre has apologised five years after the program made headlines around the world.

The Rev. John Smid, who spent 22 years working for Love In Action before becoming its director, has made a public apology to anyone he may have hurt or harmed.

Love In Action is an ex-gay residential facility in Memphis, Tennessee.

In 2005 the centre received a wave of adverse publicity after 16-year-old Zach Stark was forced to attend the program by homophobic parents and blogged about his experience on MySpace, leading to protests.

“If you have been wounded by me or harmed through the hands of my leadership, please come to me and allow an opportunity for me to personally apologise with the hope that we can both be released from the bondage of unforgiveness,” Smid wrote this month on his website.

“[R]egarding the most highly publicised ‘Refuge Program’ for teens that was held through Love In Action. If I could go back and do anything differently based on what I know today — it would be the Refuge Program … I am very sorry for the ways that Refuge further wounded teens that were already in a very delicate place in life.”

Smid quit his role with the group in early 2008.

In related news, a member of the board of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) has resigned after details of a criminal past became public.

NARTH is a North American group representing people who disagree with the 1973 decision by the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from the list of mental disorders, and believe it is a treatable condition.

Some of its members are psychologists and psychiatrists, but many others are people without medical qualifications.
Arthur Goldberg was the executive secretary of NARTH before resigning in February.

Earlier that month, Goldberg had been revealed as the same Arthur Abba Goldberg who was convicted in 1987 of wire and mail fraud and conspiracy to defraud the government for his part in a scam which netted $11 million in illegal fees for his Wall Street company.

Goldberg was made to repay $400,000 and served 18 months in prison before being released on parole.

Goldberg later reinvented himself as an ex-gay proponent, founding a group called Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality. He wrote a book on the subject, Light in the Closet, despite having no qualifications as a psychological counsellor.

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