|Review: Exgays? by Stanton Jones and Mark Yarhouse (2007)
Predictably, the US Christian Right has come out with yet another so-called corroborative volume for the gay 'conversion' /exgay movement- but is it all that meets the eye?
I should note that its authors, Stanton Jones and Mark Yarhouse, are a pair of fundamentalist social scientists, and that they have published an earlier volume, entitled Homosexuality: The Use of Scientific Research in the Churches Moral Debate (2001). In that book, they revealed themselves to be caught in identity crisis. As social scientists, they were forced to concede that the exgay movement has produced few substantive research papers for peer-reviewed independent professional academic journals that don't have flaws like tiny sample size, biased clinical populations, short sample duration and wild inferential jumps that are not substantiated from the available documentation.
Thus, Yarhouse and Jones secured the assistance of the US exgay group Exodus and conducted a long-term study of exgay conversion which would offset at least one common mainstream objection to the adequacy of exgay 'medical research.' To counter this, some LGBT activists have suggested that Yarhouse and Jones subjects undertake an MRI scan to check whether they do in fact still respond to gay stimuli.
However, there is an alternative solution. For all its apparent rigour, the Yarhouse/Jones study has been published at a US evangelical/fundamentalist academic imprint, not (say) the APA's American Psychiatric Press. In order to counter mainstream scepticism, it would need to be submitted to a mainstream peer-reviewed journal for critical scrutiny, assessed, and then published. Even then, it would encounter rebuttals and critical scrutiny from professional opponents. Until that happens, I don't think we need neccessarily fear this work as if it were indeed irrefutable 'fact.'
Stanton Jones and Mark Yarhouse; Homosexuality: The Use of Scientific Research in the Churches Debate; Downers Grove: 2001.
Stanton Jones and Mark Yarhouse: Exgays? A Longitudinal Study of Religiously Motivated Behavioural Change in Sexuality: Downers Grove: IVP Academic: 2007.
See also the Truth Wins Out! website's response to the Ex-Gays 'sham' on the link below. Craig Young - 15th September 2007