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Posted by: Calypso ( )
Date: January 16, 2012 01:37PM

How have I never heard about this before?? I am completely shocked and disgusted. I've been perusing these boards since last summer and I've been around the church my entire life but I had no idea the church had (has) a program to "diminish same gender attractions and avoid homosexual behavior." Seriously, that's disgusting. Who the eff designs a program to make someone change who they are when there's nothing wrong with them to begin with?? Oh wait, of course the mormons do, I'm sure God requested that during one of his sacred meetings with the prophet. I am so angry. My heart breaks for all the individuals in this program who feel such guilt over something that's so normal...I feel sick to my stomach thinking that they feel like they are sinning and that they have a disease or something that needs to be cured. I was just looking at exmormon videos on youtube and I came across one that was discussing it- search "35 years of prayer couldn't get rid of my homosexuality. My name is Steve and I am an Ex Mormon." He makes such excellent points. He mentions that one third of the people in his Evergreen group committed suicide. Well done LDS church.

Anyone have any experience or knowledge about the Evergreen organization?


****After looking at the website, it does say that it's not technically affiliated with the LDS church but its designed for LDS people and its all LDS resources... I don't care if it's affiliated or not, it's all LDS people and it's still horrible!!



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/16/2012 03:28PM by Susan I/S.

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Posted by: bignevermo ( )
Date: January 16, 2012 01:42PM

there was even a woman poster that said she had gone thru it or knew a woman that had...i think she had though... oh yeah ...we can cure you thru electric shock therapy!!!
yuck!!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/16/2012 03:28PM by Susan I/S.

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Posted by: Dave the Atheist ( )
Date: January 17, 2012 02:03PM

People are willng to put up with a lot of pain if the are told that it is good for them.

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Posted by: Queen of Denial ( )
Date: January 16, 2012 01:46PM

I've been in your shoes. I was in an uproar when I found out about Evergreen last summer. It is so completely evil. I can't believe I was part of an organization that did that. Disgusting.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/16/2012 03:29PM by Susan I/S.

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Posted by: cl2 ( )
Date: January 16, 2012 01:51PM

postmormon. He wrote a book about his life, but I don't know if he has had it published. It seems someone on here on this board is related to Steve. Maybe she could let us know if his book has been published. I read it for him as he wrote it.

I don't know the Evergreen was the shock therapy program--that was BYU.

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Posted by: estebanleeoneal ( )
Date: January 16, 2012 03:42PM

Hello all! I haven't posted on RFM in quite awhile. Yes, I did complete my book and it can be found at www.blurb.com and search for Falling Into Life by Steven H. Lee. I don't think the admins want me posting the direct link here, it's been removed a bunch of times. Anyway, my book covers my story about leaving the church, my stint in Evergreen and other fun things!

I also made this video for the www.iamanexmormon.com people:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFLGJyXG-UQ&feature=player_embedded

I've been busy getting all happy, getting married, legally changing my name to Esteban Cencerrado Lee-O'Neal (look for me on FB under this title) and lots of other things! I miss all y'alls. I'll try and apply some time here for questions if anybody has any.

I hope all is well!

e

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Posted by: estebanleeoneal ( )
Date: January 16, 2012 03:45PM

My biggest issue with Evergreen is that it forces people to commit suicide. There are a LOT of gay Mormon men who kill themselves because of Evergreen. That's why I speak out so much against it. It makes me sick.

e

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Posted by: cl2 ( )
Date: January 16, 2012 03:51PM

the name esteban for some reason--I could remember etienne, but I don't think you used it here. Congratulations on the marriage!!

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Posted by: SL Cabbie ( )
Date: January 16, 2012 03:48PM

You are another of the giants that has made this site as powerful as it is...

We had another of your "cousins" at lunch a few weeks ago...

And thus we attempt to undo some of the damage created by the sins of our ancestors...

Let it rip; you know far more than I...

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Posted by: Calypso ( )
Date: January 16, 2012 03:48PM

Oh my goodness I am so thrilled that you responded!!! I have the utmost respect for you- that video had a massive impact on me. I am so happy that you're doing so well, and that you've made such a remarkable and wonderful change in your life. Congratulations on your marriage, and I can't wait to check out your book!

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Posted by: SL Cabbie ( )
Date: January 16, 2012 03:44PM

As is the church at BYU, where participants were forced to sign non-disclosure treatments before receiving "treatment."

Bignevermo's statement about a woman I know who volunteered she'd undergone this horror is correct. I have contact information, and I'm hopeful at some point she may say more, but I'm not pushing the issue, of course.

I also had two gay fares in the cab last week, and in discussing the subject, one of them volunteered that his TBM father had recommended he undergo it...

Mak has much more information on Evergreen than I do; if you read the church spin on this subject, keep a bottle of Pepto handy or even a few Valium...

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Posted by: Ex-CultMember ( )
Date: January 16, 2012 01:53PM

Yeah, just because its not "technically affiliated with the LDS church" doesn't mean the church doesn't support it. If they didn't you KNOW they would make the Mormons shut it down. Gives them plausible deniability by letting "lone members" run it themselves. Years later they will say they had nothing to do with it.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/16/2012 03:29PM by Susan I/S.

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Posted by: GNPE ( )
Date: January 16, 2012 01:57PM

Someone should tell DETAILS such as what locations this so-called 'therapy' was given, how referrals were passed, etc.

I've heard it suggested that it was on the YBU campus...



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/16/2012 03:29PM by Susan I/S.

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Posted by: Shane G ( )
Date: January 16, 2012 03:39PM

I went to Evergreen for a few years. It is total BS, but it turned out to be good for me because it was the first time I really got to talk to other gay Mormons. In a wierd way it helped me leave the church because I saw just how stupid the church's stance was and saw what it was doing to other people in the program. Thankfully I had the strength to leave the program and the church, but others in the group have continued to allow the church to torture them (I keep in touch with a few of them after 20 years)

It really is a cruel and hurtful program. Why can't the church just admit they are wrong?

Ironically, it was in Evergreen that I found out where all the gay clubs in the area were. Had I not found out about the clubs, I would have never met my partner of 13 years. Thanks Evergreen!

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Posted by: cl2 ( )
Date: January 16, 2012 03:45PM

I did talk to Steve quite a bit about it--but I think I heard something on youtube some years back listed under I think "lawrenzzz" or something like that.

Isn't part of their program to teach you to do things like talk about and fix cars, talk about and play sports, etc. I read that and thought--how stupid can they really be?

I'll say it again--for those threads about babycenter and will there be gays in the afterlife. You take gay out of my ex and he ceases to exist. Gay is what contributes to the unique and wonderful person he is--as well as my other gay friends. This whole issue still infuriates me.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/16/2012 03:46PM by cl2.

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Posted by: estebanleeoneal ( )
Date: January 16, 2012 03:52PM

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2152528327548.2119231.1076600641&type=3&l=aea43d0337

If any of you want to see my fabulous wedding day that happened last August in SF, click above! Rex and I have been together for 7+ years now and it's pretty great I gotta tell ya! We had all of our 6 kids and 75 guests and flamenco guitars and, you know, everything fabulous!

e

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Posted by: estebanleeoneal ( )
Date: January 16, 2012 04:07PM

The format here has changed a LOT. I can't figure out if I'm doing this correctly, or if it's flowing intuitively. Oh well.

I'm from Denver and I only attended the Denver meetings, although I'm responsible for setting up the Evergreen programs in the singles wards at ASU. I used to be the poster boy here in Denver for SUCCESSFUL Evergreen graduates! *cough* Yeah, what a freakin' joke. I was in the initial group of Evergreen men, we were 15 at the time here in Denver. What can I say about the program other than it's based on ALL LDS doctrine, so it doesn't matter what their hideously NASTY website says, it IS an LDS program and many GAs have had their own kids in it.

The program has materials printed just like Sunday School manuals, with lessons and everything. You must end by bearing your testimonies, well it is suggested. But the materials are just organized well with no real content, kind of just like going to CHURCH! :D You meet once a week, there's a leader, and you meet in church buildings or in public libraries.

I found out about it when I was invited to go to an LDS therapist who shamed me and sent me there. I was ready to leave in year 4 of my 16 year marriage, but we hung in there for another 12 years. I just gave up hope when my wife, family, and everyone else I knew said that I "couldn't DO that to them." Meaning be gay. So, I shoved myself back in the box and went on.

There is no real sponsorship except that you're Mormon and you can't quit. We did have a bishop I think assigned to us, but that person rarely came to see us. We were all alone basically, and it became obvious that we were to stay separate from the church as much as possible.

Each member of the group takes turns "teaching", or whatever we did. We were pushed into learning "manly things" so we would become "men". We joined city sports leagues, we worked on our cars, we did stupid sh*t to drive this concept that we were like all the rest of the guys at church. We only found ourselves with new skills and just as gay as ever!

Anyway, that's the gist. After awhile people started disappearing, leaving the church, and when they reached out to me to tell me, I attacked them all because I thought they were all being led astray by Satan... You know the f-ing drill. Anyway, I was the last of that 1st big group to leave. It may still be happening here, probably starts and stops. I dunno.

Many of my friends have committed suicide from that group. One of my buddies from AZ called me a week before I got married and told me his awful fail at trying to commit suicide. He lived, or he would have been ONE MORE suicide death of my friends.

e

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Posted by: GNPE ( )
Date: January 16, 2012 03:50PM

please give us some details, including:

where this 'program' was presented (on whose property)


how you found out about it


who the presenters were; background, sponsorship

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Posted by: Shane G ( )
Date: January 17, 2012 03:42PM

I attended Evergreen during the 1997-1998 period. We met at the Arvada Stake Center in Arvada, Colorado (which is a suburb of Denver, Colorado). I also attended a "reparative therapy" group at the LDS Social Services office in Aurora Colorado. It was basically the same people that attended the Evergreen in Arvada but moderated by an LDS Therapist.

Both groups were really harmful and I think most people deep down knew it, but I got some nasty calls from people in the group when I decided to leave the therapy and the church. The church really does a mind fuck on gay people that I am not sure I have gotten over completely yet.

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Posted by: Shane G ( )
Date: January 17, 2012 03:47PM

To answer your other questions, I found about the group through my Stake President and through an LDS therapist. It is so laughable that the church has nothing to do with this group. They are very much involved and very much promoting it!

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Posted by: Makurosu ( )
Date: January 16, 2012 03:55PM

It's not an official auxiliary of the Mormon church, like the Primary or the Relief Society, but it absolutely is affiliated with them. I think they set it up that way to give it plausible deniability later should it become unpopular and start to affect their image.

My father was released from his calling on the Stake High Council and given a "special calling" as an Evergreen moderator. Dad is a retired government hydrologist and doesn't know the first thing about being gay or group therapy.

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Posted by: GNPE ( )
Date: January 16, 2012 04:02PM

BUT:

the FACTS of who (who were the therapists, who arranged for them to function) where-when and How (referrals were passed)... those are still discoverable, aren't they?

If ANYONE was 'called' to function in this because of their membership OR association with ChurchCo, then it's morally & legally a child of ChurchCo, whether 'born' or 'adopted'.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/16/2012 04:16PM by guynoirprivateeye.

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Posted by: estebanleeoneal ( )
Date: January 16, 2012 04:12PM

guynoirprivateeye:

I don't know how you'd track this down?! It was so abusive what happened to my with the LDS therapist. I know it still happens, too. They are counseled to direct those who admit homosexuality to Evergreen, they still do it.

e

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Posted by: cl2 ( )
Date: January 16, 2012 04:00PM

Wouldn't it be nice if we could get Shane's story and Steve's story about Evergreen and others archived here????!?!?

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Posted by: PapaKen ( )
Date: January 16, 2012 04:39PM

When I was in college, an LDS friend of mine who was married at the time, was a closeted gay man. When we had both come out to each other, he told me about how he had spent years trying to save his marriage & his testimony of the church through Evergreen. Both have ended.

No one I've met who has gone through it has ever said anything positive about it. I'm really really glad I never got involved.

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Posted by: Paq ( )
Date: January 16, 2012 08:41PM

I have attended several Evergreen conferences in Salt Lake City. They claim no outward affiliation with the LDS Church, but the conference is held in the Joseph Smith building and one of the keynote speakers is always a general authority of the church, usually a member of the Seventy. Evergreen cultural events, like BBQs and talent shows, are always held in a nearby stake center. Given that the church has fully opened its resources to Evergreen, it is difficult to believe their claim of no affiliation.

Likewise, participants have to agree to not argue doctrine or to question the official position of the church on 'same-sex attraction.' When I attended, we were informed that security would escort us away from the property if we failed to abide by this agreement. That part was pretty oppressive.

Workshop sessions usually treated 'same-sex attraction' as an addiction. Some were modeled after mainstream recovery groups like AA, while others simply emphasized the moral rightness of opposite sex marriages. Many of the sessions emphasized guilt and certainly reinforced the notion that people with SSA are in some way defective or deficient. Very sad.

I eventually stopped attending because I did not experience any change of the heterosexual variety.

In my opinion, Evergreen is a front group for the LDS Church. It allows them to quietly claim compassion by 'helping' members of the church who are 'struggling.' It exists as a resource for parents, bishops, and stake presidents who are desperate for something proactive to 'help' their gay members. It also exists for gay people in the church who have not yet discovered that there is nothing wrong with being gay.

Like someone mentioned, it also gives the church plausible deniability. From time to time, Evergreen leaders make ridiculous claims about the causes of homosexuality or some other aspect of the so-called 'gay lifestyle.' By not having an open affiliation, the church can direct the agenda of Evergreen while distancing itself from its more embarrassing aspects. It's the same old trick the church has used in other areas of teaching and doctrine. Organizations like Evergreen or FARMS exist to comfort members who are struggling with their faith, but if they say something stupid, the general authorities can say, "Oh, they were not speaking for the church..."

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Posted by: MJ ( )
Date: January 17, 2012 12:57AM


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Posted by: cl2 ( )
Date: January 17, 2012 01:02PM


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Posted by: ronas ( )
Date: January 17, 2012 01:40PM

I may be out of date on this, but I believe the LDS church got rid of the Evergreen program several years ago?

As I recall, it turned out that the only result of the program was that often the men in the program ended up together and the church decided that it don't want to become a gay dating service. lol.

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Posted by: SL Cabbie ( )
Date: January 17, 2012 01:54PM

The operation still exists; I just Googled "evergreen + LDS + same sex" and their site is right at the top.

I won't put up the link because I'm certain ADMIN believes it has no place here but you can verify it...

What they have--to the best of my knowledge--ceased doing is the electro-shock described in the videos MJ linked...But that still wasn't all that long ago...



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/17/2012 01:54PM by SL Cabbie.

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Posted by: ronas ( )
Date: January 17, 2012 01:59PM

I think maybe all they discontinued was the group sharing sessions in a 12 step "recovery from gayness" format.

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Posted by: Shane G ( )
Date: January 17, 2012 03:44PM

Unfortunately, Evergreen is still alive and well. As long as the church can hold onto the false belief that being gay is a "curable disease" they will not have to face their ugly history of abuse.

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