The Center for Gender Wholeness, a Mormon “ex-gay” therapy group, has received some attention on the blogosphere. The first thing that people need to know Mathesonis that this outfit is run by David Matheson, who is the product of three discredited “ex-gay” practitioners. According to the website:

(CGW) traces its roots back to 1996 when CGW founder, David Matheson, CMHC (Clinical Mental Health Counselor) began working with Dr. Joseph Nicolosi at the Thomas Aquinas Psychological Clinic in Encino, California. At that time, Nicolosi was the foremost authority on helping those with unwanted SSA.

In 2002, Matheson opened the Center for Gender Affirming Processes in Jersey City, New Jersey. Dedicated exclusively to helping men with unwanted same-sex attraction (SSA), the clinic served individuals from many cultures and religions. Particularly prominent in the demographic of the clinic were Orthodox Jews.

Far from a “foremost authority,” as Matheson disingenuously claims, Nicolosi is a discredited quack who attended a strip mall college. His techniques include urging male clients to imbibe Gatorade and call friends “dude” to increase masculinity. Nicolosi also urges fathers to shower with their sons so they can see their father’s junk and identify with it.

Here is a “Quack Classic” by Nicolosi, from a book he co-wrote with his wife Linda Nicolosi, “A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Homosexuality:”

I have also seen this same intense fascination with neutered or genderless cartoon characters. One father told me that his son, who is now involved in homosexuality and is refusing to consider change, had a boyhood fascination with Bozo the clown. At the time his parents thought it was cute, even if a little strange. But he held onto the obsession until the age of twelve. The truth is, these obsessive interests are boys’ attempts to lose themselves in a fantasy world where they can imagine themselves as something other than male and where the challenges of gender do not exist. (P. 67)

There you have it my LDS friends — Matheson was trained by a guy who thinks Bozo the Clown might have made you gay. If this weren’t bad enough, Matheson was under the tutelage of convicted felon Arthur Abba Goldberg of Jews Offering New Alternatives to Healing (JONAH) — a group that is being sued by the Southern Poverty Law Center for misleading clients and referring to a therapist who is accused of engaging in sexual harassment. How convenient of Matheson to leave such pesky details off of his resume.

The third discredited therapist associated with Matheson is Richard Cohen of the International Healing Foundation, who was expelled for life in 2003 from the American Counseling Association for multiple ethics violations. Watch Cohen in action!

The height of hypocrisy comes from this statement on the website:

Though our job is psychological, we believe that good psychology will always harmonize with core gospel principles.

At the same time, we are extremely careful not to push a particular value system or religious outcome, and to respect the individual’s choice. Occasionally a client may choose to leave their faith. In these cases our professional duty is to help the client carefully weigh the meaning and potential ramifications of their choice, and to support them through this process.

First, the views of every respected medical and mental health organization do not harmonize — but flat out reject — the pseudo-scientific approach offered by Matheson. Second, he is completely dishonest when he pretends to be respectful of his clients’ choices. This is made abundantly clear on a different page on his website addressing youth, where the con artist twists the Bible and tries to shame gay kids. According to the site:

“Homosexual and lesbian behavior is a serious sin. If you find yourself struggling with same-gender attraction or you are being persuaded to participate in inappropriate behavior, seek counsel from your parents and bishop. They will help you.”

Satan is actively working to undermine the sacred principles outlined in The Family: A Proclamation to the World. One way he does this is by encouraging acceptance of homosexuality as a natural and unchangeable part of one’s character and identity.

Society’s views about homosexuality encourage sexuality outside the bonds of marriage, compromise spiritual identity, create a foreshortened perspective of eternal potential, confuse the meaning and purpose of marriage, and cause people to question the wisdom of the prophets. These views are being promoted intentionally by certain people who want to change our culture and beliefs.

Does this really sound like Matheson “respects the individuals choice”? Or, is he diabolically engaged in a PR campaign to sound reasonable for the media, while at the same time clubbing LGBT youth with propaganda and perversion of Bible passages?

The centerpiece of Matheson’s scheme to profit off pain is what he calls the “Hope Window”:

When individuals with same-sex attraction first get the idea that they want to work through those issues, they have a certain amount of hope. They may have heard about therapy from a trusted source, or maybe they saw something in the media or found something on the web. At that point they may begin trying things they think will help, or start looking for resources like a therapist or group. This is the beginning of what might be called “the hope window.” If all goes well, they find effective resources and begin to experience a lifting of their burdens and a shift in sexual feelings. Their hope grows, sustaining them through the entire process of growth.

In other words, if this fraud can corral his victims before they have accurate information and prior to the development of self-esteem — he can begin the brainwashing process and collect a nice fee for inflicting life-long harm. I suppose it’s a good gig if you can stomach bilking desperate and vulnerable people. Matheson is defrauding his clients because he is misdiagnosing them as people who are mentally ill and likely gay due to trauma. No credible scientist would push such absurd and pseudo-scientific notions and it is immoral and unethical for Matheson to do so.

Furthermore, Matheson displays profound ignorance on recent scientific work in the filed of sexual orientation research:

A tremendous amount of research has been conducted over the past 20 years attempting to link homosexuality to various genetic, hormonal, and neurological factors. To date, this research has raised interesting hypotheses, but failed to produce any concrete evidence about the causes of homosexuality.

Though carefully worded, Matheson is cynically misleading prospective clients and deliberately distorting what we actually do know.  Let’s here a bit more from real scientists, not pretenders like Matheson who are  ripping off clients for a cheap buck (notice how he funnels his clients into expensive, for-profit schemes like Journey into Manhood):

Unlike Matheson, who has no real credentials — the scientists you just heard from actually conduct real studies and publish genuine peer reviewed research. If you are a gay Mormon — don’t be fooled by charlatans like Matheson. He has no verifiable record of success and is selling false hope to enrich himself. Be smart, think for yourself, and don’t let he or his minions exploit you — and please realize that while he bills himself as a Mormon, his real God is your money. (Ninety minute sessions are $150)