FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEJeff-Bennion-Mormon-Ex-Gay-235x300

North Star is so Rigid it Believes that “it would have been wrong to ordain a black person in May of 1978”

CHICAGO – Truth Wins Out welcomed the demise today of the notorious Mormon “ex-gay” organization Evergreen International, which will be merged into North Star, an ambitious “ex-gay” organization that markets itself to a younger demographic. Despite its sunny presentation, North Star is a radical fringe group that uses junk science to dehumanize LGBT people. A group spokesperson, Jeff Bennion (pictured), is a controversial figure who claimed two weeks ago that “it would have been wrong to ordain a black person” prior to 1978.

“North Star is a rising star in the ‘ex-gay’ industry that supports junk science and espouses dangerous ideas that harm LGBT people and their families,” said Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen. “Their philosophy is that gay people should marry the opposite sex, which is a prescription for disaster and divorce. It is our view that North Star should follow in the footsteps of Evergreen and disband before they harm more innocent people and ruin additional lives.”

In a controversial Dec. 23, 2013 article packed with junk science Bennion wrote:

“Another set of people will say that the Church will eventually come around to blessing homosexual unions, just like they did with blacks and the Priesthood, perhaps the precedent being the now-discarded practice of adoption sealings that were performed in the early restored Church. There is much more to say about this issue that I will do in a future blog post, but for now it will suffice to point out that it would have been wrong to ordain a black person in May of 1978, even if you knew with a certainty that is changing the next month.”

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North Star is also a staunch opponent of efforts to prohibit reparative therapists from practicing on minors. Such laws have been passed in California and New Jersey, and are under consideration in several other states. Jeff Bennion penned an op-ed for the New York Post, “A Low Attack on Same-Sex Therapy,” expressing his organization’s support for the harmful practice of conversion/reparative therapy:

“SOCE was a revelation to me. It helped me confront my shame, around not only my homosexual feelings but also many other experiences. It taught me that my feelings were innately good, and a natural response to the circumstances I faced. It motivated me to try to repair important family relationships, and helped me learn how to better relate to other men, whom I’d previously ignored or disdained. It’s made me much more accepting of myself and of others.

All of this growth would have been worthwhile on its own terms. But I also found that my sexuality was much more fluid than I’d realized. Under certain circumstances, those feelings were not an issue at all, to the point that they became dormant.

I don’t claim that I no longer experience same-sex attraction, but neither do I need to. Through therapy, I gained enough skills that I felt able, in an open and honest way, to explore romantic relationships with women.”

The Salt Lake Tribune first reported on the story of the “ex-gay merger today:

Days after hundreds of gay and lesbian couples swarmed county offices to get Utah marriage licenses, a group originally founded to help Mormons eliminate same-sex attraction closed its doors.

Before doing so, Evergreen International turned over some of its resources and mailing lists — said to number up to 30,000 participants, including many from Spanish-speaking countries — to a newer LDS-based gay support group, North Star.

Combining the two groups, organizers say, will create “the largest single faith-based ministry organization for Latter-day Saints who experience same-sex attraction or gender-identity incongruence and will also provide increased access to resources for church leaders, parents, family and friends.

North Star believes that homosexuality is sinful:

“Homosexual behavior is included among many kinds of sin that God considers wrong, according to scriptures that Latter-day Saints claim to uphold, and confirmed by many Prophets and Apostles they claim to sustain.”

“Latter-day Saints who believe that homosexual behavior is not sinful and may eventually be endorsed by the Church are also in error.”

Bennion shared his thoughts on marriage equality in Utah:

“I am surprised at the speed with which it has been imposed. What has been not only surprising, but disjeffheartening, is the number of friends who are self-described believing Latter-day Saints who have hailed this ruling as a good thing. I have been pondering why people who consider themselves believing Latter-day Saints would celebrate this action, particularly the specific means by which it was imposed in this case, which has some fairly dire implications for religious freedom. I think there are two reasons for it. First, these people believe that homosexual sex, under at least certain circumstances, is not sinful. Secondly, these people believe that there is no qualitative difference between homosexual relationships and heterosexual relationships. These premises are both wrong, however, and I will discuss each in turn.”

Bennion is also quite glib about gay people marrying the opposite sex and potentially ruining the lives of both partners, as well as the lives of offspring:

“Perhaps what is meant is that gay couples love each other just as much as opposite sex couples do. I think that is true, from what I have seen. But what does love have to do with marriage?. If love is all that is required for people to have the right to marry, how much love is enough? Must it be deep, passionate love, or merely fond affection will suffice? I love my parents and siblings deeply, and that love is not cheapened by the fact that I do not have the right to marry any of them.

In one sense of the word, we have had gay marriage for some time. I should know. I am in one. I experience same sex attraction, and yet I am married. In my case, however, I am married to a woman….As I can attest personally, it is far from a merely irrelevant and pedantic point to say that gay men already had the right to get married. In fact, there are far more of us married to women than there will ever be who are married to another man. We are not the exception, we are the rule.”

Here are Bennion’s backward views on transgender people:

“…I saw the cover of People magazine, which had on its cover the picture which purported to be of a pregnant man.  Reading the article, you will discover that this story is not as newsworthy as it appears. The “man” is not a man at all, he is a woman living under a legally sanctioned fiction that he is a man.”

“What an odd and judgmental statement coming from Jeff Bennion, who is a homosexual man living under the legally sanctioned fiction that he is a heterosexually married man,” said TWO’s Besen.

Truth Wins Out (TWO) is a non-profit organization that works to demolish the very foundation of anti-gay prejudice. Our philosophy is simple: We attack the underpinnings of homophobia by debunking harmful lies, discrediting hateful myths, and countering anti-gay organizations. By chipping away at the underlying ignorance that fuels anti-LGBT attitudes, we can ultimately win our fight for fairness and achieve full equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people worldwide.