Talkin’ Trash about John Smid

Shortly after I reported that John Smid had resigned from Love in Action, lots of folks have speculated as to the reasons. We may know soon enough. Yesterday evening I heard from someone who had read the letter that went out to supporters announcing John’s resignation, who told me it does not take effect until July. Perhaps we will know more when the program makes their official public statement in their newsletter in April.

Last summer John gave a talk about masturbation where he made what sounded to me and many others bizarre references to his wife and to her vagina. Since the news broke of John’s resignation, stories have begun to swirl along with jokes quoting John’s talk.

For me perhaps some of this vagina talk would be funny right now if I didn’t know John Smid and especially his wife. She is a lovely, kind woman. I also was married to a woman when I was ex-gay, and she suffered greatly because of my gay orientation and our failed marriage. I suffered greatly too.

We have no indication that John has been unfaithful. From everything I hear from folks in Memphis, he is not leaving in disgrace. Although some folks may wish to see such an outcome after all the harm that many of us experienced in Love in Action, some of this sounds downright cruel and petty. Lord knows I get angry about a lot of this stuff. It has affected me and my family in devastating ways. I attended that awful program for two years.

But these are people we are talking about.

No question, Ex-Gay leaders need to be held accountable for the harm they cause, for the uniformed misguided programs they create, and the dangerously misleading statements they make. But that doesn’t give me license to treat them like shit.

Perhaps I am just a sappy Quaker who believes the crazy notion that that of God is in everyone. But I cannot forget that for most of my adult life I had been a born-again, Evangelical, Conservative Republican Christian who was very very anti-gay (and self-hating). I have changed dramatically. Change is possible. It was a hard road to make the changes I had to make, to question my world view, to see just how wrong I was. But it becomes even more difficult when people assume the worse and hurl insults.

I have been one of the most constant critics of Love in Action, and I will be thrilled the day that program completely shuts its doors. May that day come quickly! But I was one of them, and I care what happens to them, and I hope that they find a better way.

This post has 10 Comments

  1. Lewis on March 28, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    Oh, change is definitely possible. At any age. In any church. In any person. Thankfully. Check it out:

  2. Joe Brummer on March 28, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    Thanks for the message. It is one of the reasons I have such respect and admiration for you!

  3. Jacob on March 28, 2008 at 5:01 pm


    The news of the Rev. John Smid stepping down was music to my ears. I wanted to tell you I appreciate your corky Quakerness and your blog post. I have been there too…not as long as you, and not with the same experiences, but my own. I think it is so important to be happy with this small step, but to also be respectful of the choice ex-gays have made. I know that they believe they are making the best and right decision for their life because I once made that decision.
    Thank you for your continued efforts to spread truth, and remind gay Christians that they DO have a choice…they can CHOOSE to accept and love themselves for the unique beings God created them as!

    P.S.-Thank God you are no longer a Conservative Republican!!! I think I’d have to cry 🙂

  4. CrackerLilo on March 28, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    *nods* As a practitioner of Vodoun (a/k/a voodoo), I have to be very careful. It is considered wrong for a Vodouisante to try to rob someone who has not *directly* harmed you–as in, tried to kill you or a family member–of their livelihood. So I have to remember that I don’t believe in robbing people of their livelihoods when I think about people like John Smid.

    That said, I do hope for a change in focus and a change of occupation, and I like your change way better than LIA’s definition.

  5. Peterson Toscano on March 28, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    I deleted a comment by anonymous (who signed his name as Larry). Much of his comments had to do with his beliefs that it is wrong to be gay.

    He also wrote, “I do not understand why as a gay person who tried to come out of his sin, you resent so much the idea that some will succed while others such as yourself have surrendered to failure. Perhaps many who enter programs to try and turn their behavior around will fail. If any at all do succed God bless them.”

    I include that comment here because it reveals that Larry did not either read or understand my post above and that he has not spent time looking at the careful and thorough journey I took address these issues.

    One of the problems I have with some of our opponents is that they do not actually listen to us when we speak our truth and share our stories. Instead they tell us things that we have known for a long time and have since grown to understand are not true.

  6. Pete on March 28, 2008 at 7:01 pm


    As a Side B guy, I just want you to know that I really appreciate the “humanness” of this post and your work in general.

    Were it not for you, Christine, and the others at BXG, I would, in all liklihood be putting much effort into “changing” my orientation. Putting all the focus in the wrong place.

    Your work led me to do some research on my own and I am so thankful that I have decided NOT to go down that path.

    While we ultimately see some big things (ok, ONE big thing, haha) differently, your exposure of the “ex-gay myth” has led me to the conclusion that it is much better to enjoy the single life and the freedom that it offers (especially related to ministry) then trying to be the guy with a wife and 2.5 kids who would probably still be checkin’ out the neighbor as he mows his lawn 😉

    Have a great weekend.


  7. Anonymous on March 28, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    I think it odd that you censored my comments. What are you afraid of?


  8. Jacob on March 28, 2008 at 7:18 pm

    It’s very sad that we have so many people are closed minded Peterson. I will agree with Pete, that the efforts of you Christine, BXG, Box Turtle, and many others, have bared many fruits. Your kind words and friendship have been an inspiration for me. Thanks for playing the “momma bear” admin on here from the uninformed, while trying to educate them at the same time.

    Peterson, what do you do when you are NOT being a Super Hero??? Ever sleep 🙂

  9. Auntie Doris on March 28, 2008 at 8:05 pm

    He spends most of his time choosing which colour underpants to wear over which tights. It’s a busy life being a superhero… now Christine… there’s a cartoon I would like to see!!!

  10. Bruce Garrett on March 28, 2008 at 10:52 pm

    You’re the better man Peterson…

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