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.