Hope for Wholeness, one of the most prominent conversion therapy purveyors, announced to employees that the group will be ceasing operation, according to a memo obtained by NBC News.
“After much prayer and discussion, we have made the difficult decision to dissolve the organization,” the emailed memo reportedly reads. “This was not an easy decision. But we do believe it is the right decision.”
Conversion therapy is any set of methods or practices that seek to alter a person's gender identity and/or sexuality. They range from "praying the gay away" to torture. Evidence shows that these practices are not only ineffective, but result in depression, and even suicide attempts. The practice is opposed by a wide range of groups, including American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association, and American Psychological Association, as well as Human Rights Campaign, Born Perfect, and The Trevor Project.
"As more people, especially parents, are recognizing the harms associated with conversion therapy, places like Hope for Wholeness will find it harder to operate - and that's a good thing," Sam Brinton, The Trevor Project's Vice President of Advocacy & Government Affairs, told Out. "At The Trevor Project, we regularly hear from LGBTQ youth who are survivors of conversion therapy, or who are legitimately afraid of being subjected to these dangerous and discredited practices. Every conversion therapist who closes their doors represents countless LGBTQ youth saved from trauma."
Hope for Wholeness was originally founded in 1999 under the name Truth Ministries. Their motto is “Freedom from Homosexuality Through Jesus Christ,” which is emblazoned across their website. The group cites difficulty recruiting a leader for the beleaguered non-profit as the cause for its demise.
“It has been a tumultuous several years for us,” the memo said. “We lost the founding director, searched for two years for his replacement, hired a new director and then lost that director as well.”
One of the men who helped found Hope For Wholeness, McRae Game, announced last year his regret for his role in the group. Game, who ran the organization for two decades, said its stance that LGBTQ+ people can be cured of their identities is “wrong.”
"I’m very thankful that Hope for Wholeness has closed, regardless of their intentions of just switching horses to Abba’s Delight," Game told Out. "Conversion therapy or 'discipleship mentoring' as they now call it IS HARMFUL. Repressing one's sexuality and/or identity in my opinion causes mental illness and needs to be banned."
While the news that Hope for Wholeness will be ceasing operations is welcomed, Game is still concerned about the use of conversion therapy. The group is donating their remaining funds to Abba's Delight, another conversion therapy group that claims it "is equipped to minister to spouses, parents, families, and friends of loved ones who are caught in the snare of sexual immorality."
Game remains hopeful, though, and is pleased he played a part in the demise of Hope for Wholeness.
"I’m thankful at least that what I created has closed," he told Out.