Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Zach Update: LIA/R Is Shut Down

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The state Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities has ordered the closing of what it calls two unlicensed personal care facilities run by a Christian group that counsels gays to give up homosexuality.

The state inspected two facilities in Memphis on Aug. 19 and determined Love In Action International Inc. was providing housing, meals and personal care for mentally ill patients without a license, according to a subsequent letter to the organization from the Department of Mental Health.

The department gave Love In Action until Sept. 23 to cease operation of the facilities and apply for a state license. State says homosexuality reversal group violating law

You will remember, this is the facility where "Zach," the 16-year-old gay kid who got national attention when he blogged about his situation, was sent.

The A Musing blog reports that the director of the program, John Smid,, who describes himself as a "licensed reverend," is a fake. Mmm, interesting:
What is even more curious is that according to LIA's site only one staff member advertises as a licensed minister--The Rev. John Smid.
But what does that really mean?

When parents with concerns about a child's sexual and spiritual welfare turn to someone with the title of minister, they may do so with certain assumptions. They may assume that a minister...
  • Has been trained for ministry.
  • Attended seminary
  • Took college courses in theology, psychology, and counseling
  • Received a Master of Divinity degree (MDiv)

They may further assume that only after a supervised internship and an intensive review by a church board, that someone can receive the honor and responsibility to serve as an ordained minister.

That's what the majority of ministers in the US do to earn the credibility to lead a congregation and give out spiritual advice.

But John Smid never attended seminary. In fact, the highest degree he holds is a high school diploma. He was handed the title of "Rev." by Germantown Baptist Church.

John Smid, who never took psych 101 or any college-level counseling course, denounces the American Psychiartic Association's professional assessment of homosexuality. Not only has he been running a mental health facility without a license, he has done so without the training. The False Image of LIA

(Thanks to Kay and Wayne Besen for the links.)

Well, it looks like the good guys win one this time.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is extremely dangerous to allow unlicensed people to conduct therapy, especially on teens and young adults. These quack programs should all be shut down. They play on ignorance and fear and milk patients and their families for money, promising results they know they can't deliver. After a session of therapy when the "client" remains attracted to the same sex, they sign the "client" up for another expensive session. It's a great, self-sustaining money making venture that leaves broken lives in it's wake.

September 21, 2005 2:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe that it is incorrect to say that Love In Action claims to be able to deliver things that they can't. They never claim to be able to change what their clients' feel about the same gender, and in fact they make it clear that the feelings may not change, and even if they do it may be a long time. However, since the vast vast majority of the people who attend have strong religious beliefs with which behavior is incompatible, they simple claim to be able to help clients conform their actions to their beliefs. Keep in mind that freedom of religion is at the heart of the American system of government and American history.

October 29, 2005 11:40 PM  

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