Dr. Robert L. Spitzer, who passed away on December 25, 2015, at the age of 83, was considered one of the most influential psychiatrists of his generation. Many years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Spitzer and ultimately became one of his case studies with regard to freedom from same-sex attraction. The below article titled “Setting the Matter Straight” capsulizes much of Dr. Spitzer’s study. My condolences to his wife and children.
In 1973, Dr. Robert Spitzer, Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University, opposed the prevailing beliefs in his profession by leading the effort to remove homosexuality from the list of psychiatric disorders. For this, liberals and the gay community respected him, even as it angered many of his psychiatric colleagues.
Ultimately, a controversy erupted when Dr. Spitzer reported the results of a study that asked an important scientific question: Is it really true that no one who was predominantly homosexual for many years could strongly diminish his homosexual feelings and substantially develop heterosexual potential?
What Dr. Spitzer found was that, in the unique sample he studied, many made substantial changes in sexual arousal and fantasy and not merely in behavior. Even subjects who made a less substantial change believed it to be extremely beneficial.
I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Spitzer at the American Psychiatric Association Convention in Chicago in May 2000 as well as at a conference in San Diego. Ultimately, Dr. Spitzer knows me much better than I know him. I was one of the 200 people Dr. Spitzer interviewed for his study.
After my second interview with Dr. Spitzer, with my pastor and secretary at the time sitting in on the interview over speakerphone, Dr. Spitzer volunteered, “It’s undeniably true you have experienced a major and significant change in your life.”
Thankfully and gratefully, I am far from the only individual that has experienced change. God has not been silent to the cries of men and women wanting freedom from homosexual feelings and behavior. Many have experienced the power of Christ to address the deep needs of both men and women trapped in same-gender struggles. Through the atonement of Jesus Christ and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, God has, is, and will be delivering people from the snare of homosexuality.
However, here we are in 2015 with some still considering the question: Can a person experience change of not just behavior, but desire related to homosexuality? The answer to the question is accurately wrapped up in an answer from 2004, which was prior to Dr. Spitzer’s change of heart on his study. Yet the data still bears up under scrutiny and has not been removed from the psychological journals.
For an important, if not vital, view from Dr. Spitzer, please watch the following:
from YouTube, An interview with Dr. Robert Spitzer
How is it we have dismissed or forgotten that He is God; The One that spoke the universe into existence, The One that has enabled the lame to walk and the blind to see and The One that has hung each star in its’ place. Is healing a person’s sexual orientation too big for Him?
The question, “Can homosexuals really change?” is a fair and monumentally important question. The men and women that have exited homosexuality span a wide variety of ages, personalities, occupations, nationalities, and church denominations. Some of these men and women have been free from homosexual involvement for ten or twenty years. They are not just suppressing their homosexual or lesbian longings. There has been a true resolution of this issue in their lives.
While it continues to be taught and preached that God can do the impossible, do we still believe it?
When an individual who was once controlled by his sin is now free from that sin and engaged in a new kind of life pattern, hasn’t change occurred?
Oswald Chambers states in My Utmost for His Highest, “A man is a slave for obeying unless behind his obedience there is recognition of a holy God.” I find it remarkable that God never insists on our obedience, but when we truly know Him, we want to instantly obey Him and live according to His perfect will from sunup to sundown.
There is no identical plan of action for healing from same-sex attraction. No quick fix or one-two-three formula. Ultimately, a person’s freedom from same-sex attraction comes from a Person, rather than a method or even a program. That Person is, has always been and will always be, Jesus Christ.
Such Were Some of You is a documentary which takes you on a journey that begins with a contrast between the opinions of people on the street and experts in theology and psychology. Then over two dozen former homosexuals tell their stories.
Thirty years ago, I said goodbye to homosexuality and the gay identity. All Christians face the decision of accepting or rejecting Christ’s Lordship. Coming out of homosexuality required deep emotional healing and a restructuring of my whole identity. As our Creator, God, is the only One who knows exactly how to restore our personality. I remember so vividly, when coming to know Christ at the age of 35, what it meant for the first time in my life to be a man. But more importantly, what it meant to be a godly man. I liked it then. I like it still. Or, as I have heard it sung in a wonderful old song, “I wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now.”
At the end of the day, science can never be used to trump God’s Word. Yes, change is possible. The interesting thing about the change process is that change is not our ultimate goal. Change is what results as a person pursues a more important and compelling goal: knowing, loving and “beholding” Jesus.
Pastor Phillip Lee
His Way Out Ministries
Member of Restored Hope Network
“If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at the moment attacking, the I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is tested.” Martin Luther