This conversation is being reprinted with permission from Rob Lauer Producer and host of “Portsmouth Insites” on PCTV at TV Producer/Host.
Saturday morning after reading in the NY TIMES that famed psychologist Dr. Robert Spitzer had renounced his early beliefs about sexual orientation, I [Rob Lauer] emailed EVERGREEN–the LDS gay therapy organization that bases its organization’s entire operation on earlier statements made by Dr.Spitzer.
Dear Brethren: “Will you continue to have a full-page on the Evergreen website about Dr. Robert Spitzer when in this morning’s NEW YORK TIMES, Dr. Spitzer himself has publicly renounced his former theory that same-sex attraction can be changed and has now publicly proclaimed that he believes attempts to alter sexual attraction are harmful?”
“Here’s a link to this morning’s NEW YORK TIME’S cover story: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/19/health/dr-robert-l-spitzer-noted-psychiatrist-apologizes-for-study-on-gay-cure.html?ref=todayspape%E2%80%8Br ”
“Sincerely, “ROB. LAUER”
BELOW is the reply I received from DAVID PRUDEN, who has been the Executive Director of Evergreen since 1995:
“Gee, I thought there might be gravity. I did a study. There is gravity! I proved it with my scientific study. Ten years of academic (gay) harassment pass. I am now 80, sick, and old. Never mind, I now suspect there is no gravity. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe none of those apples fell (people changed) but maybe they did. I didn’t ask them. Didn’t conduct new experiments. I just got tired and now I’ll say I was wrong. Science doesn’t work that way. The study is important. Spitzer is not. The study stands on its own. The people he studied didn’t withdraw their data. Spitzer can’t just wish them away.”
“David C. Pruden, M.S. 307 West 200 South, Suite 3001 Salt Lake City, Utah 84101 (801) 363-3837”
I [Rob Lauer] sent a brief but polite email. What I received was a snarky reply that assumed things (“ten years of academic ((gay)) harassment”) and that took a cheap shot at Dr. Spitzer’s age.
I honestly expected a brief but thoughtful and professional reply from someone at an organization that routinely holds conferences and events at which LDS General Authorities speak.
I’m truly taken aback by the juvenile tone and callousness from the Excecutive Director of an organization that prides itself on upholding the highest moral standards of one of the nations largest churches.
(What really saddens me is that Mitt Romney gives money to Evergreen.)
“I [Rob Lauer] politely asked you a straight-forward, serious question. I’m more than a little taken aback by the tone of your reply–not to mention the content. … “Perhaps the “Ten years of academic (gay) harassment” that you allude to was because, as Dr. Spitzer contends, his research consisted of accepting the words and opinions of individuals with no outside, objective scientific verification of their accuracy. Your characterization of Dr. Spitzer and the cheap shots at his age and health are, quite frankly, juvenile and unbecoming of someone in your position. You represent an organization that claims to uphold the highest standards of one of our nation’s largest religious denominations. This organization has routinely held events at which LDS General Authorities have spoken. This organization exists to help LDS men and women who are suffering because of their sexual orientation; they come to your organization in desperation, with faith that it can help them. (And you know all too well the success rate this organization has in actually changing their sexual orientation.) Given your position over an organization that exercises such power over the emotions, hopes and fears of vulnerable men and women–and does so in the Name of Jesus Christ and on behalf of one of this nation’s greatest religious traditions–I am surprised and disappointed by your flippant response. If your tone is any indication of the attitudes found at Evergreen, LDS men and women trying to deal with their sexual orientation would probably do well to look for help and advice elsewhere.” “ROB. LAUER”
He just emailed the following back to me: (I post this because I’m astounded that the EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR of Evergreen would respond in this manner.) “I know Dr. Spitzer. Do you? I know what his current health situation is. Do you? “Science stands alone. The expressed stories of 200 men who he interviewed have not changed. He did no follow-up research. Surely you understand at least a little something about science and research or maybe not. “Regardless, who are you? I don’t find your name among the Evergreen partners or supporters. Are you planning to become involved in Evergreen in some positive way or are you just the unofficial editorial board chairman reviewing posted documents on our resources site? “This is kind of a silly conversation isn’t it BROTHER Lauer?” “David”
He emphasized “Brother” because (I suppose) he doesn’t believe that I’m really Mormon.
I [Rob Lauer] just sent the following email back to him: “My name is Rob Lauer. I am a gay Mormon, I was baptized into the LDS Chuch in 1977. I graduated from Brigham Young University in 1983. I was the Associate Director of the Church’s Hill Cumorah Pageant from 1997 until 2003. I am a Mormon writer/playwright. “You can call me Rob or Brother Lauer–since I am a fellow Mormon. No, I do not know Dr. Spitzer personally–though I’ve followed his career for years since my teens (in the 1970’s) when he supported removing homosexuality from the list of psychiatric disorders. Regarding his health, I know only what he has made public. And yes, I understand science very well.”
“I do not support Evergreen–though until 2003 I agreed with many of its positions. Science, rational thought and my personal relationship with my Heavenly Parents have lead me to accept the truth about the nature of sexual orientation. Answering your question: No. I don’t think this is a “silly conversation” at all. I continue to be surprised by tha casual, non-serious, even contemptuous manner in which you are conducting it…especially given the fact that you are Executive Director of Evergreen and I am a total stranger.”