Larry Tomczak

Larry Tomczak is determined to convince everyone else that conversion therapy is a proven reality.

2015 Image via YouTube

A great deal of LGBT oppression on behalf of religious conservatives is premised on the effectiveness of conversion therapy. In accounting, when debits and credits are out of balance and when that imbalance is corrected with an arbitrary entry, it is called “a force.” Conversion therapy is a theological force. For religious literalists it claims to prove that their god did not create LGBT people.

A new film — Boy Erased — provides a contrary narrative and a true story. The son of a Baptist preacher is given an ultimatum to either submit to a gay conversion program (after being forcibly outed to his parents) or be forever exiled and shunned. The outcome is quite predictable. The young man stays quite gay.

The reason that the outcome is predictable is because of the conclusions of the American Psychological Association and the absence of peer-reviewed research, published to respectable academic journals, which substantiates the effectiveness of conversion therapy. Where is the evidence? If you want to tout crackpot ideas, how do you substantiate what you are trying to sell?

This does not sit well with Christian crazy, Larry Tomczak. Tomczak, by the way, is a board member of Intercessors for America, an organization that prays for people, … and things to happen. The prayer for the Sec. of Homeland Security begins with “Dear Lord: Please protect our borders and build our wall.” It goes on to request “supernatural intelligence.” I’ll spare the comment about intellect because I digress.

Tomczak writes: Oscar-Bait Movie’s Message: Gay Is OK and Change Is Not. Well, yeah, being gay is perfectly okay and there is no evidence that people can change their sexual orientation.

According to Tomczak (in a painfully verbose polemic):

Boy Erased is a heartbreaking story based on a teenager’s supposedly real experience with same-sex attraction; his rape by a gay college freshman; the traumatic interaction with his supportive mom and dad who is a Baptist pastor; his experience in a “Christian” rehab center; and his eventual realization that “I’m gay … I’m not changing … You’re going to have to be the one to change!” Hence the byline on the movie’s poster, “The Truth Cannot be Converted.”

Guess what comes next:

Similar to the biopic Bohemian Rhapsody ending on a Hollywood inspirational moment minimizing the horrific AIDS-related death at 45 of Freddie Mercury, Boy Erased concludes with young Jared, successful and glowing alongside his gay partner in “marriage” …

They must get HIV in there somewhere. “It is written!” Tomczak’s solution is don’t be gay. The real solution is don’t have unprotected sex. Of course the word marriage is in quotes. Larry does not approve.

The movie is convincing and communicates a compelling story. It will influence millions to accept homosexuality as normal while Christian attempts to encourage people (as Alcoholics Anonymous does) to yield totally to God and admit their inability to overcome their struggles in their own strength is obviously evil, manipulative and totally ineffective. …

Ah, yes, the AA equivalence because being gay is a bad habit, possibly an addiction. Sorry Larry but comparing sexuality to alcoholism is, in point of fact, evil. Sexuality is at the core of who we are and any “struggles” with sexuality are usually the result of judgmental fools who want gay people to feel dirty. Moreover, Larry, all points along the continuum of sexual orientation are perfectly normal.

A generous helping of bovine excrement

What Is the Truth?

Throughout America, there are compassionate and skilled counselors who are committed to helping those struggling with same-sex attraction. They convey God’s unconditional love and His design for men and women so they can live in freedom and enjoy the “abundant life” (John 10:10) that Jesus promised all who follow His way.

Shaming people and attempting to make them hate themselves is not a skill. It is manipulation. It is one step removed from ordering followers to drink the Kool-Aid. If, in fact, Tomczak’s god’s love is unconditional then it should extend to LGBT people. Furthermore, attempting to be what you are not is dishonest and certainly not representative of freedom.

They work tirelessly assisting people in identifying root causes; helping them know how to deal with ongoing temptation; plus guiding them graciously to walk victoriously in the power of God’s grace amidst supportive, authentic Christian community.

The above is where they get knee-deep. They presume to have the ability to determine the root cause of a sexual orientation that they do not approve of because of Bronze Age texts. There is no current medical science to support the notion that there are “root causes” for sexuality. This is the preposterous basis for what they call “reparative therapy” which is based on the idea that gay people are broken. Repair them and they become straight.

I personally know a woman who left the lesbian lifestyle after 42 years, and several male former homosexuals who today are happily married with numerous children. Organizations and churches helping gays find freedom through compassionate counseling are filled with the testimonies of thousands of real people who really have changed.

Sexual orientation is not a “lifestyle.” The only supposedly ex-gays that I seem to know about have a financial interest in claiming to be ex-gay and there are exponentially more ex-ex-gays. “Freedom” is the freedom to be one’s self and shaming people is neither compassionate nor counseling.

What the APA concluded several years ago is that these programs might succeed at helping people pretend to be straight in order to conform to religious dogma. That doesn’t sound like anything any sane person might want to do. That is a miserable “lifestyle.”

How unfair!

This movie unfairly and blatantly portrays a treatment center as a sterile boot camp with a cult-like leader and heartless, abusive figures engaged in behavior modification and manipulative techniques. …

Again, this is a true story. Given the facts that none of this is approved by medical science and there is no proven way of modifying someone else’s sexual orientation, what does one expect? We have seen court testimony of abusive methodology. We have the stories of people who have endured the humiliation of these camps.


Here’s the deal: Boy Erased is a superbly produced and acted presentation of propaganda. It will unfortunately mislead multitudes to reject attempts at helping those struggling with same-sex attraction plus reinforce the notion that change isn’t really possible.

It is not misleading to explain the facts of medical science. Larry should get together with all of his like-minded friends and fund some research aimed at proving that sexuality can be modified. What they offer is shame which causes people to struggle with their sexuality and then more shame to get them to pretend that their sexuality has been altered.

To the contrary, society needs to assure people that they have nothing to be ashamed of. That is the ultimate value of movies like Boy Erased.

The real “truth that cannot be converted” comes not from Hollywood but from the Holy Bible when it conveys hope and freedom.

  • Then it is true that insolent children and brides who are not virgins should be murdered.
  • Giving birth to a daughter makes one unclean for 66 days.
  • Deformed people must do without god.
  • When a woman defends her husband she must be punished with the amputation of one hand.
  • Bastards are prohibited from entering a church.
  • When your brother dies you must screw his wife.
  • Women must never teach or have authority over men.
  • Remarriage is adultery. 

Those and many more crazy things are also in Tomczak’s holy book.

Do you know that Scotland just became the first country in the world to mandate full LGBTQ curriculum be taught all children in all public schools? As salt, we must counter the deception with truth!

Truth and deception are somewhat absolute. If Tomczak wants to assert that he is an agent of truth then he is obliged to provide evidence. Claiming to know three people who also claim that they are no longer gay proves nothing. Conservatively, there are about 15 million people in the U.S. who are LGBT. How many ex-whatever people can we honestly identify.

When he did his study which he eventually recanted, Dr.Spitzer could not come up with 200 and that was with the assistance of ex-gay ministries. Might there be 1,000 (0.007%)? How many were bisexual and how many really changed? What are the odds?

I would argue that the vast majority cannot even pretend to have become straight. Those people have failed and now they might be damaged by their own sense of failure. Just how compassionate is that?

I am opposed to capital punishment. I am sure that Tomczak is an advocate. I might change my mind if, from time to time, we could execute people as a human sacrifice to appease Tomczak’s god. Then we might not have to futilely sacrifice young gay people for the same intended purpose.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.