Restored Hope Network

Its “hope” is that you will part with some money.

Restored Hope Network is really a self-serving industry group. The tiny nonprofit promotes the notion that people can convert from gay to straight and transgender to cisgender in order to provide referrals to “therapists.”

No peer-reviewed research exists to support the notion that sexual orientation or gender identity can be altered through any form of counseling or prayer.

RHN was incorporated in Missouri in 2012 by Annette Comiskey wife of “ex-gay” Andrew Comiskey of Kansas City, MO. The original board members were Andrew Comiskey, Stephen Black (Oklahoma City, OK), David Kyle Foster (Franklin, TN), Frank Worthen (San Raphael, CA), Robert Gagnon (Pittsburgh, PA), Anne Paulk (Portland, OR) and Michael Newman ((Houston, TX). It is now located in Colorado Springs. Paulk is the executive director.

RHN is simplistic in its crackpottery:

  • Gay people are broken.
  • Gay people are struggling.
  • Gay people need to be fixed.
  • Jesus saves.

Not only does conversion therapy not work, it is toxic. Telling people, whose sexuality you do not approve of, that they are broken has no place in any form of professional counseling. LGBTQ people are not broken. They do not need to be fixed.

Imagine a real therapist saying: “You are depressed because you are broken. I can fix you.” Rational people would run to the nearest exit.

RHN has assembled a crew of misfits as persuaders:

Andrew Comiskey is the founder (1984) of Desert Stream Ministries and one of the founders of RHN. While Desert Stream Ministries has a pretty website and allegedly five employees, it files its tax return by ePostcard which means that revenues are less than $50,000. The organization was once affiliated with Exodus International. Comiskey converted to Catholicism in 2011. Comiskey has no training in any form of counseling.


“Dr.” Nancy Heche is a piece of work. Heche’s daughter, actor Anne Heche, has claimed that her father raped her from the time she was an infant until she was 12. She accuses her mother of knowingly enabling her husband (who died from AIDS).

Nancy Heche, who reportedly lives in Southern California, claims to be a Christian counselor. According to the California Department of Consumer Affairs, Heche does not have the required license. Heche told al.com that she has a doctorate of ministry in counseling from Northwestern University’s Garrett Seminary.

That implies that the seminary is a graduate school of Northwestern University. It is not. The seminary leases space on the university’s campus and the university makes its library available. However, they are entirely separate, independent schools. The university provides no oversight.

Things might have changed but the seminary is a Black college and it does not offer a “doctorate of ministry.”


Alex McFarland styles himself pretentiously as “Dr.” Alex McFarland. He has an honorary doctorate. McFarland claims to head two organizations: Alex McFarland Evangelical Ministries and Truth for a New Generation. Neither is federally nonprofit.

Funny how the donations page of his website fails to mention that donations are not tax deductible. You would think that the sanctimonious Christian would be honest with donors.

There is nothing in McFarland’s background to suggest that he is even remotely qualified to opine on some form of counseling.


I used to know a man in Brooklyn who was a wise guy. He is dead but he used to make a living by creating labor unrest and then persuading the company’s management that, if they would pay him a monthly fee, then he would make the problems go away.

Restored Hope Network is similarly structured. They promote the false notion that being LGBTQ is a choice and evil which causes a certain demographic to “struggle” with their sexuality. Then they promote the dishonest claim that — with their assistance and some help from Jesus — they can fix the problem.

Unfortunately conservative Christendom is very effective at making people neurotic and dependent. There is no shortage of desperate people.

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