“Conversion Therapy Has No Place In Bermuda”

February 4, 2015

quinton[Opinion column written by Quinton B. Butterfield III]

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

There has been a lot of talk about the “ex-gay” seminars that took place at the Southampton Seventh-day Adventist church. These seminars, according to the pastor, were “to bring education and present the love of Christ.”

While everyone is entitled to their beliefs, there are times when those beliefs take a dangerous turn and go from personal beliefs to actions that can cause damage to real human lives.

One of these beliefs is known as conversion therapy [also called reparative therapy or “pray away the gay”]. Conversion therapies are pseudo-scientific ideologies that take aim at changing people’s sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual. They are most commonly used by religious organizations.

In the past, some of the tactics used included electro-shock therapy and nausea-inducing drugs to try and modify people’s behavior. There have been other tactics such as psychoanalysis, sex therapy, and there is the creation of “ex-gay ministries” within religious organizations. Another “therapy” is the promotion celibacy, for life.

In 1991, reparative therapy was introduced to focus on trying to recondition men to more masculine gender roles by encouraging, to name a few:

  • Participating in sports
  • Avoiding museums, operas and symphonies
  • Trying to “mimic” heterosexual men
  • Attending church
  • Becoming more assertive when flirting with women
  • Entering into heterosexual marriages and fathering children

One of the most prominent groups in the United States, Exodus International, used reparative therapy. They were founded in 1976, and disbanded in 2013. It should be pointed out that the the last leader of this organization, Alan Chambers, has apologized for the pain he caused to many people, while pursuing the organization’s goals. Another ex-gay leader from Exodus, John Smid, has since acknowledged that he was not changed and married his male partner in 2014.

The main reason why these practices cause so much mental and physical destruction is because they subscribe to a notion that people need to change from their innate nature, regarding activities done between consenting individuals. The promotion of social isolation, exorcisms, touch therapy (where people “lay hands” on you), telling people they are diseased, demon-possessed, sinners, and are going to hell, all have a mental toll. In one instance, a “patient” was starved, burned, had bones broken and later died from lack of early medical attention. It is a fact that conversion therapy results in real physical harm, suicide and long lasting mental trauma.

So what does this have to do with what happened at Southampton SDA church? Along with a comment made by one of the guests about men being raped and getting some pleasure from it, here are some of the questions asked at the Q&A session:

  • Q. Are you able to look at someone and tell that they are gay?
  • Q: Can you prove you can not be born gay or lesbian
  • Q: How do I deal with a very young child displaying feminine tendencies ie. wearing a t-shirt as a dress?
  • Q: Should a boy be able to play with his sisters dolls?
  • Q: Should you walk around naked in front of your children?
  • Q: Are people born with homosexual tendencies?
  • Q: If an individual is gay but they don’t act on it what are they?
  • Q: Why is it important to talk about homosexuality when there are other things to discuss like murder, lying, etc?
  • Q: Does being molested increase the chance of becoming a homosexual?

While there is no evidence that the SDA church is trying to create an organization like this in Bermuda, Bermudians need to be aware of the destructive elements that these ideologies bring. The church may have done this out of good intentions, but they need to understand how this has affected real human lives, causing death, physical/mental trauma and depression for hundreds (maybe thousands) of people.

They had a one-sided, sensational seminar, which promises that you can “pray away the gay” and be saved from homosexuality. What they should have done was provide a holistic discussion, inviting all of the various views on the issue, so that people can make informed, fact-based decisions and not be driven by emotions and dogma.

On January 1, 2013, California became the first U.S. state to ban conversion therapy on minors. Since then bills have been introduced in Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, New York, Massachusetts and Washington state, although some have been defeated by religious politicians and some are stalled.

There are no laws against conversion therapy on our island, but it should have no place in Bermuda.

- Quinton B. Butterfield III [pictured] is an administrator for a Facebook community page called Bermudians for Free Thought and Humanism and can be reached at bermudahumanism@gmail.com.

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  1. Back to the Present says:

    Very well written.

    It is often said that Bermuda is ‘another world’ or ‘from another time’, but we don’t have to be when it comes to equality. As Whoopi Goldberg says, if you don’t believe in gay marriage, don’t marry a gay person.

    • Time Shall Tell says:

      That’s as silly as saying if you don’t believer in murder, don’t kill anyone. Or if you don’t believe in incest don’t sleep with your sibling, in the end it still doesn’t make it right.

      • Sara says:

        Comparing being gay to murder and incest is so utterly wrong. Apples to oranges

        • Time Shall Tell says:

          OK, maybe using murder as an example would be an apples to oranges comparison (though there are documented cases where murder & mutilation was between two consensual adults) but incest is more of an apples to apples comparison. Both involve a sexual attraction between consenting adults (I am referring to adults here since I am not even getting into any potential underage interaction on either a gay or incest stand point since that is wrong beyond mention).

          • Back to the Present says:

            But if you take your morals from the Bible, then incest must be ok! How else could the children of Adam and Eve procreate?

            Incest is completely different and cannot be compared to two unrelated adults who are in love and happen to be the same sex.

            • Ride says:

              And a hush fell over the stalls.

              LOL!

              Ride

            • Bermudian says:

              YUP!!!!!!!! The Bible in certain areas also says it is okay to rape a woman so long as you pay her father after and promise to marry her. It also says that if a woman is raped and doesn’t scream for help then she is a ***** and should be stoned. It also justifies slavery. It also allows polygamy.

              • Opinions are like...... says:

                It also says if a woman is not a virgin on her wedding day she is to be taken to her father’s door step and stoned to death by the men of the town…….. Pick and chose your verses carefully…. or follow the book to the T?

              • Caramel says:

                If you are going to make a statement like that, please ensure you include the Bible verses to which you are referring.

          • curious says:

            NO NO NO. And offensive. Incest is NOT a consensual agreement between two consenting adults. It often involvea one adult and a relative who is a minor and vunerable. Stop being offensive. People are not fruit.

      • fedup says:

        Are you suggesting that being gay is somehow wrong? I’d suggest that being ignorant, closed minded and bigoted is akin to murder.

      • Tisk. says:

        Strictly speaking if incest is between consenting adults, what right does anyone else have to intervene? Murder is infringing on another’s right to live. Partaking in an act by consenting adults that doesn’t deprive the rights of another should be no ones business but their own.

      • Sickofantz says:

        By the way please work on developing a sense of humour. You will be happier and others around you will be happier.

    • That’s the same Whoopi who supported a convicted child molester who now resides in France making movies.

      If you don’t believe in the church then don’t go church!

      • Ride says:

        It seems to me that both Rosie O’Donnell (a survivor of abuse) and Whoopi were shocked by the news that Stephen Collins had molested those girls.

        http://www.msn.com/en-us/tv/news/rosie-odonnell-and-whoopi-goldberg-express-shock-at-stephen-collins-child-molestation-accusations/ar-BB8mMie

        Do you have any information to the contrary?

        Ride

        • I am speaking of Roman Polanski who fled the United States decades ago after being convicted of molesting a 14 year old having drugged her. Having traveled from France to another European country which has an extradition treaty with the U.S.he was able to return to France as the country refused to comply with a request to have him return. Ms.Morality Whoopi led the charge to have that request denied. Google the paedophile Polanski.

          • Ride says:

            Yes. Definitely some devious skulduggery going on in this Polanski subject. I wouldn’t want to see him at the playground. That Whoopie “rape-rape” comment is disgusting.

            Ride

    • Noncents says:

      I stopped believing in God when I realized it was just Dog spelled backwards.

      • Deep theology.

      • Don't insult dogs says:

        Don’t you realize that comparing dogs to god is an insult to all canines?

      • mj says:

        The Bible doesn’t say that ‘god’ is dog’ spelled backwards, and the reference or names attributed to The Most High does not detract from The Word. Hope that won’t distract you from reading what it says rather than listening to other interpolations. If you want to uncover the mysteries of the bible , read it for yourself and seek understanding from people that have actually read it and can rightfully divide The Word.. We have been given false teachings by many including brutish pastors(Jeremiah 10:14-21)

  2. just sayin' says:

    This so-called ‘therapy’ is really organized bullying. Where is the tolerance, acceptance and emphasis on loving one another for who we are. Guess ‘diversity’ is only valuable in certain circumstances. These conversion therapy people should be ashamed of themselves.

  3. Starting Point says:

    I never gave the seventh day group any consideration anyway, after all, they believe the entire population of the planet is derived from two single people, that two of every animal on the planet were put on a boat to avoid a rain storm that put enough water on the plant to cover the mountains, that the pilot of said boat lived to be 900 years old and that another dude separated an ocean to walk from one land mass to another (or as it turns out, waited for the tide to go down before wading across a river)…

    not really a group that a sane person would take advice from lol.

    • mike says:

      these beliefs are not exclusive to to the SDA church.

    • Crazy says:

      Shocked at the 13 Dislikes, does that mean 13 people believe those stories literally? So they think that one man/family collected a pair of all species of animal (there are 40,000+ species of spider alone)? What’s in the koolaid at that church, I want some!

      • lifeblood says:

        Were all 40,000 of those species in existence at that time? they are all still spiders…hence, still only two would have been required.

      • Courage and conviction are mixed in the Kool-Aid at church enabling believers to openly confess their belief in God and his word.I don’t know of any Christians worshiping underground in Bermuda do you?

    • God says:

      @ Starting Point

      no seriously, that’s exactly how it went down.

    • good for you says:

      Well looks like someone has read their bible. Good job.

    • justsaying says:

      Its funny how you know soooo much!
      i don’t see why someones beliefs matter to you so much and you have such negative thoughts about it.
      that is what you called judgmental… which you are trying to say SDA’s are about this situation.

      && Im sure 90% of people commenting about these seminars didn’t even attend,,, its just all hear say about what went on. AS USUAL
      the SDA church’s intentions is to show the love of Christ!!
      The SDA church and the Lord loves the gay people, however, the actions of gays are not to the liking of God, which is stated in the Bible that even other denominations read! its the same with anyone who does something that is not in the liking of God,, which is EVERYONE! SOOOOO let those without sin cast the first stone, is what i will say to all those commenting negatively and shutting down the SDA church. so quick to judge but do not have an open mind to those who believe certain things. the SDA churches mission is to help those to Christ and teach the Bible. everyone has different beliefs, but to try and bash another is cruel and hateful.

      && to the rest of those who are trying to say that SDA’s act like they are so perfect,,, NO, Im pretty sure your pokey selves and judgmental ‘intelligent’ selves know that is not true. we are human beings!!! So yes for everyone saying that its liars, stealers, adulterers in the church, YES there is and every Saturday the pastor is talking about SOMEONE IN THE CHURCH!! SO don’t try use that excuse and say we are hypocrites because you sound very unintelligent.

      oh and also, its not just SDA’s who believe such, I’m pretty sure if you was to tell your great grandparent or such (be with their soul if they’ve passed) that you were gay, they will not be too too pleased even if they didn’t go to church!!

      Male for Female is just morals to some people and its nothing wrong with that.
      &&& NO ITS NOT BULLYING!! a testimony that the guest had shared was something that happened to them that made them happy,,,, so i don’t understand how that should even hurt a persons feelings.
      yes i understand its a sensitive matter to some but so are plenty others!

      so for all who are saying that this can cause harm to a person, yes but it can also cause harm to those who hosted this event or even participated,, but then again they aren’t worried about your negative comments.

    • Annie says:

      I agree. The literal belief of the story of the flood cracks me up. Think about the logistics of carrying out such an act. What food did Noah take into the ark to feed said animals? What did the lions and tigers eat? They are hunters and at the top of the food chain and would need to be fed. By the time the flood was over, practically every single animal on that ark (exceptions would probably be animals like hippos and elephants who could probably defend themselves) would be dead and eaten-including Noah and his family.

      What did the bears eat? What did the crocodiles eat? What would stop those crocodiles from ripping Noah’s head off? Furthermore, think about the amount of excrement all those animals would produce-where did it all go? How would the ark hold enough food and water for all those animals and the humans as well?

      I asked that question once (interestingly enough, it was of a SDA although other religions believe this as well) and the response was that the animals were probably put into a state of suspended animation or hibernation where they wouldn’t need to eat or attack anyone. It was a ‘miracle’ the person said. That’s the word they use when they can’t come up with a rational explanation.

  4. C James says:

    You are correct that this is bullying and that they should be ashamed. But they are doing it in the name of religion so it is OK.

    Apparently.

  5. WhistleBlower says:

    My question has continued to go unanswered:
    Why have “Christians” made it a priority to “heal” gays? What about those within their church who lust after children(sometimes their own), extra marital affairs, thieves, those living off the proceeds of crime???
    I have read their bible and did not miss these aspects of their beliefs.

    A simple response to these bigots – clean your own house – let he who has no sin cast the first stone.

    Just like the story of the prostitute who men wanted to stone.

    • Jim Bob says:

      Who said that christians have made it a priority to heal the gays? Please provide your reference. Further to the point, all of those topics mentioned above are talked about but there again you’re probably not bothered about when those talks take place because they probably do not fit in with your agenda.

      • Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

        If you follow discussions on equal rights world wide, you’ll find that it is a popular topic among some Christian groups. Why is hard to say though I suspect it differs from group to group.

        Yes, there are talks on the more popular sins, but they are rarely taken seriously because such things as adultery, sex before marriage, stealing, etc are so common in daily life, and sadly, acceptable by many. However there are many places, Bermuda included, where homosexuality is viewed as a aberration and mistakenly equated with paedophilia, hence the greater attention focused on it by the religious community in the hopes of protecting their children.

        Instead of promoting how to ‘heal’ the homosexuals, their time would be best spent in learning how to treat all equally, so that people with true issues feel able to approach them for help.

        In the end, I want to say that I do truly think that both the church and the ministry believe that they are doing their best to help people, and that their religious beliefs bar them from recognising the harm they are promoting.

    • But you cast the first stone be referring to those who present a different view as bigots.

      • fedup says:

        By ‘different’ view, you mean ignorant and hate filled view.

    • sse says:

      Well said!!

  6. C James says:

    Christians it would seem have always been a bit sensitive about gays. After all, their leader was single, lived with his mother until age 30, never dated women, constantly hung around with the same 12 men, two of whom he was allegedly very close with.

    Seems clear to me.

    Do the math!

  7. Truth Speaker says:

    If Jesus approved of a— sex he would have participated in it

    • C James says:

      Going by your logic, straight people shouldn’t be having sex either. Read your Bible.

    • Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

      Ummm… given that most assume Jesus wasn’t married, I’m fairly certain the assumption is that he was a virgin. So, since he didn’t participate in heterosexual sex, does this mean he disapproved of it and no one should do it?

      • Ride says:

        Once again …

        And a hush fell over the stalls.

        Ride

        There is just too much material in these posts. My sides hurt from laughing!!!

    • Santa Claus says:

      He also didn’t use the internet, electricity, or drive (or ride as a passenger) in motorized vehicles. Feel free to give those up in order to follow your logic.

    • fedup says:

      …and he probably did…do you know otherwise…of course, this only matters if jesus was real, and not just a story in a poorly written book

  8. According to the Bible, “God created all things”. Yes, including them that are gay :-( So please, stop criticizing them that choose a partner/s that are contrary to your beliefs.

    • C James says:

      Unfortunately, the bible is a work of fiction.

      • fedup says:

        fortunately, the bible is a work of fiction.

        • enough says:

          And you know this how?

          • Ricko Chez says:

            The book is a work of fiction, because there isn’t a shred of evidence anywhere that god ever existed.

    • Time Shall Tell says:

      Raymond, by your logic God also made murders, rapists & thieves so we all should stop prosecuting them as well. If you read & understood the Bible you would know that while God made all things under the sun they where without sin. We all know that story behind what changed that…

      • None of the 10 commandments mention anything about being “gay”, But it certainly does not condone murders etc. Check it out for yourself :-(

        • Anonymous says:

          none of the ten commandments say anything about being gay but the book of Leviticus does. read Lev chapter 18 and chapter 20 for yourself. The ten commandments aren’t the only laws in the Bible. So you Check it out for yourself

      • fedup says:

        Are you suggesting we prosecute homosexuals? Your bigoted attitudes are not welcome in first world countries.
        Why is it that so many of you so called christians pick and choose what to believe in the bible? You seem to have your own hate filled agenda.
        the bible is simple a very poorly written attempt at explaining the origin of humans, fortunately most of us have evolved and now understand far more about the universe than the ignorant religious folks who clutch their bible and believe the far fetched stories they’re told.

        • Time Shall Tell says:

          Slow down fedup, first of all I only used the God anology because it was bought up by Raymond. Also there are many degress of prosecution outside that of the court of law & I would of hoped this fact would of been understood (obviously not).

          • Time Shall Tell says:

            Sorry was speed typing, “analogy”.

          • fedup says:

            time shall tell, you obviously don’t have a clue, and are simply babbling through your bible. you’re nothing but a hate filled bigot. Religion is a farce, its what the ignorant use to justify their hatred for others.

    • What an incredible misinterpretation of the scriptures. If one were to apply that belief then God also created child molesters, rapists, murderers etc. “All things” would include Hitler,Stalin, ISIS as well.

      Misinterpretation of the scriptures leads to misrepresentation of a holy God.

      • Ride says:

        All things are all things. You can’t cherry pick which ‘things’ are in the collection of ‘all things’. But, in reality, that is what the Christians do anyway. They cherry pick which parts of their holy book they choose to believe in and ignore the rest.

        It’s sad, really.

        Ride

        • It’s not cherry picking it’s interpreting the scriptures in context.It is a big difference between reading the word of God and understanding it. And for the record Satan also misquotes scripture as do some.

          • Ride says:

            This the funniest thing with Christian apologetics. They get to decide on a whim what should be taken literally and what is some sort of metaphor or contextual statement.

            Even more humorous when you consider that anything that affronts their morality or identity is metaphor but things they can live with are literal.

            For example, the Bible states that non-virgin brides should be stoned to death (Deut. 22:13-21). As this is inconvenient in Western society, since our community morals have evolved past this barbarism, it is taken not to be literal; even though these verses are delivering laws which meant to be as literal as possible.

            However, the bits about homosexuality being an abomination are, of course, literal because in their smaller social circle the morality of equality and privacy among consenting adults has not yet evolved out of this deficient state.

            So I see you cherry picking what you like and ignoring the rest. In this case you rationalise away that you don’t want your daughters and fiancées stoned to death and then forget that Deut. 22:13-21 ever existed.

            Ride

            • Ride you are basically telling me what I interpret as literal or metaphorical without even bothering to ask. I accept both of those passages as literal within a cultural context and that is most important.

              Also what must be factored into the equation is the particular dispensation. And as far as deciding on a whim nothing could be further from the truth as I only quote or refer to passages or verses that I’ve studied. Can you say the same?

              • Yes says:

                Nail on the head: ‘within a cultural context’. It made sense at the time the Bible was written to attempt to condition people away from homosexuality. Lack of protection and poor hygiene meant it was a source for disease. Furthermore, the infant mortality rate was much higher, so the procreation agenda had to be pushed.

                Now, though, since the Earth is overpopulated and homosexual sex is just as safe as heterosexual sex, there is no reason to condemn it.

          • "interpreting" scripture says:

            Are you saying that the Bible doesn’t mean what it says and that if we actually understood it we’d recognize that it means something quite different from what the words say?

      • fedup says:

        There is no god, your ‘point’ is moot.

        • There is indeed a God and it is he who holds your breath in his hand. And according to his word, and I quote from Psalm 53:1,”The fool hath said in his heart,There is no God.” Enough said.

          • fedup says:

            Larry, you’re hilarious.
            You have nothing but a poorly written story book as ‘proof’ of your god.
            As they say, a good education will cure you from religion.

            • mj says:

              the Bible is The Word of God , it is not based on religion..Religion is the ideologies of men, that have nothing to do with the bible as the bible states it(St. John 8:31-47)The bible if you say is poorly written then why are there people claiming to be Gods people(jews Khazarian) so that they can get an inheritance(stole)that is meant for the actual peopleof God(Israelites). Just because people lie ABOUT the bible doesn’t make the book a lie.

  9. stunned... says:

    please, let’s just stay out of consulting adults’s bedrooms.

    the whole ‘ex-gay’ description is a curious one. if one accepts that people are born a certain way, is it then possible to have conversion therapy to be ex-white? or ex-black?

    • fedup says:

      …or ex religious, or ex bigoted or ex ignorant?

    • Time Shall Tell says:

      Well if all they’re doing is “consulting” then there’s no problem…..LOL

      The excuse of the interactions being between CONSENTING adults doesn’t stand since incest too can be between consenting adults but do you feel that is right?

      • fedup says:

        If you believe what the bible tells you about the origin of man, you have to believe that incest is ‘right’.
        Please continue revealing your hatred of a segment of society, it’s fun watching you ignorant bigots fall flat on your faces.

        • Time Shall Tell says:

          fedup, only you are falling flat on your face. Where did I ever make reference to anything being right or wrong based on religious grounds? So for you to try & say that I am standing on the grounds of religion & then try to use it against me is simply incorrect. One thing about the pro gay agenda is they show how they are quick to resort to child like behavior by using name calling as a scare tactic. Sorry but I have outgrown such antics for many decades now so please address me accordingly until then it’s only you who are showing your ignorance.

          • bdaboy says:

            Time shall tell, you try to equate homosexuality to incest which just reveals how ignorant you really are….now you try to backpeddle and claim you’re morally superior. LOL, I have addressed you accordingly, you’re an ignorant bigot.

  10. Marie says:

    That was not the intent of the event holders of either of the SDA Church’s over the past weekend. No where did they indicate that they were having these meetings to turn someone from being gay. They had these meetings to encourage not just the church community but Bermuda as a whole to love each other as the Lord our God loves us. We are all his children despite the various sins that we commit.

  11. Gay Male says:

    Quick question, Mr Butterfield did you attend any of the events ? I am 100% positive you did not !

    Your article is written based on hearsay and supposition, the basis of your opinion is steeped in the information received from a 3rd party.

    It impossible for you to critique the events.. You did not attend. Your comments lack legitimacy. You are free to attack the SDA church, it is your right. Be true to your experience. This is not about the Gay community/justice. Your commentary centers your anger at the SDA church (This was your chance to attack and hurt people (a church) that you believe has hurt you.

    • Quinton Berkley Butterfield says:

      I am watching the comments and trying not to respond. But, I want to tell you a few things.

      1. I did not attend, but coordinated with someone who did, and that person agreed to let this be solely my opinion, to allow them not to be in the spotlight.
      2. I am not attacking the church, I am putting out the facts about conversion therapy. Everything in my opinion is easily found using google.

      • Realist says:

        This was very much an attack on an organization and a belief system that you despise. You used information about ‘conversion therapy’ that anyone can agree is abhorred and utilized it to paint an incorrect picture of what the event was at the Southampton SDA church over the past week.

        1. Having someone attend for you is still hearsay
        2. The information you so graciously supplied from Google is irrelevant as there was no ‘conversion therapy’ promoted, practiced or offered at this event.

        Like Gay Male suggested your article is steeped in supposition, hearsay and I would add assumption, hatred for the SDA organization and the intent of stirring the same emotion in others. I have read the comments on this thread and many others on this issue and find that there is considerably more hate and bile in those than even the distasteful advertising of this event.

      • Facts according to who Mr. Butterfield? According to reports and what I heard on ZBM news there were a number of persons, formerly gay, who testified that God had transformed them. Who are you to dismiss their experience?

        • Ed Case says:

          I believe this, as much as I believed that God spoke to Jimmy Swaggart and forgave him – as he proclaimed on TV all those years ago after being caught with a prostitute.

          It might even be slightly plausible if there was any evidence at all that God exists.

          Have a nice day.

    • Seriously though says:

      Good Day.
      I think you might want to reread what Mr. Butterfield wrote as he was actually being factual and supportive and coming from a corrective stance versus a criticizing one.
      That being said, the subject was individual and church “beliefs”. When decisions are made to “assist” people or to offer a knowledge base, all common factors should be utilized before calling these type of meetings in order to avoid a mass amount of negative interpretations which can lead to beliefs like “conversion therapy”.

    • Thanks for the different perspective as it helps put this article in perspective.

  12. Joonya says:

    The Get Off Your High Horse Society (GOYHHS) presents,
    A seminar to help with:

    Are you an ex 7th Day?
    Do you have any family members who are 7th Day?
    Do you need help in healing your 7th Day family member?
    SMFH..

    You think being gay is wrong, but banging on my door saturday morning is RIGHT?!

    This is the problem with religion. Every religion thinks they are right.. this is the root problem with the world right now.

    • Joonya says:

      For those 8 dislikers, you can relay this to your relevant churches and hypocritical members (whether it be 7th Day, Jehovah Witness, etc):
      The next time I hear banging on my door and snooping around my windows on Saturday morning, I will call the police and have you arrested for trespassing. You’ll prob be off my property by the time they get there, but you’ll still be in the neighborhood, and I will persue it.
      I am sick of your coercive, holier than thou ways.
      Put that in your prayerbook.

      • Sickofantz says:

        I love you Joonya

      • Really? says:

        Confused much? SDA’s are not “banging” on your door on Saturday mornings, they are in church.

        • Joonya says:

          yeah, and when you’re not, you’re looking down your nose at us cause we’re not ‘one of you’.

      • Understanding says:

        Why so hostile? They come in peace.

    • So what every religion should think they are wrong and that would solve the “root problem”?

    • enough says:

      it;s not SDA’s that bang on your door on a saturday mornig it’s Jahovah witness, get your religions correct.

  13. Sara says:

    As others stated above, I also find it very peculiar that some Christians focus so much on the alleged abomination of being gay. All the while their church is filled with sinners that lie, steal, cheat on their spouses, have sex before marriage, and have children out of wedlock. Me thinks their priorities are a bit mixed up but that is just my opinion. Why is one sin more important than another? I am of the opinion that people are highly emotional when it comes to others being gay but they are numb to lying, stealing, cheating, coveting etc. Stop scapegoating gays and take a look at the sinners around you and help them instead…

    • “Word up” Sara.

    • Jim Bob says:

      No people are not numb to those things. It’s just that the gays seem to make the most noise whenever someone seems to disagree with them or have a different opinion. But there again, my high school teacher did always tell me that empty barrels make the most noise.

      • Knowledge is Power says:

        “Homosexuality is not ‘normal.’ On the contrary, it is a challenge to the norm;Nature exists, whether academics like it or not. And in nature, procreation is the single, relentless rule. That is the norm. Our sexual bodies were designed for reproduction…… no fancy linguistic game-playing can change that biologic fact.”

        • fedup says:

          Our sexual bodies were designed for reproduction…… no fancy linguistic game-playing can change that biologic fact.”

          so, you only have sex to procreate?…is that why there’s so many fatherless children in Bermuda?

          Do you understand that homosexuality occurs in all species on earth….or was that left out of your bible?

      • bdaboy says:

        Jim bob, you’re making a lot of noise here….I guess that means you’re gay?

      • fedup says:

        jim bob makes a lot of noise, revealing that he’s nothing but an empty barrell

    • Are the liars,thieves,cheaters, covetous people you speak of demanding that the Church of God change their doctrine to accommodate their practices? No! Furthermore those sins you highlighted are condemned and in no way tolerated by true believers.

      Nobody is scapegoating here. A church held a series of meetings according to their Biblical beliefs and conducted themselves accordingly.That is consistent with this country’s constitution which allows freedom of religion.

      The problem arose when a gay person attended and did not like what was bring preached.

      • Sara says:

        Then why aren’t there seminars being held on having children out of wedlock and cheating on your spouse? Seems to be a big issue in Bermuda right?

      • Back to the Present says:

        I don’t think anyone cares whether the church changes their doctrine or not, just asking that you don’t subject youth to potentially harmful practises.

  14. Micro says:

    Homo/bisexuality is about as natural as the need for all animal life on earth to consume oxygen and nourishment. To say otherwise is to go against nature, science, and ultimately, the One that created it all, whoever that may be to you.

  15. Henry says:

    Mr Butterfield,

    You have highlighted that you did not attend the events and you have relied on the opinion of one person to write an article ! That is reckless and inconceivable. I attended the events, conversion therapy was never mentioned or intimated. But don’t create a storm where no storm exists ! SmdH critqing in absentia !

    • cherri says:

      He never said it was….did you read the article. ..gosh anything to protect your veiws

      • Anonymous says:

        so why is “conversion therapy has no place in Bermuda” his title.

  16. Lala says:

    I’m really worried now. Are there any foods that might make me turn SDA?

    • Ride says:

      Not certain which foods will turn you SDA. However, should you find yourself having those urges, apparently, consuming a juicy platter of BBQ pork ribs contains the antidote.

      Ride

  17. fedup says:

    Why are you so sensitive Henry? is your religion so weak that you’re offended by an intelligent mans opinion?

  18. Fluffy says:

    Truth is, the questions asked are not a reflection of the Seventh-day Adventist church as a whole. The questions represent the individual that asked them and where they are in their heads when considering homosexuality. Additionally, the ignorance of majority of those questions have its roots in how our culture deals with homosexuality. Bermuda is still possesses a conservative attitude towards gay people. Mr. Butterfield, doesn’t mention any of the questions in context. Neither does he share any of the answers. The panelists have decided to no longer live a homosexual life? Why is this wrong?! They actually gave insight to how judgmental and harmful the church has been when dealing with homosexuality.

  19. Just a matter of time says:

    I’m pretty sure the hundreds of different so called ‘Christian’ churches we have seen today and in the past using the Lord’s name in vain to oppress, enslave, bully, used for dirty politics, build grandiose buildings, and get rich of is not the set up Christ envisioned long long ago. For that I am convinced. Some do good work. Some are just obscene money makers for their leaders. Leaders who drive fancy cars and wear fancy clothes while many of their followers catch the bus wearing second hand clothing for themselves and their kids to the same worship meeting.

    That said, how can one even dare to determine true Christian values to be applied to anyone whether they are gay or not amidst this current cess pool of religious hypocrisy we see today? The Bible is interpreted from a selfish set of lens. The Christian church and many other religions have done much damage to mankind. I’m happily agnostic thank you.

  20. Justice and Peace says:

    Quin,

    I am a homosexual male. I know the points you are TRYING to make. the Truth is, there were 8 services, that does not including the Q and A session on the Saturday Afternoon. You did no attend any of them.

    How can you provide a critique of the events ? You stated that you received input from someone who attended… That is poor form.

    You are not a legitimate voice in these circumstances, you can not offer any insight on the events. The SDA church should be held accountable, but your column/opinion piece is not based on fact.

    How can you confirm that the SDA Church in Bermuda discussed conversion therapy as a element of the meetings ? You can not !

    GTFOH

  21. Terry says:

    And meanwhile back on the ranch(rock)……
    Must be lunch time at work…..

  22. Very thoughtful read. Thanks for this perspective. As noted here, conversion therapy has no place in Bermuda or ANYWHERE! It’s harmful, dangerous and quite simply DOES NOT WORK! So glad someone had the courage to say so.

  23. Just Asking says:

    To my knowledge the Adventist Church doesn’t subscribe NOR promote “conversion therapy”. So why from one event that had absolutely nothing to do with it are they being labeled as such? And this phrase “pray the gay away” just sounds absolutely insane…while I only attended really the Q&A, all these accusations against this church were never even brought up, they never promoted anything they are being accused of…I’m just baffled at how much discrimination/HATE can be towards a church that doesn’t promote such actions to my knowledge. Just because they may differ in belief as some they are attacked…sounds familiar??

  24. Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

    after reading everyone’s thoughts …now i can see why only 144,000 shall be called…there are ONLY two religions…the True religion an the False religion…which one do you follow??

    • Ride says:

      The real question is which one do you follow?

      Actually, I am truly curious which is the true religion. As a person that eludes to have found the true one, may you provide me with a set of criteria (outside of any religion’s dogma) that I may apply to other religions to confirm your findings.

      Many thanks,

      Ride

  25. Quinton Berkley Butterfield says:

    I hope that this article saves someone’s life. That is my goal. If you are a gay person (or any person, for that matter) that feels ostracized by your god, faith, church, friends, family etc., just know that your life is valuable and that one day it will get better! You are part of the human family! We humans don’t always get things right, but some of us try!! Enjoy life, just the way you are!! :) :) :)

    • Self says:

      Thank you so much for writing this piece.

      My best friend of thirty plus year is gay. We have gone through so much over the years- the good, the bad and the ugly. Through it all, she has NEVER passed judgment on me, although at times I have led a less than moral lifestyle. Why do so many people feel they have to judge others?

      People really need to open their minds, educate themselves and drop the self righteous act. Gay people are NO different from anybody else. They have the same feelings and emotions that straight people do. They are NOT morally corrupt, more promiscuous or out to mess up children. I remember one boyfriend of mine that asked if my friend tried to “convert” me into becoming gay. To this insecure fool, I explained that my best friend and I have travelled the world over, slept in the same bed, seen each other naked and she has NEVER, EVER hit on me because we are like blood sisters.

      EDUCATE yourselves people!!!

  26. swing voter says:

    Leave the Gays alone. They are not cause of society’s problems. So called Heterosexuals, Bible Thumpers, and men that can’t deal with their own short-comings are the proble.

    • Annie says:

      I often travel to a part of the U.S. that has a high gay population and the gay guys are just the sweetest ever. We go back to the same store every time we visit to see a sales guy we befriended, a young man named Chris. This guy is just the sweetest guy in the world and the type who would do anything for anyone. The guy just exudes positive energy and joy. On one occasion after we said our goodbyes, my teenage daughter remarked “If more people were gay, the world would be a better place…” I was surprised to hear her say this, and she elaborated “If all men were like Chris, there would be no wars and nobody would ever hurt anybody else.”

      I thought about it and realized she was right. How often do you see gay people hurting other people on a large scale? They don’t cause wars and strife or pillage and plunder. Most seem to be good people just trying to live their lives in peace. What right do the rest of us have to judge them? YES, you CAN be born gay and no amount of praying will cure that. We have bigger fish to fry-leave gay people alone.

      • Understanding says:

        What???? So being gay makes you sweet, kind and loving? Please…possessing those qualities are a choice and have nothing to do with being gay or straight.Sexual Orientation does not define the core values of an individual that they choose to manifest in their lives. Gay or Straight, one can be evil or good.

        • Sapphire says:

          Gay men do tend to be more gentle and less aggressive than straight men. It might have something to do with having less testosterone and therefore being less aggressive. I agree-how many gay men start wars or go around raping and killing people? Most gay people ARE nicer than most straight people-more tolerant and sympathetic.

  27. Prove me wrong says:

    I have met a truly happy homosexual yet!! Just sad.

    • Prove me wrong says:

      **Haven’t

      • bdaboy says:

        I have never met a truly happy heterosexual. I’ve met many stupid ones though, see “prove me wrong” as an ideal example of one.

      • Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

        Met a fair number of them myself.

        I suppose it depends on the sorts of people you hang around with.

  28. Allthismess says:

    Simple fact is the very people complaining about gays & homosexuality are themselves sinning daily. They want to rally against who we are and their sons on the corner selling drugs or their daughter is having sex with multiple men. Gays just want to be able to love who they want and be happy. They aren’t murdering and killing anyone with their life choices. The church knows they are simply an easy target to Justify their existence.

    • Understanding says:

      What makes a sin a sin? Sounds like you might be using the Bible as a reference;hence is why homosexuality is a sin because the Bible says so. Whether you believe in the bible or not, Christians recognize the power of choice. Individuals and groups have the freedom to believe what they so desire. If a group wishes to present information to the community, it is their right. No one is forced to go and participate. Just because you are comfortable in your choice of who you are, being gay, there are also those that do not embrace it and seek transformation. It’s a personal choice. Gay or Straight, we are all sinners indeed. Christians seek to love the sinner but hate the sin. Peace and Love Bermuda whether Gay or Straight or Christian or Atheist.
      Also, there are many gays out there sleeping around with multiple partners,too, not just heterosexuals. In closing, why is it gays can’t love who they want and be happy? Both are a choice, so love who you want and choose to be happy. Own your gayness

      • Ed Case says:

        Actually, the Bible does not say homosexuality is a sin. That’s just the way people have chosen to interpret that particular verse. What if the word ‘lie’ in that instance meant ‘not telling the truth’? The whole verse takes on a completely different meaning.

        Just sayin. Nobody really knows if this was the original intention of the piece.

        Many other verses in the Bible are interpreted in much less believable terms.

  29. Truedat says:

    Where in the bible does it say you should pray away the gay ? God makes some people gay case closed

  30. Annie says:

    You know, the funny thing here is that ALL men have homosexual tendencies. You may not think about other men on a daily basis, but what happens when a hot-blooded heterosexual male doesn’t have access to a woman but only has access to other men? Those so-called heterosexual males soon turn to homosexual behaviours and have sex with each other and that is a fact.

    Think about men in prison. So-called heterosexual males who are dominant and stronger will prey on the weaker men and force them to have sex. For some reason, even when doing this they don’t consider this being homosexual. When they leave prison, they revert back to heterosexual activity. However, if you engage in sexual activities with other men, you are homosexual-even if it is temporary. This is not something that happens rarely in prison, it happens a lot. So all the heterosexual guys who look down on homosexual men need to think about what lays dormant inside themselves and think about what they would revert to if their supply of females was cut off. EVERY MAN has the potential to engage in homosexual behaviours so just get over yourselves.

    • Understanding says:

      Simply because it boils down to CHOICE!!!!

      • Sapphire says:

        NO-it is NOT always about choice. Gosh some people are so ignorant. YOU CAN BE BORN GAY! MOST PEOPLE WHO ARE GAY WERE BORN GAY!!!

        There are things that happen in the womb that determine if a baby will be gay or straight-it is a biological fact! There have always been gay people, all throughout history and all over the world who are gay. Even if someone has never observed another gay person, they can be gay so it is clearly not an observed behavior.

        Do you know that someone can have XY (male) chromosomes but biologically appear female as the male parts did not develop in the womb***? Such an individual may be attracted to females and think they are a lesbian when really they are attracted to females because they ARE biologically male. This may sound impossible but such conditions exist-you can easily research this for yourself.

    • Creamy says:

      Er, no. There are plenty of men who find the idea of homosexuality with other men completely revolting. Not that I have any objection to those who feel differently. But saying that all men have these tendencies is completely wrong.

  31. fedup says:

    Annie, studies have shown that it’s these latent homosexual tendencies in men that make them homophobic. Some men don’t have the intelligence to deal with these feelings so they lash out with violence,

  32. Allthismess says:

    Why would we choose to be here dealing with you and your crazy opinions of who we should be. Who are u to judge. Yes that’s right you and everyone else aren’t anyone to judge Bible scripture or not. All you do is use this book to cause hate and make judgement. Your religion is used like a gun and you twist it to suit your needs… Go clean yourself of sin first. I have mine and I know who I answer to and is no man born of sin. He knows my heart!

    • mj says:

      the bible says we are to judge (,unless we are doing the same thing we are judging someone else for is the only time we shouldn’t,) the chosen people of God(Hebreew Israelites) are the ONLY Judges according to the scriptures…the Bible was written mostly to the tribes from Jacob seed’ including Josephs (Imhoteps)children Mannessah and Ephraim who were adopted.(cubans and latinos) Esau also will be judged, no one escapes any judgement!

  33. Common Sense says:

    This is an extremely well reasoned article by Mr. Butterfield.

    We now live in the 21st century and most western democracies are moving in the right direction in granting equal rights to our fellow human beings regardless of sexual orientation, although ISIS seems to have other ideas about how to deal with gays according to their interpretation of god’s laws!

    Sadly, there are still some folks in our community who have absolutely no respect for those people whom they label as homosexual. Just a couple of years ago I heard a seemingly intelligent young lady describing to a group of people at her workplace how her pastor still preached that homosexuality is an “abomination” and the bible says they should be stoned to death.

    I’d like to think she misheard or misunderstood what her pastor was saying but in her mind she had no time for homosexuals based on what she was being taught in her church. Ironically, she was a married woman who was having affairs with other men. I seem to recall the Old Testament mentioning adultery as an abomination; that the ten commandments specifically prohibits it, and the punishment for committing it according to the bible – is death.

    I was sorely tempted to ask her about her pastor’s views on the subject of adultery.

    Mr. Butterfield was right on when he warned about the dangers of so-called reparative therapy which, among other outrageous ways of trying to “recondition men to more masculine gender roles”, suggested that they should avoid museums, operas and symphonies. Mr. Butterfield is not making this up.

    I believe this sort of insidious propaganda encourages homophobia among boys in their formative years, and the result is often bullying of those of their peers who happen to play musical instruments, who enjoy poetry, literature, the arts in general, and study hard in school. These are not “manly” traits and need to be beaten out of those who enjoy them.

    Despite the nasty comments on some of these posts about Mr. Butterfield I would like to congratulate him on his excellent article which so clearly articulates why restorative therapy, conversion therapy and the like should have no place in Bermuda. Thank you Mr. Butterfield.

  34. Sandgrownan says:

    Why are religious folk so obsessed with gay sex?

    • Sara says:

      I am a Christian but I have to agree with you on this. It does seem so.

    • Anonymous says:

      its because many Christians do not believe in same sex; therefore we stand up for what we believe in.

  35. positivity says:

    Tired of certain churches judging. Jesus was not a “Christian”. He was a man who taught love. Plain and simple. Man created religion. Stop judging and teach love.

  36. Ya got me Rollin says:

    So all of this Christian bashing is just fine because of someone’s opinion on why a church had ex gays present their past lives to groups of people and then held a question and answer period. All I have seen in most of these comments is hatred and intolerance toward the church
    ,its teachings, the bible and Christians. This all while saying that Christian need to love gays and accept them and be tolerant of their lifestyle. What I find is the level of ignorance coming from most of your post when your belief is that all Christians hate gay people , which is ludacris and unfair. Just as it would be ludacris for heterosexuals to believe that all paedophiles are gay and all gay people are bad. Where did the gay community get this information and can they prove that all Christians hate gay people.

    It like black people saying all white people are racist. You all need to STOP IT!!

  37. Sid says:

    The bible contradicts itself on its very first page.

    Chapter 1 of Genesis says the world was created on the first day and that man and woman were created on the sixth day. Chapter 2 says that the world and man were both created on the first day and that woman was created some time later. Go ahead and read it — both chapters are usually printed on the first page of a bible.

    If you use the bible as a guide, your life and morals will be full of contradictions.

    • Ed Case says:

      He also didn’t create light until day too – which means on day one he did everything in the dark. Brilliant or what?

  38. nok says:

    One thing these conversation attract a lot of attention.This is a very sticky subject this is a crazy subject. ONLY Man AND Woman produce not man and man or woman and woman.just my two cents.

    • fedup says:

      …and not eve worth 2 cents.

    • Common Sense says:

      ‘nok’ has a point of view that is shared by a lot of people, especially those who espouse religous views. He or she points out that “ONLY Man AND Woman produce”. I have heard the argument that gays should not be allowed to marry because they cannot possibly conceive.

      But I have good friends who have married who also have this indentical “condition”. They have married but there is NO chance of them ever producing for the simple reason that the are far too old. One couple married in their late seventies after falling in love following the death of their spouses. I know of other friends who have married despite knowing that they have no chance of ever having children because one or the other is “barren”.

      If the sole criteria for marriage is the ability to procreate then who will make the decision that couples cannot marry. Will it be church committees? Will it be a Government Department? Will it be the law courts?

      Should there be a time limit on procreation? If a couple has been married for, say 10 years and the woman has not been able to conceive, should that marriage be annulled, perhaps on the grounds that one partner has failed to live up to the “sacred” reason for marriage.

      Following this kind of twisted logic becomes an absurdity. In an age where we are all supposed to have equal rights, then I believe that same-sex couples should have an inaliable right to happiness and to sharing their lives with the person of their choice within the laws of the land.

      I also fully agree with Mr. Butterfield that restorative therapy, conversion therapy and the like should have no place in Bermuda.

  39. hulktoo says:

    religious speakers, ministers, churches, however way you call it, their job is not to heal, but spread the word of God above.
    Once they feel the need to heal then, judgement, hate, personal opinions, anger, takes place. Who are we to judge, not our place. Who are we to hate , not our place, need i continue. How can we represent Jesus (god) if we have such traits. (you think ) wondering why people wont go to church.. Who would want to go to church if you see( experience) the same things out of church, go figure…………….Churches must respect the fact we are (including them) we are human. Respect the fact that things are going to take place. The only change needed to be made is within ourselves…. no one else can do it for you (us)……