Evergreen International, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization located in Salt Lake City, Utah, whose stated mission is to assist "people who want to diminish same-sex attractions and overcome homosexual behavior". It adheres to Christian and particularly LDS teaching, but is independent of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). The organization believes this task can be accomplished with the help of the Lord and, in some cases, psychological counseling. Evergreen was founded in 1989 as a grassroots organization by eleven men who were seeking to deal with their homosexual feelings in ways congruent to the teachings of the LDS Church.
"Evergreen does not advocate any particular form of therapy" but does provide suggestions on how to choose a therapist and information on individual and group therapy. Evergreen states that some people have lessened their same sex attractions by using the following therapies: gender wholeness, reparative, reorientation, and re-education. While some of these therapies offer to eliminate same-sex attractions, Evergreen makes clear that "therapy will likely not be a cure in the sense of erasing all homosexual feelings." The LDS church has stated that it does not have a position on "scientific questions" such as the cause of homosexuality. Evergreen follows this stance.
Participants in Evergreen programs claim success in diminishing same-sex attractions and overcoming homosexual behavior. As many as 40% of Evergreen members are in heterosexual marriages. Dr. Warren Throckmorton reviewed Understanding the meaning of change for married Latter-Day Saint men with histories of homosexual activity by J. W. Robinson. Robinson interviewed seven heterosexually married men who had been through Evergreen and previously identified as gay. They believe that they have had a spiritual transformation which changed their orientation. They also claimed that they were no longer troubled by feeling different or rejected by heterosexual men, emotional attraction to men, sexual attraction to men, feeling bad about same-sex desires, social isolation, or compulsive sexual thoughts and behaviors. Robinson found that their change came from a new understanding that prior same-sex attractions did not require them to be gay.
Relations with the LDS Church
Although functioning independently of any church, Evergreen is religiously based around the teachings of LDS Church. Though not affiliated with the church, the organization sustains the teachings of the church without reservation or exception. Evergreen has had one or more emeritus general authorities on its board of trustees and teaches LDS Church principles to Latter-day Saints and ecclesiastical leaders through working with the church as well as hosting various events, which have included firesides (informal gatherings of church members at night), workshops, and conferences.
On September 19, 2009, Bruce C. Hafen, a general authority of the LDS Church, spoke at Evergreen's annual conference, which was held at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City, a property owned by the LDS Church.
- Affirmation: Gay & Lesbian Mormons
- Criticism of Mormonism
- Homosexuality and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- LDS Newsroom - Same-Gender Attraction
- Numbers of people who have changed
- More claims of the number of people who have changed
- Words of love: 'I don't care that you're gay'
- Throckmorton, Warren (June 2002). "Initial empirical and clinical findings concerning the change process for ex-gays". Professional Psychology: Research and Practice (American Psychological Association) 33 (3): 242–248. doi:10.1037/0735-7028.33.3.242.
- Elder Bruce C. Hafen Speaks on Same Sex Attraction
- Rosemary Winters, "Homosexuality 'not in your DNA,' says LDS leader", The Salt Lake Tribune, 2009-09-19.