Evergreen International, Inc. was a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization located in Salt Lake City, Utah, whose stated mission was to assist "people who want to diminish same-sex attractions and overcome homosexual behavior". It adhered to Christian and particularly LDS teaching and was endorsed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). The organization stated this task could be accomplished with the help of the Lord and, in some cases, psychological counseling. Evergreen was founded in 1989 as a grassroots organization by 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 did provide suggestions on how to choose a therapist and information on individual and group therapy. Evergreen stated that some people had lessened their same sex attractions by using the following therapies: gender wholeness, reparative, reorientation, and re-education. While some of these therapies offered to reduce same-sex attractions, Evergreen made 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 claimed success in diminishing same-sex attractions and overcoming homosexual behavior. As many as 40% of Evergreen members were in heterosexual marriages. 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 believed that they had a spiritual transformation which changed their orientation. They also stated 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 it functioned independently of any church, Evergreen was religiously based on the teachings of the LDS Church. The organization adhered to its teachings "without reservation or exception." Evergreen had LDS general authorities on its board of trustees and taught LDS Church principles to Latter-day Saints and ecclesiastical leaders by coordinating with the Church as well as by hosting various events, such as firesides (informal evening gatherings of church members), workshops, and conferences.
On September 19, 2009, Bruce C. Hafen, a general authority of the LDS Church, spoke at Evergreen's annual conference at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City, a venue owned by the LDS Church. Other general authorities also spoke at Evergreen conferences.
Closure and transition to North Star
- Affirmation: Gay & Lesbian Mormons
- Criticism of Mormonism
- Homosexuality and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- Sexual orientation change efforts
- "Myths", EvergreenInternational.org, archived from the original on 2012-07-24
- "Therapy", EvergreenInternational.org, archived from the original on 2012-07-24
- "Additional Resource", Newsroom [MormonNewsroom.org] (LDS Church), 12 December 2012
- "FAQs (Frequently-Asked Questions)", EvergreenInternational.org, archived from the original on 2012-07-24
- Park, Jason, "Can I Resolve my Same-sex Attractions?", EvergreenInternational.org, archived from the original on 2012-07-24
- Winters, Rosemary (September 16, 2009), "Words of love: 'I don't care that you're gay'", The Salt Lake Tribune
- 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.
- "Public Issues", Newsroom (LDS Church), 19 September 2009, archived from the original on 2010-08-11
- Winters, Rosemary (2009-09-19), "Homosexuality 'not in your DNA,' says LDS leader", The Salt Lake Tribune.
- Stack, Peggy Fletcher (January 2, 2014), "Longtime support group for gay Mormons shuts down", The Salt Lake Tribune
- Latter-day Saint (LDS) Resources About Same-sex Attraction, by Century Publishing at CenturyPubl.com, which includes an archive of LDS general authority addresses given at Evergreen conferences.