Restoration Path

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(Redirected from Love In Action)

Restoration Path, known as Love in Action (LIA) until March 2012, was an ex-gay Christian ministry founded in 1973.


The organization was founded in 1973 by Frank Worthen, John Evans, and Kent Philpott in Marin County, California, just north of San Francisco.[1] In 2010, Tommy Corman became the Executive Director of Love In Action. In March 2012, Love In Action changed its name to Restoration Path.[2] In October 2012, David Jones became the executive director of Restoration Path; as of August 2018, he remains the Executive Director.[needs update][citation needed]

On July 5, 2007, Love in Action announced the initiation of Family Freedom Intensive, a monthly four-day program for parents with teens "struggling with same-sex attraction, pornography, and/or promiscuity". Teenagers who they would like to join their parents may be considered for inclusion.[3] As of 2018, there is no mention of this program on the Restoration Path website.

As of October 2019, both the organization's website and Facebook page were offline. According to the California Secretary of State, the organization has been dissolved.[4]


After Jack McIntyre, a friend of co-founder John Evans, died by suicide because of his inability to change, Evans left Love in Action and denounced it as dangerous. He said: "They're destroying people's lives. If you don't do their thing, you're not of God, you'll go to hell. They're living in a fantasy world."[5]

John Smid recounts becoming a Christian in 1982. He found that his religious conviction was incompatible with his homosexuality. He entered into a relationship with a woman and married. In 1986 he joined the leadership of Love In Action, eventually becoming executive director. Smid left LIA in 2008.[6] In 2011, on his website, he stated that homosexuality is an intrinsic part of one's being, and that "change, repentance, reorientation and such" cannot occur, and noted that he had "never met a man who experienced a change from homosexual to heterosexual".[7] On November 16 2014, John Smid married his same-sex partner, Larry McQueen.[8]

Zach Stark[edit]

In June 2005, a 16-year-old Tennessee boy, Zach Stark, posted a blog entry on his MySpace site, part of which includes:

Somewhat recently, as many of you know, I told my parents I was gay.... Well today, my mother, father, and I had a very long "talk" in my room where they let me know I am to apply for a fundamentalist christian program for gays. They tell me that there is something psychologically wrong with me, and they "raised me wrong." I'm a big screw up to them, who isn't on the path God wants me to be on. So I'm sitting here in tears, joing [sic] the rest of those kids who complain about their parents on blogs - and I can't help it.[9]

The program Stark noted is a Love In Action-run camp known as Refuge.

On August 14, Stark updated his blog, stating that LIA had not pressured him into doing anything and he got along well with most of the clients there. He said his parents no longer let him hang out with girls as friends because it was unhealthy and that his father had asked him to stop blogging. Stark has since accepted his homosexuality, and appears in the documentary from director Morgan Jon Fox, entitled This Is What Love In Action Looks Like, which features an exclusive interview with Stark about the controversy.[10]

A Tennessee investigation against the camp began shortly after Stark's story appeared online. As of June 28, 2005, the investigation was dropped, with Tennessee officials citing a lack of evidence of child abuse at the facilities. "Department of Children's Services dispatched its special investigations unit to the facility, and after conducting a full investigation, determined that the child abuse allegations were unfounded", Rob Johnson, an agency spokesman, told the Associated Press.[11] On September 12, 2005, the Tennessee-based Love in Action facility was determined by the Tennessee Department of Mental Health to have been operating two "unlicensed mental health supportive living facilities".[12] LIA stopped accepting the mentally ill and dispensing medications and, in February 2006, the state of Tennessee ceased legal action.[13]

In 2005, Tommy Corman, the spokesman for Love In Action, said the facility did not need to be licensed because it was "not doing anything therapeutic".[14]

Love in Action sued the state of Tennessee for discrimination against the facility.[15] The suit was settled on October 27, 2006.[16] Tennessee agreed that Love in Action would not need licensing as a mental health facility, and LIA agreed to make sure none of its employees administered or regulated the medication of its clients. The state of Tennessee was told to pay Love in Action's legal fees.

In June 2007, LIA discontinued the Refuge program.

In media[edit]

The 2012 book The Miseducation of Cameron Post, the debut novel of American author Emily M. Danforth, was inspired by the Stark controversy. The book was adapted as a 2018 film with the same name.[17]

The program is described in the 2016 book Boy Erased: A Memoir by Garrard Conley.[5] The book was adapted in 2018 as Boy Erased, a film directed by Joel Edgerton starring Lucas Hedges.[5]


  1. ^ "History". Love in Action. Archived from the original on March 7, 2007. Retrieved December 12, 2021.
  2. ^ Corman, Tommy (March 2012). "Name Change" (PDF). Restoration Path. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 24, 2012. Retrieved May 13, 2023.
  3. ^ Alexandra Clair Stancil (July 5, 2007). "Refuge Becomes Family Freedom Intensive". Love In Action. Archived from the original on June 18, 2008. Retrieved 2007-07-12.
  4. ^ "| California Secretary of State".
  5. ^ a b c Hicklin, Aaron (June 10, 2018). "I was 19, gay and ready to be 'cured' by conversion therapy". The Guardian. Archived from the original on June 10, 2018. Retrieved December 12, 2021.
  6. ^ Smid, John (March 4, 2010). "A Letter Of Apology". Grace Rivers. Archived from the original on July 11, 2011. Retrieved May 13, 2023.
  7. ^ Smid, John (October 7, 2011). "Where is the repentance?". Grace Rivers. Archived from the original on May 1, 2012. Retrieved May 13, 2023.
  8. ^ Philips (November 17, 2014). "Former Love In Action Leader Marries His Same-Sex Partner". Memphis Gaydar. Archived from the original on November 23, 2014. Retrieved May 13, 2023.
  9. ^ Williams, Alex (July 17, 2005). "Gay Teenager Stirs a Storm". The New York Times. Archived from the original on May 29, 2015. Retrieved May 13, 2023.
  10. ^ Beifuss, John. "Memphis-based film unfurls with pride at San Francisco festival". The Commercial Appeal. Retrieved 2011-06-21.
  11. ^ Palazzolo, Rose (2005-06-28). "Ex-gay camp investigation called off". ABC News. Retrieved 2006-04-11.
  12. ^ Melzer, Eartha Jane (2005-07-22). "Gay teen to be released from Tenn. ex-gay facility". Washington Blade. Archived from the original on 2006-03-31. Retrieved 2006-04-11.
  13. ^ Popper, Ben (2006-02-10). "Love in court". Memphis Flyer. Retrieved 2006-04-11.
  14. ^ Benjamin, Mark (July 18, 2005). "Turning off gays". Salon. Retrieved December 12, 2021.
  15. ^ "ADF attorneys take action for Love in Action". Alliance Defense Fund. September 30, 2005. Archived from the original on January 4, 2006. Retrieved December 12, 2021.
  16. ^ "Agreed order of dismissal" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on September 27, 2007. Retrieved December 12, 2021.
  17. ^ Sittenfeld, Curtis (February 8, 2012). "The Best Novel About a conversion camp Ever Written". Slate.

External links[edit]