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Evergreen International, Inc. is a 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 Mormon teaching. The organization believes this task can be accomplished with the help of Jesus and, in some cases, psychological counseling. Evergreen was founded in 1989.
Although functioning independently of any church, Evergreen is religiously based around the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Though not affiliated with the church, the organization sustains the teachings of the Church without reservation. Evergreen has one or more emeritus general authority on its board of trustees, and teaches its principles to Latter-day Saints, and especially ecclesiastical leaders through working with the church as well as hosting "firesides" (informal gatherings of church members at night) and an annual conference.
Evergreen's literature portrays homosexuality (or, more precisely, same-sex attraction) as an attraction, tendency, or predisposition which gays and lesbians can resist, and which may eventually be "overcome"--which, theologically speaking, may not fully happen until the afterlife. They do not believe, however, that homosexuality itself is a sin, apart from sexual behavior or inappropriate forms of physical intimacy. In an attempt to separate human sexuality from human sexual behavior, they also eschew the terms gay and lesbian, preferring to refer to people by more clinical terms focusing on behavior and mental states, rather than identity. They support aspects of the ex-gay movement, but do not necessarily believe that all gays and lesbians can change their sexual orientation. However, they believe that anyone can live according to the Church's Law of Chastity, which requires that all persons who feel unable to marry heterosexually remain celibate. See also their mission statement.
What Evergreen Does
Evergreen itself does not offer therapy, either psycho- or reparative therapy, but does offer a large selection of therapeutic literature in their bookstore, while also maintaining contact with counseling agencies throughout the United States and the World.
According to its Web site, Evergreen focuses on three major priorities:
- Referral information on support groups, therapists, and other organizations.
- Resources, such as printed information and their Web site.
- Education, such as conferences, seminars, and firesides.
Mainstream medical view of attempts to change sexual orientation
The medical and scientific consensus is that attempts at eliminating same-sex attractions are not effective and are potentially harmful.
The ethics and efficacy of these procedures are rejected by all mainstream medical and mental health associations that have taken a position on the topic. Their stance is that sexual orientation is unchangeable, and that attempts to do so are often damaging to the person's well-being. The American Psychiatric Association states that "ethical practitioners refrain from attempts to change individuals' sexual orientation."
Major organizations that reject reparative therapy include the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Counseling Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Association of School Administrators, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Education Association. .
|This article is based on a GNU FDL LGBT Wikia article: International Evergreen International||LGBT|