Erik Eckholm, reporting for the New York Times:
Referred to Jonah by a rabbi when he was 18, Mr. Levin began attending weekend retreats at $650 each. For a year and a half, he had weekly private sessions with Mr. Downing as well as weekly group sessions. He quit, he said, after Mr. Downing had him remove his clothes and touch himself, saying it would help him reconnect with his masculinity. Mr. Goldberg has defended Mr. Downing’s methods as sometimes appropriate for men dealing with body image problems.
Golberg and Downing have no license to practice psychology or therapy. They took money from men in exchange for the promise of “curing” their homosexuality. And, as this passage demonstrates, Downing took advantage of at least one young man’s vulnerability.
Conversion “therapy” is one of religion’s dark arts, with no basis in reality and the primary purpose of enriching cynical snake-oil salesmen by feeding off the self-hatred of confused individuals. No god wants you removing your clothes and touching yourself for a fake “therapist.”
Sadly, the California ban on this absurd abuse of religion only applies to licensed therapists. This would leave “religious counselors” like the scum described in this story able to continue to profit from the desperation of people who can’t live with the thought that their god will hate them if they’re true to who they are.
If you think gay people need to seek healing in the form of getting “un-gayed,” you’ll get no respect from me.