Thursday, July 12, 2012

An old post and a brief update UPDATED

I'm gonna do the thing that bloggers do when they are really, really busy but they want you to know that they haven't died, and that is that I will post one of my favorite posts from the past with a teeny update.

Here's the teeny update:

I'm finally over my cold. And the hope is that I didn't give it to anybody else. Because that's just mean.

I'm at a conference. A sex-worker conference. (Really it's about sexual addiction, for Lifestar.) And in honor of that, I'll post a post from the last time I was at one of these conferences and I found the most awesome store ever. This was posted originally on 11-22-11.

This post is about a store.

Back fourteen centuries ago when I was in Utah at the beginning of the month, my sister's car broke down when she came to pick me up from my sex conference.  Then a couple of days later, we were driving the same car which had miraculously begun working again. The plan was to pick up In-N-Out and go to Grandma Weed's so I could see her one last time before she died. (Side note: I did not actually know she would die several days later at this time. I know it now because this is me from the future talking. Which is why blogs are like time machines.)

While sitting in the drive through at In-N-Out, the car died again. And this time, it did not start up again miraculously.

So basically we were stranded at the mall.

Now, I don't know what laws of economics are in play in Salt Lake City, but for whatever reason, Valley Fair Mall is perhaps the strangest mall I've ever seen. Where most malls have a string of predictable common stores selling popular goods (I can't name these stores--I don't really go to malls very much), Valley Fair Mall has really odd wannabe versions of those stores with catchy names like "Bedazzled" and "Eyebrow Miracle". The most awkward of those stores is the lingerie store called "Husband and Wife".

I'm not kidding you.

So, there we were, Jenni, Justin and I (and their two kids Alice and Parley) wandering around, waiting for our ride. We wanted to find a place where we could let Alice roam and we soon found ourselves in a randomly chosen store.

So what you're saying is that everything IN this store is either a dollar or not a dollar. That makes it entirely different than every other store!

Jenni and were standing there talking in an aisle. Suddenly, we became aware of what we were standing next to.

As seen on TV!  In 1987!

We kind of couldn't believe what we were looking at. It was a Waist Trimmer that appeared to be from an infomercial in the 80's. And it was priced at $6.95 and $14.95. (For those unfamiliar with business and sales, that's a little trick to distract you from the fact that the implication of the store title is that everything should be around a dollar.)

It was at this point that Jenni and I realized that this store was amazing.

Our time waiting for a ride suddenly became a contest to see who could find the most ridiculous merchandise. The following is some of the best of what we found, documented by photo because if it wasn't, it would be too ludicrous to believe.

Let's start with the underwear section.

First off, we have these:

I don't know about you, but when I buy over-sized granny panties, I definitely favor the ones that have little green bears on the back. It makes taking a dump WAY cuter!

Fittingly, I think the middle bear is actually squatting to defecate (while the other two watch?).

Oh, and one more in the front. Plus a little green bow. SEXY.

But if you think those bear panties were a dream, wait till you get a load of this G-string!

 It's possible somebody needs a lesson in what "G-string" means. 

Soon, we were done looking at intimates and we moved on to other things. 

Jenni found a purse. Made of glass.

"The thing I'm most interested in in a hand bag is finding one that will literally shatter to pieces at the slightest jostle."

I stumbled upon a a "dog collar".

Where when I say "dog" I actually mean "T-rex"

Soon, Justin was helping too. The hits just kept coming.

We found a double glue pack!

Yes, on the left you have your glue, and on the right you have your glue stick. Strangely I had always thought of a glue stick as a stick of glue. Silly me!

Somebody made a mistake here. 

I just don't understand why these aren't selling like hot cakes? Who DOESN'T need exterior palm support?

Some masterpieces go totally unappreciated.

What's that? You want to read the back flap of "Growing Pains?" Sure!

  I'm biting my nails just THINKING about how Sandra might have learned her big lesson about popularity not being everything! (I think it might have something to do with her broken foot.)

 Hey, girl with the Neck Rest. 1988 called and they want their feathered hair back. Oh, and they also want their Neck Rest back. Oh screw it. Does anybody have a time machine so we can take this thing back home? (Also, what better place to read a magazine than in the driver's seat of your vehicle. While wearing a neck brace.)

We were winding down because Allison and Spencer, our ride, were about to get there. However, before we left, we found one more awesome gem... perhaps my favorite find of the evening.

 Wow, this hardware set sounds really fancy! I can't wait to utilize their variety, credible, quality broad purpose. Let's turn it over and see what hardware we get in thi...

 Wait. I don't understand. These are... glue sticks. Not hardware.

"Caution: Extremely Sharp Blades--Handle With Care."

Yes. One should always be careful when handling room-temperature hot glue. Because of the sharp blades.

At about this point, Alli and Spencer arrived, and it was time to go.

But I will always remember. I'll always, always remember that if I need an infomercial product from the 80's, or if I need a glue stick that's actually a bottle, or a glass purse, or a g-string, I can find it at All a Buck & More!

It might be my favorite store ever.

All right. Hopefully that was fun. It was fun to reminisce. I'm pretty sure I should pay a visit to All a Buck and More while I'm down here. As well as Cafe Rio. And Leatherby's.

Also, we have a tentative date for Nightline. July 19th. We'll let you know if anything changes.

UPDATE: I also wanted to mention that the comments on the last post were incredible. I have more to say on the subject, and I think that discussion might yield a couple of posts. I've gotta say: there were so many brilliant and moving comments that I was truly educated and learned a great deal. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and insights. 



  1. BWHAHAHAHA! Oh Valley Fair mall...truly the scariest place in Utah. Those products are fantastic!

  2. Thanks for making me laugh, a LOT. I didn't get this post first time around, so I don't mind the repeat post!

  3. i am crying from laughing so hard! we're in utah for the month and i'll have to check out that store!

  4. Oh, I wish we had a store like this here in Washington! Dollar Tree isn't nearly as much fun.

  5. Oh man, I haven't laughed that hard in awhile. This is a must read!!!


  6. I feel like I need to plan a vacation just to visit that store! So funny!

  7. Come down to Astoria, OR and hit up Deals Only! if you're regretting not buying that hardware set.

  8. To make an odd item even more so, those green bears look a lot like the Grateful Dead dancing bears.

    Too funny!

  9. Lol, too funny! I actually love the dollar store here, there's some legit stuff -- like produce (bags of limes, ginger root, asparagus...), and Ben and Jerry's ice cream on occasion. I had to document it as well.

  10. As I said, I never find stuff like that at Dollar Tree and there are no more Dollar Stores here (I think they pulled out of the region several years ago). However, I do shop at a Korean Market, Pal-Do World, and you can find some crazy stuff there, too. And now I think I should update my blog with a few pictures of things that get lost in translation.

  11. I just asked my husband to please take me to Salt Lake soon just so I can visit this store. It was a great fun read.

  12. Oh man, been there...that exact store!!! It's so true. So Scary!!! lol

  13. Just what the doctor ordered (literally). Comic relief!

  14. That was (said with emphasis) fun. I don't remember reading this post when you originally posted it so I'm glad you re-posted. Great entertainment. I think my favorites are the "g string" and glue sticks. What a crazy store.

  15. Ok i just have to comment and say I decided one night instead of going to bed to read through all your past posts. oh man, by 2 am I was laughing so hard it was uncontrollable! I love your blog! :)

  16. Did you also notice the size on the "G-string"???

  17. I don't normally post my comments on anything but wanted to thank you for sharing your writing/humor/stories -- This morning's blog had me laughing so hard I could hardly breathe. Thanks so much for posting! (PS - I started reading this blog a few weeks ago with the Club Unicorn era. There were a lot of really great issues in there that gave me a lot to think about and discuss with my family)

  18. Lifestar, you say - Not only is LifeSTAR listed as a resource for Evergreen International and North Star (the two "ex-gay" organizations affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), but LifeSTAR's Clinical Director, Dan Gray, is listed on Evergreen's page of popular featured speakers, along with not only a number of Mormon Church leaders but also well-known leaders in the "ex-gay movement," such as Alan Chambers (Director of Exodus International).

    1. Oh please. That settles it.

      Blog post forthcoming.

      (I'm a little upset. But it's okay. I'm glad you visited. I've been debating whether or not post this post, and now I know I must. So thanks.)

    2. Try to relax, Josh. I'm sure you knew this was coming.

      And to Anonymous@7:40 AM:
      I just want to ask why you think it's okay to belabor this point in the comments section of a blog post that has nothing to do with Josh's sexual orientation?

    3. Inkstained, LifeSTAR was explicitly named in the introduction to this post. A plug for LifeSTAR (intentional or not), and lifeSTAR's possible connection with Exodus International, are relevant to concerns that Josh might be practicing and promoting orientation change, which would make this whole story a trojan horse for prejudice against gays.

    4. The major point of the post, though, was the visit to All A Buck, the weirdest dollar-type store I've ever heard of. Plus, sure, he's at a conference for LifeSTAR for sex addiction, which is a real disorder. But the mention was in passing and he didn't launch into a blog post talking about sex addiction because that's not the intent of the blog post we're commenting on. He says he'll do another post addressing that issue, which was bound to come up anyway.

    5. Inkstained, I agree that it's a stretch to use that LifeSTAR plug as an opening for a muckraking post, and I personally don't see that as a good way to help reduce prejudice against gays, but I can understand the temptation.

      When I first saw Josh's story, I wanted to help spread it far and wide, and I did tell a few of my friends who have a friendly interest in gays, and I took a few other steps to help publicize it. Then, when the only response I saw, in more than four weeks, to some vital concerns, was to stigmatize them, I started feeling a little frustrated, myself.

      I want *all* the stories to be told, including this one, but I need to know more about the context, and I'm not getting the answers I need. I can easily imagine some other people feeling the same way, and how hard it might be for them to restrain themselves.

    6. I've been feeling seriously frustrated about not getting the answers I need, and losing my patience, and I'm not even a target of prejudice against gays.

    7. Josh has many times denied being a reparitive therapist and I learnd a week ago he works where he does. I have battled with everything I believe trying to allow for the idea that Josh is on the path best suited for him. Honestly, I feel lied to.
      Sometimes you have to convince somebody that they're sick before you can treat them. Josh says he only offers his counsil to people who want it. In communities where people are taught to believe that homosexuality is bad, who won't seek treatment?
      This is not bullying! It's that most people today see things rationally but there are a few who hold dearly to their outdated, hurtful beliefs cloacked in religion.
      Physician, heal thyself.

    8. Inkstained, the more I think about it, the more relevant this comment seems to me.

      In some ways, this story is a dream come true for me, and an answer to my prayers. There's a shadow across it, though, because it's being told under an advertisement for a counseling service, in a blog peppered with references to that service.

      This story went viral, and has attracted a lot of attention from gays, and friends of gays. If the counseling service that is being advertised here is associated in any way with promoting orientation change, they need to know that, and I need to know that, to include it in the context when I tell people about it.

      In my view, that makes it perfectly relevant to point out its possible association with promoting orientation change, any time the service is mentioned.

    9. Intentionally or not, knowingly or not, whatever else it might be, this whole blog is an advertisement for a counseling service. It seems perfectly relevant to me, to post warnings about its possible harmfulness, whenever that service is mentioned.

    10. Bjorge Queen,

      I don't see any reason to think that Josh is lying about not doing reparative therapy. Trying to find out his attitude toward orientation change has been like pulling teeth, but I haven't seen any evidence that he promotes it in his own practice. I wouldn't jump to conclusions about his association with people and organizations who do. I think it's perfectly relevant though, to raise the question whenever he mentions his counseling service.

    11. I guess I'm not seeing it as advertising. Josh does have a link to his counseling practice because that's part of who he is. How he reconciles that with his own SSA, I don't know. And he will probably explain it in his own way and his own time. It would be nice to have ALL the answers to ALL the questions right NOW, but life doesn't always provide time. He has a job, a family and most likely a church calling and I can tell you from experience, LDS Church callings can be time consuming. Be patient.

    12. It also concerns me that someone who has had to repress and deny his own sexual attractions is so involved in attending conferences about sexuality and counselling people about it. I am perfectly aware that my comments are setting me up for attack here but I accept that and won't silence my genuine concerns.

    13. Evergreen has links to lifestar and Evergreen advertises: "If you want to diminish your same-gender attractions and avoid homosexual behavior, there is a way out. 'Diminish is the reparative word there.
      Josh has never said that if clients want to have a homosexual lifestyle, that he counsels that. So, odd as it is, in an attempt to put the puzzle pieces together, an investigation of connections etc, almost has to be done. That's weird and unnecessary if Josh would just clearly state what he counsels. I understand completely that he is extremely busy but he also brought all of this up in the first place.
      I agree with Jim - I don't think he is a liar. I just think he is choosing to be vague.

    14. Once Patty went to a therapist about some emotional problems, and he told her that her whole problem was her religion. I imagine any God-centered person can understand why she didn't go back to that therapist.

      I would not want anyone who thinks or suspects that he's homosexual or gay, going to a therapist who treats his homosexuality as a problem in itself, or might refer him to anyone who does. In fact I would prefer anyone in that situation to see a therapist who treats his homosexuality as a gift.

      Josh's view of that is still unclear to me, and until that is cleared up, I'm all in favor of posting warning signs.

    15. Inkstained, I agree with you about all that, and I regret that I've been impatient with him sometimes. I still think it's relevant to post warning signs as long as the question is not cleared up.

    16. Guys, please. The guy says "Oh please. That settles it.", and you don't seem to even notice it.

      Pulling teeth? Like who you are that Joshua Weed needs to explain himself to you promptly?

      Even if he does do the reparative therapy (which, incidentally I do not believe he does and which I incidentally deplore), I think that you should not insult the intelligence of homosexual people. Those who are stupid enough to read Joshua's Unicorn post and then continue to go to him for a therapy that is patently reparative deserve nothing else but to be "repaired".

    17. Inkstained, okay, let's don't call it advertising. I'll just say that some of the people reading this blog might be drawn into Josh's counseling service. That's reason enough for me, to post warning signs next to the plugs.

    18. FG, I don't see it as unreasonable to expect someone who is advertising a counseling service, on his blog, for people with LGBT issues, to give some straight answers to questions about his counseling and what he is promoting, vital to the interests of people with LGBT issues, on that same blog, especially when that blog has just gone viral and attracted the attention of possibly tens of thousands of people with LGBT issues.

    19. I don't think it's unreasonable to expect some straight answers about what he might eventually do with all that attention.

    20. Then again, I agree with not rushing him. I also agree with putting up warning signs.

    21. I do agree with FG Mormon in the fact that there are probably few to no non-religious LGBTQ people continuing to read this blog. I have a gay friend who knows I read and comment on this blog and he keeps asking me why I am torturing myself and exposing myself to all of the negative energy and homophobia on here. Obviously I'm not referring to the Dollar Store stories.
      And the answer is two fold. One, I'm admittedly a bit OCD. But mainly I post on here because I am concerned that LGBTQ young people, pressured by their religion to not be in the gay lifestyle, will think that Josh''s story can absolutely work for them - he did say once or twice not to think that but when you are young and everyone around you is telling you you've got to just move past or get rid of your homosexuality, I could see not hearing his not. Also, his agency is affiliated with other agencies that actively discourage the gay lifestyle and he is a therapist. And he chooses - for whatever reason, to not be clear about how he counsels people. And when a commenter points out an issue with any of that, they are almost instantly shot down in generally extremely insulting ways. The thing is, Josh is a big boy and I don't think he needs others to flock to protect him. He opened up the can of worms and if he chooses not to ever ever say how he counsels people who are gay, then I'm going to research and from that research extrapolate.

    22. Jim, yes, you are right, it is not unreasonable to expect all that, but it is also unreasonable to expect a little patience on someone who has so much on his plate these days, including, incidentally, ADHD-I.

      And oh, by the way, Anonymous and Jim, I'm not sure if you've noticed this:

      I hope this resolves at least some of your concerns.

    23. And Anon 11:27 PM, don't stop returning here. This place would be considerably less fun without you. And I'm saying this honestly, without being cynical and without a desire to mock. I love you guys, everyone, Bjorge, Jim and all the rest.

    24. FG, that link does answer some of my questions. Thank you! My apologies to anyone I've wronged, if I had a chance to see that before, and missed it. From that it seems clear to me that Josh does not promote orientation change.

      I see two things happening here, with very different implications for me.

      1. A story that has already helped reduce prejudice against gays, and prejudice against marriages like the one we see here, and I imagine will continue doing so. I see nothing but pure goodness in that. Like I said, seeing this story going viral is a dream come true for me.

      2. A blog advertising a counseling service, including help with "LGBT issues," with a post that went viral and got some relatively friendly attention from some gays and friends of gays.

      My concern has been, is there danger for gays, here in this blog, and in the counseling that some gay readers will be drawn into? I've been thinking that as long as I see possible danger here, I would want to include a warning when I tell people about this story. At this point, that warning would be about possible connections with people and organizations promoting orientation change.

      Most stories about gays are wrapped in harmful propaganda on one side or the other, but most of that is obvious and out in the open. There are very few obvious signs, in Josh's blog posts or on the counseling pages, of depreciation of gays. That makes them all the more dangerous to gays in my view, if in fact Josh does not value the part of his personality that he calls gay. Seeing him saying that it's immutable, and excluding orientation change from his practice, in conformity with the the AMA's submission to political and economic expediencies, is not enough to convince me that he does value that part of his personality, especially since I haven't seen any sign anywhere that he does.

      That might be my only question now: Does Josh value the part of his personality that he calls gay? As long as I don't see that he does, that will be the warning I will include, when I tell people about this story.

    25. Bjorge Queen, you wrote

      "Sometimes you have to convince somebody that they're sick before you can treat them."

      That's what the entire mood drug industry is all about: redefining natural feelings and behavior as diseases, and selling drugs to repress them, then selling more drugs to counteract the effects of that repression, and so on ad infinitum. Somehow that failed, in the case of homosexuality. Maybe because it was too hard to find a marketable drug to repress it?

      Maybe gays were simply among the first to gather enough economic and political force to blow the whistle on it.

    26. Jim, I find evidences of Josh valuing homosexual part of his personality quite abundant. The most important evidence to me is the fact that he is very open & sincere about his same-sex attraction with the clients which, combined with his fidelity & dedication to his wife & family, brings measure of trust that is otherwise difficult to achieve. I believe he actually dedicated his whole life, and not just career, to make the burden of homosexuality placed upon gay people as light as possible. His coming out post, that spread like a wildfire around the globe, in any other context wouldn't have had sense, at least to me.

      I agree that with the development of such a trust & confidence among gay people, there comes a great deal of responsibility which, if not properly handled, can cause a considerable damage. But let us give this poor fellow some benefit of the doubt. Whatever he publishes here makes him so incredibly vulnerable and exposed to attacks from pretty much every gay and anti-gay alliance. As I already said once, he challenges conventional wisdom all over the place, left, right & middle. That's why I strongly believe Josh not just needs, but also deserves all my encouragement and support I can muster.

      As for the responsibility he has and the potential of it's misuse, I believe that the best and probably the only way how to keep it checked is to keep an eye on testimonials of those who receive the therapy from him. He or anyone else can paint him in public discourse as they like, but the ultimate judgment of his sincerity in the approach towards homosexuality can come from those who really experienced what he has to offer and is offering.

      So this might be an invitation for those who doubt his methods and his sincerity to actually try him and to catch him "in flagranti", so to speak. :)

    27. I've thought about it some more, and it looks to me like Josh's heart is an open book, so I don't need to warn anybody about anything. Calling himself gay might confuse some people at first, but I don't think that's intentional, and I don't think it would take anyone long to get un-confused. The initial confusion might lead to some minor griefs, but that can happen with anyone, anywhere, any time, and I don't think it calls for any special warnings, except maybe in special cases.

    28. I confuse people like that all the time.

    29. Wow... I can believe this post turned into a reparative post. I call that persons comment harassment..... I'm disappointed people can't just stop for a second...... Breath... Before posting!!!!!!

    30. Everyone is so concerned about how OTHER people are going to take Josh Weed, when they could never possibly know. Are we really that insecure? Truth will show its self, no matter how loudly everyone screams you will never hide the truth. Acting so insecure about others' perceptions makes it look like they couldn't find out for themselves. This is kind of standard practice of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If you went to counseling with someone and it didn't uplift you, or didn't help you be a better person, or didn't fill you with hope, then it doesn't have good fruit, and so it isn't good. If somebody received counseling from a specific person, or held to a specific belief and it didn't do anything good for their life and YET continued to go, their issues are rooted so deep no amount of warning in the comments of a blog could possibly help them. We Mormons are not dumb, we don't assume we know things that we don't actually know. I feel like everyone thinks we're a bunch of dumb sheep. Mormons are not taught to be followers, we are taught to have our own relationship with God, and to gain our own understanding. You don't have to worry about us starting to worship Josh Weed just because he is an example of a happy person living a Mormon lifestyle who is gay. As soon as we would see the lies we would throw it out.

    31. Thanks, FG, for the link.
      what josh still does not say though is what he counsels when someone want to remain in the gay lifestyle.
      And indeed, when you are a youth who is LGBTQ and everyone around you - your parents, your church is telling you and reinforcing every day of your life that living a gay lifestyle is wrong, then indeed this is what you will hear and beileve. I imagine the relief of finding a therapist who says you can accept yourself is huge. i just want to know if that acceptance, in the counselling, comes with the caveat that you should not live the lifestyle.
      So it's not insecurity for young gay LGBTQ people, it is trying to wade through years and years of being told the wrongness of living who they are.
      So while it is great to know that Josh counsels self-acceptance, I want to know if he also counsels not living in the gay lifestyle if someone is wanting to go that way. A young person, desperate and impressionable is vulnerable. Does Josh counsel, 'you can live the gay lifestyle and that is an okay choice for you' or does he not. If not, then that is definitely something he should mention right at the start,that his worldview is that the gay lifestyle is wrong.

    32. My own concerns are resolved. It still isn't clear to me whether Josh depreciates gays or not, and I think calling himself gay might confuse some people at first, but I think there are plenty of warning signs after all, for anyone who's at risk, that there might be some danger here.

    33. Anon 8:55 AM, from what I've seen, I would trust Josh to be honest with his clients, from the very start, about what they might want or need to know of his views, and help them really and truly make their own choices, even if he disagrees with them. Anyway, suppose you find out that he pushes or pulls some of them in an unhealthy direction, without telling them from the very start where he's coming from. Then what? What would you do?

      The reason I was asking questions was to decide if I wanted to include some kind of warning when I tell people about this story. Now I think that anyone who needs to be warned, and can be warned, will see all the warnings he needs when he looks at the description of the services. Anyone who knows that he needs a counselor who embraces sexual intimacy in a same-sex relationship, will see and/or feel the danger signs there. Anyone who doesn't need that, or doesn't know he needs that, is going to be looking for someone who does not embrace it. I don't see any better place for that person to go than to Josh, if I'm reading Josh right.

    34. Jim, I find use of the word "danger" in this context way to strong. And that my notion is, of course, understandable if anyone looks my commenting record here.

      What I'm trying to say is that the only way to really honestly assess one's homosexual attraction is to give a fair shot to all the alternatives available, in the environment of utmost security, total sincerity, brutal openness and the complete absence of judgment & pressure to decide in any direction.

      That kind of aseptic environment in counseling is very difficult, if not impossible to achieve, but I think that Josh with his unique perspective, his demonstrated willingness to allow himself to be vulnerable and his capability not to take himself seriously to the point of outright (self)humiliation is probably the closest one can get to it.

      Yet, again, no one can know for sure unless he or she tries it. What I appreciate in Josh, though, is that as I read his older blog posts, and as I put them in the context of his revealed homosexuality, my same-sex attraction becomes to me so much more comprehensible! I don't know what's the mechanic of the magic, but it works, so much so that I don't find it necessary to even take into consideration purchasing his services, at least for now. :)

    35. "What I'm trying to say is that the only way to really honestly assess one's homosexual attraction is to give a fair shot to all the alternatives available..."

      Do you think the same is true of heterosexual attraction?

    36. not sure that I could do anything, Jim. Although surely that would violete ethics. It's different if it is a counselling centre specifically for Mormons - although I would say from what I've read about Evergreen it seems that it would be incredibly damaging - then at least you have Mormons going for counselling and they are aware of the stance taken. But if there are non-Mormons going in who are young and looking for guidance, then it is unethical. I can't tell from the Lifestar website - or haven't looked closely enough - to know if it is only for Mormons. Mind you, if it is in Utah it would be a fairly safe bet.

    37. this article - expresses more what i'm trying to say and with some interesting and disturbing findings.

    38. in this post, the "Penitant Ex-Gay Mormon' (name of his blog) talks about some therapy he learned at Lifestar:
      This fellow sounds tortured and it's no wonder. If this isn't reparative therapy than I don't know what is (actually, I do, and what this Lifestar therapist was telling this poor fellow, is reparative therapy).

    39. In fact, this poor fellow's blog is like one big giant broken heart and solid and terrifying proof of what internalized homophobia and a religion that tells you the gay lifestyle is wrong can do to a person. i'm reading one of his posts now where he was 'disciplined' by his church and had to do certain things to get back in.
      Religion and it sounds like even his therapist are profoundly abusing this human being. Yes, they encourage him to be open about his sexuality but in every other way he is being contnually profoundly shamed. I'm rather shocked he hasn't tried to kill hiimself.
      Fresh Hell, I wonder if you'll have a chance to check out his blog?

    40. Helpful tip: actually know what you are talking about before you talk.

      If the blogger mentioned above is using a "relapse prevention sheet" then he is trying to prevent "relapse" into sexual addiction. The majority of people who use such (totally therapeutically valid, relevant) sheets are heterosexual, and this material is not connected to reparative therapy in any way whatsoever. Just because some writer has connected false dots (the extent to which this happens is shocking and so, so, incredibly disturbing to me) doesn't make his assertions true. Period.

      Defending myself with this stuff looks, well, defensive. Yet letting complete ignorance show it's face like this feels irresponsible to me. Thus, I will make this comment.

      People, draw your own conclusions. But if my voice matters to you, allow me to say that the above two links are absolutely, laughably incorrect. I don't say that with fear. I don't say that to cover anything up (look at them for yourselves and draw your own conclusions.) I say that with amazement at people's ignorance, and the lengths people will go to to create conspiracy where none, whatsoever exists.

      You have to ask yourself, who is trying to create the controversy here? And why? What do they actually feel threatened by?

      I just finished my conference and am now writing a post describing, with all the honesty I can muster, my career up to this point. (Spoiler alert: it's very short and kinda not noteworthy at all.) Beyond that, there's nothing really I can do. Conspiracy theorists will create controversy out of literally nothing. That's kind of what they're about, I guess, and there's really not much I can do about it.

      C'est la vie.

      Post will be up tonight or tomorrow.

    41. Fresh, we've discussed that before. As long as you have individuals whose very first question after their sexuality kicks in is: "What the heck is going on? Is this possible? It cannot be true, can it?", one needs to address those questions properly. If a heterosexual person faces these questions, sure. If homosexual person doesn't, fine.

      But you know what. What really upsets me is your condescending tone. By asking it about "heterosexuals", you are actually implying that people who are facing same-sex attraction and then are in doubt are actually stupid degenerates, lifeless plants completely subjugated to the pressures of their hostile, heterosexual environment. "If they only knew", your comment implies, "they would have never bother themselves with those kind of stupid, ridiculous queries!"

      Well, that may be true, but until the society is as accepting to homosexuals as it is to heterosexuals, one has every dang right to ask those questions and to receive answers for oneself!

      And besides, remember, in my universe acting upon "it" is SIN. Once I become the last man standing, you are absolutely right. Those kinds of counseling & treatments wouldn't be necessary any more.

    42. I should clarify that I haven't read the above-linked blog at all. It's perfectly possible that the man described has been through horrible, horrible things at the hands of therapy and religion. These things absolutely happen, and it sickens me.

      However, they are not my story at all, to any degree. Linking here to a blog that has literally nothing to do with me or my story it is quiiiiiiiite a stretch, and there is a lot of implied relevance that, I'm saying right now in a non-defensive, factual way, is totally untenable.

      Again, why is this happening?

      You've gotta wonder. (As always, draw your own conclusions. This is the last I'll say here.)

    43. The connection is that the man on that blog has a Lifestar therapist. Not you, Josh, obviously. Do individual Lifestar therapists have completely different philosophies? It seems this blogger has been encouraged by his Lifestar therapist to do the relapse prevention sheets when he has homosexual sex. If you are told all of your life that being in a gay relationship is wrong, then it is no wonder he is engaging in strictly the sex part.
      And again, Lifestar has, through at least one of the people involved in Lifestar, a connection to Evergreen, the Mormon reparative therapy center.
      So, quite simply and honestly, Josh, the connection is the blogger has/has had a Lifestar therapist who is giving him the relapse sheets. He also has to report regularly to his bishop. And, again, Lifestar has a connection to Evergreen.
      I am not a fan of conspiracy theories myself. They are usually creepy and wrong. Nor am I saying that you yourself do therapy the way the therapist at Lifestar of the blogger mentioned above does.
      But I don't know how much clearer and more non-conspiracy theory-ish i can be: the man has a Lifestar therapist. Evergreen, has at one time or another had a connection to Evergreen through Dan Gray. My non-conspiracy theory conclusion then is that the blogger has a Lifestar therapist and that Dan Gray has a connection to both Lifestar and Evergreen.
      Frankly, at the moment, I'm not threatened by anything but I do feel threatened for that poor blogger whose therapist is a Lifestar therapist.
      I feel like I have to repeat so that the point will actually be heard.
      anyway, I genuinely am excited to read how you approach therapy with gay people who want to stay/be in the lifestyle.
      And I think that the only reason you don't have more, uh, 'disagreeable' comments like mine is because almost anyone who is a gay ally or gay and not in a conservative religion would have given up long ago finding the comments so homophobic at times as to be mind-boggling. I kinda pat myself a bit on the back here, I mean imagine a conservative Mormon trying to get his or her point across on a website of, I don't know, gay people who don't find homosexuality to be a sin and are offended that some find it to be. It's like that but in reverse.
      And FG Mormon, your response to Fresh Hell makes no sense to me and I've read it over several times, wanting it to make sense.

    44. sorry, I meant Lifestar has had a connection to Evergreen through Dan Gray.

    45. This comment has been removed by the author.

    46. (Note: I deleted the above post due to spectacularly poor editing. Now it's just my regular poor editing.)

      Anon, I did read some of the blog. It made me cry. What else is there to say?

      I'm not a perfect parent but when my son said, "Mom, I'm gay" and I hugged him and told him I loved him and how perfectly he was made, I think I was the parent that G-d wanted me to be in that moment. My husband was the same. And our unconditional love continues into our son wanting to marry a man and have children.

      Then I think of how we could have reacted and how different my happy, healthy, unconditionally loved son's story could be.

      We would have told him we loved him but...expected him to deny his sexuality by whatever means nessisary. I think of the sheer hell we could have put him through simply by the power of being his parents. Or our minister could have by the inherent power of that position.

      I think of the author of that blog on his knees three times a day, trying to pray away an essential part of himself. It's heartbreaking.

      I find myself increasingly uncomfortable here. Anon's words above really struck a chord in me,

      "It also concerns me that someone who has had to repress and deny his own sexual attractions is so involved in attending conferences about sexuality and counseling people about it..."

      So often I've been drawn in by people who purport to love unconditionally, including GLBTQ folks, but in the end there is a catch. Is there a catch here? I don't know yet. I hope not. I hope Josh is someone I could trust to send my gay and proud son to counseling too and he would be accepted unconditionally. I guess I'm just waiting.

    47. Anon 2:39 PM, in my response to Fresh, I made a reference to another discussion in the comment section of this blog between him and myself. I did not bother to give a link to the reference because I'm sure that Fresh knows very well what I'm talking about, but since you are interested, here it is:

      BLOG POST:
      Much Ado About Nothing + a video of Tessa + a FAQ answer

      Friday, June 29, 2012

      FG MORMON comment, broken down in two parts for technical reasons:
      June 30, 2012 2:54 AM
      June 30, 2012 2:55 AM

      FRESH HELL TEXAS response to my comment:
      June 30, 2012 1:59 PM

      To sum it up, I explicate that unlike heterosexuals, who take their sexuality for granted, homosexuals - as soon as their sexuality kick in - start to question their feelings. I also argue that it may be possible that a young person who has homosexual attraction at the moment of sexuality kicking in is "well adjusted" to the point that he takes his or her sexuality for granted and does not question his or her feelings, but they are so rare (again, I argue) that are irrelevant for the discussion.

      Fresh then responded that Fresh's son may be one of those young persons.

      I hope that this will now bring sense to my latest comment.

    48. That's so interesting to me that people would assume I'm a man. On-line life is so interesting. In any case, I am a woman, a mother, a wife, a sister, you know, all the girl stuff.

      As for being rude, that was not my intention and while I'm flattered that you would think I would remember that exchange, my mid-life brain no longer works that well (were that it was so!) So, please know I was not intentionally being rude and thank you for explaining your answer.

    49. Anon 1:00 PM, FG and all,

      I see now that I was putting some red herrings across my path. What matters for me with counseling is not the counselor's views about issues the client is dealing with. What matters is the counselor's honesty, fairness, consideration and competence. A counselor who is dishonest, unfair, inconsiderate or incompetent is going to damage the client, regardless of his views about homosexuality. A counselor who is honest, fair and competent will help the client, regardless of his views about homosexuality.

      That's a simplification. There might be other qualities involved. I'll simplify even more and count honesty, consideration and fairness as part of competence.

      Anon, a competent counselor will be aware of the psychological and social pressures and other things you and I are concerned about. Regardless of his own opinions about homosexuality, he will want his client to get free of those pressures as much as we do, and will help him do so. He will want him to make his own well-informed, self-aware decisions as much as we do, and will help him do so.

      I'm not in a position to judge Josh's competence in counseling. As others have said here, let him be measured by his fruits -- *his* fruits, not the fruits of others associated with him. The implications of a person's associations is a complex issue, and they do not prove anything by themselves. If I issue any warning along with links to this story, it will about therapy in general, and not Josh in particular.

    50. Well, Fresh, I was trying to be careful not to express your gender in my previous replies to you as I didn't have a conclusive piece of evidence. :)

      So, please, consider my "him" as a slip of a tongue. :)

    51. Fresh Hell, I pictured you as a man, too! It might have been because of the name.

      FG, you wrote:

      "What I appreciate in Josh, though, is that as I read his older blog posts, and as I put them in the context of his revealed homosexuality, my same-sex attraction becomes to me so much more comprehensible! I don't know what's the mechanic of the magic, but it works, so much so that I don't find it necessary to even take into consideration purchasing his services, at least for now."

      I noticed an example of that magic in an old post, yesterday. And it made me wonder how Josh could have got this far without being outed.

    52. Oh man, I got sucked in! I've been trying to resist for SO LONG! ;-) I guess I'm only human. It's official: It's hard to hear things you know are not true, especially about yourself, and then resist the urge to defend them. lol!

      Anonymous et al: feel free to have and voice your concerns, and know that I completely validate them as a legitimate perspective (even while thinking some of them are totally incorrect and unfounded and personally offensive). Also, I can understand why people wish to protect vulnerable homosexuals, and I think it's an incredibly noble pursuit. I would submit that part of why this discussion is so disturbing to me is, in attacking me for my work with sexual addicts, I feel that some have "turned against one of their own" in trying to advocate and help the LGBT population. But of course, that is only my view, and obviously I'm biased!

      Anyway, look forward to my professional post. It will be honest, that I can assure you. I can't assure that it will allay anyone's fears, however.

      I'll do better at not getting defensive ;-)

    53. This place is incredible, incredible, incredible! What a thread of comments ignited by an old, inconsequential post, originally published in November of last year!!!

      And Josh. What to say. You are my hero, and you are welcome to be embarrassed by this my statement if you please.

    54. Anon 1:00 PM, my concerns here have been resolved, but I don't want to leave you stranded here by yourself. I'd like to discuss this with you some more, or maybe just walk along beside you. It might help if you could tell me whatever you know about what you're trying or hoping to do here. All I was trying to do, as far as this thread was concerned, was to decide if I need to include a warning when I tell people about this story.

      Beyond that, and before that, I was mainly just trying to practice fellowship, for its own sake and as part of helping this story do all the good it might do. Also, when I saw you and some others being stigmatized, I responded in my usual ways.

      I see the maltreatment of gays by therapists as part of the larger problem of quackery in the health professions, and the assault on our health by the drug industry, creating nightmares for all kinds of people, every bit as horrendous as the nightmares of gays. I see their maltreatment by some religious campaigns as part of the larger problem of quackery in religion, again creating nightmares for all kinds of people. I see both of those as part of the murderous worldwide campaign of plundering and pillaging of the growth economics empire. It's all intertwined, and we're all part of the problem, and maybe all part of the solution at the same time.

      We need general solutions, and particular solutions. I'm working on both.

      What do you know about what keeps you coming back here?

    55. Anon 1:00 PM, I imagine most of us, maybe all of us, are part of the solution, in some part of our lives. What if we work on helping that part of each person's life grow and thrive, and starve the rest out?

    56. Hey, Josh. I don't find you defensive really at all. I understand that this could be difficult indeed. The limit of internet exchange is that not only is there no tone but it can be hard to really get to know someone's opinion, especially in an emotionally charged situation.
      Do you mean by'turning against their own' that you are also an advocate of the LGBTQ community? In my opinion, I don't know that someone can be a genuine unconditional advocate if his/her stance is that the gay lifestyle is not a good way to live your life. This is why I feel it so important to know how you counsel someone who wants to be/remain in the lifestyle or has long been told that the lifestyle is evil or that type of thing and therefore are vulnerably thinking they have to stay out of a gay lifestyle at any cost.
      If Fresh Hell's son were to come to you for counselling, would you be encouraging him to stop living a gay life? I hope your next post clearly answers this question as it is a very basic one: do you counsel/encourage gay people to stay out of the gay lifestyle? That's all, that is all I want to know and it doesn't even have to be a long answer - just a yes or no.
      And yes, FG, quite the conversation. It's interesting that when I started it way back up there, I was shot down instantly by Instained Psyche with a kind of 'how dare I?" response.
      Fresh Hell, I hope Josh can answer my question, which would, I believe, also answer yours.
      I have to be honest, I suspect that he will choose not to.
      And Jim, I feel that we disagree too much on core issues for you to be able to walk alongside me, although I appreciate your B'ahai attempt at it. I like B'ahais, I believe they are pacifists, yes?

    57. Anon 5:06 PM, maybe I'll just keep you company, for whatever it might be worth to you.

      Baha'is might look like pacifists in some contexts because of Baha'u'llah's prohibition against strife and contention, His prescriptions about how to respond to being wronged, our work for world peace, and our assurance of its inevitability.

      It would be misleading to call us pacifists though, because a lot of what we practice and promote doesn't fit into any definition of pacifists. Calling us pacifists doesn't really tell anyone anything about us. All it can do is create some false ideas about us.

    58. I'm not sure I get where the idea of calling Baha'is pacifists comes from. Practicing and promoting world peace? Our response to persecution? It looks a little like the nonviolent resistance of Gandhi and King, except that we don't even resist, because of Baha'u'llah's prescriptions for obedience to government. Staying out of factional feuding? I don't know. I can see some similarities to pacifism here and there, but from that to calling us pacifists looks like a stretch to me.

    59. Interesting, Jim. i have a few Quaker friends and I really respect them - pacifists, they don't evangelize, or have leaders, etc. They spend the hour of their service in silence - something that i think would take getting used to but wonderful!
      And I personally can't starve the rest out as you suggest. I think my question to Josh is simple and valid. I hope he chooses to answer but if not, in a way, that will kind of be my answer if that makes sense. I have to say I'm kind shocked that no one has rushed to comment that I have no right to ask that question or that the answer doesn't matter - it might be the time of evening I asked it and there is no one really online or people are chilling out a bit on the attacking. Time will tell.
      Oh i used to work with a Bah'ai - I remember now she said y'all don't evangelize either. i like that. Many Iranians are Bah'ai - it originated there - any Iranian Bah'ai in your neck of the woods?

    60. Anon 8:46 PM, I think your question is valid and there is nothing wrong with it. It may even be key for understanding how Josh is actually helping his clients and what he actually could do for them and what he couldn't, wouldn't or shouldn't.

      I like the question and I'm glad that you've asked it. I'm also interested to hear Joshua's response to it as it may help me to understand his process of coming to terms with his homosexuality and his religion, which is something that I face and deal with every day by my own choosing.

      It is also a very rich topic for an interesting discussion which I hope will ensue once we read Joshua's thoughts on or around it.

    61. Anonymous July 14, 2012 8:46 PM--

      I am a Mormon who believes that living the homosexual lifestyle is a sin, but I actually agree that your question is a valid one. I don't know a whole lot about therapy (and so maybe I shouldn't be spouting off on it...but what the heck, it's just a blog), but I don't think it's appropriate for a therapist to persuade his or her clients to act in accordance with the therapist's beliefs. Rather, if I hired a therapist I would want him to help ME figure out what I really want for myself. I have no problem with parents and spiritual leaders attempting to persuade their kids or the members of their congregations to live a certain way; but I just don't see that as the therapist's role. So I'm eager to hear Josh's response as well.

    62. Anon 5:06 PM's question was answered for me, in the article that FG linked to.

      I haven't seen any answer to my question, whether Josh sees any value in homosexuality, but I see now that it's irrelevant to my concerns about the harm he might be doing to his gay clients.

    63. "Rather, if I hired a therapist I would want him to help ME figure out what I really want for myself."

      That's exactly what Josh does, and he has already said so, in the clearest possible terms, in the article that FG linked to above.

      "My clients make extremely varied choices for their lives and futures. My role is to help them do so in a way that is authentic and true to what they want for themselves, and not to appease outside sources of pressure (like family, church or culture at large)."

    64. In the same article he also answered another question which might interest anyone who has a friendly interest in gays.

      "I do not practice, nor do I believe in, reparative therapy or change therapy. Quite the opposite, my therapeutic stance is one that favors (but does not depend on) the idea that sexual orientation is immutable."

    65. I would also like to know if he ever refers clients to Evergreen.
      And it's not irrevelant to me, Jim. And it's always best to hear it from the horse's mouth directly. And in this case Josh, is, er, the horse.
      'the culture at large' - oould also be the culture that says homosexuality is okay. I'm the kind of person who needs a really clear answer. Again, Jim, I don't think Josh needs to be 'protected' from this question.

    66. Anon 3:35 PM, exactly. "The culture at large" indeed could also be the culture that says homosexuality is okay. That's the whole point! If you expect anything else from Josh, wait no more.

    67. I imagine "the culture at large" does include the culture that says homosexuality is okay. That would mean that for Josh, helping his clients make choices in a way that is authentic and true to what they want for themselves, includes not being pressured by the culture that says homosexuality is okay. I agree wholeheartedly with that. Don't you?

    68. Anon 3:35 PM, I didn't mean that the question of whether Josh sees any value in homosexuality isn't relevant to me at all. I only meant it isn't relevant to some particular concerns of my about his counseling service. It is *very* relevant to me, in relation to prejudice, cruelty and violence against gays. I just don't think I need to post any warning signs of my own about that. There are already plenty of signs in the publicity for his service, as you yourself have seen. Not so much in what it says, as what it does not say. What more does anyone need?

    69. This comment has been removed by the author.

    70. If I include any warning when I tell people about this story, it will be that this blog contains advertisements for a counseling service that specializes in "helping individuals and couples combat addiction (both chemical and sexual/pornographic), LGBT issues, ADHD/ADD, depression, OCD, anxiety, and post traumatic stress disorder resulting from abusive situations."

      Note "combat" and "LGBT issues."

      That looks to me like all the warning that anyone might need.

      I'm not sure I even need to go that far. Just point out that it contains advertising for a counseling service, and let people investigate for themselves.

    71. Jim--
      I'm the anonymous Mormon from 2:16 PM. Thanks for pointing out the link...I had read it a few days ago but didn't even think about it when I wrote my earlier post. But I think you're right; he's basically already said that he helps his clients make decisions for themselves.

    72. From the AMA creed:

      "Our AMA: (a) believes that the physician's nonjudgmental recognition of sexual orientation and behavior enhances the ability to render optimal patient care in health as well as in illness. In the case of the homosexual patient this is especially true, since unrecognized homosexuality by the physician or the patient's reluctance to report his or her sexual orientation and behavior can lead to failure to screen, diagnose, or treat important medical problems.

      "(c) opposes, the use of "reparative" or "conversion" therapy that is based upon the assumption that homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon the a priori assumption that the patient should change his/her homosexual orientation."

      The fact that the publicity for Josh's counseling service conforms to the AMA creed, doesn't really tell me anything about his own personal views, and how they affect his counseling.

      I'm leaning more and more toward including a warning when I tell people about this story, that the blog includes publicity for a counseling service.

    73. To me, 'violence against gays' Jim, includes the therapy that poor blogger I referred to earlier received from another Lifestar therapist.
      Whether or not a therapist has a bias against the gay lifestyle is completely relevant if he/she is not working for an explicitly religious-based agency.
      There must be complete transparency in terms of any bias they may have in relation, in this case, to how LGBTQ clients are dealt with. The therapist needs to clearly state that he/she believes the gay lifestyle to be a sin and that he/she does not believe that it is a healthy way to live. There is no room for vagueness or need for interpretation. To me and I know not to you Jim, for a therapist to in any way encourage a client to stay out of/get out of the gay lifestyle without letting them know this clearly in the very first session, is unethical. A client should not have to read between the lines (i.e. to intepret what 'the culture at large' means). To me, the writing, 'the culture at large' could well be a less than transparent way of saying that the therapist will either consciously or unconsciously, directly or indirectly, encourage a client to stay away from the gay lifestyle. I believe if a therapist were to write straight out, "I help my clients to see that they can stay out of the gay lifestyle or overcome the addiction of the gay lifestyle" that the American Psychological Association would be doing some pretty quick investigating.
      The exception is, of course, if the therapist and/or the agency, in this case Lifestar, clearly indicates that they are a religious counselling service. I haven't seen this indicated anywhere on the Lifestar website. I am also aware that the majority of clients that Lifestar works with are straight and working to overcome sex addictions. But not all and if the therapist and/or Lifestar consider being in the gay lifestyle as an addiction to overcome and not something that is normative, then that needs to be made clear to the client and in the case of youth, to the clients parents on the very first visit. Client are not required to read between the lines, the onus is not on them to do this.
      I completely understand that Josh does not advocate nor believe in reparative therapy. That is not in question. In my opinion to help clients to accept their homosexuality but then to in any way encourage them to never enter a gay relationship is as psychologically damaging as reparative therapy.
      I want to make clear to Josh that I am not accusing him of anything and that this is not a personal attack on him. I am not threatened by him or his choice to be in a heterosexual marriage. I am not threatened by people that believe homosexuality is a sin although I am admittedly tired of being attacked on here or asked 'how dare I" in various different wordings. This seems to have stopped for the moment, which I am grateful for.
      It all comes back to my initial question for him, that I will wait for the answer for.
      My response here is more for Jim. It feels to me Jim that you are almost trying to pave the way for me to decide that were Josh to answer no to my question, that I would change my mind and think that that was okay.
      I'm not expressing that properly but I get the sense from you that you are trying to get me to see that it doesn't matter so that we can all play nice type thing. But it does matter and I'm not going to change my mind on that. Even by writing 'sees any value in homosexuality', to me, is extremely unclear. In my opinion, I do not think that someone can be a true supporter of a gay person, to walk with them, if their bottom line is that homosexuality is a sin. It's the catch that Fresh Hell referred to above. It's the bait and switch that I mentioned earlier.
      Phew, I am always so longwinded.
      So, to reiterate - I will wait for Josh' answer to my simple question that I will continue to find extremely relevant.
      The other part of this longwinded comment was for Jim.

    74. Oh, hi, Jim, I just now read your thing from the AMA. The Lifestar website conforms and Josh' bio also conform but there is, again, the use of 'the culture at large', 'unwanted sexual attractions.' These are worded carefully, perhaps, in order to conform. It's subtle, but, in my opinion, it's there.

    75. wow, I just wrote a long post before this that got deleted. Aaargh, the internet!
      I was so longwinded too, ha.
      Basically what I said was that I am awaiting Josh' response and that I am not attacking him or what he believes.
      I also said that if an organization does not explicity state its religious affiliations I believe that it has to inform clients of its biases immediately or that that is unethical.
      Lifestar, as far as I can tell, does not indicate anywhere on its website that it is relgiously affiliated or that its stance is that homosexuality is a sin.
      I am also aware that Lifestar deals mainly with heterosexual clients. Nonetheless, I would like to know if it includes having homosexual sex/being in a homosexual relationship as a ''sexual addiction.''
      I also completely understand that Josh does not adhere in any way to reparative therapy and that in my opinion, counselling or telling someone that being gay is okay as long as you do not act on it as that is unhealthy, is as psychologically damaging as reparative therapy. Again, the Lifestar therapist (not Josh) who was working with the blogger I mentioned above, appears to have engaged in reparative therapy resulting in what seems to me mental illness in the blogger. (not easy of course to tell from several blog entries but at the very least his severe depression is unmistakable).
      I am awaiting Josh' next blog entry. This comment was mainly for you, Jim, as I often get the impression that you are (in a kind way I realize) attempting to get me to for lack of a better way of expressing it 'be okay with it' if Josh's answer is no. To kinda to get us all to play nice. I'm not not playing nice, really, really. It's not about that.
      Vagueness has no place in the therapeutic relationship. It is not up to the client to read between the lines or guess at a therapist's bias. The onus is not on the client to do that.
      If Lifestar were an explicitly religious-based therapeutic agency, I would have no problem with how they did therapy. I would never recommend anyone go there but there'd be no issue. It's when there is a bias and it is therapy that anyone can go to and the bias is not explicitly stated, that the issue comes in.

    76. Anon 6:36 PM, with a big grin on my face, I'm not trying to get you to do anything! I'm not worried about Josh, either. I do see how it could look that way.

      It already seems clear to me that Josh doesn't see any value in homosexuality, and that's not okay with me. There's plenty in this blog and the associated counseling service that's not okay with me.

      I am wondering though, what good you think it could possibly do anyone, to get Josh to answer your question here, other than momentary feelings of self-gratification?

    77. Politically correct disclaimer:

      I don't mean to say that there's anything wrong with momentary feelings of self-gratification.

    78. Anonymous July 15, 2012 6:36 PM--

      I went back and read a few more of the posts of the blogger you linked to, and one of the things that stuck out to me is that he seems to honestly want to stop giving in to his SSA. It's easy to make assumptions about what his Lifestar therapist is telling him--and I'm not convinced that you are wrong in your assumptions. I just thought after reading a few more posts that a lot of this may be motivated by his own genuine wishes. If he is telling his therapist that he honestly wants to stop acting on his SSA, I'm not sure what else the therapist should do other than try to understand where his client is coming from and help him achieve what he says he truly wants. Obviously I have no more idea than you do of what is going on in their sessions; my point is just that it may not be as one-sided as the one post you linked to makes it appear.

    79. I wasn't assuming though - he is using worksheets that his therapist gave him. I also read through a lot of his blog posts and it is obvious even to me that he is deeply depressed at the very least and self-hating as well, deeply self-hating.
      If I can see how depressed this man is just from reading his blog, certainly a therapist could as well and he would be able to see that giving him worksheets like that and homework like that would not help him. The therapist could do all kinds of things - delve into why the man so desperately wants not to be gay, how the man has internalized so much self-hatred etc. Who is teaching this man that his homosexuality is an addiction? He has a 'sobriety date' at the side. If you read more of his posts, he talks about having to get back into the church by doing certain things, he talks about having to write the bishop weekly. To all appearances, his church disciplined him and now he has to do certain things to get back in. In one of the posts, his bishop is approving of the man's counsellor as well.
      He talks about being suicidal in the past.
      If I were this man's therapist, there is no way I would be giving him those worksheets or indicating in any way to him that his homosexuality is equivalent to sexual addiction. This man has so internalized the hatred and disgust - at one point he talks about being in a Catch 22, not wanting to leave his church but also being gay, that every time he has sex with another man, he feels horrible. Of course, he has internalized all off that shame. A therapist should be working with him to somehow give him hope and to feel less shame, not cognitive therapy assignments. From reading through the majority of his posts, his desperation is unmistakeable. And I believe that the therapy he is in is making him worse. And what is even more startling are some of the comments - supposedly encouraging but really just quoting from the Bible passages to make him think that if he works hard enough and prays hard enough, he can defeat this. It makes me weep.
      Jim, I'm not sure why you think I would get self-gratification out of Josh' answer? Is there fear that what I am thinking would be confirmed? I don't understand, I really don't. I actually think that when Josh responds I might actually feel better about the whole thing.
      And I have to say, Jim, with all due respect (really) you bounce back and forth a lot - you have no problem with Josh advertising his counseling on here, you do have a problem, then you don't.
      And to be frank, I think it's pretty brutal to think that homosexuality has any value to a person when you also believe that he/she must never ever act on it. That places them in a terrible Catch 22 and most can't handle it. Frankly, I think it is more honest at least to say being gay is not right, that would be more consistent.
      And what good could it do to get an answer? The integrity of the therapy and by extension, of Lifestar. Nothing to do with momentary self-gratification or any gratification at all. All I've ever been trying to do is show just how damaging it is to someone to say in effect, be gay, be totally okay with it but never ever ever be in a gay relationship. That is damaging and that is unethical. I'm not saying that is Josh does, in fact I doubt it.
      Jim, it's getting redundant for me to keep answering your question of why I want to know, I think I've explained it fully.
      To be honest again, I kinda feel like you are playing both sides against the middle a bit, trying to pacify everyone. You don't need to pacify, me, really, really really.
      gosh, this discussion is getting exhausting.

    80. seriously...this was a simple post about a STORE....I can't believe there are 111 comments. Relax...laugh a little....that was what this post was intended for! Keep posting Josh - there are lots of us that love reading what you have to say.

    81. Anon 8:48 PM, sorry for all that. :-(

      "I actually think that when Josh responds I might actually feel better about the whole thing."

      That's good enough reason for me.

      "And what good could it do to get an answer? The integrity of the therapy and by extension, of Lifestar."

      So you think that getting Josh to answer that question in his blog might help improve the integrity of the therapy, and of Lifestar? Maybe so. If so, I'll be glad for that.

      "Is there fear that what I am thinking would be confirmed?"

      I'm a little bit confused now about what you're thinking. I thought you were thinking that he tries to turn people away from gay relationships, but now you say you doubt that. Anyway, I wouldn't be afraid of that being confirmed. I can't think of anything else you might be thinking, that I would be afraid of being confirmed.

      "you have no problem with Josh advertising his counseling on here, you do have a problem, then you don't."

      I've never had any problem with Josh advertising his counseling on here. The only problem for me was deciding whether I want to help publicize his story, and if so whether I want to include a warning with that, about the associated counseling service. I'll admit that when I first realized that this blog is advertising a counseling service, I was a little disillusioned and a tiny bit resentful, but I got over that. How can I complain? Almost *everything* I do on the Internet is an advertisement for God and Baha'u'llah.

      "I think it's pretty brutal to think that homosexuality has any value to a person when you also believe that he/she must never ever act on it."

      Is that about Josh, or me, or both? I see a lot of value in homosexuality. I don't believe that a person should never act on it. I also don't measure the morality or healthfulness of any relationship exclusively by what combination of sexual attraction and intimacy it includes, regardless of anyone's gender or orientation.

      "I kinda feel like you are playing both sides against the middle a bit, trying to pacify everyone."

      Don't feel lonely. Lots of people feel that way when they see me in Internet discussions. I just looked up "pacify" in the dictionary, and I do see one definition that might apply: "restore to a tranquil state." "Playing both sides against the middle" might also apply, if it means "putting myself in the line of fire from both sides."

      What I do that looks like "pacifying" to some people, might be my application of Baha'u'llah's prohibition against contention, and His wish for fellowship.

      "Ye have been forbidden in the Book of God to engage in contention and conflict, to strike another, or to commit similar acts whereby hearts and souls may be saddened."

      "We shall always be with you; if We inhale the perfume of your fellowship, Our heart will assuredly rejoice, for naught else can satisfy Us."

    82. "Frankly, I think it is more honest at least to say being gay is not right, that would be more consistent."

      I'm not trying to be consistent. I'm trying to be honest. It would be dishonest for me, to say that being gay is not right. The very thought of saying that turns my stomach, takes my breath away, and brings tears to my eyes.

    83. I'm sitting here, traumatized, paralyzed, from the thought of saying that. I'm going to just sit here for a while, then get away from this computer and go do something else.

    84. I think you need to do that, Jim.

    85. I really wish this system had a "like" function, just so I could tell Melanie how spot on her comment is.

    86. It seems to me that some here do not understand that there might be a possibility of the existence of two distinct classes of people with STRONG & IMMUTABLE same-sex attraction that are different to the very core.

      The first class is those for whom homosexual relationship is fundamentally right and proper. The second class is those for whom heterosexual relationship is fundamentally right and proper.

      I agree with Anon 8:48 PM that in the case of the blogger with the severe depression, the therapist could have tried to get into "why the man so desperately wants not to be gay, how the man has internalized so much self-hatred etc". Ultimately, however, choice of a therapist, just as choice of a lifestyle and of a religious affiliation is on the poor fellow.

      You and I can argue that the guy is totally crazy for doing to himself what he does, through this particular type of counseling. And you and I can argue that he does it because he is somehow trapped in choices that make him increasingly more miserable. However, there are millions like him who are in similar types of denial with most diverse set of issues one can possibly imagine - sexual, emotional, political, economic... It is a feature of the character of many. And then, there are those whose prerogative is to trap. They are simply there for those in denial to offer them rope.

      Again, if anyone believes that this world as a whole can be made whole & perfect through actions of men is either deluding themselves or has an agenda. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't do anything. The greatest responsibility that we have is for ourselves and our families, which includes responsibility that cannot be amended or transfered, and that is to vigorously pursue our desire to find out and understand who we really are.

      What I disagree with Anon 8:48 PM is his slightly condescending tone towards this blogger fellow. Anon 8:48 PM thinks he knows better than the blogger about the blogger. I didn't look into the blog, and the blogger might have realized by now that what he is doing to himself may very well be harmful, counterproductive or just plain wrong. If he did, good for him. If he didn't, let's leave him the message over there. Let's tell him that he is in denial. But let's not blame Lifestar for the blogger's situation. Or his religion, for that matter.

      To describe those whose "prerogative is to trap" simply as those who give the rope to those who are in denial may sound preposterously cynical. And I agree that many may be trapped in various issues not because they are simply in denial, but because of the sheer activity of those who produce entrapment, carefully, painstakingly day-in day-out for their own personal gain & ulterior motives.

      However, in this particular issue of homosexuality, as long as I believe that there are two fundamentally different types of homosexuals as explained above, I believe that in the case of the poor blogger and many like him, the responsibility of sorting out things and making themselves feel more authentic and real squarely rests on them, so giving them "rope" by means of Lifestar or a church may actually be a good thing.

      That's why I think Joshua Weed's story is so crucially important. It offers another, completely new and fresh perspective into the discourse which can hopefully encourage those who keep looking answers in wrong places to look at their situation from an angle that can at last bring them relief and improvement.

    87. Sadly, it seems that the blogger's self-hatred and shame are so internalized that he can't seem to find a way out. People do get to that point where they can't pull themselves out of despair, they are in so so deep. And his therapist doing cognitive therapy with him (the worksheets as an example) doesn't work, as Josh himself said. The rope of the Lifestar therapist in this case and his church are being used as a way for him to hang himself, unfortunately. So, yeah, the therapist does indeed play a big role in the despair this man feels. As does the church who shamed him and continue to shame him by making him do certain things to get back into good standing with his church.
      So in his case, I would say that his church and his therapist have nearly destroyed him.
      If a church preaches that homosexuality is a sin and that people who practice it are evil, okay. But then they do indeed need to take responsibility for the lives they destroy because of it. No excuse or rationalizing will remove that responsibility from them.

    88. No matter how the blogger's self-hatred and shame is internalized, one thing is for certain. He is not forced by violence to do the therapy. (Unless he is under some kind of governmental probation, which I hope he isn't.)

    89. His church approves of the therapist and his church requires that he attend therapy regularly in order to be able to return/stay in the church. To him, staying in the church is everything.
      Again and I know I repeat myself so I'll stop debating this particular issue about this poor fellow, no excuse or rationalizing can take away the church's responsibility for what they've done to this man. You, FG, might be one of those lucky people whose brains are extremely healthy and can rise above the pressures put upon you. not everyone can, they internalize and they crack.
      Anyway, I've appreciated the chance to express myself on here and discuss this but I see that continuing to discuss this won't get us anywhere and honestly and non-sarcastically, I think it is starting to affect my mental health. I'm constantly checkin on here to see if there's been a response to one of my comments. Yikes. It's beautiful hot and sunny right now on this Vancouver, Canada afternoon and I should be swimming in the beautiful Kitsilano outdoor pool (google it, is an amazing pool) and not inside obsessively responding to comments on my comments.
      I've listened to Josh' video and am pleased that he did that, he answered my questions and now I have to un-OCD as it were and keep myself off of this blog (much to the relief, I'm sure, of people who consider me a 'hater' of Mormons) because I use it as an excuse not to be doing other things or even living my life in a way. I have allowed it to take up way too much space in my head and for me, that is not healthy. One good thing about my strong will is that once I've decided something, I'm all the way with it. So I have decided to move along from this blog - from commenting or reading it. Won't be easy, as giving up habits usually isn't. But I'm going to have faith in myself that I can do it.

    90. One last question, Anon, if I may and if I'm lucky enough with your determination not to return. Are you the one who wrote in one of the comments to a previous Josh's post that you don't find my comments (I'm paraphrasing) congruent enough, so you just skip it? Are you the one to whom I replied "Fair enough"?

  19. OMG! That is hilarious! I want to go to that store. I wish the Dollar Tree in our area was as entertaining.

  20. That's hilarious! I'm totally taking my husband there for our next date night. Who knew such a treasure trove was right here in Utah? :)

  21. Thanks Josh! Just love this! Valley Fair used to be a very cool mall when I was yount - centuries ago! It has become such a funny place that I rarely visit, but they do have a very good nail salon (asian, who do the best job, of course) on the outside. Thank you for your exciting finds!

  22. Josh, how do you do it? Whenever I try to take photos in a store, there's an instantaneous response from someone telling me I can't take photos in the store!

    1. Really? Gosh, I'm always taking weird pictures in odd places. Never of people, because that's just rude, but I'll take a picture of odd items or shelf labels. The only time someone called me on it was when I was in the Whole Foods store in Washington, DC and I was taking a picture of the Artomat (Google it to find out why I'd want to do that). I explained what I was doing, showed him the picture in my camera and he left me go without making me delete it.

      You need to be surreptitious :-)

    2. Sometimes I go scouting for places for Patty and me to hang out, and sometimes I want to take a picture of something I see in a store. Actually I've only tried that a few times, but every time, Wham! No, no, you can't do that!

    3. Jim, you don't look like a serial killer.

    4. I devour cereal all the time.

  23. This post literally had me LOL'ng the whole way through. I LOVE stores like this. there's one in Toronto called Active Surplus. Make sure to visit if you ever come here.

  24. This young man is amazing -

    and yes, yes, I know, i know.

    1. Yes! Zach Wahls is an amazing young man. My son gave me Wahls book "My Two Moms" for Mother's Day and it is a great read.

    2. yes! I just got it out from the library - amazing.

  25. You've given me something else to do with my daughters when we're all together. We LOVE stuff like this!

  26. Oh, thank you! I needed that post tonight!

  27. I think a trip to the Valley Fair Mall is in order.

  28. I am so glad that you reposted this! Since starting to follow your blog, I have tried to go back and read older post, but missed this one! The humor is right up my ally!! I love the glue stick aka tool kit. ( O ; That was my most favorite!!! Thanks Josh Weed, you are great!

  29. Just reserved "Growing Pains" from the library. Looking forward to a great Friday night read!

  30. This is the perfect description of Valley Fair Mall. Ever.

  31. Okay, I'll be honest.... I too found your blog from the story posted on But, I haven't actually read the blog post that they refer to yet because, well, I just can't stop reading your other posts and I haven't gotten to that one yet. :)

    I very much enjoyed my visit to your blog and I wish you and your family all the best.