In part 4 of his interview, Rich Wyler, life-coach and founder of the non-profit People Can Change and “Journey Into Manhood”, describes his motivations for establishing those organizations and explains his purpose and vision behind them.
Through his confession, excommunication, and restoration of church membership and temple blessings, Rich found some church leaders to be sources of rejection and shame, but others went beyond basic church service to become valued friends and responsive mentors. He discovered that his journey required more than the usual church offerings or religious conversion story, so after finding the help he needed, he decided to build spaces where others could find similar help and build on each other’s experience.
Rich recognizes warnings of ineffectiveness and potential harm from professional organizations regarding sexual orientation change efforts, but he isn’t deterred. He sees political motivation and personal bias in some of that opposition and prevention of research. Additionally, he says some individuals go into therapy expecting failure and hoping to gain, through that failure, internal permission to live how they want. Some may have tried and failed to change, but a significant question in light of his experience is, “Should I not have attempted [change] because there was a risk that I might not have been successful and I might have been depressed about that?”
He’s now happily married again, and dating his current wife did not cause the conflict he used to experience. He knew this was a path he wanted and has enjoyed his heterosexuality with her. Nevertheless, he doesn’t believe one has to change in order to become worthy or acceptable, nor does he claim every man can or should change. You already are worthy, he says. And he encourages each person to figure out what they want from life and what God is telling them for their circumstances.
by Jay Jacobsen
(The views expressed in this interview do not necessarily reflect those of the producers of Far Between but are reflective of a part of what it means to be homosexual and Mormon.)