Group advocating gay conversion therapy holds conference in San Diego

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

A national conference is taking place today and Saturday in San Diego, promoting the widely discredited idea that gay and lesbian people can be converted through prayer, soul searching and counselling.

The event, “Hope 2017,” has been organised by the Restored Hope Network which is based in Oregon.

Hope 2017 event psoter
The Restored Hope Networks event poster for ‘HOPE 2017’ (Facebook/Restored Hope)

“Restored Hope is an interdenominational membership governed network dedicated to restoring hope to those broken by sexual and relational sin, especially those impacted by homosexuality,” according to the groups mission statement.

According to the event page, there will be powerful biblical teaching, dozens of workshops and worship.

There will also be “inspiring life stories of those who have dealt with same-sex attraction or transgenderism and been transformed by the living God.”

The event is going to be held at City View Church in Mission Valley.

This group shares a lot of similarities with other anti-LGBT groups that advocate the use of conversion therapy.

Such techniques can include wardrobe advice, visualisation exercises and even shock therapy, they believe this can help shape a person’s sexuality.

In an interview with local San Diego press, Rev. Dan Koeshall, Pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church of San Diego said that when he was growing up he was subjected to conversion therapy.

The reverend was even signed up for a “pray the gay away” camp in his youth.

“Instead of taking it away, it taught me to stuff and submerge my feelings, which was very unhealthy,” Said Koeshall.

The state of California outlawed conversion therapy in 2014 but the Restored Hope Network believe in its effectiveness.

The religious group’s website even refers to homosexuals as “broken humanity.”

Many gay rights activists, mental health practitioners and even some religious leaders have been protesting outside the hotel the organisers are staying at.

Many activists are planning to hold protests at the church today and Saturday.