Adventist School Creates Worry over Sexuality-Focused Week of Prayer

Sexuality and identity will be the focus of the Lester Coon Adventist School’s week of prayer on October 3–7, 2022, when the kindergarten through 8th-grade students will listen to self-described ex-gay speaker Michael Carducci talk about LGBT issues. The school is located in Apison, Tennessee, an unincorporated rural community of fewer than five thousand people about a ten-minute drive from Southern Adventist University. It is part of the Georgia-Cumberland Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and, according to Private School Review, has approximately 44 students enrolled for the 2022–23 school year. 


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/12011

Words fail me. What is the principal thinking? Supported by the Georgia Cumberland Conference?Please, Lord, come soon!

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With content like this, never has prayer been more needed.

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When I was a much more childish child faced with unhappy chores or homework to do, I first did everything else not required of me and the inevitable delay resulted in even more unhappiness.

The SDA ‘Faultfinder’ club is very obviously very unhappy. It most often distracts itself arguing over issues it has no business dealing with, while it has truly forgotten the simple chore it has been assigned.

If ‘sin’ and/or ‘righteousness’ were issues capable of being handled by ‘fallen’ ‘Faultfinder’ humans, then why did God bother sending an ‘Immanuel’-God to be ‘with us’ to handle them ?

. . . and, if we can’t handle such unassigned issues, why do SDAs of all ‘liberal’-v.s.- ‘conservative’ varieties continue to obsess over them ?

Kris Kristofferson (John Prine) once sang it best :

" 'cause everybody’s gotta have somebody to look down on. . .
(. . . if you can’t find nobody else then help yourself to me.)"

Do SDAs ‘look up to’ Anybody of consequence, yet ?

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I can’t print here the actual words I would use on how I feel about this school, its associated church or conference. If I did, I’m sure it would be removed. Conversion therapy is a total fabrication. It’s worse than junk science. My wife, who has a PhD in this field, will tell you the same. It is extremely harmful and to subject this young an audience to this is out and out child abuse. But in Tennessee, I’m sure nothing would be done about it. God help this principal and pastor if someone later commits suicide because of this experience.

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Thanks, Spectrum for bringing this story to our attention. When it comes to this scenario, I’m pretty speechless in trying to find the right words to describe my disgust. There is obviously an agenda from whomever the person was who selected Carducci to be the speaker. This was not an ‘oops’ we made a bad choice.
Beyond the facts surrounding Carducci and Coming Out Ministries (as well as other similar entities) and what their agenda is (and it isn’t all about letting God into your life to lead you on the right path), I am very worried about the LGBTQIA+ children hearing the message prepared for them. Many of them may have no idea what their sexual orientation is at the moment. But if at some point they feel like they may not be 100% heterosexual, they will remember this week of prayer and will learn to hate themselves for the feelings they are having that they can’t do anything about. They will loathe themselves just like Carducci did as a child. He may not intend this as the outcome of his presentations, but he will be perpetuating what he himself hated about his childhood. Grownups squabble over things like this, but the children will experience the fallout and damage.

Alicia Johnston started a new YouTube series on Conversion Therapy and the first episode was released today. It is definitely worth the listen and share it with others who have questions about what conversion therapy really is all about. (574) Can You Spot Covert Conversion Therapy??? “Coming Out Ministries” Examined - YouTube

When our children are involved, lets always remember to speak out to protect them. Molestation is not always physical. It is also a mental violation.

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I also would be concerned if my local school attempted to address issues of gender identity by inviting this “ministry.” Since the local church is hosting the organization for different meetings, I wonder which institution booked them first.

Nonetheless, we do face an increasingly common issue within our young students. Thanks to the messaging of social media and streaming content, they are dealing with questions of gender identity at younger and younger ages, and in most cases they are doing this in discussions with their peers, based almost exclusively on content created by secular media. I personally know of several young people who have “come out” only to then realize they are actually hetero/cis-gender. When they come out, the terms they use to describe themselves are very complex (to the point that I had to look them up), indicating they have consumed informative content.

Science tells us a lot of things, including percentages of society that will be LGBTQIA+. Nationally, these percentages have seen a significant increase which may be due to more people feeling safe about being honest with themselves. Within my local community, among middle school SDA students, I’m aware of an even greater percentage than the national trend; therefore, it is not surprising when several of these youth course correct as they realize they are indeed hetero/cis-gender.

I don’t have any personal knowledge why this particular school feels a need to pursue this topic, but I do know it is weighing on the thoughts of the pastors, Sabbath School teachers, church school teachers, and parents in my community. Our children are being educated without our input. They are learning from the internet and their peers, often jumping to incorrect conclusions.

This is a very challenging topic. From my perspective, we want to build a safe and supportive community for our youth who are genuinely LGBTQIA+. There is the obvious dilemma that not all parents will agree with that statement. Simultaneously, we want to build a safe and supportive community for our youth who are genuinely hetero/cis-gender. In simple terms, we wish our children would hold off on labeling their identity until puberty and much of adolescence has made these things very clear.

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I knew Elder Coon. Does anyone who knew him think he would be pleased that this would be presented in the ministry he worked so hard to build?

Figuring out one’s sexuality while in the church is difficult enough. There’s plenty of guilt bestowed as it is. This message is very likely to make these children’s lives even more difficult, whether they are straight, gay, or somewhere in between.

I imagine those in the intended audience have far deeper questions still unanswered than the opinions which will be offered here. I suggest tending to those needs instead.

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i just glanced through Coming Out Ministries’ website…i didn’t see anything on conversion therapy, or anything like that…it seems like a bible-based, christ-centred approach to the issue of homosexuality, run by people with actual experience…if i were a pastor or an adventist school principal, i think i’d be interested in hearing from them…

but the decision to streamline the school presentation, given the church presentation, probably makes sense…this is probably the kind of of subject that entire families should take in together…

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You need to get out more. The damage these groups do in the name of “Christianity” is vile. I have known many people in the LGBTQ community over the years, the stories of the damage this kind of presentation has caused is numbered by suicide deaths. I’ve also known way too many of them that have ended their own lives because they couldn’t tolerate the hatred from the likes of you, as well as their own self-loathing.

God could change a gender dysphoric individual if He wanted to. But in virtually all cases He chooses not to. Why, I don’t know. But the cemetery’s are full of people who’s self loathing was brought on by this kind of activity. And Jeremy, to some extent, your thinking is why that is happening. I don’t have any idea why God didn’t step in and make everyone the same, but He didn’t and He doesn’t miraculously change them through this or any other process. It’s a lie.

Just understand this one absolute fact. One in every 1,500 births, an infant is born with both male and female genitals, many others are born with internal organs of the opposite sex that is opposite of their outward presentation as well. This should prove to any holier-than-thou-Christian that these people, all of them, whether they were born with physical attributes that were contrary to their presentation or not, are BORN this way. And this form of sexual exorcism that these cults perform on these suffering people is satanic and barbaric. For our church to be directly instrumental in its propagation sickens me.

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“Anne Fausto-Sterling s suggestion that the prevalence of intersex might be as high as 1.7% has attracted wide attention in both the scholarly press and the popular media. Many reviewers are not aware that this figure includes conditions which most clinicians do not recognize as intersex, such as Klinefelter syndrome, Turner syndrome, and late-onset adrenal hyperplasia. If the term intersex is to retain any meaning, the term should be restricted to those conditions in which chromosomal sex is inconsistent with phenotypic sex, or in which the phenotype is not classifiable as either male or female. Applying this more precise definition, the true prevalence of intersex is seen to be about 0.018%, almost 100 times lower than Fausto-Sterling s estimate of 1.7%.” How common is intersex? a response to Anne Fausto-Sterling - PubMed
Full article: How common is intersex? | Leonard Sax MD PhD | Physician, Psychologist, and Author

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I find it incredible that this happening at an Adventist elementary school. Whose crazy idea was this? Did the school board approve it? Was their parental imput before the decision was made to invite Carducci of COM. If anything should be called sexual indoctrination it is this. These youngsters will be cannon fodder by this guy. Where is the Florida governor when he’s really needed? Where are those who cry, “child abuse”, “they are grooming our kids”, now? There silence is deafening. I can only imagine the outcry if Kinship was even suggested to give a afternoon question and answer session at a high school age Adventist academy…

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Where have you been Jeremy? Coming Out Ministries has been discussed at length here on Spectrum on numerous occassions. You need to get up to speed here.

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Oh, in Austria they were invited for presenting their view , so the membes and their chiden would “really know”. They also appeared a short time ago on a youth Congress in Finland - -

Other countries / Unions gave the order not to let them on SDA pulpits or rostrums


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you sound like a leftie damaged by leftist propaganda…how many gay people people have committed suicide after listening to a Coming Out Ministries presentation…how many Coming Out Ministries speakers have taken their own lives after giving a Coming Out Ministries presentation…the Coming Out Ministries speakers are all gay themselves…i think they know a thing or two about homosexuality…why wouldn’t it be good for young people questioning their sexual identity to hear them…

the way you’re beating up on Coming Out Ministries is exactly why so many people, especially young people, will be attending their presentations…you’re giving them free publicity…

Tom, what do you even know about Coming Out Ministries…have you looked at their website…they’re a group of gay people trying to help other gay people…i think they’re trying to help even straight people connect meaningfully with Christ…what can be so bad about that…

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A lot more than you do obviously. I know too much about them. I have met and talked with one of its founders, Wayne Blakeley, on more than one occassion. In his mind he is no longer gay. He says holiness is the answer to homosexuality. He states it’s all a choice, that their is no such thing as having a gay orientation. He stubbornly refuses to validate anyone"s journey that doesn"t fit into the narrative they pontificate.

Listen, I have been on both sides of this issue. I put myself through hell trying to rid myself of my homosexuality, including conversion therapy, marrying a women, on the false belief I was cured.

It is an exercise in basically living in denial. It’s like denying the elephant in the room. It’s just a pesky mouse, they’d claim.

All these people in COM come from living a former life of sexual excess. That’s basically all they project of a “gay lifestyle”. It’s a totally twisted message they project. It sets up folks who buy into their message with false hope and cruel reality when all is said and done. I’ve been there done that.

I think the Adventist church has really done a bum rap on dealing with understanding gays. Coming Out Ministries is the only story they give audience too. I think the church owes to everyone to hear other stories that don’t fit into COM little box. It’s long past time for the church to invite Kinship representatives and COM to have a well publicized panel discussion together on the same stage, and broadcast it over 3ABN. I would like to see that. I would even like to be part of that panel. What are the powers-that-be afraid of anyway???

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The point is well taken…you are 100% rightfully concerned. Teaching these young children at this age that anything other than pure straight heterosexuality is a sin will stigmatize anyone of these children who are either beginning to experience some discomfort with their gender or in the future when they realize that this insane week of prayer is actually talking about them being sinful. This will cause internal self-loathing and can lead them to do destructive things to themselves.

This school and this conference could well have blood on their hands someday for this action.

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What is so bad about COM is they offer only one POV about gay people. Their experience is not the norm. I was married to a gay man for over thirty years who is the kindest, most loving person I know. There’s nothing evil about him. We stayed married for three decades because we believed in the lies propagated by groups like Coming Out Ministries.

Another group he attended seminars with was called “People Can Change,” but therein is the lie—people can hide their attractions, they can white knuckle it, they can change their behaviors, and they can act straight, but they can’t change their orientation any more than they can change their eye color.

Just substitute eye color for sexual orientation. If this school was holding a week of prayer for kids to learn how to pray for a different eye color, we’d think it was ridiculous. That’s the problem with all pray away the gay ministries.

And in our grown up discussions, we need to differentiate between practicing promiscuity and those who are faithful to their partners—just as we do with straight people.

We also need to acknowledge that being LGBTQ is much more than one’s sex life—we all have an orientation (yes, straight people do too) and that orientation is a huge part of who we are.

I’ve had a front row seat to one man’s pain due to denying who he is as he tried to be good enough—all due to the shame heaped on him by the church’s teachings which treat LGBTQ people as the lowest caste in Adventism.

And yes, many do feel like suicide—that loss of self eventually catches up to people. Fortunately my ex is still alive and I thank a Methodist pastor who treated him like Jesus does when our Adventist pastors failed.

Be very careful what you say when you are not one of the marginalized. We straight people can afford the luxury of COM’s fantasy about gays getting straight—but millions testify differently. It’s fine if in Carducci’s journey he had changed his perceptions and behaviors—I can respect that, but to teach it as the only path and most spiritual walk for everyone is very abusive and diabolical.

Let each be persuaded in their own mind.

Do not judge, or you will be judged.

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They would never call it conversation therapy because that would send a red flag and no one would have them. Satan is more subtle than that—he gets people in their self-righteous mindsets to believe this is a ministry.

You are discounting the many people who also have experience and came to other conclusions. Some of which narrowly escaped suicide from the despair of church teachings.

Please do not speak as though you know about something that you have not experienced.

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