‘Coming Out’ Ministries Presented at My Child’s School

Recently, the Adventist school my son attends hosted Michael Carducci of ‘Coming Out’ Ministries to conduct three days of presentations on sexual purity. Since there are significant debates and disagreements even within the Adventist community about this ministry, I wanted to share my personal experience.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/12180
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How is it not professional malpractice for a principal to bring in a hairdresser, no matter how sincere and well intentioned, to teach students about human sexuality? This kind of presentation is very sensitive and should only be given by well-trained psychologists and or physicians.

It seems to me that Adventists have a sad history of putting people on pedestals who will say what the church wants to hear. It should not matter whether you think homosexuality is a sin (the NAD says that sexual orientation is NOT a sin in and of itself).

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I would pull my child out of this school, period. Beyond the specific stance on LGBT issues that they have, the fact that the administration would treat the parents of their students like this, hire totally unqualified individuals and be on board with their ridiculous Adventist fundamentalism regarding end time conspiracies and the typical talking points associated with such and with their manipulation of the Bible, warrants getting out! It’s sick stuff!

Frank

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i think the descriptions of the presentation of COM in this article are intriguing…i especially like the idea of an AMA session - it sounds spontaneous, relevant and fresh…i think even non-gay people would have questions that an actual gay person can answer authentically…good for this school for inviting COM, and not getting bogged down in controversy over it, which is what i think Kendra was trying to stir up…i think they perceived correctly that her invitation for dialogue wasn’t for the purpose of dialogue…

i’ll certainly recommend COM to my Church and Church school if i have the opportunity, at least from what i’m seeing and reading in this article, and from what i’ve seen and read elsewhere…

Kendra was not trying to stir anything up. She’s writing as a concerned parent.

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I have written previously on Spectrum about the dangers of Coming Out Ministries (COM). (Now there is also “Know His Love” (KHL) run by one of COM’s founders, Wayne Blakely). There is significant overlap between Kendra’s evaluation and my article. What is new and deeply disturbing to me is that Michael Carducci meets with minors alone and unsupervised. He shouldn’t be allowed to meet with them until he has a therapist’s license or other professional certification. Children cannot be exposed to someone who hasn’t subscribed to a specific ethical approach, hasn’t been background checked and doesn’t operate with professional boundaries. This could be a fireable offense for a principal to operate so recklessly in choosing to let kids be alone with a non-professional.

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I don’t know what it is about Adventist schools, but they seem obsessed with this sort of thing.

I remember when I was at Monterey Bay Academy in the 1980s, we had a “Week of Prayer” speaker who gave a series of lectures on human sexuality. Only really, the speaker was just telling us to not have sex, over and over, day after day, and about just how terrible it would be if we did.

I’m not sure the speaker even touched on homosexual sex, I supposed because she couldn’t imagine that with two dorms, each full of 250 14 - 18 year olds all of the same sex, that any of the fine Christian SDA children in them would be having same-sex sex. No, that would be inconceivable! (She also couldn’t imagine that the gay teachers at the school were having sex with underage students, but that’s a different story.)

What she did council us on, which we thought to be absolutely hilarious, is that if we had in the past had sex we could fix that. If we prayed about it, if we really, really asked for forgiveness, we could become re-virginated! That’s right, we’d be virgins again! This seemed very important to her.

In the process of defending this magical process, between reading bible verses and EGW quotes, she somehow got around to making a few statements that sounded a whole lot like that previous sex could somehow be willed away, in our minds, as if it never happened. And that was going to be a a good thing!

From these amazing facts, we determined that was she was essentially saying is that that sex is only sex if you want it to be. Which we found even more hilarious!

To this day, about 40 years later, whenever a few of us get together to hang out, at some random point someone almost always blurts out, “Because, well, you know, sex is only sex if you want it to be!” We say it with a tone as if it answers some deep philosophical question - that no one asked. And then we all laugh uncontrollably.

None of us will ever forget her week of prayer. But what we remember is perhaps not what she wanted us to remember. She was unprofessional, apparently uneducated on the topic she presented, and also completely ineffective - her message was completely out of touch with her audience: Those of us who were having sex kept right on doing it and the ones who weren’t continued to want to. 'Cause, you know, teenagers. Simple as that.

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Not only is COM a danger but I don’t see this school as being a safe place for children seeking gender affirmation counseling or hormonal therapy to confidentially having their needs met. How many have been forced to go through years of dysphoria because schools like this don’t confidentially secure the counseling they need to achieve success in gender reassignment?

It wasn’t that long ago that “boys” were discouraged from cooking and fashion classes and “girls” were discouraged from auto shop and carpentry classes. But today it’s okay in many schools to say to a child that you may not only be breaking the gender normative molds but you may want to explore that a bit further in terms of really having an open attitude toward traditional gender classification. Just something to consider. But with COM and other “ministries” being introduced that kind of guided exploration is suppressed as well. We must do better.

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How nice of you to attribute bad motives to someone you don’t know.

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OK, there is one way of one living his fate. But this just does not at all meet the experieces of those a lifelong anxoiusly hiding their “sinful desires” by all means of camouflages - with happy - or unahppy ( !) wives , having been threatend by sermons and other possibilities of humilation - -

Our local Union had invited ( ! ) the “Coming Out Ministries” and sent it through the country into the local churches - so "believers should know about - - "

That is scandalous misinformation, one - sided !

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@timteichmann, hehehe ! - just an off topics remark : Here our teenie - times long ago were just a little different from yours . Well. the speakers at SDA youth retreats !!! - And now, we oldies - the “remnant” of us - sit together - - and , well, it was quite different - or attitudes and some of our doing - to that what they had assumed - - and guided and adviced - - (Please dont laugh ! - especiall the girls - now distinguished elderly ladies )

Why do so many Adventist administrators assume that anyone from the SDA community can come into an elementary school and it will be safe for the students? We are so naive.

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i trust the school and its judgement…they appear reasonable in this description…for instance, the principal appears to have been open to the possibility of cancelling the COM presentation if Kendra could demonstrate potential harm to the students, which she evidently wasn’t able to do…

on the other hand, i don’t think Kendra comes across as being particularly open-minded…she seems quite set in her view that LGBT needs to be accepted, and that COM is dangerous…i definitely don’t think downloading links to Alicia Johnston’s analysis of a presentation by Carducci, as well as a presentation by Emmy Kegler on LGBTQ+ individuals, faith, and suicide, not to mention leaving copies of Heavy Burdens: Seven Ways LGBTQ Christians Experience Harm in the Church, by Bridget Eileen Rivera; Unclobber: Rethinking Our Misuse of the Bible on Homosexuality, by Colby Martin; and The Bible & LGBT Adventists: A Conversation about Same-Sex Marriage, Gender, and Identity, by Alicia Johnston is an example of a neutral, or even a normal, parent response, and that, after pulling her child from the presentation…

it’s clear that Kendra has a strong commitment to her POV, and that further conversation with her is pointless…

Let’s just start with the fact that the school administration contracted a hairdresser who has no training in anything he was presenting. Would you go to a doctor or lawyer without the requisite training just because they hung a shingle? How about someone teaching violin, who has no training themselves? Is there greater chance of damage being done by totally unqualified individuals? The answers are obvious. Why is it not here?

And you find this acceptable, but Kendra is the one with the problem?

Frank

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in the exchange outlined in this article, i do think Kendra is the one with the problem…she isn’t allowing others the space to voice views that differ from hers…i doubt whether COM will take her up on her offer of dialogue…

as for COM itself - and i can’t say i’m an authority on the group - my understanding is that Michael, the hairdresser, is offering his personal testimony, which i think he knows as well as anyone…he’s offering insight gained from personal experience, and not something he read in a book by Alicia Johnston…Kendra is out of place to question his experience…to my knowledge, she is a straight woman living in a straight marriage with a straight background and experience…

i also note that COM appears to be endorsed by known entities in our Church…an adventist pastor is the Chairman of its Board, another adventist pastor is its Treasurer and one of its speakers…and a previous Conference President is also a Board member…Michael himself is hardly just any hairdresser off the street…he has likely spoken at hundreds of Church venues over several yrs…we can’t know how many gay persons have been meaningfully helped by his message…

i remind you that Kendra was not able to demonstrate potential harm to students listening to Michael, at least that the principal of the school in this article found convincing…

I can’t say that I’ve ever seen a better example of the “pot calling the kettle black”.

As to Kendra, her concerns were legitimate and very well stated, especially the total lack of training and expertise of the presenters, and allowing students to meet one on one with Carducci.

He defined grace as “unmerited favor AND power to overcome sin”. Wrong!

Then there is this…“gave a small plug for adopting a vegan diet for spiritual clarity”. :woman_facepalming:

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If only this were the first time……

:yawning_face:

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‘… Kendra was not able to demonstrate potential harm to students listening to Michael, at least that the principal of the school in this article found convincing…’, again you demonstrate that factual data has little meaning to you. Kendra presented sources of data and it was rejected by the principle and you. That is. something you have shown over and over on many subjects. What else could she have done in the way of support for her opinion that would have been ‘accepted’ by them or you? As a concerned parent she has every right to question what was presented by nonprofessionals, do you deny her that also? Do you go to some salesperson who sells supplies to the cardiologist for a heart Cath or a surgeon for a heart bypass? Your argument that is that because these individuals have been ‘selling’ their opinions they makes them qualified to give advice and guidance to children? I would suggest your ideas are…well…they are no where near reality!!

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There’s a difference between someone offering their testimony and someone counseling others. The problem is elevating Carducci to someone who can speak authoritatively on the subject of LGBTQ+ orientation, identity and relationships. He is not an authority. He has a personal testimony about what he understands God did in his life. That’s something to be shared in a small group or in a church sharing setting. It can even be used in a professional presentation led by others who have authority in the subject matter. But to speak as a seminar professional and to meet one-on-one in a counseling-type setting with children is a breach of ethics.

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We talked with our son about this possibility. He is halfway through his senior year, so it would be highly disruptive. If he were any younger I would be highly inclined to pull him out. I am distressed that my tuition money helped support this misinformation.

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