Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Schofield's Ex-Gay Closet

I expect most of you bloggers have site meters from which you get some information about who is visiting your site. I have one, too. It has been interesting to me to see that – especially in the past ten days or so (since Bishop Schofield took many of his "true believers" out of the Episcopal Church) – many hits to my site are coming from people doing a Web search on terms like "Schofield gay" or "Bishop Schofield celibate homosexual." They land on my site because of this essay I posted back on November 22, 2006.

Back when I posted that essay, I took a lot of flak. My site statistics went through the roof. Right-wing folks charged me with slander or libel for daring to state that Bishop John-David Schofield was a "celibate homosexual." The folks who stole the Episcopal Majority domain name called me "TEM's Loose Cannon." The very sick woman in Canada called it a lie, and said I should be "charged with libel and defamation." The gang at StandFirm had the funniest article: "Lisa Fox Hits Bottom, Digs." Fortunately, even Brad Drell and Greg Griffith (of StandFirm) confirmed my story that Bishop Schofield is a recovering (or celibate) homosexual. [Drell's confirmation is only available on the WayBack Machine because of his blog changeover; his link no longer works.]

Some of them kept hammering away. They challenged me to come up with "proof positive." Apparently, it wasn't enough that various people (ranging from Brad Drell to Elizabeth Kaeton) had heard Bishop John-David Schofield brag he was a "celibate homosexual" who had "exorcised" homosexuality from other men. They wanted a smoking gun.

At the time I wrote my essay, I had plenty of verbal and anecdotal evidence. Today I found one part of that "smoking gun" in print.

Digging through some archives, today I found another story that is helpful. It appeared in the 1994/95 issue of the Voice of Integrity newsletter. Before you open this link, remember that back in the early 1990s, the dissidents had created an organization they called the "Episcopal Synod of America" or ESA. [Now they call themselves by names like the "Anglican Communion Network" or the "American Anglican Council" or "CANA," but it's really the same people harping on the same tired old themes, especially the "TEC is apostate" theme.] Back then, the ESA issued a daily newsletter during General Convention, to keep the faithful informed.

Here is the article I found in the Fall 1994/Winter 1995 issue of The Voice of Integrity, gleaned from the ESA convention journal. Click on the image to see the full-size page.

Here's a cropped-down transcript of the article. Click on it to see it larger, or trust this transcript I've prepared:

Bishop Outs Himself in Interview

One member of the Committee on Prayer Book and Liturgy who strongly opposed the study of blessings was Bishop John-David Schofield of San Joaquin. In an amazingly frank interview with Foundations Daily, the ESA journal at convention, Schofield said his opposition was based on his own experience at New Creation Ministries, an "ex-gay" program in Fresno. Although Bishop Schofield had previously told members of his clergy that he was a "cured homosexual," this is believed to be the first time he did so in print, albeit not as explicitly. He said he could not support "liturgies which purport to celebrate a lifestyle which I have seen as destructive." The article continues: "Bishop Schofield sees 'waverers' falling into the homosexual lifestyle because of the 'mixed message' which the Church is giving them." The article concludes with a Schofield statement that could have been made by Integrity: "The Church will be held responsible ultimately for the lives that have been destroyed, emotionally and spiritually as well as physically."
I return where I started. I am willing to recognize that Bishop Schofield is not a "practicing homosexual." But I remain perplexed by the self-loathing that has led him to take such a virulent stand against gay men and lesbians in our church.

I recognize that I was born and raised to be a right proper racist. I recognize that I have not yet shed all the vestiges of my early-and-deeply-ingrained racism. The best I can do is to recognize it when I see it.

I wonder what demons Bishop Schofield is still fighting, as he deals with his "recovering homosexual" identity. To be sure, he hates homosexuals even more than he hates the women whom he will not ordain to the priesthood.

Now, at least, we have some facts about his "ex-gay" identity.

= = = = = = = = =

Addendum 12/19/07: BabyBlue [a.k.a. Mary Ailes] commented here that I had been sloppy in my references to the earlier schismatic movements in (and out of) the Episcopal Church. She was entirely correct. I have spent some a few days doing my research, and have now posted Alphabet Soup, in which I tried a bit harder to pull the threads together.


Blogger Lapinbizarre said...

Excellent reporting,Lisa. We'll see if the scribes and pharisees get their knickers in as much of a twist about this one as they did about Jeffrey John. Somehow I doubt it. Though I don't expect to see Schofield make it to PB of the Southern Cone, either. Thanks again.

12/13/2007 6:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


We need so much to keep this man in our prayers. He is really hurting.

Also, I would like to recommend to your readers, "The Velvet Rage," written by a gay man who is also a clinical psychologist.

In his practice he works with gay man who are stuggling with internalized homophobia. He explains how this unconcious self-hatred can lead to destructive kinds of attitudes and lifestyles such as drug use, depression, and sexual promiscuity.

And, also outlines ways that authentic healing can take place.

This book provided a real insight for me, and was a great help in understanding where folks who are involved in these ex-gay ministries may be coming from in their thinking and experience.

We can't be too loving, and reach out enough IMO.


12/13/2007 7:10 AM  
Blogger June Butler said...

This is good digging and good reporting, Lisa. I can't think why his supporters are so desperate to keep this hidden, because, in the end, with a little twisting, they can use it to their own advantage.

12/13/2007 7:56 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Well, on the one hand, it's good to have been vindicated after (yet another) excoriation by "The Bully Trolls" for this. Thanks, Lisa. Well done.

On the other, it's very, very sad, isn't it?

Schofield's more than ample girth is no coincidence. Many people who feel under attack - especially in terms of sexuality and/or gender issues - have this sort of 'physical defense/protection'.

The irony is that he is hurting himself every bit as much as if he were using drugs (food has obviously become his drug of choice) or engaging in sexual promiscuity.

He's already had serious bypass surgery for more than a few heart attacks.

Grace is right. We need to pray without ceasing for this man and the internal conflicts he is experiencing and imposing on his diocese.

12/13/2007 8:37 AM  
Blogger Davis said...

"We need to pray without ceasing for this man and the internal conflicts he is experiencing and imposing on his diocese."

And the whole of the Church. This deep self-loathing is so profoundly destructive one has only to look at the poor man's condition to see he is not cured of self hatred.

This is the very heart of the issue of intolerance.

12/13/2007 8:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nothing smoking in the article. Schofield sees broken men & women struggling with sexual addictions enter & leave a ministry located on the same campus as his office. He has assisted in pastoral counseling at the ministry with others. Are you saying everyone who cares for & works with in recovery of sexual addiction must therefore be a sex addict [or recovering her/him self]? That logic would lead to all shrinks being crazy because they care for & work with those with mental issues. - smoking gun. Just a report of a guy who cares for & works in a recovery program for others. Not really a supporter, nor trying to hide anything.. just reading the exact words of your article.

12/13/2007 8:44 AM  
Blogger Paul (A.) said...

I think it notable that he comes to his opposition to homosexuality (including his own) -- at least to the vehement denial of the possibility of gay marriage -- not from a position of principle, nor from any scriptural exegesis, but based upon his own personal experience ("a lifestyle which I have seen as destructive").

Certainly he still has demons of his own to wrestle with.

12/13/2007 8:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder what boy broke his heart all those years ago.

Excellent reporting!

12/13/2007 9:17 AM  
Blogger KJ said...

Nice job, Lisa.

Anonymous said: "Are you saying everyone who cares for & works with in recovery of sexual addiction must therefore be a sex addict [or recovering her/him self]?"

The reason we are seeing the reaction to this man that we are is not for the reason you reference. He has taken his apparently closeted unhealthy past experiences and painted all glbt believers (and non-believers) with the same brush, while denying the validity of their open, authentic lives of integrity.

He has pronounced the judgment he is receiving upon himself, and as others have indicated, is to be pitied.

12/13/2007 9:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know men who've come out at Schofield's age, and have gone on to have fulfilling gay lives. Lets hope that he sees the light, remembering that the Gospels repeatedly condemn hypocrisy not homosexuality.

"But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because
you shut up the Kingdom of Heaven against men; for you don't enter in
yourselves, neither do you allow those who are entering in to

12/13/2007 11:03 AM  
Blogger PseudoPiskie said...

Anonymous - you are talking about sexual addiction. What does that have to do with homosexuality or ex-gay therapy?

12/13/2007 12:43 PM  
Blogger JimB said...

Well, that settles that! Nicely done reportage Lisa.

Rev. Elizabeth is right, there is much pain and need of prayer here. And not only for the former +S J. Consider Anon's pathetic attack post. Here a person for whom the truth does not make one free, it merely requires another level of denial and dishonesty.

Knowing that Mr. Schofield reached his place in the schism from the starting point of his self-loathing repression makes him seem very sad. It also makes me wonder about some other bishops. Living in Illinois, I can easily think of one.


12/13/2007 1:40 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Lisa, The Episcopal Synod of America is the earlier name of Forward in Faith. Forward in Faith is also the name used in the UK. I think they decided to use the same name as those in England.

Forward in Faith is a group that supports the traditional view of the priesthood. They are Anglo Catholic (as opposed to evangelical) Episcopalians. Bishop Keith Ackerman is the head of Forward in Faith now.

People like Bob Duncan or Martyn Minns or John Guernsey are not members of Forward in Faith since they support the ordination of women.

It would make sense that Bishop Schofield is a member of Forward in Faith (formally called the Synod - in fact, many still call it that sometimes) since he is a bishop in one of their dioceses.

The Synod may have actually had different leadership than the ones in FiF now. But that's more of an observation.

Hope this is helpful.


12/13/2007 1:55 PM  
Blogger Brother Billy said...

Jim wrote: "Consider Anon's pathetic attack post. Here a person for whom the truth does not make one free, it merely requires another level of denial and dishonesty."

Although I accept the conclusions of Lisa's post, and the one from last year, plus the one last year by Mediatio, I also must agree with anonymous as to the wording of the article in The Voice of Integrity. There's no smoking gun there. It's general enough to be interpreted as indicating only that he had pastoral contact with New Creation Ministries.

To be precise about the language in the article is not to be in denial. And it's certainly not dishonest. I take his statement of neutrality at face value.

12/13/2007 8:44 PM  
Blogger MarkBrunson said...

Well, here's a problem. You see, like the alleged bishop, I too have seen a great deal that's destructive in the "gay lifestyle," including my own, very boring gay lifestyle, which has led me to stop seeking a sexual relationship. However, unlike the alleged bishop, I put that all down to me. I've also seen loving, successful and entirely healthy gay relationships, you see, and I can only conclude that Schofield is so wrapped up in himself that he is unable to consider anything outside his own experience.

This has been a rather constant note in my experience of homophobes/archconservatives of all denominations and parties, however, that their personal experiences are, somehow must be the fault of everyone else. It's a rather juvenile state of mind.

12/14/2007 12:46 AM  
Blogger W said...

they're still going to try to get you, though: you're citing Voice of Integrity, which in turn cites Foundations Daily. I'm just saying, for some people, it's never enough :)

12/14/2007 2:54 AM  
Blogger Lindy said...

Good reporting Lisa. First rate. And I am glad to see your story vindicated again.

We have to remember that there is a difference between celibacy, which is a good and healthy calling. and just not getting any. All I'm saying is that the bishop doesn't look too healthy to me.

Thanks for your work on this.


12/14/2007 8:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good digging, Lisa. . .and Mark, you just scored one of my favourite points. About 10 years ago I did an article about the ex-gay ministries here in Toronto for an alternative weekly. The interviews with the “ex’s” were challenging to complete, to say the least. (At the end of them, I usually wanted to stick nails in my head.) That was because the logic went something like this (even when it was acknowledged that the former relationship was good): “Back then I was unhappy, selfish, and immature. I was immersed in my own addictive behaviour and I didn’t truly love myself or anyone else. Now I am cured of being gay and I’ve never been happier or healthier.” Ok, sooooo. . .were you unhappy, selfish, and immature because you were *gay* or were you unhappy, selfish, and immature because at that point in your life, you had a tendency to be unhappy, selfish, and immature? The fact that these individuals feel happier and healthier as ex-gay is more attributable to finding a community than anything else. LGBT folks who step out and find real networks and real friends within the LGBT community find health and well-being too, but they also get to lead open, honest lives. When you point that out to the ex-gay crowd, they usually back away from their premise that gay-is-sick and fall back on the there-should-be-a-choice mantra. Really interesting crowd. I don’t blame the followers but the people at the top are a bunch of charlatans and liars.

12/15/2007 1:30 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

BabyBlue [a.k.a. Mary Ailes] commented upstream that I had been sloppy in my references to the earlier schismatic movements in (and out of) the Episcopal Church. She was entirely correct. I have spent some time doing my research, and have now posted Alphabet Soup, in which I tried a bit harder to pull the threads together.

12/19/2007 11:32 PM  
Blogger Timothy Kincaid said...

Three and a half years later... thank you for documenting this. It allowed me to tie in a timely event (Bishop Talton's approval of same-sex blessings) with another timely event (the exposure of George Rekers' fraud in the "Kraig" case, the basis for justifying preventative therapy for homosexuality). It is amazing the depths to which a man will stoop and the victims he will willingly hurt all in effort to be other than as God created him to be.

6/09/2011 7:20 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Timothy, I am glad that this post -- and The Episcopal Majority site -- continues to be helpful to people. That's one of the reasons we decided to keep this blog "live" -- in hopes that the essays and analysis could be helpful to people.

6/13/2011 7:48 PM  

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