Light in the Closet: Torah, Homosexuality, and the Power to Change.
ENDORSEMENTS & REVIEWS
Ø Arthur Goldberg has written a brilliant, compassionate and remarkably compelling book. I consider it among the best--maybe the best--ever written on the subject not just of homosexuality but of the capacity for human change of heart--T'Shuvah in the Jewish phrase. Yes, the book is specifically addressed to Jews who take, or might consider taking, Judaism seriously. But that fact is a gloss for the simple fact that anyone, of any religion or none, will find this book deeply moving and inspiring.
As a psychoanalyst and psychiatrist I can say with admiration that I have scarcely ever read a book that is more sophisticated and clear with respect to the essence of psychotherapeutic change, in particular with respect to healthy change away from same-sex attractions. Neither are Goldberg's insight and sensitivity coupled to an inability to deal with hard facts and confrontational truths. He is painfully, gratefully hard-hitting when addressing the monumental moral and therapeutic evasions of the mental-health professions as they address homosexuality under the threat of gay activist retaliation.
I recommend this book to anyone with a serious interest in homosexuality as a phenomenon, change of so-called sexual orientation in a therapeutic setting, and in refreshing their understanding of why traditional Judaism has remained a healing force in the affairs of mankind for over three millennia. -
-Jeffrey Satinover, PHD, MD, Former William James Lecturer in Psychology & Religion, Harvard University; Past President, C.G.Jung Institute of New York; Author, homosexuality & the Politics of Truth.
Ø A new book, Light in the Closet, Torah, Homosexuality, and the Power to Change, made its debut at the recent NARTH Conference (Denver, Colorado, 2008). Written in an engaging and accessible style for the layman while simultaneously detailing scientific data for the therapeutic community, the book examines many aspects of the homosexual issue from an approach that is variously secular, scientific, and biblical. There is a fascinating critique of gay-affirmative therapies with teenagers and a discussion of the harm they can cause.
Light in the Closet integrates three subjects: the current culture war, Old Testament understandings of sexuality as they can be applied within our culture today, and alternative therapeutic approaches to overcoming same-sex attractions. The book thus breaks new ground by harmonizing the psychological healing of unwanted homosexuality with the classical teachings of Judaism, emphasizing Torah (a/k/a Old Testament or Hebrew Bible) sources. Light in the Closet works through three millennia of discussion on sexuality issues, beginning with the Torah and concluding with contemporary rabbinical commentary.
Goldberg's book critiques the "gay gene" mystique and describes the strategy of gay activists to desensitize Western society to behaviors long forbidden by our society's moral tradition. This eye-opening account explains with specific examples how gay activists have carried the homosexual agenda into the public school systems, using officially -sanctioned "disinformation" about homosexuality within the schools, and further complicating the problem with worldview censorship that narrows students' perceptions about many controversial social issues.
Light in the Closet also explains the reasoning behind many sexual prohibitions in the Bible including, for example, rarely heard philosophical/scientific discussions on sexual-reassignment surgery, bestiality, and sexual abuse of children. Goldberg explains the wisdom behind the biblical sanctions prohibiting these practices, while providing detailed understandings of the latest scientific data about these subjects. The current contentious issue of same-sex marriage within Western society is also explored, as is the question of gay parenting.
The current efforts to legitimize both gay marriage and gay parenting within secular Western societies make this book particularly relevant. There are numerous testimonials in the book from those who have changed their sexuality, and also from those who say they were led astray--either through gay-affirmative psychologists who encouraged them to claim a gay identity against their wishes, or by the general cultural climate that discouraged them from adhering to their long-held moral principles. There is an interesting section on how homosexual politics actually obstruct freedom of choice, along with a number of testimonials by the people who say they were victims of the one-sided agenda of gay activism.
The author explains that he entitled the book Light in the Closet as a contrast to the current politically correct posture that says those with SSA have only one choice: to come out of the closet and embrace a gay lifestyle. By instead shining a light into the closet, and explaining the possibilities of change of sexual orientation, the author hopes to create a meaningful dialogue within Western society and to enhance the understanding of the change process. All too often, people refer to the psychological processes of transformation simply as "reparative therapy," but the author explains how in fact there are several different psychological approaches in use within today's mental-health community, each of which are designed to enable a gender-conflicted man or woman to develop an authentic, internalized sense of the physiological manhood or womanhood with which they were born.
Explanations are found throughout the book of alternative methodologies currently in use whether the approach is psychoanalytic, or involves processes such as psychodynamics, cognitive-behavioral therapies, trauma-focused modalities such as EMDR, faith-based healing options, or the several other approaches in use. The author points out that although each of the alternative approaches tackles sexual reorientation differently in terms of intervention and treatment, they all share two critical points in common: (1) an empirically tested conviction that same-sex attractions and behavior are psychologically determined symptoms of other underlying conditions, and (2) their efforts have a demonstrable track record of treatment success.
The author sets forth a fascinating analysis (pages 27-46) of a case study published by a Stanford University professor in which a client was harmed by treating him for "internalized homophobia" (disapproval of homosexuality). There is no evidence in the study that the client was effectively treated for his most serious underlying psychological pathologies. The case was reported in the American Journal of Psychotherapy and it fascinatingly illustrates the divide between those of the gay-affirmative school of therapy (i.e., most of the psychological profession) and those of the gender-affirming school (reorientation therapists).
In this case study, the gay-affirmative therapist proudly explains his treatment of a fourteen-year-old boy for "severe internalized homophobia" because the boy expressed a profound aversion for gay sex. Although he treated the boy for four years, there is no indication in the published case study that the therapist ever informed the boy or his parents of his right to choose alternative treatment for unwanted SSA. Rather than help the patient understand, validate, and actualize his resistance to gay feelings or fantasies, the therapist chose to utilize homosexual-affirming techniques in order to change the boy's values and sense of self so they could be integrated with a gay group identity. The predictable result was to alleviate the client's earlier aversion to homosexual behavior; yet the therapist reports that a panoply of issues remained, such as hopelessness, feelings of worthlessness, depression, shame, and suicidal ideation that not only continued after his "homophobia" was eliminated, but actually got worse. This particular case study is crucial in gaining a better perspective of the harm that can be caused by gay-affirmative therapy.
More than a dozen experts in the field, including mental health professionals, prominent rabbis, and Christian leaders have written positive reviews of Light in the Closet. For example, Dr. Jeffrey Satinover, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst and author of Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth, states: "Arthur Goldberg has written a brilliant, compassionate and remarkably compelling book. I consider it among the best-maybe the best-ever written on the subject not just of homosexuality but of the capacity for human change of heart..."
Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, NARTH's former president, says that "Arthur Goldberg's sweeping and scholarly survey investigates the social, political, spiritual, medical and personal aspects of same-sex attraction. Written with both compassion and hard-hitting truth, this book unifies the wisdom of the Torah with modern psychology, and in so doing, reveals timeless truths about the human condition." NARTH's immediate past-president, A. Dean Byrd, comments that the author did "a masterful job of bringing the truths of science in harmony with the truth of the Ages."
Several prominent religious leaders, both Jewish and Christian, likewise provide strong endorsements. Rabbinical scholar Rabbi Michel Twerski states that the manuscript reflects an "extraordinarily compelling and literate analysis of SSA and its treatment modalities." Rabbi Twerski says that Goldberg proves himself "a worthy heir to the mantle of the patriarch Abraham, who dared to speak the truth in a generation inflamed with idolatry and its twisted presentations of morality... the work is so important that it belongs on the desk and in the hands of every ... therapist, social worker, school principal, parent, and most critically every SSA sufferer aspiring to make himself whole."
Christian leaders have been no less generous in their praise. Pastoral counselor Joe Dallas comments that the book is "a rare blend of compassion, scholarship and encouragement to those who take life and Scripture seriously. A wonderful read and a valuable tool."
--Linda Nicolosi, formerly Editor, NARTH Newsletter.
Ø Arthur Goldberg is involved in the post-struggler movement and serves as the co-director of JONAH, Executive Secretary of NARTH, President of PATH, and Board VP of IHF. I have had the pleasure of reading Arthur's new book Light in the Closet: Torah, Homosexuality and the Power to Change. I couldn't put it down and believe neither will you once you begin reading it. The book uniquely bridges the gap between religion, psychology, and public policy regarding the important issue of same-sex attraction.
From personal stories of transformation to Jewish Biblical principles, intertwined with detailed discussions on today's cultural climate, this engrossing work will be used as a reference source for professionals, those seeking change, and their loved ones. Light in the Closet not only reflects Arthur's years of experience in the field, but also his wisdom and compassion. This text should be required reading for every religious institution, public policy forum, health or psychological association, and for those affected by issues of same-sex attraction.
The book breaks new ground as there is no other text of which I am aware that explains the harmony of the psychological healing for homosexuality with the classic teachings of Judaism. This groundbreaking book also explodes the “gay gene” mystique and describes the deliberate strategy of gay activists and their allies to culturally sensitize western society to the point that a large portion of society now seeks to normalize the behavior.
By entitling the book Light in the Closet, Arthur provides a message of hope and healing for those who seek change.
--Richard Cohen, International Healing Foundation Newsletter, Winter 2008.
“Arthur Goldberg’s Light in the Closet.” Social Justice Review, vol. 100, #1-2, pp. 28-29.
Goldberg’s Light in the Closet details a synthesis between traditional Judaism’s view of homosexuality and “Gender Affirming processes” (GAP), defined as the varied processes employed to assist those with unwanted homosexuality. He believes that homosexuality involves a “developmental gap” and makes the point that homosexuality is mostly a developmental condition, one that stems from gender identity confusion, rather than today’s social-political identity.
Drawing from knowledge of the Torah. Goldberg traces 3,000 years of rabbinical understandings, premised upon the Torah’s authority, to make his point that union is meant to be between one man and one woman. Anything contrary to this design is considered as having “gone astray” (To'eh attah bah). Goldberg explains "homosexual act" is literally translated in standard bible language as an “abomination,” in fact, the Hebrew word “toeivah” incorporates the concepts of forgiveness and mercy. His interpretation, backed by numerous rabbinical commentaries, is that while one may be led astray (To'eh attah bah), the one who was led astray may return to God’s chosen path without recrimination.
The book is not limited to homosexuality but to several sexual behavioral prohibitions of the Torah and explains each sexual prohibition, including e.g., incest, adultery, bestiality, and many others. Goldberg, like any person of good ethic, is convinced that seeking ameloration needs autonomy and that gay affirming processes are not a monolithic measure to a client’s dismorphic dismay. Clearly, the gay agenda in western society, as of late, has “black-boxed” processes to overcome same sex attraction, even though a large body of evidence exists to show how they may ameliorate unwanted homosexuality. Therefore the book is sure to start a culture war.
The book is written in a language that all can understand and you'll not necessarily have to be Jewish to grasp.
--James E. Phelan, LCSW, BCD, PsyD, Psychotherapist; and Research Associate to the American Psychoanalytic Association.
Ø Just finished Mr. Goldberg's Light in the Closet and wanted to say - Thank you. The book is and will be a blessing to me and to many others, I'm sure. It is well researched, well documented and articulates so well the truths found in Torah and affirmed by every soul, whether they are believers or not, whether they want to admit it or not. Though perception or interpretation of truth may vary, truth itself is unchanging - it's not a relative thing! I found Light in the Closet to be very well-balanced and sensitive in its presentation. I am certain that you will give many the courage to change - many loving family members who are seeking ways to help, and many beloved who have chosen a lifestyle driven by SSA.
--A Reader (by e-mail dated Jan 1, 2009)
Rachel: Chronicles of Crisis
Posted in The Jewish Press of New York, Jan 21, 2009
Since this column's inception (the newly named and inaugurated "Chronicles of Crisis" in November of 2004), we have confronted and addressed a diverse set of issues. Invariably, our goal has always been to alleviate the suffering among our people.
An ultra-sensitive topic that has over time raised much controversy, both in respect to the sensibilities of our readers and in defining the malady as well as determining its cure (debate has in fact raged as to whether it is a malady or if a cure is in actuality achievable), is now disseminated in a newly released publication titled Light In The Closet: Torah, Homosexuality and the Power to Change.
The sheer wealth of information crammed into this 575-page book is mind-boggling. The author spent five years compiling the impressive tome and, to his credit, virtually no question seems to have been left unanswered. Myths are explored, concerns are confronted, and disputes are elucidated upon - by any stretch of the imagination no easy undertaking in this volatile arena.
As the title indicates, the Torah's delineation of the subject matter, plus everything else that pertains to human sexuality and behavior is thoroughly covered and meticulously documented.
Arthur Goldberg, co-founder and co-director of JONAH (Jews Offering Alternatives to Homosexuality) has managed to complete his compelling task without air or flair, which contributes to the book's genuine essence.
The author is as candid about himself as he is about the subject he tackles with candor and forthrightness; he freely admits to once having been a "...social liberal adhering to the politically correct view that people with these issues were 'born that way...'"
Mr. Goldberg offers a concise outline of his goal early on in his manual: "This book is...intended to serve a dual purpose: (1) to give hope and direction to strugglers who are still thrashing around in a closet of confusion and despair; and (2) to educate the Jewish community at large to a better understanding of the issues, and to an awareness of the great need for their guidance and moral support."
Indeed, this book should serve as a source of enlightenment to those who are completely unfamiliar with the SSA struggle yet prefer to evade the issue altogether... and who will perhaps be inclined to stop reading this article at about this juncture. Taking a moment to recall the anguish of the SSA sufferers who have previously bared their pain and frustration in this space may conceivably move the uninformed to want to know more.
This volume should moreover become a permanent addition to the libraries of those who, by virtue of their position in the field of education, are prone to be confronted with the issue of SSA. Even those confident in their knowledge of this affliction may be in for a surprise. By the end of the first chapter, it is already made clear that the author has taken on a cause he passionately believes in. "Isolated and alone, unaware that help, healing and support are within reach, many of these strugglers do not know which way to turn. They are told by gay activists, 'You can't change;' by ultra-conservatives, 'You are loathsome;' and by the majority of psychologists and psychiatrists, 'Accept your gay feelings and act upon them - even if this might be in conflict with your internal values.'"
He then wraps it up in his straightforward style: "Such attitudes are not merely wrong. They are contemptible, immoral, irresponsible and potentially lethal."
Each successive page turn of Light In The Closet has the potential of peeling away the layers of darkness enveloping the hearts of young men and women who grapple with their sexual identities and of bringing light and healing to their existence.
By this time, I can envision the skeptic reader sharpening his pencil in readiness to charge me with being in collusion with the writer and/or publisher of the book. Please allow me to spare you the trouble and remove any and all suspicion: For the record, I have absolutely no affiliation with JONAH and have, for that matter, neither spoken nor ever met with the book's author, Arthur Goldberg. As for the publisher, Red Heifer Press (whom I humbly beg to forgive my heretofore cluelessness), this is the first I'd ever heard of them.
To quell further misgivings, I alert our reading audience to the book's prominently featured haskamos (endorsements) from eminent rabbinical figures, such as Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky, Rav Noach Weinberg, Rav Michel Twerski, and Rav Zev Leff.
And so it is not simply I who see this work as an extraordinary accomplishment. The book's detail is astounding, as is the research that the author has obviously punctiliously carried out. Best of all, this gold mine of information is now handily accessible to both the "informed" and uninformed. Ignorance can create a barrier to understanding, and Light In The Closet sheds light on a subject that has intimidated many with the "fear of the unknown."
Most importantly for the frum sufferer, the Torah perspective throughout the book is breathtaking. The third chapter, for instance, deals with sexual morality as defined by the Torah and Talmud, while the seventh discusses what the Torah says about female homosexuality. The second and fifteenth chapters are devoted to case histories and testimonials, and the eleventh delves into the Jewish process of "Return, Rebirth & Healing."
For the benefit of the reader who may argue that this analysis projects but a heterosexual's point of view, I have personally taken the liberty of acquiring an SSA male's perspective - from a well-known media personality thus inclined for over 35 years now. Stay tuned.
Rachel, Chronicles of Crisis
Posted in The Jewish Press of New York, Jan 28, 2009
Last week's column featured an overview of Light In The Closet: Torah, Homosexuality and the Power to Change, a recently released publication by Arthur Goldberg (Red Heifer Press).
In the interest of fair-mindedness, we present the following transcript of an interview with a (frum) SSA male who congenially shares his own personal perspective of the book. (For the record, our guest has no connection, nor has ever had any contact, with Mr. Goldberg or with JONAH.)
Rachel: What was your initial gut reaction to [the existence of] the book, before actually reading it?
Anonymous: Frankly, I was absolutely stunned that such a book existed - especially with so much detail on every aspect of the topic. Before I even leafed through it, I wondered if it had a solution to such an impossible dilemma. I was also surprised at the size of the book. I never realized that so much could be written on the subject.
Rachel: Being well read and well versed in the topic, and a professional writer to boot, was there anything about the volume that can have actually impressed you?
Anonymous: Believe me, Rachel, as a gay person, I did not want to be impressed with this book. I was leafing through it, desperate to find material that would be laughable and ridiculous - and found nothing of the sort. I continued to leaf through it, hoping to find that the author was narrow-minded, ignorant and bigoted. That is what I was hoping to find. Instead I found a well-researched, sensitive analysis of a subject. This book, without a doubt, will become THE definitive work on the subject of changing sexual orientation.
I was also impressed that the author did not insult gays. The book was not at all demeaning. In fact, there seemed to be genuine respect for gays as human beings. That's not what you would expect from what some would describe as a Bible-thumping perspective.
Rachel: Of the 500 plus pages, would you say that most, some or little held your interest?
Anonymous: The entire book held my interest. The section on the causes of homosexuality was chilling. The religious prohibitions were explained in all too vivid detail. Initially, I thought the whole socialist gay agenda was a tad over the top. But the author buttresses his case with plenty of information.
I must say, however, that he seems to be overly concerned about gays having a positive self-image. There are many out there who are quite happy with their lot, and they are not necessarily promiscuous. In some cases, they are celibate.
Rachel: Having acquainted yourself with the book by happenstance [I introduced him to my copy], would you seek to acquire it for your personal library, use, or the like?
Anonymous: Yes, without question. I would like to own the book for reference purposes, and . . . there were some parts of the book that were hauntingly accurate . . . .
Rachel: What kind of reader would be most likely, in your opinion, to benefit from the information in this manual?
Anonymous: I personally believe that this book would be of great benefit to anyone, in his 20s, 30s or even 40s, who is unsure, unhappy and ill at ease with his sexual orientation.
Rachel: How do you think this publication would benefit the heterosexual reader?
Anonymous: It would help to demystify the conflicted gay man or woman. It would do nothing to inform them about gays who have come to terms with their imperfections.
It is important to add that the book will enrage many SSA individuals who will not appreciate being told that they are mentally ill and suffering from arrested development. The reason that they will be so upset is because it will ring true and they just don't want to go through the anguish of once again questioning themselves and losing the self-esteem that was so difficult to build in a hostile and unaccepting environment.
Rachel: Had this book been available for your consumption 30 odd years ago . . . ?
Anonymous: I would have laughed it off. In my 20s, I often said that if there were a pill that could turn you straight in one day, I would refuse to take it. Now I feel different and more mature. Less selfish . . . less interested in instant gratification. I would take that pill . . . as I am starting to grieve at never having had children or grandchildren.
Rachel: What did you note, in your humble opinion, to be the most valuable aspect of Light in the Closet?
Anonymous: It was the section that deals with developing a loving and intimate relationship with a male in a non-sexual context. There seems to be something so amazingly satisfying, fulfilling and comforting about that possibility.
Rachel: Anyone would agree that the author invested a tremendous amount of work and time in this painstaking project. Do you see him reaping the fruits of his labor?
Anonymous: Was it worth it for the author to do all this, you ask? Yes. It will help his organization and it might make a real difference in the lives of those who don't want to be gay. But like weight loss and alcoholism, the success rate will never be what the author would like it to be.
Rachel: If you would need to describe the book in three words, which three would they be?
Anonymous: Sensitive, caring and powerful.
Dear Readers, It is our sincerest hope that our column has helped promote a clearer understanding of one of man's most daunting challenges, and that those plagued by SSA (same sex attraction) will strive to overcome rather than succumb to their physical inclinations and thus distance themselves from Yiddishkeit - only to lament having done so in their later years. We are most grateful to our guest for graciously sharing his insightful evaluation of Light In The Closet with the readers of this column.
And last but by no means least, Mr. Goldberg is to be congratulated for his monumental achievement, which is sure to illuminate the lives of many. We wish him much hatzlacha in all his noble endeavors.
Ø Dear Art I just finished your book, Wow. I found your thoughts refreshing, insightful and your support of healthy development sincere. I loved to read about the Jewish tradition and with your integration of sex therapy very applicable and useful. Thank you for your clarity. I am changed as a therapist.
--Greg Mcgreer, Ph.D.
Ø Dear Arthur,
I want to again say how much I was blessed by the book. As an evangelical Christian I have a strong appreciation for the Jewish roots of our faith and for G–d's word in the Old Testament, but reading your book and getting exposure to the Jewish sages gave me a much stronger appreciation for the constant thread of G–d's love and mercy through the ages.
I hope the book has a profound effect on many lives and on Jewish understanding of how G–d's love and His law are never in conflict. -
By forsaking trendy, often political, views of homosexuality, but looking to the Jewish roots of our culture and Torah based concepts of family and of manhood and womanhood, and by drawing on the great wisdom of the rabbis and Jewish sages down through the millennia, Arthur Goldberg has given us all, not just Jews, a deeper, more truthful, more compassionate and more hopeful view of same-sex attraction. I came away from reading this book with a fresh and clearer view of how G–d would have us live as men and women.
--Alan Medinger, former Executive Director of Exodus—North America, founder and former director of Regeneration, one of the oldest ex-gay ministries in the United States, and Author, Growth into Manhood: Resuming the Journey
Ø This book has been acknowledged by leading Orthodox Rabbis as a monumental achievement in analyzing the influences of modern Western society upon people who find themselves struggling to overcome same-sex attraction (SSA). The author discusses case histories, and today's agenda-driven activism vs. universally-relevant Torah morality. It is extensively researched and presents a most appropriate (and greatly needed) Torah-based response to this hot-topic issue. The book is wide-ranging and addresses 23 categories of "sexual brokenness," which are sexual behaviors, desires or fantasies that are inconsistent with the Torah's designation of heterosexual marital intercourse as pure and holy. It insists that no one of any age should be denied the right to receive information on, and access to, the known effective means of gender-reaffirming counseling and treatment for sexual disorientation. It includes discussions of the relevant Torah Laws for both Jews and Gentiles (in light of the Noahide Code), and it indicts the permissive (or even promotive) attitudes about indulgence in homosexual relations that can now be found in many countries.
Book Review: Light in the Closet--Torah, Homosexuality and the Power to Change
Apr. 8th, 2009. http://www.congenitaladrenalhyperplasia.org
I was asked by the author to review the book Light in the Closet: Torah, Homosexuality, and the Power to Change. Interestingly enough, I'm not Jewish (I double checked to see if the author knew that. He did, and still wanted me to review it.)
The author, Arthur Goldberg, is co-founder and co-director of JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality) and begins the book from a lay perspective, but quickly dives deeply into some very technical and in depth analysis of same-sex-attraction and current trends in therapy (or what passes as therapy). He then dwells very studiously on the Jewish aspect of the topic. I thought I'd be bored with that part, but I found it very enlightening and I learned quite a bit more about Judaism than I'd known before.
The author shows with compelling evidence that the Psychological "Industry" has robbed many people of the healing they desired and in return offered them more problems than they started out with.
Whether or not you are Jewish, this book is a must read for those wanting to understand more about the con game being perpetrated by the APA and their fellow activists in regards to homosexuality, gender identity and the ability to be free from the bondage of homosexuality.
For those of you that think that statement too strong, just remember the following quotes so often repeated among homosexuals . . .
"If I could change don't you think I'd have already done it?"
. . . and . . .
"Why would I want to change? I'm happy this way."
. . . often said by the same person, who doesn't recognize the cognitive dissonance in the mutually exclusive thoughts.
Ø Shalom Arthur,
Per our 5/27 telecon I ordered Light in the Closet and read it from cover to cover.
Thank you sir! Thank you for your courage! Thank you for your impeccable scholarship! Thank you for adhering to the Orthodox view! A monumental thesis, soundly based in the Torah and addressing the postmodern "strife of tongues" in a compelling manner!
Thank you again for shedding a galaxy of light on this difficult subject.
Ø Dear Arthur,
I just finished Light in the Closet, last week, and wanted to jot off a note to tell you how much I enjoyed and appreciated it. The insight into the Orthodox Jewish approach to morality and spirituality was very illuminating and informative. There are many points of commonality, in those areas, between Orthodox Judaism and Orthodox Christianity. The central role of repentance (teshuva/metanoia) is only the most striking. This is a concept virtually lost in modern, hedonistic secular culture but is the critical key to any turn from death to life.
All the information about SSA, recovery, GAP, growth, transformation (and the numerous personal testimonies) and, especially, the challenge all this material presents to the PC gay pride propaganda that is so destructive, especially to people with SSA, is a powerful arsenal in the fight against this destructive delusion. Could it be, I wonder, if the insistence on the myths of 'born gay' and the gay subculture related to it is ultimately rooted in the deeply dysfunctional self-hatred and shame of the condition? Perhaps a deeply seated death wish, a most dysfunctional response to the deep wounding of SSA and the pain is causes? There is, indeed, a monumental struggle between life and death, here.
Last Saturday, just as I was finishing the book, I had an interesting experience with an Episcopal priest, who asked me if I was aware of the most recent decisions of the Lutherans (ELCA) to admit to the clergy active homosexuals in 'committed relationships.' When I expressed my sadness that their PC approach condemned so many people to imprisonment in a short and miserable life, I could read in his face, right away, how aghast he was at what I had to say about 'gay' life. He was so indoctrinated with the gay dogma that he couldn't even continue a discussion or make an inquiry about what I was saying. Of course, I tend to be very outspoken on these matters, having had first hand experience, in my own life and the lives of many close to me, of the tragedy of the gay pride indoctrination that blinds so many people to the truth about this constellation of issues of emotional development.
I have one spiritual son (about 22-23 y/o), who lives in NYC, actually, who hasn't yet been able to wake up to the pointlessness of following that path. He's still too young and attractive to understand fully the ultimate futility of the so called 'gay life' and continues his search for 'Mr. Right,' although the one hope I hold onto is that, whenever we speak on the phone, he always calls me 'Daddy.' So I continue to pray for him, talk with him (at times, quite bluntly) and nurture him with paternal encouragement, emotional affirmation and affection, trusting that God will protect him from the worst possibilities of the path he's on and eventually deliver him from the delusion and propaganda of the gay subculture.
Thanks, again, for the great amount of work you have done to free people from this tragic slavery to ignorance and pain. This is a book I would highly recommend to anyone, Jew or Gentile.
Ø Book Review of "Light in the Closet: Torah, Homosexuality, and the Power to Change"
Author says implicit message in Torah is that "one who goes astray retains the ability to find the way back"
Book review by Kathleen Gilbert
FALLS CHURCH, Virginia, October 28, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) -
A fourteen-year-old boy is taken to a respected therapist after experiencing prolonged depression and violent mood swings. The root of his problems, he eventually confesses, is that he fears he is gay.
While exploring the young man's background, Stanford psychiatrist Dr. James Lock notes the distant demeanor of the teenager's father that likely left him longing for genuine male bonding. Lock also describes his patient's enmeshment with his mother, sensitivity, mistreatment by male peers, and shame over his own body image - a pattern of emotional need common among males developing a same-sex attraction.
Lock's therapy, however, does not seek to heal the young man's relational wounds, which are treated as inconsequential. Rather, the focus remains almost exclusively on resolving what he calls the boy's "severe internalized homophobia": in other words, his repugnance at the notion of being intrinsically and irreversibly homosexual. The young man, known as J, is encouraged to embrace homosexuality through various means.
J himself expresses an aversion of Lock's idea of wellness: the therapist notes that J felt ill at ease among the members of a local gay teen support group, saying it was "not me," and felt "dissociated and distant from himself" following a sexual encounter with an older male. Lock concludes from J's disgust towards homosexual sex that the young man is "still quite homophobic," and thus his attempts at such relations are "premature."
According to Lock's notes, after two years of "homosexuality-affirming" intervention, J did not improve, but fell deeper into depression. After four years, J left his therapist to attend a university - chosen partially for its billing as "gay friendly."
Had J gone to another therapist, might his story - and his ultimate choice of self-identification - been radically different?
The true story of J is recounted in the new book, "Light in the Closet: Torah, Homosexuality, and the Power to Change," in which board certified counselor and relationship specialist Arthur Goldberg notes that J's scenario is nothing short of epidemic for individuals with unwanted same-sex attraction (SSA). Light in the Closet, originally published in 2008 by Red Heifer Press, came out in a second [printing] in July of this year and is available at several online book retailers.
"If Dr. Lock were some kind of fringe radical, we might simply dismiss J's story as an isolated example of what can happen when an unfortunate subject walks into the wrong office," writes Goldberg. However, "Dr. Lock's approach to treating J's condition is quite typical of a substantial sector of the mental health community."
Several more personal testimonies presented by Goldberg reveal the deep turmoil of those who experience unwanted SSA, but who feel trapped by both society and medical professionals who insist that they are irreversibly homosexual.
Goldberg is the co-founder and co-director of the organization JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality), which offers outreach, counseling and referrals to homosexual and conflicted members of the Jewish community and their families. He tackles the question from the unique perspective of a professional deeply committed to the moral guidance found in the Torah - the Old Testament to Christians. He concludes that those with unwanted SSA can find both spiritual and psychological healing in conjunction with the wisdom of God's law.
Directing his dialogue to those who express a conscious desire to reject homosexual impulses, Goldberg sets out the case for the traditional psychological understanding of homosexuality as stemming from prior psychological and emotional wounds. For example, several testimonials from SSA individuals describe their homosexual sex lives as a paltry attempt to satisfy a deep hunger for true acceptance by the same sex - a state of limbo that leaves them "emotionally functioning as an adolescent."
Yet the modern difficulty with homosexuality does not end there: Goldberg throws light on not only the internal causes of homosexuality, but also the nature and history of the homosexualist movement, explaining the gradual and deliberate change in the public's concept of homosexuality from activity, to characteristic, to identity. Far from helping individuals with SSA, he says, the movement has "placed many of their own in situations of unbearable ambivalence, conflict, suffering and mortal danger" by casting the notion of healing as impossible and absurd.
"The moral relativists, in league with the gay rights movement and the 'politically correct,' have done much to hide or misrepresent the answers, to obfuscate the issues, and, indeed, to smear traditional religion - especially Judaism - as hostile and discriminatory toward homosexuals," writes Goldberg.
"The gay activists have, in effect, turned off the light in the homosexual closet."
Goldberg's analysis hits upon the crux of the contradiction in perhaps the most common argument for homosexual rights: that consenting adults ought to be allowed a right to privacy. At least for some individuals with SSA - a condition that can rend the deepest parts of one's moral identity - the mere assertion that they have "consented" to homosexual activity hardly closes the book on their total, willing embrace of the homosexual lifestyle.
"What does a person's 'consent' actually entail?" Goldberg questions. "Is the consent whole-hearted, or is only one part of the person's psyche (or body?) doing the consenting, while the other part is cowed or drugged into silence? Under what circumstances does a person's 'consent' truly represent his or her fully informed and rational decision?"
In other words, when a man can't even trust himself, where is he left to turn? For Goldberg, the answer is obvious.
The solution for those struggling to break free of the mental and physical fetters of the homosexual culture, he says, can essentially be found in the Torah - where God's moral law offers a sure path out of confusion toward self-awareness, maturity, and healing.
Goldberg says that one key to reaping the benefits of such Torah-centered therapy is understanding the true meaning of the Hebrew word to'eivah. The word is often translated as "abomination," but Goldberg insists that "straying" or "being led astray" is both more accurate to the original meaning and more apropos of the SSA struggler's situation.
"The rallying point for this push is, and has been, 'discrimination against homosexuals,'" Goldberg writes. "However, as is evident from the text itself, when the Torah uses the word, to'eivah, it is condemning a behavior, not an individual. ... Implicit within this understanding [of to'eivah] is a simple fact: one who goes astray retains the ability to find the way back."
Though deeply indebted to his moral tradition, Goldberg denies claims current among orthodox Judaism that healing can be accomplished solely through religious piety or observance. Instead, he says, both teshuvah (the "turning back" to God's plan) and psychological healing through gender-affirming programs must proceed "in lock step."
"Such corrective action can be, and has been, accomplished - and with a rate of success that is much too high to ignore," Goldberg writes, "through a guided process involving professional counseling, self-discovery and a combination of gradual spiritual and behavioral self-adjustments characteristic of teshuvah."
Goldberg told LifeSiteNews.com that he hoped anyone conflicted on whether to listen to his message would discover that it not only sets out "a knowledgeable path of healing and hope for those who are sexually confused, but will also assist anyone whose values have been confused by our politically correct culture."
"I wrote the book to pull together diverse information and resources, much of which is unknown by most," he said, "and to develop a unique model that integrates psychological secular healing with Biblical commandments, thereby empowering people to overcome today's sexually exploitive culture."
It's a kind of empowerment that is long overdue.
Ø HI, I have been reading Arthur G.'s book for a few weeks now. I spoke to a rabbi recently who brought up ssa with me, and the book's name was dropped. I figured I should get involved with the organization somehow. I'm just a university student, but the book really hit home. I want to follow the logical steps toward becoming a better Jew. I should mention that I'm not Jewish yet - I am converting.
Ø By forsaking trendy, often political, views of homosexuality, but looking to the Jewish roots of our culture and Torah based concepts of family and of manhood and womanhood, and by drawing on the great wisdom of the rabbis and Jewish sages down through the millennia, Arthur Goldberg has given us all, not just Jews, a deeper, more truthful, more compassionate and more hopeful view of same-sex attraction. I came away from reading this book with a fresh and clearer view of how G-d would have us live as men and women.
--Alan Medinger, former Executive Director of Exodus-North America, Founder & former director of Regeneration, one of the oldest ex- gay ministries in the United States, and Author, Growth into Manhood: Resuming the Journey
Ø I read a good chunk of the book and I think it will be a very valuable resource to educators and rabbis.
--Rabbi Nechemia Coopersmith, Editor-in-Chief, Aish.com
Ø Light in the Closet is a rare blend of compassion, scholarship and encouragement to those who take life and Scripture seriously. Arthur Goldberg highlights the tough questions regarding homosexuality and Torah, tackles them in detail, then equips the reader with deeper understanding and ready answers to those who suggest the traditional position on human sexuality is outdated. This book is a wonderful read and a valuable tool.
--Joe Dallas, Author, The Gay Gospel? How Pro-Gay Advocates Misread the Bible
Ø This clearly written and extensively documented book is an important and practical reference source on several levels: culturally, socially, politically, medically, and spiritually. It presents invaluable information that is critical for individuals of any faith or of no particular faith that contradicts the prevailing theories of both the extreme left and extreme right.
Arthur Goldberg reports on successful psychotherapeutic modalities dealing with same-sex attraction issues and the related scientific research findings. He includes numerous case studies dealing with the emotional adaptation that results in homosexuality and transgenderism, along with some examples of therapeutic successes, that are particularly useful and interesting. His insightful commentary and solid analysis puts all this information into perspective for the reader, regardless of their current level of knowledge.
He also uncovers the hidden agenda of the sexual rights activists and shows how they are seeking to get at our children through the public schools. At both the national and international level, this easily readable and accessible reference book provides solid data and analysis that give those of us who are working to preserve the traditional family additional tools to more effectively combat the politically correct forces who are demanding special rights for these affected individuals. It is an invaluable resource and research tool for anyone interested in the policy issues surrounding these topics. This text is long overdue.
--Sharon Slater, President, & Sheldon Kinsel, Director of Policy and Research, Family Watch International
ØLight in the Closet comprehensively depicts the problem and presents a powerful and practicable blueprint for deliverance. This a valuable volume of courage and guidance derived from ancient Jewish wisdom.
--Rabbi Daniel Lapin, American Alliance of Jews and Christians.
Ø Arthur Goldberg has written one of the most comprehensive and compassionate texts ever published on this topic. Anyone seeking enlightenment on the complex issue of homosexuality -- and understanding on the possibilities for overcoming unwanted homosexual attractions -- will find great insight here. The Jewish reader will find additional benefit from Arthur's keen presentation of this issue within the context of Jewish teachings and traditions. I highly recommend it.
--Rich Wyler, Founder and Executive Director, People Can Change, www.peoplecanchange.com
Ø Arthur is a good friend and I am thrilled that this book has been produced. His views and insights are thought provoking and enlightening to the Jewish view of sexuality and identity. Arthur comes from a unique place of critical thinking in that he has long been a champion of civil rights and is now also passionately defending a person's right to self determination
regarding same sex attraction.
Whether you agree or disagree with Arthur's views, you will find them presented in a compelling, honest and forthright manner. This book is a must read for both Jewish and Christian people dealing with unwanted same sex attraction.
--Randy Thomas, Executive Vice President, Exodus, http://exodus.to ; http://exodusbooks.org; http://exodusyouth.net
Ø Light in the Closet offers fascinating insights into how many individuals are being personally harmed by current cultural and political forces that seek to undermine certain historic Western values. In the United States, more people consider homosexual behavior to be immoral or unacceptable than those who believe that homosexual behavior is “not wrong at all,” according to large representative surveys population by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, by the Pew Research Center, and by the Gallup Poll. So it is not surprising that many people with same-sex attractions want help to overcome those attractions. Arthur Goldberg offers a helpful intellectual analysis of how certain activists have tragically produced a cultural movement that now makes it “politically incorrect” for mental health professionals to offer available and effective psychotherapeutic or spiritual help to people with unwanted same-sex attraction, causing needless suffering by those individuals. Goldberg eloquently argues for client rights for therapeutic choice. As a national leader of JONAH that offers compassionate care for Jewish people with unwanted same-sex attractions, Arthur Goldberg offers a profound analysis of helpful spiritual resources offered by the Hebrew Scriptures and associated rabbinical teaching. And for readers of all religious traditions, Light in the Closet shows how people can change from a homosexual lifestyle to heterosexuality, drawing on recent research on the effectiveness of reparative therapy, and drawing on the helpful religious roots for Western civilization that are the basis for freedom and the possibilities for personal change.
--George A. Rekers, Ph.D., M.B.A., Ph.D., Th.D., FAACP, Distinguished Professor of Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Science Emeritus, University of South Carolina School of Medicine; U.S. Representative, International Federation for Therapeutic Choice
Ø This comprehensive review of homsexuality--its genesis and the roads to healing--provides much needed light on a controversial topic. Arthur Goldberg has done a masterful job in bring[ing] the truths of science in harmony with the Truth of the Ages--and together they provide hope, an essential ingredient for those who struggle.
--A. Dean Byrd, PhD., MPH, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, U. of Utah, President, NARTH
Ø I am up to page 308 in your book, but I have skipped chapters 7 and 8 so that I can get to parts of the book that specifically involve my issues. My therapist and I have already discussed chapters 1 - 4. Chapters 5 and 6 are next. I really enjoy the book because even though it has a lot of information, it isn't challenging to get through. I appreciate the way you keep communicating the idea that homosexuality is not the normal way of life for anyone. I like the way you keep pulling me back to my orthodox belief system, without making me feel like a total rasha. Believe it or not, this is a book my spouse would enjoy.
--A Reader, name withheld
Bill Muehlenberg Culture Watch, “Books of Note” (February 23, 2010)Goldberg, Arthur, Light in the Closet. Red Heifer Press, 2008. http://billmuehlenberg.com
The issue of homosexuality is a major social and ethical hot potato. Here the head of JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality) provides us with the most complete, most thorough and most informed discussion of homosexuality to date from the orthodox Jewish perspective. In nearly 600 pages all the important facets of this debate are covered: religious, medical, pastoral, sociological, political and cultural. A first class work by a leading expert and practitioner in the field.
Ø Hi Arthur, Sorry it's taken so long since I saw you last at TCI. I loved "Light in the Closet"--learned a lot about orthodox Judaism as well as about SSA and sexual reorientation. It was a scholarly treat and well worth whatever labor you invested in it. I wasn't ready for such a thorough, careful, and caring study. I'm amazed that I read hundreds of pages of religiously oriented, closely reasoned writing and couldn't put it down. Thank you for answering so many questions for me.
--Daniel Marshall, Director of the Library, TCI College of Technology, 45- year member of the Catholic Worker movement
Ø It is a masterpiece.
--Rabbi Yehoshua Fishman, formerly, Director, Torah U'Mesorah
Book Review, the American Jewish Library Association’s AJL Newsletter, September/October, 2009.
Goldberg, Arthur. Light in the Closet: Torah, Homosexuality and the Power to Change.
Beverly Hills: Red Heifer Press, 2008. 575 pp. $36.00 (ISBN 978-0-96314-789-9).
[Note: This ISBN was printed incorrectly—we believe, deliberately. The correct ISBN is 978-0-9631478-9-9. Using the AJL’s misprint of the ISBN to search for this book will foil your search. We sent a letter to the AJL Newsletter demanding a retraction of their libellous review of Mr. Goldberg's Light in the Closet, and an apology. To date, our letter has not been acknowledged. Having considered the matter at length, the author and I have declined to allow ourselves to be drawn into a petty lawsuit. Instead, we opt to republish the review along with our response, which follows thereafter—Peter Gimpel, Publisher, Red Heifer Press]
Narrow-minded, homophobic, ignorant, and bigoted, this book is a mixture of literalist Freudianism and Torah that does a great disservice to both. The author, who seems to be obsessed with “sexual transgression” in Judaism as much as his Christian fundamentalist endorsers, is the founder of JONAH: Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality. Ignoring a time-honored Jewish tradition of asking questions about Torah texts to allow the society that reads it to glean its own meaning, Goldberg compares “Pro-Gay apologists’” interpretations to “the serpent in the Garden of Eden, [whose] prime objective isto create doubt or disbelief.” In the next paragraph, the author becomes an apologist for the talmudic and halachic death penalty for homosexuals. He has fi lled 575 pages with biblical andpseudo-psychological statements supporting his ignorance of science, sociology, and the meaning of social justice, in order to convince his readers that being queer is a disease and as such, can and should be cured. I had to read it, but you can forgo wasting your time. I will even keep a copy in my library—after all, I also keep books by Holocaust deniers—so don’t bother to pay money for it—I will gladly ILL it to anyone who wishes to read the Jewish version of Reverend Phelps’s rhetoric.
--Dr. Yaffa Weisman, Head Librarian and Adjunct Associate Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies, Hebrew Union College, Los Angeles, California
Reply to Dr. Weisman's "Review" of Light in the Closet.
Daniel Scheide, Book Review Editor
Association of Jewish Libraries
P.O. Box 1118
Teaneck, NJ 07666
October 29, 2009
Dear Mr. Scheide:
As the editor and publisher of Mr. Goldberg's outstanding, beautiful, humane, unique and courageous book, Light in the Closet: Torah, Homosexuality, and the Power to Change, I am appalled by your publication of Dr. Yaffa Weisman's horrifying “review” of the same.
That some people are moved to hateful invective and character assassination when challenged in their heavily invested preconceptions is no surprise to either Mr. Goldberg or myself. On the contrary, what has surprised us has been the virtually unanimous and unending stream of grateful approbation of the book from a host of rabbinical luminaries, ministers, priests, illustrious psychiatrists, physicians, psychologists, and lay readers Jewish and non-Jewish on both sides of the gender-issue divide, all of whom not only affirm the book’s conscientious and enlightening scholarship and balanced Torah perspective, but also speak warmly of the author’s compassion, sensitivity and genuine concern for all who are affected by gender-identity issues.
That the Association of Jewish Libraries would choose to publish this defamatory broadside as a “review” is a repudiation not only of everything connoted by the words “Jewish” and “library,” but of the very principles of freedom of information, unfettered inquiry, and critical debate on which the venerable traditions of humanism and democracy are founded. It is also, very possibly, a violation of your own mission statement and articled obligations as a non-profit organization.
Dr. Weisman’s wholesale abuse of Mr. Goldberg and his heroic book touch me and my publishing endeavor directly and personally. I feel especially violated and besmirched by Dr. Weisman’s comparison of Mr. Goldberg with a known spokesman of virulent anti-Semitic and anti-gay bigotry. Mr Goldberg and I demand a full apology, repudiation and retraction of Dr. Weisman's review by AJL, to be published in your next issue of the AJL Newsletter, and followed in due course by a responsibly serious review of Light in the Closet, to be published in the same venue.
Sholem (Peter) Gimpel, Publisher
CC: Arthur Goldberg, Co-Director, JONAH
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