Former Ex-Gay Leader Donates Archives to Mattachine Society

The former leader of a religious-oriented ‘conversion therapy’ ministry called Love In Action that sought to change its clients from gay to straight has donated the ministry’s voluminous archives to the Mattachine Society of Washington.

Mattachine President Charles Francis, whose group specializes in collecting and preserving documents related to the persecution of LGBT people in the U.S., said the Love in Action archives provides a frightening glimpse into an organization that epitomized the now widely discredited “ex-gay” movement.

Love in Action was founded by Rev. John Smid in the early 1980s after he claimed to have changed his own sexual orientation from gay to straight. Under Smid’s leadership, the ministry moved from San Francisco to Memphis, Tenn., where it grew dramatically to become the nation’s largest Christian conversion therapy operation.

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