Psychiatrist Apologizes for Conversion Therapy Advocacy among Latter-Day Saints

Psychiatrist Allen Bergin Apologizes for Conversion Therapy
Dr. Allen Bergin

An influential psychiatrist has apologized for his advocacy of conversion therapy. This retraction is a remarkable reversal: Early in his career Allan Bergin led efforts to legitimize sexual orientation change efforts against LGBTQ members of the Church of Latter-Day Saints. Such efforts cause harm and lack any scientific support.

But over many years, Dr. Bergin’s two gay sons and grandson changed his mind, according to Pink News.

“I was among the traditionalists who believed that homosexuality was a disorder and that it could be treated and changed to some degree,” he wrote. “I regret being part of a professional, religious, and public culture that marginalized, pathologized, and excluded LGBT+ persons. As a father of two gay sons and grandfather of a gay grandson, I’ve been given a personal education that has been painful and enlightening.”

Bergin wrote a church-funded book on homosexuality beginning in the 1970s. And his Values Institute eventually published the book through a secular source. That sourcing served to disguise the book’s religious bias. Yet Institute members admitted their belief that the “truth lies with the scriptures and prophets, not with secular data or debate.” Consequently, the institute produced several dissertations before closing in 1985. Bergin apologized for conversion therapy advocacy in August 2020.

Born Perfect is a survivor-led program created by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) in 2014 to end conversion therapy by passing laws across the country that protect LGBTQ children and young people, fighting in courtrooms to ensure their safety, and raising awareness about the serious harms caused by these dangerous practices.

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