- The Living Hope Ministries app promotes practices aligning with gay conversion therapy.
- The controversial app was removed from the Apple and Amazon app stores but remains on the Google Play Store.
- Gay conversion therapy is denounced by almost every prestigious medical institution.
A controversial mobile application used as a gay conversion therapy tool was recently removed from the Apple App Store and the Amazon App Store. However, the app is still active on the Google Play Store, and that isn’t sitting well with the activist group that pushed for the app’s removal.
The Living Hope Ministries app is a collection of audio and video recordings of Bible verses, devotionals, and other Christian teachings. However, the Living Hope Ministries establishment is primarily focused on gay conversion therapy, i.e. trying to change an individual’s sexual orientation from homosexual or bisexual to heterosexual using psychological or spiritual interventions.
LGBT rights organization Truth Wins Out started petitions to get the app removed from the various online stores. The petitions helped bring down the app from Apple’s and Amazon’s platforms, according to Newsweek. However, the Play Store listing is still active as of publishing this article.
Wayne Besen, the executive director of Truth Wins Out, said that Living Hope Ministries is “trying to prey on LGBT youth with a product that is fraudulent. Nobody can change from gay to straight. They’re selling snake oil.”
According to multiple studies from prestigious organizations such as the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association, and countless universities around the world, homosexuality is not a mental disorder and there is no way to “convert” a person from gay to straight. Furthermore, gay conversion therapy is often described as cruel and linked with substance abuse and suicide.
There is no credible scientific evidence to support homosexuality is a mental disorder, nor that it can be 'cured'.
Ricky Chelette, the executive director of Living Hope Ministries, defends the application. “I assume that folks who are gay-identified and happy are not looking at our app to begin with,” he said. “There are tons of pro-gay apps. We love gay-identified people, we’re simply here to help those who don’t want to be gay.”
Chelette points out that the app explicitly informs users that the advice contained therein is not a replacement for medical care.
Living Hope Ministries describes itself as “a non-profit, non-denominational, 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to proclaim God’s truth as we journey with those who are seeking sexual and relational wholeness through a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.”
Google has yet to release a statement on the matter.