Goldberg, Arthur. “Light in the Closet: Torah, Homosexuality, and the Power to Change”, Red Heifer Press, 2009.
Providing False Hope
It seems that all religions have some kind of aversion/ restorative therapy for those gay men who do not want to be gay or, better said, whose parents do not want their son to be gay. The new defunct JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing) was run by Arthur Goldberg (who I suppose is now collecting unemployment or forming another bogus organization). JONAH claimed to be “ a non-profit international organization dedicated to educating the world-wide Jewish community about the social, cultural and emotional factors which lead to same-sex attractions, and the Jonah Institute of Gender Affirmation (www.jonahinstitute.org)”. Goldberg was once proud to sat that “Since co-founding the organization over a dozen years ago, through psychological and spiritual counseling, peer support, and self-empowerment, he has helped reunify families, heal the wounds surrounding homosexuality and provided hope”. I say “Give me a break”. The blurb for the book and I quote says “Goldberg’s book, Light in the Closet: Torah, Homosexuality and the Power to Change is a widely acclaimed book in the Jewish world on the topic. He has a J.D. degree from Cornell University”.
Behind the “compassionate” therapy there lurks the mentality of a fool. “If you (sic) have a self identified “gay” son or a son that always argues with his dad, you must read this book. Homosexuality is probably something you “think” you know about. Odds are you know nothing due to bogus influence by the media and Hollywood (sic)”. These are the words of one of the reviewers of this book who quite obviously has no idea of what she is talking about (and has even less an idea about spelling). She further states that the book is “written with Torah based wisdom, this information is mandatory (sic) for any religion”. She further chides us with this, “Do you child a favor, read this book”.
Today we know that any book on restorative therapy that claims to have any connection to Torah is a money making scheme playing on the shame foisted on gay people by certain Jewish communities.
We learn in the Torah that we have been created in God’s image so therefore we must treat all people the same. Psychiatry and Psychology have abandoned the idea of restorative therapy but religion has not been so quick to let it go.
I must say that I found the book to be appalling n every aspect—from writing style to research to conclusions but unfortunately not everyone agreed with me and there are glowing reviews for this pile of garbage on Amazon.com.
[Goldberg] … “gives me hope: there is healing available for those who seek it, as thousands have! The information he provides builds confidence and understanding and will help open lines of communication. The scariest thing to me as a parent is that this hope is not being publicized and just the opposite is being taught to my children in public school. This book is a must read for every parent! Shine the light of truth on this subject – read this book and share it with as many as you can”. Here we can only wonder where this person has been because this kind of therapy is all bogus and condemned by the medical establishment.
“It is timely, given ongoing debates that have split U.S. voters as well as the Conservative branch of Judaism. It is thoroughly documented”. Now that Conservative Judaism ordains gay rabbis, which side did the conservative movement take? And I love this, “Goldberg thoroughly discusses the Hebrew Scriptures’ prohibition of lesbian behavior. Most people do not even know that such a case can be made, let alone made convincingly. Second, Goldberg draws a careful parallel between a spiritual path to gender wholeness and psychological steps to gender wholeness. There is nothing like this parallel in print anywhere; it applies to all of the monotheistic religions, not just to Judaism”. Lesbian behavior? Are we reading the same Hebrew bible—there is not a word anywhere in the Torah about lesbians and how they behave. And that parallel that Goldberg draws between a spiritual path to gender and psychological steps to gender wholeness is nothing more than doubletalk and means nothing.
The book, like its author is filled with errors. There was virtually no editing and the entire business is an embarrassment to religion and it should be an embarrassment to the author himself.
Now here is a testimony for Goldberg: “There are many people (and I am one of them) for whom same sex attractions are an unwanted feature of life in that they incline us to a behavior that is inconsistent with our moral values. My experience in talking about these attractions with therapists has been to be told in a condescending manner that I need to learn to accept these attractions and consequent behavior as part of who I am. It is my beliefs and feelings about these attractions, my moral values, that are the real problem. I am deeply indebted to Arthur Goldberg for standing up and defending my right to seek healing and for shedding some light on the journey to wholeness”. (I’ll bet you can find the person who wrote this note in a gay bar somewhere). He further says that same-sex attractions are morally confusing situations. (Visiting a prostitute and paying for sex is morally confusion to me).
Goldberg explores the political, sociological, psychological, religious, and educational aspects of the gay debate but he does so already with his bias and he finds what he wants to find or else alters something to make it fit his agenda. This is the worst kind of hypocrisy—we are speaking here bout human life. I maintain that Goldberg’s research is shoddy and in truth not research at all. [Goldberg] “gives hope to the vast numbers of Same Sex Attracted men & women who do not want to live a gay or lesbian lifestyle”. This is the worst lie of all.