Prominent Member of the Ex-Gay Movement Outed as A Con-Artist and Ex-Con!

16 Feb

South Florida Gay News broke the story today: Arthur Abba Goldberg, co-founder of Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality (JONAH), was sent to federal prison two decades ago for conspiracy to defraud the U.S.A. After serving his sentence, he dropped his middle name and re-invented himself as a spiritual leader, co-founding JONAH, the leading Jewish ex-gay organization and closely affiliated with NARTH, and writing the book Light in the Closet: Torah, Homosexuality and the Power to Change. At the time of his conviction, U.S. attorney K. William O’Connor described him as:

a man who habitually took advantage of people who were economically dependent upon him; that he did not hesitate to lie or cheat or cover up to achieve his criminal aim. His greed has cause incalculable harm…

Now, in the interest of journalistic integrity, I’ll admit that I have had my own problems with JONAH. In June, I exchanged a series of heated emails with Goldberg’s co-director, Elaine Silodor Berk. When I accused her organization of serving wealthy parents dissatisfied with their children’s sexual orientation, she wrote that:

JONAH has little money and the Co-Directors are volunteers who have devoted their lives to helping those with unwanted SSA.

Huh. Is that so?

When I told her that “…gay activists and I do not believe in exploiting people or their shame–I wish I could say the same for JONAH,” she responded as such:

Come on…can you really write this sentence with a clear conscience?  Have you ever seen a gay pride parade?  How many gay men, or women, wind up with loving permanent partners?  1 out of 20?  Even we heterosexuals, with all our problems, do a lot better than that.  Gay activism did an important job in opening up the closet, but their push to normalize SSA is a tragic mistake and has hurt millions of wonderful SSA men and women around the globe.  People with SSA need help and love, not the glorification of their adaptation to childhood pain.  No one is born gay and everyone who feels SSA deserves to know the truth, not the myths, about SSA.

Well, I think the people participating in and supporting JONAH’s programs deserve to know the truth, too.


2 Responses to “Prominent Member of the Ex-Gay Movement Outed as A Con-Artist and Ex-Con!”

  1. alainalarae February 16, 2010 at 7:09 pm #

    Wow. I didn’t think people could be so…foolish. Frightening. Really nice post!!

    P.S. I have a wordpress blog “Green Monkey Holding Orange Sword” ( and was wondering if I could post your blog on my blogroll. I think it’s great and my readers would enjoy it!

    • BLoGT- NYU'S Queer Blog February 17, 2010 at 1:03 am #

      Hi Alaina!
      So glad you commented! We’d be delighted to be on your blogroll and we’re happy to return the favor : ) I checked out “Green Money Holding Orange Sword”–I think your comments on Logo are spot-on.
      Thanks for reading!

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