The Toughest Call: Conversion Therapy

"I believe that a loving God would not have someone go through such a struggle," said Richards.

Big Bucks on Sexuality Conversion

The faith-based movement to convert people's sexuality is a lucrative industry. Last spring the conservative Christian organization Focus on the Family hosted a conference called "Love Won Out" at a megachurch in Nebraska. Parents were encouraged to bring their children to the conference so they could learn the church's take on homosexuality.

In addition to the $60 entrance fee, attendees could purchase books and videos, including a book by John Paulk, former chairman of Exodus International, a network with more than 11,000 affiliated ministries. Claiming to be "ex-gay" for more than a decade and happily married to a woman, Paulk was considered a poster child for conversion therapy.

Then in 2001, "20/20" reported that Paulk was photographed coming out of a gay bar in Washington, D.C. He is still married, but stepped down from Exodus. His book about his own conversion from homosexuality is still being sold.

Like many of the attendees at the "Love Won Out" conference, Steve and Jennifer had hoped that conversion therapy would be effective. After Steve went through a Mormon therapy program, Jennifer made the tough call to stay in the marriage. They subsequently had two more children, but all along, Steve felt painfully trapped.

"There wasn't a 15-minute segment of any day that went by that I did not feel terrible inside my head," Steve said.

After 16 years of marriage, Steve admitted to Jennifer that he had been having a long-term affair with another married man. The couple has now been divorced for four years, and Jennifer has written a book called "My Ex Is Having Sex With Rex."

Jennifer says, in retrospect, one of her biggest regrets in life was to believe that her husband's sexuality could be changed by conversion therapy. She wishes churches would embrace anyone and everyone, but doubts that will ever be a reality.

"In a utopian world, the churches would open their arms and accept everybody in the world for who they are," she said, "but I don't believe that's going to happen."

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