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Evergreen International is a complete resource for Latter-day Saints on same-sex attraction. Evergreen is a nonprofit organization that helps people who want to diminish same-sex attractions and overcome homosexual behavior. It is also a resource for their loved ones, professional counselors, religious leaders, and friends.
Evergreen is founded on the belief that the atonement of Jesus Christ enables every soul the opportunity to turn away from all sins or conditions that obstruct their temporal and eternal happiness and potential.
Evergreen attests that individuals can overcome homosexual behavior and can diminish same-sex attraction, and is committed to assisting individuals who wish to do so.
Evergreen provides education, guidance, and support to those involved in the transition from homosexuality, and is available as a resource to family, friends, professional counselors, religious leaders, and all others involved in assisting individuals who desire to change.
Evergreen sustains the doctrines and standards of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints without reservation or exception, but is not affiliated with the Church. Evergreen welcomes all people who wish to participate in the pursuit of these goals.
What Help Does Evergreen Offer?
Evergreen focuses on the following three priorities: referrals, resources, and education.
- Evergreen provides referral information on support groups, therapists, and other organizations available in your area. Their computer database is the world’s largest listing of resources that can help in the area of same-sex attraction. Experience shows that individual counseling is critical to overcoming problem areas that might otherwise go unresolved. Only licensed professionals who adhere to Evergreen's philosophy are included on their list.
- Thousands of people contact Evergreen by phone, e-mail, or through the Web site. E-mail messages are answered either in English or Spanish.
- Evergreen has over 50 affiliate support groups for men, women, spouses, friends, and family. Most are in the United States, although a growing number are in other countries. They maintain contact with group leaders, assist developing groups, and provide guidelines and support materials. See a list of the support groups affiliated with Evergreen.
- Printed information. Evergreen provides over a thousand information packets yearly and sells more than 1,500 books and other materials each year. They maintain a bookstore. They also have other materials in 20 languages, most of which appear in the language pages of their Web site. They also publish a newsletter, The Journey, six times a year.
- Web site. Their Web site gets more than 100,000 hits a year. It provides a wealth of information about overcoming same-sex attraction, including current events and personal testimonies. The content of the site is being translated into many languages.
- Independent writing. They encourage independent writing in magazines and books, and have assisted individuals get many books published in both English and Spanish.
- Library. Evergreen is the home of the Dr. Charles W. Socarides Memorial Library, a collection of nearly 500 books, articles, research papers, and audiovisual materials. They encourage people to donate items and to use it for individual study and research.
- Conferences. Evergreen sponsors an annual conference in September in Salt Lake City, Utah, with world-renowned speakers. These conferences are attended by about 500 men and women strugglers, therapists, church leaders, and family and friends.
- Seminars and firesides. They also present regional seminars and workshops throughout the year as needed. Firesides featuring local and national speakers are held every few months in Salt Lake City and in other areas.
- Speaker's bureau. They maintain a list of people who are available to speak at group meetings, workshops, or Church meetings.
- Training for Church leaders. Evergreen's Board of Trustees usually includes one or more emeritus General Authorities and they continue to build relationships with Area Presidencies and other Church leaders. Upon request, they provide training to hundreds of stake and ward leaders each year.
- Training for Therapists. Evergreen offers training for professional counselors and organizations.
What Evergreen Stands For
(From the Evergreen Web site. Used with permission.)
We support personal choice
Many people who experience same-sex attractions (SSA) choose not to act on those feelings and not to embrace a gay identity. In many cases, they also choose to affirm and develop their heterosexual desires and pursue their dream of raising a family. We respect and affirm their choice.
We support the individual's right to know
We do not seek to force our viewpoint on anyone, to tell others what they "should" do, or to shut down others' voices. We do work to raise awareness of alternatives to living a homosexual life–alternatives that many have found to be positive, life-affirming, and congruent with their values, morals and beliefs. We support freedom of information.
We support client self-determination
Individuals conflicted over their same-sex attractions have the right to decide whether to seek counseling or therapy, what kind of counseling to seek, to be made aware of all alternatives, and to determine the desired direction of their own therapy program. Professional organizations should enhance rather than inhibit the client's right of self-determination.
We advocate tolerance
Individuals who have transitioned out of a former gay identity and lifestyle, or who choose to pursue alternatives to homosexuality, deserve tolerance and acceptance. Their choices should not subject them to discrimination, ridicule, or marginalization, or make them the target of hate speech or accusations of homophobia. Demands for tolerance by one group can never justify intolerance or ridicule of another.
We advocate policy neutrality
All branches of government should avoid actions or decisions that would inhibit free speech about, or the practice of, freely chosen alternatives to homosexuality. Of particular concern are laws regarding hate crimes and sexual orientation that may be construed to make it illegal to promote or even speak about alternatives to homosexuality.
We claim equal access to public forums
We claim equal access to public forums to state our viewpoint, share our experience, and to raise awareness of alternative responses to a gay identity and lifestyle. This is particularly vital in cases where public schools address the issue of sexual orientation.
In the summer of 1989 in Salt Lake City, Utah, a group of eleven met to organize Evergreen. Believing that homosexual practices are not in keeping with the gospel of Christ, these individuals were frustrated with their experience in other organizations. They concluded there must be a solution other than destroying spiritual beliefs or denying sexual longings.
The next spring, this small group sponsored a conference to publicly attest to their belief and hope. The conference received national and international media coverage, and group members were invited to appear on the Phil Donahue Show, Larry King Live on CNN, and various local television and radio programs. This prompted public debate over the possibility of growth out of same-sex attraction. It also inspired interest in those who felt the truth of the principles promoted by Evergreen, and participation grew even more.
Support groups were formed for men and women struggling with homosexuality. Groups were also formed for spouses and for family and friends of those struggling. In 1992, the name Evergreen International was adopted as the name of the organization.
From this small group, Evergreen has grown to an international organization with affiliates in locations throughout the United States and in many other countries. See a list of the affiliates. See more complete history.
Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees is the governing body of Evergreen International, Inc. Their responsibility is to see that the organization is run in a professional manner on the corporate level. They do not usually become involved in the affairs of individual participants or affiliate units. Members of the board include current and former participants in Evergreen, mental health-care professionals, business leaders, and others.
The staff has the responsibility to support the work of the organization, provide for support activities to meet the needs of individuals within the organization, handle public relations, plan events (such as conferences and seminars), develop and distribute publications, conduct research and development, and develop and co-ordinate volunteer work (upon which the organization heavily depends). The Executive Director oversees all staff and administrative functions.