The founder of one of the nation's largest conversion therapy ministries is asking for forgiveness after championing the "ex-gay ministry" for two decades.
McKrae Game, of South Carolina, in June announced he was gay. He had founded Hope for Wholeness, an organization promoting the widely discredited practice of faith-based therapy designed to switch a person's sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual. But Games, whose board of directors fired him two years ago, now says he wants all similar groups shut down for "harmful" practices.
"Conversion therapy is not just a lie, but it’s very harmful," Game, 51, told The Post and Courier. "Because it’s false advertising."
The Post and Courier said that Game had struggled with his sexual orientation since he became aware of it when he was young. A counselor convinced him that therapy would be able to suppress and even convert his orientation, the news outlet said.
In a lengthy Facebook post, Game shared about what plagued him as he tried to undo what he spent so many years doing.
"People reported to attempt suicide because of me and these teachings and ideals. I told people they were going to Hell if they didn’t stop, and these were professing Christians! This was probably my worse wrongful act," he wrote.
"The very harmful cycle of self-shame and condemnation has to stop," Game concluded. "It’s literally killing people!! Learn to love. Learn to love yourself and others."
But not everyone agrees with Game.
Dr. Christopher Doyle, a licensed clinical professional counselor that specializes in working with clients and families that experience sexual and gender identity conflicts, told Fox News Game is "emotionally unhealthy" and was "not properly trained" for the role he held at Hope for Wholeness for so many years, likely adding to his suffering.
Doyle, who did not work with Game professionally but has corresponded with him and attended a Hope for Wholeness conference under his leadership, said his 2017 termination was "undoubtedly" from "several nervous breakdowns and had an ongoing struggle with online pornography."
He also adds that "conversion therapy" is not a "mainstream practice by licensed, ethical counselors and psychotherapists that are trained to work with clients that experience sexual and gender identity conflicts," warning Game and others not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
"Let's separate the good from the bad and allow consumers to make good choices for their therapeutic needs," Doyle concludes. "When we clearly separate what is 'good therapy' from 'bad therapy' or pseudo-scientific counseling, potential harm is diminished and people can get the help they need."
Dr. Laura Haynes, a licensed psychologist in California who has testified before legislative committee hearings on the issue, told Fox News there are "important facts on the other side of the story about therapy that opponents call 'conversion therapy.'"
Haynes cites several reasons people opt for "change-allowing therapy," such as being unfulfilled, trying to uphold marriage and family, feel like same-sex attraction or behavior was forced on them by childhood sexual abuse, and/or they want to live according to their deeply-held religious beliefs.
"They have a right to love who they want and live as they choose, just like anyone else," Haynes said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.