When “Boy Erased” Garrard Conley and his mother Martha checked-in to Love In Action conversion therapy residential center, in 2003, they had no idea they were joining a terrible history going back many decades. They were living in-the-moment, unaware of the countless thousands committed to mental institutions, “treated” with chemicals, electroshocks and lobotomies, and subjected to crazy aversion therapies. Nor were they fully aware of the historic religious persecution from old-time shunning to cult-like practices such as refined in their new Memphis sexual, Bible-based, “addiction” therapy center— Love In Action.
Garrard and his mother could not have foreseen the coming collapse of Love In Action amid rancorous pickets, national controversy, deeply concerned State mental health regulators and more than a year of litigation. They could never have even imagined the Reverend Smid who built and led Love In Action would one day resign, renounce conversion therapy altogether, divorce his wife of many years… and marry his male partner. Was it all just “nevermind”?
How could Garrard and his mother have known any of this?
It is the purpose of this site to educate the families and communities with the real documents, to gather the facts and to provide a sense of historical context that proves “you are not alone.”
This is “Archive Activism,” and it’s time the true stories were told.