Dear Jonah members,
Being that I will now get thrown off the list serve I will finally speak out. I am Benjy Unger, who is on the video speaking out against Jonah. I was in Jonah for a year. I did individual therapy with Alan every week, as well as group therapy every week. I have been exactly where all of you are. I grew up a regular frum guy. I went to all the mainstream yeshivos. I was in Eretz Yisroel for 2 years. All I ever wanted was to live a "normal" life with a wife and kids. I understand the struggle. I understand the desire to "change". I know how enticing it is to believe that you will change with reperative therapy. I truly do know all of this..Contrary to what Arthur and Elaine say to all of you, I am not a "gay crusader" or "gay activist". I am a simple guy who is gay and went through Jonah like all the rest of you. If you choose to go through Jonah and you truly believe in it then good for you and I wish you all the best. But I have every right to speak about the atrocities that reperative therapy has caused to many many people who have gone through it and the harm it has caused so many. The people on the video did not make these stories up. That is ridiculous. Why would I or anyone else publicly tell people about sexual abuse done to us without it being true. It does nothing but cause pain and embarrassment. But we felt the pros outweighed the cons because if it saves one person from such abuse then it is worth it.
Contrary to what Jonah tells you, living the "gay life" is anything but miserable and depressing. On the contrary; ever since I decided to be truthful to myself and realize this is who I am AND WHAT I WAS BORN WITH, I have been happier and more at peace with myself than ever. I have found true happiness and love. I am not "promiscuous" nor am I on drugs, not do I have AIDS, no do I have any self hate. I am simply who I am: a happy gay Jewish man. One thing I have come to realize is that a person can only fool himself for so long. Contrary to all the Jonah stereotypes, I never had a problem with masculinity. I always had a solid relationship with my father, and I am even closer to him than my mother. I always had great male relationships and did all the "guy" stuff like playing sports and hanging out with guys etc. These are all stereotypes from the reperative therapy movement. It is bogus. I know many openly proud gay men who fit none of these Jonah stereotypes. I know many openly proud gay men who are happier than any straight married person I know. Real happiness comes from self acceptance and self love, not from constant fighting yourself and making up issues that don't really exist. There is a whole world out there that is amazing for self accepting gay men and it is wonderful. Do not believe the propaganda that Jonah tells you. That's all it is : propaganda.
I am not saying being an openly gay Jewish man is easy. Its not. There were many obstacles in the way. It is still not really accepted in the orthodox world to be gay. But even that is changing. You guys saw the article of the rabbis who said that being gay is OK and MOST mental health professionals agree that reperative therapy doesn't work AND is harmful. Please do not tell me that these rabbis are part of the "gay agenda". We all know they are not. They have all heard of Jonah. They know about the therapy. All that has happened is people are starting to open their eyes.They realize just because we've had the same stereotypes about gay people for so long doesn't meant that they are right! I almost cried when I read that letter. Because I am finally seeing a world changing for the better. A world where you can be who you are without fear of thinking you are sick, or thinking that you need to work your entire life to "change". It's truly beautiful. And all I'm telling all of you is that at least open your minds. Don't just follow everything you were told and taught till now. If you ultimately decide that reperative therapy is the truth then go for it! You have every right. But the least you can do for yourself is to see what is out there. See what will make you at peace and happy with yourselves. It's the least you can do. Because you all are worth it.
Ending off, I want to say that I do not wish to harm or hurt anyone who does attend Jonah. It is your life and your choice. But I do have a right to voice my experiences and my opinions on Jonah as well. Jonah always preaches open mindedness and acceptance of all people; yet they try to silence any person who dares to challenge them as "gay crusaders". This is open mindedness? This is acceptance of opinion? Do not be blinded people. I am willing to have a civil conversation with each and every one of you if you so choose. No threats, no bashing, no "propaganda". Just the truth.
I wish you all much hatzlacha and may you all find true happiness within yourselves.
Benjy and I years later, and in case you were wondering, we are not a couple.