By AT News Team, April 15, 2015: Seventh-day Adventist organizers have canceled the Holy Sexuality Conference, which was scheduled to take place in London at the end of April. Presenters from the United States were to speak on conversion therapy, a controversial counseling approach aimed at changing a person’s sexual orientation.
The event’s website originally stated: “Those who attend the conference will be able to hear the powerful stories and journeys of individuals who have gained victory and healing from same-sex attraction and are now faithful Seventh-Day Adventist Christians,” according to Pink News. Adventist Today could not verify this description because it has been replaced with a statement describing why the gathering was canceled.
Speakers were to include Mike Carducci, Wayne Blakeley and Danielle Harrison, reported Mashable.
The event attracted significant negative attention, including a Change.org petition opposing the conference. More than 40,000 people signed the online petition, which argued that the event would “promote the dangerous view that homosexuality is something to be cured.”
Seventh-day Adventist church leaders in the United Kingdom released the following statement:
“A decision was taken on Monday, 13 April to cancel the ‘Holy Sexuality’ Conference originally planned for London, 21-25 April 2015.
“Seventh-day Adventists are a people of peace who believe in hope and dialogue. However, it appeared that rather than drawing people together the conference had the potential to divide. The Adventist Church recognises that the individuals invited to speak at the Holy Sexuality Conference have compelling life stories to share but equally appreciate that there are those who take a different point of view.
“We are disappointed that in a society that values freedom of speech and divergence of opinion that there are those whose wish it is to silence individuals who hold a different point of view to their own. We do not believe that the potential disruptions that were being planned for this event would have been beneficial either to the participants or to our friends in the LGBT community. As such a decision has been made to cancel the event which had been locally organised by a group of members in the South London area.
“The Adventist Church strongly subscribes to a belief in freedom of speech. This also includes the freedom to hold different views. The Seventh-day Adventist Church seeks to minister to all men and women in the spirit of Jesus, recognising that every human being is valuable in the sight of God.
“As a Bible believing Church, the Seventh-day Adventist Church affirms the dignity of all human beings, and as a Church is well known for its commitment to community work both globally and locally in London.”