Desert Stream Ministries (DSM) is an ex-gay ministry that promotes homophobia under the guise of offering counseling, support, and healing for “men and women seeking Jesus in light of unwanted same-sex attractions.” The organization was established in 1980 in Southern California, an outgrowth of the Jesus movement and a critical breeding ground for the nascent “ex-gay” movement.
Andrew Comiskey, DSM’s founder, promotes four programs to “cure” homosexuality. Living Waters is a 20-lesson program taught in a closed-group format. CrossCurrent is an “introductory” level group for people exploring options in the “ex-gay” movement. Falling Forward is a 20-week support group “for men struggling with pornography, lust, masturbation and other forms of habitual sexual behavior,” and Men Pursuing Purity is a shorter, 8-week version of the same.
According to the organization’s website, groups affiliated with DSM meet at over 50 locations across the U.S. Desert Stream also has a global presence and Comiskey makes frequent trips abroad to train leaders and help expand the organization’s work.
DSM’s work has been controversial for years, and in 1998, Desert Stream was sued for allegedly abusing a teenager undergoing “ex-gay” counseling. The case was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.
In a position statement in 2000, the American Psychiatric Association warned that “the potential risks of reparative therapy are great, including depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior . . . Many patients who have undergone reparative therapy relate that they were inaccurately told that homosexuals are lonely, unhappy individuals who never achieve acceptance or satisfaction.”