25/01/2019 07:55 GMT | Updated 25/01/2019 10:06 GMT

Former 'Conversion Therapist' Divorces Wife And Comes Out As Gay

David Matheson says he has "embarked on a new life-giving path".

A prominent so-called ‘gay conversion therapist’ in the US has announced he will divorce his wife of 34 years after coming out as gay.

David Matheson, from Utah, was a member of the ex-gay movement and created a course discredited by medical professionals, which claimed it could change the sexuality of its students.

Acknowledging his past actions were harmful, Matheson, a practicing Mormon, told the LGBTQ nonprofit Truth Wins Out on Sunday that he has “embarked on a new life-giving path that has already started a whole new growth process”.

He blamed his views on the “shame-based, homophobic” system of the church he was raised in as he revealed he had to make “substantial changes” in his life.

“I continue to support the rights of individuals to choose how they will respond to their sexual attractions and identity,” he added. “With that freedom, I am now choosing to pursue life as a gay man,” he said.

In a follow-up Facebook post earlier this week, he wrote: “I enjoyed a happy and fulfilling marriage with my wife for many years. Overall, it was a beautiful relationship and being straight became a core part of my identity.

“But I also experienced attractions to men. Much of the time these were in the background. But sometimes they were very intense and led to pain and struggle in my marriage.”

His announcement came as another conversion therapist, Rich Wyler, revealed in a private Facebook group that Matheson had “gone from bisexuality to exclusively gay” and was “seeking a male partner.”

In 2013, Matheson published a book called ‘Becoming a Whole Man’, which is described as “the result of a six-year quest to understand and respond to the most difficult challenges facing men with unwanted homosexuality.”