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Exodus reverses their beliefs and abandons reparative therapy!

Part 4: 2013-JUN: President Alan Chambers apologizes
for harm done to LGBT community. Exodus to close.

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This topic is a continuation from the previous essay

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In this web site, "LGB" refers to lesbians, gays and bisexuals

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2013-JUN-19: President Chambers apologizes to the LGBT community:

Exodus International was once the main promoter of reparative therapy, a.k.a. conversion therapy. This was alleged to be a method of "changing" lesbians, gays and bisexuals and persuading them to "leave the homosexual lifestyle." Like so much of the evangelical community, much of Exodus' promotional material seemed to imply that LGBT individuals could change their sexual orientation to heterosexual.They would never be troubled by feelings of attraction to persons of the same gender. In reality, its primary -- perhaps its only -- results were:

  • A few bisexuals decided to ignore their same-sex attraction and stick with opposite-sex relationships;

  • A few lesbians and gays decided to remain celibate and lonely for the rest of their life without an intimate loving relationship;

  • A large number of lesbians, gays and bisexuals who entered various Exodus programs and emerged unchanged as lesbians, gays, and bisexuals, and

  • Many loving, committed same-sex relationships destroyed.

  • Many families of origin of lesbians, gays and bisexuals disrupted because parents were often blamed for clients' sexual orientation.

Over time:

  • pressure from increased support among the North America public towards equal rights for the LGB community, and

  • Increasing skepticism among national psychiatric and psychology associations, liberal faith groups, secularists, and even some evangelical Christians towards the safety and effectiveness of reparative therapy, and the "pray the gay away" ministries

Exodus International made a number of major reversals in their beliefs, teachings, and policies in mid-2012:

  • They no longer taught that reparative therapy is effective.

  • They taught than lesbian and gay adults will always have feelings of attraction to members of the same gender.

  • They taught that reparative therapy can be dangerous to one's mental health.

  • They taught that sexually active persons with same-sex attraction can still attain Heaven after death -- a heresy according to many religious conservatives.

On 2013-JUN-19, Alan Chambers, President of Exodus International posted a public apology on the Exodus web site titled "I am sorry." He wrote in part:

"Please know that I am deeply sorry. I am sorry for the pain and hurt many of you have experienced. I am sorry that some of you spent years working through the shame and guilt you felt when your [sexual] attractions didn’t change. I am sorry we promoted sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation that stigmatized parents. I am sorry that there were times I didn’t stand up to people publicly 'on my side' who called you names like sodomite -- or worse. I am sorry that I, knowing some of you so well, failed to share publicly that the gay and lesbian people I know were every bit as capable of being amazing parents as the straight people that I know. I am sorry that when I celebrated a person coming to Christ and surrendering their sexuality to Him that I callously celebrated the end of relationships that broke your heart. I am sorry that I have communicated that you and your families are less than me and mine. ..."

"Never in a million years would I intentionally hurt another person. Yet, here I sit having hurt so many by failing to acknowledge the pain some affiliated with Exodus International caused, and by failing to share the whole truth about my own story. My good intentions matter very little and fail to diminish the pain and hurt others have experienced on my watch. The good that we have done at Exodus is overshadowed by all of this.

Friends and critics alike have said it’s not enough to simply change our message or website. I agree. I cannot simply move on and pretend that I have always been the friend that I long to be today. I understand why I am distrusted and why Exodus is hated." 1

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2013-JUN-19: Decision to shut Exodus down:

After a year of discussion and prayer, their Board of Directors unanimously decided that Exodus International will shut down after 37 years of operation. This was announced on the first night of Exodus' 38th annual conference. The news appeared on their web site on the same day as President Chamber's apology. 2

Board member Tony Moore said:

"We’re not negating the ways God used Exodus to positively affect thousands of people, but a new generation of Christians is looking for change -– and they want to be heard."

Alan Chambers said:

"Exodus is an institution in the conservative Christian world, but we’ve ceased to be a living, breathing organism. For quite some time we’ve been imprisoned in a world view that’s neither honoring toward our fellow human beings, nor biblical.

From a Judeo-Christian perspective, gay, straight or otherwise, we’re all prodigal sons and daughters. Exodus International is the prodigal’s older brother, trying to impose its will on God’s promises, and make judgments on who’s worthy of His Kingdom. God is calling us to be the Father – to welcome everyone, to love unhindered."

Their plan is to terminate their relationships with their formerly affiliated ministries, and to start a new ministry whose goals are:

"... to reduce fear, and come alongside churches to become safe, welcoming, and mutually transforming communities."

They don't have a name for their new ministry. However, their new web site will be at www.reducefear.org. What remains to be seen is whether the many affiliates of Exodus and individual Christian congregations will accept the new ministry's outreach.

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2013-JUN-20: Oprah Winfrey Network broadcasting report on Exodus International:

OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network featured a special report titled "God & Gays." Host Lisa Ling was joined by a group of survivors of what OWN refers to as "the damaging practice of 'reparative therapy' as they confront Alan Chambers." Michael Bussee, a cofounder of Exodus was also featured on the program.

This is the third time that OWN has broadcast a program on Exodus.

An excerpt from the 2013 OWN program: Alan Chambers explains why he's saying "I'm Sorry" to the LGBT Community:

3

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This topic continues in the next essay

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Alan Chambers, "I am sorry," Exodus International, 2013-JUN-19, at: http://exodusinternational.org/
  2. "Exodus International to Shut Down," Exodus International, 2013-JUN-19, at: http://exodusinternational.org/
  3. "Sneak Peek: Alan Chambers Explains Why He's Saying "I'm Sorry" to LGBT Community," OWN Network, 2013-JUN-20, at: http://www.oprah.com/

Copyright © 2013 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Initial posting: 2013-JUN-20

Latest update: 2013-JUN-21
Author: B.A. Robinson

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