The Exodus Freedom Conference is in its first full day at Concordia University in Irvine, California. This morning, Beyond Ex-Gay and Soulforce held a press conference at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, at which three former ex-gay leaders apologized for their roles in Exodus-affiliated ex-gay ministries:
As former leaders of ex-gay ministries, we apologize to those individuals and families who believed our message that there is something inherently wrong withvbeing gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. Some who heard our message were compelled to try to change an integral part of themselves, bringing harm to themselves and their families. Although we acted in good faith, we have since witnessed the isolation, shame, fear, and loss of faith that this message creates. We apologize for our part in the message of broken truth we spoke on behalf of Exodus and other organizations.
We call on other former ex-gay leaders to join the healing and reconciliation process by adding their names to this apology.
We encourage current leaders of ex-gay programs to have the courage to evaluate the fruit of their programs. We ask them to consider the long-term effects of their ministry.
Among those apologizing were:
- Darlene Bogle, a former assistant pastor who had directed Paraklete Ministries in Hayward, California until she met her partner at a 1990 ex-gay workshop.
- Michael Bussee, who was a cofounder of Exodus International in 1975. He left Exodus after falling in love with another volunteer at an Exodus-affiliated ministry in 1979. He is now a frequent critic of Exodus, and was featured in a series of videos right here on Box Turtle Bulletin.
- Jeremy Marks, who had founded Courage U, which began as a classic ex-gay ministry before evolving into a gay-affirming organization.
You can find their full statements at Beyond Ex-Gay. Beyond Ex-Gay and Soulforce will be holding an Ex-Gay Survivor’s Conference June 29 to July 1 at the University of California at Irvine, literally just a few miles down University Blvd. from the Exodus conference.