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How the Ex-Gay Movement “Reaches Out In Love”

Jim Burroway

August 8th, 2008

Darlene Bogle  used to be a leader of an Exodus-affiliated ex-gay ministry. She was speaking at a religious conference in 1990 when she met the woman who would later become her partner. Darlene soon left the movement to built a life with Des. In 1996, Des was diagnosed with breast cancer, and she passed away in 2005. Last year, Darlene was one of three former ex-gay leaders to formally apologize for their roles in the movement.

Anthony Falzarano is another ex-gay ministry leader. He founded PFOX in 1996 with the help of the Family Research Council. He is now the head of Parents and Friends Christian Ministries. Last week, he wrote an email to Beyond Ex-Gay addressed to Darlene:

Darlene, I’m glad I ran across your blog. I still miss you. I am sorry to hear that your lover died of breast-cancer. Darlene is God sending you a message? Please consider coming back to Exodus. You are loved and missed. Why would God call you back to lesbianism, give you a lover and then take her away. I’m sorry that you are going through this. My heart is breaking right now but I believe that you belong to the Lord and “He chastizes the one’s that he loves”. I believe He is calling you back. If you want to talk I am here to listen. Please call me at [removed] if you want to talk. May God Bless You, Anthony Falzarano

“If you want to talk, I am here to listen,” he says. Darlene, it turns out, has a lot to say, and she’s saying it publicly. And yes, she’s as shocked as you are:

I was appalled when I read his words, which on the surface seem so compassionate. It was such a strong reminder of why I left Exodus and could never consider going back under their “umbrella of faith.” How arrogant of Anthony to send such a condemning statement as to ask if God was sending me a message! [Emphases in the original]

You can read Darlene’s full response at Christine’s web site.



Jason D
August 8th, 2008 | LINK

Is God sending you a message, Darlene? Yes, that message is “stay away from Anthony and his ilk”

Samantha Davis
August 8th, 2008 | LINK

Why would God call you back to lesbianism, give you a lover and then take her away.

I think the Bible had something to say about that. I seem to remember this not-so-insignificant part called the “book of Job.” Maybe Mr. Falzarano should brush up on it before he calls someone else a sinner because they went through a bit of suffering.

August 8th, 2008 | LINK

Darlene’s response is well worth the read. As for Anthony Falzarano and his ideas about “love,” I wouldn’t want anything to do with them, personally.

August 8th, 2008 | LINK

Is God sending Darlene and all of us a message? Yes, it is that these ex-gay closet cases are a bunch of insensitive, maladjusted, delusional crazies and you should stay away from them! What a textbook example of how Christians are called to NOT behave.

Richard Rush
August 8th, 2008 | LINK

So often I read/hear something like “I love the homosexual because God calls us to love….” For these people “love” is just a performance. It’s just a transparently phony act. And, oddly, they may not even realize it’s an act.

They allow religious indoctrination to define who they are, what they must believe, how they behave, and where they will go for eternity if they doubt any of it. Any doubts that do manage to surface, either from within themselves or from external sources, are seen as temptations from the “evil one” and must be removed like a cancerous tumor.

Richard Rush
August 8th, 2008 | LINK

“Darlene is God sending you a message?”

This is another Fundamentalist favorite tactic. We heard it after Katrina, after the recent fires in California, and the list goes on and on.

But year after year after year the Bible Belt gets pounded relentlessly by tornadoes, and I don’t recall hearing that a God was sending a message.

They will take any incident, and if they can possibly use it to propagate their beliefs, they will. Other inconvenient incidents are just ignored.

August 8th, 2008 | LINK

Richard: I think you bring up a good point. Though not all such incidents are ignored. I’ve seen many fundamentalist Christians claim that troubles in their own lives are just “Satan’s attempts to discourage them.”

Christine Bakke
August 8th, 2008 | LINK

I’m still planning to make a flow chart for fundamentalist Christians one of these days. It would help them decide whether God is punishing them for a sin (or has lifted his hand of protection), or if Satan is attacking them because they have been doing good work for God. If something good happens, my flow chart would help them determine if God is rewarding them or if Satan is leaving them alone because they are “lukewarm” in God’s sight. Something good could also be a reward from Satan for somehow disobeying God. And there are many more versions of this. It’s dizzying, really. I’m not sure how I did it for so many years.

August 8th, 2008 | LINK

Wow, maybe all those wives who had husbands die of prostate cancer were being given a message by God, too?

I am ex gay and christian but this idea by Falzarano is bizarre and mean. Does Falzarano understand that more women die each year of breast cancer than AIDS? And that those women are christians, wives, mothers, community leaders…etc… and yes lesbians!

To anyone who cares, I apologize for the comments made by Falzarano. And Darlene, I have read your story and am so sorry you had to lose someone you love.

August 8th, 2008 | LINK

Thank you one and all for the positive comments, viritual hugs and good wishes. I love you all, and pray that Anthony will one say see how much harm those words could inflict. Thank God I am at peace with my sexual orientation and my faith.

August 10th, 2008 | LINK

Sadly, Falzarano’s message is typical fare in the ex-gay movement. All one has to do is attend an Exodus International conference and you can hear Alan Chambers and others using the threat of Hell to coerce people into making “the personal choice to leave homosexuality.”

If Falzarano, Chambers and others say these sorts of things in public venues, I can only imagine the kind of abuse they heap on vulnerable people who seek out ex-gay ministries.

What might that look like? Check out the Youtube clip of John Smid on the Tyra Banks show – how Smid made people in the Love in Action facility create their own funerals (thanks to Peterson Toscano for exposing that).

August 10th, 2008 | LINK

People will seek out whatever they want. If they want to see Alan Chambers- then they will. Whether or not we agree with him is a person’s personal choice.

As far as the ex gay venue goes, not all ex gays tow the party line. Not all ex gays are like Falzarano. But many do choose to leave the homosexual life they had (not the one other gay people have) but the life they had – and they do something different.

As much as I dislike the conservative christian right throwing all homosexuals into the same boat – I also dislike homosexuals throwing all ex gays into the same boat. Some of us are just people like you who made a different decision with how we are going to live.

Mike Airhart
August 10th, 2008 | LINK

I nominate Mary to be honorary president of Exodus.

While we await the results of that nomination…. feel free to glance at my article:

Ex-Gay Anthony Falzarano Espouses Faith in A Death-God

I believe it is an act of moral cowardice for people to affiliate with Exodus so long as the organization’s leaders tolerate or affirm a culture of war and death that are is all that different from Falzarano’s worldview.

Mike Airhart
August 10th, 2008 | LINK

Oops, I meant “that is not all that different” in my previous comment’s last sentence.

Anthony Falzarano
August 29th, 2008 | LINK

Dear Darlene, I would not be so happy about the fact that you no longer feel conviction about living as a practicing lesbian. Romans Chapter 1 beginning about vs. 18 describes you now. I pray that you have not blsphemed the Holy Spirit. Keep doing what your doing Darlene and you will give an account to God for all the OTHER people you deceived into the gay lifestyle with you “gay theology”. The Word of God tells us that in the “last days” many will depart from the FAITH and will tell you what you want to hear VS. WHAT YOU NEED TO HEAR……….

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