13 responses

  1. a. mcewen
    May 21, 2010

    When someone like Michael takes the stance he does now, I think he realizes how much harm he caused. We should remember that and stop trying to tighten the screws so to speak.

    I guess if we followed that frame of mind, we need to give Mel White hell for his past association with Jerry Falwell. T

  2. Jarred
    May 21, 2010

    I’ve seen some of the comments expressing this sentiment about Michael. It’s something that actually causes me a great deal of discomfort. Whether Michael could have or should have spoken up sooner is moot. Until someone invents a time machine, we can’t go back and change the past. All we can do is make decisions in the hear and now and plan for the future. I’m thankful for what Michael has chosen to do in the here and now and his contributions towards building a better future.

  3. John in the Bay Area
    May 21, 2010

    Daniel makes a point that I was thinking about yesterday. Michael is stepping forward, being honest and taking his lumps for his founding and participating in Exodus. The easier path would have been to just drift off into obscurity.

    We’ve all been wrong at various points in our lives. How many of us have been willing to come forward so publicly and really take it on the chin for what we did and did not do?

  4. Candace
    May 21, 2010

    Many people don’t understand that someone who has accepted their gayness while been immersed in fundamentalism needs to learn literally how to live again. Confusion, depression and extremism can abound at that time, and the enemy would LOVE to pounce on it and use it for evil. Laying low for awhile may be a very smart thing to do.

    Not only that, but a wounded warrior needs at least a little time for their wounds to heal, before they head back into the battle.

    Only someone who had come from this background can understand the raw pain that the decision to embrace the Gay can cause. It’s almost always painful to come out, but fundamentalists are experts in seizing on and magnifying and drawng out the emotional pain of others.

  5. Michael Bussee
    May 21, 2010

    I sincerely appreciate these comments. I will continue to speak out whenever and wherever I can. Other ex-gay leaders and survivors are also speaking out. Here are some links:

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=198541255168&ref=mf#!/group.php?gid=166704399994&ref=ts

    http://beyondexgay.com/

  6. Zach
    May 21, 2010

    I appreciate and understand the compassion that people feel for Mr. Bussee however it upsets me that the same level of understanding and compassion doesn’t seem to be being offered to those who were directly and deeply effected by him and his organization and are having a hard time finding a way to forgive him.

    I’m one of those people. I won’t go into the sordid details of the hell I went through, Mr. Bussee knows. I DID share it with him. In response I got a very angry and defensive response that he was NOT going to continue apologizing for what he did. I didn’t ask for a continued apology. I simply asked for a personal apology. In my opinion, if he were truly acting Christian, he would apologize to each and every person who asked him for one without hesitation and without defensiveness, even if he had to do it a million times a million (I think that’s in the bible somewhere).

    Tim, on the other thread you asked me what more I thought he could have done in those early days after he left Exodus to get his word out, in a word before the internet and Facebook and Twitter. My answer to you is, he could have done EXACTLY what he did to PROMOTE his group. He could have gone on national TV and radio to share his truth.

    I made it clear that my issue with him was not when he was in Exodus in his own personal hell of confusion, denial and self-hate. It was when he left and went years before he spoke up publicly. Those were the years when he and his work were used against me, unbenowst to me or my parents that he had long since turned away from his words and lectures and publications that were still being used to destroy gay people. I actually tried to kill myself. No, not one of those attention seeking attempts. I REALLY tried, and failed to kill myself. I know I was just one of many. I don’t need anyone’s understanding or compassion at this point in my life. I’m really good with me without it. My concern is the lack of understanding and concern for those who had experiences like me, perpetrated by Bussee and Exodus who are still hurting deeply and aren’t ready or able to forgive just yet, if ever. They shouldn’t be attacked, scolded or shamed by you or anyone else who hasn’t gone through what they went through. They CERTAINLY deserve AT LEAST as much understanding and compassion as is being offered to Mr. Bussee.

  7. Michael Bussee
    May 21, 2010

    Zach — I don’t know if I am certain who you are, but if I became defensive with you, I am truly sorry. I have no right to expect anyone’s forgiveness.

    I certainly deserve whatever anger you may feel and you have every right to hold on to it. I have no desire to attack, scold or shame you.

    You are absolutely correct that I should have contacted every news outlet possible to apologize back in 1979. I deeply regret that I did not. If I could turn back time, I would do it.

    I personally apologize to you and anyone I harmed by believing that God expected anyone to try to “change”. If there is anything else I can do, I am completely willing to do it.

    msbussee@live.com

  8. Jarred
    May 21, 2010

    In my opinion, if he were truly acting Christian, he would apologize to each and every person who asked him for one without hesitation and without defensiveness, even if he had to do it a million times a million (I think that’s in the bible somewhere).

    Actually, I think you’re thinking of Jesus’s instructions to forgive the same person “seventy times seven times.”

    Though yes, the Bible also says that one should always ask for forgiveness and seek to restore those one has wronged as well.

    And please don’t take any of my comments as indicative of a lack of sympathy, understanding, or empathy towards you. I’m quite empathetic towards the pain you’ve been through.

  9. Zach
    May 21, 2010

    Michael, I’m sorry it took me so long to respond. I’ve just now been able to pull myself together long enough to type. I can’t believe the flood of emotions that your kind and sincere apology brought to the surface. I didn’t realize just how deeply this went for me or how much I really did need to hear your personal apology. It’s all I really ever wanted. I truly do forgive you. I never thought I would hear myself say that. I now understand what is meant when people say that forgiveness is for the forgiver, not for the forgiven. I feel as if a huge weight that I’ve carried for years has been lifted off of my shoulders.

    I want to repeat what I said earlier. I really do appreciate the visible, vocal stand that you’ve been taking. I never questioned your sincerity or your current commitment to making amends for past mistakes. It will never be enough for some people and that should be OK. Everyone has their own way of dealing with things. I would encourage others to be kind, gentle, patient and supportive of these wounded souls. Someday, with understanding and compassion, they may be able to let go and forgive and find peace as I have today.

    You cannot turn back time. You can’t put a fired bullet back into the chamber. You can only do what you can do today. I commend you for doing what you are doing and I encourage you to continue responding with kindness and compassion to those who angrily attack you. I don’t know why the response I got today was so different from the response I got the first time I shared my story with you. Perhaps I caught you in an uncharacteristic moment of frustration and anger. We’re all human after all. The moral of the story is to never give up on people. Always give a person just one more chance for redemption. The payoff can be enormous; for all involved.

    I will contact you personally. I would like to help you build bridges with other people who may share the anger and frustration that I once had.

    Blessings.

  10. Michael Bussee
    May 21, 2010

    Thank you, Zach, You don’t know how much that means to me. I suspect my intial defensiveness was my own un-resolved feeings of shame. I am embarrassed by it. I should have been more gracious — more Chrisian — as you just were to me.

    I am reminded of this quote: “‘To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was you.” — Lewis B. Smedes

    Whether we struggle to forgive others or to forgive ourselves, the release is wonderful when it comes. Blessings to you as well. I look forward to getting to know you. You made me really THINK.

  11. Zach
    May 21, 2010

    Actually Michael, Christianity was one of the casualties of my experiences in the fundamentalist church and the “ex-gay” “ministry” industry. I’m a humanist Buddhist now.

    I’m glad that you felt a sense of grace and compassion from me. Though it may have been Christ-like it wasn’t Christian. Unfortunately there seems to be a difference between being Christlike and Christian today. Maybe it’s been that way for a long time. I seem to recall Gandhi pointing out the disconnect.

    I only bring that up to make a larger point that I think needs to be seriously addressed in these talks about ex-gay ministries and in discussions about sexuality and faith. Alan Chambers and others often talk about how many gay “sinners” are being brought to Christ through their sexual reorientation ministries. We can debate the veracity of that opinion/statement but what I don’t think ANYONE can deny is that COUNTLESS (thousands upon thousands) more people are being driven AWAY from Christ and Christianity by these groups than could possibly be being drawn to them. I think the Bible talks about a special place in hell (not that I believe in hell) for those who lead people/push people away from Christ/God/salvation.

    I would love to see one of your excellent video interviews addressing this. Is this something that ever crosses the minds of the leaders of these ministries? Are they so convicted about their moral rightness on the evils of homosexuality that they don’t, or even can’t, see how many people they are driving away from the faith? Is it a conversation that needs to be had with them? Is a conversation that COULD be had with them? Who would be most likely to effectively deliver the message to them so that they could at least consider it?

    I did contact you personally by email.

  12. Fg68at
    May 21, 2010

    Typo: “9 to 10 _years_ silence”

  13. Michael Bussee
    May 21, 2010

    Zach, you asked:”Are they so convicted about their moral rightness on the evils of homosexuality that they don’t, or even can’t, see how many people they are driving away from the faith?”

    I am afraid the answer is yes. They can’t move away from their black-and-white moralistic thinking for fear of losing financial support. They have keep up their false claims of change to appease their consituency.

    You also asked: “Is it a conversation that needs to be had with them? Is a conversation that COULD be had with them?”

    I am afraid the answer to this one is “No”. People have tried. Even people from WITHIN Exodus have tried and more and more of them have dropped out in frustration and are becoming willing to say so. It will be nice to have their company.

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