Box Turtle Bulletin

Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
This article can be found at:
Latest Posts

Ex-Gay Leader: “99.9% Have Not Experienced A Change In Their Orientation”

Jim Burroway

January 9th, 2012

Exodus International President Alan Chambers appeared on a surprise panel Friday night at the Gay Christian Network’s annual conference on Orlando with former ex-gay leader Jeremy Marks, Exodus critic and ex-gay bridge-builder Wendy Gritter, and former Love In Action executive director John Smid. The panel was announced with little notice on Friday, catching many ex-gay survivors at the conference off-guard. GCN has posted audio of that panel discussion (Part 1part 2). In the opening minutes of part 2, Chambers addresses the criticism that Exodus and other ex-gay ministries promise change in sexual orientation:

I think it’s a fair criticism from the past. If there are member ministries today that are promising something that I’m not aware that they’re promising, I’d want to know some specifics. I hear a lot of generalities, but I value specifics. And that’s something that does concern me because the fact of the matter is, and I feel like I’ve been very upfront and clear, both in the media, at conferences, anytime I have the opportunity to write about it, about the fact that I believe the slogan “Change is Possible,” for those of us who are Christians we do understand that when you come into a relationship with Christ all sorts of things are possible.

The majority of people that I have met, and I would say the majority meaning 99.9% of them, have not experienced a change in their orientation or have gotten to a place where they could say that they could never be tempted or are not tempted in some way or experience some level of same-sex attraction. I think there is a gender issue there, there are some women who have challenged me and said that my orientation or my attractions have changed completely. Those have been few and far between. The vast majority of people that I know do still experience some level of same-sex attraction.

And so that’s something, I think, I can’t be any clearer about that. …I hope that we’re coming to a place where we are a much more honest group of people, that when we talk about “Change is Possible,” we are very, very clear about what change means in our lives.

Last November, there were reports that Chambers was considering a modification of their message. At that time, I noted that Exodus has flirted with the idea of retooling its message before. The main message from Exodus has centered on changing from homosexuality to heterosexuality (however loosely defined that change may be). But there has been an underlying theme “the opposite of homosexuality isn’t heterosexuality, it’s holiness,” which leaves open the idea that becoming straight isn’t the goal. Chambers has been giving variations on that theme since at least 2007. He surprised supporters and critics alike in 2009 when he told the Los Angeles Times, “By no means would we ever say change can be sudden or complete.”

It’s unclear whether this is a further tweaking of that theme or if it represents a marked change in message for the organization. So far, it looks more like a clarification similar to others that he has made when pressed about what change means. The only difference this time is his admission that “99.9%” don’t change. It will be interesting to see is if Chambers repeats his past pattern of clarifying his remarks in ways that bring them closer to more orthodox ex-gay messages. After all, If it does represent a marked change in message for Exodus International, it remains to be seen how this change would go down among the mostly-Evangelical churches which provide the bulk of financial support for Exodus International.

A concurrent story to Chambers’s appearance at GCN is the controversy that surrounded the surprise panel at the conference. A very large number of GCN members are ex-gay survivors, and many of them felt blindsided by the conference. According to some of them who took to Facebook and Twitter to vent their anger, many of them first found out about the panel not form GCN but from a post earlier that day at Ex-Gay Watch. No ex-gay survivors were part of the panel discussion to provide counterpoint to Chambers’s presence, a move which strikes this writer as reminiscent of examples in history where conferences and panels discussed the issues surrounding homosexuality as a mental illness without the participation of a single gay person.

GCN Executive Director Justin Lee spent the first fifteen minutes of the panel discussion addressing the controversy, incorrectly identifying XGW as among those who called him “naive” for hosting the panel discussion. He described the panel as an optional event, and urged those who didn’t feel comfortable remaining in the room to excuse themselves and attend an alternative event for ex-gay survivors. Insiders and social media commenters, some of whom say they are undergoing counseling for PTSD and other disorders as a result of having been part of an ex-gay ministry, complain that the alternative event was hastily organized by survivors themselves at the last minute after GCN failed to organize an alternative to the panel. Lee addressed the controversy this way:

I believe in seeing people’s humanity. I believe even in the midst of strong disagreement in saying you are my brother, you are my sister in Christ. I want to understand you. I want to understand where you’re coming from no matter how much I disagree with you because you’re a human being and God loves you. And I want to love you too even though I disagree with you. That’s important to me. That’s part of what I do.

…One part of me is I want to look at the world from Alan’s perspective and I want to say Alan I respect you as my brother, I respect what you’re trying to do what you think is right even though I disagree with you, and I love you because God loves you, and have this “kumbaya” moment. And there’s another part of me that’s like I’m really, really angry about a lot of things that have happened in Exodus and other ex-gay ministries.

Comments

POST COMMENT | COMMENT RSS 2.0

PC
January 9th, 2012 | LINK

Just visited the Exodus website. One of the FAQs (“What Does Exodus Believe About Sexual Orientation & Change” has the following:

“’Is change in homosexuality even possible?’ We know this to be true from the thousands of individuals within our network who have experienced it.”

“Spitzer released the results of his study in 2001, which interviewed 200 men and women who have experienced a significant shift from homosexual to heterosexual attraction, and have sustained this shift for at least five years.”

“Our network is comprised of many former homosexuals …”

“Exodus does not have a compiled body of data that notes a “success rate” over its thirty-year history, but anecdotal evidence is similar to what other groups dealing with life-dominating issues such as Alcoholics Anonymous seem to show. About one third of the individuals who come to an Exodus member ministry turn from homosexual behavior towards heterosexuality whether that includes marriage or celibacy in singleness.”

“These conclusions directly contradict the claims of critics who state that change in sexual orientation is impossible and attempting to pursue this alternative is likely to cause depression, anxiety or self-destructive behavior.”

Sorry, but that sounds like the same old crap. Chambers reminds me of a politician – tailor your message for your audience.

Coxhere
January 9th, 2012 | LINK

“The opposite of homosexuality is holiness.” This lie is even more outrageous than “get saved and turn str8.” The product is even worse. With this new mantra, God’s Gay Children are directly called sub-human, evil creatures. There’s no implication here. God’s Gay Children are unholy, evil sinners. So, here’s a question: What’s the opposite of hetrosexuality?

Kathy Baldock
January 9th, 2012 | LINK

I was there, I am writing. My input will be up later. K

Muscat
January 9th, 2012 | LINK

PC,

Chambers gives himself an out in the complete statement (rather than the part quoted for the headline) that makes it consistent for Exodus to keep up the claims from the Spitzer study (although they are, of course, still problematic regardless):

“…have not experienced a change in their orientation or have gotten to a place where they could say that they could never be tempted or are not tempted in some way or experience some level of same-sex attraction.”

IOW, what he apparently means in reference to the “99.9%” is one of two things: (1) 99.9% have not become a 0 on the Kinsey scale or (2) 99.9% fall into one of two categories – one of not experiencing change at all or one of experiencing change but not becoming a 0 on the Kinsey scale.

Dr. Jallen Rix
January 9th, 2012 | LINK

Thanks Jim for your astute reporting, as always. As an ex-gay survivor, and a professional that regularly helps people put the pieces of their life back together after going through this kind (ex-gay) of religious abuse, this panel smacks of the kind of stunt the media pulls – get the most controversial person we can find, kind of put them on the spot, their’s a preoccupation with labels, and then say “wasn’t that wonderful!” No real specialists in the field of ex-gay abuse to give perspective is anywhere to be found. None of the leading supportive organizations were notified ahead of time even when there is evidence that it was in the works for at least a month (it’s like having a conference full of sexual abuse victims, and then the leadership springs it on everyone that they’re going to interview a predator on stage – what?). Not a survivor on the panel, and the harm these “ministries” have unleashed was barely addressed. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure some good things will come of it, maybe. It is questionable if the real work of shame-recovery was really benefited, though, I suppose everyone involved with the panel is patting themselves on the back – including Alan.

Timothy (TRiG)
January 9th, 2012 | LINK

Is there a reason people weren’t warned he’d be there? That sort of surprise can trigger a very nasty reaction. As you said, some people suffered PTSD.

I don’t think I’d object to his being there, but why on earth was there no warning?

TRiG.

Randy
January 9th, 2012 | LINK

I was not able to make it to the GCN conference this year. I have gone before, but as a college student with a limited budget, I couldn’t afford to fly to Orlando.

Personally, I can think of many reasons why the panel would not have been announced earlier, but even if everything was booked a long time in advance, if I were organizing this conference I would be worried Chambers would back out. It is not the kind of thing you would want to announce and then tell people after they got to the conference “oh no he is not coming”.

As for not having an ex-gay survivor on the panel, I think it is unfair to compare that to past “mental illness” panels. This Gay Christian Network conference panel would be a hostile enough environment to Chambers; do you really think adding another ex-gay survivor to it would help? After all, why on earth would you not count John Smid and Jeremy Marks?

I can understand why some people would be upset with GCN, but they have done so much good for me and others in our community, please give them a break.

Karen
January 9th, 2012 | LINK

The concept “Its not about heterosexuality; its about holiness” has been around in the ex-gay movement since at least 1995 when I heard it as a brand new ex-gay participant.

Most ministries sincerely believe that is their goal. However, they do not realize how that concept is undermined by focusing week after week on workbooks that go through addressing childhood issues and masculinity/femininity in order to get to the “roots of homosexuality.”

Its not a deliberate contradiction. It is unfortunately terribly easy to intellectually assent to a concept and not realize to the extent it undermined by what one does in a group. Even if one doesn’t undermine it as such, nothing can compete with the earnest heart that desperately wants to believe that change is possible.

Timothy Kincaid
January 9th, 2012 | LINK

I am appreciative of the concerns of survivors and I wish that better organization had prepared for the feelings of betrayal and shock.

And I am appreciative of those who have patiently been waiting for Exodus to take full responsibility and are frustrated at the long, tortuous, and snail’s paced path they have selected.

That being said, I am delighted at the dialog. For what I believe is the first time, Exodus and Alan approached a gay group (and GCN is definitely a gay group, whether Side A or Side B) without the presumption that they were “living a homosexual lifestyle”. For the first time, there was an effort at reaching fellowship rather than winning a battle of public relations or serving as a tool for the Holy Spirit to convict of sin (the role that Christians often seem to like to adopt).

And that is worth celebrating.

Gail Dickert
January 9th, 2012 | LINK

As a survivor of reparative therapy and a person who works with other survivors, I have much to say on the topic but first want to pose one simple question to the readers of this controversy: If one person was re-traumatized by this, was it worth it?

I can attest that at least several people have reached out to me and were traumatized by this move! Personally, I am offended by the notion that once again the Christian community proves to have little to no social and emotional intelligence to respect the voice of its victims.

Who is GCN or Justin Lee to be championing this cause without any consult to the people who have been working with survivors for years? We know what we have been through and contrary to GCN’s beliefs, we don’t need a self-appointed savior stepping in and claiming to do this in the name of reconciliation.

I can only imagine what it was like to be in that room and know that Alan Chambers, the man who is currently behind the organization responsible some of the most gruesome spiritual and psychological tactics used against me, was given a voice to discuss his position while I was told I could “leave if it made me too uncomfortable.”

And all this, in a “safe place” at a GCN conference…

There is a lot of explaining to be done but frankly, there is a high chance that the people who Justin/GCN would want to explain himself to, aren’t going to be listening anymore. And why should they?

Treating survivors like victims: That’s what this does when the panel is closed to questions, the people aren’t warned, professional support is not provided and the only announcement that can be produced from GCN is a short video about how tired and blown away the leadership is…

Well guess what? Survivors are too. Tired of being forgotten and blown away by the notion that we were used as pawns for some cause. Worse yet, you fed us to the wolves. How Alan Chambers will spin this will be almost unbearable. Trust us, we know… we under his leadership and people like him for years! We are the survivors!

Thank you so much for this post. The metaphor about the mental health panels was perfect. I would enhance it with the metaphor of having a KKK leader at an NAACP gathering and letting the African American people know they could leave the room if they were uncomfortable…

This is a controversy that will only be resolved when survivors are heard… and after that, only time will tell.

Gail

College Jay
January 9th, 2012 | LINK

I was there, and from everything I have heard from the conference staff, Alan Chambers’ attendance was not 100% certain until the morning of the panel. Justin announced it at the opening session on Friday, and he made it clear that Alan would not be walking around the hotel and no one was going to bump into him randomly. He was going to only be at the optional panel, and nowhere else. XGW didn’t report the story until after Justin announced it at the opening session.

The majority of the conference attended the panel. While Justin Lee never said that Chambers would attend beforehand (since, like I said, he didn’t know for sure until the last minute), he did put out an e-mail to all attendees, saying that Exodus people might be around the conference since Orlando is, after all, the ex-gay capital of the world, and the conference has an open-door policy.

David L Rattigan
January 9th, 2012 | LINK

“… there was an effort at reaching fellowship rather than winning a battle of public relations …”

Really? What I heard were the same old semantic games and deceptions. For Alan, it was all about PR.

Charles
January 9th, 2012 | LINK

The fact is that some people feel compelled to come to these groups that promise to change them into what society considers “normal” people. It is sad. You can’t pray the gay away. And, no, I did not ask to be gay.

David Roberts
January 9th, 2012 | LINK

Exodus and Alan approached a gay group (and GCN is definitely a gay group, whether Side A or Side B) without the presumption that they were “living a homosexual lifestyle”.

I’m curious, how do you know that to be so?

 

Timothy Kincaid
January 9th, 2012 | LINK

How about

Exodus and Alan approached a gay group (and GCN is definitely a gay group, whether Side A or Side B) without the assertion that they were “living a homosexual lifestyle”.

In either case, I see this as a net positive.

David Roberts
January 9th, 2012 | LINK

Exodus and Alan approached a gay group (and GCN is definitely a gay group, whether Side A or Side B) without the assertion that they were “living a homosexual lifestyle”.

If by that you mean he did not say it, then yes.  I don’t see that as any major accomplishment.  He has often kept his tongue when the venue required it, only to let it loose again later.

The best I can say about the entire affair is “nothing new.”  Talk is cheap, especially when one is desperate. 

Timothy Kincaid
January 9th, 2012 | LINK

David,

You and I are going to differ on this one. I see it as progress rather than more of the same.

I really can’t imagine Alan “validating the homosexual activist lifestyle” – as some of our more colorful opponents might put it – just a few years ago. I do think that he’s grown and that the ex-gay movement as a whole has grown.

That may be delusion on my part, but you know I’m not unaware of Exodus or its history. (And once upon a time it was a central focus of my writing as I seem to recall – he he). And even if I’m overly generous in my interpretation of motivation, I still see it as a positive step.

If we aren’t at the same place on this then I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree. As friends and allies, we can do that.

David Roberts
January 9th, 2012 | LINK

Sure, we can agree to disagree as we do on some other things, I”m just trying to understand the source of your jubilation.

I really can’t imagine Alan “validating the homosexual activist lifestyle” – as some of our more colorful opponents might put it – just a few years ago.

At what point did he “validate the homosexual activist lifestyle” and how? 

He has made statements that could be taken that way before, but they never really meant much, were usually reversed by other statements or did not translate into actions.  But I’m curious as to what exactly you see as special this time.

Timothy Kincaid
January 9th, 2012 | LINK

I don’t think that Alan would have shown up to a gay conference a few years ago.

David Roberts
January 9th, 2012 | LINK

I don’t think that Alan would have shown up to a gay conference a few years ago.

Perhaps, but then again they weren’t broke a few years ago.  And they weren’t desperately trying to take the edge off their negative reputation in order to be (in Alan’s words) more “donor accessible.”  The “bridge building” movement had not gained strength and co-opted some of their oldest allies a few years ago.  And John Smid had not impressed Alan with the positive results of his “apology” a few years ago.  And I honestly don’t see Alan’s simply attending the panel to be an indication that he is “validating the homosexual activist lifestyle.” 

My point is that the facts seem to indicate a much more likely scenario than the one you posit, one that is consistent with Alan’s previous actions and beliefs. 

Karen
January 9th, 2012 | LINK

I have to agree with Timothy that this was a great opportunity. After listening to the entire panel discussion, it seems to have gone very well and the audience did not seem at all traumatized. In fact at the end of it the clapping went on for quite some time. And amid the seriousness, there were several light moments.

I admire Justin for being able to do what I struggle to do–and that is approach Alan like a true Christian. Loving one’s opponent. Justin was a model of grace while still seriously challenging Alan. In fact, I was amazed at what an opportunity this was to really express concerns people have to Alan directly–face to face. In 2007, Alan would not meet with ex-gay survivors when ex-gay survivors asked him to do so. The fact that he would come to this panel where he knew he would not be liked is a significant step and took courage on his part. And he had to reckon with very pointed questions. The panel really was a gracious way of confronting him.

Also Justin is completely right that people’s minds are not changed by perpetuating walls and hostilities. People change their minds when they encounter reasonable discussion where they feel respected. Those who are too angry to see the value in this dialogue, ironically, are actually encouraging Exodus to dig in its heels. Whereas Justin’s approach might actually encourage change in perspective

But then maybe some are not really concerned about Exodus changing. Maybe its more about venting anger. I get that. I have my own anger to deal with in regards to how Exodus leadership has handled things. But, I recognize within myself that what Justin has is the greater thing. And it is to that place I aspire.

Karen
January 9th, 2012 | LINK

PS–for those who feel it was traumatic to have him there–I understand that. But, it can also be a very powerful thing for a “victim” to be able to confront and express grievances to a “perpetrator”. This panel may have actually been cathartic for those who wished they could have confronted Alan but never had the opportunity in this way.

Aaron
January 10th, 2012 | LINK

I agree with Karen, as an ex-gay survivor who was present at the conference I can attest to the feelings of closure which I felt seeing Allen desperately attempt to defend the undefendable.

PC
January 10th, 2012 | LINK

College Jay said: “While Justin Lee never said that Chambers would attend beforehand (since, like I said, he didn’t know for sure until the last minute), he did put out an e-mail to all attendees, saying that Exodus people might be around the conference since Orlando is, after all, the ex-gay capital of the world, and the conference has an open-door policy.”

In my mind there is a massive difference between saying ‘Exodus people might be around because, hey, it’s Orlando’ and ‘We’ve invited Alan Chambers to be on a panel discussion’. The two simply aren’t even remotely equivalent.

There is a massive difference between saying ‘when you are swimming you should always be aware of your surroundings’ when you really mean ‘we’ve placed a hungry shark in your swimming pool’. Perhaps not the best analogy but you get the point.

Hyhybt
January 10th, 2012 | LINK

” If one person was re-traumatized by this, was it worth it?”—The “if even one…” tactic is unreasonable every time and place it’s used. The only proper way, ever, is to compare positive and negative. That a medicine sometimes saves a life is no reason to keep it on the market if for every one it saves, it kills ten others. In this case, it’s not just a matter of “if one person was re-traumatized, but of the total effect on everybody involved. From all I’ve heard, the event benefitted several who had been through ex-gay programs. That doesn’t necessarily mean that benefit was worth any harm that may have been done, but neither does the harm mean it *wasn’t* worth the benefit. And, on reading the rest of this post, I find it hard to believe you bothered actually listening to the event before deciding what its results must be.

“Is there a reason people weren’t warned he’d be there?”—As I understand it, they have a longstanding policy of keeping conference speakers a surprise.

Priya Lynn
January 10th, 2012 | LINK

Hyhybt said “” If one person was re-traumatized by this, was it worth it?”—The “if even one…” tactic is unreasonable every time and place it’s used. The only proper way, ever, is to compare positive and negative. That a medicine sometimes saves a life is no reason to keep it on the market if for every one it saves, it kills ten others.”.

I disagree. If a medicine on the market has no effect on 10 people and helps one person it is worth doing. Just as if a hate crimes law prevents even one person from being murdered it is worth it.

Gail Dickert
January 10th, 2012 | LINK

To clarify, I did listen… for as long as I could, but hearing people talk ABOUT survivors without one survivor being given an opportunity to even discuss what this whole movement has done, was traumatizing. I have a feeling even the former leaders who were involved will one day say, “Wow, we got so good at silencing victims, we sat on a stage with Alan Chambers and allowed it to happen all over again.” People need to understand exactly what “damage” is done by this movement, not sit around for an hour and discuss what “gay” really means. When did Christians become so preoccupied with labels rather than relationships? Sad story. The truth is MANY were re-traumatized by this and MANY do not trust GCN because of this move. It wasn’t worth it…

Steve
January 10th, 2012 | LINK

Engaging these clowns only legitimizes them. They are hucksters, scammers and con artists. Why should they be given any respect whatsoever?

The one and only reason why they are “reaching out” is because their business is in danger. They are discredited and as a result their baseline is hurting. That’s ALL there is to it. Their “rebranding” is a business decision to continue selling snake oil. And inviting them and discussing things with them helps them sell it

Karen
January 10th, 2012 | LINK

Gail–I agree that an ex-gay survivor on the panel would have been a good thing. Although Justin who facilitated is an ex-gay survivor and he shared many of his own feelings and concerns and spoke about many of the concerns that ex-gay survivors have. Also, he was reading questions from people who submitted them who are ex-gay survivors. Also, not everyone experiences the movement in the same way. So, the fact that you were not able to understand the importance on the discussion of the term “gay” doesn’t mean it wasn’t in fact a significant concern for many.

There is much I disagree with about the direction Exodus has gone in that makes me angry. However, I do not feel traumatized from my experiences. In fact, my ex-gay group ended up being the one place I could actually talk about what was happening to me (I was attending a very conservative Baptist college at the time). So “ex-gay survivor” and “trauma” are not synonymous. Maybe it was traumatic for you, but for others it had fruitful aspects. I remember at the ex-gay survivor conference in 2007 that many were able to articulate positive aspects of their experience, in addition to things that may have been hard.

As most people, but not all, I was an adult when *I* made the decision to go to an ex-gay group. No one forced me. No one required me to continue going for two years or to go to conferences. I know some people were in programs where more traumatic things might have occurred, but the reality is most of us made the personal decision to participate. And at some point, we have to take ownership of our own lives and say, “You know what, I made a bad decision. Live and learn.” Even challenges in life teach us much. Living life as a victim keeps us from being empowered to take control of our own lives.

Priya Lynn
January 10th, 2012 | LINK

I disagree Karen. Acknowledging the reality that one has been victimized does not prevent a person from taking control of their life.

Karen
January 10th, 2012 | LINK

Priya Lynn,
I see a difference between acknowledging being victimized vs. living a life as a victim.

Priya Lynn
January 10th, 2012 | LINK

Okay, I just got the impression from your post that you didn’t think people had a right to acknowledge that they’ve been victims.

David Roberts
January 10th, 2012 | LINK

Karen, I don’t see much room for mercy in your attitude toward victims. In my experience, people who overly emphasize the “you shouldn’t live as a victim, it was your own decision” idea reflect a particularly harsh frame of mind used to deal with their own pain. If one tends to blame oneself for a thing, one tends to blame others for their issues as well.

Ex-gay ministries are designed to be evangelistic, to draw confused people in. Is it any surprise that many are in the thick of it before realizing that they have been duped? And if that is the truth of the matter, then that will be empowering to the victim, not some tough-love talk about taking responsibility. Let them take responsibility going forward.

Gail Dickert
January 11th, 2012 | LINK

Fact check: Justin Lee is not a survivor of reparative therapy from all I have read and the people who I’ve asked who have worked with him.

JM
January 11th, 2012 | LINK

I am an ex-gay survivor, and I was at the conference. I actually thought that this panel was an amazing surprise that brought healing to me. Will Alan backtrack on his words? Probably. But, if you look at the history, every time he goes out on a limb and then backtracks, it still inches him slightly closer to the truth. There is no way he would have said many of these things a few years ago.

As far as all of the talk about traumatized conference attendees, I didn’t see any of that. The room was full, and everyone seemed fine to me. Everyone was respectful and mature. I am sure that there are people who didn’t go. Everyone knew in plenty of time to make that choice. This was no secret by the time people walked into the ballroom. Honestly, if just knowing that Alan Chambers is in a ballroom somewhere traumatizes you, that seems a bit overly dramatic. I suppose that these people do know that Alan Chambers is alive and is, at all times, somewhere. No one was forced or coerced to actually be in his presence.

Hyhybt
January 11th, 2012 | LINK

Priya Lynn: please re-read my comment you replied to. I spoke of a medicine that *kills* ten for every one it saves, not a medicine that merely has no effect on those ten.

Yes, that might be hard to measure. That’s not the point. The point is that it’s wrong to phrase things such that, if there is ever any positive result, the whole thing is by definition worthwhile no matter how much negative result there also is (or vice versa). It’s the NET effect that anything should be judged by. In the case at hand, there were people who benefitted by this event, and any fair judgement will take that into account along with any who have been harmed.

Priya Lynn
January 12th, 2012 | LINK

Hyhybt said “Priya Lynn: please re-read my comment you replied to. I spoke of a medicine that *kills* ten for every one it saves, not a medicine that merely has no effect on those ten.”

Yes, I realize that is what you said, I was just making the point that sometimes it is true that if it helps only one person it is worthwhile. I got the impression from you that you felt such a statement is never valid.

I get your point, its the total net effect that matters, on this we agree. I don’t know that I accept that there were people at this event who benefited but if that were the case I’d agree with you.

JM
January 12th, 2012 | LINK

Priya Lynn, I just stated that I was at the event and I benefited. Several other people who were there said the same thing.

Priya Lynn
January 12th, 2012 | LINK

Okay, got you JM.

David Roberts
January 12th, 2012 | LINK

@JM, So in other words, the ends justified the means? That is rarely true, and almost never, if ever, in the Church.

I’m also amazed that people talk about this as though Alan has never been confronted with such questions before. This is one in a long line of confrontations, both private and public. Getting closure over watching him be grilled again seems rather base. It certainly isn’t “reconciliation.”

Nothing about this entire ordeal seems right to me, and less so as time goes on.

JM
January 12th, 2012 | LINK

David Roberts,

What exactly do you mean by “the ends justified the means?” What’s wrong with dialogue? I went to a Love Won Out conference years ago and bought the whole line of crap they were selling. If I could have googled Alan Chambers and seen where he made the comments that Justin was a brother in Christ and that 99.9% don’t change their orientation, that would have been huge in waking me up to reality sooner. Granted, Alan will backtrack to a certain extent on the 99.9%, but that comment is still much more enlightening than their old schtick that anyone can become completely straight if they want to.

David, I honestly don’t know why this bothers you so much. I was at the conference and didn’t see wailing and gnashing of teeth over this. It really seems like you’re trying to create a firestorm over this. I love reading this blog, but honestly, as someone who was there, you seem to be blowing this way out of proportion.

David Roberts
January 12th, 2012 | LINK

There is no way he would have said many of these things a few years ago.

I don’t know of anything he said that he has not said before — quite some time ago, even.  If that is at issue, it might even make a good post and I will consider that.

What exactly do you mean by “the ends justified the means?”

You say it brought healing to you and others (the ends).  In order to do that, others were hurt, no longer trust GCN, and feel re-traumatized by the entire incident.  Justin claims he had to keep it secret from members, conference goers, and even the BOD, in order to pull it off.  This is largely what caused the trouble and pain.  You seem to think that all this is acceptable because you felt healing — the ends justify the means.

I was at the conference and didn’t see wailing and gnashing of teeth over this.

This and your other comments belittling those who felt traumatized really concern me.  You are coming close to making fun of these people and the entire notion that they were genuinely hurt.  I’m not sure why they were contacting XGW, perhaps because they were getting more solid information from us than their own group, but ask Wendy Gritter if you want to hear about those who were in pain. 

People who feel they have just been dealt a gut punch do not generally show it.  Keeping this thing secret accomplished the intended goal — people who might have an issue with it were kept silent.  However, it is my understanding that even a member of the BOD walked out in disgust.  If you think I’m painting a picture skewed to the negative, you seem equally determined to skew it to the positive. 

You will find noting but praise for GCN and Justin Lee in the XGW archives.  But the fact is he screwed up here and no one should be above scrutiny. 

JM
January 13th, 2012 | LINK

David Roberts,

I honestly don’t understand how someone could be “traumatized” by Alan Chambers being in a session that they could just skip.

You seem to have an ax to grind and sound kind of hysterical over this whole thing.

Priya Lynn
January 13th, 2012 | LINK

David said “So in other words, the ends justified the means? That is rarely true, and almost never, if ever, in the Church.”.

That’s a rather silly statement – “The end never justifies the means”. It all depends on the situation, maybe the end in this case didn’t justify the means but, if for example you were in Nazi Germany hiding a jew and a german soldier came to your door asking if there were any jews in your house you’d be fully justified in lying to him. The end most certainly justifies the means in many cases.

justsid
January 13th, 2012 | LINK

I understand some may feel betrayed by the move to allow Alan Chambers to speak at the Annual GCN Conference. However, please keep in mind that all the other speakers on that panel were at one time ExGay leaders as well. It is speaking with people like Justin Lee, Gay Christians from the site, that changed their minds. Oh I don’t have any delusions of grandeur that says Mr. Chambers will change his vitriol anytime soon. However, that said, Exodus is collapsing. In no small part to Gay Christian networks like ours, Ex gay Watch groups, Soul Force, etc etc.

In all cases it took brave people to confront all of these ministries and pose the hard questions. If one let’s these organizations like Exodus to go unchallenged. Then nothing will ever change. Let there be no doubt. Change is coming. Change is coming because People like Justin Lee has the testicular fortitude to go out on a limb to bring it. Change is coming because with all the ExGay movements toxic speeches. A place like Gay Christian Network flies right in their face stand up for truth instead of Exodus’ false indoctrination.

It’s going to be those whom are bold and willing to step outside of their comfort zone. That will bring that change.

David Roberts
January 13th, 2012 | LINK

I honestly don’t understand how someone could be “traumatized” by Alan Chambers being in a session that they could just skip.

If you don’t believe me, then listen to Justin Lee, the director of GCN.  Or listen to someone who was there and was traumatized.  I hope you are never in a position of providing help to those who have been hurt or exploited by others, empathy does not seem to be your strong suit.

cowboy
January 13th, 2012 | LINK

David Roberts is hardly someone you would describe as hysterical…or someone with an obsession (axe to grind).

Perhaps JM doesn’t know about XGW.

(Unpaid and unsolicited opinion.)

JM
January 13th, 2012 | LINK

David Roberts,

Do I think anyone was traumatized by Alan Chambers being at a session that they could VERY easily skip? No, I do not. I could see people being angry about it, very angry. But traumatized? No. If so, they are not capable of functioning out in the world. Sorry, but that’s the truth.

I think this “trauma” issue is being played up by two groups: those who are angry that Justin would have a dialogue with Alan Chambers (someone that they hate); and the drama addicts who saw their cue to come into the limelight for a few minutes of attention. Sorry, but that’s how I see it. I have TONS of sympathy for people going through real trauma, but this is ridiculous.

And of course people like Justin (and others) have to recognize and sympathize with this “trauma” or you would say that they are uncaring and unfeeling.

JM
January 13th, 2012 | LINK

Cowboy,

I have read ex-gay watch for quite some time. On this issue, I would say that David Roberts is both hysterical and obsessed. Just my opinion.

Joel
July 24th, 2012 | LINK

I dislike misleading headlines. There is an “or… bla bla bla” after what the headline says. This OR negates the idea that the headline is true.

Leave A Comment

All comments reflect the opinions of commenters only. They are not necessarily those of anyone associated with Box Turtle Bulletin. Comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

(Required)
(Required, never shared)

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are subject to our Comments Policy.