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What Questions Do You Have About Exodus?

Jim Burroway

June 29th, 2012

As you may have noticed, my blogging activities this week have been very light. That’s because I’ve been spending my time among new friends at Exodus International’s annual Freedom Conference in St. Paul, Minnesota. So far, nobody has locked me into a broom closet or thrown holy water on me so, you know, so far so good.

At BTB, we’ve been tracking signs of some pretty interesting changes at Exodus over the past several months, and so I decided to attend this year’s confernece  to see for myself what those changes might look like on the ground. What I can say right now is that indeed there are significant, encouraging shifts in Exodus’s focus toward a much more realistic message. The word “change” isn’t banished entirely, but the expectation that changing one’s sexual orientation can change — and that emphasis is important — is now discouraged. That’s not to say that Exodus is suddenly becoming a pro-gay organization. They’re not — far from it. But they are becoming much more transparent about what being gay means while dealing with it in their understanding of Biblical principles. I will go into that much more deeply next week when I have a chance to go through all of my notes and get everything put together.

So now that I’m here, I’m interested in learning what you think I should cover. What burning questions do you have about Exodus, about this particular conference, or about the kinds of people who come here? What do you think really happens when people from around the country get together to talk about themselves and their struggles? What stereotypes do you have that I can confirm or refute? What questions do you think I should be asking? Feel free to drop me a line, either in comments or via Twitter at @jfburroway.

Comments

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GDad
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

If they change their message from “You can pray away the gay,” what will they change it to? Will they still be a viable organization if they have such a dramatic shift in purpose?

Steve
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

They are changing from “We will turn you straight” to “You’re gay, but you have to be celibate or marry someone of the opposite sex”. That’s an improvement of sorts I guess, but shouldn’t be overstated. It’s the same crap Josh Weed pulled and it’s still very damaging. Also to the opposite sex partners who are used in that doomed scheme.

>”What do you think really happens when people from around the country get together to talk about themselves and their struggles?”

Lots of flirting and sex

Marcus
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

What do the conference attendees – not the core of Exodus staff and activists, but the ordinary folks who show up at these things – think of the criticisms from more pro-LGBT/”liberal” quarters?

Elaygee
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

Do they understand that Gays look at them the way Jews look at Jews For Jesus?

Jonathan
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

What do their outreach programs to youth and their parents look like after this change? Are they trying to guilt parents with talk about “domineering mothers” and all that hokum, or has homosexuality become an innate orientation? How respectful are they of the degree to which teens don’t often have adult maturity or the capacity to give full consent, and of the ways that they can often disagree with their guardians?

KZ
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

Are most of the attendees parents of homosexual children?

Lee
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

Religion (maybe Buddhism excepted) is much more about social control than individual happiness or human potential. In fact, religion is anti-potential: look at Galileo. The fact that Exodus has become marginally less overtly hostile has little–I won’t say no, but little–meaning to me. The solution is to throw off the shackles of all these primitive superstitions completely, not just try to persuade them to be minimally less hostile. The fact that Chambers would suggest finding an “understanding” opposite sex mate is a perfect example of what I’m saying: conform at any (personal) cost.

Lindoro Almaviva
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

On somewhat unrelated news, yahoo is reporting that Pastor Eddie Longis stepping down after his wife filed for divorce. He stated he was leaving to work on his family.

Jim Burroway
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

KX

Are most of the attendees parents of homosexual children?

No. As I said in Wednesday’s Daily Agenda, this conference is “the real deal.” This is where ex-gays themselves (although they don’t call themselves that — they hate the word) come together for fellowship, workshops and mutual support. In other words, you might think of this Christian college campus as the gayest place in north St. Paul this weekend.

There are parents accompanying some of the participants here. There are also spouses of gays and lesbians — or “strugglers” as they prefer to call themselves. There are also pastors and ministry leaders here. But I would have to say that at least 2/3rds are strugglers themselves.

TampaZeke
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

How many of these “not gay, not ex-gays” are at the conference?

StraightGrandmother
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

I tweeted this story to Alan a short time ago. Alan has to figure how to minister to these families.
These preachers and Exodus need to preach more about LOVE and less about brokenness.
http://t.co/Q5fh8XAg

Ben in Oakland
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

It’s possible I’m being snarky, but I’m not sure, so here goes.

I’d like you to install grinder on your phone and see how many people there are looking for hookups, especially after conference hours

Josh
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

Please let us know how many “heterosexual” couples you see roaming about.

paul martin
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

I am an ex-Exodus leader from Australia. I have spent 25 years as a psychologist since then specializing in the repairing of psychological damage from reparative therapy and ex-gay programs.

do they still believe “homosexuality is one of many disorders that befalls humanity?” and do they see homosexual acts as a sin? do they consider sin to be evil and do they believe evil people go to hell?

Some of the big questions they still love to dodge even after their new overhauled ‘savvy’ PR changes.

Thanks :)

Timothy Kincaid
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

Jim,

Do they have any feeling of solidarity with gay people or do they view us with the same derision that those who comment on gay blog sites view them?

SteveInMI
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

One question. Would they respect me for treating their religious faith the way they treat my sexual orientation: as a flaw or mistake to be overcome, repressed, and never acted upon?

I have a guess how they’ll answer, bit I’ll be the first to admit I’m mostly projecting based on my experience with my family, their church, and the religious organizations with which they’re affiliated. I would love to know whether New Exodus confirms or contradicts expectations.

Michael Bussee
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

Why do they still have affiliates in countries where homosexuality is a crime?

Why hasn’t Jernigan contacted the Jamaican Press to make things right?

cowboy
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

The title on that banner in the picture: It should read: “What if I’m gay?” There’s no thinking about it.

Ask them: If celibacy isn’t the only option, what sort of woman would want to be married to me.

Michael Bussee
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

I listened to his opening remarks. Why is Alan still using the “Change is Possible” slogan? I thought he said Exodus wasn’t going to use that one anymore.

Also, I noticed he encouraged his listeners to continue to “pray for the impossible” even though they might not get the “big change” they are hoping for…

Priya Lynn
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

After what Michael has pointed out I’m much more inclined to believe this is the same old double-talking Exodus.

Ben In Oakland
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

Timothy,

Maybe my empathy gland isn’t working, but derision is all I seem to be able to muster. Exodus has gone from “change is possible” to “change is highly unlikely, even with the help of god, let alone some Rekers-esque pseudo-therapy”

I don’t deride them for their religious beliefs– there’s no proof one way or the other, and if it gets you through the dya, then why not?

I deride them for tryingto sell the same iple of horseshit while asking me to pretend it’s a pony.

As long as gay kids are killing themselves, political campaigns are fomented, and anti-gay rhetoric goes up a notch every time they suffer even the slightest disagreement, deirision to me seems to be an appropriate response.

Michael Bussee
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

More questions: Do they intend to apologize for 30+ years of misleading the public about “change”, for lying about “tens of thousands who had successfully changed their orientation”, for pushing “reparative therapy”, for endorsing junk science, for blaming parents, for shaming and rejecting those who didn’t “change”, for actively fighting against equal civil rights for LGBT people? Do they intend to make any amends for great the harm all of that caused?

Michael C
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

Jonathan touched on this in his question, but the thing that concerns me most is their explanation of “causation” of homosexuality. The blaming of parents is the most horrific thing to me, even moreso that the shaming of gays. Do they still hold to Nicolosi’s explanation of the formation of same-sex attraction?

Lord_Byron
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

I do realize the exodus addresses being gay through their specific biblical view of it, but I do have to ask: do they realize that telling someone who is gay that they should be celibate or marry a person of the opposite sex can be just as damaging as telling someone that they can and should change their sexual orientation.

Again, I do realize they address it with their views, but in my opinion suppression is not the answer.

Mary in Austin
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

Where do they get their money?

Lisa Darden
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

Take what you need and leave the rest Jim-

1st Question: Ultimately, Will there be a public APOLOGY made for the harm that has been done over the past 39 Years from Exodus?

2nd Part- is a statement that I believe Alan Chambers will agree with. ” Isn’t is true Alan that if a ministry is Not Teaching the Gospel of Grace they are not teaching the Gospel at all? And if Exodus believes that being gay or having attractions and acting on them is a “sin” weren’t those sins (All of them) Yesterdays, today and forever.. covered on the Cross at Jesus’ death ?

Next Questions- Do you think that God loved you any less as a homosexual?

I believe~ that He Loved you without reservation when you were homosexual and many of you still are homosexuality orientated ~ you are simply work a good behavior modification program. WORK being the operative word.

Is it true that if you have been “delivered” and are now a heterosexual man/woman or a man/woman who resists same sex attractions and have had a radical make over that God loves you more now and that he hated you and your “sins” even more then ? ~

Didn’t Christ die for EVERYONE’S Sins? Why are Homosexual’s held out and up as SUPER SINNERS? Why is the only acceptable gay one who is trying to be straight when a very high percentage never “change” orientation or attraction?

Do you think that it would behoove us all to Be kind- patient and loving towards one another. To meet people where they are not where we think they should be. None of us know God’s plan for another human being’s life and it seems arrogant for any of us to present ourselves as if we have all the answers for someone else because the truth is we don’t. I think we have enough issues trying to figure out our own lives, don’t you?

Isn’t this dangerous territory and precisley why so many people have been hurt by Ex-gay ministries? Many people have been left outside and behind to spiritually fend for themselves. Are we supposed to just write them ALL off and ignore what people have been saying for almost 40 years about the damage that has done to many wonderful human beings who are just as deserving of God’s and our Love as anyone?

Isn’t the church getting way off Jesus’ message. Politics seem to be more important and an us. Vs them mentality is prevelant. It’s getting scary out there when people want to imprision and or potentially kill gay folks. Pastor’s and lay people who call Christ their savior are villifying and demonizing human being’s that Christ died for – that approach is divisive and is not helpful. It seems very reminiscent of Nazi Germany.

Are you all really comfortable with the way that many in the church are behaving towards people who are just like you used to be? Do you hate the person you were so much in the past that you want to project it onto others? Please tell us where is the Love and where is the Gospel of GRACE for all of humanity within Exodus and the Church?

Lisa Darden

Jim John Marks
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

The most important question is why our culture has created a false dichotomy? You land on one of two sides:

1) Persons who are SSA can “change their orientation”

or

2) There is nothing morally wrong with homosexual actions.

Why is the expectation that as an organization moves away from an emphasis on pursuing changes in orientation that they will more toward being “pro-gay”?

The two things have nothing to do with each other. One is a change in understanding of what it means to accept the moral weight of human sexuality and coming to a better understanding of God’s will for a chaste life from all human persons and the other is an abandonment of moral weight entirely.

So the most important question is whether or not Exodus’ move away from “change” is a move to begin advocating a _third_ option which, almost by definition, has to be superior to both of the others.

Ray
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

My first thought was how many of the attendees hit on you. I ask that because in my first trip to speak to a minister, the minister got all buggy with me and then felt me up right in the middle of the counseling session. I was pretty shocked because it was the first time I’d actually been touched by another man. I was in emotional anguish and this “counselor” was so laid-back I couldn’t figure out what the point of the counseling was.

Ben In Oakland
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

“I couldn’t figure out what the point of the counseling was.”

Perhaps a good way to meet vulnerable gay men?

Priya Lynn
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

Jim John said “So the most important question is whether or not Exodus’ move away from “change” is a move to begin advocating a _third_ option which, almost by definition, has to be superior to both of the others.”.

Ahhh…NO it doesn’t. “There is nothing morally wrong with homosexual actions.” – that is the only option.

Regan DuCasse
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

“The world has answers for him…”
“Do you?”

And of course, the model is a KID. In other words, the same old “we know the answer and we know ALL you need to” directed at youth. Directed at young folks at their most vulnerable.

1. Once again, people of faith sucking the air out of the reality and needs of gay people as if this ‘answer’ is a gold standard that works, and as if no other answer is acceptable.

2. The presumption and arrogance of what they think of their answers is offensive to me.

3. Who they are targeting is offensive to me.

4. This entire situation is treated as if this point of view hasn’t done irreparable and incalculable harm.

5. And as if this religious influence should be given all the deference and whatever gay people know and say shouldn’t have any weight.

6. And this is where I find people who hold this view, ungracious and selfish for not allowing the gay folks to have a turn for the next few decades or whatever it takes without INTERFERENCE from people who represent faith communities.

7. This interference, demanding incursion into EVERY aspect of anyone’s life and deference to their religious identity, rather than actual character and deeds, is a level of arrogance that deserves to be pointed out.

8. It doesn’t seem to occur to them that most people grow up in religious homes and families, and after a lifetime, get very, VERY tired of not getting any breathing room FROM the barrage. I resent anyone TELLING me what to think, feel and do about gay people.
9. What the Bible says, is essentially about five lines of OPINION on homosexuality. And that won’t change. Okay fine.
The REST of what anyone has to say, is basically gossip, defamation, myth, misinformation and chronic ignorance and prejudice. And I CERTAINLY shouldn’t have THAT force fed to me if I don’t want it.
Because an ancient culture misunderstood a lot of things about gender and orientation BACK THEN, doesn’t mean our 21st century knowledge and sensibility has to go along with it NOW.
For the same reasons NOBODY is actually living, literally the way people did then anyway.

StraightGrandmother
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

Michael Busse’s comments bother me the most. These words, “pray for the impossible”

No no no no no, I thought they were moving away from Pray Away the Gay. Why encourage people to pray for the impossible? Why not ask them to pray for what is realistically possible???

I am so bummed after reading Michael Busse’s comment.

I think Alan Chambers should seek out outside mentors. People like Michael Bussee and others. Have it be absolutely confidential, but i think he could really really grow if he had some “outside of Exodus Mentors”, Mentors who would be there to help him and not to hurt him. Mentors do not tell you what to do they merely highlight your situations and add thoughts you may not have thought of, or thought enough of.

chiMaxx
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

My question is different and less confrontational than the above.

Based on your observations, how many of the attendees are a “struggling” gay/lesbian person attending on their own, alone (out of a personal discomfort with their own desires)?

How many are gay/lesbian persons there under duress (either with family or clearly there under pressure from family)?

And how many are parents or other family members hoping to find a way inspire change in a gay relative who is not at the conference (or at least receive support for their desire to see their child change?

How many are something else (excluding the event staff, speakers, etc.) and who are they and what do they seek?

Blake
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

I second Lord Byron’s. How is this not going to just be the same crap in a different packaging at the end of the day? We went from unrepentant sinners (who choose to be gay) to unrepentant sinners (who chose not to be celibate or to not enter mixed-orientation marriages). Do they expect this outreach to resonate in the gay community or are they just looking for a stance which hasn’t been tainted by application of the poisonous principals which underlie it?

David Foreman
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

They are still denying gays and lesbians the right to happy, fulfilling sexual relationships.
Yes, gay men can fall in love with someone of the opposite sex, and be sexually attracted to them. It happened to me.
We love who we love, and I love my wife.
BUT, that is the EXCEPTION. Not the rule.
And it only works when it happens “organically,” and not because someone else says it should happen.
To say you accept and love LGBT persons, and then deny them the loving expression of who they are with whom they love is NOT progress.
It’s the same old crap in a new toilet.

Muscat
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

Since the current movement seems to be rebuffing advocates of reparative therapies and the like…

Is there a visible presence of reparative therapists and/or advocates? Are there clear “factions” in this regard?
What is being said about reparative therapy – pro and con?
Where is it being said? Is this largely about “official pronouncements” in public speeches/conversations/meetings? Or is it something people are mostly talking about in the hallways/informally? Something that happened in private board meetings and people aren’t really paying much attention to or at least talking about? Some combination?

Steve
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

Also, what will happen in all the countries they’ve spread their hatred and lies to? The Exodus affiliates there won’t just give up and accept a change in direction. They’ll continue to hurt people with reparative “therapy” and continue to engage in politics. Will Exodus take any responsibility for that?

Hue-Man
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

How many millions of $$$ have they contributed to a fund to pay reparations to the thousands they have maimed, injured, and killed? When will the payments start?

Timothy Kincaid
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

Ben,

My question was real. I would love to know what they think. Do they consider themselves sort of like the mistreated ugly redheaded step child of the gay community (kinda like Log Cabin sees itself) or are they contemptuous towards gay people (kinda like GOProud)?

But I also am concerned that we grant those who wish to participate with Exodus the same courtesy that we demand of them. I don’t doubt that they think that our choices are horse poop as well. But neither of us have to respect the choices of each other, only the right of the individual to make the choice they believe is best for themselves and the dignity of their humanity.

– side rant –

We had two valid complaints against Exodus: that they made claims about change that were false and that engaged in political behavior which hurt our rights. We were justifiably angry and had reason for resentment.

Those conditions are no longer the case. In no small part because we presented our position and demanded change. Exodus leadership came to recognize that reorientation simply doesn’t occur – or not in the way they had given the impression – and that political activism was outside their calling.

But many people find it difficult to let go of the anger and now look for new reasons to object. We really need to look at our objections and see if they are reasonable, if they are consistent with how we demand to be treated, and if we apply them evenly towards others.

-/side rant –

And Ben… some of those kids that killed themselves were actively part of the gay community and had a gay-affirmative support network. But as best I recall, none of them were affiliated with Exodus or in church counseling.

I’m not suggesting that Exodus’ views are healthier or anything like that. But if we are going to approach them with accusations causation, we should recognize that not only do we have no evidence of causation, we don’t even have correlation.

And if we approach with “your teachings are the same caustic teachings of the homophobic preachers”, that’s a non-starter. While we object to the blind and foolish anti-gay ranting of preachers who don’t realize that there are gay kids in the pews, they actually try to reach out to these preachers and try to get them to change their message.

Michael Bussee
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

Timothy: Do you doubt that great harm has been caused by Exodus’ methods and message? Do you think they are addressing any of that? I am not convinced that “those conditions are no longer the case.”

I know first-hand that there is a correlation between what folks who went through Exodus programs suffered — and are still suffering. I deal with the survivors every day.

Jim John Marks
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

Priya Lynn

I somehow doubt Jim agrees with you completely, because he’s just praised a presentation by someone I happen to know for a fact doesn’t believe that’s the only option.

So, thank God, my comments weren’t directed at you, they were directed to Jim.

Hopefully, he’s willing to ask those questions and seek genuine answers. Because without a third option, no reconciliation between Christianity and the LGBT community is possible. You can create a new religion that says LGBT is “ok” and makes use of the Bible, but you cannot make Christianity into a religion which considers human sexuality to be morally neutral. It isn’t possible.

Norm!
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

Here are few questions that come to mind in response to recent headlines:

1. Will Exodus denounce or oppose reparative and ex-gay therapies as strongly as it opposes touch therapy and bullying or is reparative/gay-change therapies permissible to its members?

2. Will Exodus physically stand with and meet with LGBT rights activists in Uganda and Jamaica?

3. Does Exodus support the repeal of existing anti-gay laws?

Michael Bussee
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

Straight Grandmother: “I think Alan Chambers should seek out outside mentors. People like Michael Bussee and others. Have it be absolutely confidential, but I think he could really really grow if he had some “outside of Exodus Mentors”, Mentors who would be there to help him and not to hurt him.”

Actually, Alan and I have established some productive communication — I wouldn’t call it “mentoring” — but I think he has been open to considering some of the advice I (and many others, for example Warren Throckmorton, Wendy Gritter, etc.) have been giving him. Most of it remains confidential…

For example: He recently asked for my help about NARTH. He said he realizes their “science” really isn’t. At his request, I searched the Exodus website for references to NARTH, brought each one to Alan’s attention — and he promptly deleted them. This went on for some time.

A few months ago, I met with Alan personally and urged him to be clearer about orientation change from gay to straight. (Others, of course had also beeen urging him to do that for years.) He seems to be making that issue clearer — although he told the folks attending the current Exodus conference that “Change is possible…Freedom is possible…Pray for the impossible…” without being really clear about what that meant.

After the Jernigan trip to Jamaica, I urged him to work on policies to keep Exodus OUT of countries where homosexuality is a crime. He says he is committed to doing that. He seemed unaware which countries did so and asked if I “had a list”. I gave him one.

In public, he says we are “friends”. I don’t know if I would go that far. I still don’t think we trust each other, but we are working on it. He does say that he is trying to get back to the original purpose of Exodus: To provide support to LGBT Christians, to stay poltically neutral and to focus on faith — not orientation change.

I don’t know what impact this relationship might be having, but I am willing to continue it. In any event, I do see Exodus (or at least Alan) trying to make some positive changes — and some Exodus ministries are jumping ship because of them.

There is still a lot of “making amends” work to do. He needs to see to it that Exodus affiliates comply with the new direction — and that it’s not just his opinion about what should happen. Most importantly, he has yet to address (or even admit) that Exodus’ misleading promises of “change” have harmed anyone. Perhaps he knows it’s true but is not quite ready to take that step. I pray he does.

Priya Lynn
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

Jim John, I certainly didn’t see Jim Burroway praise anything other than Exodus honestly admitting people can’t change their orientation.

It doesn’t matter whether you addressed your comments to him or me, my point still applies so your “thanking god” you weren’t addressing me is nonsensical.

Jim John said “Because without a third option, no reconciliation between Christianity and the LGBT community is possible.”.

Nonsense. The vast majority of LGBTs are christian and self accepting – they’ve clearly reconciled being LGBT with christianity. A “third option” is unncessary and unethical.

Jim John said “You can create a new religion that says LGBT is “ok” and makes use of the Bible, but you cannot make Christianity into a religion which considers human sexuality to be morally neutral. It isn’t possible.”

I never said human sexuality is moraly neutral, for example rape remains a moral evil. Gayness however is harmless and thus most certainly morally neutral and many chriistians agree with that so its nonsense to say it can’t be done. Your christianity may be irreconciably anti-gay but for many christians that’s not at all true. You don’t speak for all christians. You don’t get to define christianity for all christians. Be a bigot if you want, but you can’t force your bigotry on gay accepting christians.

StraightGrandmother
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

Michael Bussee – ““Change is possible…Freedom is possible…Pray for the impossible…””

SGM- Instead of just criticizing and taking pot shots (they are deserved I would argue) how about coming up with some proclamations and actual prayers for gay Christians who do not want to gay affirm, but are truthful prayers or proclamations a Spiritual Leader can say/pray. Here I will start, I am sure it won’t be that great but at least it is a start.

From “Change is Possible” to “Your spirituality can deepen and grow, and you will become more at Peace”
“Through Jesus Christ you can become better at resisting sexual temptation”

From “Freedom is Possible” to “Here you will find help with the Lord to experience an inner Peace”

From “Pray for the impossible…” to “We all pray for strength, the Lord will be by our side and never leave us”

What do we want to pray for?
Not Change, not freedom, because these will not come for 99.9% of the sexual minorities.

Pray for- Strength, Inner Peace, Deeper Spirituality, a lessening of burdens, a deeper walk with God. Help me to be a Godly Man/Woman. Help me to Resist Sexual Temptation.

(because to those people who are by their own choice putting their religious faith before their natural sexuality, their natural sexual orientation IS a burden to them)

A lessening of burdens does NOT say COMPLETE FREEDOM from this burden, it just means to pray to make it less, so that it is more manageable, basically repression. What is wrong with “Lesson my Burden Lord”?

Pray for the Impossible drives me nuts. It is like having a congregation of left handed people and urging them all to simply pray to God for the Impossible, one day God will spontaneously make you Right Handed. Wow! who would lead or offer those kinds of Prayers?

This is my first draft, what do you think? And remember the people who are going to Exodus are very religious people who do believe that homosexuality is a sin, and they don’t want it. They have the right to make that choice. Are these all good things a leader could say and pray with them without offering them false hope, or I would say false promises?

StraightGrandmother
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

Jim I am very interested in the stories from the Straight Spouses.

Richard Rush
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

Has Exodus’ recent distancing of itself from NARTH been done in order to avoid the possibility of future charges of fraud and causing harm for promotion of discredited reparative therapy? And is Exodus now seeking to carefully operate exclusively under the safe umbrella of religion in order to benefit from the special protections, rights, and immunities that are bestowed upon religion is the US?

Michael Bussee
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

Earlier this year, at the Gay Christian Network conference in Orlando, Exodus President Alan Chambers claimed:

“‘Change is Possible’ we don’t use that phrase anymore…I’m sorry that that is something that we used.”

At the opening of the Exodus conference now going on, Alan encouraged his audience not to give up hope, saying “Change is possible.”

Which is it? Do you use it or not? If you are sorry you used it, why do you keep on using it?

TampaZeke
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

If there is anyone on this thread who knows the ex-gay industry from the inside out and who has paid his dues and made his amends it’s Michael Bussee. I once HATED this man for what he and his “ministry” did to me and my family. After long, intense conversations and a lot of weeping a gnashing of teeth Michael earned my forgiveness, my respect and my brotherhood. I agree with him that Exodus has NOT yet proven that they’ve moved away from politicking or promoting “change”. It will take more that a nice word or two from Alan Chambers (who has lied so much for so long how can ANYONE, including himself, know when he’s telling the truth). When his workshops and conventions include workshops lead by happy, gay, coupled, sexually active Christians he is NOT presenting the whole story of how to live a happy, productive, Christ-centered life as a Christian gay person.

TampaZeke
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

The most important question of all.

Who pays your bills and funds your operations?

StraightGrandmother
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

TampaZeke, I think we know who is funding them. It is a rich Evangelical. I remember reading the story, I think on ex-gay watch. Somebody sat next to somebody from Exodus on an airplane if I remember right, and they said this rich Evangelical guy funds Exodus.

CPT_Doom
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

How about this one: “Do you respect the rights of those of us who reject your religious lifestyle choice to live according to our own moral value system and do you believe the law should treat us with the same respect as adulterers like Newt Gingrich and John Edwards?”

Jim-in-GA
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

I’m just wondering, the non-family members who are attending are saying they are struggling. No matter how they sugar coat their approach or words, the bottom line is (I’m guessing) that gay is wrong. Period. If it weren’t wrong then why all this struggling? They struggle because they don’t want to be gay, right? But it’s not something you can just turn off so what to do? So you live a lie to compensate for the (supposed) wrong you struggle with?

Katherine
June 29th, 2012 | LINK

I would like to know more about the reason “Exodus” was selected as the organization’s name. Is escaping from homosexuality really equivalent to escaping slavery to those within Exodus? Is heterosexuality the Promised Land? Who is Moses in these scenarios? Was there a divine revelation that led to the creation? Given the changes within Exodus, are we now on to Aaron? Or is it simpler: Exodus sounds like exit with a biblical gloss?

William
June 30th, 2012 | LINK

@ Jim John Marks

(1) People who are SSA [sic] can seldom, if ever, change their sexual orientation. Therefore:

(2) There is nothing morally wrong with homosexual actions, at least not as such.

I quite agree that the above argument is logically fallacious. However, although the conclusion does not logically follow from the premiss, both statements may still be true. I would say that both are.

“…you cannot make Christianity into a religion which considers human sexuality to be morally neutral. It isn’t possible.”

If by that you mean that some sexual actions are morally wrong, then I would agree. Gay sex as such just isn’t one of them.

Steve
June 30th, 2012 | LINK

A religion that punishes actions that hurt no one is morally indefensible. Most religions are like that and the Abrahamic religions are by far the worst offenders.

Michael Bussee
June 30th, 2012 | LINK

Katherin said: “I would like to know more about the reason “Exodus” was selected as the organization’s name. Is escaping from homosexuality really equivalent to escaping slavery to those within Exodus? Is heterosexuality the Promised Land? Who is Moses in these scenarios? Was there a divine revelation that led to the creation? Given the changes within Exodus, are we now on to Aaron? Or is it simpler: Exodus sounds like exit with a biblical gloss?”

It was selected at the first conference in Anaheim in 1976. And it had all of those layers of meaning. We thought the organization would lead many out of “bondage”.

Regan DuCasse
June 30th, 2012 | LINK

The tiny bits of backtracking done by Alan Chambers, or even David Blankenhorn has already done damage that perhaps NO amount of message alteration will heal.

Do they EVER think of that?

I’m sure everyone here keeps experiencing having to argue the point about the immutability of homosexuality with just about anyone. Even people not necessarily hostile to gay people.

It’s their assumption, it’s what they’ve heard…and to hell with what gay people have to say about it.

And these same people don’t care how offensive that is on it’s face. Exodus and NARTH fed this beast and didn’t care who it hurt and seem to think that THEY should be accepted as a fair exchange of ideals.
Oh, HELL no!

When an arsonist burns your life down and rationalizes doing it because they think your soul should have gone up with that house, there is no forgiveness if you lost everything.

Only, unless and until…they bring the lumber, the paint and build you a new house, and never commit arson again… maybe.

But no, you don’t get to burn down millions of houses and think you should be able to walk away from it as if the damage will magically disappear is more of the arrogant folly that got us all here in the first place.

Only when gay people don’t have to ever ARGUE over whether they choose to be gay or not, will I believe that the damage of NARTH and Exodus has started to heal.

Otherwise, I will firmly believe that Alan Chambers and his ilk offer EMPTY GESTURES in order to alay their own culpability.

William
June 30th, 2012 | LINK

Regan, I’m very glad that you’ve brought that up. There are three red herrings that the “ex-gay” brigade repeatedly bring up in order to throw dust in people’s eyes and derail the discussion. (Forgive the mixed metaphors.)

1. “There’s no proof that anyone is born gay.” No, there isn’t, and there’s no proof that anyone is born straight either. None of the theories about how people come to be gay, straight or bi-sexual has ever been proved. But even if you’re not born with something, that doesn’t mean that it can be changed at will. For instance, you’re not born with your native language already programmed, but once you get to puberty, or even earlier, it will never be erased, except by a serious brain injury.

2. “Even a single indubitable case of someone’s sexual orientation changing proves that it’s not immutable.” Yes, but so what? Even a single indubitable case of someone winning the lottery proves that it’s not impossible to win it, and most weeks someone does. Anyone pinning their hopes on their orientation changing might just as well pin their hopes on winning the lottery.

3. “People have the right to change.” (This is one of Arthur Abba Goldberg’s favourites.) Yes, of course they have. But the question is not whether people have the right, but whether they can. The right to do something, no matter how indisputable in theory, is of absolutely no practical use if you can’t in fact do it, and the weight of the evidence is that, even if there are exceptional cases where spontaneous change has occurred, there is no means of making it occur, and that most people’s orientation never changes even if they want it to and no matter how hard they try and how many precious years of their lives they squander in the endeavour.

Kevin Diaz
June 30th, 2012 | LINK

I’d like to hear how EXODUS would answer the very questions they placed on the banner that you took a picture of:

1.) Was I born this way?
2.) Can I be Gay and Christian?
3.) Is Change Possible?
4.) What does the Bible say?

Thanks!

Neon Genesis
June 30th, 2012 | LINK

My question for Exodus I would like answered would be, if you now accept that your homosexuality is something you’re born with and you can’t change, what justification is there in still condemning acting on it? And please don’t let them get away with the “Some people are born gay like some people are born with a predisposition to being alcoholic” excuse.

Michael Bussee
June 30th, 2012 | LINK

Katherine asked: “Exodus sounds like exit with a biblical gloss?”

Actually, “EXIT” (EX-gay Intervention Team, founded in 1974) was the name of our ministry at Melodyland Christian Center in Anaheim, CA — the ministry that hosted the first Exodus conference in September of 1976.

And yes, it did give the larger “coalition of ministries” that “biblical gloss…” We had delusions of grandeur — and really thought that we would lead many to that “promised land” of orientation change.

Lee
June 30th, 2012 | LINK

Hello Kevin,
As to your questions above, I think you would get the same old shit on a new doily.
Homosexuality is just one of the many temptations humans are heir to–like shoplifting, I suppose. Just don’t do it, it’s wrong; it may feel natural to you, but don’t steal those panties. Ask Jesus to help you not to do it.
There, all fixed. Next issue.
Lee

Lee
June 30th, 2012 | LINK

Also: yes, you can be a shoplifter and a Christian as long as you’re very, very sorry after you slip. And for godsakes please don’t start a shoplifter pride movement and start claiming God approves.
Lee

Mark F.
June 30th, 2012 | LINK

The correct answers

1.) Was I born this way?

Undetermined.

2.) Can I be Gay and Christian?

Yes.

3.) Is Change Possible?

Never say never, but it’s really not likely.

4.) What does the Bible say?

Depends of your interpretation. Jesus said nothing about homosexuality.

Frank
July 1st, 2012 | LINK

Just who decided that the bible is the clearing house for everybody’s actions. Many of those who read it use it as a battering ram anyway.
Just one man’s opinion.

Mark F.
July 1st, 2012 | LINK

“My question for Exodus I would like answered would be, if you now accept that your homosexuality is something you’re born with and you can’t change, what justification is there in still condemning acting on it?”

The only justification they offer is that you are going against God’s will and will be punished with unhappiness and hell.

Timothy (TRiG)
July 2nd, 2012 | LINK

(a) How genuinely are Exodus becoming an internal Christian ministry? How much to they care that I, a happy non-Christian, am gay? How much to they care that Christians in gay-accepting churches are gay? Some of what they’ve said suggests that they now exist to serve only those who are unhappy in their homosexuality, and they will happily ignore those of us who do not need their services. But I’m not sure I believe that.

(b) How careful are they to be non-coercive? If a young teenager is forced to attend Exodus, will they accept that? What about more subtle forms of coercion? Of course, right-wing Christian culture is entirely built on coercion and shaming, so I wouldn’t imagine Exodus would object to that. They should.

TRiG.

Smith
July 2nd, 2012 | LINK

Burroway-

As you haven’t commented on this thread in awhile, I don’t know if you are attempting to get answers to the questions posted here, but if you are, then here are 2 from me:

– I’d be interested in any updated information on Exodus’s financial crisis, which was exposed by ExGayWatch about 6 months ago. I predicted that their shift in tone and focus would exacerbate the crisis, and I’d be curious to hear how things are going.

– From the attendees, I’d be interested to hear how they are dealing with the cognitive dissonance that must result from the organizational decline of Exodus and other ex-gay groups. In other words, how do they square the idea that this is a workable path for homosexuals when, instead of growing and thriving, their movement is in decline after 4 decades of hard work.

Jim Burroway
July 2nd, 2012 | LINK

I am still monitoring this thread. Whenever someone leaves a comment, I automatically get an email. Feel free to keep asking. I’ll try to cover as many of them as I can.

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