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'Ex-Gay' Group Exodus International Shuts Down, President Apologizes

Exodus International, the most well known "ex-gay" ministry, is shutting down after more than three decades. They write:

Exodus“We’re not negating the ways God used Exodus to positively affect thousands of people, but a new generation of Christians is looking for change – and they want to be heard,” Tony Moore, Board member of Exodus. The message came less than a day after Exodus released a statement apologizing (www.exodusinternational.org/apology) to the gay community for years of undue judgment by the organization and the Christian Church as a whole.

“Exodus is an institution in the conservative Christian world, but we’ve ceased to be a living, breathing organism,” said Alan Chambers, President of Exodus. “For quite some time we’ve been imprisoned in a worldview that’s neither honoring toward our fellow human beings, nor biblical.”

Chambers continued: “From a Judeo-Christian perspective, gay, straight or otherwise, we’re all prodigal sons and daughters. Exodus International is the prodigal’s older brother, trying to impose its will on God’s promises, and make judgments on who’s worthy of His Kingdom. God is calling us to be the Father – to welcome everyone, to love unhindered.”

The group's Board of Directors says it will begin a separate ministry:

“This is a new season of ministry, to a new generation,” said Chambers. “Our goals are to reduce fear (reducefear.org), and come alongside churches to become safe, welcoming, and mutually transforming communities.”

ChambersChambers also issued his own apology "to the people within the LGBTQ community who have been hurt by the Church, Exodus International, and me" in which he writes, in part:

Please know that I am deeply sorry. I am sorry for the pain and hurt many of you have experienced. I am sorry that some of you spent years working through the shame and guilt you felt when your attractions didn’t change. I am sorry we promoted sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation that stigmatized parents. I am sorry that there were times I didn’t stand up to people publicly “on my side” who called you names like sodomite—or worse. I am sorry that I, knowing some of you so well, failed to share publicly that the gay and lesbian people I know were every bit as capable of being amazing parents as the straight people that I know. I am sorry that when I celebrated a person coming to Christ and surrendering their sexuality to Him that I callously celebrated the end of relationships that broke your heart. I am sorry that I have communicated that you and your families are less than me and mine.

More than anything, I am sorry that so many have interpreted this religious rejection by Christians as God’s rejection.  I am profoundly sorry that many have walked away from their faith and that some have chosen to end their lives. For the rest of my life I will proclaim nothing but the whole truth of the Gospel, one of grace, mercy and open invitation to all to enter into an inseverable relationship with almighty God.

I cannot apologize for my deeply held biblical beliefs about the boundaries I see in scripture surrounding sex, but I will exercise my beliefs with great care and respect for those who do not share them.  I cannot apologize for my beliefs about marriage. But I do not have any desire to fight you on your beliefs or the rights that you seek. My beliefs about these things will never again interfere with God’s command to love my neighbor as I love myself.  

You have never been my enemy. I am very sorry that I have been yours. I hope the changes in my own life, as well as the ones we announce tonight regarding Exodus International, will bring resolution, and show that I am serious in both my regret and my offer of friendship. I pledge that future endeavors will be focused on peace and common good.

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  1. This guy should give seminars: How to Apologize.

    That's a true apology he's written, not some half-felt, half-baked crap he doesn't feel. You may or may not agree with his philosophy or religion, but you can't deny he said "I'm sorry".

    Posted by: johnny | Jun 20, 2013 8:39:50 AM

  2. They finally lived up to their name and left.

    Posted by: Anastasia Beaverhausen | Jun 20, 2013 8:42:41 AM

  3. wow

    Posted by: V-8 | Jun 20, 2013 8:44:52 AM

  4. More of this, please!

    Posted by: SoLeftImRight | Jun 20, 2013 8:48:16 AM

  5. I'm sorry, but I don't accept the apology. So long as the conversation is framed in religious, dogmatic thinking, it is not a conversation worth having, not matter how sincerely felt.

    And no, I don't think that's too harsh. I don't think the refusal to forgive is unwarranted or based in hate. Would you so easily forgive someone who murdered your brothers and sisters? Your children? Your parents? Your chosen family? Would their heartfelt apology make you feel any less inclined to pursue accountability and justice?

    "Too harsh" would be the decades of denial, the trauma, pain, suicides, and destroyed families they caused. Too harsh would be the hypocrisy they promulgated, the religious psychobabble they spouted not so much to "cure" others but to convince themselves that a cure was possible. The need to believe, to keep the faith, was so strongly ingrained in them that they were willing to do anything to keep that fantasy intact.

    So no, I do not just shrug my shoulders and say "oh well." These people destroyed lives with their evangelical wingnuttery. And then to dare to continue to speak in terms of that obscene religiosity, to speak of vague notions of compassion and love while still characterizing homosexuality as a "sin" (news flash: I don't give a damn what you think is a sin, because as far as I'm concerned, your religion is a bunch of fairy tales and superstitions), is the height of self-centered arrogance.

    I don't hate these people. I just think they are ridiculous and not to be trusted with anything, because the ample historical evidence of their actions speaks for itself.

    Posted by: atomic | Jun 20, 2013 8:59:51 AM

  6. Time for us to more clearly, and more carefully, identify who are enemies truly are. This guy certainly isn't.

    Posted by: Tim | Jun 20, 2013 9:01:37 AM

  7. It is interesting that they mention the younger generation wanting something different. The new generation -- even the new generation of Christians -- just won't put up with the bigotry. (Or at least many fewer of them will...) As an old fogey, I applaud the (often maligned) younger generations for giving the hate mongers the backs of their collective hands!

    Posted by: kit | Jun 20, 2013 9:03:19 AM

  8. Alan Chambers was and is one of the most incredibly confused "religious" men in recent American history, the wages of actually believing that he knows what God - his idea of God - wants. How can that not be a confusion that leads to the most heinous hypocrisy and hopeless dictates, one that attracts equivalently confused people willing to abandon their own deeply human, and mostly homosexual, natures. It's so terribly sad.

    So, good, he has apologised. We can be glad of that, however inadequate it has to be considering how many people have been led to despair and even death by their willingness to listen to a voice other than their own. May Chamber's apology signify to all the need to love and accept yourself as you are regardless of what others think.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Jun 20, 2013 9:09:55 AM

  9. Self serving faux contrition.
    Stuff your apology.
    Your whole raison d'etre was contrived.

    This Exodus and its cohorts are liable for deception, infliction of injury and physical and psychological damage and taking money under false pretences.
    Let the litigation begin.

    These people are the most despicable arrogant self congratulating charlatans.....now they sound so smug in their apology.

    What they should be saying is :
    "we totally misled everyone. We had no grounds other than our arrogance for what we promoted. All 'ex-gay' groups are just as fraudulent as we were.
    And we harmed people, we drove them to despair and suicide. Our God will never forgive us."

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Jun 20, 2013 9:10:09 AM

  10. I'm not convinced. This has too much of "The Scorpion and The Frog" to it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Scorpion_and_the_Frog

    He has sugary words, but mitigates them when he says he can't apologize for his deeply held beliefs on sexuality and marriage. "“We’re not negating the ways God used Exodus to positively affect thousands of people". Prove that statement.

    His organization took 30-40 years to disband; they may have changed their thinking about how to approach it, but they're still going to fight being gay and allowing gays to marry. The "Board of Directors" will still be "transforming communities". Religion is still the cause of most ills in this world.

    I suggest we don't allow this guy to sting us.

    Posted by: woodroad34d | Jun 20, 2013 9:12:53 AM

  11. wow.... damn.

    can't help but feel- as the article mentioned briefly- that the rest of the board is simply gonna leave and set up shop elsewhere- WITH conversion therapy in tow.

    There's already another "ex-gay" group operating as the premier group since Exodus quit doing "conversion" therapy last year. Can't remember the name, and I don't think it has the name recognition like Exodus does.

    Posted by: scott | Jun 20, 2013 9:14:45 AM

  12. I'm still not sure why people think their religious beliefs should become law or rule the decisions of others. Aside from any problem you may have with gay rights, you are alienating other religions who have the same rights to their beliefs as you. The societal problems with most nations can come down to a certain religious faction believing with all their soul that they are right and everyone else is wrong. If we can see this in other countries why do we turn a blind eye to the same mistreatment of people here at home. WAKE UP!, your religion is not as important to everyone else as it is to you.

    Posted by: Hey Darlin' | Jun 20, 2013 9:18:25 AM

  13. To use your God's religion as your right to single out and dehumanize a group of people will always be a sinful, shameful act, apologize as you will.

    Posted by: Hey Darlin' | Jun 20, 2013 9:24:15 AM

  14. maybe their non profit status was revoked?

    Posted by: V-8 | Jun 20, 2013 9:29:32 AM

  15. How Narcissistic of him....Sue them out of existence for all the money they took...and the suicides they caused.....

    Posted by: Alan Brickman | Jun 20, 2013 9:29:40 AM

  16. He can go to hell as far as I'm concerned.

    Posted by: Jack M | Jun 20, 2013 9:31:02 AM

  17. Nice apology but I'm not quite ready to forgive and forget. Too many lives have been lost in the war these so-called Christians have waged against us.

    Posted by: Matt | Jun 20, 2013 9:32:19 AM

  18. Of course we should monitor the group's future actions, but I think this is a good start. I also echo commenters above who said this apology is much more sincere than the usual apology issued by a member of the Christian Right.

    Posted by: Hawthorne | Jun 20, 2013 9:48:16 AM

  19. You may no longer be my enemy, but you will never be my friend.

    Posted by: Yeek | Jun 20, 2013 9:48:57 AM

  20. Good by, go away, take with you all of the bigotry, all of the hate and all of the self inflicted wounds of all of the men and women whose deaths you are responsible for causing. Carry that burden for the rest of your lives, leave with us their souls, we are used to that weight. Never have so few been responsible for such agony of so many.

    To those that want to continue to carry this banner, we are not going away as many of you have, we will not fade into the darkness. We will overcome. We will not walk in the shadows, and we will stand in the light as equal citizens of this nation.

    Posted by: Rees Cramer | Jun 20, 2013 9:52:20 AM

  21. Too late. I have seen several gay men go through living hell because of your "therapies." they were trying to "cure" themselves. their parents held out as well. all in vain. finally the truth has truly set us free. Free from your sick evil.

    Posted by: bill | Jun 20, 2013 9:59:41 AM

  22. This monster has caused the suicide of a great number of young men.
    No apology he issues can ever suffice for the pain, suffering and death he has brought into the world.
    christians are hateful people, this man is one of the very worst.

    Posted by: enough already | Jun 20, 2013 10:01:40 AM

  23. Scott - perhaps you are talking about Courage, a Catholic group that tries to suppress gay men's sexuality. All in the name of God, of course.

    Posted by: Jack M | Jun 20, 2013 10:04:30 AM

  24. Don't apologize to us, Lucifer; go to the graveyard and kneel before every single decaying body you caused by your self-loathing journey to enrich yourself.

    May you be dammed by the Creator!

    Posted by: BRAINS | Jun 20, 2013 10:12:36 AM

  25. Like Ken Mehlman, Exodus International and their employees have the blood of our gay children, brothers and sisters on their hands. Forgive? Never.

    Posted by: MARCUS BACHMANN | Jun 20, 2013 10:16:25 AM

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