‘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.

Comments

  1. johnny says

    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”.

  2. atomic says

    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.

  3. kit says

    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!

  4. UFFDA says

    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.

  5. says

    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.”

  6. woodroad34d says

    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.

  7. scott says

    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.

  8. Hey Darlin' says

    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.

  9. Hey Darlin' says

    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.

  10. Matt says

    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.

  11. Hawthorne says

    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.

  12. Rees Cramer says

    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.

  13. bill says

    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.

  14. enough already says

    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.

  15. Jack M says

    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.

  16. BRAINS says

    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!

  17. MARCUS BACHMANN says

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

  18. says

    Do you guys get that you don’t have to forgive someone who apologizes to you? You can still hate them, AND accept the apology. Seems like a lot of you are struggling with that. Of course you can also ignore the whole thing and not change your mind.

  19. Jeff says

    I want to know who reducefear.org is which is their new name. I would like to know why I can still donate to exodus international if they are no longer. I am not saying he is not apologetic but I am awaiting time to tell this story.

  20. Jeff says

    I want to know who reducefear.org is which is their new name. I would like to know why I can still donate to exodus international if they are no longer. I am not saying he is not apologetic but I am awaiting time to tell this story.

  21. rexguy says

    I was forced by my parents to see a Exodus counselor back in the 90’s when I came out. At the time I was so confused on what I was I blindly did what they wanted to get beyond their disappointment that I was gay. The counselor realized after a 4th session that I wasn’t ready to “change” and said it was up to me if I wanted to meet further. At that point I had gone to my first gay bar and realized there were people like me.. and the hell if I wanted to change that. I’m not sure why I’m sharing this, other than I wasn’t horribly damaged by it, but I could have been. Now I have a partner going on 14 years and he is very much accepted and welcomed by my parents. I am very glad to see that Exodus will no longer exist.

  22. says

    They should be tried for crimes against humanity, there are a lot of dead gay men because of the abuse from people like this man and these ministries. One of my dear friends (an ex) has been completely wrecked, he suffers from a sort of PTSD now. He was a beautiful man before they got to him.

    Justice needs to be served, no apology could ever come close to being sufficient. I personally think these people should be prosecuted… I am not sure how and I am aware some people go to these people because of self-loathing, but I think of the minors who are forced into this.

  23. Lucas H says

    Wow, that’s really quite a profound apology. It seems sincere… He’s obviously never going to be an LGBT activist, but I can’t see this as anything but a good thing.

  24. Rob says

    Exodus has blood on it’s hands. It took 30 years of quackery to determine there beliefs did not hold up to reality!! This organization was nothing more that a front to allow evangelical Christians to bash the LGBT community and hide behind there religion.

  25. says

    no joke – i bet we have that Oprah interview to thank for this.

    this man and this hateful lie of an organization are, as y’all have pointed out, responsible for the countless deaths of many gay people, and for even more families being torn apart.

    it’s a great bloody relief that it’s been shut down down.

    but ALL of these bogus-therapy groups need to be shut down – because as long as even one still exists, there will be parents who ignore a PFLAG meeting and try to get their kid Jeebus-ified into Heterosexuality.

    yeah. relief that this particular chapter is closed for good. Step One.

    there are so many aspects of these pathetic conversion-groups that need to be called out for the B.S. that they are: not just the religious angles, but the nonsense about “manliness” that they espouse; as if Alan Chambers was a pinnacle of Brawny Man or something, right?
    Feh.

  26. jomicur says

    If the same crowd is opening up a new “ministry” under a new name to do pretty much the same thing under new cover, how sincere can this “apology” be? If there were any justice, Chambers and his crime family would be doing time for fraud in one of our better penitentiaries.

  27. Kathleen O'Neill says

    Unless I’m reading it wrong, the carefully constructed message here is that he still regards LGBT people as sinners, but he will no longer try to change them.

    SAT’s being decades in the past, it isn’t often that the word “obfuscate” pops into my mind, but here it seems appropriate.

    “You were never my enemy?”
    So what does he do to enemies–fly planes into their homes or gathering places?

    The only difference I see between people like him, and terrorists, is that the terrorists do their own killing, en mass, and die along with their victims.

    Here the death and destruction is outsourced, and takes place at a more leisurely pace. The dirty work of the physical killing can be carried out either by the victims, or by other true believers, lower on the Exodus food chain.

    Mr. Chambers doesn’t need to die along with them, or even get his hands dirty. He is not a terrorist; he is devoutly religious. His damage doesn’t result in crumbling skyscrapers, worldwide attention or outrage. It happens as quietly as a shot fired by a gun with a silencer.

    It happens one kid at a time, with a gun or a noose or a bridge. It makes hardly a ripple, and after a month or two, it’s forgotten by everyone except the bereaved.

    To me, the intention is the same, it’s just a matter of style and semantics.

  28. says

    A friend of a friend went to an Exodus conference and after three days declared he was now “straight.” He needed professional help and instead gave $1000s of dollars to these con artists.

  29. Jeff says

    Alan Manning Chambers opens yesterday that he firmly believes that “believers like me (Alan Manning Chambers) who believe sexual expression is reserved for one man and one woman in marriage.” He is not on our side.

  30. Reggie says

    It is true that this apology is not the usual non apology we usually get. But…

    He still believes that Exodus did some of God’s work. WTF? And you’ll note that he still has not changed his standing on marriage equality. Just that he’s now going to try a different strategy. Kill us with kindness. He still holds to the “biblical” boundaries on our sex practices… WTF? So…

    How do you apologize for the hundreds, or the thousands of people his “ministry” has killed? Sometimes, I’m sorry just can’t make it right. See Ken Mehlman.

  31. anon says

    I think we should clarify what is actually going on. Exodus has been losing money for some time and has already considered declaring bankruptcy, and on top of that they are being sued by numerous former “clients”. Shutting down is simply a inevitable result of the two factors. That Chambers can’t now go out and get a real job, but has to climb back aboard the non-profit gravy train suggests that he isn’t sorry at all.

  32. C.J. says

    It is really refreshing to see this “apology” of this completely gay individual who is still hiding behind religion. Religion killed the relatioship between my husband and his mother and now this man is still pretending to “love” his wife. I feel sorry for his children.

    Also, I am glad to see they are still accepting donations to help the fight in aiding those with same sex attractions.

    This is disgusting and I cannot forgive him. I am glad to see this hate group is collapsing, it has been a very interesting collapse to watch, but this man is a pig. The monumental damage caused by this group, the leaders before him and Alan Chambers himself is so prominent that his apology means nothing.

  33. says

    I still cry at the memory of those kids so broken hearted about being gay and being told the falsehood they can be converted……

    Where were these Christians helping them along the road ?
    Where was the Christian charity ?
    So instead of helping these kids Exodus and other “conversion groups”reinforced their feelings of “otherness” , of not being quite ‘right’.

    Who among us could ever forgive Exodus parading their self justifying therapies which were designed to prove the righteousness of their beliefs rather than help those kids in pain.

    Everyone, all the Ken Melmans, need to know that when you parade your high handedness and later repent what you have done then there is no refuge for you in the gay community. You are traitors and assaultors of struggling kids…….and the pain of these kids we will always keep with us because we all have had that pain in one degree or another.

  34. Steven says

    Coming from a very charismatic religious family where I was forced to attend church a minimum three times a week where I heard constant hate towards gays, I had a hard road to self-acceptance.

    What I learned along the way was that part of my self-acceptance had to include forgiveness to the ones who hurt me. Otherwise I couldn’t move on with my life and I gave them the power over my life.

    So in that spirit, I accept Alan Chambers apology. I don’t agree with the doctrine he follows but there will never be progress until both sides can have dialog. No one accomplishes anything by judging the other. I hope more “christians” will follow his lead and apologize for the incredible pain they have inflicted on our community.

  35. Francis #1 says

    Accept the apology? Yes.

    Do I forgive him? Absolutely not. He knew what he was doing, and he did it to destroy lives because he was struggling with who he was. And considering he thinks homosexuality IS A SIN and marriage equality IS A SIN…..no. I don’t forgive him. I do welcome the apology, though, wish him the best and do hope going forward that he and his new organization can continue to build relationships between the LGBTQ and religious communities.

  36. Andy says

    For everyone out there who says that Chambers and the rest of Exodus don’t deserve forgiveness, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING? This is yet another opportunity for the gay community to demonstrate that gay people will take the high road and not stoop to the Level where Exodus once was. We should embrace Chambers et al, and thank them for leaving gay people alone finally. YES, they have injured gay people, but we should be an example of morality and mend fences and forgive and move on.

  37. says

    Accepting, not accepting an apology; what possible bearing or relevance is that to the kids and young men and women Exodus made fee like freaks ?

    The very word ” apology” is a distraction from their bigoted homo hating agenda, which in itself is predicated on their One Book, whether Bible, Koran or Mormon.
    Who the F*** cares about an apology…..i want complete repentance and restitution and an abject denunciation of the named individuals who peddled their putrid shameful vitriol.

  38. Just_a_guy says

    Anastasia!! Hahahahahahahaha. I love it when you pop up out of no where and remind me of why I have always found you so adorable. Hope you are awesome as always, my friend. P.S. Yeah, I’ve followed TR semi-religiously since your reintroduction of me to it a few years back. Holla.

  39. Rich says

    I can accept Chambers’ apology, but I am not obliged to forgive him — that job belongs to his god.

    As for his sincerity, his future actions will testify to that.

  40. CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTONSTOPHER ALLEN HORTON says

    AS AN ATHEIST, THIS IS STRANGE. DO NOT ABANDON YOUR VALUES BECAUSE A NEW GENERATION HAS NO INTEREST. THE CHURCH IS IN DECLINE BECAUSE YOUNG PEOPLE DO NOT ATTEND IN LARGE NUMBERS. IF YOU BELIEVE IN THE CHURCH, FIGHT FOR ITS ORIGINAL DOCTRINES.

    CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON

  41. CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTONSTOPHER ALLEN HORTON says

    WELL, “UFFDA [20 JUNE; 9:09:55 AM], WHY IS YOUR IDEOLOGY NOT ACCEPTED ON THIS SITE?

    CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON

  42. CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTONSTOPHER ALLEN HORTON says

    “Fenrox,” YOU CAN NOT ACCEPT SOMEONE’S APOLOGY AND STILL HATE – THAT IS CONTRADICTION.

    CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON

  43. Homer says

    The apology, I think, should be welcomed from their organization – regardless of it being framed in religious context. It’s a step in the right direction as far as I’m concerned. Their next few steps, however, should be the criteria with which to ultimately weigh their contrition.

  44. Bill says

    @the person posting as MARCUS BACHMANN:

    Ken Mehlman, like Roy Ashcroft, actually did very little harm directly. Their main failing was in not opposing the actions of others. Both put the Republican anti-gay agenda on their personal back burners, doing only the minimum necessary to keep their jobs. Mehlman’s main failing was chickening out at the thought of fighting Darth Vader, I mean, Karl Rove. Roy Ashcroft voted the party line (which didn’t make any difference given that the Republicans were in the minority) but never introduced any anti-gay legislation and usually left the room when anti-gay legislation was being discussed. He was so closeted, that he was afraid to say anything either for or against anti-gay legislation because he thought he might sound so nervous that he’d end up inadvertently outing himself. Ashcroft’s votes were the same as all the other Republicans in the California Senate regarding gay rights (his rationale was that he was representing his homophobic constituents – his district was Crucifixion Central in California’s Bible Belt.) Ashcroft once went to a pro-Proposition-Eight rally and did such a poor job of supporting it that some of the people who invited him thought he might be gay. Mehlman apparently did as little as possible on Rove’s anti-gay agenda and tried to spend his time on other issues.

    What they did is inconsequential compared to the harm Alan Chambers’ organization did.

  45. millerbeach says

    Apology accepted, and noted for its elegant style. Well stated, sir…very well stated. God bless you that you have seen the light, so to speak. Thank you for reminding us all, gay or straight, butch or queeny, we are all God’s children, all of us worthy of God’s love and acceptance for the way in which He made us all. Alan Chambers, sleep better tonight knowing you are actually living the truth of the life God gave you. Relish in the truth, my friend! It is so much easier to remember!

  46. truthteller says

    “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.”

    I suppose he’s expecting a reward for not interfering in our lives. Since when does an individual have the right to make our lives miserable because his religion–or rather his interpretation of his religion dictates?

    This man has egotistical low-hangers.

    The way I see it, it is no longer financially viable to hate the gays, now that the new majority of Americans and a new generation of Christians aren’t aboard the hate express train, so it’s time to switch tactics and keep raking in that cash!

  47. Yeek says

    Starting from the end point of Exodus’ activities against gay men and lesbians, I’d say the apology is about the best and complete one we could have hoped for. They certainly could have done or said something worse than give up, apologize, and disband.

    Of course we aren’t exactly starting from the end point, are we? Many have gone through the beginning and middle of their legacy and been badly hurt or have killed themselves. It is up to these people, the ones directly caught up in Exodus and their families and loved ones, to decide whether or not they can forgive Alan Chambers. And to some degree it’s still up to Mr. Chambers himself, since declaring contrition is not the same thing as living it.

  48. Rob says

    Way to go, post from Truthteller. The money dries up, legislators call your tactics illegal and THEN you see the light and interpret God’s word differently? What more obvious way is there to say that religion is about money and power.

    And let’s go back to the “people who have chosen to end their lives.” That’s a lot different than saying “the suicides I caused.” Their choice my butt- they were checkmated off the planet by your programmed stigma and shame. My own gay son was hanging by a thread for much less- has a very supportive family but some school bullying.

    Another religious zealot whose buffoonery hurts people. Bad. He obviously still wants to run some organization with his bloody hands.

  49. anon says

    Alan Brickman is right. They aren’t closing down out of the goodness of their hearts! They are closing down because they can’t get donations anymore, nor clients, nor hire lawyers to fight lawsuits, nor deal with the fallout from sending activists to Africa to promote the killing of gays, etc.

  50. TheNiebur says

    Good on you, rexguy! :))

    And WoW… Kathleen O’Neill’s comment is to the very core.

    Let the lowlife apologize.
    And then turn to never look at him again. Worst kind of human scum, he is.

  51. says

    Sorry, Alan. As a gay woman who attended Christian school when she was a kid and struggled with her sexuality until she was 25, I’m afraid I’ll have to say you can shove your offer of “friendship” and your apology sideways up your ass. This con man and his organization did so much damage emotionally, mentally and for some people, even physically. Forgive? Lets see what he does. Forget? Hell, no.

  52. Chuck Mielke says

    Looks like they wanna turn down the heat under the conversion therapy pot and continue trapping unsuspecting individuals in the religion trap. They’ve undoubtedly observed that they’ll find more money in that game and they’ll continue “treatment” under a more honest religious conversion rhetoric.

  53. Gbe says

    Andy is taking the Jesus route. He must be empowered by a Supreme Court victory of some sort. This has all been too easy. No wonder it’s forgiveness all around. Let’s overlook the army just over the castle wall.

Leave A Reply