One of the nation’s most prominent organizations that promotes “ex-gay therapy” has announced that it is disbanding — and has apologized to the gay community.
Exodus International president Alan Chambers issued a written apology Wednesday where he acknowledged that his organization has caused “pain and hurt” to many who have sought its controversial therapy — therapy which has been debunked within the scientific community has being psychologically harmful.
Here is an excerpt of Chambers’ apology:
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 have spent year 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 there were times that 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 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.
Exodus International also announced that it will begin a new organization that encourages churches to “become safe, welcoming, and mutually transforming communities.”
Addressing attendees at the group’s final conference, Chambers mentioned the scandal that engulfed his organization last year after he said that the sexual orientation of people does not change. “I’m convinced that the scandal is of God’s making,” Chambers said.
He encouraged attendees to transform their churches to more of accepting and loving “father church” rather than a judgmental and condemning “older brother church.”
“What that means is we’re not gonna control people anymore ,” he told them. “We’re not gonna tell them how they should live. We’re not gonna be responsible for what they’re doing. It’s not our job. You are not the Holy Spirit. I am not the Holy Spirit. The Church is not the Holy Spirit.”
Research has shown that ex-gay therapy, along with simply not working, psychologically damages its participants. A survey conducted in 2013 of people who went through the therapy showed its harmful effects, including a man who described his eight-year marriage to a woman as a “scam,” and another who endured self-hatred, isolation, depression and flashbacks long after the therapy had ended. Another man even said that therapists performed an “exorcism” on him in an effort to “cure” him of being gay.
Below is a video of the final Exodus International conference. Chambers begins at about the 20 minute mark.