Ex-ex-gays make public statements

This has been widely reported by now but the AP has a story making the rounds that report statements by Michael Bussee, Jeremy Marks, and Darlene Bogle lamenting their work in ex-gay ministries. Actually, this is old news as Michael has been ex-ex for a long time, Darlene since 1990 and Jeremy since 2000. What made it irresistable to the AP, I suspect, was the tension between the ex-ex-gay conference and the Exodus conference occuring this week.

By now, the dinner is over I suppose. I wonder if anyone who was there will be giving any kind of report. My understanding is that such disclosures would not occur but we shall see.

I have lots of mixed feelings about the entire series of events. I have little time to explore this now but I do have one question for anyone involved in any of the ex-ex-gay organizations to react to: What are you wanting to accomplish? Ok, a follow up question. Do you want to see your vision of reform at Exodus or do you want to see Exodus shut down?

To the degree that the objective is to see Exodus discredited to the point of closing up shop, there will continue to be polarization and distance.

150 thoughts on “Ex-ex-gays make public statements”

  1. MICHAEL BUSSEE: My email to you just bounced. Send me one from your new email address, which obviously has changed since a year ago unless your emailer is acting up.

    EDDY: If you are visiting your parents, you’re welcome to stop by. We’re in the phone book.

    I know that these comments have nothing to do with this thread except that these are people whom I care about but have no other way to contact them at the moment.

  2. Hey, room for me on that bandwagon too!

    Mary, I believe I stated that it was just my feelings. I know that not everyone feels they are unacceptable to a faith community. My years in Exodus (15 years ago) it was actually being said, that Homosexuality was a sin, you couldn’t be gay and Christian, you were in need of change. Seems not a lot has changed based upon what I hear Alan and other leaders saying. It’s ok tho, I always try to allow for others to be wrong…just as I dound out I was. (smile)

    Peace and Joy on your journey.


  3. Oh – what the heck – I’ll jump on the bandwagon – Go Tim!!!!!! 🙂 🙂

  4. Timothy,

    I don’t mean to frighten you but once again I’m in total agreement with you. 🙂

  5. Timothy,

    Your last paragraph here is profound – I hope we all can realize this when we disagree – thank you for your insight and knowledge and for sharing it.

  6. Eddy,

    Yeah, I find that on all matters of faith I question whether this is a truth God has given my heart, or just my upbringing. On many things I just say, “I’ll believe it because the result is good (ie. loving, giving, forgiveness, treating others right, etc.). If I’ve got it all wrong, I’ll just have to trust that God will see my heart”.

    If ultimately there is no Trinity, or direction of the Holy Spirit, or even if the Redemption is just a hoax created 2000 years ago by a zealous cult, I trust that God will forgive my human frailty and misplaced trust in institutions. And if not, well then he’s not the God I worship.

    Sometimes you just have to go with what you believe. The trick is realizing you could be wrong and not punishing others who disagree with you.

  7. Anon2

    …yet we constantly hear from some people on this site that there is such solid evidence against the idea that anyone can change their orientation.

    That simply isn’t true.

    What you “hear from some people on this site” is that there is no solid evidence that orientation CAN change. We aren’t claiming proof that it can’t (and perhaps in some limited instances it can) but that we haven’t seen anything better to support the notiong than a study of telephone conversations based on testimony of those highly motivated to claim change.

    Perhaps you want to see gay folks as irrational and nefarious, but please don’t put words in our mouths to do so.

    It reminds me of years ago when the gay activists wanted us all to believe that 10% of the population was gay and yet study after study indicated it was actually somewhere between 2-5%. Seems that was wishful thinking on someones part or maybe it was a political ploy. Maybe!

    Anon2, we’ve discussed this to the point of nausea. But one more time for the cheap seats (to quote Nathan Lane on Sex and the City):

    The 10% quote came from Kinsey’s studies and was repeated (and believed) until better research came about. The CDC in 2005 came up with about 2.3% identified as gay and 1.8% bisexual with some “other” and some who didn’t answer. Interestingly only 90% indicated they were heterosexual (so Kinsey may not have been entirely wrong). Now you can believe it was all just a scheme or trick or whatever if you want, but it does get tiresome to hear when this has all been explained before – time and again.

  8. ANON2 –

    And – I’m sorry for repeating this – but in the same vein, this doesn’t give organizations like Exodus the right to undermine equal rights for gay people either – IF its ok to be gay, its ok to have all the rights that others have, and that includes marriage.

    Sometimes this just needs to be repeated frequently

  9. I just want to add that my recent move to trust in the message of those who are promoting change has not come from the religious rights rhetoric, but rather by looking at what the science around this issue is really saying and applying that to my life. My faith makes me stronger, but that does not allow me to ignore what is being discovered through science. What the science is saying seems to imply that we are all capable of changing and learning new ways of dealing with the world around us. Sometimes this is a very difficult task, but it is possible. No therapist or psychological organization has the right to vote that away from me. I will not give up my freedom to choose, because if that freedom can be taken away for those who find themselves SSA them what other freedoms will we loose in the future. If you want to live as a gay person go ahead, but that does not give you or any “professional organization” the right to take away my freedom not to.

  10. Nemario

    What I find very interesting about this whole idea of scientific integrety being so important to what NARTH is presenting is that the scientific basic for the entire “gay gene” hypothesis has not yet been shown to be replicatable and many scientists and psychologist have come out suggesting that same-sex attraction is infact a combination of both biology, upbringing, and environment. We are also discovering how very plastic the human mind really is and yet we constantly hear from some people on this site that there is such solid evidence against the idea that anyone can change their orientation. It baffles me to no end how this can continue. It reminds me of years ago when the gay activists wanted us all to believe that 10% of the population was gay and yet study after study indicated it was actually somewhere between 2-5%. Seems that was wishful thinking on someones part or maybe it was a political ploy. Maybe!

  11. what if religion doesn’t play any part? Isn’t it ok for a person to just make a decision that this is not what they want anymore based on their own personal reasons and motiviations? They don’t attach labels like ex-gay to describe or justify their decision – they just quietly live their lives according to their chosen values and standards. Don’t they deserve this right without criticism or scrutiny?

  12. Timothy,

    I do believe you’ve nailed it. I couldn’t agree with you more! My personal dilemma has been trying to sort out whether I’m being dogma-induced or, conversely, culturally-induced.

  13. Eddy,

    I agree with Timothy. Homosexuals are still a minority, subject to domination by the majority. Homosexuality is still not widely accepted in society, gay people often have to hide who they are, most don’t feel safe displaying their affections in public (even holding hands), most can’t legally get married, Many religious institutions claim it is a sin, –

    And yet you still don’t think that society and its institutions can influence a gay person to want to change – simply through pressure, or some idealized/idolized idea of heterosexuality? You’ve got to be kidding?


  14. I honestly believe that few are ‘ex-gays’ due to family or church pressures; it’s the PERSONAL belief that the Bible says it’s wrong–and the attempt to walk in that belief–that makes them ‘ex-gays’.

    Yeah, I’d agree to a point. But the question is where they came up with that personal belief.

    Some might suggest the Holy Spirit – or even an exhaustive study of Scripture. But I suspect that it is simply a reading of Scripture after already having a basis of culture and church dogma that tells them how to understand what they read.

    After all, we can read Scripture today and not find that we have a personal belief that it endorses slavery or sexism or opposes eating shellfish. If culture and the church taught differently (which I think it will within 25 years), I wonder just how many would find that personal conviction on their own.

  15. AM–

    I also think Darlene said it pretty well although I would exchange the words ‘to forsake it’ for ‘to change’. We learned long ago that there were varying definitions of ‘change’…various expectations of ‘change’. But what we all had in common was the belief that we needed to forsake it based on our Biblical beliefs. (I honestly believe that few are ‘ex-gays’ due to family or church pressures; it’s the PERSONAL belief that the Bible says it’s wrong–and the attempt to walk in that belief–that makes them ‘ex-gays’.)


    LOL! I used to kick people out of the OUTPOST program when I felt that the group was holding them back and causing them to focus more on that issue than they needed. (We met in an old bank vault in a basement, BTW. They did move to an actual church basement shortly after I left, though.)

  16. AM,

    Interesting comment about the similarity between an ex-gay that slips and an ex-ex-gay.

    But even more interesting, I think, is the similarity – yet great chasm – between the celibate gay (or XXgay) and the celibate ex-gay.

    From a behavior perspective they are identical. But realistically they are worlds apart.

    (I’m going to speak in generalities here – this doesn’t apply to everyone but to the overall)

    A gay person who isn’t having sex is just that – similar to a straight person who isn’t having sex. There’s no “struggle” or “journey” or weekly meetings. No need for “overcoming”. Just a decision not to engage in sex.

    But an ex-gay who is celibate and part of the ex-gay movement isn’t just “not having sex”. Instead they are focused on change and on temptations and on overcoming and on healing. In short, they seem almost obsessed with homosexuality – and on not having it.

  17. Darlene,

    You may be speaking in generalities – but as an ex gay I don’t beleive that I need to change to be acceptable to my faith community and myself. I do believe that God wants me to partner up with a man. And I do believe this would be acceptable to God as far as my life is concerned. As for others – their relationship with God is up to them is between them and God.

    Just sharing with you my experience and hopefully showing that not all ex gays feel that everyone should be like them or feel presure from other human beings to change.

  18. AM

    From my observation, I’d mostly echo Darlene’s response.

    I think there’s something else going on here. There’s a certain kinship between ex-gays and ex-ex-gays that is missing from almost all anti- and pro- gay dialogue. I think ex-ex-gays see ex-gays as a part of their kin, their kind. And vice versa.

    In many ways it becomes very similar to an intrafamilial squabble that goes way beyond just sharp words. I’ve seen some acting out behaviors which are recognizable to me, similar to relatives who are in disagreement with one another.

  19. Hello AM.

    I would say that the difference between an ex-gay and ex-ex-gay has to do with embracing your sexual orientation. Physical sex is not the issue. Ex-gays beleive that the behavior is sinful and you need to change to be acceptable to God;your faith community and yourself. Ex-ex-gays are at peace(I would pray) with there orientation and know that they are not broken;sinful or in need of fixing. That’s just my thoughts, which may or may not be held by others on this site.

  20. Oh, and on a personal note, I agree with Christine Bakke: my experience in ex-gay ministry leaves me at a place that I cannot return to — changed forever — and yet feeling like a sex change operation done halfway.

    When I read that description I thought I had never heard of a better one, personally.

  21. I am intrigued by this reunion of some of the “old timers” — please forgive the term if it is offensive. I’ve been following along with the diaglogues and am impressed by how peaceful much of the interchange is. Yes…heated at points… but overall civil as I believe Ed mentioned in a post.

    I am wondering….why cannot this civility co-exist among the ex-ex-gays and ex-gays? And by the way, what *is* an ex-gay versus an ex-ex-ex-gay? If it has anything to do with sexual behaviour, feelings, etc… — isn’t the overlap so tremendous that the terms are almost silly?

    If an *ex-gay* can have a slip, and an *ex-ex-gay* also engages in sexual behaviour, isn’t a rose a rose? If each camp feels romantically/emotionally/sexually inclined to the same sex, what is the difference?

    Now, I know I will probably get a response back: “The theology is everything.” So the slip of the ex-gay is less enjoyable/ satisfying for him/her than it would be for the ex-ex-gay? And that would make God happier?

    I’m thinking aloud here…but on this topic I think sometimes we need to and leave some of the cloaking baggage behind. I hesitate to mention the Emperor and His Lack of Clothes…but, I will. Because in much of my 4 year dialogue on this topic I found the circuitous nature of what is what to be mind boggling to put it mildly.

  22. Eddy.

    Thanks for the update. I thought I had heard that you “went back to the lifestyle” but then, you know how bad gossip is. I think LaHaye’s book is way out of print! I think he went to his pastor for help, because I know he is no bible scholar. Oh well, I resisted the urge to dump a truck load of bibles in his yard and ask for just one verse that granted him the right to treat me like that! I decided to use his bigotry as an “example” which helps me feel better. It doesn’t change him, but in my heart I talk to Des and tell her she really was right! Her dad, to his credit, didn’t reject me or us, he just said he didn’t want to talk about it, and I honored that up until his death. I think the point I origionally wanted to make is that I know many men and women who have been rejected and hurt by ex-gay ministries…and I know what they are feeling because of situations like this, although not with an ex-gay ministry, it was “in the name of God.”

    I don’t see things changing anytime soon. I will observe this website and jump in from time to time. I really don’t talk to Michael, so I didn’t know your identity until you told me. Small world.

    Be at peace.

  23. Thanks for the clarification, Darlene. How odd that they sent a photocopy from “The Unhappy Gays”…didn’t that come out in the late 1970’s? (Maybe it’s a book that every Southern Baptist has tucked away in their library.)

    LOL! You’re not the first to wonder ‘where I went’. Funny thing is, I didn’t go anywhere. I kept the same address for another 5 years or so and the same phone number all the way up to 1992. But I did drop out of the ministry and the public eye–to get on with my own life. I assisted OUTPOST behind the scenes, as a consultant more or less, numerous times over the years but it was the blogs here that caused me to re-emerge to some degree.

    I should tell you that the discussions here are usually more tame than this one. While we do have some major disagreements, we’ve come to realize that we also share a common love and concern for gay people. (Heck, some of the topics aren’t even gay-related!) So, please feel free to ‘come on back’–even if it’s just as a reader. LOL! I tried that for about a week and finally couldn’t refrain from blogging again. (You might even enjoy ‘the archives’ found on the sidebar on the right side of your screen. Searching “ex-gay” or “EXODUS” will lead you to a number of past discussions…but I warn you, those are usually the ones where we get a bit snarky.)

  24. To Mary:

    Thank you so very much for the kindness. God is Good. He has brought a wonderful woman into my life, Becky…and we have been together a couple of years. She was a caretaker for Des when I had to work. She is a wonderful Christian woman, and I am blessed to have found two women for my journey, who both love the Lord and support my speaking out for the Gay community.

    Thanks again. Darlene

  25. Hello Ed from Outpost long ago. I remember you!

    Ok, let me clarify my statements: Her family did not know of our “commitment” until the week before she died. Although we had been together for 12 years, we were the best of friends. They may have suspected, but did not ask, and we didn’t tell. The last conversation I had with Des, she told me to tell them, that it didn’t matter to her any longer if they rejected us. I sat in my living room and told them that at the funeral they would see a lot of our gay friends, as well as friends from our work. I told them that we had been domestic partners for years. Her sister in law, said, “Oh, we’d never reject Des. We love her.” They came to the service, which I led…and were civil to everyone.

    A week later, I got a letter from Des’s brother which included a photocopy chapter from “The unhappy Gays” by LaHaye. Along with a two page letter telling me why I was living in sin. They probably don’t know about exodus, in fact, they don’t know that I wrote books/articles that he could have quoted back to me. So, no, exodus is not responsible for their bigotry. They do support Dobson, and I’m sure got some of the info there. They do know I’ve written another book, but have told me they have no desire to read it, although it is the faith journey of Des and my life through her breast cancer. I think they were offended at the Christian Lesbian Journey-title.

    Well, hope that clears it up. Let me know if I run other thoughts together. (I wondered where you went)

  26. Nemario – Yes, Cameron looked to Rudolph Hoss for information. See this link for my recent posts on the Camerons. I really think this is off topic and unnecessary. I will not go into another round about them as there is nothing much more to say. That is unless the Camerons have something new to offer or apologies to offer.

    Repeat, no more about the Camerons’ “research” on this thread.

  27. It’s nice that Eddy and Mary express sadness at the mis-treatment some of have endured. That is more than many of us have recieved. More often, we are accused of not being “real Christians” and are told to “move on” or “get over it”.

    A minister of the gospel backed out at the last minute and refused to do Gary’s funeral when he learned that Gary had died of AIDS. An EXODUS founder told me I would be “pushed into the firey pit by God’s angels” for leaving EXODUS. I could give many more examples.

    But, we are not blaming EXODUS for all of this. What we are saying is that the message we preached and that was preached to us (that gays are “broken”, need to be “fixed” and will go to Hell if they don’t try) harmed not all but many, including us. For that, we are truly sorry.

  28. “And once it was shown that Cameron was somewhat an admirer of the methods of the Commandant of Auschwitz”

    Are you quite sure about that? Remember, just because a history teacher may explain to his pupils about the holocaust – and perhaps goes further to analyze certain aspects of it – does not mean he necessarily endorses it.

    Warren didn’t seem to leave the subject with a conclusion:

    “When (if) the study is published, then I will review it further.”

  29. Darlene,

    I’m sorry to hear about the “removal” from the family. All too often that is the story.

    But people should not change for the love of their family and instead work on themselves for their own peace and no one else’s. Whether that means reconciling with gay feelings through acceptance/celibacy/change/ etc…

    I guess it’s a long, long story that each of us faces with our families of origin – how we have grown up differently than what they hoped for or dreamed of – even if you are straight – most children and siblings have conflict and stress to “fit in” with the family. No doubt, gays and lesbians are tossed out because of “religious” reasons which I don’t really see as religious or a reason. Those are deep issues within other people that are just so bitter and hard to reach.

    Again, I am so sorry you lost your loved one and then recieved a “Don’t Call Us” notice. That is not Christianity by most anyone’s standards.

  30. Yikes! Darlene, one more thing. You said:

    “Des was concerned that her Southern Baptist family would reject her if they knew about our committment. Sadly, she knew them all too well. Her family initially said they would never reject her,when I told them at her funeral.”

    Are you saying they didn’t know about your committed relationship or about the committment to write another book?

  31. Darlene,

    I am very sorry for your loss and even more distressed at the response of Des’s family.

    I do want to clarify one thing, though. You told the story of their reaction just after a sentence about EXODUS and just before one citing ex-gay ministries. I think it’s safe to say that they never had any contact with EXODUS or with any ex-gay ministry, am I correct in that assumption? (Forgive me, but I’ve been spending a lot of time on this site trying to clarify just what can be attributed to EXODUS and what can’t. I didn’t want people mistakenly ascribing this tragic experience to EXODUS or ex-gays in general.)

    BTW: Michael’s probably told you already but I’m Ed from OUTPOST–long ago. Good to hear from you. I had forgotten to check in to Alan’s blog to view his post- conference and after-dinner comments. I’ve got it on my agenda now!

  32. Nemario,

    Seems to me like they just use whatever data is available.

    Then you haven’t been paying attention. I don’t mean to insult you, but this really is an issue that I think everyone who reads here has pretty much resolved.

    Cameron does not present accurate information. At this point that really isn’t up for debate, but if you want more info, check here:


    Every “study” that Paul Cameron has presented has been pretty easily debunked. Sadly, many well intentioned folk got fooled before they came to see exactly who he is and then were in the embarassing position of having to retract their comments (or, at least the honest ones like Bill Bennett did).

    And it isn’t just “gay activists” that have disputed Cameron’s claims. Dr. Throckmorton had interaction with the Camerons in which he concluded that their methodologies do not support their claims. And once it was shown that Cameron was somewhat an admirer of the methods of the Commandant of Auschwitz, Exodus reviewed their materials to remove any reference to Cameron and to disassociate themselves.

    NARTH has yet to do so.

    Perhaps this isn’t too surprising. NARTH also refused to disassociate themselves from their own Advisors who took the position that shaming children is an effective and acceptable tool to force gender conformity and that Africans were better off as slaves than they were in the savage jungles in Africa.

    I would suggest that before you make assumptions about “data”, you look a bit at the analysis that has been done on that data and how the claims resulting from it cannot be supported. It is not a matter of benignly using the available information but rather a systematic and intentional fraud.

  33. Warren:

    The only public sharing of my story really, has been in the movie: God and Gays-Bridging the Gap, and in three articles I’ve posted on the Beyoneexgay website. I’ve not been hostile against Exodus, only stating that I believe however sincere, that they are only telling a partial, broken truth. I’ve only been moved to respond as I have heard the stories of men and women who are just beginning to share their brokenness with me. I am a Christian, and as such, believe if I have harmed someone, I need to apologize. I still see my old books and articles being used to represent where I was in the 80-s and early 90’s. I retired from the lime-light because my partner was not out to her family and she requested I keep our lives private. I did so, until she was diagnoised with Breast cancer and when we knew her time was short(she passed away in Feb. 2005) She requested that I write another book to tell our story and affirm God’s love for us as Christian Lesbians, and for the gay community. I am grieved when I hear of men and women who have lost their faith due to the verbage of those who claim to speak for God and feel they have all the truth and understanding on our sexuality! I don’t want to battle Exodus or any faith based outreach, but I will no longer stand silent about How God has continued to reveal His love and grace in my life. Des was concerned that her Southern Baptist family would reject her if they knew about our committment. Sadly, she knew them all too well. Her family initially said they would never reject her,when I told them at her funeral. Now, they have cut off all contact with me, said my “lifestyle” is an embarassment to them, and when her dad just passed away a couple of months ago, I was prevented from attending the service! It was in the name of their God that they were “justified” in cutting me off, although I had been a “daughter” for over 12 years. I know a little of the pain and rejection that many who have gone through ex-gay ministries have experiences, and am committed to bringing reconcillation and hope to anyone God brings my way. Thanks.

  34. Darlene – Thanks so much for commenting. I appreciate your response to my question.

    I was under the impression that you had told your story publicly before recently. Am I wrong about that?

    Again, thanks for commenting and feel free to continue. I attempt to keep a civil dialogue here.

  35. I have been watching and reading this blog for over a week now, trying to decide if a comment would help or incite more anamosity. I have decided to state WHY I was part of the 3 former leaders who apologized to THOSE WHOM WE HAD HURT OR OFFENDED DURING OUR CONNECTION WITH EXODUS. It wasn’t intended for exodus, or to attack them Had I wanted to do that, I could have done so anytime in the past 15 years! I was under the mistaken assumption that I had friends within the Exodus ranks, and in fact had still referred callers to their ministries over the years.

    The reason I stepped forward now, even tho my exit from Exodus is old news, is that I have just started to listen to the stories of those who were harmed. It never occured to me that my message of change being necessary, had in fact done harm. I wrote books and articles that are still in the market place, and it is about time that I corrected the record to reflect the truth as I now know it .

    I wrote a new book, A Christian Lesbian Journey~~ which tells the rest of the story. Michael and I have been attacked on Alan’s blog, My Christianity has been questioned, I’ve been called a liar; sinner; deceiver and other names not worth meantioning. Funny thing, I only hear My Lord saying that I am His beloved, and there is no condemnation to me because I am in Christ.

    God doesn’t hate Gays…God hates strife that divides His children. God knows what our intent was, and will continue to be as we speak and live our truth. Thanks for listening.

  36. Cameron is a loon

    NARTH quotes Cameron

    Exodus doesn’t condemn NARTH

    Warren keeps communication open with Exodus


    NARTH is advised by several loons who have been apologists for slavery and child abuse.

    Exodus won’t dissasociate from NARTH.

    Exodus has no credibility.

  37. Nemario,

    I’m not getting what the big deal is about using someone’s research. It’s not like they’re fabricating data, are they?

    Actually, that’s the problem. Cameron is fabricating data (or perhaps a better term would be carefully selecting his data so that he gets his desired result and then proclaims it to be representative). NARTH gleefully repeats it – knowing full well that it is untruthful.

    The big deal is that they are willingly and knowingly perpetuating fraud.

  38. Let’s see…

    Cameron is a loon

    NARTH quotes Cameron

    Exodus doesn’t condemn NARTH

    Warren keeps communication open with Exodus

    Does that mean I have to hit Warren with a stick before anyone will talk to me? C’mon guys, let’s not get completely carried away here.

  39. I’m not getting what the big deal is about using someone’s research. It’s not like they’re fabricating data, are they? ..seems as long as they aren’t, it would be fair game in scientific debate. I thought studies, replication and and counter-studies (if they can be done) is what leads to eventual scientific truth.

    It seems unfortunate that the lone family organization dedicated to doing their own research (except for the FPN occasionally) is receiving a drumbeat for censorship.

  40. Warren,

    Does an organization need to make an official statement in order to endorse someone? Is there no such thing as a silent endorsement? If the word endorsement doesn’t work here, what about support.

    At the very least, we know NARTH uses Cameron’s work to support their endevours – and I have never heard anything from its leaders about how they object to, or don’t support, Cameron?

  41. No defense of NARTH here. You read too much into what I am saying. If NARTH endorses Cameron, they should stop it. However, I am not clear that the references on the website are endorsements of Cameron’s work. If you find something that is an endorsement, post it here.

    I think I have been pretty clear about what I think NARTH ought to do about some of their snafus. I still think NARTH needs major changes and, as is, is not an organization that I can endorse.

  42. Jayhuck is right when he says: “Let’s not pretend that Exodus isn’t still playing its games.” In fact that’s is EXACTLY what Alan ADMITS he has done — “playng our game” by “forgiving” the three of us who apologized to the people we may have harmed. Unlike him, we were sincere.

    I don’t think Alan even bothered to read our statements before dismissing them with a terse “shut up and go away”. How can we trust anything EXODUS says when it’s leader admits he’s “only playing games”?

    And what possible difference does it make how many times NARTH references Cameron? How many times would it be OK to quote the KKK? It’s disgusting that anyone or any organization (especially a Christian one) references this man’s “research” or maintains any sort of ties with him.

  43. Warren,

    Frankly I’m stumped about your comments on NARTH. You make the assertion that they don’t endorse Cameron yet they have articles that reference his work?????

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but Cameron is only one of the many problems NARTH has had this year. I’m biased against them, I’ll admit that, but do they have any credibility left in the professional community? My priest, who is a practicing therapist and who holds traditional views on homosexuality doesn’t even know who they are – I thought that was kind of telling.

  44. Eddy and Warren,

    I’m not denying that some good changes have taken place, but let’s not pretend that Exodus isn’t still playing its games. We have to congratulate them on the one hand for some LONG-OVERDUE progress, and call them on it when they fall back into their old ways.

  45. Warren asked: “(associate with no one?)” No. Just don’t associate with an organization (NARTH) that STILL has “expert advisors” like “tease the children” Berger and “slaves had it better off” Schoenewolf. And especially don’t affiliate with any organization that quotes the “research” of hate-mongering, Nazi-sympathizers like Cameron! NARTH has never diavowed these men. Whether it’s four or ten references to Cameron, it’s too much. Guilt by association DEFINITELY applies here. Warren, even you have called these views “distubring” and “abhorrent”. Why won’t EXODUS?

    If I were still “Ex-gay” and still in leadership with EXODUS I would submit my resignation in a heartbeat if EXODUS kept its association with such an organization. Either say that you agree or say that you don’t. Silence and ongoing affiliations convey agreement. (“All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for people of good will to do NOTHING.”) Alan says that accusing Berger, Schoenewolf and Cameron of saying these things is “incorrect”.

    Come on, Warren, You know better. Their comments are very well-documented. In fact, they were your TOP story last year, remember? You dumped NARTH over some of these same issues and EXODUS, if it wants to have ANY credibilty, should follow your wise example and do the same.

  46. I want a level playing field for free agents to make decisions about the course of their lives.

    Somehow I think you and I would disagree about what that field would look like… nonetheless, I certainly endorse the goal.

  47. How about asking Exodus to separate from NARTH because of their wacky scientific advisors like Schoenewolf and Breiner and Berger and Nicolosi’s baby dropping jokes?

  48. Maybe this would be a good time for that quote again:

    “I think there will continue to be steps forward and backward due to ambiguity over what each side wants to accomplish. I suspect at times it will seem like nothing productive has occurred and then at others, we will be amazed at the common interests.”

    There has been some steps back of late but I see evidence of change and a kind of shift in focus.

    On the Cameron thing, I think the statement by Exodus was extraordinary. NARTH is much more complicated for Exodus and it is not clear to me that NARTH endorses Cameron. I do not think they do. I think they have a few (four?) articles on their site that reference a study by him. I think there are degrees here.

    An analogy, in the church I first attended in high school, the church authorities refused to associate with people who associated with people who were doctrinally suspicious. It was called secondary separation. In a way this would be similar. Asking Exodus to separate from NARTH over Cameron would be a kind of secondary separation. I did not agree with it in the ecclesiastical context and I am not what the logical conclusion is for an organization (associate with no one?)

    Let me make my agenda clear while we are at it. I support room for all to articulate and live their conscience. I think this stance respects the image of God in each of us. I associate with people and groups I disagree with on a variety of issues but I hope my associations lead to an advancement of liberty. I do not want to see anyone go away. I want a level playing field for free agents to make decisions about the course of their lives. My personal bias is for all to embrace Christ but this outcome cannot be coerced.

  49. Well, so much for the dialogue ‘moving on’…

    Despite the myopic views presented by Michael and endorsed by Jayhuck, I’ve seen and heard Exodus make some significant progress in communication over the past year. They have also severered ties with some and public disassociated themselves with others. While I regret that some will be unable to recognize any ‘steps forward’; I am glad that those steps are there for those of us who still have eyes to see.

  50. Until EXODUS completely and strongly disavows Cameron’s hateful and disturbing views, and stops associating with ANY organization that still uses Cameron’s “research” (without any criticism of his Nazi-quoting, anti-gay “solutions”) I am afraid there will only be “steps back.”

    DUMP NARTH NOW — because it has not dumped Berger, Schoenewolf or Cameron. Until that happens, folks like me have every right to disbelieve everything EXODUS says about “loving the sinner”.

    EXODUS engages in “fraud-casting” with its recent “sudden, radical and complete” radio spots (but later apologizes for them under great pressure)– and then has the gall to accuse the Survivors of being “hollow and self-serving”! Were they “playing games” with that apology?

    EXODUS admits it “plays games” with its public statements and yet they ask us to trust them. Sorry. They can’t have it both ways.

  51. Warren said:

    “I think there will continue to be steps forward and backward due to ambiguity over what each side wants to accomplish. I suspect at times it will seem like nothing productive has occurred and then at others, we will be amazed at the common interests.”


    Can you ‘trick out’ that quote, make it flash and sparkle like they do on MySpace and insert into the discussions at appropriate intervals?

    (That’s my way of saying “Very well said!”)

  52. Warren,

    As long as Exodus has its hands so deeply embedded in politics, I can assure you, the only steps made will be “back”

  53. Mary – I do not know why you would say Michael is focusing on others before self. He has been pretty clear about his role and part in the history of Exodus. He has also acknowledged his problems (the subject of this thread).

    Having said that, I cannot speak for either men. I would like to see the dialogue now move on.

    Part of why I asked my questions about the intentions of Exodus critiques was to help frame the reactions and actions of the players. I think there will continue to be steps forward and backward due to ambiguity over what each side wants to accomplish. I suspect at times it will seem like nothing productive has occured and then at others, we will be amazed at the common interests.

  54. Michael,

    Why do you continue to focus on others before you focus on yourself. Aren’t we all at fault when we do that – myself included. Can’t the buck stop here?? I wonder. So what if Alan’s comments are sarcastic.

    You apologize for saying what you said in the past. Good for you.

  55. Warren: If you want to talk about “polarization and distance” I suggest that you consider Alan Chamber’s terse and dismissive “acceptance” of the apology offered by me and two other EXODUS leaders, not to HIM, but to those we may have harmed by preaching that sexual orientation can and should be changed — that gays are “broken” and need to be “fixed”.

    We did not picket. We did not try to disrupt or shut down their conference. We joined together to share our stories, pray together and contribute to each other’s healing. We did not bash EXODUS. In fact, we wrote and spoke of both the positive and negative experiences. An EXODUS ministry leader who dropped by said she was “genuinely moved” and promised to take our concerns to Alan.

    The Ex-gay Survivor’s Confernece was a peacful, respectful, genuine and emotionally uplifting gathering — as though we had all lived trough some terrible shipwreck and had emerged with our faith strengthened. And Alan, in a definitiely polarizing tone, tells us in effect to shut-up and “move on”.

    He then admits his response was MEANT to be sarcastic — and that we was only “playing a game”. He called the apologies “hollow and self-serving”. I wonder if he even read them or watched the videos. Did he even bother to take into account that over 100 survivors of EXODUS programs added their TRUTHFUL stories? Should they also get over it and “move on”? Were their stories “hollow and self-serving”? It seems to me that he’s leveling that charge at the wrong person.

  56. “I think the closer public statements are to actual experience, the more Exodus will grow as a ministry. Those who are evangelical and interpret the Bible traditionally will create an Exodus if it ever goes away.”

    Warren, I think you are correct in that if Exodus does dismantle, fall apart, or crumble (as it is seeming as of late), there are always those ready to profit from the homophobia of society. They’ll create a new group.

    I think what will continue to happen, however, is that less and less tolerance will exist for bigotry in our society – and thus, much like the KKK, Exodus and groups like it will lose their popularity.

    We see this now with Exodus…people are running from it, no scientist who wants to be seen as credible is affiliated with it, and no political candidate with any shot would ever endorse it.

    In an age where every democratic candidate states they will repeal “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” and every democratic candidate states they believe in some form of relational recognition for same-sex couples, as well as antidiscrimination laws in housing and employment, I cannot see it gaining any momentum. The country is changing tides…and religion, sadly, seems always in the back row trying to catch up.

    The hayday of homophobia is largely past its prime for Exodus and other programs like it….they should milk it for all it’s worth while it lasts.

  57. Post 36051 is one of the most powerful statements I have read *anywhere* on truthfullness. The “some” discourse says in a few short paragraphs what should be front and center to anyone venturing into this field — for whatever reason.

    Now, it is not comfortable in the sense of humans wanting things definite. It leaves a very marked grey area which is anathema to Christians of backgrounds that cannot deal with such things as it can be perceived as faith threatening.

    Nonetheless, this has been long overdue. Thank you for putting into words reality.

  58. Just a side note: But I think, soon, you are going to see those Christians, like myself, who might otherwise be called Ex-Gay, but don’t like the association of the term with Exodus, expressing themselves more on the web.

    There are many of us who, while we share some things in common with Exodus, do not like or support Exodus’s politics. This new voice, if it ever emerges, might add an interesting twist to the debate. – or not 🙂

  59. Eddy,

    I know I harp and harp on this, but there will never be peace with the two camps as long as Exodus is as political as it is. There are two parts to their dissolution – their involvement in politics, and their continuing propensity to embrace and propegate the “hype”. They can’t ask for one thing and turn around and prevent others from having that same thing.

    If, and only if, they can get out of politics to some major degree, or if they can agree that gays have just as much rights to marriage and children as they do, THEN I think we will see something great happen.

    As for whether or not speaking the Truth will help them grow or shrink, I’m not willing to place my bets on either side just yet. But as long as people like Randy Thomas are at the helm, the long-term outlook doesn’t look good. Alan is FINALLY, after years of spreading the hype himself, is finally coming around, but he is just one man – even if he is president

  60. It would be nice if both sides could come to some mutual agreement–especially regarding public statements and pronouncements. This ‘theological divide’ within EXODUS became quite pronounced at EXODUS IV and nearly divided it then. Most of us felt that it could be worked through.

    Ah, but the times have changed, haven’t they? The ‘public divide’ that we discussed several weeks ago may, in fact, be the catalyst for the winnowing Warren speaks of. I would hope that, if a divide does come, some form of mutual respect will exist between the separate factions. A man can always dream can’t he?

    LOL! I think I’ve been on the computer too long. I was just about to reference the ‘pubic divide’. Don’t even want to think what that might be.

  61. Michael and Eddy – On this point, I tend to agree with Eddy. I think the closer public statements are to actual experience, the more Exodus will grow as a ministry. Those who are evangelical and interpret the Bible traditionally will create an Exodus if it ever goes away. So I think Alan and the folks are making moves that are quite positive in many respects as Eddy said.

    Here is where is another wrinkle. There will continue to be a winnowing process. Those ministries or folks who promise overnight or complete shifts or imply spiritual failure for ongoing attractions may become more strident in an effort to carve out an area in contrast to Exodus.

  62. In the UK, the ex-gay groups are largely moribund – and Jeremy Marks is doing some excellent work . I think his honesty is refreshing – would that all could be the same!

  63. Michael–

    That last blog was a bit hard to swallow. Especially the judgment of EXODUS motives and future actions at the end.

    Alan Chambers of EXODUS has blogged here. He’s also made some radical statements clarifying ‘freedom’ and ‘change’. It is judging when you say he (they) won’t continue to walk in the clarification and it’s judging to say ‘why’ they do anything.

    He made the public statements shortly before their annual conference and, I suspect, is now recovering from a few months of planning and a week of hosting. Can we agree to actually wait and see IF he continues to speak the clarification before we judge him for not doing so?

    It would be easy to dismiss his statements with ‘we’ve heard this all before’ but, the truth is: we haven’t! He was so forthcoming that he actually provided you with some excellent anti-EXODUS sound-bites.

    As for the prognosis that EXODUS will dissolve if it actually starts speaking the truth, I believe the reverse is true. Continuing with the hype would ‘take them down’; an ongoing committment to speaking the truth would cause their growth. I guess it would all depend on the seeker…are they hungering for truth or quick and easy fixes.

  64. Prediction: EXODUS will diminish in size — and gradually fade into obscurity IF it makes a public COMMITMENT to tell the TRUTH each and EVERY time it speaks.

    Let’s face it: people who are unhappy being gay will be much more attracted to the implicit promise (intentional or not) of hetersexuality (and “freedom from homosexuality”, whatever THAT means) than they will EVER will be to the more TRUTHFUL message of (A) NO reasonable expectation of ever becoming “straight” and (B) a lifetime of “struggle” and “denying that which comes naturally” — Alan’s words for his OWN struggle.

    “Freedom” or “struggle”? That’s easy. Hype sells better. And that’s exaclty why EXODUS keeps doing it.

  65. I know of several former and current EXODUS leaders who are communicating with the current EXODUS leadership re the ‘hype’ and the ‘christianese’. Not only do the hype and christianese foster untruth and unrealistic expectations but they distract from the message of those ex-gays who have found a less radical definition for ‘freedom’ and ‘change’. Both messages have been ‘out there’ for years but it seems clear that the hype has taken the forefront.

  66. Some marry. Some don’t. Some (especailly those who were already bisexual to some degree) develop some straight feelings. MOST simply don’t. Some stay celibate. Some don’t. Some “fall” repeatedly. Some stay faithful. Some cheat on their wives.

    Some weren’t really sincere. Some wanted it more than anything. Some lost faith in God. Some had their faith strengthened beyond measure. Some came to peace with it and accepted it as a wonderful, instrinsic and complex part of who they are. Some still struggle against it, finding a sort of freedom in their struggle. Some were helped greatly. Others experienced tremendous emotional and spiritual harm

    There is much more power in simply telling these stories TRUTHFULLY than all the “hype” and “Christianese” ever spoken in EXODUS’s three decade history.

  67. Mike Airhart,

    I disagree with your request the Exodus only state same sex attracted celibacy. People change to varying degrees. Some marry, some don’t. You can’t say that those who marry are not attracted to their spouses.

  68. Karen,

    Thank you for your remarks on both conferences. I really can appreciate the story of Joes live. After years of giving into the deception that there was nothing that could be done to overcome my struggle with homosexuality I finally reached a point of dispair (call it my personal bottom) and I turned back to the Lord and my Church and I surrendered my will over to God to reveal to me what needed to be done to find peace. I did not have to distort the scriptures or the teachings of my church to do it either. This began 2 of the most difficult and rewarding years of my life. What I learned from this surrendering was, how I was trying to control the lives of others in my life and who it was that was trying to control me. It took many months to learn how to establish needed boundaries and to learn to be honest with the people who meant the most to me. More importantly I learned that the Truth does set us free and my entire perception of myself began to change. It has been a process and it is in no way complete, but to tell you the truth I had no idea that it would lead me to where I am today. The most unusual thing is that so much of the knowledge I have gained that has helped me to grow has come from an understanding of the science behind how the brain works and relating that to what my faith has been telling me all along. They are not contradictory they just approach the questions from different angles. I am not a fundamentalist Christian, but I do not believe in reinterpreting what has been discovered over the millenium of time to fit our modern day wants.

    So thank you for your views and for all of those who have not given up hope on change in ones life, even if it does not mean complete change. I am now enjoying the company of both men and women much more openly. I am also much more appreciative of my wife and family and realize why I could not believe that I would have to give these up to find happiness. All I had to do was learn to trust again. Is there struggle, yes, indeed. At least I know I am still alive and can appreciate both sorrow and joy.

  69. AM, I hate to say this, but it was one of your comments in post 35610 that prompted me to inquire more about the overlap of relationships. (You said something to the effect that for all you knew, all 3, if married, were faithful to their spouses.)

    Michael, Thanks for elaborating. I do appreciate it.

    In your point C, it seems that the issue of ‘change’ is what led many to self-destruction or self-destructive behaviors. That’s why I’ve been laboring what we each brought TO Exodus. There was the charismatic side bent on miracles and instant healing but there were others (charismatics included) who felt that ‘change’ didn’t mean heterosexuality; it simply meant that their lives were no longer dominated by homosexual acts and feelings. They didn’t see it as a one-time ‘wham-o’ but rather a journey of self-discovery. It may seem like a small difference but the former live in constant disappointment and sense of judgment because they’re not there yet while the latter are appraising their spiritual growth and progress and feeling better about themselves. The latter didn’t tend to follow that same path to self-destruction.

    For the first few years, Exodus was little more than that collection of people I’ve described before; we knew we had one thing that we all believed in common. It was in the 3rd, 4th and 5th years, after you were gone, that Exodus seriously set about attempting to define the words that everyone was using. I was personally convicted of using “pie in the sky” language and began majoring on ‘the process of change’ and ‘the reality of temptation’.

    I’ll agree to the hypocrites in point D. One of our stated ministry goals at OUTPOST was ‘confronting hypocrisy in the Church’. (I enjoyed it so much it HAD to be sin!) On it’s own, I wouldn’t give it much merit for a change of beliefs but I see how it fits as part of the larger picture.

    My feelings are the same re the whole, happy and adjusted gays. That alone wouldn’t necessarily justify a change in beliefs but again, it contributes to the whole.

    LOL! Some may feel that this thread has been brutal BUT–if you re-read the actual ‘topic for discussion’ that started it all, I think you’ll agree we’ve been surprisingly civil.

  70. I love you too, Eddy. Everyone needs to understand that ex-gays and ex-ex-gays really DO understand each other, love the Lord equally, were (are) equally sincere about their desire and efforts to “change”. We BOTH know the intense and persistent struggle that equally sincere and faithful Christian (and non-Chirtian) folks experience when they try to reconcile sexuality and spirtualiity.

    As for the “timeline”, I would be happy to discuss it with you privately, Eddy. Write to Warren and I will give you my email address. I trust that you will keep the details confidential — as I do not want to cause my daughter any further pain.

    As for this comment: “The love he found with Gary is the love that convinced him that his beliefs were wrong.” You are only partially correct. Several things convinced me I was wrong. Here they are, in no particular order:

    (A) Falling in love with Gary, (B) witnessing the terrible pain that my wife felt when after years of prayer, I did not develop straight attractions. She felt inadequate and thought that something MUST be worng with her — or the adequacy of her faith. That damaged her terribly).

    (C) The depression, drug/alcohol abuse, sucide attempts and self-mutilation of some of my clients when they did not “change”, (D) noticing that conservative Christians were VERY selective about which Biblical laws they obeyed, which ones they ignored and which ones they imposed on others.

    (E) Praying, reading and studying the Bible, (F) reading and studying religious and secular works on the subject, (F) meeting MANY happy, well-adjusted gay people (which challenged my view that gays must be “broken), and (G) finally getting honest with myself that nothing had really changed — except that my faith in God grew stronger in spite of it all.

  71. The thread topic was the Associated Press story of the apologies of the ex-ex-gays. One of the people in the story happens to blog here. I feel totally within bounds asking what I did of Michael’s follow-up comments. I try to understand EVERYbody to the best of my abilities; it was important to me to better understand the brand of Christianity that Michael brought with him to Exodus.

    Michael celebrates his relationship with Gary and has been very public about it. The love he found with Gary is the love that convinced him that his beliefs were wrong. I maintain that it’s fair to ask for clarification.

    Why the timeline so important? Trying to get a better picture of the man just before he went ex-ex. What religious experiences and philosophy did he come from? How long between ‘serious struggling’ and being in the ministry helping others? Early twenties, newly married, child? Just a glimpse of all that pressure at once gives me a better appreciation of the survivor that Michael is.

    (Conversely, I was cautioned about going into a specialized ministry, advised that heterosexual marriage was an unlikely goal, warned that I’d be in a uniquely vulnerable position and advised that I should always maintain an ‘accountability relationship’ with some church advisor wherever the ministry took me.)

    Exodus was a coming together of people like Michael AND people like me…and people from an even larger assortment of theological stripes and diversities of gay background and experience. I’ve quipped to friends that Exodus is suffering more from ‘caricature assassination’ than ‘character assassination’. I will try to make sure the waters don’t get muddied any further.

    I think it’s safe to say that Michael and I both love and appreciate one another. Sometimes, particular topics set us as greater odds but it’s ‘momentary’ in blog time. It’s like it is with my brothers. We’ll frustrate each other; we’ll get mad. Sometimes we’ll vent. But we keep coming back.

  72. Wow, this is a lot to digest just coming back from vacation. Let me say that no one is obligated to discuss elements of their personal life.

    As noted above, I did not think Michael’s motives were to shut Exodus down. I am not sure about Soulforce.

    I have more reading to do but I wanted to say I appreciate all who have chimed in thus far.

  73. As for whether I think Exodus should shut down or not, that’s Exodus’s call, not mine. All I want is for Exodus to tell the truth. They seem to have an amazing capacity to do otherwise. I’ve called them on it time and time again.

    If they would only stop doing that, I’d move on to the next liar. My sense of outrage isn’t based on their theology. It’s based on their lies which, by the way, are at least as incompatible with their brand of theology as homosexuality is.

  74. Michael,

    I’ve noticed the same thing. Typically they’re faced with angry gay activists who, frankly, no little about the ex-gay movement and next to nothing about Christianity. In fact, they sometimes fell right into Exodus’ outrageous characterizations of being “attacked” by “homosexual activists” — a moniker that absolutely oozes danger.

    But this time, they were confronted by former ex-gays, some still Christian and others not, who know very well what Exodus is all about, and who know very well what Christianity is about. They were able to speak to Exodus and about Exodus in a way that hit very close to home.

    Exodus has never had to confront face to face those who had something to say about their own ex-gay experiences (positives as well as negatives). I think it knocked them off balance and fumbling for a response.

  75. Michael,

    You are right on! I knew they wouldn’t be happy, but I never expected the level of anger and almost outright visciousness that some Exodus members expressed.

    They are ABSOLUTELY upset about us affirming ourselves. They don’t want to see happy and well-adjusted gay people, because it violates the foundation of their message.

  76. It is just me — or have others noticed that EXODUS and its friends seem more upset by a sincere apology and a peaceful conference of “Ex-gay Survivors” than they ever have been by picketers and protestors at past EXODUS events?

    You’d think we had launched some sort of terrorist attack. Sometimes, I get the feeling that they are more upset about us affirming ourselves as Christians than they are about us accepting ourselves as gay…

  77. Ex-Gay Watch has periodically stated that it would have no reason to exist if Exodus were honest about its failed and counterproductive phony “therapies,” if it instead truthfully advocated same-sex-attracted celibacy, and if it refrained from political correctness and stereotypes. The site’s agenda has always been an open book.

  78. Jag,

    I make no bones about wanting to see Exodus shut down. Any group that makes false claims affecting the mental health of others, distorts data to manipulate possible clients, and has no scientic credibility – this group has no right to practice.

    You and I differ. I just want them to cease doing those things.

  79. Matthew Skinta asked:

    “I think the question is the right one, but I think one missed point is that no one has asked Exodus lately what their motive is (either as an organization or in scheduling conferences). Is their goal to reform the standard approach to mental health care for those conflicted by their sexuality, or to at least promote a paraprofessional alternative? Or is it to discredit the gay and lesbian community and, through their public agenda, to lobby against legal reform?”

    I think Exodus has been very clear about their goals. As most recently stated, they proffer to the gay community:

    “Revolution” “change [that is] radical, sudden and complete”

    that is “by no means…sudden or complete.”

    Agenda doesn’t get much clearer than that.

  80. I make no bones about wanting to see Exodus shut down. Any group that makes false claims affecting the mental health of others, distorts data to manipulate possible clients, and has no scientic credibility – this group has no right to practice.

    Those who have been uninformed enough to support Exodus have been recently side-stepping and dancing (rightfully so…). Those who continue to support this organization will find themselves on the wrong side of history. It’s like being “for segregation” or in the KKK…maybe it was “cool” in the South a long time ago…but it’s just an embarrassing and disturbing association that you’d never admit now.

    My advice…if you have any sense of professionalism, it is my hope you never had associations….but if you do now? run while you can.

  81. Dan,

    you identified the source of the debate:

    If there had been more disclosure about the failure rate and what needed to be done about those who didn’t “change”, maybe the need for ex ex gays to speak out wouldn’t be there.

    The reason that XGW and bXg and BTB and the others exist is not because they hate ex-gays or want to undermine Exodus, or want to shut anyone down. It’s because the ex-gay movement has become a tool of religious deception and political oppression.

    For the most part, no one is trying to silence the testimony of those persons who want to live within the parameters of their faith. But Exodus was irresponsible with their testimony. When left alone, they got arrogant and worldly and focused on power and fame. They began to lie for the gain of status and influence. They began to seek the harm of others and the destruction of lives. They defined enemies, declared war, and attacked.

    If they let go of the war, stopped spinning and lying and deceiving and told the truth, quit seeking to control and influence the lives and freedoms of others, and functioned with their focus on God instead of on man, all of their detractors would go away. Sure we’d still disagree with their theology, and publically so, but we would have no further need to expose them and their war efforts and propaganda.

    When the lying and the harm stops, I’ll quit pointing at it.

  82. Eddy (35704)

    Perhaps “paraphrase” wasn’t the best term. I borrowed this:

    So, at least you’ll concede that there are attempts to ‘undermine’ Exodus. I’ve been waiting for that admission for some time.

    Which I thought was snarky and reaching and totally stretching what Jayhuck was saying into something it wasn’t – but kinda funny – and applied the same rules of logic to Alan’s comments about “even when Exodus was…” and got this:

    So, at least you’ll concede that Exodus is not a nice little organization trying to help individuals. I’ve been waiting for that admission for some time.

    Also not what Alan was saying… but my point was made, I think, that “gotcha” comments can be played as easily one way as another.

  83. Why are we still discussing John Paulk’s slip? One slip, many years ago, he is still married and with children. Has anyone ever had a struggle??? I struggle more with anger and inpatience than I do with sexuality – and guess what I get mad sometimes.

    Oh- and by the way, Michael made a very good point – he was in love. Was that his slip into heterosexuality?? Yes – and he apologized for it.

  84. I definitely see the benefit in ex-ex gay leaders speaking out.

    My church, the Anglican Church of Canada, recently debated whether allowing parishes and clergy to perform blessings on same sex couples who had civil marriages. A couple ex-gay speakers came to the podium and tried to sell the other option – ex gay ministries. It sounded like everyone who goes through them will become a heterosexual.

    What was conveniently left out was the fact that there are many more ex-ex-gays than ex-gays. What about them? What if the ministries don’t work? What about their pastoral needs? This was missing from the conversation. If there had been more disclosure about the failure rate and what needed to be done about those who didn’t “change”, maybe the need for ex ex gays to speak out wouldn’t be there.

  85. Can someone tell me what happened to the last two posts I had up here – did I say something wrong?

  86. And since you seem intent on writing my biography, here’s a little trivia for your timeline: I met my wife-to-be in Junior High so we have known each other whether as friends, lovers, spouses or parents — a total of over 40 years.

    You ask: “What caused Michael to ignore his COMMON SENSE and get married? Was it his church that was advising it? Was it his youth and naivete?” You might ask this same question of Alan Chambers — who admits that he STILL struggles and lives a “life of denial” battling that which “comes naturally” for him. Why not ask John Paulk why he married and was later found hanging out in a gay bar?

    As for me, it had very LITTLE to do with common sense. That’s what I have NOW and what I am trying to share with others. Then, I was young, naive, in love and wanted more than anything to be like other men — to fall in love, get married and have kids, to be accepted by family, church and society. I am not unique in this. Gay men have married heterosexually for ages — for a variety of reasons and often with tragic results.

    In our case, we both believed a miracle would happen — that I would lose my gay attractions (or at least feel them diminish) and that God would create (at least some) straight feelings. The church told me I was ALREADY straight. I was EX-gay — “And such WERE some of you..” Remember? The church encouraged us to marry. They applauded any step towards heterosexuality, even if based on what I know now was a false hope. We should have been strongly advised against it, but everyone was eager for a shining example of “change”.

    Some of our stuggle began the year after we graduated high school. Some of it occured before EXODUS, some during and some after. I still love my ex-wife and my daughter — so some of the more intimate details of our dating, courtship, sex life, engagement, marriage and divorce are personal — and are, frankly, none of your business.

  87. I’m probably going to regret continuing on with this dialogue — but can someone tell me why there is so much angst expressed between Michael and Eddy?

    I believe both are former ex-gay leaders who today have differing views on the issue. Is that reason enough for the vitriol?

    Why is Michael’s journey taken so personally? There are *tons* of Christian gay or ssa (whichever term you must use) men out there who have repeated “slips” and falls and put themselves conveniently under the “struggler” umbrella while they cheat on their wives.

    Am I to understand that the choices that Michael made were somehow *worse* than what these other men are doing on a regular basis?

    And please don’t tell me it ain’t so. I’ve been around the “ex-gay” block long enough to know that the down lo is more the pattern than not.

    Why is John Paulk’s foray (which no one addressed) into a gay bar *less* of a “deceit and double talk” than anyone else’s life? Because he kept on with the ex-gay “message”? Hmm…. Message above all else….?

  88. I think the question is the right one, but I think one missed point is that no one has asked Exodus lately what their motive is (either as an organization or in scheduling conferences). Is their goal to reform the standard approach to mental health care for those conflicted by their sexuality, or to at least promote a paraprofessional alternative? Or is it to discredit the gay and lesbian community and, through their public agenda, to lobby against legal reform?

    I don’t mean this simply to be snarky – this is a nuanced issue. I’ve known many sincere counselors that wish to provide the best treatment and stress therapies consistent with a patient’s values, particularly spiritual ones. It is also true, as has been pointed out above, that Exodus scheduled advertising and conferences in conjunction with FotF in states where they might best influence the law – laws covering gays and lesbians that don’t desire change, but are now barred in an increasing number of states from even the most superficial of legal protections.

    I have to admit, Warren, I was a bit shocked upon the biased tone of this post, as earlier posters also mentioned. I’m not familiar with your asking these same questions of Exodus, however, so find your concern about motives somewhat disingenuous.

  89. Eddy –

    I am amazed at your ability to draw conclusions when you haven’t even let Michael respond yet.

    Conclusion: Eddy is very quick to judge, declares he knows better than anyone else what is happening and prefers to twist events so that they fit neatly within his own paradigm of reality.

  90. Eddy,

    You might remember that Michael actually STARTED Exodus – it is today largely because of him.

    You are so obsessed with the extra-marital affair you don’t seem to be able to see the forest for the trees anymore -I can’t really speak for Michael, but it seems clear his relationship with Gary was a symptom of the marriage falling apart and not the cause. And I would ask you to refrain from judging a situation that you don’t really know anything about. You don’t know what he did to try and keep the marriage together and you don’t know how long he tried before Gary even came into the picture.

    As for Exodus and Gay families – all I was trying to say is what I’ve been saying before – Exodus says they care about families, but when they work to undermine the rights of gay couples, especially gay parents – when they prevent them being able to marry, then they aren’t really talking about all families, just the ones they deem appropriate. It all goes back to their two-facedness having to do with equal rights – they wants equal rights and equal time, but they don’t want to give gay people and gay couples the same.

  91. Eddy: You can fret about the timeline all you wish. If you are trying to discredit what I am saying, it won’t work. I am telling the truth. I struggled mightily for years, before and after EXODUS. So, you can’t shame me. I am not at all proud or happy that the marriage ended in an affair. It broke ALL our hearts.

    I regret the adultery to this day. I have confessed that sin privately and publicly — and am confident that God has forgiven me. I have nothing to hide — and I kinda resent your implication that I am making things up. I am telling the truth.

    And just to be clear, I am not saying (and have NEVER said) that EXODUS was the root of all my problems. I am not blaming EXODUS for the pain I caused. I caused it. I am responsible and I am apologizing for it. What about that don’t you get?

  92. Mary wrote:

    …we know sooo much more about same sex attraction than we did even five years ago.

    Is that since Exodus disassociated itself from Richard Cohen? Or is it since Alan Chambers came out to say he never met an ex-gay – they don’t exist? Or perhaps prior to or after Joseph Nicolosi’s statement that when a homosexual man ‘begins to trust men, his homosexuality disappears?’

  93. Ed: good grief. Mike came out of the same milieu we all did. It wasn’t just EXODUS. It was the various denoms, like Latter Day Saints, that imposed all that black and white thinking. EXODUS merely organized it and sent it, and us, forth.

  94. Eddy wrote:

    Seriously Michael, how old were you when you got married? (BTW: if the marriage was even close to nine years, it predated the existence of EXODUS. How then could EXODUS be blamed?)

    Since age 12 Michael was desperately trying not to be gay. Did EXODUS give him those negative thoughts? Oh, that’s right EXODUS didn’t exist yet. “There were years of prayer, fasting, counseling and study.” As a teenager? Prayer and fasting? About THAT problem? Someone sure laid a guilt trip on Michael but again…THIS WAS BEFORE EXODUS EVEN EXISTED.

    Did Exodus suddenly become a nonChristian ministry which did not issue forth from the individual Christian ministries, like that of EXIT? You show a severe lack of logic and comprehension in your sarcasm, not to mention the bitterness and anxiety you wish to inflict.

  95. Michael,

    I appreciate your honesty. I have felt a great deal of judgement and bullying from some here and for someone who grew up being bullied continuously by strong controlling young men it does not sit well with me now. I have no desire to suggest that you should change who you have become, but I ask you the same favor for many who wish to live otherwise.

  96. Michael said:

    Since age 12, I had been trying desperately NOT to be gay. There were years of prayer, fasting, counseling and study — and the gay feelings only got stronger. My wife and I both strongly believed that God would change me. After nine years of trying to make marriage work, I still had no straight attractions.

    I have a bit of an obsession with timelines so please bear with me. Elsewhere in this blog, we learned that Michael left Exodus in 1979. We also know that the relationship with Gary happened somewhere in there…likely in the final year. Michael implied nine years of TRYING TO MAKE MARRIAGE WORK. Straight or gay, an extramarital relationship is NOT part of making a marriage work. Does this mean he got married in 1970? (That’s the year I graduated high school and I always thought Michael was younger than me!) Seriously Michael, how old were you when you got married? (BTW: if the marriage was even close to nine years, it predated the existence of EXODUS. How then could EXODUS be blamed?)

    Since age 12 Michael was desperately trying not to be gay. Did EXODUS give him those negative thoughts? Oh, that’s right EXODUS didn’t exist yet. “There were years of prayer, fasting, counseling and study.” As a teenager? Prayer and fasting? About THAT problem? Someone sure laid a guilt trip on Michael but again…THIS WAS BEFORE EXODUS EVEN EXISTED.

    And, semi-finally, if the feelings (for men) only got stronger, what caused Michael to ignore his common sense and get married? Was it his church that was advising it? Was it his youth and naivete? In any event, the timeline again makes it sound as if the marriage was several years old, at least, before EXODUS was even conceived.

    Conclusion: Many painful and unfortunate things happen that actually can’t be attributed to EXODUS!

  97. Michael,

    You may have watched your clients beginning to fall apart because you were in no position to help them. Perhaps stepping down and out of the way so that Exodus could grow (and it since has grown) into something through dialogue, learning, trying, slipping, trying again etc… all the things that make growth happen, happen. And people are having better lives for it – we know sooo much more about same sex attraction than we did even five years ago. People are able to communicate across landscapes of attitudes, culture, religious background etc… and we have learned so much. People are even more succesful at having same sex attraction and living in harmony with their own beliefs and finding peace and comfort there. We now know that not everyone will change in the same way – we know that about most counseling and psychotherapy – that it doesn’t work the same for everyone to the same degree in the same extent etc…but we do keep trying. That makes us better as a human tribe. I am glad you have apologized for spreading the lie that God will only accept you if you have heterosexual feelings.

    I do prefer Exopdus would stay out of politics as it dilutes the message of ministry with worldy goals.

  98. @Jayhuck

    How does Exodus denigrate or undermine gay families? Do you mean gay families themselves or the idea of a gay family as being equal in all respects to a traditional family? Or do you see a difference? I think I would make the distinction, but that’s just me.

  99. Timothy,

    Re your paraphrase:

    I can’t find a comment by me that even remotely says that. Please find the comments by me that you paraphrased and post them here.

  100. @ANON2

    I don’t believe Michael “left” his family – my understanding is that he is still very much involved with his family.


    That story, having a family and cheating on the side, happens just as much with straight couples – and while I realize you weren’t necessarily saying this, don’t insinuate that only gay people cheat.

    I continue to hate to admit to this, but when I was young, I slept with a number of married men – there are many men out there claiming to be straight who aren’t.

  101. Warren: The more I ponder your comments, the more I am disturbed by their content and tone. “Old news” and therefore somehow irrelevant? Wanting to discredit EXODUS? Shut it down?

    I can’t speak for others, but my intent was (and always HAS been) to simply tell the TRUTH about my experience, to bear witness to the harm that “change” ministries can do and to apologize to those I may have unintentionally harmed.

    I wish you could have been at the Ex-gay Survivor’s conference — and could have just listened. I think you would have been profoundly moved (as I was) by the stories of deeply religious men and women who have struggled for years (and at great personal cost) to reconcile issues of sexuality and spirituality.

    These are brothers and sisters in the faith who experienced real emotional and spritual harm in “ex-gay” programs. As a therapist, I think you have an ethical responsibility to seriously consider the HARM that certain forms of HELP can do. Your clients deserve that much.

  102. To Anon2: I said “I suppose” because I am not sure HOW I have harmed Alan by being honest. What was I supposed to do? Keep lying? In any event, if Alan thinks I have harmed him in some way, I AM sorry. As for your question: “What about all of the others who are married who are still living with their families and making it work? Don’t you think you owe them an apology…?”

    As I said, I apologize to ANYONE I may have harmed. So,if I have harmed married folks by being honest about my own experience, then they deserve my apology as well. Those who choose to remain married certainly have that right — and I sincerely wish them happiness. I pray that God blesses them. I would, however, caution other “ex-gays” or “former homosexuals” NOT to marry in the first place — unless they have been straight for at least 10 years and have gone through extensive, professional, premarital therapy.

    Finally, just to clear up a misconception you seem to have: I did not “find happiness by choosing to leave my family.” It was a terrible tragedy for all of us. I found honesty and integrity. Happiness came later.

  103. Ewe

    Our goal is to silence you warren. thats all. very simple.

    I don’t know who you are, but your hatefulness and bitterness really are inappropriate. And you don’t represent anyone other than yourself with this offensive and – quite frankly – stupid comment.

    NOTE: The comment Timothy referred to was deleted by Throckmorton. The original author, ewe, has posted vulgar and hateful comments and has been banned from this site.

  104. Alan

    To paraphrase Eddy:

    So, at least you’ll concede that Exodus is not a nice little organization trying to help individuals. I’ve been waiting for that admission for some time.

  105. Michael,

    You “suppose” you are sorry to Alan. That is so heartfelf. What about all of the others who are married who are still living with there families and making it work. Don’t you think you owe them an apology as well for the harm that has been done to them. There are many lies that we come across and forgiveness is very needed in this society. If you find happiness by choosing to leave your family I am happy for you, but I do hope you are able to express the same kind of goodwill to someone who chooses to stay and continue to get to the root of what has caused them to have same-sex attractions.

  106. Warren,

    To your original question: “What are you wanting to accomplish…?”

    I think the disolution of Exodus is probably an unrealistic notion or goal. Exodus is a faith based organization and seems to me to be just another denomination of the Christian church. My personal desire is that they be held accountable for their claims.

    Exodus claims to know “God” and to know God’s will for gays. That’s quite an assertion on their part. One of their more recent claims about those with ssa was that they could experience: “revolution” and change that could be “radical, sudden and complete.” That ad was not a slip of the Exodus tongue, I am certain they have people among their numbers who believe those things…the ad didn’t come from the ether after all (or maybe it did?). I think it’s good for anyone and everyone to expect Exodus to substantiate their claims. If they’re selling a cure, let them prove it. If it’s snake oil, that should be exposed.

    It is apparent that, as with any faith based group, there is disagreement within Exodus as to what “God’s” way is. I don’t know if Alan would have scrambled to explain and apologize for Exodus if there hadn’t been an “Ex-gay Watch” or similar group calling them on the carpet?

    I want Exodus to be seen for what they are, not for what they claim to be.

  107. @ SW Chris –

    I was talking specifically about the right of gay couples to marry, adopt,have kids – etc – basically any right its present president has having to do with family – they work to undermine gay families and to denigrate them.

  108. I feel I need to respond to Alan’s earlier comment about my “double speak and lies.” Alan, that’s precisely why I left EXODUS. That’s why I issued the apology! For almost all of my EXODUS experience, I really believed that I was telling the truth about “freedom from homosexuality”. Eventually, I realized that I was only fooling myself and fooling others — but that was only at the very end of my involvement with EXODUS.

    Since age 12, I had been trying desperately NOT to be gay. There were years of prayer, fasting, counseling and study — and the gay feelings only got stronger. My wife and I both strongly believed that God would change me. After nine years of trying to make marriage work, I still had no straight attractions.

    After years of prayer and hard work, I saw our clients starting to fall apart, and I finally realized, like Alan, that I had never really met an “Ex-gay” — just a bunch of sincere Christian guys who would “rather not have those tendencies” and who were trying to “live a life of denial”. So, I finally got honest with myself and others and accepted that I was gay.

    I am deeply sorry for spreading the lie that gays are somehow “broken” and need to be fixed — and that you will go to Hell if you don’t try. I am sorry for spreading the falsehood that you cannot be both gay and Christian. I am deeply sorry for the pain I caused my family — especially my wife and daughter. I simply could not keep lying. And if my eventual honesty hurt Alan in some way, I suppose I am sorry for that too.

  109. AM said “for all I know the 3 ex-exs were faithful to their spouses in marriage.”

    Even a little casual reading on this site should let you know that Michael Bussee’s marriage and his relationship with Gary overlapped. Michael, it seems, was simultaneously ministering through EXIT, trying to get EXODUS started, being newly married, expecting a baby AND starting up a relationship with Gary.

    I honestly don’t know the story on the other two.

  110. Regarding the 3 former Exodus leaders:

    What qualifies as a “double speak and a lie” per Alan Chambers’ statement?

    Was it a “double speak and a lie” when John Paulk, in the office of Focus’ gender specialist division was caught in Mr. P’s? Or was that somehow different as Mr. Paulk stayed with his wife in their marriage and did not refer to himself as gay but only needing to have unmet “emotional” needs met? BTW has it ever struck anyone else as incredibly odd that the source for these “reparative” ventures would be met by straight men per the theory? IOW why didn’t Mr. Paulk go to a straight bar and chat it up with guys there watching sports? Wouldn’t that have provided some kind of temporary, genuine help? Hmm….

    My point in rehashing history is that this issue of who is lying and who is telling the truth regarding “change” seems to rest on the shoulders of the person(s) doing the assessing.

    There have been *plenty* of ex-gay leaders who have wandered out of the “straight” corral back into a gay relationship or setting — but the crux of the matter seems to be what they label themselves and their “falls” — same sex attracted is acceptable; gay is not. However, the last I checked sex is sex is sex — I can call it ghost, spook, or Charlie Brown — but it all is the same.

    So, I have some difficulty with the concept “double speak” and lies. For all I know, the 3 ex-exs were faithful to their spouses in their marriages (the ones who were married). Which goes back to the issue of what exactly is a “lie”: if you admit you are truly of a homosexual orientation – you hurt others – but if you say you are same sex attracted and possibly acting out – you are honest and non hypocritical?

    I know this comment is long; I am not a frequent poster, but Alan really could be commenting on how *I* felt when I would try to understand what “change” meant and a ministry leader would hem and haw in my face (or ear) about what constituted a person of integrity.

  111. Jayhuck, I’m a newcomer to this blog, so I’m missing something. Could you state what rights you think Exodus is trying to undermine?

  112. Ok here goes: Warren asked: “What are you wanting to accomplish? Do you want to see your vision of reform at Exodus or do you want to see Exodus shut down?”

    I do not want to see EXODUS “shut down”. Nothing that coercive. Instead, I pray for the day when EXODUS will simply die of natural causes. A day when there will be no need for something like EXODUS. I know it’s a just a dream.

    In the meantime, EXODUS has every right to exist. That being said, some reform would be nice. And, no, I do not want to see EXODUS “discredited”. In fact, it genuinely pains me each and every time EXODUS does something stupid to discredit ITSELF — like staying alligned with NARTH (while NARTH continues to be alligned with hate-mongers like Cameron) or putting out stupid radio ads (without, apparently, first reviewing them for content and message).

    To his credit, Alan apologized for them, but the radio ads DID give the definite (false) impression that “change” was “radical, sudden and complete” — and that further hurt EXODUS’s credibility. “We” didn’t do that. They did that to themselves. It’s like watching EXODUS shoot itself in the foot over and OVER again.

    As for the purpose of the conference, I saw it as part statement and part group therapy. People who had been harmed by their EXODUS experience were able to meet each other face-to face, pray together, share their stories and take real steps towards healing. It was grief work — and you kinda had to be there to understand.

  113. Eddy wrote”

    It seems that Randy Thomas’ statement about ‘projecting their experiences on us’ was related not to ex-ex-gays in general but to the stated agenda for the dinner.

    Yeah, that was my point; not that a dialogue might be ongoing. It just seemed that in the 28June2007 article that Mr Thomas was extending a PC olive branch after his tirade of the previous article of a no-hope gathering where they only “claim they were hurt by ex-gay organizations.” And also whereas according to Thomas, Exodus is “the one place where you will get to ask the questions that are on your mind.” What utter taurus kaka. I thought Pharasical boasting was a sin? And then after all the digs by Thomas another article, an “olive branch,” and a big fat lie.

    I agree we should dispense with the 30/70 split. The only people who come to Exodus are those who are highly motivated individuals. Their motivations come from society at large, parents, family, priests and ministers, just about every and anyone who doesn’t understand their experience. They feel an overwhelming sense of guilt at the thought of their own feelings which have likely been with them since childhood.

    Well, maybe not in this day and age, back in the 60s that is how I felt. I don’t doubt that any time someone talks over an issue that concerns them that aids them. But Exodus perhaps doesn’t have so much of a guilt card to play these days. It has to use religious fervor to influence people. And outside of its ministry it has to have a public face and one that presumes that what it offers works…. I just don’t see they “hype” being consistent with the results.

  114. Warren,

    I will say, as a teen of conservative parents, I had to hide my sexuality until I got to college because I knew they wouldn’t approve – which is what, I’m sure, any child knowing that their parents might force them to therapy, would do. It is a good way to push kids back into the closet.

  115. So you’d treat the child even if the child doesn’t want to be there and the parents are forcing them?

    I’ll be willing to wait for a response 🙂 Enjoy your break

  116. Of course it is common enough that clients do not know what they want to do. However, that is not reason for therapists to say, well, then, do this…

    People come into counseling with all kinds of value based questions that they used to go to ministers with: Should I marry this person? Should I divorce that one? What should I do about my aging parent? etc, etc. My job is to inform, think with and discuss options. My job is rarely to advise. At times, when clients want advice within a value framework I know something about, I do not see the problem offering some interpretations of what the value framework calls for. However, even then, it is up to the client to choose. I cannot proceed based on my wishes. There is nothing nefarious here. This is what most counselors have been trained to do for decades. I will even involve the client’s pastor or spiritual advisor if desired, but the values are chosen not imposed.

    With teens, the situation is more complicated but I will say it is similar to the teen brought in for anything that the parent objects to. I do not see this as much different. Therapists must attempt to help the parents realize what is possible and what is not and as well as play an appropriate parental role.

    I can elaborate later but I am now off to the next leg of my break time. My webgenius Paul will be moderating comments. Don’t mess it up, bud 🙂

  117. Warren,

    My concern is you are probably going to have alot of clients who don’t really know what their values are – I doubt that that is such a rare thing – in those instances when you have a client unsure of his values, and a therapist who IS sure of his values, how do you handle that – I understand this can work both ways. – It seems a fine line to walk – if the therapist is sure and confident in his values, how do you prevent those values from being projected/forced onto a client who isn’t sure of his.

    My real concern, however, has to do with adolescents – I don’t think you ever answered my question that I asked on how you deal with adolescents – especially in light of the document you co-wrote with Dr. Mark Yarhouse. Feel free to email me privately if its not something you want to discuss on the blog

  118. @Eddy,

    As for the admission that there are attempts to undermine Exodus – I don’t think that should come as a surprise to anyone. Exodus’s agenda for some time has been to undermine the rights of gay people who don’t believe as they do, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise that the non-ex-gay community would respond in kind.

  119. Jayhawk–

    You must be confusing me with someone else in your lead paragraph. I just reviewed all of my comments here and can’t find anything about the destructive aspects of gay life. Can you please enlighten? Thanks.

  120. Eddy,

    You comment about their being aspects of gay life that are destructive seems to completely neglect that there are aspects of straight life that are destructive as well – you don’t have to be gay to lead a destructive lifestyle and you don’t have to be straight to lead a healthy one – that seems pretty obvious to me.

    I’ll have to agree with you on dispensing with the 30% “success” rate figure, since there are other studies that show a much smaller percentage of people actually have success with so-called Ex-Gay programs.

    Your Apple/Microsoft analogy doesn’t make any sense in light of what is going on and what is being talked about. You seem to refuse to acknowledge anywhere that people were actually hurt by Ex-Gay programs, that families were damaged, that people were emotionally scarred. Nothing you have said acknowledges this fact and you do a very good job of dancing around the issue.

    As for the 100 headcount at the conference, that was inaccurate – I don’t know if real numbers have come out yet, but the last count I read about was actually 200 – and yes, Focus and the Family threw out that 100 headcount number before registration had even started at the counter-conference.

    Exodus is already changing the way it does business and more and more they are moving to include many of the changes Ex-Ex Gays have been asking for some time – so to say Michael’s words aren’t having an effect is not realizing how Exodus is changing or even Alan’s comments of late. –

    But, again, I appreciate you judging other people’s motives – I’ll remember that the next time some ex-gay person doesn’t want me to do that to them.


    The problem is, Ex-Gays are asking for equal rights and then turning around and underming the rights of gay people – their hypocrisy, especially from such a supposedly Christian group, is astonishing and upsetting

  121. Lynn David,

    It seems that Randy Thomas’ statement about ‘projecting their experiences on us’ was related not to ex-ex-gays in general but to the stated agenda for the dinner. “We will share our testimonies about the hurt you have caused”–not an exact quote but that was what was promised (and delivered) at the dinner.

    Although your 2nd link didn’t connect, I’m fairly confident that Randy did no shifting. Exodus does dialogue with ex-ex-gays and others who disagree with them. Both Alan and Randy have dialogued here and Michael Bussee’s comments elsewhere on this blog indicate that, on occasion, Alan has responded to him personally. I also know that Michael, at least, has gotten to share his testimony with a number of Exodus leaders over the years.

    So, it wasn’t the sitting down together that Randy was objecting to but rather the timing and the topic for that particular meeting.

    BTW: I think a number of us on both sides have agreed that the 70%/30% comment shouldn’t be quoted as accurate statistics. Even if referenced, it would be wrong to assume that the 70% all agreed with BXG. Not everyone who didn’t have their needs met at Exodus went to BXG or other gay Christian groups.

    Randy’s comment that Exodus had 1000 people while BXG only had 100, depending on context, does sound a bit snarky. I’ve never believed that rightness or wrongness is confirmed by majority rule. In truth, if BXG had 100 people at this conference, that’s an impressive number for a first gathering.

    David Roberts and Jayhuck,

    My apologies. I may have been the one who started abbreviating with BEG. When I noted that Warren was abbreviating as BXG, I switched.


    I regret that your personal history has also become a part of the blogs…but your testimony was an integral part of both the public apology and the dinner. From your previous comments, it appears that you waver between wanting Exodus to ‘just go away’ and a ‘healthy tolerance’. What are your responses to the questions Warren posed to begin this thread?

  122. Let’s face it, Exodus, whether their board likes it or not, is seemingly entrench as a pawn in the Dobsonian culture war. The last two CitizenLink articles are proof of that. In the first 22June2007 Randy Thomas as good as said the BXG people weren’t worth talking to, that they would “try to project their experience onto all of us” – that is the 70% was going to project upon the 30%. Then in the second article of 28June2007 Mr Thomas seems more concilatory saying, “We are always in ongoing communication with people who disagree with us, people with similar testimonies. We definitely will be in communication with them.” Why what changed from the projection argument? Did Thomas miss the memo that “Exodus President Alan Chambers [is] working to set up talks with the other conference leaders.” Which is the truth? “Projection of experience” makes dialogue untenable or the politically correct answer that you’re trying to set up talks?

    Then in the same article when that politically correct olive branch is seemingly proffered there came that lying shot across the bow that a 1000 attended Exodus while only 100 attended BXG, when BXG had not as yet begun.

    What sort of bed are you in with Dobson? Is the hype you generate at the expense of others of an opposite viewpoint really a Christian attitude?

  123. NOTE: This is actually in response to comments by Jayhuck on another thread. I noted Warren’s suggestion that we move the discussion over here.

    I don’t want to waste time here responding to things I didn’t say. I made no comment on whether their comments were heartfelt and sincere; I said the timing of the public apology was a tactic. I also made no comments about the other two apologizers. I purposely spoke about the only one whose ‘then and now’ story I am familiar with.

    My comments have been directed to the issue of the public apology not the dinner. The dinner, I lamented, suffered from guilt by association.

    It’s common knowledge that the founder of Apple Computers (and the Mac) and Microsoft founder Bill Gates were once partnered. There’s even some scandal involving the separation of the two many years ago. If the Apple guy came out and starting apologizing for the failures of Microsoft products, we’d see it clearly as a tactic and a marketing ploy. His comments regarding the product deficiencies might be sincere and heartfelt but–delivering that message to the world via a public apology for past involvements–that’s a political/marketing/media tactic.

    Were the 3 apologizers also the 3 who presented their testimonies at the dinner? There’s Michael again. He’s very sincere but he’s made his feelings known to Exodus leaders over and over again throughout the past 28 years. Evidently, he wants something from Exodus that Exodus just can’t give him…yet he keeps coming back. (Excuse me while I slip into my judge robe…) I’ve concluded that the thing he really wants from Exodus is absolution; he wants Exodus to tell him they don’t believe it’s wrong. He wants Exodus to agree with him that their message creates isolation, fear and loss of faith. It simply isn’t going to happen.

  124. Jayhuck,

    I can appreciate that ex-ex gays have walked in both sets of shoes, but I also know of some who have found aspects of the gay life to be extremely destructive for them and have found a greater level of happiness by leaving it behind for programs such as Exodus. This does not mean they necessarily endorse everything that Exodus or even NARTH puts out, but they do find a new freedom by embracing a different way of handling their SSA. Should these people be condemned for that? Because that is the way it comes across sometimes, when Exodus is being attacked as it often is on this site.

  125. Jayhuck,

    I would have to say the same for the numerous gay activists who seem to have no trouble making front page news and for those politicians who seem to find it appropriate to come out on national television inorder to gain support for their particular choice.

  126. Jayhuck,

    So, at least you’ll concede that there are attempts to ‘undermine’ Exodus. I’ve been waiting for that admission for some time.

  127. Alan –

    You can’t really expect any thinking person to take you seriously when you go around asking to have the same rights as gay groups do in many of our institutions, and then turn around and prevent gay parents, their children, and other committed gay couples from having all the rights you enjoy – Can you?

  128. Alan,

    The main reason people are trying to undermine you is because you are trying to undermine THEIR rights – I’m not saying everything would be hunky dory, but I know many of us would leave you alone if you’d stick to a goal of helping people in a therapeutic way and not be so involved in politics.

    You can rationalize your involvement in politics all you like, but I know things would be much, much better if you would get out of that business.

  129. Warren,

    I never said that gay groups weren’t involved in politics, but gay groups, unlike Ex-Gay groups, aren’t going around saying that they want to be treated with equality and respect, saying that its ok to be gay, and then working to undermine rights for those who disagree with them. THAT is the politics of Exodus and no group, gay or ex-gay, has a right to prevent other groups who disagree with it from having the same rights as they do – Unfortuntaly, Exodus and a few other radical religious groups don’t see it this way, which is why there can never really be peace between the two camps until Exodus and its sister groups stop trying to force their religious beliefs on others through legislation.

  130. 1. Were these people truly hurt by Exodus or was there a theological disagreement? If the former, which I am open to, I hope to hear exactly what was harmful. If the latter, which I would imagine is the majority, then we simply agree to disagree.

    2. We don’t have any sister organizations.

    3. I am not angry at the organizers or participants of the BXG counter conference. I wouldn’t ever, as the head of Exodus, organize an event that coincided with a gay event — especially in the same city. But, I am not angry that they are holding a conference—that is their right.

    4. Several posts seem to indicate that this “Survivor’s” conference is all in response to Exodus’ involvement in policy matters. So, if we get out of policy issues then everyone will just be hunky dory with Exodus and love us again? Doubt it. The activist gay community has been trying to discredit us since day one — even when Exodus was just a nice little organization trying to help individuals.

    5. Darlene Bogle, Jeremy Marks and Michael Bussee are welcome to apologize as individuals who led double lives and harmed people because they weren’t being honest about their struggles. I for one was someone who was harmed by their double speak and their lies. I don’t say that to sound harsh, but simply to say, I forgive them. We are all human and we make mistakes.

  131. Soulforce may not have a lobbyist in DC, but they do make statements on political matters. E.g., the Holsinger nomination, and”don’t ask, don’t tell” are two efforts that sure look political to me. In fact, the slogan on their website is: “The purpose of Soulforce is freedom for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people from religious and political oppression through the practice of relentless nonviolent resistance.”

    Now, I personally have no problem with any group or person making statements about policy. It is the beauty of this country. I would prefer that all ministries keep their political statements to mission-related issues. There can be honest debate about whether a group does this or not. I would say that SoulForce probably does view its statements about political matters to be mission related. I am pretty sure the Exodus leadership would say the same thing about their statements about political matters. But let’s be clear that SoulForce has a political agenda.

    But this is all detail. I really would like to know whether those who want to “dialogue” with Exodus want to reform or remove Exodus. I would think that the answer to that question would have some impact on what Exodus should do in response.

    Let me go further to say that what I want is for everyone to have space to live out their beliefs and to speak them freely. I am most focused on the professions since that is the world in which I work and opine. So I want therapists to help people find what they believe to be true and valuable and then if asked to do so by the client, help the client live in alignment with those values. I would hope that Exodus and BXG folks would do the same as an aspect of their various ministries. There will be tension and disagreement about how to interpret the Bible but that is not going to change.

    To answer briefly some other questions here, my stance about conscience would be true no matter what the beliefs of the client or the counselor are about sexuality. If I cannot help a client due to value conflicts, then I should refer. I would expect a therapist who really believes it is best to live in accord with same-sex attraction but has a client who chooses to live in alignment with different beliefs to honor the same ethic. If the value conflicts are too great or they create barriers to effective work, then by all means refer.

  132. This is cross posted from the Exodus Conference: Open Forum thread.

    I have no doubt the sentiments expressed by the three Exodus leaders were sincere. I have gotten to know Michael in the last year and I have no doubt at all that he was absolutely sincere. My observation however, that their views have been expressed before still stands. If those three had had a news conference two months ago, I doubt an AP story would have resulted. Timing in media, like location in real estate, is huge.

  133. ANON2 and Mary –

    I really believe that that is what BEG was trying to do. They approached this issue with an invitation to dialogue, and they did so in a very mature and caring manner. ANON2 – Ex-Ex Gay people HAVE walked in both shoes, so they are probably the best equipped to be the facilitators and, hopefully, healers.

  134. Eddy –

    You are right – I cannot speak for every Exodus supporter – what I meant to say is: Every Exodus supporter whose pieces I have read – who have been vocal about the counter-conference!!!

    ANON2 –

    I am a celibate gay man and a Christian – I agree with Exodus on some issues, but I absolutely cannot and will not support their involvement in politics – they have no right to force their religious beliefs – through politics and legislation – on those who disagree with them. That is why I speak out against them and why I cannot be involved with them. There are many other Christians like me, who are no longer practicing homosexuals, but who cannot abide Exodus.

  135. See info on the dinner.

    Also, from this page, a note about the purpose as it relates to Exodus:

    “The survivor conference has been co-located with the Exodus conference to facilitate dialogue. It is intentionally distinct from the Exodus in a number of ways; however, it has not been staged as a political or competitive protest.

    “Our purpose is to serve the needs of former ex-gays, their families, friends, and supporters. The experiences of former ex-gays and their allies have often been mischaracterized and their needs misunderstood. Identifying those needs and moving forward together as a community will happen on its own terms, not as a reaction to or a protest of Exodus.”

  136. Jayhuck asked “why is it every Exodus supporter is so angry at these people?” I need to ask: Beyond this blogsite, how many Exodus supporters have you been in touch with? Your questions presumes ‘EVERY Exodus supporter”, LOL, even when I was a key-player in Exodus, I didn’t have insight into the heart and mind of EVERY person. Please tell me your source into the mind of every Exodus supporter….

    I’ve been in touch with 5 “Exodus supporters” over the past week, NOT ONE was ‘angry at these people’? Where did you witness ANY Exodus supporter being ‘angry with these people’? (I just did a self-check–and a blog check–and I”M not angry. My mood for the last week has been running between ‘cautious’ and ‘bemused’. I think that’s been the tone of my blogs as well.) My apologies, though, I do occasionally get a skootch sarcastic but, please, don’t interpret that as anger. A lot of the bloggers here employ sarcasm, should I be interpreting all of it as anger? LOL! My directness has also been misinterpreted before…especially in print…but, for many, it’s what they appreciate most about me. (If you and I ever met for coffee…and, no, I’m not hitting on you…I’m willing to wager we’d come away as friends–or, at the least, with a healthy mutual respect for each other.)

    Just last night, at karaoke, a woman who works with a gay friend of mine told me that earlier in the day they were discussing their ‘unique, short friend’…meaning me. He said something to the effect that I was ‘one of the most ‘together’ people’ he knew. They are both aware of my ex-gay beliefs and both think that ‘gay’s the way I ought to go’. I took it as quite a compliment under the circumstances.

  137. Um… maybe they also wanted just to make a public apology to the people who have gotten hurt by the kinds of programs they used to run?

  138. What I do not understand is that it seems to me that it is perfectly fine for those who want us all to believe that the ex-ex-gay option is one that demands political involvement and educational support, but for those who have found happiness in living according to their belief in scripture political involvement is unacceptable.

    I do not agree with the level of pushing that has gone on either camp. Why do you think this polarization has occurred. The way I see it is that it is a numbers game and the whole idea of spiritual warfare become very clear. The side that can get the most people on their side wins. Well I have some news for both sides of this debate, no one wins we only end up with loosers and the loosers are us. It is definitely time for each side to take a walk in the others shoes, but with a mind of compassion rather than condemnation.

  139. BTW –

    I know this is off-topic, but does anyone know why Focus on the Family reported that only 100 people attended what they called the “counter-conference” two days before the conference actually started? I’m more than just a little annoyed with their blatant attempt at distortion – not saying I’m surprised, mind you!

  140. Warren,

    I’m sorry, but I have to agree with Scott. The real problem for all Exodus critics – I think – is their involvement in politics, and the terrible message they send by saying its ok if you want to be gay, but we’re going to make it as difficult for you as possible, and we’re going to legislate our beliefs onto you – and then they wonder why gay people and even some Ex-Ex gay people speak out against them.

    And when did any of the Ex-Ex Gay speakers ever say anything about ending Exodus’s existance? That is a little dramatic, don’t you think?

    I do agree with you that reform cannot happen overnight, and I hope that that is something that comes out of all this. I realize you haven’t always been happy with Exodus’s decisions either and I’ve been very glad that you have called them on it – but I also think its wonderful that the Ex-Ex Gay voice is being heard so much lately.

  141. Warren,

    I think you have inaccurately characterized Soulforce. While Soulforce is clearly a social activism group – similar in nature to the freedom riders or to others acts of civil disobediance, they are not – to the best of my knowledge – political in the same way that FotF or Exodus is. They do not, as best I know lobby for legislation nor have they been invited to the White House.

    Besides, it is not fair to compare a group that says “give me my freedom” to a group that says “I’ll tell you what to do”.

    If Exodus’ political activism were limited to matters affecting them alone, no one would object. But instead they focus ONLY on matter that affect the lives of gay persons – those whom they specifically say they are not.

    As for the oldness of the news, I think you are missing the point. The news isn’t that they are no longer ex-gay but that they are owning responsibility for the harm they did and apologizing for it.

    Just as Germany many years later officially apologized for the horrors of the Nazi regime or how the Church formally apologized centuries later for the persecution of Jews. Yes their actions were old, but the apology was news.

    I would tend to agree with you that the media is not the best method for communication. But that has been – at least since 2001 – Exodus’ primary means of communication. Rather than respond to Peterson or Christine or anyone else involved with BXG about the dinner, Exodus went to the religious media to denounce the “protesters”. And the religious media promptly did so – going so far as to make up out of nothing imaginary attendance numbers for an event that had not yet occurred. You can hardly claim that the XXers were the ones to initiate that method.

    In fact, the only way to reach Exodus leadership is through the media or a public forum.

  142. I am not sure where all of this goes. Now we have an ex-ex-gay organization hitching their wagon to Soulforce which is clearly a political organization.

    Jayhuck – I call it as I see it. None of the individuals who made statements have come to this position recently. News is what happens now. What makes old news “news” is often the context of its delivery (the concurrent conferences). I don’t see the bias there.

    My question gets to the heart of what will make or break any effort at dialogue. It does not seem reasonable to dialogue very much with groups or people who desire to end your existence. At the least, it makes for a very defensive, polarized atmosphere. It is hard to know how to interpret some of the events of the last week without knowing the answer to this question.

    Having said this, I know at least several of the people involved, and I believe their answer is that they would like to see reform. Fine. But I do not blame Exodus for being cautious. There are reasons for both sides not to trust. So this cannot happen overnight, and I strongly believe it cannot happen in the media.

  143. I really think this has more to do with Exodus’ involvement in politics.

    If they offered their services to people and didn’t spend their time placing anti hate crime ads or trying to influence marriage votes, they wouldn’t have a problem.

    Unfortunately, they’re trying to influence the lives of people who are perfectly happy being gay. If they stuck to helping people who couldn’t reconcile their faith with their sexuality the probabley wouldn’t have much trouble.

    Hitching your wagon to James Dobson has it’s drawbacks.

  144. Wow Warren – I’ve never seen such a biased side of you before. I understand wanting to know the motivation behind the X-X Gay conference, but why is it every Exodus supporter is so angry at these people? These are people who were truly hurt by Exodus and its sister organizations, and I’ve yet to hear any meaningful apology or sincere embrace for them and what they’ve gone through.

    I’m a little unnerved at your attempt to discredit them by talking about how this is all old news!!!!

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