Exodus International, one of the nation’s most prominent coalitions of groups promoting harmful “ex-gay” therapy, announced Wednesday that it was disbanding and apologized to the LGBT community for the massive harm it has caused to many. Alan Chambers, the group’s president, issued a written apology, acknowledging that his organization hurt many.
In his apology, Chambers wrote:
Please know that I am deeply sorry. I am sorry for the pain and hurt many of you have experienced. I am sorry that some of you spent years working through the shame and guilt you felt when your attractions didn’t change. I am sorry we promoted sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation that stigmatized parents. I am sorry that there were times I didn’t stand up to people publicly “on my side” who called you names like sodomite—or worse. I am sorry that I, knowing some of you so well, failed to share publicly that the gay and lesbian people I know were every bit as capable of being amazing parents as the straight people that I know. I am sorry that when I celebrated a person coming to Christ and surrendering their sexuality to Him that I callously celebrated the end of relationships that broke your heart. I am sorry that I have communicated that you and your families are less than me and mine.
The board of Exodus International unanimously voted to shut down and announced that it will begin a new organization dedicated encouraging churches to “become safe, welcoming, and mutually transforming communities.”
In an address at the group’s final annual conference, at Concordia University Irvine in California, Chambers noted that his admission last year that people do not actually change their sexual orientation engulfed his organization in scandal. “I’m convinced,” he told attendees, “that the scandal is of God’s making.”
He encouraged the attendees to work to change their churches to be more like a loving, accepting “father church” than scolding, judgmental “older brother church.”
“What that means is we’re not gonna control people anymore,” he told them. “We’re not gonna tell them how they should live. We’re not gonna be responsible for what they’re doing. It’s not our job. You are not the Holy Spirit. I am not the Holy Spirit. The Church is not the Holy Spirit.”
Watch the video here (Chambers begins at about the 20 minute mark):
Sadly, the admissions and departure by Exodus International do not mean the end for the dangerous “ex-gay” movement. A splinter group called the Restored Hope Network continues, with the endorsement of anti-LGBT organizations like Focus on the Family, to promote the same harmful and ineffective “cures.” And, according to the group’s statement, Exodus International’s former local affiliated ministries “will continue, but not under the name or umbrella of Exodus.”