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Exodus International issues apology to LGBT community

Published: Friday, June 21 2013 3:30 p.m. MDT

Exodus International president Alan Chambers apologized to the LGBT community. The company will shut down and discontinue its conferences and workshops.

Exodus International Facebook page

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Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, offered an apology on behalf of the company June 19, a day before the company announced that it is shutting down after 37 years of operation.

Exodus International is an organization dedicated to “encouraging, educating and equipping the Body of Christ to address the issue of homosexuality, gay and lesbian people and families with grace and truth,” according to Exodus International.org.

Chambers apologized for the “trauma” and “pain” Exodus may have brought to members of the LGBT community.

“I have heard many firsthand stories from people called ex-gay survivors. Stories of people who went to Exodus affiliated ministries or ministers for help only to experience more trauma,” Chambers said in his apology. “I have heard stories of shame, sexual misconduct, and false hope. In every case that has been brought to my attention, there has been swift action resulting in the removal of these leaders and/or their organizations. But rarely was there an apology or a public acknowledgement by me.”

Chambers’ apology has received mixed reactions.

“Your too-late apologies can’t begin to make up for the real and lasting direct and indirect damage you did to many thousands of people,” said Michael Martin, a commenter on Exodus International’s Facebook page.

Others appreciate Chambers’ efforts and feel a sense of resolution.

“I've lost so many friends who were forced out of their connection with God because of the internalized messages they received from hateful religious groups. I accept the apology. Thank you,” said Little Bird on Exodus International’s Facebook page.

Exodus International will discontinue its programs aimed to "cure” gay people through prayer and therapy, according to USA Today.

"I believe we’ve come to a time in the church when it’s time to lay our weapons down," Chambers said at an Irvine conference. "We fought the culture and we’ve lost. But I think we’ve lost for a good reason because it’s time for peace."

Abby Stevens is an intern for the DeseretNews.com Faith and Family sections. She is a recent graduate of Brigham Young University–Idaho. Contact her at astevens@deseretdigital.com.

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