Comments about ‘Exodus International issues apology to LGBT community’

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

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Ophelia
Bountiful, UT

My son was involved in reparative therapy for two years. It still brings tears to think I forced him into such damaging therapy. Exodus International and other religious sources were often quoted to assure us that change was possible.We just needed to have faith.

The apologies issued from Exodus International bring me some solace; however, my faith in religious authority figures has been irrevocably damaged. I'm currently trying to build back my faith. My son has left the Church and is living a life of peace with his partner.

Glad to hear people are accepting the real science and rejecting the pseudo science, but still hurting from all the lies.

Pragmatic
Salt Lake City, UT

Ophelia, I understand your pain. Apologies are nice; but apologies do not replace destroyed lives, compromised lives, shamed lives and overwhelming guilt that has stifled many good people. I hope God's tender mercies are there to blanket the many whom have been hurt by this. Nobody will understand this matter in this lifetime. One of the many mysteries of life.

plainbrownwrapper
Nashville, TN

@Ophelia --

Thanks so much for your honesty in acknowledging your past mistakes. None of us is perfect -- all we can do is strive to learn from our mistakes.

I was heartened to see this article, and the public apologies made by its leader. The fact that even THEY now recognize the damage done by such "therapy" is extremely telling.

It is only sad that it has taken them this long to come clean. I mean, seriously. Two of the male FOUNDERS of Exodus International left way back in 1979 -- to be a gay couple. That should have been a clue.

President Alan Chambers now states: "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."

He further said: "For quite some time we've been imprisoned in a worldview that's neither honoring toward our fellow human beings, nor biblical."

Everybody who still believes that orientation can be changed should listen to Chambers.

donn
layton, UT

@plainbrownwrapper, “President Alan Chambers now states, He further said: "For quite some time we've been imprisoned in a worldview that's neither honoring toward our fellow human beings, “nor biblical."?? Exodus conference at Concordia(*LCMS) University Center in Irvine.

The *Lutheran Church Missouri Synod Statement on Homosexuality, 15 July AD 2010. The healing voice of Jesus—Sacred Scripture—seeks to lead us into the richness of the life God intends for us. Prohibitions against adultery, homosexuality, and promiscuity of any sort are kind words, warning us against behavior that would diminish or destroy human wholeness” (“Theological Implications,” 2010 CW, p. 15

plainbrownwrapper
Nashville, TN

@donn --

“nor biblical."??

"Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (Matthew 22:37-40)

"For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other." (Galatians 5:14-15)

"There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?" James 4:12

Many Christians have no trouble reconciling their religious beliefs with support for gay rights. Quite a few denominations, Christian as well as Jewish, are already happy to perform gay weddings in their churches.

Perhaps they recognize that it is not our job to judge one another. Judging is GOD'S job. Our only job is to LOVE one another.

Chris B
Salt Lake City, UT

Although it may be possible that some gays were born with that inclination, I respect organizations that wish to help people who want help.

I think there is still a place for organizations like this.

It has been proven to work for some individuals to some degree.

And I figure if they can help some people who wish to be helped, then that is a good thing.

Chris B
Salt Lake City, UT

I think this organization had good intentions, just took the wrong approach.

I think many(not all) individuals want some form of help with this challenge

Instead of stressing that the feelings were wrong, the approach should separated the feelings from the actions associated with those feelings, as many churches are starting to do.

We all have challenges and I am glad there are organizations looking to help people.

plainbrownwrapper
Nashville, TN

@Chris B --

"It has been proven to work for some individuals to some degree."

Let's see some evidence, Chris.

Even the research touted by Exodus itself -- which, I believe, shows something like a 15% success rate -- tends to define success as "not having homosexual encounters for 1 year".

LOL!

That isn't success, Chris. Lots of STRAIGHT people out there are celibate for more than a year at a time -- does that somehow mean those celibate straight people have become gay?? It's ludicrous to use that sort of a measure.

When SEVERAL leaders of a movement come out and admit that their OWN PROGRAM is useless AND harmful, it would be wise to listen to them.

"Instead of stressing that the feelings were wrong, the approach should separated the feelings from the actions associated with those feelings, as many churches are starting to do."

This is one thing we can agree on. Even though we strongly disagree about the morality of the act itself, we do agree that the people themselves should not be condemned for their FEELINGS.

Ernest T. Bass
Bountiful, UT

Interesting that many good people, who normally wouldn't have problems with other people, allow their religion to let them become bigots. You would think religion would help good people overcome bigotry, not the other way around.
Ophelia, your story breaks my heart. I hope everyone involved can heal.

Baccus0902
Leesburg, VA

Dear Ophelia,
I was 21 years old when I finished my mission. Of course, I was told I needed to look for that young lady who would become my eternal companion. However, I knew I was a homosexual. My church leaders knew, I had an interview about this issue with a general authority right before my mission. I didn't want to lie to my leaders nor to my future wife.

I subjected myself to reparative therapy with electric shock and all the trimmings. It didn't work. One day I kneeled and told the Lord. That's it! No more! I have tried, and YOU have not delivered! I felt peace, love, compassion and some sense of amusement. I didn't need to change, there was nothing to change.

I am a Gay man. My faith in the Lord is the same as before. As you, I question the shepherds. We have to forgive them because they don't know more than what tradition and other factors have taught them.

You acted as a mother, out of love. Your son knows now without a doubt what he is. A son of God!
without lingering doubts, please forgive yourself.

donn
layton, UT

@Contrarius,There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?" James 4:12,

The Holy Spirit, whom Jesus sent to speak His words (John 16:12–14), superintended what Paul wrote so that he wrote exactly what God desired to be written (2 Tim 3:16–17; 2 Pet 1:20–21).
Did Jesus address homosexuality? Yes, He did. He did so by sending His Spirit to superintend the writing of Paul such that what Paul wrote was precisely what Jesus intended, so much so that it could be said to be “God-breathed.” Jesus condemned homosexuality by means of Paul’s condemnation of homosexuality. And therefore, to deny that homosexuality is sinful is to deny Jesus Himself, and is irreconcilable with true, biblical Christianity

Ophelia
Bountiful, UT

Baccus0902:

Thank you for your very kind, wise words. Thankfully, my amazing, loving son has forgiven me for forcing him into reparative therapy, and I have forgiven myself for being deceived and blindly believing.

I once shared our experience with Carol Lynn Pearson at a workshop, and in her loving way she comforted us and then said, "Now you know. Share your knowledge with others." Obviously, a lot of people "now know" that the false traditions to change and shame are woefully wrong. The thing I've learned most from the past several years is the simple phrase, "Love One Another." And leave it at that.

Ophelia
Bountiful, UT

Baccus0902:

One more thing. I greatly admire your ability to move on from your very painful, troubling therapy. I can tell you have kindness and love in your heart, despite your terrible experiences with electroshock reparative therapy. It is people like you who make me want to move on, realize the limitations of man, and forgive. Thank you, Baccus0902

Baccus0902
Leesburg, VA

Ophelia,
Thank you, you made me blush :)
The Lord of Israel is a God of Love and love will prevail.

Contrarius
Lebanon, TN

@donn --

"Did Jesus address homosexuality? Yes, He did. He did so by sending His Spirit to superintend the writing of Paul such that what Paul wrote was precisely what Jesus intended, so much so that it could be said to be "God-breathed.""

Hmmm.

Paul also supported slavery. (for example Col 3:22)

Paul also thought that women were inferior to men. (for example 1 Cor 14:34)

Paul also told everyone that nobody should ever get divorced -- he didn't even make exceptions for infidelity, even though Jesus did. (for example 1 Cor 7:10-11)

Paul also told everyone that it was better to stay single than to marry. (for example 1 Cor 7:38)

Do you truly believe that all of these things were "precisely what Jesus intended"?

donn
layton, UT

RE: Contrarius,Paul also told everyone that it was better to stay single than to marry?

Poor Context i.e.. Joseph served on the Pharaohs court. The Contrarius conclusion, Joseph must have been a good tennis player.

Three purposes of the law:

The 1st purpose of the law is to be a mirror. The law illumines human sinfulness. Augustine, ”The law acts as a severe schoolmaster who drives us to Christ”. (Gal 3:24)

The 2nd purpose for the law is the restraint of evil. The law, in and of itself, cannot change human hearts. It can, however, serve to protect the righteous from the unjust. Calvin The purpose is “by means of its fearful denunciations and the consequent dread of punishment, to curb those who, unless forced, have no regard for rectitude and justice.”

The 3rd purpose of the law is to reveal what is pleasing to God. As born-again children of God, the law enlightens us as to what is pleasing to our Father, whom we seek to serve. The Christian delights in the law as God Himself delights in it. Jesus, “If you love Me, keep My commandments”.

Contrarius
Lebanon, TN

@donn --

You didn't answer my question.

I'll ask again:

Paul supported slavery. (for example Col 3:22)

Paul thought that women were inferior to men. (for example 1 Cor 14:34)

Paul told everyone that nobody should ever get divorced -- he didn't even make exceptions for infidelity, even though Jesus did. (for example 1 Cor 7:10-11)

Paul told everyone that it was better to stay single than to marry. (for example 1 Cor 7:38)

Do you truly believe that all of these things were "precisely what Jesus intended"?

If insist that everything Paul said was "precisely what Jesus intended", then you must also support these other claims and instructions that were written by Paul.

Do you?

Big 'D'
San Mateo, CA

@ plainbrownwrapper: "Let's see some evidence, Chris."

The evidence is the living examples of certain homosexuals who desire change and somehow achieve it, with time and persistence and hope. If you are unaware of such realities, then your reading is biased and selective. To deny that this change can and occasionally does occur is as presumptive and unfair as those who insist that orientation is simply a choice.

It's a mistake for us to make blanket categorizations of every individual as either totally straight or totally gay, fixed from birth, with no plasticity or possibility of modulation or change. There is a reason behind all the initials in GLBTQ (and perhaps more will be added). This is not black and white. Every individual is different, and should be treated as an individual. For those who desire to attempt change and those who support their desires, respect their desires instead of discouraging them and telling them it isn't possible. (Of course, I would never condone electroshock or other similary wacky "therapeutic" modalities. Nor am I saying that just because there's a slight possibility that it could happen, any gay should be coerced into attempts to change orientation.)

Contrarius
Lebanon, TN

@Big 'D' --

"The evidence is the living examples of certain homosexuals who desire change and somehow achieve it, with time and persistence and hope."

Where are these mythical beings, Big? I can easily claim that little green men from Mars exist, but that doesn't make my claim true.

And even if one or two individuals DO *claim* to have made that change -- is the "cure" worth the damage done to thousands of other people who were FAILED by that same supposed cure? There are multiple studies out there showing the damage done to the victims who were subjected to these treatments, after all. Where are all the studies proving that the damage to the many is worth the benefit to a vanishingly rare, and probably altogether imaginary, few?

Big 'D'
San Mateo, CA

Contrarius,

Your referral to individuals with changed or pliable orientation as "mythical" or "imaginary" beings is incredibly insulting, as is your dismissal of their documented experiences as questionable *claims*-- as if you are in a position to judge them? Really? Your denial of their existence only betrays your bias.

Further, the existence of bisexuals is evidence enough that MANY individuals can have attractions/fulfillment in either direction, and that such tastes or preferences at least in those individuals can be refined or strengthened or diminished with certain psychological approaches, particularly if the desire to do so is self-motivated. There is not necessarily a hard distinction between G/L, B, T. There are shades. Not everyone knows their sexual orientation or gender identity from the moment of first consciousness. Sometimes, these evolve over time.

"is the 'cure' worth the damage?...multiple studies on the damage done to the victims who were subjected to these treatments"

I totally agree. I never condoned the methods of Exodus Intl. But for an individual who wants to explore change, there can be constructive support along the way, whatever the eventual resolution. Anything less is cruel in my opinion.

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