Christian Group Backs Away From Ex-Gay Therapy

The president of the country’s best-known Christian ministry dedicated to helping people repress same-sex attraction through prayer is trying to distance the group from the idea that gay people’s sexual orientation can be permanently changed or “cured.”

That’s a significant shift for Exodus International, the 36-year-old Orlando-based group that boasts 260 member ministries around the U.S. and world. For decades, it has offered to help conflicted Christians rid themselves of unwanted homosexual inclinations through counseling and prayer, infuriating gay rights activists in the process.

This week, 600 Exodus ministers and followers are gathering for the group’s annual conference, held this year in a Minneapolis suburb. The group’s president, Alan Chambers, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the conference would highlight his efforts to dissociate the group from the controversial practice usually called ex-gay, reparative or conversion therapy.

Chambers acknowledged some Exodus affiliates might still offer reparative therapy. But he said** “99.9 percent” of people he’s encountered in two decades with Exodus were not able to completely rid themselves of same-sex attraction.** He believes the organization must be honest about that when people come looking for help.

Wow! This is a reversal of epic proportions and in the right direction! :thumbsup:


It’s time everyone backs away from supporting such silliness. I’ve never heard of a heterosexual changing their orientation (unless they’re bisexual or in denial). Why are so many willing to accept that the opposite is true?

I don’t think very many heterosexuals want to become homosexual

Depending on their religious background, some people have a lot to lose if someone found out they had attractions to someone of the same sex. I’ve gone to some churches that would’ve had marathon “exorcisms” (which bear no resemblance to the Catholic rite) to cast out “demons of homosexuality”. And if that failed, the person is shunned from the community and in some cases even abandoned by their families. People in these situations are highly motivated to try and change their sexuality.

I am not defending these practices, or saying they are the norm (typically a fringe group that is more like a cult than a church IMO), just saying that I’ve seen it happen.

You see, when you point that out, the whole “homosexuality is a choice” thing really falls apart. In all honesty, who would choose all the hateful slurs, possible rejection by one’s family, loss of employment, no marriage rights, the beatings, the possibility of being killed for the great crime of loving another consenting adult, etc.? Although, if I had a choice, I’d like to be polysexual, but, well, sexual orientation doesn’t work that way.

There just isn’t a reason to want to be gay

I don’t know I’m a Conservative…why did I sign up to a lifetime of being spat on, called a racist, bigot, Islamophobe, homophobe, misogynist ect. ect. :shrug:

I guess the same could also be said to people who convert to Judaism…not a fun religion to join if you are trying to avoid prejudice and hate.

Superb point.

There is a difference between being attracted to the same sex and engaging in the homosexual act.

One is a cross to be carried and the other is damaging to both body and soul.

If it were a choice there wouldn’t be people who desperately want to not be gay.

Yep just like masturbation there are a lot of people who desperately want to not masturbate…but I know many Catholics who have overcome that and others who struggle :shrug:

You probably wouldn’t know a choice from a hole in the ground, but let me tell you about choice. I made choices in my teen years that cost me a college education, twice. I then made choices that resulted in the murder of two innocent children. I kept making choices that estranged me from my family and my Church and led to a life of depravity and dissipation. Then my choices resulted in the eventual loss of my career, all my money, and finally my home. About 12 years ago, I looked back on my life and saw where my choices had left me. Then I realized I had nobody to blame but myself, and I was down to only two choices: I could either remain angry at God and go to Hell for an eternity, or I could reconcile with Him and enjoy, not an easy life, but a life of grace and a life of charity that would lead to eternal Life in Heaven.

Now I have chosen chastity and most of the time I choose to avoid sin. I was lucky in my previous life that I did not follow all the choices I want to make, because some of them would be guaranteed to leave me sued into poverty, utterly ostracized from society, and/or prosecuted, jailed and beaten to death in an ignoble ending to a worthless life. I am heterosexual, but at 40 I am having my doubts that I am called to the married life. I definitely don’t have a call to the priesthood. I would be hard-pressed to find a religious community to accept me now, given the impediments I have identified. So I, like a homosexual, may simply be called to a life of perpetual chastity and unfulfilled potential. I am tested every day in my commitment to chastity, but every day I renew my choice and my resolve strengthens as I taste Our Lord in the Eucharist; He is more beautiful to me than any base sexual desire that may enter my mind. Every day I make better choices to preserve my chastity. Daily I break the sixth and ninth commandments in my heart, I make a good regular Confession of these sins and I am absolved, I emerge from the confessional with a fresh resolve to banish these disordered urges from my entire being.

I believe in the possibility of conditioned response and the possibility that some people might be conditioned to heterosexuality. I certainly accept that not everyone wants to change, and of those who do, change is not possible for all. It is certainly a psychological torment to have disordered sexual urges, because you are damned if you do, and figuratively damned if you don’t; homosexuals deserve to be treated with respect, support, and recognition of their human dignity. If an ex-gay ministry can provide a worthwhile service to that tiny minority who both wish to change and are capable of change, then it has proved its value.

It is a disservice to people of faith that the pro-gay world has rewritten the book on disordered sexual desires and opened wide the gates of acceptance and “tolerance” that is really just thinly veiled straight hate. Generations of children have been devastated by the widespread triple-threat of contraception, abortion, and no-fault divorce. Future generations of children will be devastated by this, the next step in population control: the gay agenda.

This raises an interesting point: do we have to stick with just two polar opposite views?

Most gay rights advocates argue that they are “born that way”, or that they are the way God (or nature) made them.

The counterargument often raised is that there is little evidence of being “born” gay, but that homosexuality is the result of environmental factors, choice or both.

Isn’t it possible that a third option is more accurate?

Let me use an analogy from a condition that we are much more familar with: alcoholism.

A lot of us drink, but not all of us are addicted.

There is fairly good scientific evidence - much better than for a “gay gene” - that alcoholism has a genetic component, and several possible “candidate genes” have been identified in human research.

There is equally good evidence that learning and environment play a role. A boy who grows up with an alcoholic father (particularly if said father is not egregiously abusive - a “high-functioning” alcoholic) may learn that this is the status quo. Similarly, cultures that encourage the use of “soft” forms of liquor (such as wine) have many drinkers but few alcoholics, while cultures that encourage “hard” drinks have many alcoholics, and many teetotallers. (Similarly, a sexualized and polarized culture might bring homosexual behaviour to the surface, in people who already lean that way due to genes or life experience.)

A complex condition like homosexuality cannot be reduced either to “oh, it’s the gay gene, we’re made that way”, or “it’s all because of abuse / a poor male role model / etc.”

Biology is not destiny. I know this because I’ve known several people who have a “family history” of alcoholism, but are able to maintain strict limits on their drinking.

Neither is Freudianism (or neo-Freudianism) the gospel truth. Simplistic views of homosexuality as being caused by your mother and father are as unscientific as “the gay gene”.

And free will must never be discounted. If an alcoholic wants to quit, he will eventually do so, despite many failed attempts. If he sees nothing wrong with his drinking, no therapy or medication is going to help him.

The Church nails this when it recognizes that a homosexual orientation (like a genetic orientation to become alcoholic) is disordered, but not sinful. It’s the acts themselves that are considered sinful. (Similarly, being tempted to drink is not a sin; drinking beyond the point of moderation is.)

The bottom line is that no single “ex-gay” therapy can “cure” everyone, just as there is no “magic pill” or therapy for all alcoholics. Different people require different blends of psychological, spiritual and (perhaps) biological assistance. But giving up the hope of change, just because one model has been debunked, is unfair, and denies basic Catholic teaching on hope, sexuality and free will.

After all, “with God all things are possible”. :slight_smile:

Praise the Lord that this particular group of Christians has finally caught up to science after 30+ years of obstruction and ignorance.

^This, tends to demolish Lokabrenna’s point! :thumbsup:
Then again, this argument also tends to demolish the environmental factors determinism-choice dichotomy. :slight_smile:

I find it surprising that so many children that are victims of homosexuals end up being homosexuals. While I agree that many gay people are “born” that way, it does not account for the number of sexual abuse victims that seem to end up that way.

Can therapy undue what a pedophile has done?

They are people with those feelings who have never acted upon it. How does someone not choose to masturbate initially?

Just because something isn’t genetic doesn’t mean it can’t be the result of biological screw ups such as hormonal imbalances in the womb.

The problem is if you never drink you wont become an alcoholic, whereas if you never act on the thoughts you can still be gay.

Freud is pretty well discarded by science (few people outside the US seemed to have taken him seriously anyway).

Yes an alcoholic can eventually quit, but how can someone quit who never started?

ex-gay therapy seems to “fully fix” no one (by fully fix I mean make heterosexual).

The same way someone chooses not to act on their homosexual thoughts initially. :doh2:

This makes me sad. Not that they abandoned an ineffective therapy but that the therapy is ineffective in the first place. What a tremendous burden to have to bear without hope of relief or recovery this side of death.

As a straight male I have had to deal with the prospect of lacking a romantic relationship for the rest of my life. I don’t think I could wish that on anyone. It’s really important for those of us in the Christian community to do what we can ease such a terrible burden. In this we might all called to Simons.

I agree.

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