(This is NOT a group that is in any way aligned with Exodus)
*Justin Lee: “…many of Exodus’s member ministries are promising people that they will change and get referrals from Exodus. And, several people who wrote questions in said, this is problematic, cause it seems like Exodus, or at least the member ministries, are promising people that they are going to change, or leading people to believe that they are being promised change, and that change isn’t happening. Do you feel that is a fair criticism of Exodus?
Alan Chambers: I think it is a fair criticism from the past. That is something that doesn’t concern me because the fact of the matter is, I feel that I’ve been very upfront and clear both in the media and at conferences and any time I have the opportunity to write about the fact that I believe the slogan change is possible. For those of us that are Christians, we understand that when we come into a relationship with Christ, all sorts of things are possible. The majority of the people that I have met, and I would say the majority meaning 99.9% of them, have not experienced a change in their orientation, nor have gotten to a place where they could say that they could never be tempted, or are not tempted in some way or experienced some level of same sex attraction. I think that there is a gender issue there. There are some women who have challenged me and have said that “my orientation or my attractions have changed completely.” Those have been few and far between. The vast majority of people that I know do still experience some level of same-sex attraction. And so, that’s something I think I can’t be any clearer about.
I’m very willing to share that from my own journey. Exodus is a big organization, with a diverse membership. There are and always have been, and *John and *Wendy and *Jeremy can attest to this, many points of tension and conflict and debate over those types of things. I hope that we are coming to a place where we are a much more honest group of people; that when we talk about “change is possible” that we are very, very clear about what change really means in our lives.
*Wendy Gritter: Alan, what about the fact that there is just so much baggage with that slogan. Because you can parse it and say that we don’t mean orientation change by a “change is possible” slogan, but I wager that 99.9% of the people who hear it, associate it with the concept of your orientation.
Alan: Yeah, but we’re not using “change is possible” as a slogan anymore, not when we’re at conferences, and John can attest to that, because we did it at Love Won Out. The word or the phrase, “change is possible” comes up at every event and I’m very, very clear to say we used “change is possible” for so many years, and it was used on me, and we’ve used it. I think the people who used it wanted it to mean something more than it did. I think we used it in hopes that it would mean what we were sharing. We don’t use that phrase anymore. When we talk about “change is possible,” it is from the standpoint that we are saying “we used this phrase for many, many years, and this is what it actually means; and this is what it doesn’t mean.”
Wendy Gritter: Has there been an apology for the use of the phrase?
Alan: Yeah, and that is a great point. You know I am sorry that that is something we used. And when we talk about that at conferences, that is something that I say. This is something that we regret very much being ambiguous about, because I don’t think ambiguity with this subject is helpful. So that is something that we are very, very sorry about. As all of you, I would imagine are as well.
*Justin Lee; US. Head and founder of The Gay Christian Network. Lee founded GCN in August, 2001 to “build a supportive community to support fellow gay Christians in their Christian walk.” (Wikipedia)
*John Smid, US. The former director of the Memphis, TN Exodus ministry Love In Action. He resigned that position in 2008, and in 2010 apologized for any harm he had caused. In 2011, he stated that he was homosexual, and that he had “never met a man who experienced a change from homosexual to heterosexual.” (Wikipedia)
*Wendy Gritter; Canada. Wendy is the director of New Directions in Canada, a former Exodus MM. Wendy is not a former lesbian but was an advocate of Exodus. In leaving, Wendy stated on her blog, “We are seeking to build bridges and be part of the broader missional conversation.”
*Jeremy Marks; London. Founded a ministry in Europe called Courage, which was a large exgay organization, disbanded in 1995 when he decided he was gay and the organization was not being effective in changing people’s orientation. (Wikipedia)