Ex-Gay Ministry Exodus International Will Shut Down

Given that its President Alan Chambers is already going on Oprah Winfrey’s network Thursday night to offer an on-camera apology to all those members of the LGBTQ community he may have hurt, this may not be a major surprise, but it’s still big news: Exodus International is shutting down:

Exodus International, the oldest and largest Christian ministry dealing with faith and homosexuality announced tonight that it’s closing its doors after three-plus decades of ministry. The Board of Directors reached a decision after a year of dialogue and prayer about the organization’s place in a changing culture.

“Exodus is an institution in the conservative Christian world, but we’ve ceased to be a living, breathing organism,” said Alan Chambers, President of Exodus. “For quite some time we’ve been imprisoned in a worldview that’s neither honoring toward our fellow human beings, nor biblical.”

Good riddance to them. It’s great that the leaders are finally seeing the error of their ways, but it’s time to move on and shut down this awful organization permanently.

I’ve contacted Chambers for an interview and will post it if/when I hear back.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    Sorry for being so suspicious of his motives, but something tells me they ran out of money/funding.

    • http://nomadwarriormonk.blogspot.com/ Cyrus Palmer

      Shut down is shut down. At least they finally said something that made sense, and on it’s deathbed no less. It didn’t die with a ‘the South will rise again’ kind of quote.

    • Tel

      One thing said is “For quite some time we’ve been imprisoned in a worldview that’s neither honoring toward our fellow human beings, nor biblical.” If that is sincere, then they won’t come back the same.

  • http://www.nsewell.com/ Nick Sewell

    This may just be a re-branding exercise, due to financial difficulties.

    “Exodus is believed to have suffered financial difficulties since it purchased its headquarters building just before the Florida real estate market crashed. Exodus lost additional support in 2009 following its involvement in a Uganda conference which precipitated that country’s kill-the-gays legislation; Exodus later repudiated its involvement, but the leaders of what is now RHN have not. The final blow to Exodus occurred when Exodus president Alan Chambers appeared at a Gay Christian Network conference in 2012 and admitted that 99 percent or more of “ex-gays” have not changed their sexual orientation.”


    • Alice

      Yes, maybe I am just cynical, but the financial difficulties and their desire to start a new ministry in the future makes the timing of the apology look rather suspicious.

      • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

        The new ministry seems due close scrutiny when it comes out. That said, it does look like there may be an incremental evolutionary shift.

  • carolsue1313

    Maybe the fact that the hypocrite couldn’t cure his own “ongoing same-sex attractions”.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    “may have hurt”

    Is that your wording Hemant? Because as I recall from the other article he didn’t seem to dance around with any “may”s.

    I’m not going to speculate on his sincerity. Others are in a better position to do that, but I do think the language of his apology was without loopholes.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      Just oversight on my part. My apologies. Didn’t mean to understate his apology.

    • http://benny-cemoli.myopenid.com/ Benny Cemoli

      Chambers isn’t serious. Especially when he includes phrases like . . .

      The good that we have done at Exodus is
      overshadowed by all of this.

      . . . and totally misses the point that the organization that he led has done absolutely nothing that can be even remotely considered to be “good” for the LGBT community.

  • Tina Schmidt

    Was this the one that was founded by an “ex-gay”, and it turns out he never stopped being gay?

    • RobMcCune

      If it was founded by an “ex-gay”, then yes it is.

  • Leonidas

    Faith in humanity +1.

    I’m not convinced he’s sincere, but maybe people can change, and maybe he did.

    I hope so.

  • Rain

    I started watching his latest speech but when he got to the part where God tells him to do stuff, my “refuge of a scoundrel” alarm bells went off. I don’t believe a damn word the guy says. Sorry.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Good riddance to 37 years of superstitious quackery, hatred disguised as “love,” extremely harmful phony “therapy,” and deliberate, conscious FRAUD. May every one of the founders, supporters, proponents, and sponsors of that abomination feel deep shame and humiliation for the rest of their lives. May they have to change their names, move to crappy cities in third world countries, and live as e-waste recyclers, smashing old cell phones and computers with sledge hammers to get at the toxic heavy metals.

    But perhaps I’m being too polite. Maybe I should express how I have really felt about them for a long time:

    “Exodus” means GET THE FUCK OUT!

  • Tom

    Official statements like that apology are most important for what *isn’t* in them – and what I didn’t see in the statement was an outright admission that their techniques didn’t bloody work (I did see an affirmation that god can do anything, which is basically saying that it would have worked and should have worked, only somehow it didn’t for some reason that totally wasn’t a failure of their religion), or that their end goal in applying them was immoral. The guy made a big deal about recognising collateral damage, but he didn’t admit that the end goal is itself damaging.

    He *should* have been saying “I’m sorry we tried to destroy what you are and control your sexuality;” what he actually seemed to say was “I’m sorry some of you got hurt as we tried to destroy what you are and control your sexuality.”

  • sam

    That’s great they’re in Florida. The leaders of Exodus Int. can now make a quick hop over to Clearwater, and after some intensive auditing (and a substantial downpayment), they can be cured of those filthy xian engrams implanted in them by the galactic overlord Xenu. They can be OT in no time (though sadly, not less homophobic).

  • Space Cadet

    Perhaps if there had been more dialoguing and less praying it wouldn’t have taken so long for them to realize their words and actions were wrong.

  • TiltedHorizon

    They are shutting down? Awww. I guess they “did not have a prayer”.

  • Stev84

    Their local affiliates will go on. There are some that had already split from them because they softened their official position on the success of their “therapies”.

    So they brought their sick ideas to other countries where they will now have a life of their own.

  • Matt D

    So, after thirty years of abuse, they close their doors and move on, eh?
    How nice. Now mabye those mentally abused and damaged “ex-gays” will enjoy telling their families this little news. I’m sure the damage their institution has already caused won’t tarnish when another bout of broken hearts and shattered families is left in their wake.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    They aren’t REALLY closing. they are re-opening under a different name, re-branding if you will, with a “softer, gentler” form of anti-gay bigotry. No thanks.

  • AntonioPeYangIII

    This wonderful news calls for an equally wonderful song…



  • Heathen Mike

    Apparently a lot of affiliates started distancing themselves from Exodus as soon as they acknowledged last summer that “reparative therapy” is a complete failure. Nice to see the umbrella org. structure close up shop, but it’s not as if all “ex-gay” organizations are gone. And, as has been pointed out, it will be worth watching to see what the just “what” the remnants of Exodus think they are going to do under a new name and new organization. I’m imagining something along the lines of a group “lovingly” espousing voluntary celibacy for Christians who realize they are “afflicted” with same-sex attraction, and still teaching that to act on it is sin, even though “we’re all sinners” and “hate the sin, love the sinner,” blah, blah. . I’d love to be pleasantly surprised, but we’ll just have to see.

    I appreciate that many people are understandably fed up with the mountains of hurtful bullshit that has been shoveled by groups such as Exodus and don’t see a point in forgiving such hurtful, ignorant people. I’m admittedly a bleeding heart liberal, but I still think of hateful people as “people,” and I want to see them find enlightenment. But beyond my sentimentality on the issue, it’s important, because every homophobe (including the self-haters), who comes around to understand how wrong they have been, represents another thread unraveling from society’s massive tapestry of heterosexism. It really matters in the big scheme of things. Bigots are not going to just suddenly die off to please us. Such people are physically going to still be here for some time, so our best hope is to help them change.

    As for the prez. Chambers, his attempts at apology do sound sincere, even though still befuddled and clueless at many points. It was a huge hurdle he leaped just to acknowledge as much as he did. That suggests there’s hope for further evolution and enlightenment in him. I’m just convinced that as long as he clings to his theology, as he is still doing, he’ll be stuck.

  • Tait

    Oh wow! An apology. The very least you could possibly do (besides nothing) for someone you hurt.
    Religious institutions do this so well. Thirty years of harm done? An apology will make it all better. Forgive and forget, right guys?
    No need for action to repair the damage done. Just shed a public tear and consider the scales balanced.
    Some classic religious morality in action.

    • TCC

      In fairness, Exodus is closing down in order to start a new organization to advocate for churches to become more welcoming places for LGBT individuals. There are signs that Chambers will actually do more than just apologize for the work Exodus did.

      • Tait

        Promises promises. At this point it’s all talk. The wonderful thing about talk is that it’s cheap.
        When an actual investment into this apology happens, like action to repair, not just talking about iaction, it’ll be of some value.

  • onamission5
  • Rain

    Still not shut down yet. So hop on over there and click on the donate button, or purchase the fine books or other anti-gay materials still for sale! While this offer lasts! The-Organization-That-Is-Apologizing-And-Shutting-Down™ ® © Patent Pending!

  • Rain

    Still in business over there. Still selling the same old junk too. So, is Alan Chambers going to recall his books that he wrote? Or at least stop their sales? Yeah, didn’t think so…

  • Rain

    Still not shut down yet. Exodus International, the Generalissimo Francisco Franco of cash-cow ministries.

  • Rain

    Still not shut down yet. Exodus International Shutting Down Watch: Day 10 or 11 or thereabouts. (Lost count already.)

  • Rain

    Just so I have the first google meme match: “Exodus International Is Still Shutting Down”. No google matches for that phrase yet. Until now. Now if bloggers would blog that and get on board with the Exodus International Shutting Down Watch, then that would be neat, lol.

  • Rain

    Still shutting down.
    Shutting down in 3… 2… 999… 998… uhmm…