It seems that Exodus International has canceled an upcoming conference due to lack of interest. The “ex-gay” ministry has had a difficult time recovering from the latest wave of relapses and public admissions that it doesn’t actually work.
Exodus International has decided there were not enough people interested in attending their Love Won Out conference scheduled for later this month to justify the expense. Conference attendance has been trending downward, with their last conference bringing in barely 400 people. This is down from nearly 1000 in Exodus’ headier days.
In November, XGW reported on a secret meeting held by Exodus president Alan Chambers to come up with ways to rebrand the organization in the wake of social and financial collapse. Since then events have occurred which seem to validate that scenario. The cancellation of this conference, the first time we know of since either Exodus or Focus on the Family held the event, appears to provide more evidence of their decline.
I first learned of Exodus and its “ex-gay” agenda more than 20 years ago at my evangelical college. I was living on campus one summer, working in the cafeteria and helping to feed the small group of summer residents and the dozens of conferences scheduled there — including a major conference for Exodus International.
The conference was billed as a gathering of hundreds of ex-gay men celebrating their new, heterosexual life in Christ. In reality, it seemed much more like a gathering of hundreds of gay men enjoying their time together as a respite from the repression of their lives back home. They seemed like a nice bunch of guys, but not terribly ex-.
Really, really not ex-, actually — and aggressively making the most of their week there among so many other not ex- guys. I don’t remember if they used the “Love Won Out” slogan for that conference, but love was winning out all over campus that week.
I hadn’t ever heard of Exodus International before they showed up that summer for their conference. After helping to feed them for that week, though, I couldn’t trust any of the group’s claims about religious “reparative” therapy. I’d seen their supposed success stories.