Alan Chambers Apologizes to the LGBTQ Community

Alan Chambers is a guy in process.

In January, 2012, Chambers made news by acknowledging the rarity of sexual reorientation (“99.9% of them haven’t experienced change”). Since then, he and Exodus International have removed themselves from the reparative therapy world entirely. Today, on the eve of what promises to be a riveting television appearance on the Oprah Network, Chambers has issued a written apology to the LGBTQ community.

Please do go read the whole article, but let me pull out an extraordinary paragraph:

Please know that I am deeply sorry. 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. I am sorry that there were times I didn’t stand up to people publicly “on my side” who called you names like sodomite—or worse. I am sorry that I, knowing some of you so well, failed to share publicly that the gay and lesbian people I know were every bit as capable of being amazing parents as the straight people that I know. I am sorry that when I celebrated a person coming to Christ and surrendering their sexuality to Him that I callously celebrated the end of relationships that broke your heart. I am sorry that I have communicated that you and your families are less than me and mine. 

Here Alan has really turned the corner on his earlier support for Love Won Out and NARTH.

  • William Birch

    Wow. I’ve been harping against the reparative drive therapy (RDT) nonsense myself lately on Will & Graced. Only when my therapist introduced me to RDT had I ever considered its claims. But then I began to see its crippling inconsistencies.

    When I, last summer, finally rejected RDT as causation of homosexual orientation, my very conservative parents were actually, surprisingly, relieved. I apologized profusely for even implying to the smallest degree that my same-sex attraction had anything to do with their alleged deficiencies in parenting.

    My dad, especially, admitted to being hurt and confused. He noted that, while he and I didn’t share all that much in common during my childhood, neither did he and my heterosexual brother. How do we account for the polar opposites of sexual attraction when both brothers had similar life-experiences with the same father? Shouldn’t my brother have “turned out” gay, too?

    I’m glad for this apology. I’m eager for the program. I pray for healing.

  • William Birch

    Wow. I’ve been harping against the reparative drive therapy (RDT) nonsense myself lately on Will & Graced. Only when my therapist introduced me to RDT had I ever considered its claims. But then I began to see its crippling inconsistencies.

    When I, last summer, finally rejected RDT as causation of homosexual orientation, my very conservative parents were actually, surprisingly, relieved. I apologized profusely for even implying to the smallest degree that my same-sex attraction had anything to do with their alleged deficiencies in parenting.

    My dad, especially, admitted to being hurt and confused. He noted that, while he and I didn’t share all that much in common during my childhood, neither did he and my heterosexual brother. How do we account for the polar opposites of sexual attraction when both brothers had similar life-experiences with the same father? Shouldn’t my brother have “turned out” gay, too?

    I’m glad for this apology. I’m eager for the program. I pray for healing.

  • Michael Bussee

    I want to say that I hope that Alan’s comments do reflect an actual change of heart for him personally and that he will do the right thing — Shut Exodus down and devote himself to repairing the damage done to countless individuals and families over the years.

    We don’t need a new and improved Exodus to “minister” to the LGBTQ community. We need them to shut down and make real amends. No amount of re-messaging or rebranding can do that. This calls for work, not words.

    Although I remain very skeptical at this point, it did take a certain amount of courage to admit that he was wrong and that many lives and families were destroyed. I thank him for taking this step. Now, I pray that he will take the next step and do the very hard work of restoration.

    • AJ

      I understand where you’re coming from, but I think I disagree. If Exodus is still around, using the Exodus name, but actively speaking out against orientation change, I think that could undo a lot more of the damage than just having Alan out there as a former leader of a now-defunct organization. I don’t want to leave too big of a vacuum to be filled by RHN. A truly transformed Exodus, even if very small, could be a very effective foil for the lies of RHN. Just my thoughts at the moment.

    • William Birch

      I agree that Exodus should just shut down. But I’ll admit I see AJ’s point. If Exodus transformed solely into a ministry that sought to heal the damage it has done to others, that might just work. I don’t know, though — that’s tricky.

      • AJ

        If there is no Exodus, then Joe Dallas, Frank Worthen, etc. would have just as much right to speak for the former organization as Alan Chambers does.

  • Karen

    Michael–what about people who want to be in community with others who have chosen to be celibate in congruence with their beliefs? Are you saying there should be no options for community and support?

    • ken

      I’m not Michael but I’m going to respond to your questions.

      In general, if someone wishes to be celibate I think that is their decision and I have no problem with it.

      However, my concern is the “community” that wishes to support these people and the reasons why they are trying. Do they believe that gays who aren’t celibate will spend an eternity in hell; will die of aids, a drug OD or some other disease; will be doomed to live a lonely meaningless existence? If they are basing their “support” on a misguided and false narrative about homosexuality, then they aren’t helping.

  • Stephen

    I wish he’d stop talking about ‘same sex attractions’. There’s no such thing. Being homosexual is an affectional orIentation of which sex is a part. To talk about ‘same sex attractions’ is as ludicrous as talking about ‘opposite sex attractions’ as being in any way descriptive of heterosexuality. Indeed, there’s still a lot ex-gay jargon in his letter. And I do wish he might try to understand that other people are not so enthrall led by his ‘beliefs’ as he seems to be. Still, a good start. Let’s see how it progresses. I look forward to the day that Tony Perkins and Maggie Gallagher do the same.

  • Barry Burger

    The decision of Alan Chambers and the conversation surrounding is of course burdened by the same silliness and ignorance that burdens the entire discussion of homosexuality and religion today. Let me state my assumptions here and while they are assumptions, they are well grounded. First, the Christianity has always taught, based on the clear passages in Scripture that homosexuality, like gossip, lying, cheating, stealing, etc… is a sin. As Christians we are called to repent and trust that Christ’s blood covers our sins. Biblical repentance does not mean that we will never slip up, but it does mean that we call sin….sin and homosexuality is a sin. I have had sexual desire for men all my life, but like every other sinner who has sinful desires I know that they are just that…sin. At times I have fallen, especially in my thought life, but I have never been unrepentant or called something God’s deems sin ok. I trust in the grace of Christ and I bend the knee of my will to Him and this is the mark of a Christian. So yes, unrepentant homosexuals who do not call it a sin will, as far as God has revealed to us in pages of Scripture, go to hell. I can do anything to change that revelation, even if I wanted to, because I am no God….and neither are you.

    I don’t know the ins and outs of the politics and compromise which I’m sure lie at the heart of this Alan Chambers business, but I do know that Christ’s church should support those of us sinners who have same sex desire to remain repentant on the issue. For some this may mean celibacy, for other perhaps some bit of counseling and support can help them to get marriage and have a family. No it might not change their desire, but it can mitigate it. I myself am happily married, despite my homosexual desires, which I considered a blessing. I know for all this might not be possible, but I have found that counseling and support have help to mitigate those desires and helped me to deal with them maturely when they do arise. I wish the LGBT thought police would leave Christian who want to be faithful to the call of Christ in peace.


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