The following article does a good job setting the record straight concerning the mission, beliefs, and methods of Exodus International ministries. I hope you will read the article. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or if you need assistance. Phone: 615-509-0782. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
October 7, 2009 by Julie Neils
Filed under Culture, Educate, Featured, Homosexuality, Pop Culture, Post-gay, Youth & Young Adults
I’m always curious to see what people are saying about Exodus and as the PR person, I’m pretty sure there’s something in my job description about that too. I’ve heard some winners in the years I’ve spent working on and around this subject. Hmm . let’s see. According to some, Exodus believes in inhumane psychiatry that harkens back to the Dark Ages. Others say we peddle nonsensical, mind-altering remedies to unsuspecting prey that erases any and all attractions. Still others’ seem to think we hold mysterious camps with all the security measures of the FBI training facility in Quantico – just in case anyone would think of escaping. Of course, none of that is remotely true and all of it is wholly laughable, but it is amazing how hearsay begats rumors and rumors begat hard news. So, here’s the 411 on the top myths about Exodus International to set the record straight (no pun intended):
THE CURE . . . and I don’t mean the 80’s band:
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard the words, “Exodus International” and “religious group that claims to cure gays” in a sentence I’d be rich . . . and in Tahiti right now. Seriously, though, the Bible teaches that the only form of sexual expression God intended for His creation is between a man and woman married to one another. All else, heterosexual or homosexual, falls outside of His plan and constitutes as sin. That said, not many wake up one morning, down their coffee and decide to be gay. As complex human beings, sexual attractions develop for many known and unknown reasons and no one chooses those, but as sexual beings, we all make decisions about how to express ourselves. For those who consider the Bible to be life-giving truth, homosexual attractions and the desire to act on them are at odds with the desire to live a life that reflects the Christian faith and often results in moral tension. We know, though, that pursuing a relationship with God over these attractions, won’t always make the feelings go away. They may stay the same, lessen or possibly shift towards the opposite sex. That’s not the point. The point is to pursue a life beyond attractions, feelings and societal labels that is guided and defined by Jesus Christ and truth of Scripture. And for the record, living with conflicted desires is not the same as living a life dominated by them! So, to sum up, we don’t believe there is a “cure” for homosexuality, adultery, arrogance, gossip or any other sin. There is, however, Jesus who paid the price for it all when He died on the cross. Then there is the daily, sometimes moment-by-moment, decision to live a life congruent with His teaching.
AVERSION, I mean CONVERSION THERAPY:
“So, how does it work, conversion therapy, I mean?” is an all-too-common question most Exodus staffers are asked on a routine basis. Truthfully, most of us don’t know. Furthermore, most of us don’t know anyone who has actually undergone this type of therapy. It’s only used by a handful of professionals, but for some reason, folks seem to think that it’s the primary function of Exodus. It’s not. “Reparative or conversion therapy” is a counseling method used in addressing unwanted same-sex attraction to repair the damage of past relationships that may have contributed to its initial development. In general, we think every professional and their client ought to be able to determine the methods and options most helpful in accomplishing their joint goals, including this one, but it isn’t the sole approach used, nor is it essential. That’s because the decision to leave a gay identity behind isn’t necessarily about one method, one program, one counseling approach our even about becoming straight. It’s about pursuing a Christ-centered identity rooted in God’s definition of us as individuals.
U.S.S. PRAY THE GAY AWAY:
Prayer is certainly an important part of a Christian’s life, but it’s not a magic formula. If you find one let us know. J This mantra ignorantly dismisses the complicated issues that often underlie attractions and deeper still – identity. As I said before, we don’t think many, if any, wake up one morning, down their coffee and decide to be gay. Sexual attractions develop for many known and unknown reasons and no one chooses those. As complex individuals, we must also take into account the way others hurt us and the way we hurt ourselves. For many who contact Exodus, hurt has become a familiar, but unwelcome fixture in life. Talking to God about these things is part of a dynamic relationship with Him, but it doesn’t always change the fact that dealing with it is just plain hard work.
As for those mysterious gay-to-straight “boot camps,” they don’t exist. And neither do any other Exodus camps – mosquito infested or otherwise. We do have an annual conference and some local ones too – held at churches, conference centers and Christian college campuses -just like other Christian conferences, though I’ll freely admit that the content is eye-poppingly unlike most other Christian conferences. We aren’t interested in bludgeoning others with our big black Bibles or our views. Truth be told, we can barely keep up with the 300,000 calls and e-mails we get every year from those who do want our input.
Exodus International doesn’t exist to make gay people straight, promote a formula for “success,” to make money or even to pass legislation. We exist to help others live a life that reflects the Christian faith. We’ve found that the opposite of homosexuality is most certainly not heterosexuality. It is holiness. It is loving God and being loved by Him. It is accepting His identity for us, instead of everyone else’s. But those things don’t often make headlines and I suspect that, unfortunately, we’ll continue to see more crazy things out there churning around in the rumor mill.