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Reparative and similar therapies

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2008 to 2013:
Exodus International
reverses their beliefs,
abandons reparative therapy, apologizes for
the harm they have done, & closes down!

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In this web site, "LGB" refers to lesbians, gays and bisexuals

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About Exodus International:

Exodus International 1 once described themselves as follows:

"Exodus is the leading global outreach to churches, individuals and families offering a biblical message about same-sex attraction.

With over 35 years of ministry experience, Exodus is committed to encouraging, educating and equipping the Body of Christ to address the issue of homosexuality, gay and lesbian people and families with grace and truth.

Since 1976, Exodus has grown to include over 260 local ministries, churches and counselors in the USA and Canada. We are also linked with other Exodus world regions outside of North America through the Exodus Global Alliance.

Exodus is both a coalition of pastoral care ministries, churches and counselors as well as a full service organization.  Together, we provide everything from large scale national and international events to individual care for men, women and families." 3

In common with most evangelical groups, they rarely acknowledged the existence of persons with a bisexual orientation who may well have formed the majority of their clients.

Also, they stated that they offer "a biblical message about same-sex attraction." The phrase "a biblical message" rather than "the biblical message" seems to imply that Exodus believes that there is more than one interpretation of the six "clobber" passages in the Bible that have been traditionally been used to attack LGBs. Assuming that this phrase was intentional, this seems to be an admission of unusual frankness for an evangelical group. Most conservative Christian organizations assume that their belief system. as based on their own interpretation of some Bible passages, is the only correct one, and that all others are invalid or even heretical.

Under pressure from:

  • increased support among the North America public towards equal rights for the LGB community,
  • increasing skepticism among evangelical Christians towards reparative therapy and "pray the gay away" ministries,
  • and falling revenues,

Exodus International simultaneously made a number of major changes in their beliefs and policies.

As of mid-2012:

  • They no longer teach that reparative therapy is totally effective at reversing sexual orientation.

  • They teach than lesbian and gay adults will always have feelings of attraction to members of the same gender.

  • They teach that reparative therapy can be dangerous.

  • They teach that sexually active persons with same-sex attraction can still attain Heaven after death.

During an eventful 24 hour interval in mid-2013-JUN:

  • The president of Exodus offered a sincere apology for all of the harm that his organization had done to individuals members of the LGBT community.

  • The organization announced that it was ceasing business after 37 years of operation. However, they left their original Internet web site etc. online; it is still visible today as it existed in mid 2013. 2

That left two main organizations that were still very actively promoting reparative therapy, in spite of the rapidly growing understanding among therapists and the public that it is both ineffective and dangerous. They were:

  • NARTH, the "National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality." This group was composed of perhaps 200 therapists who are highly dedicated to conversion therapy, a.k.a. reparative therapy, plus many hundreds of additional members. A very negative review of NARTH by Wikipedia is available at: National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality. During 2011,The¬ California Board for Behavioral Sciences removed NARTH from its list of groups that provide continuing education credits to therapists in California. ¬ The Internal Revenue Service terminated NARTH's tax exempt status on 2012-SEP. It has operated under the name¬ "Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity"(ATCSI) since 2014.

    During its 2016-MAY meeting ATCSI voted unanimouosly to discontinue use of terms like: "reorientation therapy," "conversion therapy," and even "sexual orientation change efforts" (SOCE) because they were no longer scientifically or politically tenable. One of the main reasons was that the terms imply that the goal is to convert persons from exclusive same-sex attraction (SSA) to exclusive opposite-sex attraction. They noted that "this degree of change is statistically rare." See: Sexual Attraction Fluidity Exploration Therapies (SAFE-T)

  • JONAH: "Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality." They described themselves as: "... a non-profit international organization dedicated to educating the world-wide Jewish community about the social, cultural and emotional factors which lead to same-sex attractions."

    During 2015, a trial judge determined that Jonah's claim to be able to change people's sexual orientation consituted consumer fraud. JONAH was ordered to pay restitution to victims of their therappy and to shut down within 30 days. in 2015, they created a new organization called JIFGA Jewish Institute for Global Awareness, JIFGA. During 2019, a New Jersey Judge ordered JIFGA to close within 30 days, remove its web sites and online listservers and pay $3.5 million.

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Topics covered in this section:

Topics related to the original Exodus International which closed in 2013:

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Exodus International's home page was at: http://exodusinternational.org/ This domain is still active as of 2021-FEB, but has apparently not been updated for almost a decade. One indication is that it was advertising "Pastor's Day 'Reconciliation talks'." Although the gathering took place in 2014-OCT, the invitation was still advertised on his web site on 2020.
  2. Their facebook page was at: http://www.facebook.com/exodusinternational. Since 2017, it has apparently been a personal travel blog with online religious services each Sunday. It is centered at Salisbury, UK. It was founded by Pr. Avin Davis and Br. Oommen Cherlan. It appears to be unrelated to the original Exodus International.
  3. "About Us: What is Exodus," Exodus International, at: http://exodusinternational.org/
  4. Wikipedia's article on the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality is at National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality - Wikipedia

Copyright © 2012 to 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Initial posting: 2012-OCT-08

Latest update: 2015-JAN-14
Author: B.A. Robinson

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