True Story is the theme of next week’s Exodus conference in CA. I’m holding out hope that this will mean less theory and more lived experience, the only thing for healing damage caused by false hope to the LGBTQ community.
If “ex-gay therapy” were pain relief medicine, it would be off the shelves with the company defending against a class-action suit. Well-meaning people sometimes suggest “ex-gay” ministries because homosexuality makes them uncomfortable, and this lets them feel as though they’ve contributed a “positive solution.” But we must recognize that it doesn’t work. Exodus President Alan Chambers has admitted, “99.9% of people that come to Exodus do not experience change in their sexual orientation.” Same-sex attraction never leaves, he said. The original founders of Exodus are perfect examples of this. If he hasn’t seen it work, why is it even still on the table?
But like a defective pain med, it not only fails to help, it is deadly. People have been badly wounded by the false hope that if they would just pray, study, and counsel, then change can occur. But the damage that comes from that – through self-hatred and shame, through broken marriage vows made “in faith,” to kids of those marriages – is incalculable. To require such change is not loving because it leaves the LGBTQ person holding the bag, expected to change, even believing in faith that they have changed even if they don’t feel it, because they know the shame is coming if they don’t change.
Just this morning a woman emailed me about her daughter who came out to her. Their pastor said to pray because God can do anything. I have a suggestion. Ask God to change people so they are okay with LGBTQ, and to stop pushing for change. In fact, I have not seen much evidence that He is changing gay people into straight people. But I’ve seen Him change those who are not okay with it into those who become accepting allies of their LGBTQ loved ones. As a person who loves God and loves others, I think that makes a lot more sense. Perhaps, if people would just pray, study and counsel, maybe God will change them into being happy with their gay loved ones.
What should we hope for our gay loved ones? We hope for them to have a wonderful and satisfying life full of love and to know how much God loves them.