Exodus International, the world's oldest and largest "ex-gay" Christian ministry announced late yesterday that it would be shutting down for good after nearly 40 year of claiming to have a cure for homosexuality.
In a stunning apology letter to the LGBTQ community, Exodus president Alan Chambers said he was "deeply sorry" for the "pain and hurt" he, his organization, and the Church in general have inflicted on many people over the years.
There were several years that I conveniently omitted my ongoing same-sex attractions. I was afraid to share them as readily and easily as I do today. They brought me tremendous shame and I hid them in the hopes they would go away. Looking back, it seems so odd that I thought I could do something to make them stop. Today, however, I accept these feelings as parts of my life that will likely always be there. The days of feeling shame over being human in that way are long over, and I feel free simply accepting myself as my wife and family does. As my friends do. As God does.
In a statement concerning the decision to shutter Exodus effective immediately, Chambers said his group has "been imprisoned in a worldview that’s neither honoring toward our fellow human beings, nor biblical."
The statement goes on to announce the formation of a new ministry from the ashes of Exodus.
"This is a new season of ministry, to a new generation," Chambers writes. "Our goals are to reduce fear (reducefear.org), and come alongside churches to become safe, welcoming, and mutually transforming communities."
GLAAD welcomed the news of Exodus' passing, saying Chambers "has fully and completely come to the realization" that his ministry has harmed thousands, and made the right decision "to end that harm now."
A special edition of Our America with Lisa Ling featuring Chambers apologizing personally to a few "reparative therapy" survivors is set to air tonight at 10/9c on OWN.
[images via Exodus]