Jerry, a man married for more than two decades and a father of two, spent years fighting his attraction to other men. He listened to tapes from "ex-gay" group Exodus International and joined an "ex-gay" fellowship in his hometown, hoping the efforts would eliminate his homosexual urges -- but they didn't.
Seven years ago, Jerry came out as a gay man. Though he was free from the struggle of fighting his homosexuality, Jerry's life was marred by tragedy just a few months later when his 26-year-old epileptic son, Billy, passed away from a seizure. "It was devastating for all of us," Jerry says in this video from Lisa Ling's special report on "God & Gays."
When Jerry returned to town for his son's funeral, he was confronted by someone from the "ex-gay" group regarding the cause of Billy's death. "One of the people from Exodus had said to me, 'It was your fault,'" Jerry tells Ling in the video. "He said, 'Well, the Lord took his hand of protection off of your family because you chose the homosexual lifestyle.'"
"Given that state of vulnerability that you were in, did part of you believe that?" Ling asks.
"I hate to admit it, but I think when you're raised with the message that you're wrong and that you're evil, some of that haunts you and stays with you, in a way," Jerry replies. "You almost feel like you deserve bad things because you couldn't fix it, because you couldn't overcome it, because you couldn't conquer it. It really goes in deep into the heart and really does damage."
In Ling's special report, Jerry and several "reparative therapy" survivors confront the leader of the "ex-gay" organization Exodus International, Alan Chambers, with more stories of their painful experiences in the "ex-gay" movement. Chambers will face his critics and then speak out with a new message of his own: an apology.
UPDATE: Exodus International has announced it will shut down after 37 years of ministry.
"Our America with Lisa Ling -- Special Report: God & Gays" airs Thursday, June 20, at 10 p.m. ET on OWN.