At that time, Chambers apologized for the damage Exodus had done to so many people. While maintaining that much good had been done in the organization, he admitted that they had also brought a great deal of suffering.
Part of that comes from the scandals the media love to feed on like a carcass any time one emerges. But another is because we leave so many with a bitter taste in their mouths with our recruitment (read: evangelism) techniques.
Setting off yet another scandal, the United States Air Force Academy has hired and promoted "ex-gay" cure advocate, Dr. Michael Rosebush, USAFA 1975, as a staff member for the Academy's Center of Character and Leadership Development.
The more promising direction is the one framed by Alan Chambers, and by a widening stream of younger Christians who follow Jesus toward a more open-hearted relationship with their gay fellow citizens. Less fear. More heart.
Exodus International and similar organizations may not be performing frontal lobotomies to try to alter one's sexual orientation, but the psychological damage that has been inflicted on countless people is indisputable.
Before the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1973, aversion therapy was used routinely in hopes that it would prevent or eliminate homosexual behavior.
I know that my gender identity is most definitely not a choice. Had I been given a choice, I would have chosen a gender identity congruent with my body's sex. I have suffered enormous, unspeakable pain for decades from having my real gender identity in conflict with my birth sex.
By now, the big news from Exodus International, to the tune that they are sorry and they are shutting down, is old news. Is it a meaningful, important shift -- a step forward in the journey toward a more reasonable and humane understanding of homosexuality within the evangelical community?
Exodus International leader Alan Chambers apologized recently for the harm done to LGBT people by the so-called "ex-gay" movement. In that moment, the face that came to mind for me was the bruised, burned and emaciated face of 15-year-old Raymond Buys.
Exodus taught that gays and lesbians could either change or repress their sexual attractions through a process of prayer and counseling. So its disappearance is a major change in the ex-gay ministry landscape. But the ideas behind Exodus' ministry continue to thrive.
His apology reads as sincere and heartfelt, to be sure. But it raises some bigger questions: What are the possibilities and limits of forgiveness? What does true redemption look like? Do the people hurt by Chambers' actions have an obligation to forgive?
After almost 40 years, Exodus International, the oldest Christian services group of its kind and a market leader in reparative/ex-gay/sexual orientation change therapy, is closing its doors. A good start. And not nearly enough.