For the better part of ten years, I was an advocate and
spokesman for what’s known as the “ex-gay movement,” where we declared that
sexual orientation could be changed through a close-knit relationship with God,
intensive therapy and strong determination. At the time, I truly believed that
it would happen. And while many things in my life did change as a Christian, my
sexual orientation did not.
So in 2003, I
left the public ministry and gave up my role as a spokesman for the
"ex-gay movement.” I began a new journey. In the decade since, my beliefs
have changed. Today, I do not consider myself “ex-gay” and I no longer support
or promote the movement. Please allow me to be clear: I do not believe that
reparative therapy changes sexual orientation; in fact, it does great harm to
I know that
countless people were harmed by things I said and did in the past. Parents,
families, and their loved ones were negatively impacted by the notion of
reparative therapy and the message of change. I am truly, truly sorry for the
pain I have caused.
bottom of my heart I wish I could take back my words and actions that caused
anger, depression, guilt and hopelessness. In their place I want to extend
love, hope, tenderness, joy and the truth that gay people are loved by God.
Today, I see
LGBT people for who they are--beloved, cherished children of God. I offer my
most sincere and heartfelt apology to men, women, and especially children and
teens who felt unlovable, unworthy, shamed or thrown away by God or the church.
I want to
offer my sincere thanks to everyone who encouraged me to take this initial step
of transparency. Even while promoting “ex-gay” programs, there were those who
called me on my own words and actions. I’m sure I didn’t appreciate it at the
time, but they have helped me to realize this truth about who I am.
This is a life
transition that has been and will continue to be, challenging. Sadly, my
marriage of 20 years is in the process of ending. I want to take the time to
make sure my next actions come from a place of truth and authenticity.
Therefore, I’m drastically limiting my public engagement until my own personal
life can be settled. After that I eagerly anticipate giving back to the community.
know there are still accounts of my “ex-gay” testimony out there being
publicized by various groups, including two books that I wrote about my
journey. I don’t get any royalties from these publications, and haven’t since I
left the ministry nearly ten years ago. I discourage anyone from purchasing and
selling these books or promoting my “ex-gay” story because they do not reflect
who I am now or what I believe today.
Labels: apology, exodus, former ex-gay leader, john paulk, LGBT apology