On June 26, 2006 I initially left voice messages for Alan Chambers of Exodus International and another national ex-gay leader about inappropriate incidents that affected youth at an Exodus member ministry. I will not go into the details at this time, but I shared three specific situations that happened within the previous year. The shocking details of the third situation compelled me to contact Alan and this other national leader. In my initial messages I said that I would rather discuss this privately, but if they did not wish to talk, then I would initiate a public discussion.
He detailed how he's been in conversation with Alan Chambers of Exodus about putting into place ministry guidelines that protect youth. While Alan originally seemed to be on board with policy changes and new requirements, he did not make good on his word to Peterson. Peterson continues:
Alan said that the new requirements for Exodus member ministries will go into effect in at the beginning of 2007 and will be done in a public way. I pressed Alan to consider putting them into effect sooner, but he said that he had to meet with the board about it all first.
I since followed up with Alan and his assistant through an e-mail containing the draft of this blog entry. I have gotten no further response and as far as I know, and I have seen no evidence of new guidelines being published.
Peterson has followed up with some clarification about the incidents that took place, as well as his Quaker views and how they inform his handling of this entire situation and his dialog with Exodus. He ends with this:
Alan has the power to keep young people from being harmed under his watch. He shared that he will bring forth new guidelines that will protect youth. I believe these should minimally include:
1. Complete separation of youth and adult participants at all Exodus member programs and Exodus sponsored events.
2. Full background checks for all staff working with youth.
3. No youth should be enrolled in a program against his or her will.
If nothing else it this just good business and lowers their liability, but much more importantly it shows a genuine love and respect for these young people.
Indeed. Exodus constantly claims that it acts out of love, and that it believes in self-determination (I guess unless you're under 18 or are being pressured by your parents because you're an adult but they hold the purse strings).
There has since appeared a post on Ex-gay Watch entitled "Who is Telling the Truth about Misconduct in the Exodus Programs?". My money would be on Peterson. Who has the history of truth-telling and who has the history of obfuscation and deliberate mistruths?