Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Truth about Exodus and Youth

Yesterday Peterson posted about Exodus and their affiliated ministres that work with youth. He writes:
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?


  1. Christine:

    UGH. Of course I've read all this and commented at Peterson's place...but...wanted to comment to you and just touch base here (since, after all, I'm an "honorary lesbian"). Am I bold or what??? Just don't care so much what people think anymore I guess...just want my beliefs to be congruent with my actions. (i'm NOT a lesbian for anyone reading but i'm certainly willing to be an "honorary" one) Us straight folks have to keep that clear, ya know!

    ANYWAY....As the parent of teenagers I hate the whole "force" them to go issue. The thing is...there can be such nuances to that...and can be abused to entirely. I get that. Here's the deal. We ALL get (pretty much, i guess some have "cleaver" lives) screwed up by our parents in one way or another. I'll be even Peterson, even though not forced to attend "ex-gay camp" could say that he's learned and grown tremendously from his wounding experiences with Ex-Gay ministries. He is now able to use that experience for the good of others. Do you see where I'm headed with this? I'm not brushing the issue aside...just choosing to trust in a GOD who is way bigger than our human frailty.

    I don't know. I really don't.

    I do know...that there have been times when I've forced my teenager to do certain things...and he's thanked me later. In one case...MUCH later. It's so difficult to apply black and white rules to areas that are so entirely gray.

    love ya!

  2. Reflecting on that comment (and trying to ignore the various typos), I could see where that would make me sound like I believe someone could actually change their orientation. I don't see it that way. I view the "ex-gay camp" more of the parent's way of reinforcing their view (which is what parents DO)...but...ultimately, the kid grows up...they have to think for themselves and apply what they know and believe to their OWN life. I'm idealistic. I know that. ;) But still...that's how it ought to seems to me.

    I still, personally, do not imagine that I'd ever force a child of my own to go to "ex-gay" camp. But then, I'm not very typical.

    love ya MUCH!

  3. I missed this. Don't know if I should cry, throw up, or both. I have lots to say, but that's what it all boils down to. I guess what I should really do is pray that finally, finally, finally the people who need to read this and understand this, DO.