A reader responds to the apology from the president of Exodus:
Allow me a small victory dance. Thirty years ago this month I attempted suicide. I was 23 and had just finished a year of horrendous reparative therapy (including aversion therapy). Five years before that my first love killed himself because he couldn’t bear to have people know who he was. I went to my church leader, who subscribed to Exodus views, and he sent me to the hell that was reparative therapy. After a year of that, I was sure my church hated me my and family hated me, but most importantly, God hated me. The only solution was to end a life that was even despised by a loving God. I will not go into details of that attempt, but obviously I made it through. Many more have not.
In fact, I spent the ensuing three decades battling the demons forced on my by reparative therapy – and I won.
I then went on to battle for my rights and my liberty. I am now married to my loving husband of 17 years and have two amazingly beautiful and sweet daughters whom we adopted. My extended family is unconditionally accepting, as are my Mormon in-laws. I have an amazing career as a scientist and lead a fulfilling and joyous life. In spite of Exodus-inspired reparative therapy, I was able to live and find love and a meaningful life. There are thousands of men and women who never had that chance. The demons of self-loathing that reparative therapy instilled in them destroyed their lives.
I was so shocked and surprised when I read that Exodus International was shutting down and apologized – a real apology – that I couldn’t help but break down and sob in joy. I am so very grateful that this has occurred and accept the heartfelt apology.
But please, allow me a small victory cheer. It was a decades-long battle, both personally and as a community, one that saw many lives destroyed. I am giving a victory cheer today for all my compatriots who didn’t make it to see this day. Their suffering has been repented of by the perpetrators. I am giving a small victory cheer for all the future young men and women who might not have to go through that hell because this organization will not exist any longer.
(Photograph: Lazarus rising from the dead, by Sir Jacob Epstein, New College, Oxford. Via Lawrence OP, Flickr. His full album is amazing.)