This is Part 3 of a four-part post. The final part will be posted tomorrow.
What does all this mean for Exodus, and the “ex-gay” movement in general? My own experience with the movement indicates that, like any movement,1 it contains some good and some bad.
The Journey Into Manhood weekend is a perfect example. Some things about it were useless or hokey, and some things were downright creepy; but my hokiness-and-creepiness-detectors worked well enough to allow me to leave the bad and take the good. That wasn’t the case with everybody there. Some of them, I think, swallowed the creepiness and hokiness whole, and ended up sick with it; and some of them couldn’t stomach any of it, and left the same way they started.
I don’t blame either group, but I was luckier than both. The weekend gave me the tools and a head start towards achieving the things I really needed: emotional honesty with myself and others, the ability to express my own feelings and needs without shame, the ability to work towards intimacy without using manipulation.
So I still consider that weekend a turning point in my life, even if part of the progress I made afterwards involved unlearning a couple of the things I learned there, and even if I could’ve got the same things in a less creepy package. How can I know what might have happened or not happened if I hadn’t gone? I learned what I learned, and I was blessedly different afterwards. I believe the Lord used it as a tool to bring me healing, but how much of the healing inhered in the tool itself and how much was pure grace, I can’t know. I wouldn’t give any of it back.
To be concluded tomorrow.