John Paulk, the former chairman of Exodus International, a Christian ministry devoted to performing controversial gay-to-straight “reparative therapy” has formally renounced his past and says he is “truly, truly sorry” for the pain he’s caused by advocating that gays could change their sexual orientation through prayer and therapy.
The former poster child of the “ex-gay movement,” Paulk issued this formal apology following a recent interview with PQ Monthly in which he renounced his anti-gay past, and said he no longer considers himself an “ex-gay.”
“For the better part of 10 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.”
“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 many people.”
“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.”
Paulk’s formal apology comes just one week following an April 18 report in PQ Monthly, that revealed that Paulk was frequenting Portland, Ore.,-area gay bars.
He was challenged to formally renounce his past and apologize, which he had never done. Paulk was quoted as saying he had refrained from taking that step to protect his three sons, and he indicated that only in recent years has he come to accept his own sexuality.
Paulk also said in a statement on Wednesday that his 20-year marriage to his wife Anne, who describes herself as an “ex-lesbian,” is ending.
In 2011, John Smid, the former Executive Director of Exodus International’s oldest ministry “Love in Action,” also publicly admitted that he is gay, and disavowed the message he preached for years that promised gays they could change.