Weather Updates

Study: Ministry’s mission to ‘cure’ gays often fails

Updated: December 8, 2011 8:09AM

Christian conservatives once latched on to Exodus International as proof that God could cure homosexuality.

Now a former director of an Exodus affiliate says that’s not the case.

Ninety-eight of its longtime members participated in a study co-written by a Wheaton College professor and published in the October issue of the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

After seven years, 72 still were participating in the study, and of those, nearly a quarter said their orientation had changed. A third said they had lessened same-sex attraction and were celibate.

Stanton Jones, a psychologist and provost at Wheaton College, an evangelical school, co-authored the new report with Mark Yarhouse, a professor of psychology at Regent University, a Christian school in Virginia Beach.

Jones said his study shows that sexual orientation is flexible and some change is possible if it isn’t forced.

People who have emerged from ex-gay ministries have long cited varying results. John Smid, former director of Memphis-based Love in Action, an Exodus partner that promised that God could cure same-sex attraction, said he used to be a poster child for the Christian ex-gay movement.

Today, he acknowledges he remains attracted to other men but says he is faithful to his wife. He also says that he no longer believes a person’s sexual identity can change and that promising otherwise was a lie.

Gannett News Service

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.