Exodus Puffs Up Numbers, In Article, To Conceal Lack of Growth, Says TWO
MIAMI BEACH — In a puff piece in today’ Chicago Tribune, conversion therapist Dr. Warren Throckmorton used an anonymous source to tout his therapeutic success. This turn toward concealing sources comes after Throckmorton pulled his “ex-gay” video “I Do Exist” from the marketplace after it was revealed that his poster boy, Noe Gutierrez, was having second thoughts on what he called the “divisive message of the ex-gay ministries.”
The Tribune article says that Throckmorton has worked with “about 250 patients,” yet the only one to come forward was “Jeff”, an anonymous source. It appears from the article, that this man had just recently “succeeded,” offering no evidence that Throckmorton’ therapy has any longevity.
“I am still waiting for Warren Throckmorton to show long-term success stories, rather than trotting out freshly indoctrinated anonymous sources,” said Truth Wins Out’ Executive Director Wayne Besen. “He claims he has counseled 250 patients, so I find it suspicious and troubling that he can’t find a handful of success stories to go on record with a major newspaper. Unlike Throckmorton, I can always find victims of such therapies to openly discuss how they were harmed by such therapeutic practices.”
In the article, “Jeff” had not changed his sexual orientation, but Throckmorton supposedly “helped” him with libido management, so the patient could put years of marital infidelity, punctuated by anonymous sex binges at bathhouses, behind him.
“I had compartmentalized these parts of my life. I’d go out and say: ‘This is my time to be gay,’ ” the married father said. “Then, when I’d come home, I’d come back to my regular life, back to God.”
According to the article – through weekly counseling sessions and bi-monthly group therapy with a sectarian group, Jeff said he had changed his actions, even if his feelings toward men will never change.
“He’s helped me to put the same-sex attraction in the same category as any other sin,” Jeff said.
“Warren Throckmorton has confused “wishful thinking’ with sound therapy,” said Besen. “The chances of mental repression and sexual frustration lasting a lifetime are slim to none. Changing ones actions to conform to expectations derived from religious shame and family pressure are unhealthy and in some cases dangerous.”
The Tribune’ uncritical reporting on Exodus International, which inflated its ministry numbers to give the false impression of rapid growth, also disturbed truth Wins Out. The article mindlessly parrots Exodus Executive Director Alan Chambers who said, “We’ve seen growth, and I think it’s because there’s more awareness.”
Exodus told the reporter that it refers people to 158 groups across the country, up from 111 in 2003. However, these numbers are inflated by any reasonable standard. Exodus has only 106 U.S. “ex-gay” ministries, but disingenuously boosts its numbers by including counselors. It also “double dips” by listing member ministries in two states — for example Mastering Life ministries is listed in Jacksonville, FL and Franklin, TN. Washington State’ Metanoia Ministries has an address of Boca Raton, FL — quite a road trip for weekly therapy by anyone’ standards.
More important, Exodus is a largely hollow organization that offers no ministries in thirteen states and the District of Columbia. An additional fifteen states only have one ministry, while four states have only two — meaning that sixty percent of the states have virtually no Exodus presence.
Most telling, Exodus has no footprint in several major metropolitan areas including Seattle, Cleveland, Chicago, New Orleans, Detroit and Washington, DC. Laughably, there are two Exodus ministries in Buffalo, yet none in New York City – with a population of eight million and one of the largest gay communities in the nation. Even in rural states, such as Maine, Exodus is not found in population centers, such as Portland and Bangor, while the micro-town of Waterville has a group.
“Exodus boasts of spectacular growth, but I find it odd that they don’t have ministries in the places where large populations of gay people actually reside,” said Besen. “It seems Exodus is a combination of smoke and mirrors and a Washington lobby machine, but they are quite irrelevant on the ground.”
Truth Wins OUT is a non-profit organization that counters right wing propaganda, exposes the “ex-gay” myth and educates America about gay life. For more information, visit www.TruthWinsOut.org.
States Where Exodus Has Zero Ministries
Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming, Kansas, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Rhode Island, Alabama, Alaska, Idaho, and the District of Columbia
States With One Exodus Ministry
Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Washington, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Maryland, Maine, Arkansas, Arizona
States With Two Exodus Ministries
Wisconsin, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana