Exodus International Fragments Over Focus
"Openly rejecting change as an objective [in sexual orientation therapy] is more in keeping with the evidence," said Warren Throckmorton, a Grove City College professor and outspoken critic of reparative therapy. "I don't think it does any violence to any cardinal doctrines of [evangelical] faith."
Regent University professor Mark Yarhouse is also optimistic about Exodus's trajectory, and cautions against false dichotomies.
"There's a difference between distancing yourself from a particular model … and saying, 'We don't believe people can experience meaningful change,'" he said. "I don't hear Alan saying the latter."
Yarhouse and Wheaton College provost Stanton Jones studied almost 100 Exodus members undergoing reparative therapy. Their report, published in 2007, found that only 15 percent experienced "conversion" to heterosexuality.
Jones said he hesitantly supports Exodus's changes if the ministry is simply loosening its ties to change-focused therapy and not arriving at a "point of pessimism" about all forms of reparative treatment.
"My research supports the idea that some people do experience clinically meaningful change," he said. "And I think the anecdotes of personal change, like Alan's own life, suggest that experientially meaningful change can happen."