‘Millions & Millions have changed!’ Here’s Exodus’ study of 100 to prove it

Ex-Gay Watch has been all abuzz about the release of a forth-coming study from Exodus International, the National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) and Wheaton College.

XGW suggests that the existence of the study wasn’t really supposed to be known this early and that its possible official debut may by Exodus’ Regional Freedom Conference (September 13-15).

According to XGW:

More information has come to light concerning the study we reported on here.

An anonymous source said they have contact with someone participating in the study, called the Thomas Project, out of Wheaton College, and the study consists of questions asked once a year by phone. This participant also noted that the questions were oversimplified, requiring basic responses where they felt detailed explanations were needed. We have good reason to trust this contact, though we will respect their request for anonymity.

There are unconfirmed reports that the study has a sample of as few as 100 to 150 participants. While we don’t know what work was done during selection or preparation, we now know that the data was collected via annual phone calls. A picture is forming of some weak methodology, but presumably more accurate assessments can be made if and/or when others in the scientific community are allowed to review the method of selection of study subjects, the content and method of questions, and the presence or lack of nonverbal measurements and control data.

We suspect Exodus’ Regional Freedom Conference (September 13-15) will be the most likely setting for the formal announcement of the results of the Thomas Project. We also suspect the results will claim rates of over 30% experiencing “change”, but this can’t be verified at this time. If so, it seems interesting that Exodus president Alan Chambers knew this before the study was barely a year out:

By Chambers’ estimate, only 30 percent of those who seek to switch orientations succeed. Fifty percent abandon the program. The other 20 percent, he says, go back and forth. “I would say it’s like [Alcoholics Anonymous],” Chambers says. “It’s in the 30-percent range [that] find a great degree of healing and move into heterosexuality, single or married.”

(Orlando Weekly interview with Alan Chambers, published 24 July 2003)

Famous ex-ex-gay Peterson Toscano gives an update as well:

I first heard of a five year study from Alan Chambers when we sat for a taping of the Faith Under Fire TV program back in February 2005. (The show aired in April of that year. Read transcript here. See video here.)

In March of 2006 some of us were discussing the fuzzy math of how many ex-gays there were in the world. Thousands? Tens of thousands? More?

On my blog I shared an exchange that took place on Faith Under Fire that never got to air.

When I appeared with Chambers on the Faith Under Fire TV show, he insisted that millions and millions of people have found freedom from homosexuality through Jesus Christ. I questioned him, “Millions and millions?!? Do you have data to back this up.” He proceeded to tell me about a five-year study they started with 100 people. I asked, “What happened to millions of millions?”

Perhaps the Thomas Project will have more than just 100 subjects and perhaps most of them won’t be people who work for ex-gay programs.

So much for Exodus’ “gocha” moment. A study of 100 or so people? By telephone? With vague questions?

And that is supposed to prove what?

Also… I find it really interesting that both the “ex-gay” movement and ex-ex-gays seem to have a whole lot of “inside” and “anonymous” sources. How many of these people have to go back and forth between fantasy and reality? How many of these people have to continue to be hurt? I just want the years to hurry up and flash forward to the point where “ex-gay therapy and conversion” is seen as just as horrible as eugenics and Hitler’s concentration camp “medical treatments.”

UPDATE 8/21 2:00pm EST: Wayne Besen’s Truth Wins Out has released a statement warning reporters of the new study. According to the release:

Truth Wins Out warned news organizations today that a biased new politically motivated “ex-gay” sham study will reportedly surface later this year. A controversial “researcher” at a right wing religious university will release it and the goal of the study, known as “The Thomas Project,” is to show that ex-gay therapy is often successful. Unfortunately, an early report by the website Ex-Gay Watch indicates that the research likely consists of calling handpicked ex-gay lobbyists and ministry leaders on the telephone and asking if they had “changed.” There is no indication that key physical measures or tests were included, such as a “No Lie MRI,” which is a scientific truth-detecting brain scan.

Read the rest at TruthWinsOut.org.

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One Response to “‘Millions & Millions have changed!’ Here’s Exodus’ study of 100 to prove it”
  1. tlc says:


    Just wanted to let you know that the book is out and available at http://www.ivpress.com. It’s titled “Ex-Gays? A Longitudinal Study of Religiously Mediated Change in Sexual Orientation”. It might be best to actually review the research before promoting those who would try to discredit something they themselves hadn’t read. Just a friendly suggestion. 😉


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