Taking “The Next Right Step” – Reflections Five Years After Exodus

In June 2013 we announced closing Exodus and at what I believe was God’s direction, we did. As a part of that process, I laid myself off from Exodus’ employ five years ago today on 8/23/2013. As I walked out of the Exodus office, I knew that the lock on my proverbial closet door had been pried off and fallen to the ground. Yet, at that time, I was mortally afraid to step out of the comfort of culturally conditioned/rewarded belief, no matter how destructive it had been.

In my heart, I knew the stained glass closet door keeping me hidden from my true self was now open and that idea was terrifying. I literally felt sick to my stomach during that time with just the thought of allowing myself to live and love as I was created to do so. Many of my ex-gay/conversion ministry leader friends who turned into enemies said I had already “come out” to suit their agendas to condemn me as a fallen leader not worthy of listening too or supporting. Condemnation and lies swirled as they swooped in like vultures to coopt Exodus donors and rally support for their efforts.

The truth is, I hadn’t “come out.” I still felt like my only option was to deny who I was as a gay man and live a celibate life. It’s all I had ever known for over 21 years and at that point, my core theology hadn’t changed. I was so invested in preserving the ex-gay/conversion ministry lie, to consider renouncing two decades of genuine belief felt like I was dying. I remained in the stained glass closet because of my toxic conservative theology for a bit longer (until January 12, 2015.) At the time I simply couldn’t believe I could believe something else… and it be blessed and life-giving.

To be openly gay and still a Christian sounded too good to be true. It isn’t. Today I am a blessed, not cursed. I am a gay man enjoying life as I was meant to enjoy it; engaging life as I am meant to engage it. I am no longer sequestered away in the church closet built by stigma, shame, and condemnation. And guess what? It was Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who led me out of that prison. It is Jesus who still leads me along this journey today.

All I knew five years ago was that the next right step in my journey was to leave the employ of Exodus. I didn’t have to have it all figured out beyond that. I gave myself permission to be afraid. What I needed to do at that moment was to flip off the lights in my office and walk right out that door to never look back on Exodus anything. Where I was headed was a mystery and scary, but I left the Exodus office building. Even though it brought a lot of challenges (rebuilding a career, being honest with myself and others… dating :)) I haven’t regretted that change in direction for a single moment. It was a step toward the Light, instead of a retreat into a comfortable darkness.

What’s Your “Next Right Step?”

Can you related to what I have written? Maybe not in the specifics but in knowing that your next step toward authenticity needs to be acknowledged and possibly acted upon? No worries, I am not going to write some big long manipulative treatise on what you should or shouldn’t do. All I offer is the support of someone who gets it. In whatever way we can be of support to you, that you feel is appropriate, we are here. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you simply want to have a conversation or ask any questions. We will honor you and your journey with confidentiality and humility. 

Contact us. We look forward to hearing from you.

2 thoughts on “Taking “The Next Right Step” – Reflections Five Years After Exodus”

  1. hello there! This is Dan’s friend Jon’s Aunt Bonnie. So nice to read this. I admire your strength. God bless you for sharing. I am going to share with a friend who is struggling to come out. Come out of a marriage, come out of her Baptist upbringing. Come out of the darkness.

    1. It is nice to meet you. Thank you for the encouragement and for sharing. If we can be of any help we would be glad to help your friend.

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