Alan Chambers spoke to Orlando Weekly reporter Jeffrey Billman:

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.”

Not quite a month later, BPNews, the Southern Baptist daily news outlet, quotes Chambers in a story about Michael Johnston’s fall:

The percentage of people who change but then fall back into homosexuality is “minute,” Chambers said. But there is “a very high percentage of people who continue to stay true to the Lord and stay true to the fact that their sexuality has changed.”

Thus, new entries for our Exodus-to-English dictionaries:

  • 20% = “minute”
  • 30% = “a very high percentage”
  • 50% = statistically insignificant?

Chambers might protest that he cited Johnston’s relapse as part of a miniscule subset of the 30% of success stories, or that in retrospect Johnston had always been in the 20% of back-and-forth ex-gays. Until independent research produces firmer statistics, ex-gay leaders are free to mold their anecdotal observations into whatever shape they choose.

— Steve B.

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