Michael Bussee, who helped co-found the
“ex-gay” ministry Exodus International, says he was trying to fix
Bussee and Gary Cooper left the group
they helped build, revealing that they were in love. Tragically,
Cooper later died from an AIDS-related illness.
Bussee was among those interviewed for
an Our America profile on the world's largest “ex-gay”
The episode aired Thursday, the day
after Exodus announced that it was closing its doors after nearly 40
years and the group's president, Alan Chambers, apologized to the gay
Alan Chambers says he wants peace but won't say gay is OK.)
“It started when I was a little boy;
when I first realized that being gay was something you were supposed
to be ashamed of,” Bussee told host Lisa Ling. “And going to the
library when I was 12 and trying to find books on how to fix it.
Then starting an organization that tried to fix it.”
Bussee said that in 1976 he belonged to
the Anaheim, California-based megachurch Melodyland, which was part
of the Charismatic Movement.
“They really believed in miracle
healings and spontaneous deliverance and things like that. If people
could be set free from other things, why not be set free from
homosexuality and become straight?” he asked.
After Bussee's departure Exodus
continued to grow, spreading its message that gay men and lesbians
can – and should – alter their sexuality. Last year, Chambers
reversed course, saying that such therapies do not work. (The video
is embedded on this page. Visit
our video library for more videos.)