A former board member of ex-gay group Exodus International and head of a controversial American ex-gay centre has apologised five years after the program made headlines around the world.
The Rev. John Smid, who spent 22 years working for Love In Action before becoming its director, has made a public apology to anyone he may have hurt or harmed.
Love In Action is an ex-gay residential facility in Memphis, Tennessee.
In 2005 the centre received a wave of adverse publicity after 16-year-old Zach Stark was forced to attend the program by homophobic parents and blogged about his experience on MySpace, leading to protests.
“If you have been wounded by me or harmed through the hands of my leadership, please come to me and allow an opportunity for me to personally apologise with the hope that we can both be released from the bondage of unforgiveness,” Smid wrote this month on his website.
“[R]egarding the most highly publicised ‘Refuge Program’ for teens that was held through Love In Action. If I could go back and do anything differently based on what I know today — it would be the Refuge Program … I am very sorry for the ways that Refuge further wounded teens that were already in a very delicate place in life.”
Smid quit his role with the group in early 2008.
In related news, a member of the board of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexua