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Father of ex-gay ministries dies at 87

Father of ex-gay ministries, Frank Worthen, died on February 11.
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The founder of ex-gay ministries, Frank Worthen, passed away on February 11 at the age of 87.

He leaves behind a controversial legacy that spans 40 years as the pioneer of ex-gay therapies which use religion and Jesus Christ as their basis for conversion.

In 1976, Worthen and his organization, called Love in Action, participated in a conference of many ministries which preached to homosexuals to change through faith. From that symposium Exodus International was born.

Exodus is a coalition of ex-gay ministries which met annually until they closed in 2013.

The conservative online publication “Life Site” reports David Kyle Foster, founder of Mastering Life Ministries, gave his condolences upon hearing of Worthen’s death, "A great man has gone to God's great reward. Frank Worthen, who is considered to be the father of the ex-gay movement, went to be with his greatest love, Jesus, this morning." 

Worthen was molested by a member of the clergy at age 13, and believed that assault made him gay. He lived in San Francisco as a “very active homosexual” for 25 years.

Anne Paulk, the executive director of Restored Hope Network (RHN) said, "Frank finished well. He paved a path that many followed, myself included."

"He demonstrated faithfulness to Jesus for the remainder of his life after giving it completely over to the Lord in 1973. He went on to help found Exodus International and Restored Hope Network, after attempting to bring Exodus back into theological and missional integrity under Alan Chambers’ errant leadership.”

RHN, like Exodus International is a coalition of ex-gay ministries which meet annually.

In fact their next meeting is scheduled to be held in San Diego this June.

Both the   American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association have deemed these practices unhealthy. 

Worthen has said the best way to define homosexual behavior is to define it as “father replacement search.”

“For many years, I searched for male affirmation, but I was looking in all the wrong places,” he wrote. “When I turned my life completely over to God, He became the loving father I had never found. And He has given me a wonderful worldwide ‘family’ of brothers and sisters in Christ,” Worthen said.

“I am so grateful for the new life that the Lord has given me,” he continued. “I struggled with homosexuality for over four decades, but Jesus Christ set me free.”