August 23, 2013

It’s mid-afternoon on a Monday in July and the offices that once housed Exodus International are quiet. Exodus, which for 37 years was more or less synonymous with the ex-gay movement and at its peak employed 24 people in this office, closed down in June. Since then, a skeleton crew of three people has rattled around the largely empty workspace overseeing the dismantling of an association that once included more than 150 Christian ministries in 17 countries, all devoted to the idea that homosexual feelings need not lead to eternal damnation. They could be managed, ignored, overcome, repented for, and perhaps even transformed into something more biblically acceptable. Just as long as they weren’t acted upon. Its mission statement: “Mobilizing the body of Christ to minister grace and truth to a world impacted by homosexuality.”

The building — a fading white, multistory rectangular block situated on a side street in an area of Orlando well-stocked with dreary strip malls and office parks — is wholly unremarkable, the kind of place you’d drive by a thousand times without taking a second glance. Exodus bought it five years ago, but it hasn’t been a great investment, and in light of the organization’s demise, the property is now up for sale.