Fuzzy “Ex-Gay” Math

Maybe Alan Chambers just isn’t a math person, but Ex-Gay Watch’s Daniel Gonzales once again calls Chambers to account about Chamber’s claims to the ever rising number of people that Exodus purports to have helped. It is up to “hundreds and hundreds of thousands”.

(When I appeared with Chambers on the Faith Under Fire TV show, he insisted that millions and millions of people have found freedom from homosexuality through Jesus Christ. I questioned him, “Millions and millions?!? Do you have data to back this up.” He proceded to tell me about a five-year study they started with 100 people. I asked, “What happened to millions of millions?” Sadly that exchange didn’t make it to the final cut.)

In his most recent press release, Chambers boasts,

Exodus International is a resource and referral organization with over 130 member ministries across North America. The organization has been in existence for 30 years and offers help to the over 400,000 people who contact the ministry each year.

Okay, let’s do some math.
365 days in a one year.
104 of those days are weekends when no one is manhandling the phones or answering e-mails.
Let’s say they don’t work on Christmas and Easter.

That means they handle over 400,000 individual requests for help 259 days out of the year.
That means they need to respond to 1,544 people every “ex-gay” workday.
That’s 7,720 per week!

Even if we spread that among the 130 North American ministries (which is not what Chamber’s words suggest) that means each one of these ministries hears from nearly 12 individual strugglers seeking help each and every day. 60 each week.

No wonder Exodus needs the support of Focus on the Family. At the rate they’re going they will be forced to outsource their heavy load to an Exodus call center in Bangalore, India. Maybe they can partner with Compassion International who can convert Hindu children, who once they grow up in the Lord, can answer the Exodus hotlines.

Really what does the 400,000 include? Phone calls? E-mails? Web stats? Hate mail? Calls from telemarketers? Do they keep a log of this stuff?

Exodus ministries are notoriously bad at keeping stats (particularly once people leave their “care”.) I have a hard time imagining a careful accounting of the 400,000 folks they claim contacted them for help last year alone.

Of course the number sounds sexy. Look at all the people desperate to escape the gay lifestyle! Sounds great for raising funds to keep the machine going.

Fuzzy math. I want to see Alan Chamber’s SAT math scores.

This post has 3 Comments

  1. Michael Ditto on March 2, 2006 at 10:08 pm Reply

    My guess is that they are counting hits on their web site, not even unique visitors. Progress Now Action, a local advocacy web site in Denver gets more traffic than Exodus.

    According to Alexa, Exodus has a reach of 1.7 per million web users. Contrast that to HRC which reaches about 32 per million, or GLAAD, which averages about 14 per million, or gay.com which reaches 610 per million. If gay.com used hits as the measure of the number of people they’ve “helped,” it would be billions per year.

  2. E on March 3, 2006 at 4:55 am Reply

    Hmm, I might just have to dig up the calculations I once did over at Bridges Across. Approached from a different angle than Alan’s raw number of “inquiries,” you’d have to be extremely optimistic about the number of people who have passed through the doors of all of Exodus’ affiliate ministries over the last 30 years to come close to 100,000 – and realistically the infrastructure just doesn’t exist to support even half that many ex-gays…

  3. Bob Painter on March 3, 2006 at 3:11 pm Reply

    Alan Chambers, John Smid, etc. are first and foremost salesmen. This is their bread-and-butter. To solicit their services, they must exaggerate the numbers to entice others to recognize their “superiority” in this area of “ministry.”

    As Peterson states, the numbers are always skewed in their favor. John Smid used to share statistics for how many people LiA has helped, and the figures were always staggering.

    How does a licensed minister get away with such faulty logic (lies)? It’s the way the question is asked and the interpretation of the question by the questioned.

    John believes that anyone he counsels–especially those who make it through the front door of the residential progrom–is never the same again. They may return to “the lifestyle,” but he has left an indelible mark on those lives.

    So how many people has John helped? From his point of view, everyone that he has ever come in contact with…

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