The founder of one of the nation's most expansive ex-gay groups, Hope for Wholeness, expressed doubts Thursday evening about the practices it offers, saying he’s not sure it’s the best choice for most people.
Spartanburg resident McKrae Game wrote a statement to The Post and Courier two days after the newspaper published an in-depth article examining the world of conversion therapy in South Carolina on its website. The story will run in print in Sunday’s newspaper.
Conversion therapy, also called reparative therapy, is meant to lead people away from same-sex attractions or suppress an LGBTQ identity. Nine such groups operate in South Carolina, the newspaper reported.
“I will say that I found the article well researched, well written, and frankly well founded in many ways,” Game wrote. “After more than 20 years in ‘ex-gay’ ministry, I was completely burned out and am glad to be away. I made many friends, and miss many of them very much. I have come to realize that ex-gay ministry is not the best choice for most. But for some, it can serve as a community of like-minded persons who choose to live by a traditional interpretation of biblical sexuality. I strongly encourage anyone taking that journey to learn to accept and love themselves. I believe God loves us regardless of our attractions or relationships. We are saved by belief in Jesus Christ, not by our efforts.”
Game said he was not aware of attempts to reach him and that he would have agreed to be interviewed otherwise. The Post and Courier attempted to reach 50-year-old Game through two messages to his Facebook account, through someone involved with the ministry and calling and writing to multiple phone numbers and email addresses associated with him.
On Thursday, Game said he would have more to share “at a later date.”
Game founded the Spartanburg-based organization as Truth Ministry in 1999 and charted its expansion over two decades to comprise member ministries, groups and counselors across 15 states. He resigned his post in late 2017.
Hope for Wholeness declined to comment for the original article, opting to send a statement.
“We acknowledge that individuals have had differing experiences in attending the varied ministries within our network,” the group wrote. “It is always our desire to learn and to offer a safe environment for those who seek the services of referral ministries.”
A representative for the group reached by phone Friday said the board would have to be consulted before issuing a response to Game's statement. She offered no additional comment.
Hope for Wholeness disputes that they offer reparative or conversion therapy, saying in their mission statement that they seek to “shed light on the complicated issues of sexual and relational brokenness with special expertise on homosexuality and transgenderism.”