In 1976, Michael Bussee helped found the "ex-gay" group known as Exodus International. For years, Bussee had hoped the ministry would help "cure" his homosexuality, but three years after founding Exodus, he had a change of heart. Bussee quietly left Exodus (and his wife) in 1979, began a relationship with another Exodus survivor named Gary and eventually spoke out publicly against Exodus' "ex-gay" practices.
Bussee's journey from Exodus co-founder to one of its most outspoken critics was filled with pain and loss, as he reveals in "Our America with Lisa Ling -- Special Report: God & Gays." Along with other "ex-gay" survivors, Bussee got the chance to share his emotional story and confront Exodus President Alan Chambers about the practices that he says contributed to his years of struggle.
"My mom read the Exodus books and when she found out I was gay, she said it was worse than my dad dying of leukemia," Bussee recalls. "She wanted to drive her car off a cliff because she had been convinced that she did something wrong that made me gay. Exodus taught that for years."
Not even during his lowest points did Bussee feel he had any support from his family. When three of his partners died of AIDS, Bussee says that he didn't have a single family member attend any of the funerals. Even the minister turned his back on Bussee when his partner Gary died, refusing to perform the service after learning that the men were gay.
"I was changing Gary's diapers. I was holding his hand when he was shaking in pain. I don't know real love?" Bussee asks rhetorically, looking directly at Chambers.
In the video, several other "ex-gay" survivors also share their own emotional stories and struggles, from a former pastor who recently came out to a man who confronted his homosexuality as a teen in the 1980s.
Exodus International announced last week it will shut down after 37 years of ministry.