Is Bryce Faulkner Missing? Or Did Exodus International Really Steal Him Away?


Hahaha. Remember when your friends “pulled” you toward the gay lifestyle? That’s what the parents of 23-year-old Bryce Faulkner are claiming happened to their son. It’s not like they forced him to try out conversion therapy. He just ran in that direction because, after racking up more than 10,000 minutes of calls to his boyfriend in a single month, he’s questioning his sexuality!

Faulker’s gone missing, according to the “Save Bryce” website, shoveled away into the shadows of Exodus International, which claims it can cure gays from their gayness in all sorts of non-gay ways. But Bryce’s mom Debra says that after having a relationship with a one Travis Swanson, 24, Bryce just wanted some time to figure things out. Which he’s totally free to do without her coercion, apparently!

There’s even a statement from Bryce: “Every decision that I’ve made has been based solely upon my beliefs and I have not been manipulated or coerced by anyone to do anything.” Well, it was delivered by a family rep, not the still-“missing” Bryce.

Which means Brett Harris, who’s running the “Save Bryce” site, isn’t letting up. It’s been nearly 40 days since Bryce has been heard from. Hopefully like some rehab centers, Exodus is at least offering facials and massages.


Swanson, of Oshkosh, Wis., told that he met Faulkner at a bar in Panama City, Fla., during spring break in March. The two quickly hit it off, he said.

Swanson left Florida just two days later, but he and Faulkner kept in touch via Skype “every single night” in the following months. Swanson said their chats were so frequent that he notched a whopping 9,700 minutes on his cell phone in May alone.

“Things started getting serious in the months of April and May,” said Swanson. “He told me that he loved me.”

In late May, Swanson said he and Faulkner met in Little Rock, Ark., for what turned out to be the last time.

“Bryce said he’d take me on the most amazing date of my life and definitely fulfilled,” Swanson said. “Dinner, candles, flowers — he went all out.”

He said the relationship flourished until mid-June, when Debra Faulkner gained access to her son’s e-mail account and discovered Bryce’s secret.

The next time they spoke, Swanson said, Bryce was inconsolable.

“He was crying really, really bad, I mean, like uncontrollably crying,” he said. “He said [Bryce’s parents] made him read quotes aloud from the Bible and said that he’s going to hell.”

The following day, Swanson said he received a text from Faulkner indicating that his parents wanted to take him to a “place in Pensacola” to address his sexuality. Swanson would later call the Union County Sheriff’s Department to say that Faulkner was being taken against his will by his “fundamental Baptist” parents.

A spokeswoman for Union County Sheriff Ken Jones said the department had no information on Faulkner.

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  • epluribusunumjk

    Fucking sick. Man, I am glad my parents didn’t react like bible humping trainwrecks when I came out.

  • AlanInSLC

    Things like this scare me. Places like Exodus International should be burned to the ground and the people who run them sent to prison for abusing the people that were forced to go to them for “rehabilitation”.

  • Adam

    A 23-year-old med student who allows himslef to be forced into ex-gay camp. Somebody…anybody…please interview this tool.

  • John K.

    Well Adam, maybe somebody would if anyone could find him. I have to say I have moments of doubt, but I don’t put anything past these religious freaks, and after yesterday’s Fox story with the statement by the “family representative,” I’m leaning much more towards Bryce not even knowing that he’s getting all of this media attention. If he is in one of these camps in the middle of nowhere, it would be very easy to keep him away from all media. Not knowing about all of this support, it’s not very hard to imagine a 23-year-old who has always relied on his family for support to be coerced into doing this.

  • prissysissy

    @Adam: My thoughts exactly. What a wimp! Are we supposed to feel sorry for him?

  • John K.

    I’m really just glad this story is starting to get more attention. I first read about it about a week ago, and it has kept me up nights. I never went through anything like this, but I’ve read about these places, and I realize that it could just as easily have been me in there if my family lived in Arkansas instead of New Jersey and if my mom was just a little bit more nuts for her religion (she definitely borders on it). Bottom line, until we hear from Bryce directly, and we know for a fact that the words are his, I’m assuming this is not his fault, and he deserves support and help, whether he “chose” to go there or not.

  • John K.

    Come on Prissysissy. Put yourself in his shoes. Grew up in Arkansas with a fundamentalist family. You believe in your religion just as much as your family. They tell you they’re cutting off all your financial support, you work for your mom, by the way (as Bryce did; he was pre-med and his mom runs some kind of medical office), and she’ll fire you. They’ll take your car and your cell phone, which they still pay for, and they’ll throw you out of the house. By the way, you’re also going to Hell. All of this unless you just give this therapy a shot. Just give it a shot. I don’t know about you, but I’d probably go whether I wanted to or not. Luckily, I don’t know how that situation feels; I can only imagine.

    We need to have some compassion here and blame the people who should be blamed. That is Exodus International first, and Bryce’s parents second.

  • prissysissy

    @prissysissy: I was a bit harsh earlier. Better to reserve judgement till hearing from Bryce directly.

  • prissysissy

    @John K.: I agree with you up to a point. Having been financially independent since college days, sometimes I have trouble with empathy for 23-year olds who are so dependent on their families.
    We all go through struggles with our sexuality at some point in our lives – I guess for Bryce it is happening now.
    Either way, I hope he is okay.

  • John K.

    @prissysissy: I understand, but he was planning on going to med school. As a recent law school grad (taking the bar next week) who still lives at home at 25 (moving out the week after next, lol) because I’ve been going full-time to school straight through college and now law school, I guess I just can really imagine what it would have been like if I had just finished, say, my first year of law school, and then my parents said they were cutting me off. Add to that the religious element and you’ve got real trouble.

  • TANK

    And this occurred specifically because of their religious beliefs, and their belief that their son was going to hell. I don’t dispute that the parents truly are concerned and want to save their son’s “immortal soul”…religion poisons everything it touches.

  • I pliss

    No come on look at his pic. how did his mother not know from age 11 that he was gay! if he is a mama’s boy she must have known. She gagged cause she was like who is he talking too and walking around with a glow and smiling and staying up late. She knew. When you go searching you find what you are looking for! And she did. She must likely read how great the sex was. lol It’s not funny but she got a glimpse and couldn’t handle what she saw in those emails. I put my self through college. I left my house at 17. But coming from where he came from they had plans for him to most likely take over the family business. and him being gay would not work for them. I would have told her that I would be meeting her in hell and walked out!

  • Drew

    @I pliss: I find this story horrific. Sure there is something like free will attached to all of our behaviour, however do not forget financial comfort and stability. Stop being a bunch (or in the least) douchebags !

  • 7SK

    This is serious and sad, but all I could think of when I read the title was “Ooh, the plot THICKENS!”

    Seriously though, bomb the Vatican, then Texas, then Utah, and…things should probably be a little better.

    That wasn’t serious at all, was it. Oh well. The kid’s cute. Shame. Let’s storm Pensacola. That one was serious.

  • schlukitz


    religion poisons everything it touches.

    Truer words were never spoken, Tank.

    JohnK, we need to blame religion first, Exodus International second, and Bryce’s parents third because it was religion that created the last two situations.

    Then again, it IS the people who give power to religion…and to Exodus International, isn’t it?

    This is all so confusing to a aging, retired, white woman living in Bombay, India on a fixed income!

  • John K.


    I stand corrected. The problem is, we can’t snuff out religion. We can, however, shut down Exodus, at least in the long-term, if we focus our attention correctly.

  • Eddy

    For those people who think this 23 year old must be a wimp and that he could easily extricate himself, just try to put yourself in somebody else’s shoes. And if you can’t do that, just think of what you have read about battered wives, women of maybe 40 years of age who just will not leave the home and continue to put up with the abuse. It’s a similar dynamic. Mother’s, and dads, can have extraordinary control over their sons.

  • MackMike

    I can’t speak for Bryce; after all, we all handle things differently. I do know that when I was 19 and going to university, my own Irish Catholic mother pulled something exceedingly similar to this with me. She didn’t me much a chance to think about things, just left the house and told me to be out by the time she returned if I didn’t agree to go with “the program.” When she did come back home, I was sitting on the front stoop of our home, my car loaded up, and handed her the key to her house. I worked three jobs for my entire college career, right through completion of grad school, rode a bike, relied upon public transportation, and later purchased a used car. I rented a room in a far less pleasant environment, at a lot of veggies and brown rice, because that was what I could afford, and didn’t go out much. I also graduated with 3 degrees that were mine and mine alone.

    We all have choices; if Bryce chose to take his parent’s money in exchange for going through reparative therapy, then Bryce made a choice, and is bound by their rules to live up to their agreement, until the time he makes a different choice. Perhaps it sounds cold, but whenever someone takes out a loan, the terms of that loan are nearly always cold, hard terms.

    I’m sorry that Bryce was faced with such a choice, I truly am. I’m sorry that I was. However, I recently read about a young woman who was homeless, and got herself into Harvard. This is not the first such story told; one can lift themselves up by their bootstraps. The road travelled may be a longer and more arduous road to walk, but just imagine the lessons that one will learn by the time they reach the end of their journey. For me, Bryce’s path is too great a detour, leading him away from health, happiness and a sense of well being, but it is the path he has chosen for himself.

  • schlukitz


    I can relate to all of what you said. And what you said does not sound cold, just realistic and pragmatic. You took responsibility for your life and did not allow anyone to manipulate or buy you. I applaud that.

    I left home at the age of 14 because of my gayness and while I never went to college, I did manage over the years to build a very successful business for myself that has existed since 1965.

    The road I chose to walk was, indeed, longer and more arduous but if I had it to do all over again, I would make the same choice.

    It’s good to be your own man, isn’t it?

  • hyhybt

    I wouldn’t put kidnapping past them. Queerty, please, *please* keep us updated on this one if there’s anything new.

  • John K.

    @MackMike: I think it’s terrible that you were put in that situation, and I’m glad that you were able to pick yourself up and be successful, but I find it troubling that you hold Bryce to your standard. You of all people should know what it’s like to be in that situation, and you shouldn’t lose sympathy for others just because they were as strong as you faced with such a horrible, unfair, and evil decision. I’m sure it wasn’t easy to make the decision you made. You didn’t ask to be put to that decision, and neither did Bryce.

    All we want to know is that he knows he has other support that might allow him to be stronger and make a decision that the real Bryce under normal circumstances would make. Age is a number, and as someone either here or on another similar blog wrote, we’ve got 40-something battered wives who keep going back for more. This is not a simple matter of making a calculated decision. It is coercion and duress, even if the law doesn’t recognize it as such.

  • John K.

    I have not gone to any of these camps, and it was never even suggested to me. Neither was any kind of therapy actually. I do know this though: I used to tell people when they asked me how my parents took my coming out that it was “pretty bad” or “not so well.” I will NEVER say that again after reading this. My mom is very religious, and she hated what I told her. It’s been two years (I’m 25 myself and still living at home…just graduated law school) and she has come a LONG way. But, if we lived in the south, I could just as easily have been in Bryce’s position, being financially dependent on my parents, even past the magic numbers of 18 and 21, and realizing that has really hit home with me.

    If I had the means and opportunity right now, I would infiltrate the facility he’s thought to be at.

  • MackMike

    @John K.: John K., I used my own experience, not as a standard for another to live up to, but as an illustration. There are thousands of Bryce’s out there, many who face greater torments than being denied a car or full financial support through pre-med and then medical school. There are kids out there living on the streets, because their parents found out that they were gay, and those kids had no option at all.

    I have not lost sympathy for Bryce, for whom my heart aches, but Bryce, from my understanding, has been an advantaged young man, who has an education, and who has resources. Bryce has some options. Thousands of other kids have no options, little education, no resources, and are tossed out on the street. For those, my heart breaks.

  • John K.

    @MackMike: My heart would break for them too if I knew specific cases. I happened to read about THIS case, and my heart has broken. Everything is relative. Someone who has only known a privileged life faced with the possibility of being out on the street might be incomprehensible to the point of not being an option. Maybe he’s weak right now; I’m not disputing that. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve help in his time of weakness. I only wish I could do more, but I do what I can for now, which is keep talking about him and making sure this doesn’t just go away until he resurfaces.

  • Ian

    Maybe Bryce wanted to go on his own, maybe after talking to his folks he made the decision on his own. You don’t know, I don’t know, could be either way. I have a friend who went through Exodus (completely on his own) and is very happy now that he is not living the gay lifestyle. It was a real struggle for him for so long and now he feels free. A much different story than is being propagated here. He would say it is a choice. One comment he has is that he has been trashed by friends of his who are gay, they say he should stay true to himself. My buddy says he is being true to himself by not being homosexual, but he still gets ridiculed. I don’t see much tolerance from the gay community (who ask for it from everybody) watching from the sidelines here.

    I’m sure some of the scary comments come from being slammed by intolerant Christians, but that is no excuse to say this stuff (burn exodus down?) you’re just as bad as they are.

  • TANK


    I’m sure it works for some people who cannot come to terms with who they are, and would prefer to live a lie. For them (an extreme minority), go for it if that’s the only way they can be happy or at least content. But the APA has assayed that reparative therapies have absolutely no evidence of working, and have condemned they as potentially harmful in stating that change is possible for desperately miserable people (brought on by factors other than being gay, I hasten to add, whether that be religious conviction or substance abuse, or blaming the so-called imaginary gay lifestyle on their real problems), while most do not…they blame themselves, and this can lead to extreme emotional distress because these programs preach that homosexuality is ETHICALLY WRONG–and the poor suckers who go are duped into believing it, too.

    And that doesn’t touch upon the fact that many who go DON’T HAVE A CHOICE. They are legal minors who are forced to go by their parents. That is reprehensible, for they did not freely choose to go, but were coerced and forced to do it.

  • TANK

    What is ethically contemptible in this situation is not only those who do not have a free choice being forced to go, but the proponnents of it claiming that sexuality is mutable and adding the value judgement to that scientifically false statement that homosexuality is wrong…and that everyone should be “normal” (that in itself does not refer to a statistical norm, but a normative normalcy not found in nature), actively promoting their ideal that homosexuals SHOULD NOT EXIST. This is a gross affront to basic human dignity and the rights of all people to pursue their interests so long as they do not tangibly interfere with the interests of others.

  • John K.

    @Ian: If he had a problem with his sexuality, then HE should have been the one to initiate the therapy. It shouldn’t have been his MOM four days before he planned to very happily go visit his boyfriend in Wisconsin.

    I don’t know your friend’s situation, but I know a decent amount about Bryce’s. I severely doubt that his boyfriend is making ALL this shit up. It’s pretty specific.

    Here is a link to the latest interview with Travis, Bryce’s boyfriend. It has more details about their conversations leading up to Bryce’s disappearance and the type of mother Bryce’s mom is.

  • schlukitz

    @John K.:

    I was prompted to respond to Ian on his post, but I see that you both beat me to the punch and expressed your thoughts far better than I could have. What a travesty these parents, however well-meaning they might be, have vested on their son.

    Excellent comments from the both of you.

    I just read the full text of the interview between Travis and Quest. I was moved to tears as I read it. It brought back memories of my Internet exchanges with my foreign-born partner when we first met online almost seven years ago.

    What a heartbreaking situation for these two young men. My heart goes out to the two of them. I hope Exodus does no irreparable pyschological damage to Bryce and that he and Travis reunite happily.

    Thank you, John K, for providing that link for all of us to read.

  • John K.


    Thanks Tank. I’ve cried several times over this myself, and I don’t know them either. Here’s hoping this all turns out ok.

    Here’s the latest facebook group too, it’s called Coalition for the Abolition of Homosexual Reform Tactics:

    Two previous site dedicated specifically to Bryce were deleted by facebook. I think Travis talked about that in the interview, but I forget. Anyway, this one is not officially Bryce-specific, although it still pretty much is.

  • schlukitz

    @John K.:

    Thanks, John K. That was most kind of you to provide the link to

    I too am hoping this all turn out ok.

  • chris pell

    If he is 23 then why the hell can his parents do anything to force him anywhere?

    Sad story

  • John K.

    @chris pell:

    23 is just a number. Family has EXTREME emotional and, in this case, financial power over 23-year-olds, especially closely-knit religious families. Bryce never had a chance once his parents made up their minds.

  • Ian

    From what I understand from my friend, the door is open at these facilities, if he doesn’t want to be there, he is free to walk. These places don’t want people to be there if they don’t want to be. How are they going to force someone to live in a way that they don’t want to. It would seem to me that the gay community is putting more pressure on him to live as a homosexual, than Exodus is to live straight.

  • John K.

    @Ian: I talked to someone today who went to college at a campus thought to house an ex-gay camp. Just for the regular college students, she referred to the atmosphere as being like a “cult,” involving “brainwashing,” and the like. This is a very fundamentalist Christian and both of her parents saying these things. She dropped out of the school over it, and she said she still feels guilty when she does things that the school had banned like listen to certain music. When she was leaving for the last time, she felt like she couldn’t take a cab to the airport herself because it was against the rules for women to walk off campus alone.

    These people gain control over you and try to keep it any way possible. They may not physically lock you in, but after talking to my friend today for the first time about her experience, I have no doubt that it is not quite as simple as walking out an open door.

  • Ian

    John, I suppose both of us have stories now from a perspective that backs up our position. I don’t doubt there are programs out there that do it wrong, but there are those that are doing it right and my friend is thankful for that. I’ll admit that there are some that do it wrong…are you able to admit that there are good ones out there, or are you so tangled up in your dogma that you cannot? Think about it.

  • schlukitz

    or are you so tangled up in your dogma that you cannot? Think about it.

    God Damn! I love it.

    The church has been telling LGBT people that they are WRONG for the past two-thousand fucking years. (DOGMA)

    Charlatans like Exodus International and their hucksters then pick up the shattered pieces of the victims who are on the horns of a dilemma between their damning religion and their natural sexuality and says to them “Come with us, we’ll make that WRONG in you RIGHT (DOGMA) even if it means that you will never be able to enjoy another orgasm again for the rest of your life.

    And then comes Ian to tell John K, who has enough common sense and intelligence figure out what these mind-fuckers are all about, and has the fucking audacity to accuse him of being “so tangled up in his dogma that he cannot think??

    Are you sure, Ian, that you are not youcanthandlethetruth posting under another name?

    Religion is a plague sweeping the planet and the locusts that spread it are like the dishonest, lying used-car salesmen that infest every seedy part of town, in every major city.

    No matter where one goes, there it is…being poked in your face, shouted in your ears, shoved up your nose and rammed up your butt until you want to get a baseball bat and start swinging.

    Why can’t you sick motherfuckers just mind your own fucking business, stop butting into peoples lives and do your fucking thing without having to destroy everybody and everything around you?

    Next thing, you’ll be telling us that taking a shit is a sin and that we need to repent for that too!

    I don’t feel guilty about a fucking thing in my life and I am sick to death of you Christers screaming at me that I am a sinner and that I should feel guilty.

    Get a fucking life for chrissakes! And if you can’t do that, then go to fucking hell and enjoy your suffering.

  • Ian

    “Get a fucking life for chrissakes!”

    Already got one, and I can handle the truth, not sure what you meant by that. Not even going to respond to your rant, you’re so far out there that it appears you just like yelling at people and hitting them with baseball bats. Too bad you are so angry, I doubt you don’t feel guilty, and I’ll bet you love to blame everything on everybody else. One thing you are right about, there are Christians who get it wrong…they should treat people much better, but, it’s just like there are people like you on the other side that get it wrong too. How are you any different? Hope you find some peace in your life.

  • Factsallwrong

    Hahaha, so reading everbodys post is just to funny. First, I knew the guy. Second, they choose every remotely gay looking photo from his facebook to make a YouTube video. I’m sure we can go into anyones facebook and find photos that makes us look like we are gay. Plus most of those pictures were from a thing like Greek scene (or where frats & sorority’s) compete for cash and it helps the school raise money. it’s called tiger tunes at ouchita and it raises like 75,000 dollars in scholarships in 4 days. Most of the people I know really don’t care that much about this whole issue, and yes we went to school with him. The main reason is cause his he’s old enough to make his own choices. He’s graduated. His parents offered there view of help, counseling, or move out. They did just pay for an 80,000 dollar degree And bought pretty much everyhting cause he didn’t really have a job during school. Set him up to be pre-med. Yes, I can totally see where they set him up to fail. So I don’t think they were going to dis own him, but there weren’t going to support him finacially when they view that lifestyle as morally wrong.

  • Mile High Joe

    Queerty, we need UPDATES please.

  • justin

    I just read about this story… any updates, Queerty??

  • Caine

    I find some of these comments disgusting-specifically the first few. I stopped reading after that. I know of this guy only from what I’ve read here, but stories like this are not uncommon.

    I’m 21, going on 22, and I only just recently fled from home.
    I lived outside of Fort Totten, North Dakota, where every aspect of my life was controlled by my family and the people around me. They are involved with the evangelical camp depicted in the 2007 documentary ‘Jesus Camp’. I had no internet, no phone. My family’s reputation and influence, and my “condition” known, I was unable to get a job. My vehicle was routinely vandalized, my dog killed, and myself physically assaulted. Their influence on my teachers kept me in high school longer than I should have been. My largest class had 5 people in it. The only sheriff would taunt the inmates that the “queer is here” the few times I tried to say something. After my family left for vacation and left me behind, I managed to take a sum of money out of their account and left. It might have been illegal, but what they did was worse, so I’m left unbothered on the east coast.

    There may be much more to the story than what we’re getting here. But the thought that maybe he is being held against his will, that maybe he is in pain…and instead of hoping for the best, you “people” have the fu*cking audacity to call him a tool or a pansy or a weak. You people know nothing about being powerless.

    Outside your pathetic, vain existence there are people suffering.
    Some people actually have to grow up without the gay clubs and fag hags and macy sales. I’m sure it might be hard to think with all that lady gaga music in the background, but for some people, life sucks. And when it does, the last thing he needs is people like you calling him weak.

  • kaceycar

    Hey Caine, Sounds like you had a rough go of it as well and I can’t imagine all that you went through. Just know that as you get older you appreciate that the friends that you choose become your family…and that is tighter than blood. Good luck!!

  • Mike

    So whatever happened to Bryce?

  • Hyhybt

    It’s been over a year now. Has anyone in the world heard from this guy?

Comments are closed.