White, a former ghostwriter for such prominent Christian conservatives as Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and Oliver North, details in this melodramatic, sentimental but absorbing autobiography his own troubling, yet ultimately empowering acknowledgement of his homosexuality. White's account of his futile attempts to deny or ``cure'' his desires--through life as a husband and father, through prayer and self-denial, even through shock therapy--is affecting if overdrawn; more interesting is his success in finally reconciling his faith with his sexuality. Such a reconciliation rested in part upon White's recognition that only through distorting the Bible can one find prohibitions against homosexuality there. That White himself, while still closeted and struggling, worked for those most responsible for perpetuating such disinformation is one of the more pungent ironies in the book; it is startling to read that Moral Majority leader Jerry Falwell's agitprop denunciation of ``perverts'' purportedly overrode his nobler impulses towards tolerance and compassion. Photos not seen by PW. Author tour. (Apr.)
This autobiography, read by the author, carries a vital, heartfelt message of topical significance as it portrays a fascinating personal odyssey. For decades the author strove to follow the creed of his conservative Christian family, church, and community. Although he married, had children, and ghostwrote for the Christian right (i.e., the reverends Falwell, Robertson, Graham, Baker; Oliver North; and others), he was gay. He tried every "cure": prayer, self-denial, shock therapy, and analysis but couldn't deny his God-given nature. Now dean of Dallas Cathedral of Hope, the world's largest gay church, he examines the religious right for which he worked. Gays have replaced Communists as the right's scapegoat for fundraising. He's witnessed the consequence: an immense toll of suicides, violence, and self-hatred among gays. The eloquent, spiritual life story of torment and triumph narrated by White and introduced by his wife appeals to all who need to understand identity crises. A successful publicity tour has placed Stranger at the Gate in the national spotlight. Recommended for most public libraries.-James Dudley, Copiague, N.Y.
What People Are Saying
From the Publisher
"An engrossing journey to unite sexuality with faith. Fascinating
a remarkable and important story"
Dallas Morning News
"A courageous and important book
a clarion call for justice and freedom."
Malcolm Boyd, Episcopal priest, author of Take Off the Mask
"[Mel White is] perhaps the finest writer I know
a man of integrity and fairness."
Jerry Falwell, to Daniel Cattau of the Dallas Morning News
eloquent and compassionate
We learn as much about growing up in the Christian right as we do about gay life in Mel White's heartfelt and revealing memoir."