Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay and Christian in America

Overview

Until Christmans Eve 1991, Mel White was regarded by the leaders of the religious right as one of their most talented and productive supporters. He penned the speeches of Ollie North. He was a ghostwriter for Jerry Falwell, worked with Jim Bakker, flew in Pat Robertson's private jet, walked sandy beaches with Billy Graham. What these men didn't know was that Mel White—evangelical minister, committed Christian, family man—was gay.

In this remarkable book, Mel White details his ...

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Overview

Until Christmans Eve 1991, Mel White was regarded by the leaders of the religious right as one of their most talented and productive supporters. He penned the speeches of Ollie North. He was a ghostwriter for Jerry Falwell, worked with Jim Bakker, flew in Pat Robertson's private jet, walked sandy beaches with Billy Graham. What these men didn't know was that Mel White—evangelical minister, committed Christian, family man—was gay.

In this remarkable book, Mel White details his twenty-five years of being counseled, exorcised, electric-shocked, prayed for, and nearly driven to suicide because his church said homosexuality was wrong. But his salvation—to be openly gay and Christian—is more than a unique coming-out story. It is a chilling exposé that goes right into the secret meetings and hidden agendas of the religious right. Told by an eyewitness and sure to anger those Mel White once knew best, Stranger at the Gate is a warning about where the politics of hate may lead America … a brave book by a good man whose words can make us richer in spirit and much wiser too.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
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.)
Library Journal
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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780452273818
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/28/1995
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 361,589
  • Product dimensions: 6.05 (w) x 8.96 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author

Mel White is a writer, filmmaker, and former ghostwriter of books, authobiographies, and speeches for Billy Graham, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Jim Bakker, and Oliver North. He is the author of such inspirational bestsellers as In the Presence of Mine Enemies and Tested by Fire. Presently, Dr. White serves as the National Minister of Justice for the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches from his position as Dean of Dallas's Cathedral of Hope (M.C.C.), the largest gay and lesbian church in the world. He and his partner, Gary Nixon, live in Dallas, Texas.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Chapter One: In the Beginning - The Ghost of Silence
Chapter Two: Adolescence - The Ghost of Fear
Chapter Three: High School - The Ghost of Loneliness
Chapter Four: College - The Ghost of False Hope
Chapter Five: 1962-64, Learning to Tell the Truth
Chapter Six: 1964-70, Learning About Friendship
Chapter Seven: 1970-80, Taking the First Steps Toward Integrity
Chapter Eight: 1980-81, Facing Reality
Chapter Nine: 1981, Surviving Infatuation and Isolation
Chapter Ten: 1982-83, "It's Going to Be All Right, Dad!"
Chapter Eleven: 1984-90, Giving Up the Ghost!
Chapter Twelve: 1990-91, One Last Year of Silence
Chapter Thirteen: 1991-93, A Ghost No More!
Chapter Fourteen: 1993-94, Time for Doing Justice!
Appendix: Six Letters to the Religious Right
Author's Notes, References, and Resources

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 9 of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2006

    Faith is recovering

    Mel's book is enthralling. It made me feel so many things: empathy, fear, shock, but hope as well. He writes with the honesty and detail of a person who has truly had a difficult, even traumatic life. It's not propaganda or an agenda. It's a picture of a man and God bridging a painful gap between each other. The story is also educational, by explaining how the issues surrounding homosexuality have been used by powerful leaders of the religious right to make money and gain political influence. Meanwhile, there are vivid recollections of people in Mel's life who died or severely harmed themselves because of the religous right's hateful rhetoric. It is also very enlightening about the very root of this battle, the question of choice in one's sexual orientation. This book is a must-read for anyone with even the slightest interest in what it's like to be gay and Christian in America.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2003

    This book deserves more than 5 stars

    I recommend this book to anyone who feels alone in the world. This book will show you that your not, that other people are going through the exact same thing. This book brings hope and helps ease the lonely feelings. I loved every page of it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2001

    Poignant

    Mel White's story of his unsuccessful attempts to change his homosexuality through faith healing and reparative therapy is a cautionary note for all. He managed to retain his sanity in the process and create a new life for himself as an openly gay man and activist. Sadly, not everyone has been so lucky. However, they can take inspiration from this story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2000

    What an amazing story!

    Rev. White does a fantastic job of pointing out how the not so simple act of coming out has on empowering those around him to broaden their thinking about who it is that God Loves, and why. His story is wonderfully and heart wrenchingly told, and a must read for gay and straight alike.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2000

    Highly recomended for anyone Christian or struggling with faith.

    Growing up around the Christian faith and knowing early on that I was Gay created quite a conflict between my spirituality and my sexuality. This conflict led eventually to my separating myself from the church in my early twenties, accepting that I had no place with god in my life, and in effect becoming my own god. As a result I spent the first years of my adult life living without direction, living a lie in the closet, and feeling empty and unhappy. If you are gay or love someone who is please read this book. Mel White is a living example to those who have struggled to keep the faith of our youth, and for those whom are seeking a fuller more rewarding life. The insight and refreshing perspectives in this book hold some of the keys to living a life of honesty and happiness. As you follow Mel along his road to happy destiny you will be given many valuable tools to use on your journey. To thine own self be true.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2000

    A Must for Christians

    Every Christian in America should read this book, particularly those who are so vocal and self-righteous in their opposition to homosexuality. Mel White is an inspiration.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 1999

    A Must Read

    This book was like looking in the mirror for me. It spoke so deeply to me that I literally read it three times in a row. 'Stranger At The Gate' has helped me immeasurably in coming to terms with my own sexuality and my relationship with God. I've given three copies away to friends and family members already and I just ordered 4 more. A definate must read for anyone coming to terms with being gay and Christian.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2005

    Stranger at the Gate

    I sure do like strangers at my gate. The book was a little preachy tho...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2004

    A moving story of a gay Christian man's journey to self-acceptance

    This is truly a great book.. I enjoyed every page- I could not put it down. Mel takes us through his difficult, yet liberating, journey as he struggles to find his place as a gay man in the Christian religion. A must-read.

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