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  My Son Beloved Stranger - Epilog 
Since writing her book, My Son, Beloved Stranger, Kate McLaughlin has been promoting understanding and compassion for gay people, particularly within the Seventh-day Adventist church. Danny, in the meantime, converted to the Catholic faith and joined a Catholic order. When Kate shared with Danny regarding an instance in which she had tried to intervene in the latter part of 1998, he replied with the following mildly chastising letter:

December 20, 1998

Dear Mom,

I've read those arguments about the Bible's position on homosexuality before, and wasn't convinced then (although I pretended to myself that I was and argued them loudly to you, as I recall). I'm completely unconvinced now, particularly because if you look at the historical progression of what has come down to us by direct descent both in the Judaic tradition and the Christian, from what I've seen there was never any time in which homosexual behavior was ever considered morally acceptable. In other words, you have a continuous teaching being handed down even in OT times and certainly from Christ and the apostles against homosexual acts. I agree that the psychology of a homosexual orientation was probably not generally understood until recent times (although I sometimes wonder if our present age isn't in worse darkness about it than ever because of the insistence on sexual "freedom" which starts from a position of error), but then the Church has never condemned a homosexual orientation or temptation, just as it has never condemned anyone for having any weakness. The only thing the Church condemns is actual sin.  The homosexual act has always been condemned and always will be, for it is sin, plain and simple.  On the other hand, two men living together, even if they have had a sexual relationship previously (a good example was Jeff and me), is not sinful - although it would be what is called "a near occasion of sin," and should be avoided, if they couldn't control themselves.

I find it interesting that the only Christians in history (to my knowledge) who have ever felt the overwhelming need to proclaim their homosexual identity in public and get recognition as "equal citizens" are those who also insist on the right to homosexual sex. Doesn't that seem a little suspicious to you?  Of course, now we have a second generation coming along who have been influenced by the sexual rebels of the 60s - this new group, even if they manage to escape the error of the first generation regarding sexual acts, pick up the psychological baggage all over the media these days about being badly treated and being part of a persecuted minority.

Then you have the argument in favor of having monogamous homosexual relationships.  The trouble with that argument is that it assumes that stability is the main point of marriage.  Which goes to show how far the Christian denominations have gotten watered down on the subject. The first and foremost point of marriage is the procreation of children - for the nurturing of which you need a stable environment (and you need parents of both sexes; if this is not available, the child will seek for the missing-gender parent elsewhere).  This is what the Catholic Church has always taught and which virtually all the Christian denominations taught on Biblical grounds until one of the Anglican Lambeth Conferences in the 1930s decided to allow contraception under certain circumstances.  After that, one denomination after another caved on divorce, remarriage, and contraception - and now are caving on homosexual sex.  All except one - the Catholic Church.

I'm glad you agree that the original plan is for heterosexual marriage.  Why was it the original plan?  Marriage is what God made it, and not what we wish to make it.  God made marriage what it is because of the way He made us.  To look at it on the natural plane, both psychologically and physically man and woman fit together and satisfy each other in a way that man and man cannot.  "For that reason a man and woman shall leave father and mother and the two shall become one flesh."  Which will also hopefully answer the other question you had about the possibility of God allowing homosexual marriages for people with homosexual orientations as He permitted divorce and polygamy in OT times.  Whatever God may have "winked at in former times" (although it is in no way recorded or handed down that He ever winked at homosexual sex), with the Advent and teachings of Christ He made clear that there was no longer any other acceptable definition of marriage than: one man and one woman together for life.  If one is too psychologically damaged (as I would appear to be) to be able to enjoy a healthy heterosexual marriage, it does not make any sense that one would then engage in an act that only worsens the damage.  The truth is painful to hear on this subject, but it is only the truth that will set free.  I can testify to this directly and personally.  Giving up the "freedom" to have sex was difficult and I experienced a real sense of loss and grief, but now that I am entering a state of celibacy I am happier and happier, and any turning back to my former ways brings nothing but darkness and remorse. Sometimes the arm has to be re-broken before it can be set right. And that hurts.  The patient could whine and complain that the doctor is being mean in insisting that the arm must be re-broken, but there it is - much as it will hurt, the arm will never heal properly until it is broken again and reset.  Remember the man in the Great Divorce (CS Lewis) with the salamander on his shoulder.  The salamander (symbol of sexual sin) had to be killed before the man could be set free. Then what had been his biggest occasion of sin became the horse upon which he made great progress toward the City of God.  And that is the way of it. Whining about one's sexual orientation and insisting that one must have the right to sex only makes things worse.  We all have our thorn in the flesh, and it is that which God uses to bring us the most swiftly and surely to Himself if we will only surrender it and ourselves to Him. That is what it boils down to in the end, and it was that which finally allowed Him to reclaim me - when I was finally willing to be obedient.  If I had continued to insist on my own way, I still would not be a Christian today.  I have a great fear for these people who are trying to have their cake and eat it too by wanting Christ but not His cross.  In the end, most of them will probably lose their faith entirely. Then people will blame the Church and themselves, saying that "if only we had been more understanding" or "if only the church hadn't been so critical and harsh" - and in some cases it will be true in part. But mostly it will have been primarily a matter of them insisting on choosing their own commandments rather than following God's.  And trying to remain in the Church while at the same time engaging in sex will turn out to have been only a stop along the way. And how many will they have been dragged down with them?!

What did Jesus say to Mary Magdalene?  "Go and pick ONE man and remain in a monogamous relationship with him"?  Of course not.  He said, "Go and sin no more."  Hard words, but the only thing that would save her.  And in fact she did live a celibate life and became a great saint, converting thousands after Pentecost.  Same case with homosexual sex. Chastity is a hard choice, especially when you have opened the door to promiscuity, but, as the saying goes, "No pain no gain" or "No cross no crown."

And here I must gently upbraid you a little.  I believe that the devil has used one of your greatest virtues, compassion, to deceive you. You see gay men in psychological and spiritual pain and you are so tender-hearted that you don't want them to hurt any more - and so far well and good.  But you have fallen for the lure by getting suckered in by their flawed arguments, and so you have, at least in part, encouraged them in sin by suggesting that it may be all right for them to have sex if only they remain monogamous.  Please don't misunderstand me.  I know it is a complex issue, but if you remember the clear teachings of Christ on what is sexually acceptable, passed down in unbroken teaching (both in Scripture and orally) - and if you additionally consider the Natural Law - you won't go wrong.  But if even those do not convince you, I would urge you to remain silent, and not spread your uncertainty and confusion to others.  I am concerned for you because you have taken it upon yourself to set up a homosexual support group with an ever-widening sphere of influence.  And because you are having an influence on these people, because you are beginning to be seen as something of an authority on this issue, you will be held accountable by God for any influence for evil that you happen to wield, however unintentional.  It comes with the territory (remember Paul's words - to Timothy, I believe - about how teachers will be held accountable for so much more).  And in particular to sow doubt, or to insinuate that it is up to each individual to decide what they want to be true on this issue, is a well-meant but real abuse of your authority. Forgive me for coming on so strong, but if I your son (who first introduced you to issue which you have now championed) don't tell you this, who will?  God has provided you with an opportunity to provide real healing to gay men and women - and their families - by reasonably laying out the only course that will bring them to spiritual and psychological healing: repentance and chastity.  There is all the room in the world in this approach for gentleness and love and compassion, while at the same time refusing to admit error.

Going back to your question-and-answer period, I believe your argument that the Sodom story was about rape falls through when you recall that Lot offered his daughters to the men.  Obviously, that wouldn't have been a good option either, but was clearly preferable to Lot than that the men should be raped by other men.  Somehow there was something even more horrifying and offensive about homosexual than heterosexual rape. And it also would seem to indicate that God was not particularly concerned about whether they were homosexually "oriented" or not - but rather that they were committing a homosexual act. Again, I think you were on the right idea when talking about the "historical context" of the passages condemning homosexual acts, but to see them as merely pedophilia or pagan temple rites rather than homosexual acts condemned, misses the boat I believe.  If you really look at history, I believe you will find nothing but a continuous interpretation of those passages in both the Christian and Judaic traditions that is the same as what the Catholic Church holds today.

You asked us to pray for you, and I believe that is the best thing you said in your message. Well done! You are treading dangerous ground and need prayers especially now.  Your good intentions in wanting to heal and reconcile have, I hope, kept you from committing the sin the devil wants to get from you - pride.  That was the original sin and the one that he manages to catch most of us at sooner or later. Be watchful and vigilant!  The prowling lion does not sleep.

I must say I do feel sorry for the plight "Dave" seems to have found himself in. Because of the cultural bias, the churchmen don't want to have anything to do with him, and yet he can't find any peace from his fellow gay men, who are urging him to out himself. Poor fellow. Straddling the fence is painful.  It's funny, you know. If I need to tell someone now about being gay, I choose carefully but usually it's all right, because they know I'm seeking their support in living a chaste life.  By and large the 2000-year-old Catholic Church doesn't seem to have quite the cultural bias against homosexuals (those who are not trying to promote homosexual sex, anyway) that one finds in the younger Protestant denominations. I have all the support I need, and now that I'm no longer trying to insist on my right to have gay sex I find myself less and less needing or wanting to proclaim my homosexuality to the world.

Well, nothing or floods seems to be what you get from me!  I hope you haven't thought me too forward. I just love you and don't want to see you misguided despite (or even through) your good intentions.

With Love,





In the spring of 2000, Danny left the monastery and returned home to his family, then left to pursue his studies in music.

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