SDA Kinship News

Most of what characterizes my life today—work, family, and faith—looks little like what I thought it would when I graduated from college in 1980. Because of my sexual orientation, nothing is as I expected. I still identify as Seventh-day Adventist, but I do not have the same relationship with my church as I once had. I am open about my...

Most of what characterizes my life today—work, family, and faith—looks little like what I thought it would when I graduated from college in 1980. Because of my sexual orientation, nothing is as I expected. I still identify as Seventh-day Adventist, but I do not have the same relationship with my church as I once had. I am open about my orientation to most people, and I have been in a relationship for nearly twenty-five years. Don’t let that fact, however, lead you to make assumptions about my theology. That I am a professing Christian is applauded by some and questioned by others. LGBT acquaintances and some heterosexual friends often ask me why I continue to associate with a faith community that has had a checkered relationship with its LGBT members. Others wonder how I can consider myself a Christian while in a relationship.

In addition to the why-do-I-continue and the how-can-I-consider-myself questions are a multitude of other questions that people have asked me over the years.

Naturally, people want to know when and how I first became aware of my orienta­tion. Others are interested in my spiritual experience and how my faith and my orientation intersect and perhaps collide. Many questions revolve around my reparative therapy journey and how that impacted my belief in God and my relationship to the church. I am often asked about the pivotal moment I decided to stop trying to change my orientation and the events that led up to that moment. Related to that decision is the question of short- and long-term consequences. I’ve been asked about where I see God in the whole journey—before counseling, during counseling, and since accepting my orientation. And, finally, others want to know about my relationship, how it has evolved over the years, and the impact it has had on my life.

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JOURNEY - CHAPTER 20

 
A Week at Quest Learning Center

BY JERRY MCKAY

By the end of the first week of September 1982, I had decided to relocate to Pennsylvania for counseling. The first thing I had to do was to call Perry in Japan, because my decision would require his finding a teacher to replace me on short notice. At $3.00 per minute, our call was brief. Perry said that any inconvenience my decision might cause did not concern him. Rather, he was concerned for me. After sharing a few details about my visit with Colin, I thought I had put Perry’s reservations to rest. That was not the case. Two days later, Perry called back.

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JOURNEY - CHAPTER 19

 
A Wedding and a Vacation

BY JERRY MCKAY

On August 10, 1982, barely a week after my first weekend visit with Colin Cook, my sister and I loaded up a rented Capri station wagon and set out for Alberta where I would be a member of the wedding of a college friend. The difference between this trip and others Marilyn and I had taken together before was that she now knew about my orientation. I told her the night I returned from my first visit with Colin. Her knowing about my orientation was significant, but it didn’t mean much. Without access to my experience, how could she know what I was going through? Often during this trip, I was lost in self-reflection about my past, present, and future, all through the lens of reparative therapy.

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Journey - Chapter 18

 

DISCLAIMER: The material in this chapter deals with sensitive issues with respect to the author's experience when he was in counseling with Mr. Cook. Some may find this section upsetting. At the same time, the author would like to stress that these events were in 1982 and that a lot of time has passed since then. The author has a long history with Mr. Cook. Over the last couple of years, he has been in contact with Mr. Cook about these incidents. This, however, is for a later chapter.

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Journey - Chapter 17

First Visit with Colin 
BY JERRY MCKAY

Once I named my experience—acknowledged my homosexual orientation—a predictable side effect emerged. I found myself wanting to meet others with a similar experience. The only way I knew of doing that was through an ad on the back page of The Japan Times.

Among the ads for apartments, language teachers, and cheap flights to the U.S., was the bi-weekly one-sentence notice for a gathering of gay men. The ad I had purposely ignored over the years was now my portal to meeting people like myself. I called from the language school, but only when it was deserted. The conversation was short. All I needed was the time and location of the gathering.  

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