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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 orientatio...n 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. More

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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Journey - Chapter 16

The Day After by Jerry McKay

After years of suppressing relationship longings, fearing and over-analyzing every thought and feeling, my world seemed different the day after reading the Ministry magazine interview; even the sunlight was different. Naming my experience instantly altered my perception of the world and divided it into before and after. While most prior themes remained and/or evolved, new themes emerged. Overnight, I became preoccupied with changing my orientation.

At the same time, I felt driven to seek out other LGBT people as a means of understanding myself. Not all new themes were pleasant. I would slowly learn what others—church members in particular—thought of "the homosexual"—of me. My circumstances notwithstanding, I was as naïve as any heterosexual about the broader experience of LGBT people. I had no idea what was ahead of me. I had just eaten from the reparative-therapy tree of knowledge of good and evil, so I would have to experience all the consequences for myself.

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Journey - Chapter 15

The Year of Before and After, Part II BY JERRY MCKAY

It was midnight when I finished reading the Ministry interview and headed home. The familiar residential streets of Tokyo seemed different that night. My trance-like walk home was broken once by a brief exchange with a passing policeman whom I knew. I remember this odd detail because his greeting jolted me back into the present. Although my head was filled with the hope of healing from homosexuality, when I saw him I was once again aware of how attractive I found him.

This left me feeling uneasy. Once home, hoping not to wake anyone, I slipped into bed and tried to sleep. That was impossible. It is said that just before you die your life passes before you. Mine passed before me many times that night. I replayed events from childhood and with male friendships in high school and college. I recounted my long “relationship” with Donna and my three prior years in Japan. I spent most of the night reassessing every event through a new lens—the cause and cure of homosexuality.

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Journey - Chapter 14

The Year of Before and After, Part I BY JERRY MCKAY

As my graduation approached, I should have been contacting conferences in Canada for a pastoral internship position. I was not. Instead, I returned to Japan, the only place I felt I could serve God and avoid the stress my yet unacknowledged orientation was creating. While my return was an acceptable option, it did not come from a place of strength. Distress was a common private component of my life. However, this trip to Japan would be unlike any other. Halfway through my two-year term, a life-defining moment occurred.

I arrived in Japan just in time to attend the baptism of a dear friend. During my final year of college, Mitsuko wrote to tell me of her decision to give her heart to Jesus. On August 3, 1980, Mitsuko was baptized in a beautiful, tree-lined mountain stream an hour west of Tokyo. English teachers, church members, her husband, and I gathered as she waded into a pool of water with the pastor to seal her commitment. I was thrilled to be part of this celebration because I never expected to be there. The day after, I rushed off to Osaka. Although my heart was in Tokyo, I had reluctantly agreed to start my work in Osaka because they needed a teacher.

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Journey - Chapter 13

By Jerry McKayPUblished November 2016 in Connection

Despite everything that was going on internally, I made wary attempts at dating. My very confused state of mind affected everyone around me including Donna who continued to hold out hope for a relationship. But her hope was constantly frustrated. I was all over the map when it came to Donna and other female friends. A seemingly insignificant event could ignite my fight or flight response.

One evening, for example, a considerate faculty member sent me into a panic. A few minutes before a worship service was to begin, I sat down next to one of my professors. Shortly after, he noticed Donna approaching. Because there wasn’t room for her, he stood up and offered her his seat. I remember this incident because of a sudden almost overwhelming surge of agitation—even anger. I appreciated his gesture, but in my mind, his action implied we were a couple. Taking place in church, this felt too public. His gracious offer brought reality too close. I couldn’t manage being seen to be in a serious relationship. I wanted to get up and leave.

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Journey - Chapter 12

By Jerry McKay

Published September 2016  in Connection


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Journey - Chapter 11

By Jerry McKay

Published July 2016 in Connection

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Journey - Chapter 10

By Jerry McKay

Published June 2016 in Connection

In the introduction to my story, I mentioned that people have asked how my faith and my orienta­tion intersected and collided. During that first year at CUC, there was a spiritual “event” that conspired against me to create great expectations on one hand and disillusionment on the other. Those expectations intensified my internal conflict and would carry forward to the time when I was in reparative therapy. Because my spiritual formation was profoundly influenced by that event, I will explore it at some length. Bear with me, as I get a bit theological.

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Journey - Chapter 9

Back in Canada and Alberta BoundBy Jerry McKay

Published April/May 2016 in Connection

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Journey - Chapter 8

Awareness of My OrientationBy Jerry McKay

Published February 2016 in Connection

My orientation continued to manifest on a daily basis, and there were times when it in­truded noticeably. As in high school, it sometimes caused me to modify my be­havior. Four examples have stayed with me all these years.

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Journey - Chapter 7

Missionary to JapanBy Jerry McKay

Published January 2016 in Connection

I finished high school in 1974 with bet­ter grades than expected and more confidence in my academic abilities than when I started. I attribute that to an environment in which I felt safe and con­tent. There was no comparing my years at Kingsway to my first year of high school back home. Graduation, however, did not mean I had to relocate to con­tinue my stu­dies. Because Kingsway of­fered the first two years of a bachelor in theology, I start­ed my degree in Oshawa that fall.

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Journey - Chapter 6

By Jerry McKay

Published November/December 2015 in Connection

You and Your Health is a three-vol­ume set focusing on concerns and questions related to health. I don't remember the first time I pulled it off the library shelf; but, when I did, I did so sur­reptitiously to avoid being asked what I was reading. I know I looked at it several times during high school and col­lege. Browsing through it was not a good expe­rience. Before I look at the article, I have two questions.

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Journey - Chapter 5

By Jerry McKay

Published October 2015 in Connection

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Journey - Chapter 4

Awareness of Orientation BY JERRY MCKAY

Published September 2015 


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Journey - Chapter 3

High School Years at Kingsway By Jerry McKay

Published August 2015 in Connection                                        

As with my childhood, themes characterize my high school years. The things I did as part of my spiritual discipline at home continued and evolved. My orientation was always present; and, like before, there were many times when it forced itself into my awareness in ways I could not ignore. In high school, naturally, the expectation to date increased; and I tried.

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Journey - Chapter 2

By Jerry McKay

Published June/July 2015 in Connection

  — School

Memories of my early school years are generally positive, but adolescent memory is selective. As might be expected, it is the rare and bizarre events that have stayed with me.

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Journey - Chapter 1

By Jerry McKay


Published May 2015 in Connection

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