Public request for repentance from Christopher Yuan and Multnomah Press,
I wrote a thoughtful, thorough and critical review of Christopher Yuan’s latest book “Holy Sexuality and the Gospel: Sex, Desire, and Relationships Shaped by God’s Grand Story” (Multnomah, WaterBrook Multnomah, Division of Crown, 2018) that went live on Amazon November 27, 2018. Within 10 hours of that review posting on Amazon, it was removed.
I had followed all Guidelines; I know the rules well for I am prolific reader and reviewer of books. What had happened? After investigation by a trusted and connected friend, it was found that Yuan and his publisher pressured and succeeded in having Amazon employee(s) comply, and remove my critical review. When it was brought to attention of Amazon corporate, they swiftly took steps against those employees, and reinstated my review. Amazon company policy had clearly been broken by agreeing to the censorship of my review.
During the time while my review remained deleted, people called and emailed Amazon protesting censorship. Many people also reposted my deleted review under their name and accounts as a protest. The review titles of those protest submissions clearly indicated that the reviews were a response to censorship.
Almost immediately and still currently, the review process on Yuan’s book was shut down and remains that way currently. I am sure this is a great inconvenience to the author of a new book.
Although Yuan and Multnomah Press know and are now suffering the consequences of their actions with halted reviews, they continue to ignore what they set in place. They tacitly allow supporters of the book to ruminate, speculate, and imagine reasons as to how a group of people “attacked” Yuan and his book. Yuan has even called this temporary stop on reviews censorship. Oh, the irony.
This is a situation Yuan and publisher created. It is the result and response to censorship. “Sow to the wind and reap the whirlwind.” Hosea 8:7
To Christopher Yuan and Multomah Press:
In your manipulative efforts to censor, you have sinned against others by:
- coercing employees of two companies to defy their company policies to participate in censorship,
- attempting to silence and censor me,
- shifting the blame off yourselves by allowing, and even encouraging speculation that other people/groups are the culprits who are guilty of shutting down the review process which had already netted a high percentage of negative book reviews.
The Bible is clear about the process of repentance and reconciliation. Do what is right; do what you would counsel others to do.
Beyond this clear incident of censorship, the bigger and ongoing crisis is the continuation of a pattern of attempted silencing and ignoring the voices, testimonies, and stories of clear damage and abuse done to LGBTQ Christians by books like Yuan’s (here is a more complete list of those books), and the teachings and policies they reflect.
This abusive crisis can be halted and fixed. To authors who are complicit—stop talking/writing about LGBTQ Christians and people, and talk with them.
It is stunning that books can be written about transgender people, without ever speaking to one transgender person who is more typical of the majority.
To those members of the LGBTQ communities and their families who have been impacted by Christopher Yuan’s books and other authors and policies they reflect, I invite you to send me one or two paragraphs about how this type of writing/teaching has impacted your life. Sign them with your name, initials, cities, denominations, ages—however you want. (firstname.lastname@example.org) I will add your messages to this post as I receive them.
Raise your voices.
Not only will I not stop speaking up, the voices of LGBTQ Christians and their supportive families and friends are becoming more numerous and louder. They are speaking.
ED Canyonwalker Connections
As a psychotherapist in private practice I have seen firsthand the damage that books like this have caused in the lives of LGBTQ people, their friends and their families. Webster defines hate as intense hostility and aversion; extreme dislike or disgust, antipathy, loathing; to find very distasteful. What Christian authors and leaders fail to realize is their words and actions are perceived as hatred by the LGBTQ community. And this hatred becomes internalized and over time people are being taught to hate themselves in this destructive cycle. The end result oftentimes is a damaging level of self-loathing which can result in destructive behaviors, and suicide. There is nothing loving about what is happening here. It is judgment, control, and hatred disguised as “Christian love.” Please stop this spiritual and emotional abuse. The lives of vulnerable people are at risk.
Rory D. Goshorn, PsyD, Licensed Marriage Family Therapist
Rancho Mirage, CA
“I have very vivid memories of my parents sending me new books about how to live as a “man of holiness and sexual purity.” My coming out was fraught with being sent books like “Out of a Far Country.” My relationship with my parents isn’t great, and part of that can be attributed to the fact that books like these have been weaponized against me. “If they did it, then you can do it!”
The worst is that I used to believe these kinds of lies and that, partnered with “praying the gay away” & conversion therapy caused years of damage to my mental health. It took 2 suicide attempts and a lot of REAL therapy to help me become ok with my identity. These books do lasting damage.”
“I can’t begin to accurately describe the depth of pain I feel from Christian writers, who continue to misuse Gods words to bring harm to my community. When I was in LIA, we were coreced into reading books and watch films that were so damaging to my sense of self worth I left there full intending to commit suicide.I still struggle today with my self esteem and occasionally doubt my salvation because of the mental abuse I’ve dealt with since coming out. I know in my heart I’m saved, it’s my head that’s messed up and books like this hurt on a level that not everyone will understand.”
Due to the Evangelical teaching that “the Bible clearly says homosexuality is a sin,” we did not support our son when he told us of his sexual identity which I had already suspected for years. In order to please us, and his church upbringing, he chose to marry a young woman. Let me just say, this did not end well, for them or their children. Our son hit a very serious low after he “failed” many types of “Christian” therapy, some which were required by the church he and his family were attending. Thank God, by this time, the Lord had opened my eyes to the incredible damage the church was causing to the LGBT community. We were able to step in and get him the help he really needed. Currently he is in a life-giving relationship with another man and is a great dad to his children. The real tragedy in this story is that he desires nothing to do with the church.
“I am the Christian mother of a young man in his 20s. By the time our son was 3, my husband and I suspected he might be gay. Like good evangelicals, we sought the counsel of our Christian leaders and organizations like Focus on the Family and Exodus International and were advised to read books such as these. Although our son was too young to read and understand our concerns, my husband and I embraced the messages of these books and raised our son in the environment of attempting to redirect him from living out his authentic, God-given self. My failure to question this teaching is my deepest regret. Our son bears the scars.”
Kimberly from California
That withdrawal from Exclusive Brethren allowed GOD to deliver me into the glorious freedom of His wonderful INCLUSION. Christians (especially evangelical, fundamental, exclusive ones) have much to answer to God for by rejecting those of us who want to live godly lives according to the way God has instructed that we DO NOT live – in lust and outside of committed relationships, even if our commitments are to those of our same gender.
Books under the subtle guise and deception of biblical facades, are the greatest hindrances to God’s revelation of His prerogative and authority in His Creation. Christopher Yuan’s book, “Holy Sexuality,” is one such book that I refuse to bring into my personal library.”
“I am a Mother of a gay son. My whole family was ostracized from our church even before he came out. Why? Because people knew he was probably gay. We were gradually made to feel unwelcome-people we’d known all our lives quit speaking to us. People who sat next to us in the same PEW for years moved to other pews. Our son went from being in love with the Lord to refusing to talk about anything related to church. The pain and hurt we experienced was not done by God. It was done by people. It left scars that have only been healed by embracing the love that flows freely throughout this beautiful group of people.
“Growing up gay in NZ during the 1970’s was not only challenging because of what the church taught, but also because of the influence Christian morality had on the laws at that time.
I was 30 years of age before the law changed so that I would no longer be a criminal in the eyes of the law. I remember when I was 20 being told by the police, “You know what we do to people like you, we lock you up!” I did not want to be gay, it was not my choice and coming from a strong evangelical Christian family I resorted to prayer and self-deprecation. Sadly when I eventually sought support from the church, I was met with ignorance and judgment rather than grace and love.
I’m grateful that God through Jesus still reminded me that I’m loved and I’m ransomed, healed, restored and forgiven. And for the record I’m still gay, and not bound by the righteousness of those well-meaning Christians who believe their role is to be gatekeepers of the Kingdom, determining who is in and who is out! I’ve lost too many friends to self-harm because of this behaviour. While they can no longer speak for themselves, I can, and my calling from God is to share the truth of gospel, and call out dangerous and harmful practice when it occurs.”
Colin, New Zealand
“I would encourage author Christopher Yuan to read Kathy Baldock’s “Walking the Bridgeless Canyon: The Historical and Cultural Understanding of Homosexuality” which is also available on Amazon–this book has helped me understand the historical context of sexuality in a concise way, in terms of the political, medical, and social views that were often highly contested.
I’d also like to encourage Professor Yuan to read Garrard Conley’s memoir “Boy Erased.” And I would like to challenge him to see the real-life damage of the whole premise that people should actively deny and disavow attractions that some may involuntarily experiences toward the same gender. There are very ineffective, harmful, and often fatal consequences of telling the LGBTQ+ members of society to deny or disavow sexuality and gender identity altogether.
Although I respect Professor Yuan’s freedom to believe what he does, please also recognize the real and devastating consequences of lifelong denial of a very intimate, vulnerable, and special part of oneself. Comparing a sexual orientation to a disease or addiction (and as you’ve said on Twitter, pedophilia & bestiality) is a highly offensive, distorted, and demeaning portrayal of actual people in the LGBTQ+ community. With all due respect, our LGBTQ+ siblings need an apology for this–would you consider retracting this statement? Non-straight people can express a healthy sexuality and mutual love through consensual, loving, caring, and sacrificial partnerships. Please listen to the LGBTQ+ community as individuals that speak truth to power.
Please listen to your LGBTQ+ siblings’ cry for the Christian church to do justice, love mercy, and walk as humbly as we can with the Lord.”
Sungmey, South Korea
“My parents sent me a book on the plausible life of celibacy after I told them I was interested in dating a female. I barely got through three chapters before asking why they would think it was a good idea to send me something like that. They said it had good pointers and biblical teachings. They had bought a copy for each member of the family which essentially outed me to people I didn’t feel comfortable coming out to yet.
To this day, I feel a huge pressure and amount of shame surrounding my sexuality. I didn’t get the chance to tell my own story, and now I am unsafe talking to my family members. I didn’t realize what a number this celibacy-only teaching had done to me until I started going to therapy. All I ever wanted was to love Jesus and express that by being myself, a queer female who loves without borders- just like Jesus.
Christopher Yuan’s teachings directly affect the LGBTQIA community by creating more shame. I am not called to be shamed or to suffer for Christ, I’m challenged to love like Jesus would.”
After that, I felt comfortable coming out to my campus ministry leader about being gay, but he immediately referred me to watch a video talk by Christopher Yuan about homosexuality. Although Yuan’s teachings about dedication to God above human desires made sense, his life story about being promiscuous and doing drugs as part of a “gay lifestyle” didn’t relate at all to my own experience of being gay. I never did drugs nor had sex with anyone. Although I had no common experiences, ultimately at the time, I bought into Yuan’s misleading message on “holy sexuality” which implied that being gay was inherently sinful or something shameful to talk about.
It wasn’t until the end of my senior year that I realized how pernicious Yuan’s teaching was. Because my campus ministry leader only knew of Yuan’s negative perspective of homosexuality, our groups never talked about being gay in a positive way. It was only after another guy in our campus ministry came out as gay and shared his testimony in front of our group that I realized I was not the only gay Christian. Sadly, I had known this guy, J, since freshman year, but because of the shame and negativity inspired by Yuan’s teachings, we had never talked about our experiences being gay despite being involved in ministry for so long.
Whereas I only suffered loneliness while being gay and part of this christian campus ministry, J had been pushed to depression and eventually self-destructive behavior through binge alcohol drinking. Although Christopher Yuan may seem to be trying to provide a helpful alternative view of sexuality, ultimately it only breeds isolation, shame, and self-harm.
-Kyle, Los Angeles