Mel White is an ordained minister of a Metropolitan Community Church in the United States. You may not have heard of the Metropolitan Community Church, but if you were to walk into one of their services you’d find it very much like an Evangelical one. The people around you would be singing songs of praise that you know, you might hear testimonies of people who had recently become Christians, the bible would be preached, prayers made, conservative Christian beliefs affirmed. In fact it’s an environment in which most Evangelicals would feel at home…until you discover that most of the people around you are gay. Not only are they gay but they are living in homosexual unions blessed and promoted by the Metropolitan Community Church.
Mel White is one of their ministers. He first realised he was homosexual when he was a 12 year old Boy Scout and fell head over heals for another boy, Daryl. It terrified him. He knew homosexuality was evil and would send him to hell. He spent the next 30 years in a constant battle with his homosexual feelings. Knowing they were not within God’s will Mel did what was expected of him – he got married to a lovely woman, had children and a rich family life. Yet almost from the start he and his wife knew something was wrong. They tried desperately to find a “cure” for his homosexual feelings. He tried aversion therapy, where electric shocks were applied to his body every time he felt stimulated by photos of men. He tried counselling, He fasted, he prayed, he was anointed with oil for healing. He tried chemical treatments. He tried exorcism. He wanted desperately not to be gay. But nothing worked.
In the meantime Mel had been to seminary, gained a doctorate in theology and was working as a co-author in writing books for many of the US Christian world’s biggest and most conservative names: Francis Schaeffer, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Billy Graham.
After decades of failing to overcome his homosexuality Mel slit his wrists in an attempt at suicide. While recovering in hospital he again tried to kill himself. At that point his wife said “Why don’t you choose life?” They agreed to an amicable separation and from that point on Mel has entered into a long term homosexual relationship, reconciled his faith and his sexuality, maintained his strong and loving relationship with his children, and now works to help people discover their homosexuality as a gift from God, not a sickness nor a sin.
Of course this has met with a strong reaction from others in the very conservative Christian Right of which he was a part. As new of his homosexuality became public book writing contracts were cancelled, phone calls went unreturned, letters were written declaring him an abomination who would burn in hell, and some of his former colleagues refused even to shake his hand.
Source: information from Metropolitan Tabernacle web-site & Philip Yancey, What’s So Amazing About Grace