“I was a boy, I was a Mexican, I was a Christian, and I was straight. Now I am a man, I am an American, I am a Humanist, and I am gay. And all this time, then and now, I remained human just the same.”
—Fernando Alcántar, To the Cross and Back
Fernando Alcántar, “The Humanist Preacher,” was born and raised in Mexico and immigrated to the United States as a teenager. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership from Azusa Pacific University, one of the top Christian Universities in the nation.
He is an author, activist, public speaker, and life-thirsty adventurer.
Tongue Speaking Origins
Fernando was born into Roman Catholicism, as most other Mexican boys. During his adolescence, and seeking an emotional escape from his troubles, he attended a Vacation Bible School offered by teenage American short-term missionaries. This experience led to his conversion to Christianity where he quickly ascended as youth leader and eventually state leader for the Foursquare Church denomination in the state of Baja California, Mexico.
During this time he was taught, and he later preached, that “homosexuality is an abomination,” that “God had created AIDS to punish homosexuals,” and that “AIDs was probably caused when gay men had sex with monkeys.” During his pentecostal experience, Fernando took part in tongue speaking and demon-casting rituals as part of an ultra conservative branch of Christianity preaching what he was taught was the only way to heaven.
Fernando worked at APU’s Mexico Outreach for eight years as Senior Coordinator of North American Partnerships. There, he oversaw hundreds of churches in Mexico and helped mobilize over 9,000 missionaries a year from all over the United States and Canada. He innovated dozens of new ministries and developed unprecedented partnerships with government officials, nonprofits, schools, businesses, and churches. He has spoken in front of thousands sharing his faith and motivating people into Christian ministry, and traveled around the world serving marginalized communities.
As a student of Azusa Pacific, Fernando was taught that homosexuality is a mental illness, Gender Identity Disorder, which was caused by sin we have committed, or sin that was committed against us. In secret, he sought Christian counseling, also knows as gay-conversion therapy, that could help him deal with the guilt from what he was taught was disgusting in the eyes of God.
Former Denominational Leader
He left APU to take the role of Director of Leadership Development for Young People for the California-Pacific Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. “Cal-Pac” oversees almost 400 churches for about 83,000 members across Southern California, Hawaii, Guam and Saipan. In this role, he oversaw youth and young adult ministries across the region, served as an ambassador to ethnic caucuses, and developed breakthrough leadership programs for its constituents. He was considered by many as the spokesperson for emerging United Methodism.
It was towards the end of his term with the UMC that Fernando reached the twilight of his theological process out of Christianity. He left the religious community and returned to Higher Education where he served at Utah State University Eastern as Director of Student Life. Moving to the Mormon epicenter proved to be a challenging option, but it was the place where he finally realized his full sexual identity. He eventually resigned in September of 2013 after constantly being personally and professionally attacked for issues administrators admitted were related to him being non-Mormon and his sexuality.
Once a high profile religious leader, Fernando wants to use this book to come out as both Gay and Atheist -“gaytheist”- to help strengthen a national narrative of understanding, tolerance and acceptance. He also wants to help give a voice to those hiding in the shadows, afraid to publicly question their religious, cultural, and sexual identity for fear of isolation and retaliation.