"Fernando Alcántar has been on a remarkable journey that could easily have cost him his life. But as we learn in this challenging memoir, he has fought his way to the other side and came out whole with a clear understanding of his sexuality, his spirituality, and his mission in life. Fernando is an inspiration!" —Eric Marcus, co-author, Coming Out to Play (with Robbie Rogers) and Breaking the Surface (with Greg Louganis)
In this exceptionally moving and soul-searching memoir, Fernando Alcántar recounts his incredible journey from poor Catholic boy on the dusty streets of Mexico to globetrotting missionary and high-profile Christian leader in the United States—where he eventually left his celebrated life behind to advocate for the liberating power of reason and equality. With heart-wrenching honesty, he shares stories of trauma, tragedy, prejudice, uncertainty, survival, and, ultimately, discovery. In the process, he gives a voice to thousands who are hiding in the shadows, afraid to publicly question their religious or sexual identity for fear of isolation and retaliation. He also makes a call for tolerance and understanding, while heralding the natural beauty of human qualities like courage, kindness, and love.
Although Alcántar's story is a highly personal one, history shows that the best way to chart any new journey is to first see how others have traveled before—whether to avoid their missteps or to uncover a well-trodden path. So join him on his fascinating and enlightening journey of adventure, celebration, despair, reflection, and, finally, liberation. You will discover that his is not simply a Mexican story or an American story, a heterosexual’s story or homosexual’s story, a Christian’s story or an atheist’s story. Rather, his is a universal story—one uniquely about and for our times.
AN AMAZING JOURNEY OF
"Each one of us who has trudged the dusty trail from faith to reason
has a fascinating saga to relate, but none of them is more poignant
than Fernando Alcántar's...
I can guarantee you that his story has the ring of truth.
It is honest, exciting, informative, moving, and courageous.
As you read it, you may visit locales that seem familiar,
but I can promise you will also be taken places you never imagined visiting."
Dan Barker, Co-President of the Freedom from Religion Foundation
Fernando shares, with heart-wrenching honesty, his difficult journey through religion and the ultimate fall from faith. Born into Catholicism, becoming a globetrotting missionary for one of the largest evangelical colleges in the country, becoming a denominational leader in Mexico and the US, his eventual crisis of faith and time in Mormon Utah are all chronicled in his journals of internal process, doubt and enlightenment which takes you first circle to the cross and back.
Fernando opens up about the most difficult and personal secrets of his life. From memories of abuse as a child, to times of reckless debauchery as a teenager, to stories of tragedy that almost cost him his life as an adult. Poverty, gangs, mental illness, and near-death experiences shape his life and define his need for belonging. This is a journey with casualties, but also a journey of endurance with a a stubborn hope in humanity and a never-ending hope in the future, even when light seems dimmest.
Fernando shares his coming of age curiosity and his lust for life in this inspiring saga. This is first and foremost a story of life, love, and stubborn faith in humanity. From exploring the world's cultures, adventures in the wild outdoors, pursuing a restoration with his past, experimenting with his sexuality, and seeking inner peace after the storm, this is an edge-of-your-seat story that will make you believe again that it is worth it to throw caution out the window and live live to the fullest.
PRAISE FOR 'TO THE CROSS AND BACK'
“This is as much an adventure and coming-of-age story as it is a coming-out story (both gay and atheist). It clearly shows how sincere and fervent religious belief erodes when logic and clear thinking creep in. Beware, Christian fundamentalists—this book is dangerous to your beliefs, but is a secular blessing to the rest of us.” —Linda LaScola, co-founder, The Clergy Project; co-author, Caught in the Pulpit: Leaving Belief Behind