Beta-Reader Reviews

SPOILER ALERT!!! The following comments are from beta-readers of Fifty Shades of Grace and may give away key plot points of the book. If you’d like to be surprised as you read the book for yourself, don’t read these comments first!

(These comments have been condensed to make this page manageable, but both positive and negative comments have been left in tact. Many of of the suggestions included in the comments have been incorporated into the final version of the book.)

  1. “You have a voice, a story, and a message that is important.” FP
  2. “A fascinating story. I’m completely blown away at your life experiences! Your candor and transparency truly elevate the storytelling. I envy how smooth and easy your storytelling is. It is simple to slip into the story and imagine myself right along with you. You just have a natural, relaxing style. Would you mind if I shared your story? Somehow, I think your story would help. I think your book is coming into being at exactly the right time. There is so much damage and hurt right now, and your story is filled with hope and love and caring. You aren’t harsh or condemning or preachy. I’m so grateful you are preparing to share it. I cried and cried and cried. All the way through. I cannot believe the Christian world is not ready for this. I’m ready to buy several copies and give to people I know who are hurting – one wife who is hurting over sexual sin; another wife who is questioning her marriage. Nothing to do with homosexuality but everything to do with trust and faith. And I believe, down to my bones, that they would be helped by reading this story. I’m about to cry again. This is beautiful. What you have is a tone that is not typical in the homosexuality discussion. You don’t condemn but you don’t promote either. It is transparent and unapologetic, but also modest and humble. And I think your tone, your way of sharing your story, is really God’s gift, His grace, shining through. I can’t wait to be able to give some of my friends copies either. I am certain they will find hope inside of it.” WB
  3. “You really are a GREAT story teller. And, oh, what a story to tell! Do you know how many and various ways those chapters affect me?!!” NR
  4. “I really do think you have something special on your hands here. The story is compelling, but I think what takes it to an even higher level is your writing, which really draws the reader in, and is crafted so well. “ FS
  5. “Wow, I read the first 5 chapters and you are an excellent writer.  Very well done. It’s not a topic I would normally pick up and read, but you had me hooked with the story line.  I think you’ve got something here! All I can say is wow! Excellent work! I think it’s incredible that you can write about it with the aim of helping others… I don’t think that I could be so honest and open. That’s probably why it is so riveting, I think you are very passionate about using this to help others. Great job:)” EL
  6. “I have been very touched by what you have written. You should change nothing. It is truthful and very compelling. I believe with all my heart this book needs to be said. I too wish it had been available years ago. I think it would have eliminated so much pain for so many. I have a cousin whose only son was gay. We never knew-forty years ago such a thing was never talked about. We were hicks from Illinois ya know. He got AIDS. Again before it was talked about. His mom, moved to Iowa to take care of him-all by herself. Never let anyone in the family know. Took care of him for months before he passed away. The guilt I feel has never gone away-her being scared to let family help. I don’t know what my answer would have been back then-I only know what it would be today. In my opinion, it’s perfect. It’s not a “sex” book, it’s about a little boy lost and just wants to be loved. Trying to find his way and not knowing where to go or what to look for. It’s about a young man just wanting to be accepted, and because of the types of things he enjoys; piano, the arts etc, he is thrown into a lifestyle that is intriguing, and a little scary too. The truth is I wanted to cry and hold that little boy and tell him everything would be alright. Someone should have been there to do that. I didn’t think you wanted to hear that part tho. Made me a little angry too, that there was no one. Just would like to box your ears at some points. It is perfect the way you have written it. Don’t change it with footnotes. Maybe this is the way you will get the message across better-and people who are in this lifestyle will see just how dangerous it can be. Plus how lucky you were. It is so well written and such a story of your struggles I can’t stop reading. It’s wonderful.I love the story. Wow!!! Just Wow!!! Crying. Laughing. Crying again. Smiling. But mostly thankful for you allowing me to be a part of this journey. What a journey. What courage to write this. Beautifully written- what a love story of three people. You. Your wife. God. Someone said it was graphic? Do they live under a rock? The Bible is more graphic. Please go forward. I think it’s very important for your story to be read and told. Just WOW!!!” ET
  7. “Reading your story is like being invited into a very personal place.  It touches on many levels but in reading it would be impossible to remain untouched. Truly a love story of exploration, passion, growing up physically and spiritually. Every page and incident is well thought out and delivers. I now have an understanding of a world that could only be a mystery to me before and I thank you for that. The story corrals a world, quite complex and with compassion and honesty, serves a palatable love story to all fortunate enough to receive these pages; I’m grateful to have been one of them. I don’t know the market for this work, whether few or many will embrace it, but someone will be enlightened by these pages and I know it will be more than just me. Most definitely a love story and I wonder if any other has investigated one from so many angles. I can’t imagine the story being any more timely either with the recent Supreme Court decision.  Yours is a much fairer assessment of the issues as being qualified to honestly and competently address them. Though explicit, your book is very respectful to all parties, and treats their mother and everyone involved with dignity and love. With that to lean on, you should be safe. After all, it never fails:-) Also… I related to the story and although homosexuality is at the core, it is much more universal than that.The story revolves around the coming of age we all must experience and I think because homosexuality is in the limelight, the timing is spot on. I think the Christian publishers should reconsider because if they think the subject is too steamy they are out of touch with today.Ironically, I think your handling of the story would soothe rather than incite the Christian soul.  Fear and ignorance isolate people and understanding unites. Life is not about us and them. It’s only about us. I found myself intrigued and a little fearful to hear what goes on. It has been kind of an unspoken mystery to me how people could take that step. I think not speaking it all up front  is a good tactic. I appreciate things that are not so in your face, it rather insults the intelligence. I think it’s a tender, well written Love story that contains a relevant message. Once homosexual always homosexual is not always the case. You don’t make judgments on others in your telling, but just relay your own story. I think this may be useful in walking an individual involved in this through questions that are relevant to him, without condemnation. Also, it allows the straight community to step inside your thought process and be a more enlightened person through the process. I would say mission accomplished. :) You definitely have not been overly graphic or explicit but have only explained your life, which honestly reminded me of my own as a young man.  I didn’t have rendezvous with men, but the sexual passion of youth is undeniable too honest people. I would call your renderings transparent. I think it would be challenging for me to write about my experiences with old girlfriends or my wife in a book and, I  applaud you for that. Recently, I struggle with what young people who have been brought up in the word and by our admonitions of sex before marriage must be going through. This world is not a simple place. And I think you can rest assured that none of us will steal your story.” VL
  8. “Read last night, excellent! Really can relate to much of what you talk about (which is the whole idea for your target audience i think). it doesn’t feel too graphic, just very personal which is good and helpful. You are such a good writer. Several parts were arousing, and could cause people to stumble, but after reading the book a second time, it’s not so arousing gets across the idea very well of what your life was like both before and after. What a beautiful, sweet, intimate portrait of God’s grace in your life. Somehow even the sadness of your wife’s passing was transformed into something filled with redemption and hope. Amazing! Thank you so much for sharing your deeply personal moments with the world. It will be so helpful to so many I believe.” ZM
  9. “I just finished reading your EXCELLENT book.  I pray that it will have a wide circulation because I believe it will help many people.  First, those who struggle with same sex attraction.  Second, those who struggle to understand people with same sex attraction.  Third, it’s a great love story.  It offers real hope.  Thanks for sharing it with me.  I look forward to sharing it with others.  Blessings! (Can I share it with a man who struggles in this area?)” NA
  10. “I had planned to read your book, but my husband warned me that it may not be right for me and then read a few of the scenes to me and I agreed. You see, I am very sensitive to sexual content.  It just seems to effect me more deeply than it does for others.  Stuff that may cause some people to say, “Wow” and would break my heart.  I’m not sure why it’s that way, maybe just because of the burden I carry for how sexualized our culture has become and I just haven’t figured out how to manage it or something.  Not sure. I guess some people are just more sensitive to certain things than others.  He also explained to me that the whole book isn’t like that and that there is a ton of really amazing stuff in there about you finding God and your journey to following him.  I’m sure it is an amazing book and I would really like to read parts of it but I know I couldn’t handle all the sexual stuff. Anyway, he has loved reading it and he has said that he thinks a lot of it could help people that are trying to figure out how to come out of homosexuality or that are just trying to figure out what’s right.” HN
  11. “The Love that you and your wife had for each other and for God is so intense and sacred.   Your beautiful relationship was a fountain of life for both physical and spiritual intimacy. It reminds me of the triangle example where as we get closer to God we get closer to each other.  In your case it was not a triangle, it was just a dot with you guys fully surrendered to God’s will and to each other.  To be honest I kind of felt unworthy to enter that sacred story of your life.  Some of what also made me hesitant to read is because of my own somewhat fragile state at the moment.  I have always desired the intimacy I could see between you and your wife in my own relationship with mine.  Sometimes when I see true love and intimacy it brings up some intense feelings of loss and pain for me and  I am still feeling a lot of pain and loss from the passing of some people close to me.  Bottom line is that it was a lot harder then I thought possible to start reading your book.  I finally realized it was now or never and that it was way past time to dive into your life.  I will share with you how it has affected me so far and feel free to ask any specific questions you might have. I just got done with Chapter 20 and I absolutely love it!  I was totally drawn into your life’s story and could really feel the emotions that you expressed as I was reading.  I love the honesty and transparency and the level of detail in your story.  It reminds me of what level of effort Peter Jackson put into the Lord of the Rings detail and I can really appreciate this writing as a quality piece of work.   I know it is much more than that for you because it is the canvas of your whole life on these pages.  I can only imagine the peaks and valleys you went through in writing this.   Revisiting and in some sense reliving all of those strong raw emotions and feelings and events of your life must of been so intense for you.  I am looking forward to finishing your book in a way but I have already cried a little reading just up to chapter 20 and I know the hardest part of your story for me is still to come. I believe this will give hope to many that feel hopelessly locked into some predetermined unchangeable path in life.  You show how choices, transformation and God’s power have the ability to change everything if we are open and willing to let Him change us and that plants seeds of hope where there were none. As I was reading I could relate many of the thoughts and feelings that you expressed in college to the ones that a friend has expressed to me and I believe this book would be very helpful for him and countless others in the same struggle. (a few days later…)I just finished the book and I want to thank you for sharing your life so completely.  It really does end Happily Ever After!  I liked the way you dealt with all facets of your relationship and circumstances of your life.  It is a testimony to God’s goodness! I wouldn’t recommend changing anything. The last part of the book was beautiful and what you shared actually has made the memories less painful for me to think of because I can see how God was walking with you right up to the end.” WO
  12. “I finished reading your book last night – all in one sitting. The book is a page turner, and your wife would be so proud of you !  It is a love story and yet such a personal testament to your journey and ultimate happiness with your wife, God, and the sanctity of marriage.  It is beautifully written. I have to say I laughed and cried at different parts  throughout the book.  Both “characters” came to life, and the strength of character inside both came through in different ways.   The break up while she was in Michigan was such a turning point in your relationship – and she never wavered that she still thought that the two of you would get married.   She was a mess for a while after the break up, but she persevered. (and she was right!) It is a book that people need to read – for a whole host of reasons –  for those struggling with their sexuality,  for the love story, and for the power of having God in your life and your relationships. I have always known the her side of your love story and her unwavering love for you from the beginning.  You are a great writer and have shown the journey of a man finding his way and ultimately the love of his life.  Thank you for sharing it with me.” YL
  13. “I should warn or remind you that you need to pray for the readers of this book.  Wow, it doesn’t matter that you are describing a scenario that I would not be in, you are describing things that a woman can feel and think towards a man also.  For example–wondering how a man looks in his pants and how it would feel to touch him.  Gee, that can relate to a past person or a future relationship, either way it helps to remember to check your feelings so they do not get out of hand.  It might be a hard read but, I will pray, and you also, that God will guide my reading and keep my thoughts pure.  Thanks.  I am serious about this–it really makes me miss my husband all the more and want a new relationship also.  Not that those are bad but, I don’t want to dwell on those thoughts or feelings where they distract me or cause me to say or do something I will later regret–whether good or bad. I think you should keep it the way you wrote it but, I am just saying it feels like I am witnessing a very intimate part of you guys–It feels almost like I should be covering my eyes and not “witnessing” it.  You are very good at giving a good mental picture of your most intimate life. I would not cut anything out at all. Some things were hard to read is because I could picture your wife.  Some of the sections also reminded me of my husband and others (or the same ones) remind me of how much I miss and desire a relationship with someone again and that does include a sexual relationship. I did feel very intimate but, it does share and show your life.  It is a very good book and it would be terrible to not print it and change the message of it. I have no problem with you using Noel for her name. I think it is okay to not always use a person’s real name in a book.  I know the focus may be on helping men struggling with homosexual feelings but I bet it would help women in a similar situation.  It also is a story about redemption, forgiveness, love, moving on, etc.  I like the fact that it also speaks to Christians being sexual beings.  Too many people seem to think all aspects of Christianity must be boring and that includes sex in their minds. Sometimes I think a person’s experience is how they feel everyone else in that situation might be doing or that they are the opposite of everyone else.  Sex is one of those things.  I think sometimes people and society tells us that sex should be viewed as “bad”, “not enjoyable”, “something to endure”, only “bad people” enjoy it and therefore Christians cannot enjoy sex because they are “good people”.  It does leave you wondering if your experience is “normal” or not and something not to speak about because there is an unconscious or nagging fear that “others will judge you if they found out you like sex and have it often”.  Media and society seem to view sex as something for young people, not those in the church, and not always within the bonds of marriage.  A person might  be married and only have “good” sex with someone through an affair.  There also is a societal view that sex stops after marriage except for times of procreation. To be “different” because you are married, have sex multiple times a week, enjoy sex, only have sex with your spouse, still like it even after being married for a number of years and having children and it also be okay for the woman to initiate sex if she feels like may be okay with the couple but, not always talked about out of “fear of being judged for being different”.  As that describes my husband and me, it was nice to hear others were similar.  I mean, I know you guys had sex but, you sometimes feel like no one else must be as fulfilled as we are because no one ever talks like they could ever be enjoying sex.
    Yep, we had a good sex life.  It is interesting to hear people talk like sex goes away after they get married.  If sex is a gift, why would you want to settle (unless there is a non reversible medical reason) for sex to stop after you have been married for a while?  I think too many people also think it can only be one way–in the bedroom on the bed when there are so many other places the mood might hit.  I always felt like sex brought you close to God–it might be hard to describe but, the whole act (if you give way to your emotions) leaves you seeing stars and feeling like you got a glimpse of heaven (or that is how I have described it to my husband a few times).  In nature also brings out the closeness to all of the wonderful things God has created and makes you thankful that sex was one of them.” FA
  14. “My only feedback is “Will it cause a weaker brother to stumble?” Knowing your intentions and your heart I think it will impact many.” YJ
  15. “Your book is truly excellent. I think your story is compelling and important. I’m only part of the way through, but you really have something to share, and it comes through on the level of “I wish I had had someone to talk to about this” which I think is primarily your target audience.Your second target audience in my mind are the family and friends and other individuals who need a deeper understanding of what people are feeling and experiencing. I also want to tell you that in addition to be very expressive, your writing is fluid, lyrical and rhythmic.  It reads very well aloud which is a great measure of writing. I think that if we deny who we are, we deny the full beauty of all that God has created in us and provided space for us to be.  What shines in your book is your loving and sensitive nature.  I am not freaked out in any way.  You can only impact people’s lives to the degree you are willing to be real and meet them where they are.  Your book is beautifully written. I think you have a window by which you can win people’s hearts rather than widen the divide. It’s powerful, unique and walking on ground where angels fear to tread (“walking where angels fear to tread” simply means every step must be taken in love.) Honestly, it may be too intimate for the evangelical market but probably has a special niche. You have a really unique perspective. I don’t think you’ve gone too far. You’ve opened the door for people who might never hear this message otherwise. Your message is: “I had something good, but there was something better.” You kept going for what was in the depth of your heart. Encourage people to go to the thing that is deepest and truest for you. Not just what’s good or what’s on the surface. We find God in the depths of our being. Encourage people to go with who they are in their depths. They will find the truth. They will not feel judged, but they’ll be going for what’s written in their hearts.It’s written on their hearts.The pseudonym is still good in light of all you’re doing. People will be chasing you down! (Women, in a good way, who want to be with you!) It’s beautifully written. Gorgeous.
    (later, one day before launch) I believe your book is the church’s response to this issue. The church is responding and trying to respond, but the church responding without having walked through that is like me responding to the blacks in America without having walked through it. Your book has the potential to be the real response. You’ve lived it, shared it and spoken from a place of honesty and from the heart. God’s eye is on your book… really, really on your book. I think that your words have so much more weight than you realize they have. When you put this out there, there will be ripples in the pond. You won’t even know what those outer circles will look like, but there will be lots and lots and lots of outer circles. What you have to say about it is going to inform what a lot of people have to say to other people about this (and those are the concentric circles). It’s a bigger, more important book than you may realize. Maybe you already know how amazing it can be. It really has the potential to really be something that is a real response of the church. Really to me your story is “go for what’s best.” I think that your book will speak to people in the church, but not necessarily “in” the church. Those are people I would most want to give your book to. The person you’re reaching is the person who feels they have no place to go or trying to find God desperately, but feel they have to be secret inside the church, who feel like they can’t be honest about who they are. The sensual nature of the book is not appealing to the lowest in someone, it’s calling someone to be who they were created to be. That’s the reader who’s going to understand your book.” MH
  16. “Can’t wait to read the sequel!” EP
  17. “Can’t believe I’ve been reading all day! Gotta tell ya – I had to reach for ice water a few times (wink). But what I’ve read is a wonderful candid story of struggle, consequences, confusion, searching in all the wrong places – then finding the road to the right place…. in the Hands of God. Reminds me of the lyrics… “Your grace has found me just as I am, Empty handed but alive in Your hands.” How He guided you and ultimately blessed you with your wife, the desire of your heart, gives hope to anyone – no matter their past. That description of the first night on your wedding day was more than sexual, it was a covering of love. I wish I could have had just one of those night in my life. Almost like I experienced it through reading your paragraphs. I would love to hear more about your day-by-day spiritual walk. There’s not enough of that! Kneeling on bed, and how God was speaking to you.  It wasn’t a downer for me to read (even though I’m single—it’s more about perfect love. It showed you loved the Lord in life, the same in death. I wanted to memorize that verse from Isaiah 30, about the Teacher behind me, telling me which way to go. The book is awesome. Incredible in the way you described it, being torn between two ways of doing things. Some parts were too explicit and too much. I’m very visual. In my past pornography was very a big part of it, in words and images. So it was too much for me. But I’m very encouraged by your book.” XR
  18. “So I just finished your book. Wow!!!! Because I already knew you & some of your story with your wife, it was filling in a lot of details. You both had such a beautiful love story – Praise God for His redeeming love & how that flows out into our lives & into the lives of those around us! I can see now why Prince Charming & Cinderella dancing mean so much to you! I still got all choked up when at parts.I really enjoyed it. It wasn’t too graphic & you were very open & honest. And you truly have an amazing story! I’m so proud of you for having the courage to share it! This is a story that definitely needs to be shared & I have no doubt will one day make a great movie! Thank you for sharing it with me! It has made me even more thankful for my own miraculous love story & how God has brought my husband & me together! I will try to treasure & be thankful for my life with him as much as you treasured & were thankful for your life with your wife each & every day! If you don’t mind, I’d like to share bits & pieces of what I got from the book with my husband when he gets home. I was so touched by your married life & how well you wrote about what It meant to you & I’d like to talk to him about it. Thank you again!” FM
  19. “I love your ability to be non-judgmental and slowly (or quickly) allow people to sort through their own views and feelings and come to conclusions. There is a great deal of vividness, w/o being over graphic in the wrong ways.  What i mean there is that you help the reader to get the feelings and the situations w/o trying to place ourselves in those situations vicariously.  Or, to say it this way, you were descriptive w/o crossing into titillation. I never thought “oh no, he went to far with that”, or “why did he feel the need to say or write that?”  So it seems to me that the Holy Spirit guided your selection of words and phrases. I love how you help the reader gain an understanding of the biblical view w/o making it seemed forced or as though you are jamming in a truth that doesn’t fit.  It all seemed to fit nicely it the context of your life experience. I applaud your honesty and transparency.  I think you nailed it altho it was for sure difficult to write and share.  The advantage is that a certain readership is going to feel the honest of your journey and be able to compare it to the various stages of their own experience and then arrive at decisions. you have rendered a service here to the body of Christ by honestly recording the journey that God took you through.  Well done! one last thing:  you have had one incredibly richFin-experiences life!!  and God continues to give you voice to so many in the world who don’t have the plain jane experience and can relate to your walk with God, even before you followed him.” HD
  20. “It’s pretty intimate, personal,  and felt like I was looking in on something I shouldn’t. Yet I learned a lot. It was helpful. It showed what love could be and should be. And I learned about your wife! She was human! It was so good to see, I was so relieved.” FN
  21. “Thanks for sharing your book with me, and thanks for sharing your testimony, stories, and journey in the book. I enjoyed recalling the time period we shared together, as we experienced them at the time, in the newlywed days and some of the early parenting days as well. I enjoyed both the testimony aspect and the accurate historical picture of life in those days. As far as reflection on how it reads, and it’s usefulness, I’m not sure how qualified I am to respond, but I’ll at least share some thoughts, as you have been very open and bold to share your story. It does read well, and is well-written, so it is hard to put down. I feel interested readers will be eager to read through to follow your story. Your use of motifs and refrains (Disney movie, various references back to descriptions in earlier chapters, or promises to describe something in a later chapter), are well done and tie the whole book together. I couldn’t decide how I felt about the quantity of sexual detail in the book. Partly because the author, and more specifically, his wife, were not unknown to me, I was periodically mildly to moderately uncomfortable with the amount of details you were sharing. But I understand some of the goal of writing the book, and recognize the necessity of some of that sharing. And most readers will not know the two main character actually were.I think you have some very powerful words in the narrative. The power of feminine love to care and not reject when you (and one or two other cases you mentioned) shared your struggles over homosexuality with your girlfriend/spouse.The nature of unsatisfied desires in male relationships when pursued sexually. The narrative description of what sex, or any other aspect of a relationship, does when pursued for personal satisfaction primarily. The power of positive Christian community. A theology of suffering juxtaposed on a theology of victory over slavery and sin, that I think will resonate with some in this community. I had many other positive impressions of the book. I appreciated your writing and your willingness to share all that in the public arena, and pray that God uses it to help today’s people hear your voice and testimony as they make their way through this issue. I think it is even more important in our current environment to have healthy Christian voices, testimonies, tributes, etc., in public domain. And I suspect your personal narrative genre is the most effective way to get the story out there. Good narratives (like the older brother in the prodigal son) leave you wanting to talk, discuss, and debate the story. I think your biography is a powerful testimony and gives narrative theology very well.” YB
  22. “It’s taken me on such a roller coaster of emotions. It is a very intriguing, very intense story! Reading what it was like for you as you took your journey towards finding TRUE love (with a wife and with God) is fascinating. I can tell you that I was on such a “high” when reading about you and “Noël” at one point and was crushed at another. I was ecstatic to be able to read about your relationship. Although intense at certain points, I can really appreciate the thoughts and feelings you were experiencing at the time. It gave me such a good perspective of what was going on inside of you and what you were dealing with. I’m positive that a lot of people that have struggled with those same issues will have a clear understanding of you as you relate to them. I love the transparency of this though. I love the book! It is a very compelling story and it definitely held my interest the entire time I was reading it. More importantly, I think today’s culture needs this book. I know specifically of a couple of guys that I wish could read this. I feel like your story would relate to them a lot. As for the intense sexual parts of the book, it may be a bit too much for people to handle (causing sinful thoughts or their mind to be led to place of potential sin), HOWEVER, and this is a big “however,” I do think it is EXTREMELY valuable and important to keep the openness and honesty of your thoughts, feelings and attractions. I think that exposing your NATURAL attractions towards men and exposing your inner thoughts are going to really hit home and relate with a lot of people. I know of at least two guys who were constantly labeled “gay” in middle school and high school (even despite the fact they dated girls!!) and I believe that they began to take on that identity just as you did. I think your book is beautiful. It is jammed packed with emotions, adventure, true love, redemption and God’s faithfulness. I think it is a very valuable source for a wide range of topics, I honestly can’t wait for this book to go into print.” FN
  23. “Your story is such a powerful one and, because you are telling it from the heart and from your soul, it is so very engaging, interesting and significant.  I tend to get bored a bit too easily sometimes and sometimes find I can lose interest sooner than later, etc….but as I was reading the chapters  I wanted to see what happens next!  I just think this is going to help a lot of people, in many ways and it is a blessing you are feeling led to write and share as you are.It is a love story…love between you and your wife and our Lord…and love between you and your wife and as husband and wife.  It is still so very engaging and so very powerful.  Your witness continues to remain strong in its clarity and message.  When I finished your wonderful book and I felt very full and contemplative after completing… kind of in a quiet state, if I can describe my feelings. Yours was such a story, such a life-to-date.  Besides your content about sexuality, yours was as much a “love story,” it was so, so touching.  I believe it is wonderfully written and will touch anyone who choses to read it, on many different counts. As for the more explicit content, I can see how if fits, in my opinion, but at the same time I can see from where some of your other “too much” comments have come from, perhaps.” BP
  24. “Thank you for asking us to read your very personal story.  We are grateful for what God has done in your life. The greatest difficulty we see is the quantity and quality of the descriptions of sex. That is, there is way too much of it and it is way too graphic. So much so, that it becomes enticing, arousing, and quasi-pornographic. The tail begins to wag the dog, as it were, and the story becomes about the sex more so than even the depravation of it. We can see that it will help the reader to understand the extent of your sin to appreciate the salvation and grace of God, but that can be accomplished with more generalized descriptions of your emotional state that don’t necessarily require the accompanying physical descriptions. Other Christians who have similarly radical testimonies do not go into any detail that we have heard or seen, yet clearly we read into their testimonies the depth of their depravity without knowing any specifics. Sorry to be so negative. We are happy to continue to dialogue about it.” FEM
  25. “I have to say reading the first part was hard at first – no offense –  but thinking this about my son. But then it gave me hope that my son may be able to find the love of his life and have a family. I love your book. Thank you for sharing your heartfelt story. It really is helping me see life from my son’s perspective and how I need to be there for him during this time. You truly have calmed my heart. Don’t change a thing in the book.” XH
  26. “I must say you are a good writer! A page turner for sure. Yes, there certainly are parts that are uncomfortable, and certainly maybe appealing to a gay person to read, but maybe this will make it a page turner as they will see themselves pictured in it. So even though I wince at some parts, it will prove your honesty to the reader. The story was gripping.” ME
  27. “Your writing is wonderful. Your stories are tightly worded. The words flow, the language is elegant, the choice of stories to tell is excellent. Your testimony is one for the ages. You tell your story with grace and sensitivity. You preach a message in your book like you do in life from the pulpit. You are NOT preaching nor are you preachy. You are just sharing your story and I think that the message will be read/heard by so many people who would not read something that comes off like a sermon. Instead you are just sharing with us. And it is such a moving, personal story we cannot help but be carried away by the emotional outpouring. At first this seems to be a homosexual love story. All of us can be gripped by the story of a young man trying to find love. This is the right time to point out how sensitive you are with your former lovers. You are not downgrading them at all, you do not demean them or act like they are to be despised. You recognize that you were using some of them, some were using you, and some were just young men looking for love where they could find it. In no way do you make them look like bad people. You still love them as children of God and you do not want to hurt them even by proxy. You are an example of God’s love in this. I wish so many other Christians could understand this way of thinking. We may hate the sin but we are still to love the sinner. Your love and respect for these people from your past is so obvious. You treat them the way Jesus would were He to meet them today. Then you talk about your dalliances with heterosexuality. You recognize the reasons for your choices and acknowledge them. You also recognize that it was a choice that you made and that is clear. You are clear that you made choices to live the way you have lived all your life, though. I think that is a message that many people do not understand. But you present it in a way that is reasonable and understandable. Your descriptions of your life with your wife are so loving. Every moment you write about her your love pours through. This is where the love story shines out. This is a story where sex is there and is an important part of your life but this is a love story in every sense of the word. There is no way anyone can read this and not know that it is so very real. You could never have written like this if it were fiction. This is the most important part of your story. The reader cannot help but see that you found real and lasting love because you listened to God when He spoke to you. You did as He asked and you were rewarded immeasurably. Your cup runneth over during your years with her and even in your memories of her now. I know it is hard to see it sometimes but even in your memories you are blessed in ways many people never are. Do not lock yourself away for life with those memories but treasure them always. See them for the wonderful gift that they are. You may find love somewhere else but it will never diminish the love you feel for your her. Not should it. That is the wonderful thing about love. It is not a pie where you get one big slice but when it’s gone it’s gone. Love is like the fishes and loaves – no matter how much you take there is even more left in the basket than when you started. You feelings about your life with her are so personal and yet you find a way to share them. I admire your courage. Not many people in the world can share their personal story the way you do. I want you to know that I take it seriously when someone asks me to critique something. When my wife asks me how she looks I stop what I am doing and I LOOK at her and tell her what I think. I do not just say what I think she wants to hear. I let her know the truth. I am Simon Cowell in this. I tell people the truth so they can get better. I do not coddle someone who cannot hack it. When I am so complimentary about your writing please take is as a sincere compliment. I am not telling you all of this because you’re my friend. I think it is great and it would be a shame if you did not share this story with the world. The rest of the world needs to know this story. I cannot predict if it will be a best seller. The odds are against any first time author. You have to have connections or be very lucky. If your goal is financial success being a great writer or telling a great story is really secondary to luck and connections. If you are trying to make money I can’t make any promises. If your goal is to change lives, though, get it on the bookshelves. Anyone who reads it will be moved and there will be people who make decisions about their lives based on what they read. You will be a world changer for them. And who knows – it might get into the right hands and be successful commercially, too. I say run, don’t walk, to the publishers and let me know where I can get a copy or three when you publish. We love you and please keep in touch, my brother. We’re so proud to call you our friend.” YR
  28. “I think it is excellent-you have a sincere way of sharing and drawing a person in to the story. It has short chapters and it is hard to put down!! It has been timely not only in some situations that have touched our family recently but concerning the recent Supreme Court decision!! I will pray that you can move forward!! I did not feel it was too graphic at all. I believe it will help many people.” EW
  29. “I’ll be honest, I was leery about reading your book. But after the first two or three pages, I dove right in. Then I had a hard time putting it down!” MW
  30. “When I opened the package and saw your title I laughed out loud and then smiled ear to ear.  It’s perfect.  Looking forward to delving into the pages. (later) I haven’t finished the book but every word I’ve read has felt exactly right. Yet I understand the quandary. The book is a bit too graphic for the Christian market and too spiritual for the secular market. But so so badly needed. It offers hope to those who so desperately need it.  It’s light in darkness. It’s a powerful, powerful story and badly in need in our world today. I am shocked at the church’s attitude toward gays. This is a vital message the church needs to hear. And you tell such a powerful story. One that needs to be heard.” YM
  31. “Thank you so much for sending your book. It is a page-turner as my friend said. And you can definitely write. I work primarily on the CBA (Christian Booksellers Association) market and the book is too graphic for this market. I know— relatively tame, but for our market it doesn’t work. Your best bet is to try to find an ABA (general market) agent. I wish you the very best.” RL
  32. “Pretty graphic. Not sure if I’ll read any more (after 3 chapters) but I might.” HE
  33. “I’m blown away with how much you’ve traveled. I love the story & how the Lord transitioned you almost too sexual, too graphic. I would have toned it down more. If I was a guy and dealing with homosexuality, I think it would be arousing. It isn’t the story, but pretty arousing, like an R or X-rated novel. It wasn’t uncomfortable for me, personally, and if I knew someone struggling with this I’d give it to them as is. I like that you used a pseudonym. It’s like a covering of grace laid over your wife.” EW
  34. “You (specifically) are a sensual being, not just a sexual being. What you’ve written is sensual, not sexual, not gratuitous.” EC
  35. “Writing is beautiful and compelling, a page turner. It heats things up. Compared to the other 50 Shades, there’s a contrast of godly love vs. broken love (sex slave), a college girl, a virgin, who wears little makeup or jewelry, and is most comfortable in jeans and a t-shirt, and the man, the world is his oyster. He lets her in where he hasn’t let anybody in before. You’re a romantic, too. It made me wonder if my dreams would come true, too? But I came back to my answer: seek God first.” MR
  36. “It reads very smooth. You can really tell when you read out loud without effort. We can’t wait to read more each night. We’re not reading too quick though as it’s not easy to process. It’s vividly stark; It’s real and rich. Like dark chocolate, I want to consume the entire piece at once, but will instead slowly savor every morsel. (later) I have the sense of sitting by the window, peering onto the scenes of a life I must see and follow again tomorrow. I am so excited for the readers who will engage your story to find, “That’s me… I get this.” There are people I know and love who I am already hoping will be impacted by “Nicholas” and his LIFE encounters with Jesus.  I know how your story ends (continues) and can’t wait to read on.(Ha!!! I really am just giddy with excitement for this gift to be presented as it’s published!!!) Overjoyed. (later) I hope that didn’t sound trite. It’s very deep; very difficult truths to grasp. My excitement is that it reveals the truth of the lure of the senses to the degree of reality most don’t want to share -but have deeply rooted within. It exposes what needs revealed; inviting others to reckon with their own hidden secrets. This excites me in that your story will take people to the point of rawness that is necessary to fully see Jesus. It’s raw, real and redeeming! Your words drew out deep truths that caused me to reflect on our own gift of marriage to ponder what have I not spoken to my lover. We laughed and cried and remarked over and over “oh that’s bold,” “yes that’s true,” “Oh my someone actually shared in words what we have thought -and it should be said!” The portion you shared of when ‘Noel’ gifted you a day without clothes touched me the most. It was such an exceptional tender gift that told a story in and of itself. Thank you for being willing to share. Who can measure the lives that will be stirred towards the righteousness of Christ in so many different ways. I really approached it expecting to read for friends and loved ones I know will relate. What I hadn’t expected was to find myself asking “am I giving myself fully to my best friend and lover?” W&NB
  37. “I just finished reading your book.  It was really powerful!  Thank you for sharing it with me.
  38. While we don’t agree on everything, I’m really glad that you are willing to share your story so candidly.  I can clearly see God at work in your life and I feel honored that you were willing to share such intimate and beautiful details. The book is beautifully written and engaging.  It comes across as honest and humble, often times feeling more like a conversation than anything else.  I have been blessed by your story and I know countless others have too.  Thank you for having the courage to share it! I look forward to picking up a copy in print! I’ve learned a lot from you, and I know that that barely scratches the surface of the impact your story has had on people.” WT
  39. “I sure like it… good story from the heart. It’s a personal and intimate story but those words don’t really do it justice…  it’s a skin to skin story where you guys are really one flesh brought together by God… full of love and tears and laughter. Warm and inviting… personal and intriguing… clearly a love story… Tasteful… good combination of thoughts and feelings…Descriptive and understandable… relatable emotionally as anyone who first begins to understand/experience what goes on sexually behind closed doors… the “rush” and raw desire around intimacy…  your prayer for the book is that it brings hope and healing.” EG
  40. “It was exceptionally interesting to me knowing you and your family…your wonderful parents. I also found it riveting and couldn’t wait for another free minute to get back to reading it. By the way it was the first electronic I’ve read. I appreciate your candor.  Personally, because of my up bringing, I would not have been able to describe any sexual experience with my wife out of respect for her and her unique gift to me. Also, I’d hate for a reader to see your experience as the “normal” experience.  For example, the European pastor had quite the opposite experience. I don’t know where I am going with that but it’s my thought. What is “normal” for one person is not the same for others.Thanks for letting me see your private thoughts.” QP
  41. “Just finished the book tonight. It was hard to put down at times, hard to read sometimes (as you had warned me about), etc.  I feel like the honesty and truth within the story will be very helpful to people who feel “alone” in their own personal struggles (whatever they may be).  I tried to read it prayerfully asking God to help me see ways He could use your very intimate stories to help others — I am confessing to you that it was also difficult and maybe a little bit of a struggle for me (because of how private I am) to read through some of it.  But I kept coming back to the word “powerful” suggesting that the message of God’s love, forgiveness, and plans for each of his children is “powerful”.  His intent for intimacy being a beautiful thing in the context of marriage between a man and a woman.  A very beautiful and powerful story of redemption and love!  Your story is amazing!  I believe wholeheartedly it should be shared.  I would hesitate to include all the details you shared, but again, remember you asked a very private person to read this.  I feel like you might want to have a selective reader if you leave it just as it is.  But even as I make that statement, I am touched by how I feel God can use such a personal  testimony to work in lives.” WF
  42. “I can only imagine how much reflection and, as you put it, psychological analysis you’ve had on your journey and especially now as you bare your soul before others. Let me just encourage you, you’re doing a good thing.  I can’t wait to see how your book does. I cried. If I were to add anything to the back of the book it would simple be “Brave.” Good work. Hug for a job well done!” ZO
  43. “Enjoyed it but it’s different. Do you think this will be worthwhile to publish? Then do it. In my family we didn’t talk about personal things like this. But they need to be talked about. It made me uncomfortable to read. I think a lot of people will feel that way. But it’s better to get it out in the open, talk about it openly. It will ultimately be worthwhile. You’ve walked the road. You know it can be done.  The homosexual parts were more uncomfortable. For me, it’s the result of the clash we have with those in the homosexual lifestyle. It always seems like a battle: “I’m right. You’re wrong.” Your story helped break through that. Your motive is to help people. It will shine in people’s lives. You speak the truth in love. Although it felt intimate, we want to know what’s going on. Our human minds want to know. So it draws you in. And it’s helpful. I felt I was intruding on a holy place with you and your wife. It’s the privacy of that place that makes it holy, and I felt like I was desecrating it. Yet it was beautiful to see, especially because I knew her, and I know you. What makes it so special is its privacy. It’s personal and powerful. Don’t tone it down, give it to me straight. This is real, not a fairy tale. You said you wrote it for your 19-year-old self. Where do people go for info? They wonder, is this right? Is that? You have answers to questions people are asking. Speak the truth into their hearts. I think it will benefit many people.” EW
  44. “I did read your entire book. It took about 4 sittings, however it is a fast read. My perspective as 62 year old mother of a daughter who identifies as gay is that it didn’t connect the dots. By that I mean I didn’t feel/think your gay experiences establish YOU identifying as a gay man. Your writing showed no expressed angst, guilt, fear, shame that I would think someone would go through while thinking about and then entering that lifestyle. Even when someone from your hometown challenged you with “hearing you were gay” you deflected and really didn’t give the reader insight into your thoughts. If you were wanting to speak to the gay population, write it relating to the struggle. Then it seemed that when you found a girl that appealed to you deeply you were equally desirous and curious, and having become confident with your sexuality you entered into a mutually satisfying relationship. Again no real struggle with dropping the male relationship until you realized it may be hurtful to them if you weren’t exclusive.  You came across bisexual or highly sexual without much introspection. I just didn’t feel by reading this you struggled one way or the other being gay or straight. The concept of getting married to a woman suited both your Christian experience and your strong desire to be a father. That part made sense to me. I felt the best written part of your book was when you described your conversion experience. And also your new awareness of the conservative Christian viewpoint for sexual behavior. However I was confused how you may have missed that since your father was a church leader. Even on an intellectual level i would have thought that would have been the basis of your upbringing. You didn’t reference your parents reaction or if you concealed this lifestyle choice from them. There was no “coming out” experience. Another part of the book that I felt was “underwritten” was your wife’s reaction when you were dating and you told her you were in a long term gay relationship. I have to tell you i would have reacted at least 2 pages worth! Did she really just shrug??? A great part of the book was your relationship with your wife, her illness and her wisdom! In my opinion this book needs a bit more refinement by you relating to the internal/external struggle young gay people have and how a conversion experience really could change them. I wasn’t convinced it’s possible based on what I read.I wish I was. Keep writing!” XB
  45. “I had a chance to finish the book this morning. Nice work! I can’t imagine how difficult that was for you to write. It was a fascinating read. I enjoyed hearing more about your life. It was a bit difficult for me to relate to having never struggled with homosexuality, but it was interesting to hear your thoughts and experiences. I’m sure many people will be able to relate to that. It was also wonderful to read about your journey into married life with your wife. It read much like a memoir (which is really is in many ways). Overall, great work! I passed along the non-sensual version of your book to my wife to read, and she tried a few times to read it, but it was still too much for her. She said her mind kept trying to visualize the scenes and it bothered her. She’s had the same struggle with typical romance novels. She just has to stop reading them. She may be overly sensitive, but wanted to pass that along.” M&VP
  46. “I sat down and read the whole text this afternoon.  Honestly, I was triggered by the first few chapters.  But it was okay.  I cried at the end. And that was okay.  It is beautifully written.  Love the quotes in each chapter.  The Gospel is presented clearly.  And your journey (out of homosexuality/and her illness and death) will encourage others to seek God for the answers they are looking for.  Beautifully written.  I’m honored to get to read it early my friend. I also really think a less sensual version would be wise. Besides avoiding triggering people like me, it would help people like my wife. When I told her about some of the descriptive texts in the book she said she wouldn’t read it because of that. The overall story is too good to have been turned off my those details.” E&HW
  47. “I appreciate how frankly honest the book is without being gratuitous. It’s a fine line to walk and you do it well. Overall, I think it’s a great memoir on a redeemed sexuality. It’s not something the church talks about much, but I’d wager that sexual sin (be it heterosexual or homosexual) affects nearly every Christian couple at some level, whether as past mistakes or present reality, and simply talking about it honestly will help others be able to redeem their sexuality as well.” EO
  48. “I started reading your book this afternoon around 2:30.  I wanted to give you a brief update as I know I would want the same :-).    At  first, I thought, Wow, this is erotic to the point of wondering if it rocked my comfortability level, but the urge to read on was very powerful.  It was not just reading words on the pages, but it opened senses as you could feel and hear and see.  I don’t know how to put it in words.  Your description at the beginning of the book of the world’s pleasures versus God’s pleasures for us is authentic and real.    I have not been able to put it down.  I felt nudged to send you a brief email to say that I am pulled in and I can’t stop reading. It continues to suck me in after each page and I am pulled to continue reading.  I am on page 127.  I need to get back to reading…. :-) (later) Believe me when I say that I cannot stop reading.  I am on page 139.  I don’t know if you should change it. I have chuckled, teared up and laughed and wondered what is going to happen next. (later) After my last email to you,  I had to stop on Part 5 of the book. I was not able to pick it back up again until Saturday afternoon.  However, I could not stop thinking about it and what God was showing me.  I started reading again on Saturday and could not put it down until I was finished.  I finished it Saturday night. I was in prayer about this book before I started reading, while I read, after I finished, and before I wrote  this email. I pray I can provide the feedback you are needing and how Nicholas’ story spoke in my life as I read and  was invited to step into his.  It hits so many emotions. It is raw, intimate, erotic, and compelling.  Nicholas’s vulnerability reaches out and with his authenticity uncovers our brokenness created by connectedness.  It is balanced.  What is shared is needed as it shows the lies of our world and how sin deceives and wants to destroy us.  It shows how God is alive and pursues us and yearns to restore, and mold us into His image.  As the story unfolded, it poignantly reveals how our Loving Father created us to share and enjoy our spouse in a loving free sexual relationship. Wives need to read this book as well as their husbands.  I want to grow deeper inside out and be the woman God created me to be for His Kingdom work.  I want to show my husband how much I love him.  I hope this is appropriate to say, Thank you Noel! My first thought  after I finished reading, once I stopped crying was, wow, Lord, You are Amazing. Nicholas’ and Noel’s loving relationship with You and with each other lives on and will speak Your Truth and Your healing power into so many lives   “For such a time is this!”  This is what I thought on several occasions as I read. This book is timely for our culture and is much needed in so many lives and types of relationships.  Nicholas story shows brokenness and our need for Christ to be Lord of our lives.   This book shows the powerful centered love relationship between God and his created.  Nicholas is vulnerable, authentic, and raw when needed and open enough to show how God heals.  Without the vulnerable, authentic, and raw it would not show how God transforms and how we are to cooperate and listen to the Holy Spirit as He pursues, guides, and teaches us.  Not only do the vulnerable and rawness parts of Nicholas’ life shows his brokenness and emptiness in the world but the vulnerable and rawness of his life while God pursues, transforms, and changes shows his obedient heart in Christ.  His love for Noel and her love for Nicholas shows how Christ loves.” MB
  49. “I wanted to first say that your writing and your style has kept me glued to your book.  While I knew a little of your story, your writing provided such depth to my questions of why (what drove Nick to choose homosexuality. I must tell you my uncomfort with the subject matter started soon after the opening chapter.  But your story was compelling and so vivid in its context I kept reading. Several times I kept asking myself if I should be reading this.  Right or wrong…My wife and I rarely see R rated movies so this story took me a little farther than I usually like. I  can certainly get drawn into it easily, but I more often prefer to flee.  However, I kept reading. As I read further I understood your need to show Nick’s full struggle with his sexual identity as well as his passion within his relationships.  But even through his struggle, I deeply wanted Nick to find some firm ground where he could throw off the “flesh” he was experiencing.  After reading your salvation story and your love story with Noel…I recognized how important those college years were to God’s grace and redemption.  Without intimately describing the sin and struggle there could be no grace and the love only God can provide in a marriage relationship between husband and wife. This story is one that I feel is so relevant to our current social and cultural world. I believe it will help everyone who reads it.  It helped me better understand Nick. I also could relate to Nick’s struggle to return to a celibate relationship with Noel. With God’s help I felt led to be celibate after my divorce and remained pure until my wife and I got married. It has been a testimony for us to tell of God’s presence from the start of our relationship. You need to tell this story.  Thank you so much for sharing this with us.” FB
  50. “I’m inspired by the book to reach into my own life in my relationship with my wife. I was also inspired on a faith level. You described your coming to a knowledge of Jesus really well. It’s a hard concept to explain, faith and how we come to it, and you were very good about showing outward expressions of that inward faith. It was very readable, and I wanted to read more! All of a sudden the book was over! But I think that’s a good thing. You left me still wanting more.” HN
  51. “I have always admired your bravery, honesty and complete abandon to live and speak truth. After all, we wouldn’t want all that fire shut up in your bones! I have a feeling you are more worried about the thoughts and opinions of “the brethren” than those who are seeking or lost. Frankly, I would be too, but then the enemy always knows how to prey upon our fears to keep us from “fearing” God above all things. Your story is ruthless and beautiful. It stands alone and deserves to be told, regardless of what others may believe about God, sexuality or anything else…like Aslan, it isn’t safe but it is good. Loved your point about the wrath of God…going to be turning that one over in  my mind for awhile.” NA
  52. “What can I say, but THANK YOU? In these days of so much sexual confusion, your book is such a testimony of God’s wonderful plan for marriage. Surely the Lord is going to use it in a powerful way! Personally, your book has blessed me more than my words to you can possibly express. I related to so much in your love story – “losing” a very precious love way too soon. For me it was after five years of marriage and three babies. (We were also on the way to filling our quiver, and my “number” was a dozen also.) :-) The Lord had His Hand on our lives throughout our dating and into our marriage, as we were finally able to see after we became His own, and the absolute joy of sharing Him together was something only He could do. Those were such precious months – as the old song said, “joy unspeakable and full of glory.” I’m convinced that no one can possibly understand the loss of one loved so much. Reading your book brought tears, and yes, I still shed them at times – even after 47 years! But now the tears come from thankfulness and no longer pain. Truly God is good all the time! Looking forward to the publication of Fifty Shades of Grace with plans to purchase and share!!” HI
  53. “Leave it as is… I’m sure some people may squirm a bit, but it is honest and not overly graphic. You do give the reader a warning at the beginning of the book. I found that helpful and transparent.” KW
  54. “You write very well! I finished the book and am amazed at how much information is in the pages. It kept my attention! The book was definitely a love story, one that is much different than most people’s love stories. I appreciated the thought process you went through as you were thinking of life in the future and how you had specific signs from God that help to affirm you. Whatever you decide to do with the book, I know you have asked and waited for God’s  guidance and timing. He is sovereign over all and will help you and guide you as you proceed. I want to encourage you in publishing your book! You have put so much of yourself and how God has worked in your life into it. In view of all that is going on in this world with sexuality, it may very well be the time for this book. I trust that God is leading you in that direction and I will pray for His clarity on that. I am introverted, and with your thoughts being extroverted, your openness is clear that you are comfortable in sharing your struggle (not a simple struggle) and seeing how God can use that “not simple ” struggle. That should be relevant in your book-that it was not  a simple struggle. How he redirected your life for his glory should be relevant and clear.   He can use this book to reach out to others! Were there parts that were awkward to hear? Yes, but that’s part of your story and many others out there can relate, I’m sure . I pray that as you proceed, you will have peace and if there is more that God needs to rearrange, that it will be clear. I hope this is helpful to you -and encouraging – want you to trust God as He has placed this on your heart. It could be a book to be continued…in whatever direction God chooses.” XC
  55. “I think this book is going to impact a lot of people. Would it be possible to share this with a long time Christian friend of mine who actually was involved in homosexuality before and after he was married? I had no idea. He didn’t tell me about this until he had his 4 kids and God convicted him that he needed to change. I stayed up all night to finish you book. Nothing like I’ve ever read before. Partly because I shared in the experience of the last few chapters with you. This must have been healing for you to pen such transitional details. A truly amazing story.” YH
  56. “Book looks perfect.  I am sure this book will be a tool to help many see what real love is. What an excellent book and one that this world needs to read!  There is no one on the planet who could not benefit from reading this book despite religious background or sexual orientation.  I have been touched and encouraged in my own walk with the Lord and have had questions answered for myself that I have not been able to obtain from any other source. This book has taken me forward one more step on my own adventure with God.  I can’t wait to see what He does next!  Praise God for His Spirit’s anointing on this book. I trust and pray it will help and encourage millions of people.” EW
  57. “I so appreciated your honesty.  I know this has been a labor of love.  And what a beautiful way to honor your wife.” ES
  58. “You are a good writer. The narrative is compelling. Your personal story of transformation is compelling and redemptive. Your story is one that I have no doubt will help readers. It is truly a story of redemption. Good for you for writing it and, even more, living it.” EC
  59. “You should publish it.  There are people that can be reached with this story.  Others may not “get it” or may have never been exposed to such life issues.  Nevertheless, in my opinion the hope in it shines through.  The message of Christ is clear.  The honesty and truth are courageous and with the right heart. Some people will only have to get a few pages into it when they say: “Oh wow, I am not the only one.” The message of freedom (and struggle) is right on target. There will unfortunately be those that look at others ministry efforts and offer criticism, it has happened to all of us, including myself and including our Lord.  There may be some Christ followers who don’t know how to respond, much like the disciples with Jesus’ ministry sometimes.  I would stay focused on Him and minister in a way that you are gifted and called. One of the problems of the church, especially in the 20th century, is that the church stopped engaging the culture.  The church stayed away from things that “felt” taboo or not “nice and clean.”  Your book speaks on a topic that is needed and it does it without condoning sin or giving up on hurting and needy people.  We can engage the culture without being unfaithful or untrue to our Biblical convictions. You may certainly say that this pastor has read your book and hopes that people at all sorts of points in life respond to the offer of salvation in the only one who can save us … Jesus. Please count us among your friends and supporters.” Y&HP
  60. “I like the name, that’s clever. I like the preface, sets a nice tone. Also the little poem about your name it cute. I’m loving and hating it. I love the honesty, I hate the pain. Man, I’m so glad you wrote this. It couldn’t have been easy but surely it will be helpful to someone struggling, seeking hope. This is such a beautiful story.  I loved it.  I hated it.  I was sad. I was worried. I was elated. My heart swelled and broke, hoped and smiled.  It’s amazing to me how you’ve shared it.  I’ve never read a more moving story, and it’s non-fiction to boot!  I’ll admit, chapter 21 got a little uncomfortable to me, to be honest.  But just barely.  Some of it, like 1 cor 7:4, and cinderella, wonderful. Now, should you decide to publish this and circulate it under the pen name, I still think everything good about it that I did.  I LOVE IT.  I think it shines a beacon of light to those plagued with darkness.  Lending hope to hopeless.  Nothing changes that. I want whoever is lost or hurting or searching to find your & your ministry, not someone else.  But I would’t make it too difficult to find the real you, by the time someone reads the whole book.  I can’t imagine someone giving it a bad review. Especially for it’s intended audience. The person struggling with something like this, isn’t living a perfect, clean, non-graphic life. Guaranteed. Sure it might not be comfortable for the habitual Beth Moore or James Macdonald reader…But is that you’re audience? Not really. Reading it from that perspective, I found it just enough engaging without being uncomfortable. Also, it kinda added to your honesty. If I had to choose, I wouldn’t change it. Not to lose it’s edge or raw sensitivity. Vulnerable. That’s what it is. That’s why people will trust your story. Keep Nick but also keep your vulnerability. But eventually, let your reader meet you. I just want everyone to know you like we do! But that didn’t happen over night or within one book.This isn’t a guide to how to come out of homosexuality. This is a testimony that you did. And fully. By sharing the sexual encounters, on both sides of the coin, you are showing that you were fully in one lifestyle and came out of it. Showing that you truly were searching and looking for love, but not finding it until you experienced the real source of love, not just sex. Then later you clearly explain your depth of physical love with your wife, but when faced with a huge fear of tragedy, you panicked for a second, proving that we always need redemption and grace, plus love and encouragement. Like in AA, you don’t get your one-year chip and suddenly say ok, I’m never going to struggle again so I’ll never attend another meeting.” NE
  61. “I’ve never read a book like this in my life! Your transparency and honesty were bold–in a good way! We need a bold voice today. I pray the book will be used in a powerful way for the cause of Christ. I wish I would have read it 40 years ago. We’re facing all kinds of crap. We need transparency. You’ve got the courage and guts to put it on paper. We’re in a terrible battle for souls. It will broaden people’s horizons. I’m standing with you 100%! This is done in an honest way, pleasing to the Lord. We’ve got to have more of this type of thing. People will need this type of transparency. Thumbs up as is. I want 12 copies of this version (NOT a toned down one). We need a book that lays it all out.” XI
  62. “I love the title and have read sections of it. Talk about getting down with it bro! I’m so proud of you.” XC
  63. “It’s graphic. It’s intense. But I see why it’s there. I thought about skipping through some of the opening chapters, but then felt I needed to know what was happening there to know the power of the redemption later. So I kept reading. It’s not for everyone, but will especially help those struggling with this issue, and married couples who need help in their relationships.” YA
  64. “This book is powerful. Not only couldn’t I put it down, it really hit on a lot of feelings that I had in my late teens and even early in my marriage about whether or not I should have been seeking a family with a man or even at all. I’ve been able to work though it all but it was a real struggle for awhile. A book like this would have really helped me and I think that it will help a lot of other people that don’t understand what real love is.” F&HM
  65. “It’s raw, honest. First 5 chapters especially helpful. It’s all necessary. Helped me identify with that character. Beautiful book, arc and story. You have a unique, credible voice. You have a credible message and you’re a credible messenger. I want more! You have a voice that I desperately want to hear. I don’t care if you put it in this book, in another book, on a blog, or wherever, as long as you do it! I might learn something to share with others.” ES
  66. “It’s very special to recall all of your story and understand more of your thinking and how God intervened at just the right time. It wasn’t too graphic at all. Very much like painting on a canvas, which can also be very sensual and soothing. I felt it was inspiring to recall those stories. It helped me to recount them and see how God was working.” EB
  67. “Very good, very engaging. Not too graphic. Very necessary. Pseudonym a good idea!” YM
  68. “I thought the sensuality was fine. And I super conservative. I thought the whole book was great and necessary and will help many. I love the whole thing!” GB
  69. “Luv luv luv the book!!!! Think it will be a movie!!! Get it to the right person and it will be huge!!! I’m leaning towards sending it out to millions!! I’ll invest in printing- fyi  My husband says I read it too much- lol” YA
  70. “I like that you wanted the truth. Might be too graphic in the descriptions. But trust that you’re telling the story the way you feel led. Want you to come talk to a class I’m teaching on the subject.” QB
  71. “Though I had a hard time at the beginning, I appreciate your candidness and ability to share your thoughts and actions.  I believe the world is in great need of a book that tells it exactly like it is and yet comes out a life changed through the power of the Holy Spirit.  I am amazed at the detail you are able to recall and share.  I believe your story can show others the blessings of a heart turned fully to the Lord.  I cannot imagine how you ended this chapter of your life with having to let go of your wife but I am anxious to find out while realizing God is not yet finished with your story here on this earth.” KS
  72. “I am not a author, but in my opinion, the only way it could have been written is through the work of the Holy Spirit.  I believe that God has clearly given you this mission of articulate transparency for the purpose of offering hope and clarity for those that are deceived and confused with sexuality. Only God could have enabled for you to be restored yourself, along with your wife’s unconditional love, but then for you to be able to remember, articulate and write all the details is only of the Lord. Beyond that, I can not imagine how emotionally you have coped in reliving each moment as you have written it for others to view.  Amazing!  And only by The Holy Spirit’s provision, as there is no other explanation. Most importantly, you have clearly articulated The Gospel multiple times and ways for all to grasp that there is only one Savior, Jesus, that can set us free of all sin. Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Romans 10:13  for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Out of your very humble obedience…….God will set many others free from bondage in these last days!  ALL FOR HIS GLORY! MAY IT BE SO IN JESUS NAME. Well done brother!” WK
  73. “Loved the book, all of it, as is. My wife also read it. If your target audience is gays who are struggling with their sexuality, I think it hits the mark.  It gives a clear understanding on what God says in His Word about the consequences of their choices. My wife appreciated the encouragement of the gift that God has given us in our sexuality and how God intends for our bodies to work together as husband and wife.  She also appreciated how you came to understand the completeness of God’s love for our lives. The book is definitely not for everyone.  I would recommend it to pastors and counselors who deal with couples or gay people wanting to know how to change.  We can all learn from your story how to be forgiven and become all God intends for us. Thanks for writing it and for being so honest.” W&EW
  74. “We found the book to be very open, honest and vulnerable – thank you for sharing so vulnerably.  The book was well written and know the courage it took you to put pen to paper and get it all written down in such a helpful and meaningful way.” X&GA
  75. “A fantastic read: my emotions are: so intimate, so insistent i share it with everyone. This reads like an erotic novel: rated H for Holy. Being a romantic in heart, as I read your book, your biography, it was as if I was reading the life I wish I had led. all those righteous choices; all those intimate, connecting, loving, passionate moments that accumulated into years and years. A list of people have come to mind while reading this that I would like for them to read it, too. A page turner, I agree. I was so excited to read each page. I do say also, it felt a little like flirting with the world. However, there is nothing you can change to extinguish that. And you wouldn’t even want to. If you polled the world, I mean, globally, everyone would say, ‘that’s the kind of love I want, that’s the kind of passion I want. I’ve seen very little evidence of it, and I’m not sure it really exists.’ I’m left with, when can I share it?” NS
  76. “I’m totally into your story and not really offended or alarmed or even concerned about the way you describe. I’m not saying others won’t be, but I’m not sensing it taking me down a road I shouldn’t go down in my mind. Just wanted you to know I’m reading and enjoying and think this message is worthwhile.” WA
  77. “I read it in a day. I really liked it.” EH
  78. “I was blown away with your transparency and candor…refreshed beyond words; as an LCPC and Dr of Psych, I deal with so much obfuscation and sophistry and just plain self lies, i wasn’t overreaching when I said I was blown away.” YZ
  79. “I read it and LOVED it!” YA
  80. “Phenomenal! Not every book is for everyone, and this isn’t either. But for those to whom you’ve written it, it will be life changing. My wife agrees!” E&IS
  81. “This is a difficult email for me to send. I finished your book several weeks back and have been pondering and praying about my response. Though I find you an incredibly engaging writer, able to capture and maintain my attention, I became disconnected several times while reading “50 Shades…” It was the constant return to sexual intimacy stories that left me disengaged. I recognize the beauty and preciousness of this gift from God and what your wife meant to you, but I felt I got more than I should have. I apologize if I hurt you in anyway. That’s not my intention. Our culture is saturated with so much sexual-talk that I shut down mentally while reading your book. Sorry. With Grace,” EJ
  82. “Congratulations on getting your book published and out there. I’m sure there will be a lot of interest. It is a very compelling story and very well written. It’s a book you can’t put down; you just keep going. I think most people will get involved in the story and want to keep reading from chapter to chapter, and it’ll be hard to put down. I think the Christian community response will be mixed. I think it will be, for those who are very conservative or who may be somewhat repressive in their attitude toward sexuality in general, will say it’s too detailed or exposing of sexual theme and it’s not appropriate for young adults and kids. They would be negative toward it. They don’t mind a book that explains the technicalities of sexuality from a physical standpoint, but not the emotional, spiritual and the other aspects of it, so you may get some criticism from that side of the Christian church. They may think it’s too personal and too revealing and too sensual and all those other criticisms. I’m sure you’ve already gotten a little bit of feedback that way. But I think you’re trying to share a redemptive story and one where there’s transformation that God brings. I thought it was kind of ironic where early on you were sharing your life where maybe some more athletic guys at your school growing up might have bullied you or teased you or picked on you, so you weren’t accepted or liked by the kind of sports crowd. Then here I am, a college football player, and we were friends for so long. That’s probably God’s sense of humor there, hopefully giving you a sense of affirmation that regardless of your background or where you’re from, God has people in your life that love you for who you are, not for anything else. I hope it sells well and just be prepared for the criticism. I’ll be praying for you and I hope that it doesn’t discourage you from continuing your writing if you do get the criticism. But again, it’s very well written and I think you’re going to get a lot of good feedback, especially from people that don’t know Christ that may be seeing what God can do and then they’ll have questions that you can then follow up and help them come to a relationship with the Lord as you’ve experienced.” WK
  83. “I absolutely loved the book. Not over the top at all. I think it is a very much needed book for the place our society is in right now. Such a great testimony and ministry tool. I am actually ordering two copies one for myself to loan out and another to gift. I have talked to a lot of people about the book and the interest is very high. Hopefully the sales will be over the top. Thank you so much for letting me read it. God has truly blessed you with a gift for ministry and it really shows in the book.” GC


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