Franklin Harrison is seventeen years old and about to enter his senior year of high school. Tormented by the teachings of his church that condemn him, he is desperate to change who he is. Franklin struggles to conform to what he has been taught is God’s will for him. This change that he seeks never comes.
When he loses the small solace he found in his love of photography and abandons his camera, any glimmer of hope slips away. He can no longer face the God he believes in or himself.
With all hope gone, the miracle of grace that is extended to him opens the door to a journey that soothes his soul and excites his spirit. It leads Franklin to discover, and then share, the love and beauty that is within and around him.
Franklin’s story is the story of thousands of gay teenagers growing up in religious homes. This book illustrates not only Franklin’s desperation, but that of his parents, as they struggle with their own issues created by the teachings of their church.
Join Franklin as he discovers what the Bible doesn’t say about homosexual orientation and what his bountiful gifts are as a unique child of God. Franklin’s life journey over a two year period introduces him to a cast of characters who touch him with their experiences and insights.
Franklin is a story that will give hope and understanding to parents, clergy and the GLBT community.
Excerpts from the book
I remain poised to get up and leave. I can feel Jim watching the wheels turning in my head. I finally just shake my head, “What I am is sinful and I’m not good enough to change.”
Just as I begin to stand up, Jim says, “Being Gay is not a sin.”
I fall back into the booth like a balloon that has had its air sucked out. I stare at the table until I’m able to look at Jim, but tears are welling in my eyes as I murmur, “I didn’t think people could tell.”
Jim chuckles, “Don’t worry, they can’t.”
“Then how did you know?”
“Oh, educated guess. A handsome young man who wants to end his life because he believes he’s sinful and can’t change? There aren’t a lot of possibilities so I took a stab. So who told you that being Gay is a sin?”
“Everybody. My father, my pastor. The Bible is pretty clear on it. It’s just not natural. I’ve tried everything. I’ve prayed every day for years. I’ve dated girls. When I got here I even went and saw a minister here. He told me that if I continued to pray and was willing to let God change me that I would be able to overcome my desires. He told me about a group for people like me so I attended their meetings. At first I had hope. It seemed to be working for the people at the meetings. But everyone that I felt something in common with stopped coming. That’s when I decided that maybe this was my only option.”
Jim takes a deep breath, “Franklin, can you imagine a world where being Gay is okay? In fact, not just okay, but it’s as normal as being straight?”
“Well, such a place exists.”
I look up at Jim, “Where?” I don’t know whether to take that statement seriously but I’m clearly not in the mood for games.
Jim touches his left chest with his finger and says, “Here.” Then he reaches across the table and touches my left chest and says, “And here.” I jump back at Jim’s touch and snap, “No!” I didn’t recoil because of Jim’s touch; it’s the thought of being okay with being Gay that’s frightening me.
Later, as we’re walking home in silence, Steve looks at me. “You’re awfully quiet.”
“I was thinking about what Ben said about life in the seventies and eighties. I guess I’ve never thought much about what it was like to be gay back then or even before then. I wonder how many men and women have taken their lives because they couldn’t deal with life. I was so close to being one of them and I live in a time when there are at least places like The Seed Patch and people like you two.” I take a deep breath and let it out and then I stop dead in my tracks. Steve and Jim stop and look back at me.
“How did any of them survive in those days? I can’t imagine ever being able to live in constant fear of being discovered.”
Steve walks up to me, “Franklin, the longer I’m on this planet, the more amazed I become by the resiliency of the human spirit and its ability to cope with the most horrific circumstances. I sometimes let myself think about the horrors that black people have been subjected to for centuries. If I stay in that place, the grief and anger start to tear my heart out. Now, I’m not saying that what I do is right, but it works for me.”
“So, what do you do?” I’m waiting some pearl of wisdom.
Steve grins, “I run like hell!” Then he breaks into that deep laughter that comes from his gut. “Franklin, that’s all I know how to do sometimes. I have to say, ‘God, I give it all to you because I can’t handle this.’ I think that’s more or less how most of us mere mortals get through it.
To read more of Franklin, click here and then click on "Look Inside!" to view the first 26 pages.