I pray that what you learn from my story will be used by God to help you understand the Holy Roman Catholic Church and what She really teaches. Whether you are a non-Catholic; a former Catholic; a Catholic who thinks you can choose what to believe and what not to believe about the Faith; someone who thinks you're Catholic (because you attend Mass on Christmas and Easter and vow one day to use those envelopes you get in the mail); a person interested in Catholicism; or someone who would like to ask a few questions -
To buy any of the books that helped me recognize the Catholic Church as the One True Church, click here:
Since I was baptized a Roman Catholic, and received the Sacraments of Holy Communion and Confirmation, there was no need for me to "formally" be brought back into the Church. Converts who join the Church from Protestantism or non-Christian bodies are normally welcomed during Easter, after a year-long process of catechesis. However, my return was more subtle and private. I drifted back into the Church without any liturgical fanfare since I had already received the necessary Sacraments as a child, what are called Sacraments of Initiation. I entered the Church this time with a love for God in my heart and an unquenchable desire to know what God wanted for me in this life.
The majority of this history focuses on my life after resigning my commission in the United States Marine Corps. I can recall so many other experiences I've had in High School, College (regrettably, I went to a small, anti-Catholic liberal arts college in West Virginia), and the Marine Corps, but I won't be convering them here - maybe some day. All of these experiences formed me into the person I am today. Thank God He let me live through it all to make it to this point!
In 1991, I left active service in the United States Marine Corps as a First Lieutenant. (Some day I will put pen to paper to recount all of the lessons I learned while in the Corps! Like the Mary Kay bumper stickers, all I can say at this point is Ask Me, or easier still, just .)
Before leaving active duty, I decided that I wanted to be an attorney. I was scheduled to take the LSAT at Washington and Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania, one week after being discharged from the USMC. My wife, Laura, stayed in Beaufort, South Carolina to wrap up our affairs with base housing while I traveled to Pennsylvania to secure an apartment and prepare for the exam.
I took the LSAT and was accepted at West Virginia University School of Law, but I wanted to attend Duquesne University Law; School, so I took the LSAT again in hopes of raising my score. Had I been asked when I took the LSAT the first time, I would have said that stress was not a factor in my relatively low score. Looking back, I realize that there was a lot of tension in my life, and that this could have accounted for the 20 percentage point difference between the scores of the two LSAT's. Some of those factors included:
|I left the Marine Corps by my own decision (perhaps my utter hatred for running long distances played a small part in it);|
|I had no marketable skills from the Marine Corps to use in the private sector (but with my B.A. from college, I was adequately prepared to open a British Literature store - I could sell all kinds of D.H. Lawrence and Dorothy Sayer things...oooh, ahhhh!!);|
|I had been married about two years; (very happily - we smoked then...smokers know what I mean)|
|I had no job lined up in the Pittsburgh, PA area; (OK, I know, you're wondering why in the heck we moved FROM the beaches of South Carolina TO Pittsburgh. Family, mostly)|
|I didn't take an LSAT prep course; (I'm too frugal for that - OK, not frugal, cheap)|
|and we had a little Yorkshire Terrier named Napoleon. (I still miss him) It was a tense time.|
I'm still not entirely sure why I wanted to be an attorney. It may have been for the intellectual challenge that such an occupation would offer. I know that one incident, while I was still in the Marine Corps, solidified my resolve to pursue law. I was chosen to sit on a Court Martial Board. It was fascinating. I was enthralled by the abilities and tactics of the attorneys. In one sense, it was like watching a surgeon, except that the attorneys used words to dissect and manipulate the minds of the Board to reach their particular goal. Alternatively, it reminded me of two men deeply concentrating on a seriously quiet match of chess. In a strange way, I do the same thing in apologetics. I must be able to predict what the other guy is thinking. Luckily for Catholic Apologetics, the other side is normally trying to defend their position by warping and distorting the teachings of the Catholic Church rather than expounding on their own beliefs. It's often as easy to predict what an anti-Catholic is going to say as it is for me to know whether my son needs to go potty when he grabs himself and bounces up and down.
After the Court Martial Board, I began the arduous task of preparing to enroll myself into law school. I had no idea that it would be almost three years from that time until I would have the opportunity to accept or decline an offer to attend law school.
After taking the LSAT, a friend of the family arranged for me to get a job in the District Attorney's office of Allegheny County. It was a minor clerical position, but it helped to pay the bills. After working there for about three months, I accepted a position in Federated Investors' Legal Department. From that job, which I held for four years, I moved on to a position in Client System Services. Since I began to do some programming in Access and Visual Basic, I eventually moved from that job after two years to one in Federated's Retirement Plans area as a Programmer! I've been there over three years and I still love programming.
After taking the LSAT for the second time and getting accepted to Duquesne Law School, I had to make a decision. Was being a lawyer what I wanted to do for the rest of my life? In my first job at Federated, I worked directly with attorneys, and although some of them were very good, I knew that corporate law was not where I wanted to be. Ever since the Court Martial Board, I had a strong urge to be on the floor, making my case before the Judge. It was the lure of the floor. I wanted to be the guy convincing a jury that my client was right (whether he was or not). I liked the idea of the showmanship and the research and the study. All of that intrigued me.
However, when the time came to sign the promissory note for financial assistance, I chose not to go through with it. I was accepted at Duquesne Law School, but turned it down. Looking back, I know that it was God's will that I not become a lawyer. Interestingly, it was my involvement in Amway that impacted on that decision. Part of the Amway message (at least from a Yager stage) is that any other option for a business or career is futile. They point out that to work for anyone makes you a jackass of the boss (JOB). So, this had an influence on me when I looked at the amount on the student loan.
I was now at a crossroad. After choosing not to go to Law School, I had to decide what I was going to do with my life. While standing in the intersection, I was employed in Federated's Legal Department, still lived in Washington, PA, and was not certain of my immediate future. I know that at that time I did not have a very strong faith. But, I think that in some unconscious way, I offered my direction up to God. Slowly, the pieces began to fall into place. I look back now and see the Hand of God in so much that happened to me after making the decision not to go to Law School. It was the beginning of my long road back to God and His Church.
From the time of my Confirmation until about 1994, I could count on two hands the number of times I attended Mass apart from special occasions like weddings and funerals. While in college and the Marine Corps, I went to Protestant churches like Disciples of Christ, Assemblies of God, and others. But at the time, I don't think I was searching for God, peace, truth or a community. So, the feeling I had from all of them was that there was something missing. They just never felt "right". It wasn't always the same "something", though, that was missing. Looking back, I can't blame those churches for my not reaching out to God. But I do look back and recognize where much of their doctrine and practice are far from the Church Christ founded.
The experience I had with the Disciples of Christ came from the four years I spent at Bethany College in West Virginia. Bethany's campus is set on beautiful rolling hills. The education is ostensibly "liberal arts", and the student body is primarily from upper-middle class families. It is quite expensive and once you're out, most people say "You went to Bethany? I think I heard of that..."
A few years ago, I sent a note to the President of the college explaining my disagreement with the school putting on a performance of Agnes of God, an anti-Catholic play. I also mentioned a play I performed in while a student - Sister Mary Ignatius Explains it All for You. His reply was merely three sentences long. He explained that because he saw nothing anti-Catholic about the plays, I should recognize our country's citizens the right to free expression. I immediately asked that I be taken from the college and alumni mailing list. I have since dissuaded any serious, God-loving person from even considering attending such an institution of "learning".
I know now the mistake I made going there. But I hope to keep any serious lover of Christ from making the same mistake. It shocked me to read that a man, considerably learned enough to be the president of a college, assumed that because he saw nothing wrong with deriding and insulting another religion, then why should I be offended. I wonder how he would feel if his Fine Arts department wanted to do a vaudeville revival with white face galore. Would he then tell the NAACP that because he thought it was "all in good fun" that they should not think that the revival was racist?
Or, would he be so quick to tell the Jewish Anti-Defamation League that he knows best whether Jews should be offended by a musical ridiculing the suffering of the prisoners in the concentration camps? I'll bet these two things would never even be considered - as well they shouldn't. In the same way, a play that is offensive to Catholics should not be performed, whether or not the good president thinks there is anything sacrilegious in them. (Which was an observation he offered me, even though I never made any mention of whether the plays were sacrilegious or not. Interesting, eh?)
Recently, a friend of mine who attended Bethany with me read the paragraphs above and said that I was being too hard on good ole Bethany. Perhaps he is right. Maybe I should look back and recall only the good times: the beer brawls behind Sigma Nu, the goldfish eating parties in the airplane hangar, Bubba's, swim meets, being Max in The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, etc. Yes, I'll admit that I had fun while I was there. But I am also an adult and mature enough to recognize that simply having fun is not the pinnacle of life. Although most in our culture would disagree with me, I think that a modicum of sobriety befits an honest life.
I realize that if God had given me back then the same strong feelings I now have for His Church, I would not have lived through it and been able to balance a good life against what passes for an "educational" environment at Bethany. The priest at Bethany passed around a crumbled up loaf of honey bread for the Eucharist. To the young adult Catholics on campus, this was "cool", but in the eyes of the Church it is disobedience. The bread and wine are to be made of a specific matter. To a non-Catholic this seems like a small issue. But how small of an issue would it be if you told your daughter to be in at 10pm, but she decided that midnight fit better into her plans? It's only 2 short hours, but it is still disobedience.
It never ceases to amaze me how many people confidently point out that "there are many things that are wrong with the Catholic Church..." Yet, when asked to point some of those things out, they're too busy to talk, or it would be ungentlemanly to discuss religion (after they made their comment, of course). They never respond. Hmm. I guess that they're not used to Catholics asking them to defend their position. They're probably more used to dealing with Catholics like I used to be.
Laura and I went to Mass a couple times after our wedding. But it was mostly through an immature sense of obligation on my part. Had I suggested we go more often, I know that Laura would have willingly gone. Her faith has always been more sincere and childlike than mine. And this is one of the reasons I finally came back; it was Laura's faith in God and the Church Jesus founded that held us together. Besides her, there were three things which forced me to re-evaluate my spirituality and need for a closer relationship with God. The following three things essentially pushed me to look harder for the Truth:
Not one of these things by itself moved me to make a more intellectual, spiritual and rational study of my beliefs. Combined, though, they proved to be the impetus to get me back to the Church that Christ established.
I would be making a mistake if I didn't include my dabbling in Freemasonry. As I have been doing some thinking about it lately, I am coming to realize how critical it was that God allowed me to enter this anti-Catholic organization. It was while I was stationed in Beaufort, SC. I'm not sure why I asked to become a member of the Freemasons, but some time before I left the Marine Corps, I began my training. The learning consisted of me memorizing certain readings that I would then have to repeat in front of the Lodge in a secret meeting at which only Third Degree Masons and above could attend (which is the case with every meeting they have that is not designated as a social gathering). Very rarely do non-Masons enter the Lodge. In fact, while meetings are going on, one Master Mason sits outside the door with a sword - he is the Tiler. If someone tries to force their way into the meeting, he is to defend the Lodge from this intrusion while at the same time warn the members in the Lodge of the imminent danger.
The clearest memory I have about joining the Masons is my apprehension at addressing the leader of the local Masonic community as "Worshipful Master". Everyone addressed him as such, and when he was no longer the leader, he was then called a Past Master. It was very awkward for me to call him "Worshipful Master". I think that this was God probing me a little. There was enough of my Catholic upbringing there to make me uncomfortable, but absolutely no schooling about the fact that I was automatically excommunicated for becoming a member - a mistake I have since been forgiven of by God through one of His representative here on earth. It still amazes me that no matter how much we do to offend God, He is so quick to forgive us and welcome us back into His loving arms. Thanks Be to Him Who has given us His Church and Bishops for the clear guidance and Sacraments that only they can offer by Christ's Word out of all Christian Churches.
Some of the other reservations I had were that there were no African-Americans allowed in the regular Masonic organizations. And as far as anyone knows (other than a sparse number in the Northeastern U.S.), the discrimination and bigotry continue today. The African-American men who want to become Masons join what is called the Prince Hall Lodge. When I asked my instructor about this, he assured me that it was not discrimination or racism, merely that we had our place to meet and they had theirs. Now I have learned more about the racism that still is a major part of Masonry.
After leaving the Masons, I began to wonder about the contradictions that were always present in the Lodge. For example, you can't become a Mason unless you sign an oath that you believe in God. Yet, you are not allowed to discuss God or religion in the Lodge. Well, if we are all believers, then why not discuss Him? I have come to discover that it is because it is not the God of Judeo-Christian heritage that is held in regard in the Lodge. It is closer to the "earth-mother" god so popular in liberal, feminist, anti-Catholic circles today. It is a naturalistic theology based on individualism with a strong aversion to "organized religion." (Which is normally the code word for the Catholic Church).
Through God's providence, we moved back to Pittsburgh within weeks of my becoming a Master Mason in Harmony Lodge #22 in Beaufort, S.C. I attended a couple meetings in Washington, PA with a friend of my father-in-law, but then did not attend again. It was during this time that the "Three Goads" (as Karl Keating called them) pushed me to study the Church more seriously.
(Update: I wrote this a long time ago. I'm not sure if the Amway machine still runs like I remember it. So some of what you read below may have been fixed as of this comment. dr 6/25/12)
Upon our return to Pittsburgh, my wife and I began an Amway business (in which I am no longer an active, sponsoring Distributor). For clarification, I will point out that my wife renews our distributorship each year because she likes a couple of the products and we want to buy them at a reduced rate. Amway people will say that this is the "wholesale" price, but we now know that it is much higher than any "wholesale" price you'll find for products of this kind and quality.
We originally joined because we wanted more money, or at least I did. At the time, we thought we had a lot of debt - which we would find out in three years was nothing compared to what we would rack up trying to make money to eliminate it. My mother had been an active distributor since I was about ten or twelve years old, so the only products I remember using as a child were Amway products. I wore SA-8-smelling clothes, used Satinique shampoo, brushed with Glister toothpaste, occasionally splashed on Tonga after shave (some of you older distributors may remember that), received the same Amagift album for my Birthday (B or C), Christmas and Anniversary. So, I went with my wife to our first plan knowing some of what we were in for. I was even a distributor while in high school. But that experience did not prepare me for the games that the Diamonds play with an adult distributor's pocketbook.
We went to all the functions - like they told us to. We bought all the tapes ("You may succeed without these tapes, but it will take you a whole lot longer" ... "Now, we're not saying you have to buy them" ... "You know the Diamonds make most of their money from the "Business", not from the books and tapes and functions" ... "Listen to the Diamonds, they bought all the tapes, went to all the functions and read all the books" ... "If you want to reinvent the wheel, you can, since it's "your" business, but we don't recommend it" ... "Stick with what works" ...). And all of this advice came from people who were still at the same level they were when I was in the business as a high school student ten years earlier. I was told by my mom that the reason they had not gotten a higher pin was because they hadn't really wanted it. It sounded suspiciously like the fundamentalist excuse for someone who was a Christian, but "back-slid" (their euphemism to explain away not having that "assurance" of salvation they like to talk about).
These people, who I put my trust in, were telling me that the only way to really "live" and be "free" was to be a successful Amway distributor. Yet they had been using the "status" of their decade-old success to stand in front of unwary audiences and pontificate like they had the "great answer" for all of these poor soul's economic woes. The saddest part of my experience with Amway has been my recognition of these poor men and women of Amway's heartless machine. At one time I looked up to them and aspired to "share the stage" with them. I thought that there was something about me that they liked. Something about my wife that they admired. I really did think that, whether or not I "did" Amway, I would always be able to look to them for help or guidance. The truth slapped me in the face, and it was the beginning of the end for my "career" in Amway.
You get convinced by the hype that if you don't succeed at Amway then there's something wrong with you and your ability to succeed at anything. After you leave, you'll say things like, "Well Amway is a great opportunity, but I just didn't work it like I should have." You talk like this because you thought like this every night that you "showed the plan" (presented the Amway business opportunity). You entered people's homes and prayed fervently that the couple wouldn't ask if you were showing them Amway. You wanted to get through at least the bulk of your two hours of misrepresentations of business trends before they asked that question. All the while, you imply that this couple will never amount to anything without this business opportunity (we never said - or were told to say - it just like that, but that's how it is intended to come across).
The most liberating feeling after shedding the Amway pall, was knowing that I didn't have to devise a way to get every stranger, acquaintance or relative in front of the circles. I finally felt like I could have a friendship without the predication of the "business". I also felt the wonderful freedom of spending time with my children without feeling guilty that I was neglecting their financial futures by not abandoning them to show the plan. "But it's only for two years, until you're Diamond. Then you can walk the beaches of the world with your family." They would tell us from stage. Well, my children will never be two again - they will never again walk for the first time. They will never again say "daddy" for the first time. There are too many wonderful things to experience with my children while they are young for me to spend every waking hour chasing some "dream" that Christ even says should not be our goal.
What about "having dreams"? I can honestly state before God that I could never again conceive of owning a Mercedes-Benz 600SL. I see the pain and suffering in the world. I hear the words of Jesus. And I can't imagine spending that kind of money - no matter how much I had - on an automobile, while the death and hopelessness exists in the world in the proportions I know. I also could not do it while I know of the people with diseases that could be cured with just a few more dollars given to support research.
For someone stuck in an Amway mentality, I know what you have been told by your upline - "that's why you should become a Diamond, so you can give "more" money to those causes". That may be the case - and if you do, may God bless your charity. However - in order to be on a Yager stage you better:
If you are currently a Distributor and think that I am a whiny loser (that's what you are told to think of someone like me), just do a couple things to verify what I have to say:
You see, I did these things, and was told
I've had my upline Emerald call me twice since then. Once to ask if I was coming to a function in the following week, and the second time to show me some "new" thing that Amway was doing. So, I guess my well-being was not so important after all - when it was not connected to increasing the size of his organization.
After I spoke with my mom about Direct Distributors and above stealing money from their downline for the books and tapes, she talked with our upline Emerald. He said that he was hurt by the fact that I never addressed my concerns to him. And he promised that he would contact me about it. That was in 1997. Good thing I didn't decide to hold my breath waiting for his compassionate call. It is all part of the brain-washing. I don't matter to them now, since I can no longer impact their income. How is that for friendship and Christian concern?
I just heard from someone still closely connected to Amway/Quixtar that they have done a very good job cracking down on these tactics and "systems". Thanks be to God. Personally, I would still be wary of the organization.
What my brothers told me, and how wrong they were!
Here are some things my two Fundamentalist brothers said to me (So far, the majority of these are links to some very good apologetics articles by writers much more knowldgeable than me. Eventually, I will answer these questions and objections in my own words, in addition to these links.)
Please remember that both of my fundamentalist brothers may not have said all of these, but they did say some of them to me at various times. The others I have gathered from other non-Catholic and anti-Catholic sources - through e-mail, the internet, and personal meetings. I hope that I can help some people by clarifying these misconceptions and, in some cases, intentional obfuscation of Catholic doctrine and practice by those who say "Lord, Lord" but do not do what He says. When it is all said in done, if we do not EAT His body and DRINK His blood, we have no life in us. (Jn 6:54) In fact, those of us who EAT His flesh and DRINK his blood dwell within Him and He in us. (Jn 6:56) Seems pretty clear to me.
I spent a lot of time taking in what my brother told me. He was "born-again" while he was in high school or college. And I was away from any serious belief or study of the Church and the Christian faith from about the age of fifteen until I was almost thirty years old. Except for a brief time that I spent with a "Christian" fellowship group in college. As I stated above, I went to a college that was not very tolerant of other faiths - especially Catholicism, as impressed upon me by the President of the College.
My brother remembers my experience at this college fellowship, which we called "Mid-week" since it met on Wednesdays in Doug and Gretchen's apartment, differently than me. Considering I was there and he was not, I think that I will stick to my memories and not his. Perhaps his reasons for distorting that time period is a way for him to forget the bizarre and un-Christian groups he belonged to, as well as some of the un-Christian ways that he confronted me when I was not "as Christian" as him. He seems to remember that I boasted to him how I was able to disrupt the "Mid-Week" meetings by demanding that we sing more songs, and that I demanded we sing songs that were not Christian. Yes, we sang songs, and yes, I had some say in what the songs were. However, everyone else had as much say as me, and normally it was Doug and Gretchen, the Campus Crusaders who decided the musical selections.
I remember coming home and telling him how excited I was to be in this group, and I told him some of the music we sang. But instead of support or encouragement, he began a tirade about the dangers of choosing music that is called Christian, but isn't (being Protestant, he would have to draw that line base don his own experience and knowledge, with some Bible verses taken out of context to support his case). He railed that "just any Bible-study" is not safe, etc. To say he burst my bubble would be an understatement. He convinced me that Christians were not loving, kind, patient, or supportive. Rather, they were accusatory, self-righteous, haughty, vain, proud and distrustful. After that, the time I spent at Mid-week began to dwindle. I'm sure that deep down I figured that it was no use trying to be a Christian if every time you met another Christian they were either like my brother or like some of those nuts who wear the colorful suspenders and Bozo hair. And it occurred to me that it was all arbitrary. Depending upon what your pastor said, you could believe whatever you wanted.
In the mean time, my brother never missed an opportunity to point out how Catholics were wrong. Keep in mind that at this time, I was not a practicing Catholic and would not have brought up this subject. I remember one time, when we were traveling to Florida - it was me, my twin brother, my mom and dad and this other brother - he ripped the St. Christopher medal from the rear view mirror. He said that it was distracting him, but could not leave it at that - he then had to make some comment about idols. My dad commented back, but my brother grinned in his self-righteous manner thinking that he had the "Bible" on his side. How I wish I could go back to that ride with the knowledge I have now. That way, he could not claim he is too busy, or that we've been on the phone too long or that he needs to check on something (all of which he uses now when I press him on his assertions and accusations). May Mary, the Holy Mother of God, intercede for the benefit of his family and soul. Her love is so great. She bravely stood at the foot of the Cross with the Disciple whom Jesus loved. Jesus gave His mother to John, representing all of us, so that she would be our Mother as well. Jesus is our brother, so Mary is our Mother. May she intercede on his behalf to bring all of my brothers closer to Jesus and back to reception of Him in the Eucharist.
The following are some of the issues raised. Most can be refuted by a novice Catholic apologist. But some require a little more study and prayer. May Jesus give us enough time to evangelize our fallen-away brothers and sisters who truly love the Lord but are just swimming in circles around the Barque of Peter. Let us prayerfully, with love and compassion, reach down into the water and lift them into the fullness of Truth which can only be found in the Holy Catholic Church.
|Catholics should not call Priests "father" because of Matthew 23:9|
|Catholics worship statues in violation of Exodus 20:4-5|
|Catholics sacrifice Jesus at every Mass in an unbloody manner which does not forgive sins|
|Catholics baptize children before the child can know what faith he is joining|
|Catholics believe in salvation by works against Romans 3:28|
|Catholics believe in following the tradition of men which is condemned in the Bible (Mt 15:3; Mk 7:9; Col 2:8)|
|The Catholic Church forbids its priests to marry, in opposition to the Bible teaching (1 Tim 4:1-3)|
|You should be Bible-based in your beliefs, not Church-based|
|You should believe in the Bible alone|
|Repetitious prayers are condemned by Jesus|
|The Rosary is really bad because you combine a whole slew of anti-Biblical things: repetitious prayer, prayers to Mary, counting of beads, calling Mary Mother of God, plain superstition|
|There is only one mediator in Jesus, not Mary, nor the Saints|
|Jesus is the Rock, not Peter|
I will not be able to get into it right now. But I have felt a very strong calling to focus my apologetics efforts toward the Jehovah's Witnesses. They are a decent, mis-guided group of lost souls. Jesus wants all of us to be in His Church. Yet there are men and women out there who make too much money and have too much pride to allow Jesus the glory. They want it for themselves, and they will create lies, deceptions, contradictions and enticements to gain and keep people in their invented churches. Not only in the cults, such as Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh-Day Adventists, Scientologists (hope they don't sue me for mentioning them), and Mormons, but also in churches like the Disciples of Christ, Churches of Christ, Plymouth Brethren, Full Gospel, Evangelical Free, Baptist, Lutheran, and Catholic parishes, there are souls who are thirsting for the true waters that only Jesus can provide - and which are only available in their fullness in the Catholic Church founded by Christ on the Rock of St. Peter and the foundations of the Apostles.
OK, ok, the book was Rome Sweet Home, by Scott and Kimberly Hahn. Soon, I will write about the impact that this book had with me and others with whom I've spoken. Click here to buy this book from Barnes and Noble -->> Rome Sweet Home.
I've heard Dr. Hahn and his wife, Kimberly, speak a number of times. Each time, I gained much. And each time, I'm thrilled at the way that the Lord is working in their lives. He certainly has touched them with the moral courage to proclaim the Gospel in and out of season. They speak out against abortion and contraception, and most especially against pornography. Kimberly gave a wonderful talk a few years ago, and in the middle of it, she explained with painful clarity the damage and pain that pornography brings. It is insidious. I highly reccommend any book or tape from either of them.
Another critical book (and one I practically devoured) in my re-version was by Karl Keating, Catholicism and Fundamentalism: The attack on Romanism by Bible Christians. I highly recommend it if you deal in any way with anti-Catholic fundamentalist Christians.
If you click on the link, it will bring you to the Barnes and Noble page. Although some of the stuff they carry sickens me, I have to allow for freedoms up to a point. And, even though I would never recommend some of the things they carry, I figure that the few cents I make on the sale of a book, I can apply to maintaining this site for the good of the Church.