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Backsliding, Fondly 



Your cover story of Nov. 22, "The Light on the Bluff," deeply stirred my memories of my own 15 months as a "brother" with Gospel Outreach from July 1972 to October 1973.

I delivered the Tri-City Advertiser, sold doughnuts door-to-door, and worked at the Carlotta grapestake mill, all as an expected testimony of my Christian faith. How real it was, how right it seemed, how destined my life then, or so I thought.

Many things, most things, change though. A series of disheartening and sobering realities intruded themselves against my immaturities, and a challenge arose in me to question irrational authority. It wasn't long before the veneer was stripped. Gospel Outreach was no longer my calling in life. 

To use the term of those days. I was a "backslider." I see now I just grew up, swiftly and bluntly. Leaving Gospel Outreach, and in later years casting off of all vestiges of belief in the supernatural, was for me no rearward direction, but rather a natural moving on in a forward sense.

Still, I feel sad that the old Lighthouse Ranch now exists only in photographs and in the memories of those who were there. It was a unique experience, and from it I learned much and knew love and community and belonging in a way that can scarcely be expressed in words. Looking at those photographs in the Journal article and seeing many faces I remember and recalling their names, the love and joy I knew and received from the people of Gospel Outreach floods back, unchanged by the years. 

Forrest R. Prince, Arcata

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