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5.0 out of 5 stars Uplifting & Life-Changing
Born in 1963, Bobby Griffith was raised as a devout Christian child, much like I have been for most of my life. Unsurprisingly, his mother Mary was nothing short of a Bible thumper. For the first sixteen years of his life, Bobby was told how to be the perfect Christian, something that he very much wanted to be. However, something deep inside of him had come into conflict...
Published on Sept. 17 2001 by R. Michael

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2.0 out of 5 stars A mother's pain is on each page.....
Prayers for bobby could be any of our chidren, but what really grabbed me was the realization that our society is so lost in understanding homosexuality. It is greater than simply praying to God to change as Bobby, like any of us in brokeness, need to look at what our pain is actually about, not just the manifestation of how it is acted out. The picture we paint of our...
Published on Jan. 3 2002 by jolie1015


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2.0 out of 5 stars A mother's pain is on each page....., Jan. 3 2002
By 
"jolie1015" (Long Beach, MS United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Prayers For Bobby (Paperback)
Prayers for bobby could be any of our chidren, but what really grabbed me was the realization that our society is so lost in understanding homosexuality. It is greater than simply praying to God to change as Bobby, like any of us in brokeness, need to look at what our pain is actually about, not just the manifestation of how it is acted out. The picture we paint of our lives must be larger than a simple concept, which is why this book is so poignant for all of us. With only the premise that we are what we are at any given time and change cannot happen, then we are lost in the web of fear, confusion, lies, distortions. etc. For too many people have come out of homosexuality for this book to be the bottom line about the pain of homosexuality. I would ask any young person (or older; age doesn't matter, nor does gender!), "there are answers out there. Have you talked with Exodus International? Have you talked with anyone who has come out of it because they are out there..." -- For sure i would not lock them in the closet of despair by not telling them there are other ways to get help and leave homosexuality... and deal with all the emotions about it. I am sad for the mother in this book, as I am mother, also. I am sad for Bobby because there was help in Portland, OR in 1996 (and earlier) but until we start asking the right questions and looking for answers, kids like Bobby will make poor choices. I don't want this to happen to anyone else. So, why not teach our chiddren that there are many avenues for help, not just diving into the "gay" lifestyle. For the [gay people] I know, it isn't so gay. It is lonely and sad and empty. Why would anyone who is homosexual refuse to respect a person who did not want to stay homosexual and go for assistance in change? No one heard Bobby because no one knew the questions to ask. Our churches need to be as aware of the roots of homosexuality as our schools. No one is doomed to live a life they did not want. God is very affirming of that.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Uplifting & Life-Changing, Sept. 17 2001
This review is from: Prayers For Bobby (Paperback)
Born in 1963, Bobby Griffith was raised as a devout Christian child, much like I have been for most of my life. Unsurprisingly, his mother Mary was nothing short of a Bible thumper. For the first sixteen years of his life, Bobby was told how to be the perfect Christian, something that he very much wanted to be. However, something deep inside of him had come into conflict with his aspirations of holiness. He acknowledged that he was gay. However, living in a society that encourages young men and women to be heterosexual, Bobby denied his emotions up until the time that he "came out" to his journal. Searching for some moral support and guidance from loved ones, Bobby came out to his family. He had thought that his mother would understand, but as it turns out, all that Mary Griffith understood was that being gay meant going to hell. From that point forward, it was all downhill. Desperate to save her son from eternal damnation, Mary began a silent campaign to convert her son. She began echoing the same prayers that Bobby had been praying for years, those prayers asking for God to make her son straight. While Bobby had prayed the same exact prayers up until his personal acceptance, Mary was convinced that Bobby had not tried hard enough. Where there is a will, there is a way, a way for God to make her child straight. For four years, she continued to do everything in her power to "save" Bobby. For every prayer answered with a "no," a TV evangelist would tell a story of how a faithful Christian was converted to the right kind of love, the only kind that was pleasing in God's eyes. Eventually, her persistence would be too much for Bobby to bear. After four years of self-loathing and alternating periods of loving God and hating him, Bobby committed suicide at the age of 20. It was a very self-conscious decision, one that involved no drugs or alcohol. On the night of August 26, 1983, Bobby Griffith backflipped off of a highway overpass into the path of an 18-wheeler. Psychiatrists later said that his particularly violent death was indicative of just how much he had grown to hate himself.
In the years after Bobby's death, Mary Griffith began the search for answers. She asked herself the classic question: what went wrong? The answer had originally seemed so simple. God had promised to cure anyone who needed help, but why not her son? Slowly, she began to realize that it was she who was wrong. She began to unite with the parents of other gay children, confirming that Bobby wasn't the only one "abandoned" by God. Three years after the death of her son, she had completed her metamorphosis from religious zealot to one of the country's leading gay rights activists. Gone from her home were the religious ornamentals and texts that she used to find solace in. Today, she only finds comfort in telling Bobby's story to others, knowing that Bobby was all right just as God created him. Her message to parents everywhere is simple: don't let this happen to one more child.
As a gay teenager myself, I know how poignant and true "Prayers for Bobby" is. This story has given me the courage to come out of my "shell" and speak openly about how much gay acceptance means to our society. This book should be read by homophobics everywhere to show them that every time they open their mouths, they are literally killing a child like Bobby. Remember, homosexuality should not kill anyone; it is Biblical literalism that killed Bobby Griffith and has made life miserable for millions of teenagers in our country. I stress the belief to other Christians that the men who wrote the Bible were just that -- men. Man is fickle and fallible. Therefore, I cannot convince myself to believe that they were representing God's opinion of sexuality.
Finally, there is one particular passage from "Prayers for Bobby" that I'd like to paraphrase because it says so much about how much stories like this need to be heard by the American public: "Every Sunday, thousands if not millions of people are sitting in pews everywhere listening to sermons of homophobia being preached in their churches. Among the parishioners are gay teenagers and young adults who cry out for help, but cannot be heard above the messages of condemnation. Before you echo "Amen" at the end of such a sermon, think . . . and remember. Children are listening."
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5.0 out of 5 stars Prayers For Bobby is one of the most inspirational books!, July 30 2001
By 
Porfie "Porfie Jr. Medina" (Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Prayers For Bobby (Paperback)
This book PRAYERS FOR BOBBY is about a a young adult named Bobby Griffith who was an all american guy, but who also happened to be gay, and his mother who has to come to terms with the suicide of her gay son. In this book you see how Bobby faced with the pressure of his family and his religion telling him it is wrong to be gay. You will also read many bone chilling excerpts of Bobbys most personal thoughts straight out of his journal, which shows how much Bobby had been going through from the fight with his religious beliefs to selling himself on the streets as a SUBSTITUTE FOR LOVE. There seems like no other answer and soon the pressure is to much to take and Bobby decides to take his own life. Bobbys mom Mary Griffith who was fearful of her sons sexuality and who was a churchgoer used to pray her son would be healed from this sickness, but once her son dies she decided to transform her life by being a national crusador for gay and lesbian youth. This book realy touched my heart and soul because when I was 10 I lost my uncle who was 20 to suicide. We were very close my uncle was NOT gay, but suicide became something I had no choice but to learn at an early age. This book was a life changing book for me as it made me confront many of my own issues I had to face growing up as a teen and now in to my early twenties. PRAYERS FOR BOBBY is one of those books that inspire you to be better and to not judge others by there sexual preferences, as it is such a small part of ones self. I say if you have not read this book you really need to. This book is sad, but yet one of the most inspirational true stories I have ever read, but this is about real life and real life does not always have the storybook happy ending!
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5.0 out of 5 stars What a wonderful book this is, July 18 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Prayers For Bobby (Paperback)
Well, I feel sorry for Bobby and his mom, from the bottom of my heart. I feel sorry for all of the Christians who are so deep into their beliefs that they cannot see what is going on. They don't see how much hurt they give to their friends, family and many more. I know Bobby, because I am one person like Bobby, and have to deal with friends who can't see anything with their simple minds. This book gave me strength, and hopefully will open hearts of many Christians, bur for some simple minded ones (couple of reviewers here), and nothing will work. Some people are so into it that they cannot even see that they are the sinners and not beautiful confused gay people. All of people have to read this book. This book is full of soul, heart, and sadness. It was hard to read it, it made me even more sad, and it made me push away my friends Christians, because their presence hurts me once in a while, it really does hurt me, and it's just because I love them so much, and don't want them to be the way they are. The ways they are hurting other people, and even don't know. Hopefully this book will open their eyes. I just hope so.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful examination of Gay teen suicide, Jan. 4 2001
By 
"mariposalily" (Tallahassee, FL USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Prayers For Bobby (Paperback)
"Prayers for Bobby" is a deeply moving account of one mother's journey from closed-minded, Bible thumping drone to enlightened crusader for human rights. This story really struck home for me. Like Bobby, I was raised in a home where well intentioned folks would use the Bible to condemn homosexuals, unaware of the affect their words were having on me. In my late teens I lived with a sister who's husband was abusive (not physically, at least not to me). This man thought that all "faggots" should be rounded up and killed to protect decent people. We were not allowed to watch any TV program that featured anyone Gay (or black, or, or, or). Still, it was the isolation from God which hurt the most. I mistakenly believed what I was told by my mother, the TV evangelists and even certain friends: homosexuals are an abomination and are going to Hell. Reading this volume, I realize how lucky I am. In the twenty years since I've been out to my family and friends, I have taken a lot of time teaching them what it means to be Gay. I let people know upfront that I have a personal relationship with God - and no one can take his love away from me. When I hear people like Jesse Helms, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, even the Pope - I can't help but wonder if they even understand the teachings of Christ. It's all about love. I am so happy that Mary Griffith has come forward to tell her story. Her transformation is an inspiration. Leroy Aarons has honored both Mary and Bobby with this beautifully rendered memoir. This should be required reading for parents of Gay teens - or parents who may only suspect that they have a Gay teen.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Poignant; painful; reflective: READ THIS BOOK!, March 24 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Prayers For Bobby (Paperback)
This is one of those books that should appear on the shelves of every high school, college, and church library in the country.
The statistics about gay teen suicide are frightening; this true story about the suicide of Bobby Griffiths puts a human face on this tragic and avoidable phenomenon. As an gay adult, I cried in anguish as I read Bobby's journal entries; they touched too close to home for comfort. As an adult human being I cried tears of compassion for Bobby's mother, who wanted nothing more than for her son to be pleasing in God's eyes, but because of her fundamentalist understanding of God was blinded to the fact that Bobby was already the person God created him to be. Perhaps this book will help other mothers and other sons (and fathers and daughters and sisters and brothers) see through the veil of misinformation which so destroys a young person's self esteem that he or she gives up on life itself. And perhaps it will awaken the church to the truly destructive consequences of its outdated understanding of the human person.
As a minister I have given away copies of this book to youths struggling with their sexual identity, to their parents, and to their own ministers. And I have heard back words of thanks, especially from the young people, who have begun to realize that they are God's creation, and that they are good and acceptable in God's sight precisely because they are God's creatures.
Thank you, Mary Griffiths, for having the courage to share this very important story. God bless you!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Several passages are photocopied on my office wall, Nov. 17 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Prayers For Bobby (Paperback)
As a gay male who's life partner was raised by deeply religious parents, Bobby's story hit very close to home. Though my life partner survived, the scars run deep. This novel so vividly points out the difference between hardcore religion and true spirituality. It has further proven to me that the Bible is a book of MAN'S "interpretation" of God's words. I believe Bobby has moved on to a peaceful existence because his mother believes that as well. What a triumphant story of one woman's struggle to realize that God is LOVE; that God is not rules, rituals or punishment. Thank you, Mary, for following your heart!
I applaud Bobby's mother for all her efforts on behalf of gays and lesbians who still face unrelenting prejudice and ignorance sadly disguised as "religion" and "spirituality". This book reaffirms the power of the soul and the beauty that results from truly listening and opening up to the meaning of love. It's sad that Mary didn't realize it while Bobby was still alive, but his spirit lives on in a wonderfully rendered memoir that hopefully is saving countless other Bobbys even as I write this.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Tragic and, paradoxically, somehow triumphant, March 31 1998
By 
This review is from: Prayers For Bobby (Paperback)
The subject of teen suicide is a difficult one and one never easy to deal with. The suicide of a gay teen is even more of a problem because it is difficult to study without enough documented research. Inserting religious beliefs into the equation, along with family values, make for a very interesting story. The suicide of any teen or anyone is tragic. The initial teachings/actions of Mary Griffith make for difficult reading for a gay Christian; however, her ultimate acceptance of her son (and herself) in a way make this book somewhat validating. After the tradgedy, she does begin to review her thinking, but the point is, she is referencing it with the same scripture that she had been reading all along. After her son's death, there was a time where she seemed to act in a way that was against her families wishes and yet she was doing it just for that reason (part of her family.) "Prayers for Bobby" blends many common problems/themes together of being gay or having a gay son in a "straight" world, and yet, it is candidly honest and intelligent. My main praise for the book is this: It blends many difficult themes and reveals enough of each to educate the reader. It is important not to forget the difficulty of the subject matter when reading this book. It doesn't give answers or attempt to sway the reader into believing one thing or another, it only speaks.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A heartbreaking and thought-provoking story, April 7 2003
By 
This review is from: Prayers For Bobby (Paperback)
"Prayers for Bobby: A Mother's Coming to Terms with the Suicide of Her Gay Son," by Leroy Aarons, tells a powerful true story. Mary Griffith was a woman who believed in a strict, oppressive version of Christianity and pressured her gay son to try to "change." But after his suicide she reexamined her theology and beliefs about homosexuality and was herself radically transformed.
The book begins with Bobby's suicide and then moves back and forth in time to tell 2 parallel stories: that of Bobby's life and that of Mary's life after his death. This is a profoundly moving story, skillfully told by Aarons. Despite the tragic subject matter, I found the book ultimately very hopeful and uplifting. It's a real story of spiritual liberation and rebirth.
This is also an important book in that it exposes the deadly danger of anti-gay prejudice. The book includes a useful appendix of organizations that deal with gay/lesbian youth and gay/lesbian issues more generally.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read, April 8 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: Prayers For Bobby (Paperback)
This is the story of a remarkable woman's struggle to
accept her gay son and his suicide. She is a role model
for us all and through this book, she is now a friend for
many who are engaged in their own struggle to accept
themselves as gay in this horribly homophobic society.The
author gives us the power to feel her pain, to experience
her growth, to live her liberation. One place he muses...
will it take a figurative land mine in each case to make
other people change. I was very moved by her comments on the
church..."I have a certain amount of guilt, but the church
doesn't seem to have any." And, "We are the guardian angels.
We have the power." And, "Once my beliefs were my reality;
now my reality forms my belief." This book shows us the
deadly sins of the church and allow us to share in a woman's
journey to find a truth and a faith that gave her life real
meaning.
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Prayers For Bobby
Prayers For Bobby by Leroy Aarons (Paperback - Aug. 15 1996)
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