Daniel Mattson: Statement by Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, and the Ruth Institute

Daniel Mattson is a dear friend of mine and of the Ruth Institute. He spoke at our First Annual Awards Banquet last spring. We awarded him the Public Witness of the Year Award for his book Why I Don’t Call Myself Gay: How I reclaimed my sexual reality and found peace.

Recently, an allegation of sexual misconduct has been lodged against Mr. Mattson. As of this writing, I do not have all the facts relevant to the allegation. I can say two things with absolute confidence.

Number 1: Many men who have lived a sexually active homosexual life, have dark deeds in their past. Indeed, for many whom we might call “ex-gays,” escaping this darkness was part of what they were trying to get away from when they left the active participation in homosexual sex.

Number 2: The message of Dan’s book remains valid, true, and life-giving. The Ruth Institute will continue to sell his book, without apology or hesitation.

And we will continue to be friends to anyone who sincerely repents of their past sins, and who is striving to live a chaste and holy life. That certainly includes Dan Mattson.

9 thoughts on “Daniel Mattson: Statement by Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, and the Ruth Institute”

  1. Thank you for not rushing to distance yourself and the Ruth Institute from Mattson like many others already have. I was disappointed that Courage was quick to point out that Mattson was never employed by Courage or Encourage. If he has sinned and broken the law, that will come out. In the meantime, thank you for reaffirming the good work he has done despite allegations of minor abuse.


  2. Thank you. I am sad to see how quickly the story of Mr.Mattson’s accuser was put out with out trying to get a statement from Daniel. Equally sad is that there is not a public statement from him. I continue to pray for him and all involved.


  3. Sadly, EWTN Religious Catalog has removed all materials associated with Daniel Mattson, except for a book of essays which he contribute too and a season pack of “Catholic View for Women” in which he was interviewed for an episode. Ignatius Press and the Courage Apostolate Store no longer sell “Desire of the Everlasting Hills” and the film’s website has been temporarily closed. It’s all so sad! I do wish Dan would speak up but I assume he is being told not to for legal reasons. 😦


  4. I don’t understand how what he is accused of doing was not serious enough to involve distancing – he is a child molester if the accusations are true. But in your statement, you say even if it turns out to be true you will stand by him. I doubt that if he was not engaged in a similar kind of work as you, that you would still support him even if he did molest young boys.


    1. I stand by the fact that he has repented of his deeds. If it were a current ongoing behavior, my stance would be different. Also, there may be criminal or civil penalties involved, again, if the accusations are true. If this comes about, I will be watching to see how Mr. Mattson handles himself.


    2. Hi AMB, when I was a teen (female), an older man (in his 50’s, if I recall) engaged in similar behaviour with me: long-distance sexual talk and trying to draw me into sexual things. So I can relate to the sense of disgust with the behaviour; it was actually the springboard for me into Christianity, because it helped me recognize the objective reality of sexual ethics. But can we keep a sense of proportion? That older man did not “molest” me. He never physically touched me (well, actually we did meet up and hug, but the physical touching on that occasion was not sexual). And according to this Twitter allegation, Dan did not “molest” Jonathan; he never physically touched him.

      Yes, if true, the allegation reveals a truly gross part of Dan’s past. But we’re all confessing Catholics. When we enter the Confessional, it’s BECAUSE our sins are ‘gross’. And God forgives us when we repent, and welcomes us back into the family. I won’t refuse to forgive a repentant sinner (provided he does repent, and in this case publicly, since the allegation of sin is public). If the older man who preyed on me would publicly confess it and apologize, I would be delighted and forgive him (and think it was SICK if other people distanced themselves from him AFTER he turned his life around and started doing the right thing. It’s one thing to distance from people who are actively committing evil — but once they repent of evil and turn back to the good, that’s the time for reunion and celebration, not distance).

      If the allegation is true, I pray that Dan will publicly confess, ask forgiveness, humbly submit to any relevant temporal consequences (re: local laws), and continue to model repentance for the world. I can only imagine the current humiliation he’s feeling, and the deep closet that so many same-sex attracted individuals feel trapped in, knowing that they have their own skeletons buried in the closet and that if they ever try to publicly do the right thing, those skeletons will be dragged up to ruin their lives and cast them back into shadows. This ‘Jonathan’ fellow even outright stated that part of his animus against Dan is Dan’s Catholic perspective on same-sex behaviour. It does seem that in part Jonathan is trying to punish Dan for coming out as Catholic, rather than just for the past skeleton (though certainly the skeleton itself is fair enough to bring out, if true).

      Again, this is all *if* the allegation is true. I have no horse in this race and while it seems plausible enough to me (lots of people in the same-sex community comment on the preponderance of underage interactions, especially during times of deep confusion about one’s own sexuality), at the same time I think people these days are justifiably skeptical of unproven accusations made against political enemies (in this case, Jonathan mentioned his opposition to Dan on the politicized topic of same-sex ‘marriage’). Smear campaigns and false accusations are real, and I just hope that one way or the other, Dan speaks up (truthfully) to let God give clarity to the situation. Praying for the Holy Spirit to assist him in submitting himself to the will of our Father. Dan: God is with you (and so are your brothers and sisters in Christ; we are all one body). Pick up your cross, whichever it is, and follow Him. You will be walking into your own salvation.


      1. I must “approve” all comments before they are posted. Permit me to say: I TOTALLY APPROVE this comment. Thank you Catri, for your testimony and your kind heart. I too, am praying for Dan. I have not heard from him recently, and I do hope he is well. We must trust that our prayers are efficacious, somehow in the economy of salvation.


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