He survived a turbulent childhood in war-torn London, earned degrees with honors from Cambridge University, was ordained in the Church of England, became an Anglican worker-priest, and emigrated to the United States.

He has been a prolific broadcaster for the BBC, helped organize the Public Broadcasting System in America, was a founding chairman of National Public Radio, and became a senior management consultant for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

He designed and directed the first system of suicide and crisis counseling centers in California (a model for later centers nationwide) and helped found the Parsonage, an Episcopalian ministry on behalf of gay rights in the Castro section of San Francisco. And all the while, Bernard Duncan Mayes struggled to reconcile his views on sexuality—and his experience as a gay man—with his theological and cultural beliefs.

In an entirely honest and engaging voice, Mayes offers considerably more than autobiographical recollections of his life as priest, journalist, university teacher and administrator, and gay rights activist. Throughout Escaping God's Closet, Bernard Mayes recounts how social and doctrinal oppression posed fundamental challenges to his own belief system, but led him to revelations about sexuality, Christianity, and the nature of human existence itself.