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Toby Johnson's books:

Toby's books are available as ebooks from, the Apple iBookstore, etc.

Finding God in gthe Sexual Underworld

2020 edition

Finding Your Own True Myth - The Myth of the Great Secret III

FINDING YOUR OWN TRUE MYTH: What I Learned from Joseph Campbell: The Myth of the Great Secret III

Gay Spirituality

GAY SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness

Gay Perspective

GAY PERSPECTIVE: Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature of God and the Universe

Secret Matter

SECRET MATTER, a sci-fi novel with wonderful "aliens" with an Afterword by Mark Jordan

Getting Life

GETTING LIFE IN PERSPECTIVE:  A Fantastical Gay Romance set in two different time periods

The Fourth Quill

THE FOURTH QUILL, a novel about attitudinal healing and the problem of evil

Two Spirits
TWO SPIRITS: A Story of Life with the Navajo, a collaboration with Walter L. Williams

charmed lives
CHARMED LIVES: Spinning Straw into Gold: GaySpirit in Storytelling, a collaboration with Steve Berman and some 30 other writers

Myth of the Great Secret

THE MYTH OF THE GREAT SECRET: An Appreciation of Joseph Campbell

In Search of God


Unpublished manuscripts

About ordering

Books on Gay Spirituality:

White Crane Gay Spirituality Series

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  Toby has done five podcasts with Harry Faddis for The Quest of Life

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  Articles and Excerpts:

Review of Samuel Avery's The Dimensional Structure of Consciousness

Funny Coincidence: "Aliens Settle in San Francisco"

About Liberty Books, the Lesbian/Gay Bookstore for Austin, 1986-1996

The Simple Answer to the Gay Marriage Debate

A Bifurcation of Gay Spirituality

Why gay people should NOT Marry

The Scriptural Basis for Same Sex Marriage

Toby and Kip Get Married

Wedding Cake Liberation

Gay Marriage in Texas

What's ironic

Shame on the American People

The "highest form of love"

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Gay Consciousness

Why homosexuality is a sin

The cause of homosexuality

The origins of homophobia

Q&A about Jungian ideas in gay consciousness

What is homosexuality?

What is Gay Spirituality?

My three messages

What Jesus said about Gay Rights

Queering religion

Common Experiences Unique to Gay Men

Is there a "uniquely gay perspective"?

The purpose of homosexuality

Interview on the Nature of Homosexuality

What the Bible Says about Homosexuality

Mesosexual Ideal for Straight Men

Varieties of Gay Spirituality

Waves of Gay Liberation Activity

The Gay Succession

Wouldn’t You Like to Be Uranian?

The Reincarnation of Edward Carpenter

Why Gay Spirituality: Spirituality as Artistic Medium

Easton Mountain Retreat Center

Andrew Harvey & Spiritual Activism

The Mysticism of Andrew Harvey

The upsidedown book on MSNBC

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"It's Always About You"

The myth of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara

Joseph Campbell's description of Avalokiteshvara

You're Not A Wave

Joseph Campbell Talks about Aging

What is Enlightenment?

What is reincarnation?

How many lifetimes in an ego?

Emptiness & Religious Ideas

Experiencing experiencing experiencing

Going into the Light

Meditations for a Funeral

Meditation Practice

The way to get to heaven

Buddha's father was right

What Anatman means

Advice to Travelers to India & Nepal

The Danda Nata & goddess Kalika

Nate Berkus is a bodhisattva

John Boswell was Immanuel Kant

Cutting edge realization

The Myth of the Wanderer

Change: Source of Suffering & of Bliss

World Navel

What the Vows Really Mean

Manifesting from the Subtle Realms

The Three-layer Cake & the Multiverse

The est Training and Personal Intention

Effective Dreaming in Ursula LeGuin's The Lathe of Heaven

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Gay Spirituality

Curious Bodies

What Toby Johnson Believes

The Joseph Campbell Connection

The Mann Ranch (& Rich Gabrielson)

Campbell & The Pre/Trans Fallacy

The Two Loves

The Nature of Religion

What's true about Religion

Being Gay is a Blessing

Drawing Long Straws

Freedom of Religion

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The Gay Agenda

Gay Saintliness

Gay Spiritual Functions

The subtle workings of the spirit in gay men's lives.

The Sinfulness of Homosexuality

Proposal for a study of gay nondualism

Priestly Sexuality

Having a Church to Leave

Harold Cole on Beauty

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Marian Doctrines: Immaculate Conception & Assumption

Not lashed to the prayer-post

Monastic or Chaste Homosexuality

Is It Time to Grow Up? Confronting the Aging Process

Notes on Licking  (July, 1984)

Redeem Orlando

Gay Consciousness changing the world by Shokti LoveStar

Alexander Renault interviews Toby Johnson

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Mystical Vision

"The Evolution of Gay Identity"

"St. John of the Cross & the Dark Night of the Soul."

Avalokiteshvara at the Baths

 Eckhart's Eye

Let Me Tell You a Secret

Religious Articulations of the Secret

The Collective Unconscious

Driving as Spiritual Practice


Historicity as Myth


No Stealing

Next Step in Evolution

The New Myth

The Moulting of the Holy Ghost

Gaia is a Bodhisattva

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The Hero's Journey

The Hero's Journey as archetype -- GSV 2016

The  Gay Hero Journey (shortened)

You're On Your Own


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Seeing Differently

Teenage Prostitution and the Nature of Evil

Allah Hu: "God is present here"

Adam and Steve

The Life is in the Blood

Gay retirement and the "freelance monastery"

Seeing with Different Eyes

Facing the Edge: AIDS as an occasion for spiritual wisdom

What are you looking for in a gay science fiction novel?

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The Vision

The mystical experience at the Servites'  Castle in Riverside

A  Most Remarkable Synchronicity in Riverside

The Great Dance according to C.S.Lewis

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The Techniques Of The World Saviors

Part 1: Brer Rabbit and the Tar-Baby

Part 2: The Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara

Part 3: Jesus and the Resurrection

Part 4: A Course in Miracles

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The Secret of the Clear Light

Understanding the Clear Light

Mobius Strip

Finding Your Tiger Face

How Gay Souls Get Reincarnated

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Joseph Campbell, the Hero's Journey, and the modern Gay Hero-- a five part presentation on YouTube

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About Alien Abduction

In honor of Sir Arthur C Clarke

Karellen was a homosexual

The D.A.F.O.D.I.L. Alliance

Intersections with the movie When We Rise

More about Gay Mental Health

Psych Tech Training

Toby at the California Institute

The Rainbow Flag

Ideas for gay mythic stories

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Kip and Toby, Activists

Toby's friend and nicknamesake Toby Marotta.

Harry Hay, Founder of the gay movement

About Hay and The New Myth

About Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, the first man to really "come out"

About Michael Talbot, gay mystic

About Fr. Bernard Lynch

About Richard Baltzell

About Guy Mannheimer

About David Weyrauch

About Dennis Paddie

About Ask the Fire

About Arthur Evans

About Christopher Larkin

About Mark Thompson

About Sterling Houston

About Michael Stevens

The Alamo Business Council

Our friend Tom Nash

Second March on Washington

The Gay Spirituality Summit in May 2004 and the "Statement of Spirituality"

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Book Reviews

Be Done on Earth by Howard E. Cook

Pay Me What I'm Worth by Souldancer

The Way Out by Christopher L  Nutter

The Gay Disciple by John Henson

Art That Dares by Kittredge Cherry

Coming Out, Coming Home by Kennth A. Burr

Extinguishing the Light by B. Alan Bourgeois

Over Coffee: A conversation For Gay Partnership & Conservative Faith by D.a. Thompson

Dark Knowledge by Kenneth Low

Janet Planet by Eleanor Lerman

The Kairos by Paul E. Hartman

Wrestling with Jesus by D.K.Maylor

Kali Rising by Rudolph Ballentine

The Missing Myth by Gilles Herrada

The Secret of the Second Coming by Howard E. Cook

The Scar Letters: A Novel by Richard Alther

The Future is Queer by Labonte & Schimel

Missing Mary by Charlene Spretnak

Gay Spirituality 101 by Joe Perez

Cut Hand: A Nineteeth Century Love Story on the American Frontier by Mark Wildyr

Radiomen by Eleanor Lerman

Nights at Rizzoli by Felice Picano

The Key to Unlocking the Closet Door by Chelsea Griffo

The Door of the Heart by Diana Finfrock Farrar

Occam’s Razor by David Duncan

Grace and Demion by Mel White

Gay Men and The New Way Forward by Raymond L. Rigoglioso

The Dimensional Stucture of Consciousness by Samuel Avery

The Manly Pursuit of Desire and Love by Perry Brass

Love Together: Longtime Male Couples on Healthy Intimacy and Communication by Tim Clausen

War Between Materialism and Spiritual by Jean-Michel Bitar

The Serpent's Gift: Gnostic Reflections on the Study of Religion by Jeffrey J. Kripal

Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion by Jeffrey J. Kripal

The Invitation to Love by Darren Pierre

Brain, Consciousness, and God: A Lonerganian Integration by Daniel A Helminiak

A Walk with Four Spiritual Guides by Andrew Harvey

Can Christians Be Saved? by Stephenson & Rhodes

The Lost Secrets of the Ancient Mystery Schools by Stephenson & Rhodes

Keys to Spiritual Being: Energy Meditation and Synchronization Exercises by Adrian Ravarour

In Walt We Trust by John Marsh

Solomon's Tantric Song by Rollan McCleary

A Special Illumination by Rollan McCleary

Aelred's Sin by Lawrence Scott

Fruit Basket by Payam Ghassemlou

Internal Landscapes by John Ollom

Princes & Pumpkins by David Hatfield Sparks

Yes by Brad Boney

Blood of the Goddess by William Schindler

Roads of Excess, Palaces of Wisdom by Jeffrey Kripal

Evolving Dharma by Jay Michaelson

Jesus in Salome's Lot by Brett W. Gillette

The Man Who Loved Birds by Fenton Johnson

The Vatican Murders by Lucien Gregoire

"Sex Camp" by Brian McNaught

Out & About with Brewer & Berg
Episode One: Searching for a New Mythology

The Soul Beneath the Skin by David Nimmons

Out on Holy Ground by Donald Boisvert

The Revotutionary Psychology of Gay-Centeredness by Mitch Walker

Out There by Perry Brass

The Crucifixion of Hyacinth by Geoff Puterbaugh

The Silence of Sodom by Mark D Jordan

It's Never About What It's About by Krandall Kraus and Paul Borja

ReCreations, edited by Catherine Lake

Gospel: A Novel by WIlton Barnhard

Keeping Faith: A Skeptic’s Journey by Fenton Johnson

Dating the Greek Gods
by Brad Gooch

Telling Truths in Church by Mark D. Jordan

The Substance of God by Perry Brass

The Tomcat Chronicles by Jack Nichols

10 Smart Things Gay Men Can Do to Improve Their Lives by Joe Kort

Jesus and the Shamanic Tradition of Same Sex Love by Will Roscoe

The Third Appearance by Walter Starcke

The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight by Thom Hartmann

Surviving and Thriving After a Life-Threatening Diagnosis by Bev Hall

Men, Homosexuality, and the Gods by Ronald Long

An Interview with Ron Long

Queering Creole Spiritual Traditons by Randy Conner & David Sparks

An Interview with Randy Conner

Pain, Sex and Time by Gerald Heard

Sex and the Sacred by Daniel Helminiak

Blessing Same-Sex Unions by Mark Jordan

Rising Up by Joe Perez

Soulfully Gay by Joe Perez

That Undeniable Longing by Mark Tedesco

Vintage: A Ghost Story by Steve Berman

Wisdom for the Soul by Larry Chang

MM4M a DVD by Bruce Grether

Double Cross by David Ranan

The Transcended Christian by Daniel Helminiak

Jesus in Love by Kittredge Cherry

In the Eye of the Storm by Gene Robinson

The Starry Dynamo by Sven Davisson

Life in Paradox by Fr Paul Murray

Spirituality for Our Global Community by Daniel Helminiak

Gay & Healthy in a Sick Society by Robert A. Minor

Coming Out: Irish Gay Experiences by Glen O'Brien

Queering Christ by Robert Goss

Skipping Towards Gomorrah by Dan Savage

The Flesh of the Word by Richard A Rosato

Catland by David Garrett Izzo

Tantra for Gay Men by Bruce Anderson

Yoga & the Path of the Urban Mystic by Darren Main

Simple Grace by Malcolm Boyd

Seventy Times Seven by Salvatore Sapienza

What Does "Queer" Mean Anyway? by Chris Bartlett

Critique of Patriarchal Reasoning by Arthur Evans

Gift of the Soul by Dale Colclasure & David Jensen

Legend of the Raibow Warriors by Steven McFadden

The Liar's Prayer by Gregory Flood

Lovely are the Messengers by Daniel Plasman

The Human Core of Spirituality by Daniel Helminiak

3001: The Final Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke

Religion and the Human Sciences by Daniel Helminiak

Only the Good Parts by Daniel Curzon

Four Short Reviews of Books with a Message

Life Interrupted by Michael Parise

Confessions of a Murdered Pope by Lucien Gregoire

The Stargazer's Embassy by Eleanor Lerman

Conscious Living, Conscious Aging by Ron Pevny

Footprints Through the Desert by Joshua Kauffman

True Religion by J.L. Weinberg

The Mediterranean Universe by John Newmeyer

Everything is God by Jay Michaelson

Reflection by Dennis Merritt

Everywhere Home by Fenton Johnson

Hard Lesson by James Gaston

God vs Gay? by Jay Michaelson

The Gate of Tears: Sadness and the Spiritual Path by Jay Michaelson

Roxie & Fred by Richard Alther

Not the Son He Expected by Tim Clausen

The 9 Realities of Stardust by Bruce P. Grether

The Afterlife Revolution by Anne & Whitley Strieber

AIDS Shaman: Queer Spirit Awakening by Shokti Lovestar

Facing the Truth of Your Life by Merle Yost

The Super Natural by Whitley Strieber & Jeffrey J Kripal

Secret Body by Jeffrey J Kripal

In Hitler's House by Jonathan Lane

Walking on Glory by Edward Swift

The Paradox of Porn by Don Shewey

Is Heaven for Real? by Lucien Gregoire

Scissors, Paper, Rock by Fenton Johnson

Toby Johnson's Books on Gay Men's Spiritualities:

Perspective cover
Gay Perspective

Things Our [Homo]sexuality
Tells Us about the
Nature of God and
the Universe

Gay Perspective audiobook
Gay Perspective is available as an audiobook narrated by Matthew Whitfield. Click here

Spirituality cover
Gay Spirituality

Gay Identity and 
the Transformation of
Human Consciousness

Gay Spirituality   is now available as an audiobook, beautifully narrated by John Sipple. Click here

charmed lives
Charmed Lives: Gay Spirit in Storytelling

edited by
Toby Johnson
& Steve Berman

secret matter
Secret Matter

Lammy Award Winner for Gay Science Fiction


Getting Life
Getting Life in Perspective

A Fantastical Romance

Life in Perspective audiobook
Getting Life in Perspective is available as an audiobook narrated by Alex Beckham. Click here 

The Fourth Quill

The Fourth Quill

originally published as PLAGUE

The Fourth Quill is available as an audiobook, narrated by Jimmie Moreland. Click here

Two Spirits: A Story of Life with the Navajo

with Walter L. Williams

Two Spirits
audiobookTwo Spirits  is available as an audiobook  narrated by Arthur Raymond. Click here

Finding Your Own True Myth - The Myth of the Great Secret III
Finding Your Own True Myth:
What I Learned from Joseph Campbell

The Myth of the Great Secret III

Search of God in the Sexual Underworld
In Search of God  in the Sexual Underworld

The Myth of the Great Secret II

The Myth of the Great Secret: An Appreciation of Joseph Campbell.

This was the second edition of this book.

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Toby Johnson's titles are available in other ebook formats from Smashwords.

Toby Johnson, gay spiritual writer

a short version appears at the bottom of the page

Johnson, PhD, Edwin Clark (Toby), Catholic monk turned activist, psychotherapist and spiritual writer, was born in 1945 in San Antonio TX. He attended Catholic parochial school at St. Peter's, Prince of the Apostles in Alamo Heights, and then high school at Central Catholic High School (CCHS), the college prep school associated with St. Mary's University, both run by the Brothers of Mary (Marianist). A writing teacher at Central Catholic, Bro. Martin McMurtrey, S.M., changed the lives of many students, including novelist Whitley Strieber, spiritual writer Toby Johnson, college president Larry Goodwin, and Henry Cisneros, beloved former mayor of San Antonio, by teaching them to think and write clearly and coherently.

The most prominent and successful writer among Bro. McMurtrey's first--star--class of expository writing students was Whitley Strieber, the prolific novelist and autobiographer who has helped bring attention to the mysterious experience of alien abduction and other inexplicable phenomena in human consciousness. Toby Johnson and Whitley Strieber were boyhood buddies, carpool mates, and fellow fans of the esoteric, the mystical, and the fantastic. Bro. McMurtrey's lessons about the nature of metaphor and allusion, and Strieber's fascination with the mysterious prepared Johnson for his understanding the nature of religion according to Joseph Campbell a few years later.

Johnson entered religious life after high school, first as a Marianist and then as a Servite. With the ’Vites, he was in the first class of students at the then newly-formed Catholic Theological Union, (a consortium connected with thetoby & Tom Sheerin 1967 University of Chicago Divinity School, made up of the Theologates of three religious orders, the Passionists, the Franciscans, and the Servites). Johnson was fortunate to study under the influential Scripture scholars Barnabas Ahern, C.P. and John Dominic Crossan, both of whom--in very different ways--changed how the modern world understands the nature of sacred writings.

Here he is (on right) with his friend Tom Sheerin
dressed as seminarians with Roman collars,
for an anti-war demonstration.
Notice the "halo" over Tom's head!

After a year in Chicago, Johnson worked in a Hospital Chaplaincy summer training at Metropolitan State Psychiatric Hospital in southern Los Angeles; that summer, in the "hothouse" of the mental hospital, he experienced the psychological breakthrough known in gay lingo as "coming out." Coincidentally (?!?) that was the summer of 1969; Johnson's personal "coming out" was within weeks of the national "coming out" of the gay world at Stonewall.

After that life-changing summer, he did not return to C.T.U., but remained in Southern California at the Servite novitiate in Riverside. Another life-changing psycho-spiritual event happened to him at the Servite Priory there (also known as Benedict Castle); the story of that enlightening "mystical experience" is told elsewhere in this website. (Johnson was honored to have befriended Roy Neuner, Allan Pinka (Oct 6, 1947 - Jan 4, 1989), Charlie Ruffner and Tom Sheerin during those years--all now deceased.)

After leaving seminary in 1970, Toby Johnson moved to San Francisco and lived in the Bay Area throughout the 1970s. While a student at the California Institute of Asian Studies (later renamed the California Institute of Integral Studies, C.I.I.S.) from which he received a master's in Comparative Religion and a doctorate in Counseling Psychology, Johnson was on staff at the Mann Ranch Seminars, a Jungian-oriented summer retreat program. There he befriended religion scholar Joseph Campbell and came to regard himself "an apostle of Campbell's vision to the gay community."

Johnson is pleased to identify his roots as Northern Californian, San Franciscan gay hippie. He actually lived on the corner of Haight and Ashbury Streets in the early 70s (admittedly a few years after the "Summer of Love" by which time the neighborhood had gone into decline). The photos of the familiar Haight-Ashbury sign at that intersection frequently show a Queen Anne Victorian turret on the apartment building in the background. That was Toby Johnson's apartment.

Toby in 1979First as a peer-counselor and then licensed professional, Johnson worked as a gay-oriented psychotherapist in San Francisco in the mid-70s. As a member of the D.A.F.O.D.I.L. Alliance ("Dykes And Faggots Organized to Defeat Institutionalized Liberalism") and spokesperson for the Gay Mental Health Task Force of San Francisco's Health Department, he was instrumental in the adoption of a Gay Client's Bill of Rights, guaranteeing access to gay or gay-sensitive health care providers--a notion that, subsequently, had major effects in AIDS-related services.

Toby's boyfriend Bill organized a surprise birthday party
in August 1979. This photo was taken at that party

In the late-70s, he teamed with Harvard-trained sociologist Toby Marotta in producing Marotta's books,
Politics of Homosexuality and Sons of Harvard: Gay Men in the Class of '67, and in working in a federally-funded ethnographic study of gay teenage prostitution.



In 1981, Johnson returned to his hometown where he practiced as an openly gay therapist and served as co-chair of the San Antonio Gay Alliance. He met his lifetime partner, Kip Dollar, while Kip was working at Bexar County National Bank. They count the start of their thirty-plus year relationship as March 16, 1984. Toby and Kip organized Gay Pride celebrations, worked with fledgling AIDS Foundations, and helped found gay business societies in both San Antonio and Austin. From 1988 to 1994, Johnson and Dollar ran Liberty Books, the lesbian and gay community bookstore in Austin. They were the first male couple registered as Domestic Partners in Travis County, TX in 1993.

Peregrine's Perspective B&BIn 1997, Johnson and Dollar moved to the Rocky Mountains to start a gay Bed & Breakfast called The House at Peregrine's Perspective. They lived in a wonderful three story log cabin lodge in the Denver Foothills town of Conifer, CO on the highway to Fairplay and South Park. The current highway is built along the railroad right-of-way leaving Denver for California, a route that was important to the unfolding of the plot of Johnson's historical novel Getting Life in Perspective, written in 1994. The fictional "utopian colony" in the 1880s in the novel was situated almost exactly where Kip and Toby found a house for their experiment in running a country B&B. It was a marvelous adventure, but very cold and very remote. Kip needed to be closer to his ailing parents in San Antonio.

Casa Peregrino

And so in 2000, the couple moved their B&B operation back to the Hill Country between Austin and San Antonio, to the town of Wimberley, where they called the B&B Casa Peregrino. After another three years, Johnson and Dollar sold this house (after doing major structural repair on the property) and moved to San Antonio in 2003. Johnson was completing a seven year term as editor of White Crane Journal of Gay Men's Spirituality. He passed the editorship to Bo Young and Dan Vera and shifted his own work to assisting Steve Berman's little one-man publishing venture Lethe Press bring out White Crane Books. After that first project to preserve Gay Spirituality titles which had gone out of print (like Mark Thompson's Gay Spirit: Myth & Meaning and Johnson's own Gay Spirituality), Johnson had become Production Manager for Lethe and for the now-independent White Crane Books. He jokes that his karma must be resonating with the vibes of all those monks down through time who spent their days
in the Scriptorium copying manuscripts to preserve them for posterity, only now instead of quill and ink, the manuscripts are produced with Adobe Creative Suites and Photoshop.

Kip and Toby in 2007
Kip and Toby lived six years in hometown San Antonio until after Kip's father's passing. In 2009, they moved back to Austin. They both worked with Lethe Press, Toby as freelance editor and book designer and Kip as bookkeeper for some ten years.

Here they are at the Lammy's Awards in 2007.


Toby & Kip's weddingThe couple retired from Lethe Press in 2013/2014 as Toby was reaching age 70. Toby's continued doing a little literary editing and book layout and "self-publishing" for friends and previous Lethe authors. In 2018, they were legally married. There is a nice story about how they went from being denied marriage licenses in 1991 to being registered as Domestic Partners in 1993 to being issued a marriage license in 2018—and all by the same County Clerk, Dana DeBeauvior—an enthusiastic supporter of marriage equality all along. The marriage was performed by the Presiding Judge of the Travis County Commissioners Court, Judge Sarah Eckhardt, and the official witness was Jim Fouratt, one of the founders of the gay liberation movement in 1969.

Toby as Gandhi

Toby looks like actor Ben Kingsley and so, by extension, Mahatma Gandhi. In 1996, Toby participated in an Earthwatch expedition to a small town in India. In this picture, he's wearing an Indian dhoti, the garment Gandhi often wore as an expression of solidarity with the traditional native peoples of India.

Johnson is author of three autobiographical accounts of spiritual development: The Myth of the Great Secret: A Search for Meaning in the Face of Emptiness about his discovering a modern understanding of religion; In Search of God in the Sexual Underworld about his experiences--and interpretation of events as a religion scholar--in the study of teenage prostitution; and The Myth of the Great Secret (revised edition): An Appreciation of Joseph Campbell which added substantial anecdotal material about his mentor. In 2017, Johnson updated his spiritual autobiography in the book Finding Your Own True Myth: What I Learned from Joseph Campbell: The Myth of the Great Secret III. In 2020, he updated and expanded his book about the hustler study—and slightly renamed it—as Finding God in the Sexual Underworld: The Journey Expanded.


Toby Johnson is author of four gay novels: The Fourth Quill (originally published as Plague: A Novel About Healing), Secret Matter, and Getting Life in Perspective. Secret Matter, a sci-fi, romantic comedy about truth-telling and gay identity featuring a retelling of the Genesis myth with a gay-positive outcome, won a Lambda Literary Award in 1990 and in 1999 was a nominee to the Gay Lesbian Science-Fiction Hall of Fame, the first year of the award. He collaborated with historian, anthropologist Walter L. Williams on the novel Two Spirits: A Story of Life With the Navajo. And co-edited, with Steve Berman, publisher of Lethe Press, an anthology of gay-positive stories, Charmed Lives: Gay Spirit in Storytelling.


He is also author of Gay Spirituality: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness and Gay Perspective: Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature of God and the Universe. From 1996 to 2003, he was Editor and Publisher of White Crane: A Quarterly Journal of Gay Men's Spirituality. Finding Your Own True Myth: What I Learned from Joseph Campbell (2017) tells Johnson's personal story of learning the real nature of religion and discovering the spiritual qualities of gay consciousness.  Finding God in the Sexual Underworld: The Journey Expanded uses Johnson's adventures in the study of teenage prostitution as the occasion to tell about the spiritual dimensions of sexuality and homosexuality.


Johnson's central idea is that as outsiders with non-gender-polarized perspective homosexuals play an integral role in the evolution of consciousness--especially regarding the understanding of religion as myth and metaphor--and that for many homosexuals gay identity is a transformative ecological, spiritual, and even mystical vocation.




The Myth of the Great Secret: A Search for Meaning in the Face of Emptiness (Morrow, 1982)

In Search of God in the Sexual Underworld (Morrow, 1983)

The Myth of the Great Secret: An Appreciation of Joseph Campbell (second revised edition, Celestial Arts, 1992)

The Fourth Quill (Lethe Press, 2012) originally published as Plague: A Novel About Healing (Alyson, 1987)

Secret Matter (Lavender Press, 1990, reissued by Lethe Press in a revised and expanded version, 2004)

Getting Life in Perspective: A Fantastical Romance (Lavender Press, 1991, reissued by Lethe Press, 2008)

Gay Spirituality: Gay Identity and the Transformation of Human Consciousness (Alyson, 2001, reissued by Lethe Press/White Crane Books, 2004)

Gay Perspective: Things our [homo]sexuality tells us about the nature of God and the Universe (Alyson 2003, reissued by Lethe Press, 2008)

Two Spirits: A Story of Life with the Navajo, with Walter L. Williams (Lethe Press, 2006)

Charmed Lives: Gay Spirit in Storytelling, with Steve Berman (White Crane Books, 2006)

Finding Your Own True Myth: What I Learned from Joseph Campbell: The Myth of the Great Secret III (Peregrine Ventures, 2017)

Finding God in the Sexual Underworld: The Journey Expanded (Peregrine Ventures, 2020)

All of the above, except Charmed Lives, are now available in editions from Peregrine Ventures.


With Toby Marotta (as editorial assistant):

The Politics of Homosexuality (Houghton Mifflin, 1981)

Sons of Harvard: Gay Men in the Class of '67 (Morrow, 1982)

Short bio

Toby Johnson, PhD, Lambda Literary Award-winning author of some ten books, including Secret Matter; Gay Spirituality: Gay Identity and the Transformation of Human Consciousness; and Gay Perspective: Things Our [Homo]sexuality Tells Us About the Nature of God and the Universe, is past editor of White Crane Journal of gay wisdom and culture.

Former Roman Catholic monk and comparative religions scholar turned gay activist, psychotherapist, community organizer, bookseller, ’zine editor and publisher, spiritual writer and novelist, Johnson was a student and friend of Joseph Campbell, the renowned mythologist best known for his life-affirming aphorism “Follow Your Bliss.”

Toby Johnson and Kip Dollar, partners since 1984, ran Liberty Books, the lesbian and gay community bookstore in Austin, for seven years and have operated country Bed & Breakfasts in Colorado and the Texas Hill Country. Johnson and Dollar have been working as freelance editor/book designer and bookkeeper respectively with the up-and-coming gay small press, Lethe Press. They're in the process of slowly retiring from this role.

Even shorter, one paragraph, bio.

Toby Johnson, former Roman Catholic monk and comparative religions scholar turned gay activist, psychotherapist, community organizer, bookseller, ’zine editor and publisher, spiritual writer and novelist, was a student and friend of Joseph Campbell, the renowned mythologist known for his life-affirming aphorism “Follow Your Bliss.” Johnson is author of some ten books, including Finding Your Own True Myth: What I Learned from Joseph Campbell: The Myth of the Great Secret III.

Download a Chronology of Toby Johnson's Life

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Toby Johnson, PhD is author of nine books: three non-fiction books that apply the wisdom of his teacher and "wise old man," Joseph Campbell to modern-day social and religious problems, four gay genre novels that dramatize spiritual issues at the heart of gay identity, and two books on gay men's spiritualities and the mystical experience of homosexuality and editor of a collection of "myths" of gay men's consciousness. 

Johnson's book GAY SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness won a Lambda Literary Award in 2000.

His  GAY PERSPECTIVE: Things Our [Homo]sexuality Tells Us about the Nature of God and the Universe was nominated for a Lammy in 2003. They remain in print.

FINDING YOUR OWN TRUE MYTH: What I Learned from Joseph Campbell: The Myth of the Great Secret III tells the story of Johnson's learning the real nature of religion and myth and discovering the spiritual qualities of gay male consciousness.

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