[Note: On 24 September 2003, I received the revised biography of Father Seraphim Rose, one of my patron saints. I am currently reading slowly through the massive, 1100-plus-page volume. I will from time to time post excerpts here that I find relevant, moving or convicting.]
Long before the word “hippie” entered our lexicon, the progressive intellectuals of San Francisco had turned away from the American dream, with its ideals of family and Judeo-Christian religion. They were delving into anything that was different, drawing above all from Eastern religions. In rejecting Western morality and taking only what they wanted from the East, they were free to explore forms of debauchery, degradation, and perversion with what Eugene [N.B.: the future Father Seraphim] would later refer to as “the spirit of lawlessness.” . . .
Eugene, too, would follow this philosophy to its logical conclusion. Together with many of his young contemporaries, he entered upon a life of hedonism and sexual immorality. . . .
Compared with what went on in San Francisco bohemian subculture, the acts of nonconformity among Eugene’s friends at Pomona [where Eugene earned his undergraduate degree] were quite tame. In some letters to his Pomona friends, Eugene took on the flippant, devil-may-care attitude of a twenty-two-year-old youth experimenting in what before had been barred to him; but this seems to have been just bravado. As he stated in later years, this was the darkest, most miserable period of his life. Forbidden deeds, he said, had disgusted him even at the time he was committing them. They would precipitate long periods of depression afterward. . . .
Many years later, describing the end of his exploration and experimentation outside the will of God, he could only say, “I was in hell. I know what hell is.” . . .
This was a hell that Eugene wished on no one. In later life he said that certain sinful realities, which he had known while being in that hell, are best left unmentioned so that they will not be put into the air. . . . [N. B.: It is now known that Eugene was referring, in part, to his homosexual activities and to his alcohol abuse.]
–Father Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works, pp. 55, 57, 59, 61