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Army chaplain on faith and doubt through grief

Headshot photo of the Rev. David W. Peters

Army chaplain on faith and doubt through grief

Photo Courtesy Robert K. Chambers

US Army Chaplain David Peters found his faith severely tested after returning home from Iraq in 2006. Facing the dissolution of his marriage, and a feeling of abandonment and estrangement from God, Peters struggled with and ultimately left the fundamentalist evangelical church he had belonged to.

He eventually remarried, was ordained to the priesthood in the Episcopal Church, and wrote a memoir about his experiences titled “Death Letter: God, Sex, and War.” The title is derived from the term used to describe the letters service people write in the event that they are killed while serving.

Cover of the book Death Letter: God, Sex, and War by David W. Peters

NPR’s All Things Considered ran a segment on Peters with an interview portion; they’ve saved the audio and transcription on their website.

An earlier Q&A session with Peters was published on the Huffington Post earlier this year, in which he talks about his motivation and the goals of his ministry and his memoir.

From the Huffington Post:

My work as a priest is to reconcile people to God, to others, and to their own self. Sadly, many veterans withdraw from relationships and are very alone. I write in the book that I could never promise my Soldiers they wouldn’t die. I would always say to them before we left the wire, “You know, the founder of my religion died 500 miles west of here.” They would usually laugh. Then I’d say, “What I do promise you is that I’ll be with you no matter what happens–you won’t be alone.” So far, this is what I’m hearing about the book–that people feel that they’re not alone in their struggles with God, sex, and war.


Peters also blogs on the Huffington Post about faith, being a veteran, and post traumatic stress disorder.

The book is available from a variety of book sellers, including NPR (hardcover) and other stores via the publisher, Tactical 16.


Posted by David Streever


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JC Fisher

I turned on this NPR story in the middle, and thought (as it was relating his loss of ConEv faith), “he should become Episcopalian, where he can rage at God all he needs to”.

…and then it got to the end of the story. ;-/

God bless, Fr David.


Light in the darkness. Thank you for posting this important story. There is great value sharing our true stories and experiences and struggles with our faith.

Rosalind Hughes

Thanks for the comment, Ann; please use a full name when commenting, though. Rosalind Hughes for Episcopal Cafe.

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