Friday, July 14, 2006

A Movie, A Moment, A Life... Latter Days


Christian: You're gonna come into my house and tell me God hates homosexuals?
Elder Davis: And the French! (Nervous laugh...)
Elder Ryder: God hates the French?
Elder Davis: Everybody hates the French.
It seems like eerie coincidence that Beth from a Worshipping Christian just told me how she believes Christ is coming back any minute, and here I was at home watching one of the best movies I've seen in a long time. Latter Days. Funny, poignant, full of characters you love to hate, hate to love, and cheer on every step of the way. I laughed, I sobbed, and I identified with Aaron (Elder Davis) so much it hurt. True, I wasn't a Mormon like Agnostic Mom, but I did grow up in a house that not only revolved around the church and god, but the fear of god, the fear of eternal retribution, the knowledge that god is all, god is everything, you are nothing, and anything you want, need or desire should be all about god. (In case you haven't figured it out yet, God's kind of an ego maniac...)

Aaron: Yeah... I am some dudah pudnacker from Pocatello... they ship us here from dork island. I'm saying I know how retarded you think I am, OK? You found me out, alright? My worst secret. Now I'm humiliated, so your work is done here.
I died all over again. That secret, that shame, that one thing you know you have that no one else does. That people decry from their pulpits, stoning you with their knowledge that, even though they profess to be no better or no worse than you, once they know this about you, somehow they feel better about themselves because they know they are not the worst kind of sinner. They are not gay kind, the kind god called... an "abomination."

Julia: (Singing...)
When you were just a child of eight
You were taught you were not to deviate
Only one way to heaven but half a million ways to fall
Well we can alienate the strange and the odd
As long as we're one nation under God
He might love me but you're his favorite of all
[...]
We can hate the Jews and the blacks and the fags
As long as we pray and salute the flag
And fall on our knees to a Jesus who looks just like you.
[...]
They blessed your soul and told you to travel
Dressed in polyester for a God made of gravel
Your a man on a mission
I wish you could save yourself

And it's another beautiful day
It's another beautiful day
It's another beautiful day
In the land of the free
(Words by C. Jay Cox)
When your whole life revolves around something for so long and you are raised to believe it fervently with everything you have...

And then reality crashes in without so much as a "Hi, how are ya?"...

Can you really understand the pain when your soul leaves your body? When your reason, your life, your fiber is ripped out?

Aaron: What if it is not something I've done... what if it's who I am?
(Slap across the face.)
Mom: Don't say that. Don't you ever even think that! You can be forgiven... maybe heavenly Father can forgive you for what you've done but who you are... He could never forgive something like that.
That is the message, isn't it. What we all end up walking away from the altar with. If we recover from the stinging slap, we never recover from the message. They tell us god hates our sin but loves us. Let me ask you, straight reader. Can you even fathom not being attracted to someone of the opposite sex? Maybe you can. But that's what your life revolves around... someone of the opposite sex. Your boyfriend or husband (for a woman), or your wife/girlfriend (if you're a guy). That's the way you're wired. That's the way life is--you find a mate your compatible with, that you can live with, that you can love... But to love someone of the same sex? I have no idea why I'm wired this way. Why the long nights of prayer, of crying, of hating myself and my "sin nature" that was going to keep me from having a godly life had no effect. Why God wouldn't "cure" me, make me "normal." Even if you never act on it, you are told lusting in your heart is the same as actually committing adultery. You learn you are so dry-fucked, so screwed... You are damned if you do, and eternally damned at that, even if you don't...

Aaron's Mom: His name was Christian, wasn't it?
Aaron: What?
Mom: Is Christian the one? What did he do to you!
Aaron: He loved me...
Mom: Don't say that! Do you know how ridiculous that sounds? How repulsive that is to God, to everyone? Two men? Men don't love Aary... women bring love to a relationship.
Aaron: But Ma, he told me he loved me...
Mom: He would have told you anything. He flattered and beguiled you... tools of the devil... that's what they do.
Aaron: You don't know that.
Mom: Yes I do.
[...]
Mom: It meant nothing to him, he was using you and that is why... you can never think about him again, ever... ever again. You got... you have got to put this thing behind you... this horrible mistake that everybody knows about... You've seen how they look at us. You've seen how people just turn their carts around when we walk down the isle in the market... and how they look away at the bank. Why do you think your father doesn't come home anymore?
All my father said to me, after weeks of avoiding me after finding out, was "So, are you still being stupid?"

I left, and didn't even call them again for another couple of weeks. My father has never brought it up again. He's polite to Rich, very cordial, downright friendly sometimes. He's never apologized either, and has never tried to understand or discuss it, and I'm not sure if that's good or not.

I know when Tom first published his magazine, Promethean Crusade, he was so proud of it... we all were! When Tom broke it out at Mom and Dad's house to show them, they tried to be polite and show interest, but, I mean, come on, it was a heavy metal/death metal magazine... but then Grandmom showed up with Leonard, and Tom went to show it to her and Dad tried to say "no" on the down-low, like "You don't want her to see that."

I'm still not sure if it was because Dad was ashamed of Tom's magazine, and that Tom would dare publish something like that, or if he was somehow embarrassed by what Grandmom might think... He showed it to her anyway. Dad simply shook his head in disappointment...

I don't even know if Tom remembers that. But it did make me feel a bit better that I wasn't the only one whom dad thought was "acting stupid," even though I felt really bad for Tom...

And though Promethean Crusade, Tom's late-night editing sessions, and Dad's control over his kids have gone the way of the Stegosaurus, his house of fear and control still clouds our lives till this day...

Lila: Your church doesn't like alcohol or homosexuals. Well, I am definitely not joining. I can't imagine heaven without both.
Heaven couldn't possibly be heaven without variety, and that includes you fundies (although I'm sure you'll think when you get there that you're in hell... :D) If there is a heaven, and I'm not sure there is, doubt it, actually, but if there is, I'll be the one hosting the block party for eternity... with the man I love.

Aaron: Sometimes it all still feels like a mass of dots but more and more these days... I feel like we're all connected... and it's beautiful, and funny... and good.

16 comments:

AgnosticMom said...

I enjoyed this post, Jason. I identified with many parts, although I won't pretend my experiences with my parents could possibly have the same intensity as yours. There is no subject as intense as sexuality.

And thanks for mentioning me, by the way. That's always a nice surprise.

One question: I was thinking you were once a Mormon. But in the post you said you're not. You obviously have a connection. What am I missing?

Ergo said...

OOooo! Love the new blog look! Very "sci-fi" looking. Love it! :)

I saw Latter Days quite a while ago... and I liked the movie a lot too... and the Mormon guy is HOT! Though, apparently, he is not gay in real life. :(

Hey, you might also like this Italian movie (with English subtitles), "Days". It's a moving, poignant story of two passionate--maybe foolish--lovers. If you don't mind subtitled movies, you might have a good experience watching it.

Jason Hughes said...

Noell: While I was never a Mormon, I come from a strong, conservative literal-bible-believing family, complete with the preacher or two through blood! I don't know what denomination we would have actually been considered, but along the protestant/baptist line...

I think the real connection just comes form the strongly held religious beliefs, noi matter the actual subdenom or what-have-you...

Thanks for stopping by, though!

And thanks Ergo... it took a couple of hours to do, but I also really am loving the new look... and I will go straigh-way to add Days to my Netflix...

I'll have to let you know when I get it and then share with you what I thought of it then...

And glad to see you made it back to blog world... :D

Steve said...

Nice Look to the Blog. I like it.
But why didn't you put my link in the "Blogs I Enjoy Reading" section in addition to the "Conservative Right-Wing Blogs"? :-)
Just Joking. I totally understand. But none the less, Great looking Blog.
Still praying for ya.
-Steve

Jason Hughes said...

Why, thanks Steve. Actually, there are at least two other Christian blogs not located under "Conservative/Right-Wing Blogs, but that's because they don't really fit into that category... :D

Conservative, that is...

terriamachine said...

You wanted to know about your anger thing? "Dad's control over his kids have gone the way of the Stegosaurus, his house of fear and control still clouds our lives till this day." The father/son cnxn is about as big as you get in human relationships, and it's staggeringly complex. This is where much of your anger comes from. And remember, anger isn't just blowing up and yelling and screaming and spewing venom--those are just some of its visceral and cathartic effects. Anger is a deep emotional reaction to what is perceived to be an injustice, and dad's reactions to your homosexuality certainly would qualify as such. As these wounds are still fresh, you might have a very difficult time understanding that you are being awfully hard on the man, and in time hopefully you might see that. As children we view our fathers as gods, and when we grow up to discover that they are mere mortals, that might be one of the most difficult of pills to swallow. And some of us never do, and thus our ails.

Jason Hughes said...

So you think I sound angry in my posts overall because you feel I have a lingering issue with Dad?

Yes, there is lingering anger. He trivialized years of pain and anguish into a silly little, "Are you still being stupid," and has never even attempted to understand it since.

That would make anyone angry, I do believe.

But I still disagree that this anger is the center of every single post I make, and that they are from an angry perspective.

I have anger at religious conservatives. They sell brain-washing, use pseudo-science, and demand allegiance not to their supposed god, but to their snake-oil. Dad was included in that for years.

Dad's gotten lots better, but there are some things he will never escape, but that's not because the key isn't there to his prison.

I can't say when I stopped seeing Dad as a "god," (to use your phrase--also, I think, inaccurate), but it was certainly before that point in my life... I certainly looked up to Dad, but I don't think we viewed him quite the same way. I never remember thinking that Dad could do no wrong, even if I were to hypnotize myself and delve into the subconscious. I never idolized Dad I think the way you and Mike did, although there were also certainly differences there as well...

My "ails" as they were, stem from an acceptance of stagnation on his part. I still have a lot of respect for Dad--despite "stupidity's" sake--but I think you still idolize him a bit too much... perhaps not, but it's the impression I get from your comments... but I could be wrong... :D

I will think on this longer though, and get back to you...

DaBich said...

Forgive.
Move past.
Move ahead.

Dad won't change, and, like all dads, will one day be gone. Forgive him. You don't have to forget, just forgive. You'll feel much better.

Life does have a way of going on.

God Bless ;)

Love the new look!

Jason Hughes said...

Thanks, Dabich, for the kind words. I have mostly learned to forgive my dad for these words uttered so foolishly at me so many years ago, but, like when the victim of a fire smells smoke, they relive the whole experience all over again, and that's what this movie did for me. I relived that moment when my father used his brain instead of his heart...

I don't even know if he remembers this moment in our lives, but it is something that wont be forgotten unless by me Alzeimer's comes a'callin'...

Anonymous said...

Hey, Jason, fancy meetin' you here. Oh wait, this is your blog. This is my second visit to your blog, it looks really great (well, if you take out the F-bomb and the other expletives - hahahha -no really). After reading this post, I think I can understand some of your anger at "people like me". I think you have to realize that your dad is doing the best he can and for him to "accept" your lifestyle (and your sig other) is huge. I dont know you, but I have no doubt that your father loves you very much and simply wants the best for you (now and back when he called your decision stupid). Dont forget that - you only get one dad and even when you disagree you both need each other.
Thanks for the mention - I think. I didnt realize I was famous - maybe I should get an agent. hahaha
Hey, do you use currency on this blog or does the "buck" stop here? If so, then this has been my two cents. Get it? Okay, I might be famous, but I know I'm no comedian -its okay if you dont laugh. I wont take it personally.

beth said...

last comment was from me, your favorite (or least favorite) fundie - dont know why it says anonymous

Mark said...

Hey Jason, you might not be aware of this, but Tweety was pretty adamant against any anti-religious slander any of us wrote in our articles, reviews, interviews for PC. And we had SEVERAL heated arguments about it. As the mag went on, he loosened up a bit, but it was always a sore subject to broach.

Jason Hughes said...

Hey Mark! Nice to "see" you again! :) And no, I never realized... I guess I'm not *hugely* surprised by that revelation, but still... weird...

mom said...

hello jason! :) i am a bit slow in keeping up to date with your blog but being a carpenters helper and playing nurse and whatever other hat i am wearing makes for a busy life. i am sorry about what dad said to you and i do remember talking about his way of saying things and he understands now i think. i do know he doesn't open his mouth much about heart things but few men do. i have you know when he helps you and rich out he is showing his love. we all do stupid things and the word shouldn't be viewed bad since we all do stupid things and than whatever we do has drawbacks that we look back on and think why did i do that stupid thing. as parents we took our job serious and wanted only the best for you all. we never had kids before and we both grew up sheltered. me more than dad even. raising kids is a lot like raising dogs. :) the one good thing about dogs they love you even when you do something stupid to them. kids seem to remenber these things. i don't know if its my age or if i see things more clear but even i see that my mom loves me in her own way and i am beginning to find this out. its not easy for parents or kids it seems. i have no idea who to blame for my problems or even whatever problems you have now from it all but i know i am have grown up and the stupid things i do are my own. i will not blame others for it all. yes, it is easier to blame others but when i stop to think it was me that left what ever that person said to make me do a stupid thing just doesn't fly. i do not want to let someone else control me that way. i will be better and do what is right. or what i feel God says to do. God is not human and i do believe with all my heart He helps me with this understanding and loving people the right way. He has been helping me with my mom and dealing with whatever you kids can come up with to face. just last night God helped me to see how just planning on taking my mom out for her birthday to get ice cream made a difference in her life. a few years ago before i gave my feelings over to God i would not of seen what i saw last night. so again jason i am sorry about how you feel about what dad said to you but i think if you sit down and maybe just talk with dad by yourself like you and i can maybe he would open up a bit. he loves you and wants the best for you. and about that magazine thing it was him protecting grandmom from going nuts about it all. if she went off the deep end i would of had to deal with her and i didn't understand it all either. all i can remember from that magazine is that most all the singers never looked happy and always screamed everything. a long ways from not showing elvis from the waist down days. :) that seems mild compared to even now days. well, i hope you know we love you and since this was written a bit ago maybe life looks a bit different. also, a lot of times we have the same view about God that we had about our dads and God is bigger than any of us and i pray you see that again in your life. i love you jason. i am happy and i know your dad is happy to call you our son. love and prayers

mom said...

hello jason! :) i am a bit slow in keeping up to date with your blog but being a carpenters helper and playing nurse and whatever other hat i am wearing makes for a busy life. i am sorry about what dad said to you and i do remember talking about his way of saying things and he understands now i think. i do know he doesn't open his mouth much about heart things but few men do. i have you know when he helps you and rich out he is showing his love. we all do stupid things and the word shouldn't be viewed bad since we all do stupid things and than whatever we do has drawbacks that we look back on and think why did i do that stupid thing. as parents we took our job serious and wanted only the best for you all. we never had kids before and we both grew up sheltered. me more than dad even. raising kids is a lot like raising dogs. :) the one good thing about dogs they love you even when you do something stupid to them. kids seem to remenber these things. i don't know if its my age or if i see things more clear but even i see that my mom loves me in her own way and i am beginning to find this out. its not easy for parents or kids it seems. i have no idea who to blame for my problems or even whatever problems you have now from it all but i know i am have grown up and the stupid things i do are my own. i will not blame others for it all. yes, it is easier to blame others but when i stop to think it was me that left what ever that person said to make me do a stupid thing just doesn't fly. i do not want to let someone else control me that way. i will be better and do what is right. or what i feel God says to do. God is not human and i do believe with all my heart He helps me with this understanding and loving people the right way. He has been helping me with my mom and dealing with whatever you kids can come up with to face. just last night God helped me to see how just planning on taking my mom out for her birthday to get ice cream made a difference in her life. a few years ago before i gave my feelings over to God i would not of seen what i saw last night. so again jason i am sorry about how you feel about what dad said to you but i think if you sit down and maybe just talk with dad by yourself like you and i can maybe he would open up a bit. he loves you and wants the best for you. and about that magazine thing it was him protecting grandmom from going nuts about it all. if she went off the deep end i would of had to deal with her and i didn't understand it all either. all i can remember from that magazine is that most all the singers never looked happy and always screamed everything. a long ways from not showing elvis from the waist down days. :) that seems mild compared to even now days. well, i hope you know we love you and since this was written a bit ago maybe life looks a bit different. also, a lot of times we have the same view about God that we had about our dads and God is bigger than any of us and i pray you see that again in your life. i love you jason. i am happy and i know your dad is happy to call you our son. love and prayers

Jason Hughes said...

So you think I sound angry in my posts overall because you feel I have a lingering issue with Dad?

Yes, there is lingering anger. He trivialized years of pain and anguish into a silly little, "Are you still being stupid," and has never even attempted to understand it since.

That would make anyone angry, I do believe.

But I still disagree that this anger is the center of every single post I make, and that they are from an angry perspective.

I have anger at religious conservatives. They sell brain-washing, use pseudo-science, and demand allegiance not to their supposed god, but to their snake-oil. Dad was included in that for years.

Dad's gotten lots better, but there are some things he will never escape, but that's not because the key isn't there to his prison.

I can't say when I stopped seeing Dad as a "god," (to use your phrase--also, I think, inaccurate), but it was certainly before that point in my life... I certainly looked up to Dad, but I don't think we viewed him quite the same way. I never remember thinking that Dad could do no wrong, even if I were to hypnotize myself and delve into the subconscious. I never idolized Dad I think the way you and Mike did, although there were also certainly differences there as well...

My "ails" as they were, stem from an acceptance of stagnation on his part. I still have a lot of respect for Dad--despite "stupidity's" sake--but I think you still idolize him a bit too much... perhaps not, but it's the impression I get from your comments... but I could be wrong... :D

I will think on this longer though, and get back to you...