Fales, Steven, “Confessions of a Mormon Boy”. Alyson, 2006
Painful and Important
I must admit that I know very little about the Church of the Latter Day saints and the Mormon religion. What I do know has been gleaned from movies like “Latter Days” and drama like “Angels in America” so when I received this book from Alyson Books, I opened it with the hope of learning something and learn I did. “Confessions of A Mormon Boy” is a true look at the way Mormons treat gays, especially their own. Based upon Steven Fales’ one man show, it gives insight of what gay Mormons experience and the intolerance they are dealt.
This book gives you a chance to experience what Fales fell as he fell from grace, experienced excommunication from his church and succumbed to a life of drugs and random sex. He created quite a to-do with his one show when he debuted it in Salt Lake City, the headquarter city of the church that had excommunicated him only a year previously because he is gay. In the show he nonjudgementally he told of events that led up to his censure and eviction form the church. He tells of leaving his wife and two childe and tried to become an actor in New York but instead became a male escort in order to make ends meet. He began to take drugs to ward ff the depression he felt from the road that his life has taken.
As years passed the show gradually changed with them and in “Confessions of a Mormon Boy” we have two scripts-the Utah version, the more Mormon oriented and the newer one that he is currently performing off-Broadway. We also get photographs and a copy of the excommunication from his church as well as Fales’ personal observations on how the play his helped him heal.
Fales shows us the inaccuracies in the film “Latter Days” and surprisingly, even though his church would not accept him, he found friendship and empathy among some of its members and, in fact, some of the leaders of the church backed his play finically He gives hope to other gay Mormons by including resources they can use to deal with their homosexuality.
This is an extremely personal book and Fales s critical of himself and his religion I found this book to be both easy and hard to read. It is easy because it is short and entertaining and when I sat down to read it I did not stop until I was finished. It is hard because there is a lot of pain in this book
As Fales relates his fall from grace, my heart went out to both him and the Church of Latter Day Saints. I felt his pain and I identified with it. I did not feel anything but remorse for his church that was quick to rid itself of a human life. I do not know if I can call this book an enjoyable read but I can certainly say it is an important and educating read. The transformation of Fales from a husband and father to a drug using prostitute ht really hard and I wonder why there is no compromise. However with the Mormons we are not allowed to argue doctrine. It is hard to believe that we are discounted so easily.