Saturday, March 20, 2010

I’m Not That Boy, Part 7


Underneath all of the busyness of my life—composing my thesis, a twenty hours of work a week, eighteen credits, church activities, and volunteer work as an English teacher—a steady and understated rhythm was beginning to surface in my life. As the drama of dating Derek and not dating Anderson panned out (more details in a future installment), my time with Ianto remained constant.

It seemed it was all I really wanted. But being new to dating, I wondered if it was really all that I wanted.

Two or three times a week, we had a standard date. Always dinner and a movie at his place. I found this in no way unimaginative because every time managed to be somehow different and special.

Latter Days “You’re telling me you’ve never seen Latter Days and you were once a gay Mormon missionary?! We are watching it tonight, then,” he announced over dinner.

“Okay. You’ll have to twist my arm, though.”

In conversation, I’d heard it spoken of in the same terms as God’s Army for pushing the line and seriously addressing questions of faith. This is why I was interested in seeing both films and also why I’d avoided them. Deep down, I didn’t want to be a ‘bad Mormon’ and challenge my faith like that. However, this time the yes side won out.

As we lay on his bed watching the movie in his tiny room, I would occasionally notice him glancing over at my reaction and thinking, That’s what I do. He really cares what I’m thinking and feeling.

Although both of us were almost silent the entire movie, I felt as if he understood exactly what was going on in my head. As the “greenie” missionary arrived in the field, my mind went back to my mission days to meeting my trainer and my other roommates and thinking What have I gotten myself into?

He seemed to show concern when we watched the scenes of anonymous sex. He understood my shock as those things I’d only heard about had suddenly become a visual reality. I was disgusted, but also curious and as the plot unfolded, I began to understand some of the reasons that was a reality.

It wasn’t long before Ianto and I were as close as we could be laying next to each other on his bed. He held me from behind watching the movie practically through my hair or perhaps not watching the movie at all, but feeling my heart beat with his arms wrapped around my chest.


I tend to think it was the latter. He wasn’t Mormon, but he seemed to understand just how I’d processed the movie without talking about it or simply by listening to my heart. In a romantic way, I liked to think that as a musician he could read and interpret rhythms and variations to a degree of intimacy I hadn’t imagined.

“You weren’t prepared for it to get all cosmic like that, were you? Or when his mother slapped him. You didn’t breath for like half a minute,” he posited as he turned me around to face him on his bed.

“All true. The movie’s definitely not perfect. I don’t think it’s totally fair to either side, but I definitely came out of that understanding a lot of what I’ve been through better.”

“What do you mean?”

“I share a lot of my worries about my family and the Church with… what’s the missionary’s name?”


“Yeah. I worry that my parents will react the same way. And the sex… they were evil. I don’t know what to think about it. They were really in love and to express that love is sinful? Ianto,” I paused. “I haven’t even discussed this with Cole, but that’s what seems wrong with the Church. Telling each other how or who to love and passing laws to that effect is the one thing that could make it all true or all false for me. It seems almost hypocritical when 150 years ago there were places it was illegal to be Mormon. Being gay is as much a reality as being Mormon.”


“You’re not the only guy I’ve dated who’s been through this. I don’t think any of them have been quite so thoughtful or articulate about it, though, ” he said. In a way, he seemed to think of it as an elegy for the Church’s lost boys. Ianto was never Mormon, but as some of his best friends were, he made a sincere effort to understand and respect their beliefs.

“I don’t know if that makes things easier or harder for you, but I’m here. As much as I’d like to help you, I can’t. Watching the movie and thinking about it will only help you think through this, I think. That’s what art does.”

He looked me in the eyes communicating just how serious he was about what he’d just said before pulling me towards him for a tender kiss.

End, Part 7.


Unknown said...

Wow, he seems like a super guy. Hold onto him!

I remember seeing the movie for the first time, and getting upset at the "stereotypes" of Mormons they portrayed in the movie. (I suppose I am more defensive of the church than I am of anything else, besides politics).

It is a wonderful movie though, that, like you said, helps us to contemplate.

naturgesetz said...

I saw the movie on YouTube. It was definitely contrived and manipulative, I think, but also true in the way a piece of fiction can be.

The moment toward the end when Christian drops the tray moved me to tears and sobs, and it still does just as I think of it.

But while it depicts very clearly how the characters love one another, that does not mean that having sex is morally right.

IMO at the end of the movie, Christian has certainly come to a "less immoral" lifestyle than he had at the beginning. But it comes with a proportional loss for Aaron. One could say that Aaron gave his life for Christian. I suppose that might be what we are intended to think. But I would have been more satisfied with a denouement in which they could have been together and celibate — but it's not the filmmaker's agenda, so somebody else will have to make that one.

El Genio said...

"I’d heard it spoken of in the same terms as God’s Army for pushing the line and seriously addressing questions of faith."

Not that God's Army is the paragon of all movies, but comparing it to Latter Days does GA a great disservice. If Richard Dutcher were dead he would be rolling over in his grave. (Tangent: Interestingly enough, Dutcher has left the church within the last few years. The tiff he had with Keith Merril shortly afterward is fascinating.) Anyways, Latter Days is such a horrible movie on so many levels.

Unknown said...

As someone who isn't Mormon or religious, I don't understand the Mormon perspective, but why naturgesetz would two people who love each other have to be celibate? Sex is many things, but it is often a manifestation of love.

I agree with Quinn that Ianto seems like a great guy.

Anonymous said...

I had similar feelings, GMB, when I watched "Latter Days". I, too had served a mission and the movie brought back many emotions. Yes, I am a woman, but I still had many of the feelings you described as you watched this movie. And, I, too, like Ianto. He seems like a very genuine and caring human being. I am glad he came into your life.

Thank you for the many things you share and the masterful ways in which you detail and write about them. I am glad you are my friend. :)

Happy night up north!

Love and respect, always. (LRA) :) slp

naturgesetz said...

@ green and purple — the Mormons can make an corrections necessary on the basis of Mormon doctrine, but since you addressed the question to me, I'll give you a Catholic's perspective.

"Why would two people who love each other have to be celibate?" Because love isn't enough. Sex is about more than love. We read in the Bible, "In the image and likeness of God he created them. Male and female he created them. God blessed them and said, 'Be fertile and multiply.'" So sex is about being fertile and multiplying in addition to being about love. People can procreate/reproduce without love. People can also have sex in ways which have no possibility of procreation. But to be the image and likeness of God sex needs to be of a sort which can be fertile — namely heterosexual — and in a stable, committed, loving relationship — namely marriage. So it is only heterosexual marriage which can be the context for engaging in sex as the Creator intended it.

And so people who love each other but aren't married should not have sex with each other — their relationship needs to be celibate, regardless of how much they love each other. And people of the same sex should keep their relationship celibate regardless of how much they love each other. They should express their love in ways other than by having sex with each other.

Rob said...


Thanks for sharing your perspective. If that is truly the official Catholic position, then I will respectfully disagree. I couldn't in good conscience accept a belief that leaves unaddressed so many questions which I think other sources and voices have clearly answered, in ways that make perfect sense. I think God created us to worship Him with our minds as well as our hearts. To me that means searching for and adopting truth no matter where it's found. It also sometimes means looking beyond a single source or authority for that truth.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Quinn, he seems like a great guy.

When i first saw this movie I was an emotional wreck. I called my best friend, and since I couldent drive at the time, we walked to Taco Bell where I cried for hours. Everything spilled out and I was terrified that my parents would react in the same way. I kept the movie but havent watched it since. My ex boyfriend watched it while I was at work one day and said he loved it and that it was a beautiful film. I am in a totally different place than I was back when I first saw it a few years ago and if this was the first time I saw it I would probably like it. But I cant bring myself to watch it again because I remember how upsetting it was to me and how I fell apart. I am glad that it got you thinking and you enjoyed the film!

Unknown said...

Naturgesetz, we're never going to agree on this, and I don't want to waste the time trying. We begin at mutually exclusive perspectives, yours one of seemingly blind faith, and mine of science and reason, rejecting the supernatural.

naturgesetz said...

@ green and purple —
I don't know what in my comment — or even on my blog — gives you any ground for calling my faith "seemingly blind." And "science and reason" cannot give solid ground for "rejecting the supernatural" since science deals only with the material, and cannot say anything one way or the other about the supernatural. Many people of gigantic intellect have believed in the supernatural — from Plato and Aristotle through Aquinas, Descartes, Einstein, and beyond.

You see, to mention "blind faith" and "science and reason" is not to exhaust the possibilities. Faith and reason coexist very comfortably among those who do not choose to reject one or the other.

You are right that we are unlikely to agree. I only gave a courteous answer to an apparently sincere question on your part. I don't see why you felt to compelled to respond with a smug insult.

Unknown said...

You're right, naturgesetz, my respose was inappropriate and I apologize. I shouldn't post late at night when I've tired and sleep deprived. I do think that you and I start at such different viewpoints that we won't agree. I haven't read your blog so don't know your background, I've only seen your comments on a few blogs. I won't ever understand why anyone would tell two people that they are just wrong for each other and shouldn't share their love in a physical way. I don't want to keep disagreeing, so I won't check back on the comments on this post.

naturgesetz said...

Thanks for the apology, green and purple. Of course, I accept it. I've overreacted and responded too strongly myself on many occasions. I very much appreciate your willingness to apologize. It shows that ou are a true gentleman. And I accept that we disagree and there is no point in either of us attempting to debate the other.

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