In 2004 I spent a year in SLC to find out why Mormons have the highest gay suicide rate in the country. Want 2 turn my play into a book
A Stranger at the Table is a journalistic memoir about my one-year journey to Utah to learn about the struggles of gay Mormons that are hidden beneath the exterior face of unity and morality of the Mormon Church. The book exposes how the history, dogma, and authoritarian structure of the Mormon Church have led to an exclusive rather than inclusive culture that forces gay Mormons into untenable heart-wrenching decisions and, for an inordinate number of them, choosing suicide as the only way out of shame and unfulfilled lives.
The impulse for the book was the suicide of gay Mormon Henry Stuart Matis on the steps of the Mormon Church in Los Altos, California, in 2000, following his lifelong struggle to reconcile his homosexuality with his religion. I was deeply moved by Stuart’s story and felt compelled to seek answers to the questions it raised. How could a gay person could kill himself over his religion? Why didn’t he simply leave the church? Did no one try to help him?
I wanted to memorialize Stuart Matis in a play about him. To understand Mormon culture and why gay Mormons have such a high suicide rate, I went to Salt Lake City to live among the Mormons for a year. As a gay man, I was able to gain access to gay Mormons and learn about their secret lives and daunting struggles firsthand.
What I uncovered through meetings, interviews, and social encounters with gay Mormons and their families, as well as attendance at a reparative therapy conference at Evergreen International, a Mormon-operated organization that converts members from gay to straight, was shocking and disturbing. I discovered that gay Mormons are faced with impossible choices: to come out of the closet and risk alienation from the church that has been the center of their lives, to convert to heterosexuality, or to remain silent and celibate.
After my play, Miss Solemnis or The Play About Henry, was produced in New York and in Salt Lake City, I continued to be haunted by the stories I had heard. A Stranger at the Table fills a gap in what is known about the gay Mormon experience and will provoke thought among all readers––Mormon and non-Mormon, gay and heterosexual––about the true message and mission of religions and our duty of acceptance and care toward all people.
This is a book. My play opened in 2008 and, due to public interest, I have complied my experience as a non-Mormon into a memoir. The video above is the teaser from my play.
My book will be shopped in June, and the process to get a book published can take upward of two years to print. I am trying to shave some of his time down (Because of Romney and the upcoming election) and want to get it professionally edited. That costs $$$$.
Absolutely not. God doesn't hate anyone. But the Mormon Church (like a lot of religions) look down upon homosexuals. I don't believe that God hates gay Mormons. God doesn't even hate haters. That is however, not the message His followers preach. So it is a play off that idea that God could actually hate anybody. It is meant to provoke thought. If you get a chance to read the book you will find it is very pro-gay Mormon and very protective over who they are. Support this project!!!
I'm trying to get my proposal and manuscript professionally edited. This takes money. I am also developing a one man show based on my experience in Utah.
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