For most of his childhood, Joseph lived the quintessential Mormon life in Utah. But at the age of thirteen, he began to be faced with an ominous fact: that he was gay. The inner battle between his religious and sexual identities raged for ten years, nearly driving him to suicide. However, one night he realized that the monumental effort he had put into becoming a straight, mainstream Mormon man was not only an exercise in futility, but simply the wrong path for him. Around the next corner, he found the peace and happiness that had always been so elusive.
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Jan 25, 2012
I like Utah. It is where my maternal ancestors come from, including my own mother and, among the others, my much married grandfather (who had 22 wives, only a few of whom I ever met). The state`s principal faith, L.D.S. Mormonism, was theirs, too, although all of the family (which is amazing) left Mormonism over the years, but, admittedly, that was when the whole extended family moved away over the years from Utah itself to California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, and Nevada, myself eventually to Québec! (I was L.D.S. Mormon as a child.) Utah is a state of incredible natural beauty (and not only the famous Painted Desert and the Wasatch Mountains), of male beauty, too (what with all those guys so gorgeously of Scandanavian, British, and Welsh descent), very positive things indeed, but, alas, also a state where terrible sexual "hang-ups" of all kinds abound. Being a gay man, I know Dallin`s predicament, which is a stressfully difficult one to endure if one is (or even... More > previously has been) a Mormon of the L.D.S. group; the Mormonism of the Community of Christ (formerly known as the R.L.D.S. Church) is much more welcoming and sexually tolerant of gays. Best of all is reading of a gay member of the L.D.S. who reconciles and overcomes all of this, as recounted in this book and in the wonderful film, "Latter Days" (and in the lesser known novel of the same title based on the movie), rather than one who commits suicide or goes bonkers! Gay guys, if you think that as a Protestant, Catholic, or member of one of the Christian sects (Baptist, Pentecostalist), or of no faith at all, you have it bad, read about Dallin`s situation or that of other gay men.< Less
I just finished reading "Perfect." An awesome book. Such stories aren't new to me, of course, having been an Executive Director of Affirmation: Gay & Lesbian Mormons. Not to mention my personal experience with the issue the book tackles. Many excerpts from Joe's diary could have been lifted verbatim from my own. Although the story is familiar, Joe's telling of it hits all the right spots, eliciting an emotional reaction without becoming maudlin. It is also very instructional to anyone who has not shared similar experiences. All persons of faith, especially Mormons, would benefit from reading this book. Any feeling person cannot help but be moved by it. It should be required reading for LDS leaders at every level. Readers of my novel "By A Thread" (http://shar.es/WslxP) will recognize in its protagonist many of the real-life struggles that Joe describes, though the fictional ones have been encapsulated in a much briefer narrative as adjuncts to the plot. The... More > thoughts and emotions ring true, but for the full story of what it's like to be gay and Mormon, read Dallin's "Perfect."< Less
Anyone who has gone through this knows the pain, anguish, heartache, and self loathing that becomes your constant companion. Joseph Dallin has captured this and more in every word he has written. My heart was moved and my spirit touched with the honesty and courage that he used to write his journey. Bravo. Bravo. Bravo
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