During the last fifteen years I have seen a number of films created by Mormons about the Mormon experience—some have been painfully bad collections of stereotypes, poor production values, and low quality acting, but some have been insightful, artistic windows into the peculiarities of Mormon life. When I first heard about Once I Was a Beehive, a new movie about girls’ camp, I worried it would be terrible. Comedy can be really hard to get right, even in films produced by major studios. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised by a film that is funny without being silly or mean, and offers a sincere story of love and acceptance that anyone can relate to, Mormon or not.
One evening in June, 13 years ago, my boyfriend and I attended the temple together. On the way home we stopped for dinner at Taco Bell, and then he decided to pull off into a darkened parking lot so we could talk. He turned to me with tears in his eyes and blurted out “I’m attracted to men.” I was, frankly, shocked because this was the last thing I expected him to say. We talked for a while longer, cried, and hugged; then he drove me home like it had been any other date. A few weeks later we got engaged and were married in the temple within six months. During our engagement we didn’t talk very much about the fact that he was gay; I hadn’t really known anyone that was gay up until that point, and I didn’t even know what questions I should ask or what the possible problems might be. I didn’t have any idea what life would be like for those are LDS and gay, because no one talked about it. This lack of dialogue added to the difficulties I faced while I was still married, and causes me to worry about how my children will feel when they get older and realize that no one wants to talk about their father. Too often, the absence of discussion about an issue leads people to believe that the issue doesn’t really exist. We may not realize that our lack of questions only means that we don’t even know enough to ask.
I‘m a traditional kind of girl—you know, one who puts off her Christmas shopping until the day after Thanksgiving and then spends December in a frenzy of list-making, bargain-shopping and gift-wrapping. Although I wish I could be one of those women who creates dozens of heartfelt handmade gifts, alas, craftiness is not my thing. One thing I can do, though, is buy a good book. That’s a skill, right? I love giving books as gifts, and I also love getting good ideas about books to give as gifts. So I figured since our Segullah readership has excellent taste (you do, don’t you!), we’d get going on this Christmas shopping thing and swap some book recommendations.