Sunday, March 29, 2009

"The Lost Tribe", Logo documentary about gay Mormons; also, review of "Latter Days"

The Lost Tribe”, directed by Rachel Landers, from Pony Pictures and Real Momentum, is an informative documentary (50 min) available on Logo on homosexuality and the Mormon Church (that is, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints). Sue-Ann Post, who speaks with a heavy Irish accent, travels to Salt Lake to speak to Affirmation, Gay and Lesbian Mormons.

In the 1990s, she was removed from the membership rolls, but never had a formal excommunication church trial. The film gives a brief history of the Mormon Church, including the revelation to Joseph Smith, the moral code which ironically allowed polygamy, the persecutions and migration to “Zion” and the “revelation” that led to ending polygamy in the 1890s. The claim that a lost tribe from Israel came over to the New World in the first millennium sound biologically unlikely because the native peoples in the New World were all of Mongoloid race until Europeans started settling it. That this would be believed is itself interesting – what people notice and don’t notice. But Post says she publicly made the three fatal disavowals: belief in the revelation to Joseph Smith, belief in the narrative of the Book of Mormon, and belief in the Holy Ghost. The film briefly touches on the Mormon theology of eternal marriage, and in the interest in genealogy for the ritual of baptism of the dead. In the Army, I knew a soldier who drew genealogy charts because he wanted to convert to Mormonism.

The central male character is Gary, who tries to live “ethically” a double life, following the teachings despite his sexual orientation.

The link for playback is here. The movie plays back in seven segments with a brief commercial before each segment, which is how Logo funds its “free” video and movies. There are many smaller GLBT features, both live action and documentary there now.

There are several other films on imdb with this title, including a sci-fi thriller from Roel Reine later in 2009.

Probably the best known dramatic film on homosexuality and the Mormon Church is “Latter Days,” directed by C. Jay Cox, from TLA and Funny Boy Pictures, with Steve Sandvoss (whom I met at the 2003 Reel Affirmations LGBT film festival in Washington) as Aaron. Toward the end of the film there is frank aversion therapy, but the sequence in which Aaron comes to terms with himself, while remaining so disciplined (down to how he does his daily laundry) while on the two year mandatory “mission” (where young men in shirt and tie “proselytize” to win converts), leading to a harrowing sequences of self-discovery and “apprehension.” The film also presents a deep and brilliantly screenwritten confrontation between Aaron and his mother (Linda Pine) who asks what her role in his life is going to be if he gives up on “family.” The film also featured Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

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