Steven Fales

Steven Fales
Steven Fales -- Actor/Writer/Producer

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Fathers in Crisis

Steven Fales with "Buddy" and "Gee-Gee" six-months before the custody battle in "Prodigal Dad".

“I never wanted to write this book. However, to live inside the divorce matrix, to be engaged in that battle, ultimately means to be poised to tell your story, to make your point, to argue your side at a moment’s notice. It’s a fire that is constantly burning.”
--Alec Baldwin, A Promise to Ourselves: A Journey Through Fatherhood and Divorce

This blog entry is adapted from a recent book proposal and is still a work in progress.

Now more than ever, fathers have become an endangered species. This book is dedicated to all prodigal parents—and all estranged or alienated children. It seems that in the midst of the well-documented and publicized masculinity crisis "Iron Johns" are still needed as dads but we are increasingly up against all odds. Some of our problems are of our own making and some are most definitely from society--and a feminist movement run riot. It’s an uphill climb for dads. Some just give up. I did not. I still have not. That is why I wrote the Mormon Boy Trilogy. That is why I am writing my new memoir, Oxy-Mormon Memoirs.
Part Three in Mormon Boy Trilogy is my solo play Prodigal Dad. The Richmond-Times Dispatch recently reviewed, "His legal battle to retain his rights as a father is a human rights issue, not a gay issue, and struck a chord with many in the audience.”     

Of all the things I’ve been called and all the things I am, what I treasure the most is being a father. Like her or not, in the words of Dr. Laura, "I am my kids' dad." The challenges, sorrows and growth opportunities for me are unparalleled; the blessings and moments of joy are unequaled. I cherish my Fisher Price plastic memories—heaven on earth. My kids’ teenage talent, angst, energy, wonder and rebellion rejuvenates (and exasperates) my soul. 

I am pleased and astonished at the plethora of films today dealing with fathers being reunited with their children. Stories of flawed but good underdog dads who go to any lengths to be in their children’s lives are told in the recent Oscar-nominated Flight, Inception, Biutiful—even Finding Nemo! I was recently blown away that in the bustle of American Hustle, it was a father that refuses to abandon his adopted son--no matter what deals or romances come his way--that anchor the story. It the end, a father and son has triumphed. There are also recent father/son films At Any Price and Starbuck. The award-winning novel Diamond Dogs by Alan Watt is a stunning example of a complex father/son relationship. The Prodigal Father (Mark Bryan) is a great guide for all outcast dads. There are sons, too, who search for their fathers like President Barack Obama’s Dreams from my Father (Three Rivers Press/Random House, 2004). Aren’t we all yearning for our own Mufasa in The Lion King or cheering on our temporarily side-lined dads until they re-claim their super hero capes as in The Incredibles? After decades of Return of the Mother (Andrew Harvey), we are at a new renaissance of fathers. We are Saving Mr. Banks. Look closely at Mary Poppins, and it is the story of a father’s transformation. Life of Pi kicks in when a father teaches a difficult, powerful lesson about a carnivorous tiger’s true nature to his son. This was a lesson his vegetarian mother wasn't capable of teaching. As kids today are in pain and fathers’ hearts are broken, aching families need these stories. Dads are neither disposable or expendable or replaceable.

My work own work challenges and condemns the archaic “seminal” guidebooks on rigid gender roles in Man of Steel and Velvet and Fascinating Womanhood by 1960s husband/wife team Aubrey and Helen Andelin. (I still have these books my still sexist, chauvinistic father gave me to read as a teenager in his best attempt to mold me.) We can never go back to that world of inequality. At the same time I wistfully long for a return to the best of that simplicity. Parents were there. Today parents are not always there full-time. However, we cannot, in the twenty-first century think in Victorian terms--that it is always in the best interest of the children to entrust custody exclusively to mothers. Mommies cannot trump daddies at the expense of our children. Mothers may often be lauded as heroic "single moms", but they never will be only parents even if they try to spin their stories to their advantage.
Crossing gender and culture lines I also relate to the frustrations and failures in Amy Chua’s modern-day parenting lament Batttle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. Outdated traditional Chinese family mores mirror my own and my sub-culture’s dilemmas and generation gaps. The Mormon-world view has flaws, like any antiquated mind-set.

When I was formally excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I lost my patriarchal balls in that sub-culture. All “worthy” males are expected to hold the priesthood in Mormonism. This priesthood is given to you, not by a non-related bishop, but by your layman father who received it from his father. Your father baptizes and confirms you. Your father gives you blessings to heal you when you are sick. In some cases, a father can even officiate marrying his own son and daughter-in-law in the temple, as if to engrain in you that if you get divorced you are divorcing your dad. The priesthood is synonymous with fatherhood in Mormondom. Your dad is your Mormon priest! “Where God is a straight male, the straight male is God.”
I wasn’t supposedly straight enough. To top it off, after graduate school, I stopped believing in and denounced “golden plates.” I failed the macho Mormon test—twice. I became an enemy to the unofficial church of the state of Utah. I became a bastard on the Right in the reddest state in the Union.

When I was stripped of my priesthoods, I ceased to be a viable father even in my own family’s eyes. This priesthood vacuum is palpable with huge cultural, familial and personal ramifications. Once favored and popular (the hope of Generation X) I became padre non grata. The oldest of six, my rightful place as the firstborn son was literally given to my younger brother—the new executor of my father’s estate. Suddenly struck "sodomite" I became (in a psychological twist of nachträglichkeit, après coup or “afterwardsness”) a pedophile. Uninvited (barred) from weddings and reunions, my adoring nieces and nephews seemed to vanish from my presence, too., as I was banished. I started to buy into the mind games and started to distrust and doubt everything about myself. Was I now as untouchably wicked as they thought? Was I now unfit and incapable of fathering? Was I no longer even a man? Not considered a proper stallion, but worse than a mare--a guelding? (Women are second-class citizens in Mormondom. Gays come in at a distant third.) Cornered and outnumbered, I begrudgingly surrendered my very Mormon-at-the-time ex-wife, Emily, sole custody during our quickie divorce—the greatest mistake of my life. I didn't think I had a chance to stand up for myself and I had no funds as I just handed the house, the cars, and kids. I go into great detail about this in my solo plays. A self-loathing death wish set in and the self-destruction started.

Here’s an example of how invisible I would always be. When you die in Mormondom you are buried in elaborate temple robes that only temple-worthy Mormons know about. When my father dies I will literally not be allowed to help dress and bury my father. It is forbidden. I cannot even bury my dead. As my mom's bishop brother, one of my hero uncles, told her, "Steven's being gay is worse than a death." Over and over again, if Emily and I were in the same room with my family after the divorce, they seemed to only look and talk to her. As the non-custodial parent, I was invisible. When you are not legal on paper, you are extinct in reality. I had been exterminated as a dad.

The dark side of Mormonism is that the Church is like a virus that attaches itself to the nucleus of the family. When a member strays the family (now controlled by the Church) kicks in and warns the once cherished son but now dangerous foreign object, “If you don’t stop being gay (and effeminate!) and repent and come back to Mormonism in full-fellowship and blind belief, we will help God make your life more unbearable than you can possibly imagine!” The Church needs willing families to survive. “God may forgive, but the Church’s forgiveness is harder to attain!” Excommunication is supposedly a sacred act of kindness toward the sinner—a “Court of Love” as they call it. Its beauty is designed to help one return to the fold. I wasn’t feeling it. A spiritual experience during my "Court of Love" assured me that this was hogwash. However, being excommunicated for "the crime of homosexuality" left me with despair and anger that I turned inward.
Every kind of emotional and financial embargo was placed on me. My artistic ambitions were also sanctioned to thwart me from writing. It’s not what I would write. It’s that I would write anything. My story was all I had. I knew I would tell it someday. That time has come.
Pitifully desperate and miserably grateful for any crumbs from that once warm proverbial loaf of family bread that fell from their patriarchal table I was spiritually and emotionally starving. Psychologically fragmented it’s no wonder to me now (especially given my genes) that I eventually cracked on a crack pipe full of crystal meth. With no place to call home I was lost as I just tried to survive--and began my gay adolescence funded by escorting. I rationalized selling my body because I would not be a dead-beat dad like Emily's dad. I would pay child support and lavish my kids with gifts and vacations. This I did living a double life that was killing me. Confessions of a Mormon Boy details my nine-month sex-work experiment and how I got out!  Now over thirteen years clean from the sex-industry, I am still considered a hooker by my ex-wife and family. Fathers often hand the ammunition our critics need on a silver platter no matter what our story of transformation has helped others change.
My family all sided with Emily who was super Mormon and sweetly “feminine” at the time of our divorce. Luckily Emily did not listen to my family’s suggestion to change the kids’ last name. But she would later make things catastrophic—ironically after she left the Church with a vengeance. There was nothing reasonable or "Christian" about what she would do as she turned her vengeance toward me. This seems to be what ex-wives are empowered and encouraged to do.

I was also attacked from the Left as well. Emily's mother is Mormondom's greatest writer and also, ironically, its greatest living feminist. Carol Lynn Pearson who's feminist solo play Mother Wove the Morning, once joked to me in her home, "Got your penis!" I didn't think it was funny. And I don't think I need to give further examples to illustrate how I married into a family where men are simply not needed. I was sunk as a father the day I married into such an emasculating family. The great synchronicity is that Carol Lynn wrote compassionately about bringing her gay ex-husband home to die of AIDS in her bestselling Good-bye, I Love You (Random House, 1986). No matter how I feel her book promoted her oxy-Mormon feminism and white washed the story of the father of her children, I was the one gay she could not pray away. I had stepped on her brand and she would not let me be more successful than her daughter. As she says in Good-bye, I Love You, her Hecuba-like attitude was always, "And the women stay at home as women always have and watch and wait to pick up the pieces." Her entire book is a damning indictment of men. It is men who are often left to pick up the pieces.

When false allegations of child abuse are filed by my ex-wife after a routine Christmas vacation alone with my two kids (at the height of the Great Recession and during a good stretch of clean time and sobriety), the story takes off. I spend a year (and tens of thousands of dollars I didn’t have) in the pro-mother, anti-gay Utah court system with a family law attorney and a criminal attorney fighting for my rights to ever see my kids again. With no family support but with donations from across the country from friends who knew I was a good dad and my own fatherly instincts and fierce tenacity I still prevailed! The entire case was dismissed. "Reasonable discipline under the circumstances." I go into great detail about the entire case in Prodigal Dad.
After all kinds of detectives, therapists and DCFS reports there turned out to be no grounds for a case of any kind. And there were no consequences for my ex-wife--only my children who she encouraged in trying to testify against me. Imagine watching your eleven and thirteen year old try to betray their own father's love and devotion. She could have dropped the case at anytime. Instead, she put the children through one of the most traumatic experiences I can imagine having. With divorced parents myself who shared joint legal custody of six kids, I can't imagine what I would have done if I had to take the stand in a courtroom and testify against either one of them.
Carol Lynn sat in the court room next to her daughter taking notes wide eyed with anticipation that I would finally be stopped. She left disappointed and empty handed. Her daughter lost. And yet, Emily would win post-divorce as guardian ad litems washed their hands.

The character assassination and attempt to annihilate me was foiled in a way, and yet the aftershocks still branded me. There would always be lingering scars and my reputation suspect no matter how my record might be expunged. The rumor factory in Utah is efficient. How my once amicable, supposedly gay-friendly ex-wife even came to file such allegations is part of the outrage of the story—and the mystery. She had always let me see the kids for years without question or hesitation. Then one day out of the blue—thinking we had an extraordinary and uncommon divorce—Emily finally did what so many ex-wives do. Having all power, she pounced.

The one person I was sure would back me up did not—my dad. He left me high and dry. He would not stand up for me to Emily even thought he told me he knew what a good dad I was. Dr. Fales, M.D. was the one person in my family who had the credibility. I was left for dead and sold into Egypt. The feelings of betrayal and devastation as I watched the man who had beaten and shamed me as a kid growing up have unlimited access to my children when I did not—was almost unbearable. And yet, I was grateful my father was a good grandpa. It’s just that he usurped my role. I partially created it. I had bent over backwards through the years to find ways for the kids to be around him. Didn’t they need a “straighter” influence than artistic me? Unless I was an extravagant Disneyland Dad with another blow-out vacation, the kids “didn’t want to see me” because they had their only living grandpa to patronize them. I have gone years without seeing my kids while living 15 minutes across the valley in Salt Lake City. Dad's chumming with Emily made it worse. As a doctor, he wrote her prescriptions for her. To him she was still his sparkling daughter-in-law. Dad cannot stand up for me or stand up to women—ever. As sexist as he is, he was also "pussy-whooped". Emily played on my homophobic family's already low opinion of me. These kinds of incidents can lead to resentments. Left untreated, they can cause a person to binge . . . or write!

The inciting action of the story is in the sample chapter where I give my now “die hard, bad ass” ex-wife the “plausible” excuse she needs for her allegations. (See Sample Chapter) Did I hand revenge to her on a silver platter? The true reasons for her vociferous attacks are explored and give context to a psychological saga that I am compelled to tell and dispel for my children’s sake and others. These allegations nearly destroyed me financially and professionally, and they nearly wiped out my relationship with my children.
We have been in extensive therapy to repairing the damage and we have made great progress, but still I’m seen as the crafty criminal who got away. “I’m glad they didn’t throw you in jail for two years, dad. That would have been a really long time.” They still see me as guilty and not that their charming mother might be overly blessed with hyperbole and worked the system and my conservative family to get her way. Emily refuses to join us in family therapy. She will not meet with me. I have been singled out as a narcissist. But when you point your finger, you have three pointed back at yourself. Read her blog, "Dancing with Crazy" and her new memoir by the same name and tell me what you see? Is this the writing of a histrionic hurricane blowing through the lives of everyone? I've had my own bipolar moments, but who is it that needs the medication most?
I need to also say before I'm questioned for liable and slander, early on I purchased signed depiction releases to tell both Carol Lynn and Emily's story "to the End of the Universe." She may have swindled me out of the kids, but I am doing my best to make good art out of all of our stories. And I have over ten years of glowing reviews of my solo plays to back up that my voice is perceptive, nuanced, and "wrenchingly honest and utterly clear-eyed" (Los Angeles Times) and "feels like a sacred gift" (Boston Globe). The San Diego Dispatch has lauded my "deep respect" for Emily. I will not fail to do so in this new memoir. 

Fathers have been the un-sung heroes and whipping boys far too long as we’ve deferred to the self-expression of newly liberated mothers—and still pay child support for children whose mobile phone numbers we are not allowed to have. We’ve been relegated to the parental corner often muzzled by radical feminism that intends to level the playing field by Reviving Ophelia, but knowingly or not undermines males. The Chalice and the Blade has blunted us beyond usefulness or recognition. (I am no stranger to feminist or queer theory. I am a champion--just ask my own once-subjugated mother who I help support.)

Where did the dialogue about partnership between the sexes go? Where did my sweet former Mormon wife go? She had become a militant, celebrity Ex-Mormon now leading the drinking counter culture in Salt Lake as I was getting sober. People change. My sobriety threatened her new world. It is also a world where women and mothers lack accountability. Mormonism actually has a sweet spot for all subjugated women. They are patronized while they’re let off the hook. I was blamed for everything. To them (a poor excuse for a man) I caused her fall. Mormondom is really toughest on the men. Its chauvinism created the feminist backlash that paints men into a corner. Across the room it attacked and almost annihilated me—one of Zion’s more gentle, reasonable citizens (when clean and sober!). I will not be a doormat for either side.

When I read Alec Baldwin’s powerful book, A Promise to Ourselves: A Journey Through Fatherhood and Divorce (St. Martin’s Press 2008) and was introduced to the new Fathers' Rights Movement, I didn’t feel alone in fighting what psychologists call Parental Alienation Syndrome or PAS. I knew that telling my story could help many other fathers and mothers who have been unfairly treated by courts and churches and ex-spouses, misrepresented and misunderstood. The relentless, enslaving Office of Recovery Services or ORS (the twin of the IRS) cuffs our generous hearts and hands and drives many of us to drink and use or run. Ask any dad, the system’s rigged. When we lash out it only makes things worse. We are swimming in quicksand. Things, however, are dramatically starting to change in the family law realm--state by state--as fathers come together and stand up for themselves--AND THEIR CHILDREN! We are now finding that equal shared custody is the new norm--no questions asked. This was not an option I believed I had back in the year 2000. There was nothing I ever did upon our divorce that should have ever questioned my ability as a good parent and provider. I asked for years to politely share custody. No matter how perfect I tried to be, I ultimately was left with nothing more than legal fees and branded "non-custodial parent".

From Prodigal Dad: "So I get this call on my cell. And since it was Emily vibrating I picked up. You pick up when it’s the mother of your children and you are the non-custodial parent no matter what deadline you’re on. “Non-custodial” means you have basic constitutional visitation rights as a dad (and the right to pay child support), but not a heck-uh-vah lot more. Everyone pays lip service that your presence and opinion matter. But the Church (and the courts) favors mothers no matter how well you change diapers or how well your tuna casseroles turn out or how well you tell bedtime Book of Mormon Stories. You ultimately have no real legal say in anything. You’re a second-class parent. You don’t really exist (though you’re always under the microscope). So you learn to work around it. You give up asking to see report cards or expect to be consulted on anything that matters—video games. You try to ignore the fact that even your immediate family sends their yearly Christmas cards to her. You must always remember the number one rule: you may never, ever discipline your kids. Or make them work. Ever. And I do mean ever. So when the sole legal guardian calls, you answer—and hope for the best because she has all the power. And an even more powerful mother."

We must accept that being ignored on Father’s Days and Christmas, being blocked on Facebook, the kids’ phone numbers being unknowingly changed and their sporadic hurtful emails laced with their mothers’ venom are just temporary. I have learned to see the big picture when my “daddy date” invitations are declined—no matter how many good times we’ve had in the past without incident or drama. We must trust that eventually our kids will “come to Papa”—if we don’t self-destruct first! In the meantime, we get to treat ourselves with the compassion and dignity we deserve. “Don’t quit five minutes before the miracle” is what other dads told me when I wanted to give up and run away. I say don’t quit five minutes after the miracle either. The work is ongoing. We must hold our ground but still bend toward our brood.

I am not a gay dad. I am a dad. Dads are not just dollar signs or sperm donors. To metaphorically castrate us is a crime. We are not eunuchs to be dominated. As I shake hands with fathers across the country after my shows I know I am not the only one who has suffered. One dad told me he was excommunicated twice! Another said, “At least you get to see your kids. I haven’t seen mine in sixteen years.” What he didn’t know was at the time I was in the midst of my own custody hell and my visitation had just been pulled indefinitely. Thankfully it was not to be permanent. It’s not the dads who suffer most but the children that are deprived and harmed when they are turned against us—sometimes viciously “protecting” their mother’s point of view. “They know not what they do.” They suffer anxiety, acting out in all kinds of destructive ways, and underachieve--lost.
Using my show Prodigal Dad, I helped raise money to help a dad prevent his Mormon wife from taking his children to Sweden, never to return. One by one we help each other save our children. I speak for fathers and their recovery and rights: gay, bi, straight, or otherwise from Mormons to Muslims, inner cities to gay ghettos. By doing readings of my play Prodigal Dad I hope to help raise more needed funds for other dads in trouble. (Utah Dads’ Legal Fund, National Parents Organization, Father's Rights Movement, etc.)

I hope my new book will raise questions. Who should get custody in a divorce? What happens if you give it up? Should one fight to get it back? Can you ever get it back? What is reasonable discipline today? What is abuse? Where do we draw the line? What are the costs of not disciplining our children? Who should discipline? What do we teach them when we let kids off the hook? Do problems with authority start at home? Do we need two points of view to raise a child, masculine and feminine? What is “masculinity” today? Can gay and bisexual men be as masculine/effective in raising children as straight dads? Should women deliberately raise children without fathers? What is our society coming to? Are we losing or gaining? What are the dangers of permissive parenting? What is an intentional spank versus an impulsive closed-fisted punch? Is it okay to swear at a parent? We bemoan the plight of single moms, but do we not really reward, encourage and condone the phenomenon? Do we run fathers out of town? What is the cost to children? Are we ignorant about addiction? Should anyone’s recovery or sexual orientation be held against them? And what are the appropriate roles of grandparents in children’s lives when parents are temporarily absent—and when they’re not? When do grandparents go too far? Is it disrespectful to call a parent by their first name? Are children more spoiled today than they were a generation ago? Should a parent pay child support and not get to see the kids? Should big decisions ever be up to a minor children? When should they have a say? Are therapists or social workers helpful or a detriment? Does the family law industry and court system prey upon, worsen and perpetuate the deplorable situation?

If Beyonce can look back with Piers Morgan and appreciate a whack from her mother when she was out of line as a teenager, can a father in a moment of crisis when his twelve-year old son is acting out (endangering the car in a blizzard) moderately discipline his son for the first time? Especially a father with no track record of violence of any kind or any criminal record? A nurturing father who has successfully navigated countless vacations and weekends at home alone with his children and who has even dutifully taken his kids to church?

My long-time troubled relationship with my estranged father will possibly astound. The epilogue shows the incredible healing between us. This sets my son and daughter and I free to heal. By the end of the memoir I have once again have a good year clean and sober. A binger, not an everyday drinker or user. At my invitation my newly ordained Mormon bishop father attends the gritty AA ceremony where I pick up my one-year chip. He cries throughout the entire meeting. Other “Christmas” miracles follow. My dad becomes the loving (though still flawed) patriarch I always hoped for. His relative acceptance and eventual quasi-support of my being gay, my artistic career, my recovery, and my role as a father is approbation beyond my wildest dreams. I have to let it be enough. I want to give others this hope. As it says in an old scripture, “the hearts of the fathers will turn to their children, and the hearts of the children will turn to their fathers. Lest the earth be smitten with a curse.” (Malachi 4:6)
And yet I must add, my father still was in the way of my relationship with my children. He had taken over. I had to detach from him in order to reach my children. I could no longer go through him in a triangulation that was strangulating us all. I had to stand up and be the man and father I always was. I was enough. Since that shift, magical things have happened. My children have started to come to me.

My story has been called biblical. Well, it is literally and epically Greek, too. One of the sub-plots in the book has to do with my colorful maternal grandfather and his search for his ostracized dad who was deported back to Greece. The story about how my grandfather lost contact with his dad during World War II is heart-breaking. How his “scoundrel” father, Dennis Barbarigos, searched unsuccessfully for his only “missing-in-action” son will make readers weep. How we were reunited with our covered up “dirty” Greek side two generations later is legendary. It involves a cousin who happens to get sent on a Mormon mission to Greece. (He later shoots himself when he returns. Yes, tormented young men kill themselves in my story. Though this may seem like a non sequitur, I will tell part of my gay cousin Trevor’s tale.)

It turns out I get my indefatigably passionate “non-Mormon” dark brown eyes from an Aegean relative stranger who was buried in a common grave in Athens. Reclaiming my charming, bootlegging, maverick Greek Orthodox great-grandfather (through my grandfather’s story) brings insight, strength and hope to me, a notorious father as well. One who also deeply loves his brown-eyed children. I am Greco-Mormon! Mormon Boy deals with race and legacy and immigration in a culture where blue eyes are preferred over dark and where loving fathers are estranged too often by a thoughtless judge or mother’s whim. “The pack cannot exist without the wolf and the wolf cannot exist without the pack.”

No father on earth is expendable or can truly be replaced. If they say there are exceptions—they’re trying to sell you something. Ask any child who longs for his absent father. Children may learn to cope but the longing is still there. The same longing applies to dads. On his death bed I watched my grandfather deliriously cry out, “Dad! Dad! I want my dad!” He was not calling out for his adored, beloved German mother. He was calling out for his long lost papa.

Praising Alec Baldwin’s book once more, I was struck by his generosity to his movie star ex-wife. I hope to give Emily all the due respect and praise she deserves and more and still hold the Pearson accountable for being literary reality stars--blue-eyed, empire-building Kardashians. Not just because it’s good writing, but because she is the mother of our amazing children. The gods got those kids here and I would got through all the legal battles on earth again if I had to. There were good times when we were a little family and there was love. Lots of it. Dads cannot become fathers without mothers. Emily wasn’t and isn’t just a nanny. Somewhere in there is the woman I’m still glad I married. I will be true to that and honor our love story. We both have our own stories to tell of Electra and Oedipal complexes that got in the way. How could she appreciate me as the dad of her kids when her AIDS-stricken dad passed away—abandoning her when she was sixteen. (Is Emily displacing her rage and sorrow at her own dad on me? Transference.)

As with all of Shakespeare’s villains fallen fathers are redeemable. Sometimes we’ve been temporarily ill, frozen in poisoned, psychological ice like Tolkien’s King Theoden in The Return of the King. But when we thaw and rise to our sober stature with renewed strength, we transform into the beloved leaders and co-parents we were always meant to be. I feel I redeem Emily’s “cad” father in a fantastical chapter all its own later in the memoir. He and I both receive the father’s blessings we crave as gay/bisexual men. We bless each other. Other than a loving maternal embrace, there is no more intimate spiritual exchange or comfort than receiving a patriarchal blessing. Perhaps a father's embrace is more profound today because it is so rare. A Father's blessing is doctrinally the cornerstone of Mormondom and is the great metaphor of this book. Perhaps Alec Baldwin will endorse it. No matter what his latest controversy, he is a hero to me for being a ferociously loyal and protective father.
To me, all fathers are heroes and telling our stories is what fathers are supposed to do.

"Even Superman Needs a Dad" by Liz Lemon Swindle


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  3. Hello every body my name is Janelle Mercredi, from United Kingdom England, I just want to share my experience with the world on how Dr iayaryi, help me, I got my love back and saved my marriage… I was married for 3 years with 1kid and we lived happily until things started getting ugly and we had fights and argued almost every time… it got worse at a point that he filed for divorce… I tried my best to make him change his mind & stay with me because I love him so much and don’t want to lose him but everything just didn't work out… he moved out of the house because it was a rented apartment and still went ahead to file for divorce… I pleaded and tried everything but still nothing worked. The breakthrough came when someone introduced me to this wonderful, great spell caster who eventually helped me out… I have never been a fan of things like this but just decided to try reluctantly because I was desperate and left with no choice… He did special prayers and used his power… Within 4 days my husband called me and he said he was sorry for all the emotional pains he had cost me, moved back to the house and we continue to live happily and our kid is happy too and we are expecting our second child… I have introduced him to a lot of couples with problems across the world and they have had good news… Just thought I should share my experience because I strongly believe someone out there need’s it… You can email him through his email.(

  4. Hello every body my name is Janelle Mercredi, from United Kingdom England, I just want to share my experience with the world on how Dr iayaryi, help me, I got my love back and saved my marriage… I was married for 3 years with 1kid and we lived happily until things started getting ugly and we had fights and argued almost every time… it got worse at a point that he filed for divorce… I tried my best to make him change his mind & stay with me because I love him so much and don’t want to lose him but everything just didn't work out… he moved out of the house because it was a rented apartment and still went ahead to file for divorce… I pleaded and tried everything but still nothing worked. The breakthrough came when someone introduced me to this wonderful, great spell caster who eventually helped me out… I have never been a fan of things like this but just decided to try reluctantly because I was desperate and left with no choice… He did special prayers and used his power… Within 4 days my husband called me and he said he was sorry for all the emotional pains he had cost me, moved back to the house and we continue to live happily and our kid is happy too and we are expecting our second child… I have introduced him to a lot of couples with problems across the world and they have had good news… Just thought I should share my experience because I strongly believe someone out there need’s it… You can email him through his email.(