Steven Fales

Steven Fales
Steven Fales -- Actor/Writer/Producer

Monday, February 1, 2016

Excerpt from My Mormon Valentine--The Pre-Existence

What do you mean you don't know about the Mormon Pre-Existence?! In this blog entry I've posted the beginning of my solo comedy My Mormon Valentine: The Original Utah Version of Confessions of a Mormon Boy which includes Heavenly Mother and Jimmy Flinders in the Pre-Existence and St. Peter in the Celestial Kingdom. This is the 15-year anniversary revival of the "new and improved" Sunstone version of this show I premiered at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center in Salt Lake City over Thanksgiving Weekend 2001 following a reading at the Sunstone Symposium 2001 and before that a 5-minute stand-up routine at Caroline's on Broadway. The entire Salt Lake run sold out and we had to add an extra performance. I've dusted it off and it will be performed at the Leonardo Museum on February 11-March 5, 2016. There's a special benefit for the Utah Pride Center on Sat., Feb. 20 with a catered reception. For tickets go to

This draft of My Mormon Valentine is subject to change without warning. And don't be the grammar police or you'll miss the point! (I was in a hurry.) The early "Sunstone" version of Confessions of a Mormon Boy was printed in its entirety with photos in Sunstone Magazine, Dec. 2003:

The Original Utah Version of Confessions of a Mormon Boy

 (A star drop somewhere in Mormon Eternity. A hooded figure walks onto the stage holding a flashlight. In the dark we hear "Ding Dong" and then . . . )

Excuse me, St. Peter? Is Heavenly Mother there? I’d like to talk to Heavenly Mother. Could you please tell her I’m here? You don’t know who that is? Look, pal, I know you’re the only one up here that's not a Mormon but you really should know who your Heavenly Mother is—the wife of Heavenly Father. The first wife of Heavenly Father. Could you please turn on some lights? I know I’m in Outer Darkness but this is ridiculous! (Blinding lights come on revealing the back entrance to the Celestial Kingdom. It resembles an opening night party all decorated in disco whites.)

Ack! Bright light! It burns! (Put’s sunglasses back on.) Whew. That’s better.  Wow! I like what you’ve done with the place. It looks like Celestial Studio 54. Nice. There's not a lot of souls up here though. Kinda like Night of the Mormon Dead. Thanks. It’s my Magic Mormon Prada-wear. The Return . . . timpani roll . . . of the Black Sheep! (Sings)If you ain’t got no Prada take your broke ass home! Bitch I’m a Mormon.” Sorry for swearing. (Takes sunglasses back off.)

So . . . St. Petie. Hey! Heavenly Mother told me she would put my name on the list for her Celestial Tea Party just in case the Judgment didn’t go well for me. It obviously didn’t. (Takes of black hooded cape and turns around revealing huge pink triangle on the back of his holocaust pinstriped jailbird jumpsuit.) Am I on it? Brother Fales. Steven. Middle name’s Never. Get it? Never Fales! (Giggles. Snorts.) I’m not? Oh, she must have forgot. It’s an easy mistake. I’m sure it’s okay. Yes, I know unrepentant homosexuals aren’t allowed to go to heaven but this is an exception. I have permission from the glorified, resurrected Diva herself. She invited me personally. I promise I’ll leave just as soon as it’s over. Now don’t tell me it’s not going on. I saw the flyers down in hell. They floated down from the Celestial Republican Convention. I know it’s today and my kids are in there. So I’m coming in! (Steven steps on the red carpet. Sirens go off.)
Hot! Hot! Hot! Hot! Hot! No! No! No! No! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Not the electroshock therapy again! (Screams.) Ouch! Good grief!

You need my ID? But I’m a celebrity! I may be on the F-list and Affirmation may have disowned me but I’m still a gay Mormon celebrity. In my mind. And I'm big in Germany. Okay. Here’s my Equity Card. I’m SAG eligible. Did you see my national non-union "Ski Utah" commercial? "Greatest Snow on Earth!" I play the closeted gay dad. Here’s my Sons of the Utah Pioneers membership and my Son of Perdition card. I earned this. And the Daughters of the American Revolution. I’ve paid my dues. Here’s my temple recommend. It’s expired. But it’s okay, my dad’s a bishop.
It’s all there in the Latter-day Genealogical Library. The first Fales came to Boston in 1628 as Puritan indentured servants all the way from debtor’s prison in Cockney, England. “Please, sir, can I have some Mormons?” The rich Fales relations became socialites in Manhattan--i.e. The Fales Library at NYU. My strain of Faleses ended up paupers in Mormon-hating Missouri where my grandpa was born. Luckily his parents fled the poor house to homestead rural Wyoming—he joined the Latter-day Saints there near Yellowstone—“Buffalo Bill” Cody, Wy-O where Brother Jackson Pollack’s from—on the other side of Brokeback. Can I put these away now? Thanks.
The password? What password? I don’t know any passwords. Why do you need a token password to get into heaven? That's Utahrded. Oh, Mormon Country. Next you’re gonna be asking for some secret handshake.  Is it my old Spirit Prison PIN number on the micro chip branded on my butt? Got it! “A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent?” Crap! How about, “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace from day to day to the last syllable of recorded time and all our yesterdays have lighted fools to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury signifying nothing?” Darn it all to heck. I need more coffee! Is it “Flip-ity-flip-pin-flip?” Is it, “Yves Saint Laurent, mon cheri, si vous plait? Okay? Okay? Champs Elysees?” Do any of you out there know the password? (Improvs to audience responses.) "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!" Shoot. How about, (Sings)“Don’t tell me not to live just sit and putter. Life’s candy . . . “ Wait! I know, “Celestial Kingdom: SOME Visitors Welcome?” Kidding.  About drinking coffee . . .

Look, buddy, I came all the way from the Telestial Kingdom to be here. I snuck past security and crossed the River Styx. I was the only surviving refugee on the ferry. Then I rode a million light years up the escalator-to-heaven through those creepy decorations in the lobby of the Leo all the way to the Terrestrial Kingdom where I finally found the great glass service elevator that brought me here to the back door of the Wonderful Wonka World of the Celestial Kingdom. Oh, St. Peter, don’t tell me you don’t know about Mormon Eternity. Ever thought of simply ordering a copy of Mormonism for Dummies on Amazon?
(Flips over the “Celestial Kingdom, Rear Entrance. No Unauthorized Personal” sign and with bionic speed writes out “The Plan of Salvation” or “Plan of HAPPINESS”.)

The Celestial Kingdom, Mormon Heaven, where you’re here guarding the Swarovski chandeliers of the Pearly Gates?  My Polish sucks. That’s only for the really good Mormons. How did you get this job? Even Pope Francis lives down with me. The Terrestrial Kingdom is where the okay Mormons go and all the average non-member people with hum-drum lives who never had a chance to hear about the only true and Restored Gospel upon the face of the whole flippin’ livin’ earth invented by Joseph Smith. And the Telestial Kingdom, hell, is where the really bad Mormons (and everyone else) go/goes. All the prostates. Apostates! Three degrees of Latter-day Gory. Glory!
Heavenly Mother told me in the Pre-existence that I was invited to her Post-Judgment Celestial Tea Party. It’s like a big cast party or tea dance for all the sinners. Winners! A White Party? The Pre-existence. Oh, you Catholics don’t know anything . . .
The Pre-existence is where we lived with Heavenly Father and Mother and all our Heavenly Aunts before we came to earth. You know, where everyone was Mormon. We all smiled like this. You’re not smiling. It was the coolest place. Kinda like Krypton where Superman lived before he came to earth in that egg-shaped-pod-dash-spaceship-thingy. Planet Krypton. Krypton with a “K”. You know over by Kolob. Everything was in its perfectly created pre-mortal form and everyone was friendly and happy because nothing bad had ever happened to anyone. And just like Superman had to watch all those videos about trees and Shakespeare and stuff we had classes to learn about mortality while we anxiously awaited to go down to earth where we would gain a body and suffer. Except when we got there we would forget it all. Except for me. I remember everything.
I remember I was in love with Jimmy Flinders. Brother Jimmy Flinders. That’s like not knowing who Curly is from Oklahomo. Homa!  Like Will Swenson—a young Brother Swenson—only not yet married to Sister Audra McDonald. She ended up with thirteen Tonys, you know. You really should get your Golden Age of Mormon Musicals straight.

The first time I saw Jimmy was at a class we were taking on dating and eternal marriage. I was there with my best friend, Emily. Sister Emily Pearson. We were learning how to get a husband down on Earth. We were chatting away like we always did when Jimmy walked into the Pre-mortal Conference Center. Talk about a First Vision. He was tall, blond, blue-eyed, six-foot-two, a hundred and eighty-five pounds, tanned, toned, tight muscular swimmer’s build. There was no question he was the tops! I wanted so bad to be his husband . . . his wife . . . his eternal companion! After we finished our two-year missions to DisneyWorld Orlando, Paris, and Shanghai, of course, and our degrees in music/dance/theatre at Brigham Young University. You know, the Lord’s University?
Emily and I were fighting over him.
“He’s mine!”
“No, he’s mine!”
“He’s looking at me.”
“Well he saw me first!”
After the closing prayer we jumped out of our seats and raced towards Jimmy. I was afraid Emily would get there before me. I could never compete with her. She was fair and delightsome with righteous blue eyes and absolutely gorgeous--not dark and swarthy like me. Not to mention the nicest and funniest girl in the Pre-existence. I only hung out with Pre-mortal Mormon Royalty. If Emily talked to him first I would lose my chance.
I was in the lead but as I rounded the refreshment table the director of the Pre-mortal Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Brother Evan Stephens, stepped in front of me. I crashed into Brother Sondheim. Red punch and Oreos went flying everywhere. All over Brother Bernstein. Sure enough, Emily got a date with Jimmy to the Pre-mortal Gold & Green Ball at Pre-mortal Saltair. All I got was a mop and a seat in the alto section in the MoTab choir right between Sister Latifah and Sister Knight and all her pimps. Polyps. Pips!
Do you have time for this, St. Peter? Good! Time doesn’t exist here anyway so you can stop looking at your watch. That’s what they kept doing during my Church Court when I was tried as a homosexual. Oh! Is it, “On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight. And obey the law of the pack?” Crimony-sakes-alive! I hated the Pinewood Derby anyway. I always lost to the Webelos. But I did win best paint job . . . (Sings)I was a gay scout when gay scouts weren’t cool . . .
The pre-mortal premiere of the long-running, smash hit, Mormon mega-musical Saturday’s Warrior had just ended. This was centuries before our icons were stolen and our culture raped and South Park trashed our sacred texts on Broadway. They’re not even Ex-Mormons! Why did they get to cash in on our Mormon Moment? Opportunistic carpetbaggers shamelessly attacking someone else’s religion. I would never wage a war on religion like that. I came five years before them at the puny SoHo Playhouse! How would Jewish Broadway like it if I wrote a musical called Happy Hanukka! Or a comedy called The Myth of Masada. Everyone dies in the end. They’d run my hot excommunicated Mormon behind right out of Midtown! Oy! How do you spell Hanukka anyway? You’re Jewish. You should know. Is that the password?  (Sings) “If I were a Mormon?” And someone forgot to tell Brother Kushner that Mormon Angels in America don't have wings! Is it, “Love your South Park and Tony Kushner enemies. Do good to them that hate you and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you?” Is it, “I pledge Allegiance to the fag . . . “ Internalized homophobia again mixed with purple Velvet Rage. “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. Courage to change the things I can. And the Wisdom to know the difference.” Oooooh! Is it the Serenity Prayer? See, it doesn't always work Brother Bill W!
Stop leading me on. Yes you are. You’ve been egging me down one of my loquacious tangents to use it against me. Loquacious. Long-winded. My reparative therapist hates it when I use big words and wax poetic. We’ve been working on pithy prose. It’s your fault. So stop distracting me with your impotence. Ignorance!  Innocence? (Bows and scrapes) I think too fast ever since I learned to tap dance before my metaphorical burning at the stake. Post Traumatic Spiritual Disorder. Get it? Stake?
 Jimmy had made quite a name for himself as a leading man in that Saturday’s Warrior production. I was a hippie zero-population dancer in the chorus. I don’t really blend. But I didn’t mind the chorus as long as I could SLAC off and be a Saturday’s Voyeur as I watched Jimmy from the wings as he gave ‘em his big solo number in the second act. “I’ll wait for you Jimmy!”
                Now auditions were being held for the revival of my favorite Mormon musical, My Turn on Earth. It was clear that Jimmy was going to be playing the male lead—again! You know the Jesus part who then gets to play the husband part who then marries the female lead, Barbara? No. Bar-BA-ra. Not Sister Streisand. Brother Chekhov and Brother Stanislavsky said Jimmy naturally acted the part better. Whatever! Jimmy didn’t even like acting or the-AY-ter. He just stood there and acted all butch so everyone would fall in love with him. That’s not acting. Me playing butch—now that would be acting!
                So I decided I wanted to play the Barbara part. Not only would I be playing a leading role worthy of my talent but onstage I would get to marry Jimmy. Then after this warm-up run I’d audition for the hundredth season of Sister RuPaul’s Pre-Mortal Drag Race. “Lip Sync for your life, Jimmy!” At the My Turn on Earth audition I just kept thinking of him . . . (Sings)
                In these dreams I’ve loved you so—
                Or was it . . .
                I need Thee ev’ry hour . . .
    I’m your Private Dancer . . .
                Can you believe they cut me off? I didn’t even get to sing my high note for Pete’s sake! Sorry! I didn’t mean to take your name in vain. So guess who got the Barbara part? Emily. Again! I mean just because her future mother would write the show was no excuse. I could belt higher than any of the other girls and I had the best split leaps in my primordial dispensation—kick-ball-change, snap!—not to mention they should always give the role to the best actress! Right, Sister Streep?
                I did get cast. You know the part I got? Sa’an. He’s bisexual. He doesn’t get to marry anyone! Now I would never get to marry Jimmy! So you know what I did? I learned the entire Barbara part behind Emily’s back just in case she got her orders to go to earth in the middle of a performance. Someone would have to fill in and I would be ready! “Emily, time to come home!”
                Getting sent to earth at a moment’s notice was always a possibility. Once during a particularly long, hot, Pre-mortal Tuachan candy-wrapper matinee we were all onstage singing, “The world turns ‘round like a merry-go-round.” There we were, Jimmy, Emily, Dave, Marci and me. We were all destined to become Young Ambassadors at BYU. And right in the middle of the number Marci starts floating up out of the Pre-mortal Promised Valley Playhouse and down towards earth with a look of utter surprise on her face. “It ends with death. It begins with birth. And it’s my turn. Good-bye, Marci! Good-bye, bass section . . .” Then as Dave and I are doing the dance lift Marci and I usually do he starts to go, too. But he’s determined to finish the number. So he’s clinging to me, clawing at the drapes, grabbing whatever he can to stay on stage—chairs, a table. “Have a nice life, Dave! It’s your turn on earth . . . ” Minutes later a woman in a remote village in Madagascar gave birth to a white boy and two chairs. And a really bad hairpiece. Now that’s the magic of live theater!
                I knew Dave wasn’t a very good pornographer—performer—because only the really bad ones go to Madagascar—and lemurs. If you didn’t want to end up there—or some other non-elect country—you knew you had to razzle-dazzle them every time. No phoning it in, St. Peter. Turn your cell phone off. Can’t you see I’m performing? You, too, out there all alone in the dark. You don’t want me to go all Sister LuPone on you, do you? If you're secretly filming me don't forget to tweet it!
There was no way I was going somewhere non-elect. My calling and election was made sure. I come from settlers but I wasn't settlin’ for Hollywood. I was going to Broadway. That’s why I made sure my Sa’an was especially wicked every time. Like in the Star-Wars-in-heaven scene where Jesus and I battle over whose plan everyone should follow down on earth. The Force was fantastic with me. I’m ready for my close-up, Brother Scorsese: (Uses flashlight as a Light Saber . . .)

                I have a plan
                It will save every man . . .

                You’re lucky my light saber doesn’t seem to work up here. Of course, Jesus always won that scene in the show. But since Jimmy was so cute playing Jesus I didn’t mind a bit. Huwah! Sock-it-to-me. Sock-it-to-me. Sock-it-to-me. Hallelujah, Sweet Baby Jesus!
                One day after rehearsal I ran into Jimmy in the locker room of the Pre-mortal BYU Richards Building. He was captain of the pre-mortal football team. “Go, Cougars! Woof! Woof! Woof! Woof! Woof!” Take that Brother Steve Young. He was practicing the love duet he sings with Barbara, “Eternity Is You.” He was having difficulty with the harmony. (Jimmy sings tone deaf) “Eternity is you.
                “Want some help?”
                “Sure. Thanks, dude.”
                “You can keep your towel on.”
                “It’s all good. No worries.”
                “Looking at you I can see right through to eternity . . .
                We blended so well together. (Sings tone deaf) “Right on, Eternity is you.” And as I looked into his eyes, “Eternity is you.” I could swear I saw eternity. So I kissed him. Hard. He was surprised I could tell. He decked me. I went flying out the steam room across the rehearsal cloud into the next dispensation.
                “Well, someone had to do it. And it wouldn’t be right if it was Heavenly Father!”
                “Jimmy, oh, Jimmy, don’t listen to them. Please. I’m on my knees. Don’t turn me in to Heavenly Father!”
                So he tooketh pitieth upon me as he turnedeth me in to Heavenly Mother. (Swallows)
                I was summoned to the Pre-mortal Lion House. Heavenly Mother was holding high tea in the Celestial Tea Room where they serve that delicious non-caffeine Celestial Seasonings chamomile tea—and coconut and banana and chocolate cream pie. She was just finishing up her weekly support group for all the women who would be polygamist wives. It was getting really heated in there so I just waited in the lobby where I watched reruns of Who Wants to Be a Mormon Millionaire, Survivor—The Mormon Trail  and Dancing With the In-Active Mormon Stars until the sisters finally came out. There was Sister Smith. “Hi, Emma!” Boy did she look pissed.
                I was a little nervous. It was so rare to actually see Heavenly Mother I forgot what she looked like. She came sweeping into the room. “Is that my little Steven? Welcome back, dahling!” Now I knew why they never talked about her. She’s fabulous! She was a cross between Auntie Mame, Betty Davis, Martha Stewart and Oprah Winfrey all rolled into one. And she liked Cher! And Downton Abbey! And she spoke the holy ancient iambic double-entendre dialect, too!

                We immediately hit it off. I complimented her ZCMI tea set and offered a few decorating tips as I rearranged the white daffodils on the table. Then I helped pick out her veil for the Pre-ordination High Priest Gala to be held later that evening.  She moaned and groaned, “Why do I always have to sit in the back and wear a veil? I am the mother of all Creation, dagnab it! Where are we, Pre-mortal Afghanistan? And that old worn-out temple video. It didn’t even make it into Pre-mortal Slamdance. Did they really think it was my first time at the Celestial Rodeo? Your Heavenly Father and I weren’t always Mormon, you know.  It’s always Jesus this and Lucifer that. What about my Heavenly Daughter! (Sighs) Poor little Whitney . . .”

She was livid she didn’t have her own email address on the Celestial Internet. She grinned as she told me how she’d secretly gotten hold of Heavenly Father’s patriarchal password.  “Just four simple letters. Now I can send inspiration to my children whenever the heck I like!”
Could a four-letter swear word possibly be the password? I didn’t think so. Fetch! That’s five letters. Melchizedek? Methusela! Methamphetamine? Just diet pills . . . “Sheer energy!” (He doesn’t get the joke about Legg’s pantyhose.) Never mind. Bad tweaker joke.
                We spent the rest of our precious time together swapping pioneer funeral potato recipes and doing green Jell-O salad shots with shredded carrot sprinkles. And taking turns doing staged readings from early drafts of Mother Wove the Morning: Sixteen Women Throughout History In Search of the Female Face of God from Pre-mortal Sunstone--the Mormon International Fringe Festival. Her “Rape of the Levite’s Concubine” was thrilling but it left me completely exhausted. Boy could she chew the road-show scenery! Then we recited our favorite poetry by Sister Maya Angelou and Carol Lynn Pearson: “I know why the caged bird sings” and “We who are seed of Deity . . .”

                Before we knew it, it was time for her to go. “I must leave you now. How kind of you to let me come.” I think she forgot why I was summoned to meet her. I rushed to help her put on her veil, her gloves and her black mink stole. “Thank you my dahling boy. (Perfumes herself.) Mmm. White Diamonds! (Pauses) Steven, is there anything special you’d like down on earth? Anything at all! A share at Fire Island, a shopping spree to City Creek or an unlimited Prada gift certificate perhaps? How would you like to teach drama at the Waterford School or wait tables at the New Yorker Restaurant--that quaint, pretentious wannabe Four Seasons where all the Jack Mormon lushes of Salt Lake hang out. Or maybe have your own special table up front at the Annual Equality Utah Allies Dinner next to Bruce Bastian? You can wear this tiara. I’ve got hundreds. Here’s my broach and matching ruby slippers. Use this golden lasso and take my diamond earrings. These have always brought me luck.”
                “Oh, our dear kind and gracious Mother in Heaven, I just want to marry Jimmy Flinders . . . and become a real boy.”
                “Yes, I see. He is a stud isn’t he? And you are just a little too old for Brother Bruce and Brother Geffen. Well, don’t tell your Heavenly Father but I’ll see what I can do. I’ll work on your case with Jimmy personally. And do call me Christina. Not Tina! You would have loved my Heavenly Mother. She used to say, “Christina! Give that heavenly virgin act a rest! You're no Madonna Ciccone. (Admiringly) You've never seen a mother eat her young as well as she could . . . and (Sings) with one look turn a man to stone."
“You must join me and the entire female Relief Society for my Celestial Tea Party when everything’s all said and done. You’ll fit right in. Oh! If the Judgment doesn’t go well for you . . . I’ll leave your name at the Pearly Gates. “Pearls! Pearls! PEARLS!” Would you be a dear and light this for me? Thank you, dahling. I’m as old as Time and I’m still sneaking cigarettes! We’ve come a long way, baby!”

“Oh! I’m late! I must needs pick up my husband’s third-billionth award-winning wife to bring her to his after-hours altar. Katherine Hepburn’s so much fun. I don’t know why Kate can’t stand him. Talk about Big Love. There’s a reason he’s in charge.  By God it’s enormous! (Sighs) I just go along with it all the best I can and see where it’s all going to lead as I watch and wait to pick up the pieces. But tonight’s reserved for just me and E-lo-HIM!" (Laughs)  
“Oh, Steven. Don’t you worry. Everything’s going to turn out fine if you just keep your sense of humor. You’ll see. Make sure you write a new one-woman show just for me. That way I can visit whenever you channel me. Call it Conversations with Heavenly Mother: An Uncommon Diva! (It opens Mother’s Day!) Just tell St. Peter you’re here and I’ll have him buzz you right in!”
“I’ll be watching out for you, Steven. Especially during those pesky periodic binges in Palm Springs when you get lost while homeless and high on North Palm Canyon Drive. Just be your authentic true self starting right now. No more posing and posturing and impersonating. You're enough. And beware of human trafficking. You’re just a little too adorable and your humor's rather hokey which actually jacks up your price so beware! You're worth much more. Cynicism is common and cheap. Nevertheless and not withstanding always remember I love you and it's not nice to fool Mother Nature!" (Thunder and lightning)

(Watching her ascend.) Oh, mighty ISISssss. Shazam! See, St. Peter. There’s absolutely no problem whatsoever with me being here. (Steven tries to get in again by stepping on the red carpet.) Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! You’re singeing my testicles. Texticles. Texas rules!
                I am telling the truth, St. Peter. Do you think I just made all this stuff up? How could I possibly make up someone like my former mother-in-law Carol Lynn Pearson? We’re sealed for time and all eternity you know. Ask her lawyer.  I heard the glorified resurrected literary reality star ended up here. I’ve never met anyone more excommunication-proof. Who’s she sleeping with? She hasn’t had a sexy wedding night since her gay husband. She white washed our gay Mormon history. And erased me from herstory. You don’t know who she is? The Kris Jenner of Mormondom? Ask the Brethren. They think she’s the Wicked Witch of Facing East so to keep a close eye on her and patronize the SLUT counter-culture they made her the alternative prophetess. Emphasis on the profit. She still works for them. They actually invented her. Same old Mormon propaganda art--but for the Leftist Mormons. Lady Utah. The original Mama Dragon. She signs your shared royalty paychecks. Kidding! Gotcha! Every key stroke on her Word Perfect computer goes ALT, SHIFT, DAMAGE CONTROL. (Sings) “But she’s always a Mormon to me . . ." Everyone’s defending their tiny little piece of gay Zion these days. All those little fishes in that big snowy puddle. I never should have commissioned Brother Southey to do her oil portrait. I should have had mine done first before he died. May he rest in peace. Okay, so I’m a little bitter and jealous of her following. That’s my fan base! She’s not even gay. That we know of . . . Shhh. She thinks she's Dolly. Not Sister Parton. Brother Lama.
(Coughs) That cigar! How come everyone gets to smoke up here? Even the casinos in hell are non-smoking today. (Inhales.) I love that smell. Never pick up smoking at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. It’s not worth it. There’s only so much Botox and Crest Strips can do after the Resurrection. See, I’m improving. I caught myself before I could subconsciously pre-insert the word erection.
                Could you please check the list again? Brother Fffffales. Not “S” as in Sa'an,“F” as in Freakshow. Not F-A-I-L-S. F-A-L-E-S. Fales is an old Welsh name meaning “Son of Fagel.” Spelled F-A-G-e-l. Fagel, also pronounced feygella meants “to be glad” which is a synonym for happy or gay—and that’s also why I smile like this. (Smiles) So am I on the list? Mitt Romney, Orin Hatch, John Huntsman, Donald Trump, Sarah Palin . . . Obama?! He’s a Muslim! That’s the straight Terrestrial list! I’m on the Te-lestial list. Well, tell them to find it and fax it up! Geez Louise! Please? Put your 12-inch Subway down. Is it, “Please bless these cookies and hot chocolate to nourish and strengthen our bodies to do us the good we need in serving Thee and keeping Thy commandments?” Well now you’re hoggie’s been blessed. And you’ve got mustard on your mustache.
                I can’t wait to see my kids again. It feels like a gazillion-quadrillion millennia have passed. But who’s counting? Judgment Day was the last time I saw them. What a fiasco! Cost me every dime I didn't have. My ACLU attorney was late and my sponsor was drunk. My case worker couldn’t even speak English. And my star witness testified against me—bitter old ginger! All those false allegations of child abuse. NOT TRUE! The DCFS report came back unsubstantiated for any physical or emotional abuse! I was screaming bloody murder when they tore me away from my kids. They sentenced me to eternal damnation with no visitation rights until the end of eternity! Whenever that is. I grabbed this picture of them though before they hauled us gay dads away in that crowded circus railway car. (Pulls frame out of backpack and shows it to St. Peter.) I keep it by my cot in my studio apartment on the Lower East Side of Hell. This is Buddy and Gee-Gee when they were five and three. Just before the divorce. See the light in their eyes? Those are their nicknames. I'm still court-ordered to not even mention their names on Facebook. Gag order.
                My lesbian psychiatrist assures me that no parent’s perfect. Thank goodness I’m not alone! She’s a quack. All she wants to do is dope me up on lithium. I never slept with my sponsees or patients. I will never hire a shrink again without looking up their reviews on Yelp!
I tried to be a good non-custodial dad. We’d wrestle, put puzzles together, jump on the trampoline. I’d read them Harry Potter books with my “scary voice”. My son had nightmares for a year. I even taught them existential-crisis Shakespeare monologues when they could barely even speak,“To be or not to be that is the question.” I know my son would've preferred to have gone to a Yankees game instead of the Metropolitan Museum but that Jacqueline Kennedy exhibit was not to be missed! I took them to their first Broadway show, The Lion King. I was Mufasa. They were my Simba and Nala in the Patriarchal Circle of Life. Our favorite thing was to put on the ABBA CDs and dance around the living room. (Sings) “Angel Eyes, one look and you’re hypnotized . . . We’d fly and fly and fly . . . like Dumbo! Every time I snuck into see their middle school musical the principle called an Amber Alert. I was at both their baptisms even though the bishop didn’t think I was worthy enough to even say the opening prayer. Ha! What excommunicated homosexual do you think helped with the program? I got my dad, Perfect Bishop Cowboy Dr. Fales to baptize them! Pa! Who sewed on all those merit badges and taught them how to clean and do chores around the house like my dad? Certainly not their mommie. Boy did she take me to the cleaners. I graduated from the Y but Emily was the Cougar. Is MILF the password? I meant DILF. You’ve been working out, St. Pete. I like the scruff! And the tattoos. Woof! Oh, I can’t wait to see them all. I meant the kids. Do you have Catholic kids, St. Peter? You look like a breeder . . .
                Now where was I? Oh, the Pre-existence! Let me get back into pre-mortal character bursting with magnificent exuberance, effervescence and exultant alacrity. That means cheerful readiness. I'm gilding the lily again. Don't tell Brother Nicolosi.
So anyway, I left the Celestial Tea Room so excited the first thing I wanted to do was find Emily and tell her what Heavenly Mother had said about Jimmy and me. I thought I’d cut across Pre-mortal Temple Square. During the "knee-jerk kiss-in vigils” before they took over Main Street. The trees were all lit up. They keep it Christmas all year ‘round so they don’t have to take the lights down. Every day is the Winter Molympics. Everything was still. A hazy white mist descended and hovered over the ground like the Holy Ghost. It's good for your complexion. I could hear crying. I followed the sound toward the temple. As I got closer I could make out the figure of a little girl who was sobbing on the steps. No one’s supposed to cry in the Pre-existence. I put my hand on her shoulder. She looked up at me with the most beautiful Greco-Mormon brown eyes.
                “What’s wrong?”
                She just handed me her golden envelope. That’s the envelope your orders to go to earth come in. It’s where you learn all the horrible things that are going to happen to you in advance. Kinda like a psychic patriarchal blessing before you go to Earth. You’re not supposed to be sad or question your assignment or where you are sent because we’re told that everyone will win the trials and tribulation lottery. "Many are called but few are chosen to win the suffering powerball." Can you believe I still have it? Right here in my sacred rainbow sleeve pocket! So I wouldn’t have to memorize it. I’ve been busy. I had to produce this amazing show myself, you know. Brother McIntosh was busy. (Reads)
                Dear Sister Mormon American Princess Nine-hundred twenty-seven trillion, one-hundred-n-three-thousand-fifty-one (927,000,103,051):
                Having been true and faithful in many things we desire to give unto you your orders to go unto earth. You will be one of ten children who will have the gospel literally beaten into you by your white trash parents in Reno, Nevada. (That’s Nevada not Ne-VAH-da. We don’t say A-la-BAH-ma do we?) But it's okay. Your contractor dad will work for the mafia in Vegas which will make your family stunningly nouveau riche. You'll have diamonds and your pilots license at 15 but will be married off before your high school graduation. Everyone will expect perfection from you as you raise six children. Don’t expect much help from your clodhopper husband who'll be born in a barn and raised on a tractor. He will be busy going to medical school, delivering babies, fulfilling church callings, caring for his horses and doing genealogy in all his spare time. After your divorce, with no degree or skills, your health failing and an abusive second marriage you will fight depression, want to die most of the time and be thought of by everyone as crazy. But because you caught onto their gaslighting you will fight to the bitter end and by any means possible. You will be cursed with never, ever, ever knowing the sometimes very useful meaning of the word surrender.You’re a real trooper, Sister Baby Boomer.
                --Your Heavenly Father and Uncles

                I editorialized and expounded, “Whoa! That’s pretty bad. I can totally empathize. It must really suck to be a girl. I’m glad I’m not one. I only act like one. But, hey, let me pontificate! I can go down and help you through the hard times. I love to cook, clean and sew. I’m great at curling bangs and changing diapers. When you’re pregnant, I’ll bring you pans to throw up in so you won’t have to crawl to the toilet. I’ll be there for you when your husbands are not and I’ll treat you the way you deserve to be treated. I can erase myself for you. Keep me home from school once a week to go to lunch. I won’t be mad when you just take off to Europe when I’m two and leave me and my baby brother with his cleft palate for six weeks with dad who will potty-train me by spanking. And you know what else? Just take all the pills and Oxycontin you think you need. Let’s hang out. It’ll be fun!”
So she agreed to be my mother and we filled out the paper work. As soon as she signed her name she floated up past the illuminated spires of the temple and out of sight.

I thought, “This is great!” Not only did I know who my husband was going to be, I knew who my mother was! I couldn’t wait to tell Emily. But when I found her outside the Pre-mortal BYU Wilkinson Center eating ice cream again I could tell something was really troubling her. She had just gotten her orders! “No, Emily! Don’t mix that bottle of Prozac with Rocky Road. You can’t kill yourself in the Pre-existence anyway! Here, let me read it!” Voila! (Reads)

                Dear Mormon American Princess 967,000, 100--etcetera, etcetera, blah, blah, blah:
                (I just skipped to the good stuff.)
                Your father, whom you will love more than anyone in the world, will die of a disease called AIDS when you're just sixteen. Your steeped-in-denial mother will dismiss your pain and will cash in with a Random House bestseller and tons of sequels that will blow your anonymity forever. This will send you into years of depression and a cycle of abusive boyfriends. To top it off, you will have a terrible condition that will make you want to win an Academy Award which will take you to Hollywood where you will get your SAG card and your butt will be on Baywatch. Then you will escape to Salt Lake City and fall in love with the man of your dreams. But after a short time your unofficial fianc√© will die in your arms of cancer.
                But the very next day you will meet your first and only husband (as of this writing). He will be extraordinary, wonderful, awesome, amazing, sweet and practically-perfect-in-every-way with impeccable handwriting who isn’t nearly as narcissistic as everyone thinks he just because he will write shows about you to the end of the universe when he purchases signed depiction releases from you, your mother and the kids. (I’m not narcissistic. I’m just drawn that way.) He will be a very cute boy two whole years younger who likes ABBA songs and will remind you a whole lot of your father. Especially the part about being gay. (I thought, Cool! What a cool thing to marry someone happy!) Together you will have two incredible children and endure poverty and grad school in the backwoods of Connecticut (where the wards are nothing like the wards in Utah). Then after being married six years you will both stop smiling because . . . well . . . because . . ."

               Just then, the arch-angel Gabriel handed me a golden envelope. My orders! (What, you
couldn’t get Michael?) I was so excited I ripped it open:

               Dear Brother Fales or Mormon American Cowboy:
              (Yeehaw! Finally they were recognizing my acting ability.)
  Having been true and faithful in many things we desire to give unto your orders to go unto Earth. You will be gay. Good luck!

                Gay? Cool! But why do you need good luck if youre going to be happy? Didn’t Emily’s orders say something about happy, too? Her “gay” father? And the father of her children? I liked ABBA songs. What if I was to be Emily’s “happy” husband? I liked ABBA songs. What if I was to be Emily’s “happy” husband? (Pause) Yuck! Wait I don’t really mean yuck. I was a good and cunning linguist. We were far too good of friends to let that happen! Besides, I already knew who I was going to marry. Heavenly Mother said!
                Emily tried to read me the rest of her orders—and all the neat projects she would produce and books she would try to write in the valley of the shadow of her incapacitating mother--and how she would also lose a sister who would die HIV positive . . . and her two anti-social brothers would dwindle in unbelief. “Then after being married six years to this amazing guy, you will both stop smiling because—“
                “Jimmy!” There he was coming out of the Pre-mortal Marriott Center. “Jimmy, wait up! You’ll be all right, Em. We all will. I just know it. I’ve gotta run. You’re my best friend, Em--named after Emily Dickenson.  I’ll see you when we get back from earth. Can’t wait to see your fabulous butt on Baywatch! Look for me, Em. I’ll be the happy one with good luck and a bunch of one-man shows on Broadway. Well, off-off Broadway! Hey, Jimmy! Dude! Wait up!”
                I didn’t even reach Jimmy before I started to float away into the starry black star-drop sky toward earth. There was my name in the Constellation, “Mormon Boy!” Let us go down, down, down I floated, across the Atlantic to Provincetown.  There was Broadway. Yes! But, no . . . I kept floating over the Rocky Mountains pirouetting clouds of glory toward Ballet West as I landed with a thud in the nursery of Happy Valley County Hospital in Provo, Utah, USA. The last thing I remember before the veil kicked in was I was looking around for Jimmy. Where was he?
                Am I boring you, St. Peter? Well, you were yawning. That was a good action scene. My very best SFX and chaine turns. I bet you don’t see many gays up here do you? Oh, I know, “Hate the sin, love the sinner.” More like “hate the sin; ignore the sinner.” You probably think I had a choice down on earth, don’t you? That I wasn’t gay in the Pre-existence and that I thought I’d just be clever and use my free agency to ruin everybody’s life on earth because it might be fun, huh? That I chose to be gay so I could prostitute. Proselytize! Who shall we send to be the villainous village whipping boy? "Here am I. Send Maleficent!" The Hartford Courant said, "For the pure sensuous embodiment of evil Steven Fales alone as Edmund in King Lear is worth the price of admission." Or was it just the Norwich Bulletin? Mormon Outer Darnkness, please. Bwahahahahaha! (Lights go out. Steven makes monster face with flashlight and speaks with authority.)

God made no man a pervert. You should rid yourself of your master, the devil, Satan. You do his bidding. You are in abject bondage, a servant compelled to do the will of Lucifer. The death penalty was exacted in the days of Israel for such wrongdoing. When the spiritual death is total, it were better that such a man were never born. Remember, homosexuality can be cured. You may totally recover from its tentacles. Don’t be selfish, lazy and weak. How can you know you cannot change until your knees are sore from praying and your knuckles bloody from knocking on the Lord’s door for help?

                Would you like to see the scars on my knuckles? If you only knew how hard I tried to prevent this. Believe it or not, I never asked to be gay. All I ever asked for was marriage equality . . .

(This concludes the Pre-Existence portion of the play as it then settles into the nuts and bolts of the story: reparative therapy, excommunication, divorce, losing custody of the kids and descent into a ferocious gay adolescence before finding himself. Will Steven finally make it into the Celestial Kingdom? Who will he find there? In the name of all that's absurd in Brecht's Epic Theatre you can probably guess the answer. It's HOW we get there that will be worth your ticket price.


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