Brokeback Mountain

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Utah theatre cancels ‘Brokeback Mountain’:

A movie theater owned by Utah Jazz owner Larry Miller abruptly changed its screening plans and decided not to show the film “Brokeback Mountain.”

The film, an R-rated Western gay romance story, was supposed to open Friday at the Megaplex at Jordan Commons in Sandy, a suburb of Salt Lake City. Instead it was pulled from the schedule.

A message posted at the ticket window read: “There has been a change in booking and we will not be showing ‘Brokeback Mountain.’ We apologize for any inconvenience.”

Cal Gunderson, manager of the Jordan Commons Megaplex, declined to comment.

The film, starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, is about two cowboys who discover feelings for one another. The two eventually marry women but rekindle their relationship over the years.

The movie’s distributor, Focus Features, said that hours before opening, the theater management “reneged on their licensing agreement,” and refused to open the film.

Gayle Ruzicka, president of the conservative Utah Eagle Forum, said not showing the film set an example for the people of Utah.

“I just think (pulling the show) tells the young people especially that maybe there is something wrong with this show,” she said.

Mike Thompson, executive director of the gay rights advocacy group Equality Utah, called it disappointing.

“It’s just a shame that such a beautiful and award-winning film with so much buzz about it is not being made available to a broad Utah audience because of personal bias,” he said.

I happen to disagree with Ruzicka. I am doubtful this shows young people that there’s something wrong with the film. Maybe if they never agreed to play it in the first place, they would have been portraying that ideal. Unfortunately, all they’re saying is that they are hypocrtical and are willing to go back on business contracts. I wonder if they cancel other R-rated shows after agreeing to play them.

93 thoughts on “Brokeback Mountain

  1. Tom,

    Help me understand what other reasons. There seem to only a limited number of scenarios:

    1) Same sex feelings are chosen and any acting upon these feelings is against the laws of God. You can change these feelings.

    2) Same sex feelings are a biological error such as a physical disability and any acting upon these feelings is against the laws of God. You may or may not be able minimize these feelings but you can definitely control them.

    3) Same sex feelings are natural and unchosen. It is unknown what the purpose of these feelings are (from a spiritual standpoint). Any acting upon these feelings is against the laws of God.

    4) Same sex feelings are natural and unchosen. These feelings represent the diversity of our life here on earth and as long as they are acted upon responsibly, there is nothing shameful about them.

    5) Whether same sex feelings are chosen or unchosen, they are no one’s business but my own. How I live my life has nothing to do with you as long as I do no harm to others.

    I don’t see too many other options here.

    It has been my experience that the “phobia” (defined as hatred, revulsion, and contempt) comes primarily from the people who still believe in the first scenario.

    Please let me know which scenario best reflects your belief.

  2. Tom,

    I am embarrassed to admit that, for all the movies I’ve seen, I have never seen Boys Don’t Cry. I was on my mission in ’99 and there are still a number of things from the period that I haven’t gotten around to.

    But I will mention that, for me, one of the things that makes Brokeback Mountain more offensive than other similar messages in many films and television programs, is the fact that Brokeback Mountain is so freaking good. If a film were the equivalent of a rally, with people screaming for gay-rights and so forth, I would actually be much less offended, because it’s harder to take such a thing seriously. But Brokeback Mountain is so good that it demands that you take it seriously. There’s a real sense of sadness in the relationship between the two men that’s so well done that I would wager to say you would still feel for them even if the couple were brothers, or even if they were father and son. Simply stated, the biggest problem with the film is that it’s extremely rhetorically effective in making its case.

  3. Michael,

    I would put it this way:

    Regardless of whether or not same sex attraction is a product of nature, nuture, or both, it is important that it is recognized, when practiced, as serious sin. And any attempt to justify it’s practice is an afront to men and women of good will everywhere who are struggling with their mights against the vices of the flesh–be they (the vices) a product of nature, nuture, or both.

  4. Jack,

    I respectfully think you are minimizing the subject into a black and white box for your own convenience. Now, before anyway starts accusing me of just trying to justify sin, I am not. I live the law of chastity.

    But there is a continuing need to determine the reason for these feelings. Did you apply the same logic to our ban on the priesthood? I can imagine the justfication.

    “Regardless of whether or not black skin is the product of race or just too much exposure to the sun, it is important to recognize that blacks have no right to the priesthood of God. Any attempt to justify giving the priesthood is an affront to men and women of good will everywhere…..”

    Why is it so hard to give consideration to the fact that we don’t know why God gave (or allowed if you believe in the biological error scenario) these feelings to certain people?

    Why do so many people refuse to go on record as to which scenario they believe in? They just default to this “It doesn’t matter stuff….”. It DOES matter because you are retreating to the convenient “authority” argument without having to provide any reasonable explanation for the existence of the feelings or for your position.

    Can’t you imagine a young black man in 1948 wanting to go on a mission after having discovered the glory of the gospel and being told no but not being told the reason why? How much validity did we give to those made up excuses about the pre-existence and less valiant and all that made up stuff?

    Come on people! Where do you stand on the scenarios?

  5. Michael,

    I am not retreating into any made up excuses. It has been made perfectly clear by a reliable source (namely, fifteen living apostles) that practiced homosexuality is serious sin. Your example of the priesthood ban is off base because (according to my understanding) there is no reliable authoritative pronouncement which states that the priesthood ban was put in place because is was sinful for blacks to hold the priesthood.

  6. Michael (#51),
    I’ll use my own words. I don’t know exactly the nature or source of same sex attraction. I’m open to the possibility that it’s a normal or abberent genetic condition, that it’s determined by one’s social environment, or that it develops gradually and subtly as a consequence of one’s own choices. As a scientist (in training), I have a hard time expressing an opinion in the absence of good evidence. Bottom line: I am agostic on the matter but I have no reason to disbelieve the people who say they didn’t consciously choose to have the feelings that they have. But I do believe that homosexual acts are forbidden by God. I believe the reason that this act, along with many other acts, is forbidden by God is that it inhibits one’s spiritual progression and prevents one from attaining eternal happiness. I have no more reason to look down upon homosexual people than I do to look down upon all other sinners, including myself.

    I have a problem with the prevalent view that this attitude of mine towards homosexuality constitutes homophobia, hatred, and bigotry, and that one must accept homosexual relations as good and virtuous or else you’re a backwards cretin. Yet, like I said, this is a very prevalent attitude.

  7. Jack,

    I am sorry but you are wrong. Fifteen living apostles also taught that is was against the will of God for blacks to hold the priesthood. This was taught for decades. Whether you use the word “sin” or not is beside the point. There were even personal comments by the authorities as to why such a ban existed. The priesthood ban analogy is totally appropriate. You have an unexplained restriction that has only minimal treatment in the scriptures. Why would it be any different?

    You still seem to be avoiding the question by retreating to authority. Where do you stand on the scenarios?

    I will venture to guess that you, Tom and Eric will refuse to go on the record with your personal beliefs.

    It really doesn’t surprise me. Even conversation about homosexuality ends this way. Those who are so adamant in condemning it refuse to provide an intelligent, reasoned basis for their condemnation. Once again, this has nothing to do with breaking the law of chastity or justifying sex as a lustful act.

    Homosexual feelings in and of themselves are viewed as evil by most Latter-day Saints. Any, and I mean, any expression of those feelings, no matter how innocent (hand holding, hugging, kissing, dancing) is viewed as an evil and sinful act. But no one wants to tell us why. The same feelings expressed amongst women is not viewed the same way. Why not? Why can two sisters sit in sacrament meeting and hold hands or rub backs or hug and not be viewed as evil?

    The need to express love is universal. The need to feel loved is universal. Why would God take one of the most universal needs among his children, flip it around to the same sex and then tell us to suffer through life with no human contact no matter how innocent and pure the feelings are?

  8. Kim and Mary,

    Sorry we got off track so much on your original post.

    I just don’t think anyone can justify the flip-flop by the movie theater.

    And Ms. Ruzicka’s comments do reflect a large inconsistency and some might even say, hypocrisy. The Eagle Forum is not using their influence to ban other movies which depict (yes, depict – not glorify or demonize or portray) other more serious sins such as adultery, divorce and fornication from the the megaplexes of Utah.

    The answer really does lie in the fact that many Latter-day Saints are repulsed by the existence of gays and lesbians. They do not want to know where they came from, why they are here or where they are going. They just want them to go away.

    They do not view adultery, forniciation, divorce, bankruptcy or even unjustified violence in the same category as homosexual sin. In fact, they even consider homosexual attraction to be a worse sin than those other more prevelant sins.

    Why is that? I think it is because they understand that those other sins are ones that they can easily commit (or have committed) and by placing homosexual sin at the same level, they cannot consider themselves better. Their pride will not let them admit how much they are wallowing in the mud by watching such filth. Somehow, their enjoyment will be minimized if they think too much about it.

    Besides, they are no good movies out there that do not include the four primary motivators in this life(as mentioned by Professor Nibley) — Lust, Wealth, Power and Fame.

    Adultery, Divorce, Fornication, Unjustified Violence, Bankruptcy, Theft, and Homosexuality are all on the same level. And this statement is based upon the words of the Prophets and Apostles.

  9. Michael: “You still seem to be avoiding the question by retreating to authority. Where do you stand on the scenarios?”

    I stand on the scenarios where the authorities stand as a unified body. What’s wrong with that–especially (as Tom has pointed out) where there is an absence of reliable data on the nature/nuture question?

  10. Michael, looks like you wrote #58 before you saw my #57. I just want to point out that I did give you my personal belief.

    You say: Homosexual feelings in and of themselves are viewed as evil by most Latter-day Saints.

    That may well be true. I don’t know. I do know that we should have an attitude of compassion and tolerance. Evil is a word that is grossly overused.

    Why would God take one of the most universal needs among his children, flip it around to the same sex and then tell us to suffer through life with no human contact no matter how innocent and pure the feelings are?

    I don’t know. Maybe He didn’t. Maybe the feelings are the result of the random, imperfect nature of biological systems in this fallen world. Maybe they come subtly and slowly as consequences of choice. Maybe they are given by God for whatever reason only he knows. I have no idea. But if we have faith that God gives commandments through prophets in order to ensure the eternal happiness of His children, then we can have faith that the promise of happiness will be fulfilled if we keep those commandments to the best of our ability, no matter what difficulties we face.

  11. Tom,

    Thank you for that last paragraph. It represents my belief also and I have been dealing with this ever since I joined the church at age 19 over 25 years ago.


  12. I am thankful that the show is NOT being shown in shown at this theatre which is owned by a faithful LDS man. It shows just how the church is effecting hatred towards gays and puts the church in the light that it should be put in. One that teaches hatred and biggotry. Bravo!
    Mathiew Shephard was murdered by an LDS priesthood holder! Now this is just another candle to be lit by the LDS faithful.

  13. The actions of a single person do not constitute the policy of an entire church. Moreover, Russell Henderson did not kill Matthew. Certainly he was an accomplice, but based on court records, it was McKinney who did the killing.

  14. You are certainly correct. The actions of a single person do NOT consittue the policy of an entire church. However, the actions of the church as a body has shown their true colors towards minorities. First the blacks, now the gays. Lary Miller’s actions not only reflect his own feelings, but those of thousands of members…. feelings instilled in people by a bigotted church that has spent millions of tithing money to spread their message of hate.
    Henderson, of course just watched while Matthew was being battered ruthlessly until death. I guess that makes it ok then.

  15. I didn’t say it makes it ok. I just wanted to make sure readers knew the truth and weren’t misinterpreting your sensational comments.

    And technically, Henderson waited in the truck while Shepard was beaten to death, so he didn’t watch.

    That being said, if someone with a gun told you to tie someone else up, would you do it?

  16. “I am thankful that the show is NOT being shown in shown at this theatre which is owned by a faithful LDS man. It shows just how the church is effecting hatred towards gays and puts the church in the light that it should be put in.”

    In light of the above comment, I am curious how you feel regarding all the other LDS theatre owners who are showing the film.

  17. Goodness, the news story that won’t die! Buried in the midst of a January 9th article is possible evidence of the Miller complex dropping additional GLBT-themed material:

    “As of Sunday, Megaplex Theatres’ Web site had Transamerica, a comedy-drama about a transsexual parent, listed for Jan. 20 in their ‘Coming Soon’ section, but the movie has since vanished from their schedule.”

    I believe that Transamerica is being distributed by Focus Features, the same distributor of Brokeback. It is possible that Transamerica has been dropped due to strained relations with Focus Films, rather than an objection by Miller to the subject matter of Transamerica.

  18. The other church owners are showing the film and following the churches public statements of tolerance. The church teaches to love the sinner but not the sin. President Hinkley has said that the church loves gay people and relize that they have a problem. That there is a place for them.
    While this makes good press and shows an attitude of tollerance, the unpublished truth is differen. The church has spent millions of tithe payers money to fight equal rights amendments. They have sent numerious young men for reparitive therapy with shock treatments. They have taught damaging information to young gay men giving them false hope of change causing many to take their lives. Thousand of Gay men have been excomunicated and have no way to repent because they ARE gay. They can not change who they are. The Utah legislature was not even willing to pass a law against gay bashing to make it into a hate crime. As you mentioned, church members are each individuals. The actions of Mr. Miller shows the attitude of intollerance of many LDS members who are being influenced by the church leaders. Brokebake Mountain has less sexual content than many movies that are being shown in his theatre. What it DOES show, however, is the deep love between two men, and it shows it in a convincing light of normalacy that makes it more frightening than any sexual content could give.

  19. I have known gay members of the Church who have not been excommunicated. The only way they would be is if they live a homosexual lifestyle, or basically have sex outside of marriage. Also, the shock treatment therapies were conducted years and years ago and discontinued a VERY long time ago.

  20. Yes, there are many gay members who are not excommunicated. As long as they remain closeted and deny who they are and how they were born, they may remain silently in the church. This is why the church can correctly say that there IS a place for gay people in the church. In the corner with their mouths closed. This is a conditional place.

    I know several Gay LDS couples who are living faithful monogumus relationships, who still believe in the church, but no longer attend because there is no place for them. These are good people. Kind, charitable, loving members and former members. These are the silent with no place to worship. The unwelcomed. I might add that there are THOUSANDS of them. If you add to that number their families…..parents, brothers, sisters, children and former wives, it has effected the church enormously in loss of tallent and heartache for all those concerned.

    I have also heard that the church has officially discontinued shock treatments, however, from a personal source, I have heard that it is unoficially still being practiced. Kind of like the way plural marriage was discontinued in 1890 but still continued, sometimes in Mexico, until after 1900….. with the saction of the first president… unoficially.
    In the 70’s young men at BYU were forced to take the thearpy.

    I have one friend who was an excellerted student and went to BYU at age 17. He had never had sex before, but because he “looked” gay he was forced to have shock treatment. He found it most disturbing to look at porn in order to have the treatments because as a faithful LDS young man, he had NEVER looked at porn.
    If he had not taken the therapy his familly would have been informed and he would have been dismissed from BYU, and his credits would not have been forwarded to another institution. This man is presently in his early 50’s, a single high preist and celibate in his Calgary Ward. He is extremely gay…. and although a faithful member, can not and does not accept the churches teachings on same sex orientation. He is silent on all gay matters while going to church, but he is so effeminate that it would be impossible NOT to pick him out as being gay. Living with his aging mother.. alone…. quietly…. he has never been able to know love with a faithful partner, although he longed to have that someone special in his life. THIS is what the church offered to him and all of its faithful gay members.

    “Men are that they might have joy.” My friends life has been ANYTHING but joyful. It has been a living hell. He tries to scrape up his happiness in the fact that he remained faithful….. but he will always feel incomplete. What a terrible sacrifice for a teaching that is filled with injustice.

    However, getting back to the topic at hand….. Brokeback Mountain, It was filmed in “Mormon Country”… southern Alberta. I could not help but wonder how many LDS people worked on the film as extras or in other capacities. I know of at least one LDS gay cowboy who rides in the gay rodeo circut who is from southern alberta! Yahoo!

  21. I have a couple friends that are active LDS and gay. One never married. He lives the gospel the best he can. He does not participate in Homosexual activities. I cannot imagine a loving mercifull Lord condemning my friend because of his choices. On the contrary. I think come the judgement day my friend will be alot happier than many homophobic hyppocrites. None of us are perfect.

    As far as the Movies; I simply choose not to watch X,Y, or Z.(or ever R for that matter.)

  22. Ray, I can’t imagine a loving and merciful Lord condemning your friend because of his choices, either. He’s striving to live the gospel and choosing not to give in to the temptation to commit homosexual acts. That’s exactly what he should be doing, and what the Church’s leaders teach him to do.

    Has someone suggested that God will condemn your friend for this? Who?

  23. We aren’t judged for inclinations, but for what choices we make. If anyone were to suggest your friend would be condemned for being homosexual, although he isn’t acting on those feelings, they are completely wrong. It’s our choices who make us truly what we are, not our inclinations.

  24. The question arises, how does one try to keep an open mind when a close friend chooses to destroy 3 families (1 was her own) in her choice to follow her “inclinations”?
    Advice anyone?

  25. Dean claimed: “I had a friend…He had never had sex before, but because he “looked” gay he was forced to have shock treatment.”

    I’m sorry, but I just don’t think you’re telling the truth. Am I supposed to believe that BYU had squadrons of hate police who roamed the campus searching for those who “looked gay” so they could carry them off to forced electroshock sessions? If your story does have any basis in fact, you’ve twisted it beyond recognition.

  26. I don’t know about *forced* electroshock treatments. But when they locked the doors to the drama department at BYU and questioned all the made drama students about their sexual orientation, that does sound like the hate police.

    BTW, there is an update to the Larry Miller story here.

  27. Steven B: Interesting story. Is it from the fiction section or the nonfiction section? If the latter, what do you have to back it up?

  28. ltbugaf, it is from the hearsay section. But I must have heard it wrong, because according to one documented account, this took place, not behind closed doors, but outside classrooms in front of other students:

    In January 1975 BYU administrators sent its security officers to quash an alleged “homosexual ring” on campus. Security officers descended en masse on the Harris Fine Arts Center and took all male drama and ballet students out of their classes to interrogate them in hallways and in front of other students, humiliating them publicly.

  29. Oh, it’s in a BOOK! Must be true, then. How could I be so foolish as to question what’s actually been “DOCUMENTED” by publishing it in a book?

    It is curious, though, that even the two accounts you’ve given above already contradict each other. I wonder what that might indicate about the reliability of the stories?

  30. Please excuse me. I should be more careful what I say. My friend was NOT forced to take the electic shock treatments. As most of those who where subject to the shock treatments they were told they could leave the campus, their parents would be notified as to WHY they had to leave as would their home Bishops. There were some young men who took their lives. Proof? Just go to the Affirmation Web sight or if you like put a search on Google for LDS Gay Mormons BYU and see what comes up. I have met only two people who were subject to the shock treatment. Both of them told me the same stories. Oh…. in addition…. after the shock treatments were over…. they had to sign papers to indicate that they had been cured.

    It is sad to say, but true, that anyone working for the BYU pshcology department in research must be careful to only find things that will support the church view poing on gays….. or they will, I am afraid, not only loose their job, but hava a very good chance of loosing their membership. This IS NOT the way science is suppose to be done.

    As a former gay member….. who was an acitive tithe paying member and a High Priest….. I do not have the habit of making up stories. It is with great sorrow that I must say these things….. for I had no choice but to look at them and say finally…. there is no place for me in this church.

    I have recently moved to Nova Scotia and one of the first things I did was to contact my Branch President. He told me that he would welcome me to the services, but of couse he could not have me take a church job or say prayers. I went to church twice. I found one man at church whom I hired to help us with the renovation of our home. We have had many lengthy talks….. his son is gay…… he does not know what to do.

    I can only tell him to love his son, and incourage him NOT to go to church. Too many young men have taken their lives as they can not reconcile there sexual orientation with the gospel. In reality, they feel guilty for the way the Lord created them.

    The church is a wonderful source of strength and I do miss it….. but I could no longer lie to myself or others about WHO I am…..

    How sad I have been to NOT be able to be a part of it. When my wife died at age 30 I raised both of my daughters… at the time age 3 and 5…. in the church. Both are still active and one is still single and is a French Immersion teacher and the other stays at home and takes care of her four children. She is a relief Society Presdent and supports her husband in the stake presidancy. I raised them alone….. as a gay father ….. PLEASE do not tell me that gay people can not raise children! ! ! ! ! I raised mine and they are both still active!

    PLEASE do NOT believe me about what I say about the electric shock treatments…. just do some more research on the internet if you REALLY want to know the truth…. or if you like email me privately and I shall give you the email address of the man who gave had the shock treatments and you can ask him yourself to tell you his story.
    My email address is

    I might add that my friend has told me some rather stiring tales…. but…. after researching them out… I was sad to discover that all he said was true. In addition, my friend is an acitve church member who is gay and celibate. He attends the temple regularly and is a high priest. He…. like many… love the church…. but do NOT accept its teachings on gays. As an active LDS memnber…. he remains quite…. silent… unheard from when gays are spoken about at church in less than Christian terms.

  31. Because it’s a completely unreliable source. It’s a source that lies. The story is a lie. Both versions are lies.

  32. Ok, I didn’t check the source, but you know for certain that is a lying source?

    I have no idea if this event happened, however I have heard from plenty of others about shock treatments homosexual people (men mainly, I believe) experienced, at BYU. I believe this is admitted by the Church as well. It was many years ago when it was thought that homosexual behaviour could be reveresed in that way. It wouldn’t surprise me IF that event happened (in the drama department) because there certainly used to be a lot of fear about homosexual behaviour (for example, that it was catching!). I am sure you could speak to people who went to school at BYU at that time and see if it’s valid. Maybe I will ask my uncle about it, he may have heard about this (he attended BYU in the 70’s). My aunt (his younger sister) was at BYU in the late 70’s and was in the ballet department, so I don’t know if she would have heard about that “raid”, if it so happened (and I am not saying either way), but perhaps she did. I will ask her.

  33. Dean

    I believe you. And I am so so sorry for the treatment you, and other men have recieved. Although I don’t believe homosexuality behaviour is “right”, I do not ever judge people who are homosexual, because I am not in their (your) shoes. I can’t even imagine what you are going through or have gone through. I believe the worth of souls goes beyond this, and it saddens me that those who struggle/have struggled with same sex attraction have to go through such feelings of low self worth. My heart goes out to you for the pain you and others have experienced. Heavenly Father loves all of His children, and one day this will be explained and understood. Of course you were (are) a good father. You raised two daughters who I am sure love and honour you. The Lord knows your heart, and your children know and love you for who you are.

    Our sexuality doesn’t define who we are, it is only a part of who we are. Our individuality, our personalities, our spirits, these are what define each of us, as children of God, as human beings, as fellow sisters and brothers in life.

  34. Here is a link to excerpts from a documentary about the aversion therapy that took place at BYU. Connell O’Donovan’s study of Anti-Homosexual Policies at BYU (1957-1980) is probably the best available on that topic. If it seems biased, it may be due to the aversion therapy that Connell personally received at BYU. Call him a lier if you choose, but he was there and experienced the results of BYU’s anti-homosexual policies first-hand.

  35. The aversion therapy and shock treatment therapy was performed on subjects who chose to undergo it–not subjects who were dragged, unwilling, out of classrooms and forced to undergo it because they “looked gay.”

  36. Had a look at O’Dovonan’s “study” which appears to consist of unsupported assertions and patently ridiculous claims (e.g., Ernest Wilkinson enjoyed bringing women to their knees by crushing their hands when he shook them, to compensate for his feelings of inadequacy resulting from being short. Yeah–that’s a well-established fact ;) )

    Since I’ve been invited to call him a liar, I accept the challenge. He’s a liar.

  37. I seem to recall making a comment a few months ago on one of the threads about homosexuality, and after some consideration, I have decided to adjust my former thinking. I said something to the effect of it being possible, through God, for a gay person to have a fulfilling heterosexual relationship. I guess this had something to do with the “through God nothing is impossible” belief, which I think has caused some misconceptions (including my own). Certainly all things would be possible through God, but it occured to me that just because it’s possible doesn’t mean it will happen. God may have the power to change anything, but many things remain unchanged no matter how much faith a person has. Of course I can’t answer the question of why some people get certain trials that others don’t (or why some people get divine intervention to end those trials while other faithful people don’t) but I thought I would re-state my position on this since I have decided that my previous position was ill-considered. My apologies.

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