Little Jimmy Gets Groomed. **Breaking News**


I do not want to write this post.

***Breaking News: Sometimes being the Actor that played Jimmy Barclay is cool. A surprise gift anonymously arrived in my inbox.

I HAVE THE SCRIPT TO THIS EPISODE!!!

PDF AT BOTTOM OF PAGE.
Read it before they sue me!
Share it with the world!!***



This post isn’t supposed to be written until we near the end of this bizarre journey in blogification.

The entire blog was created for this post to be crescendoed into.

This post is supposed to be written after at least 4-5 more VOLUMES of material, personal history, and lifelong lessons learned are written to set up many of the larger claims that will be made over the course of this blogject.

As the rush to get out the spoiler at the end of Volume 1 was occurring in October, I was planning prior to the election that this specific post was probably going to take me at least another year to get out.

But some things happened this week that have forced my hand here.

And now I find myself in an awkward position where I– again– have zero peers to help me in this moment. You’ll see why shortly.

And due to the nature of some of the events of this week, I feel this post needs to drop NOW.

RIGHT THE FUCK NOW.

BUT. This also means that many of the ways I was originally planning on writing this post, the info needed to layer into this is impossible to write at this time.

This is also probably one of the most unique spoilers in my story.

And it was something I was saving for the end for maximum impact.

And so, to resolve this in my own mind, I am telling myself that this is still a rough draft. And that my dropping this info now… is necessary because of the timing in our current world history.

This worries me because this information has the potential to go viral massively… and I’m not ready for that. But, I also firmly believe silence is complicity.

And I have made the decision to use my voice to topple the Apocalyptic Political Cult of The Fucking Evangelicals™.

So this whole thing is gonna be a mess. And I can’t write it the way I want, and I have to drop the spoiler 4 Volumes too early here… BUT I will re-write this in the second draft and put it in its proper place when the time comes (this is more for my editorial benefit here).

It’s so weird to literally let people into my head this much…

Anyway.

Here goes nuthin’. Somethin’. Iunno.

*sigh*

fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.

This is the story of:



That Time

Focus on the Family

Groomed Me

To Become

an Anti-LGBT Bigot

Focus called.


They want you again.


Drive to Pomona.


Through the glass doors.


Up the big staircase.


Hey, there’s more pins in the map again of all the radio stations around the world playing the show.


Down the hallway.


Into the Adventures in Odyssey wing.


Through the doorlocks.


Into the studio.


I have no agent with me.


There is no manager in my life.


My parent is outside in the van reading books for the next 4 hours largely unconcerned and trusting in what’s happening in the studio.


I am by myself.


I am handed a script.

Adventures In Odyssey: Episode ??? – 1 in 10

There is only one time in the history of my recording with the AIO team that I ever felt uncomfortable enough that I wanted to go get my parent and ask if it was ok what was happening.

There is also only one time in the history of my 10 years of recording with AIO that an episode I would record would never be released.



This is that story.



And it is a story I have been uncomfortable telling– or even thinking about telling– for the last 33 years of my life.


I am tired of carrying this piece of information.

It’s a heavy thing.



But two things happened within 48 hours of each other this past week:



Saturday, November 19, 2022.

Club Q massacre of LGBTQ club goers in Colorado Springs, CO.

5 dead.

Dozens wounded physically and psychologically for life.

48 hours later… actually I started getting messages 24 hours later depending on where the fans in the world were.



Monday, November 21, 2022

Adventures in Odyssey celebrates 35th Anniversary of first episode airing.



A 3rd thing happened… today? Yesterday?

The sign to the Focus on the Family campus was vandalized with accusations of blood on their hands for the 5 lives lost.


There is a theme in my life that occurs regularly that makes more sense when you read the upcoming 4 volumes… a regular thought that Dave has every time something horrific happens:

Did. One. Of. My. Fans. Do. That.

This is a regular occurrence in my life, especially as political violence is being stoked amongst the right wing and evangelical communities.

Not against… amongst. Every evangelical reading this post needs to know how deliberate the wording of the prior sentence is.

And I haven’t even gotten to that theme yet in the multitude of Theses I will be unleashing upon you all in these pages.

It’s so hard to write this piece without being able to really talk about them in depth. Like the concept of The Trusted Iagos. Which is what I believe FOTF is… they are a Trusted Iago. Whispering things into the ears of their listeners for decades. And getting their listeners to believe that this whole endeavor is really about Jesus and the sacredness of families while it’s ACTUALLY a decades long effort to create a white nationalist voting machine of apocalyptic ignorance.

I. do. not. write. these. words. lightly.

I do have an AfterThought post coming up about the concept of Trusted Iago. It’s a core part of the Dave Way of Thinking About Shit™. (AfterThought posts will be attached as addendums to each volume of material) I have 2 at least AfterThoughts of the first volume coming and planned.

This was NOT supposed to be one of them.

Note to self: Fuck this is such a gross and messy way of writing something so damn important.

I want to apologize to everyone reading this… you will find this in a state of rough draft. I can not change that. I literally do not even have the bandwidth to write this piece which is why it’s so chaotic. I hope folks will allow for some messiness here and perhaps the messiness will be a way to show you the levels of concern I have surrounding the subject of:

Focus on the Family being cunts to the LGBT community.

Yeah I said it.

The actor who played Jimmy Barclay is calling out Focus on the Family for their anti-LGBT bigotry that they will absolutely try to disavow themselves of during this time.

One thing to consider– that I can take to the bank– is that it is a certainty that every single employee of that organization will view the defacement of their sign as proof that the world has gone to hell and is attacking the good and noble christians that are just trying to spread the holywordofgod.

They will internalize the thought that this is proof of the persecution of the world for their faith in Jesus Christ.

I’d be willing to bet that FOTF employees will probably see the spray paint on their sign and equate it to the levels of hatred LGBT people receive!! I am not kidding here.

In the foyer of Focus on the Family there is a bullet hole in the wall.

In 1996 a man who was injured in the construction of the facility in Colorado Springs walked into Focus headquarters with a gun and claimed to have a bomb strapped to his chest. He held people hostage. At some point the gun discharged.

This bullet hole has never been patched.

Maybe it has now. Or after this post goes public they might reconsider their strategy…

But when I attended the 20th anniversary of AIO in 2008… they were proudly displaying it.

HERE IS PROOF WE ARE UNDER ATTACK.

And see… this is where I have at least 3 volumes of info to put into this because this one line would hit so much harder if you have the back story to my life…

That bullet was fired by a man who was psychiatrically disabled and needed help.

WHICH I AM.

And to see an organization that I *partly* credit with driving me to suicide (spoilers) and destroying my life (spoilers) claim themselves victims, when if the dude had just gotten healthcare– something FOTF does not believe in. Or didn’t. I dunno where they stand now.

Anyway… this is an org that is not mental health friendly proudly displaying a consequence of untreated mental health as proof of how… *checks notes*… they’re the victim.

**The people that man harmed absolutely were victims. But the organization?**

What role does this organization have in pimping an ideology where people can’t get health care? DOES THAT AFFECT PEOPLE NEGATIVELY?

This is also an organization that was called out by the Southern Poverty Law Center as being a hate group. I remember being around employees of the organization shortly after that bombshell landed and their immediate thought? To self reflect? To look inward? To see if those rebuking you might be right?

Nah.

The SLPC is just bigoted against christians.

So, rest assured… whomever artistically made their point with paint that can be scrubbed off… this will probably be perceived as a shocking attack of hatred and anti-christian bigotry. They may even raise money to replace the sign.

The people who work in that building, most all of the ones I ever met, are sincere, devout, well-meaning people who genuinely believe they are sacrificing part of the comfort of their lives to do the calling of God. I will double down and say that I believe that the people I worked with are genuinely wonderful, wonderful people who I love dearly and always will.

But just because you’re a good person doesn’t mean you’re always right… or that what you do is good.

And this crowd don’t do introspection.

Christians don’t look inward when non-christians tell them to. Why would they when you’re clearly wrong and going to hell?

WHY WOULD SOMEONE EQUATE FOCUS ON THE FAMILY WITH THE MASS MURDER OF LGBT PEOPLE AT A NIGHT CLUB?!?

Blasphemous against God’s work to even suggest such a thing.

I was 12.

12.

Twelve. years. old.

I had no agent with me.

No manager to call.

No parent in eyesight to signal.

It was an episode recording session like any other.

Somewhere, earlier in the blog history I mention that a core practice of the show was that actors never saw the scripts before day of recording. So you book the session and have no idea what the episode will be about.

Makes it hard to decline to do the material when 15 people are in the studio together. You want to be the one to stop recording? Clever strategy.

And when you’re a child? With no advocate in the room?

This time… I was uncomfortable. Not like when my voice changed uncomfortable. That was totally different. As awful as the Coming of Age session was I never felt like I needed a parent to discuss something with.

And readers of the first volume where I lay out the experience of recording the show and creating the character of Jimmy Barclay this will mean more to… for those of you arriving to this page because of the Club Q event this will mean nothing.

Remember when I said my religious parent trusted the team completely? So much so she rarely even came into the studio. And 99.9999999999% of the time that was fine.

Even the episodes I call out already: Mission for Jimmy and Castles & Cauldrons… I never felt odd about those episodes. It was just doing the text.

This one… I felt uncomfortable and I didn’t know why.

I feel like my memory serves that the production team had an energy that the material was radioactive.

Again, I was 12. I had no real concept of this.



Pardon? What’s that?

Oh that’s right…

I haven’t mentioned the plot.

Holyfuckdoodles do I not want to write this.



Do keep in mind that my memory of this event is scant at best because this occurred 33 years ago and I’ve largely never spoken much about it. I don’t believe I told my parents afterwards. Why would I? We finished recording and I was probably too exhausted to do homework once I got home to care.

And the episode was never released so I never got a tape and listened to it again.

This may have been the episode where I ended the practice of bringing the scripts home after recording. I remember not wanting my mom to know the episode had been about this for some reason I couldn’t put my finger on.

So, my memory of this episode is spotty AF.

I know that there are fans reading this blog who HAVE read the script to this episode. I know it has been shared and seen by at least a half a dozen interns I’ve known over the years. So, if I get details wrong… please put in comments.

Here we go.

Little Jimmy’s mom is doing the laundry.

Side note for the long term fans/readers:

Did they ever once do an episode that was about Mary?
Where her life was the focus of the story?
I know we did lots of Jimmy and Donna and George… and babies?


Focusing on families, indeed…



SO MARY IS DOING THE LAUNDRY
and finds a note in Jimmy’s pocket from the school that Jimmy has forgotten to show his parents.



It’s a permission slip.

And Mary is horrified.



A gay speaker is coming to the school to teach the kids that gay people exist.

AND THE ASSEMBLY IS HAPPENING SOON!!!!

ohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygod
LITTLE JIMMY IS BEING GROOMED AT A PUBLIC SCHOOL!!!!

*clutches pearls and passes out*



Mary has to race to find George who must get to the school in time and pull little Jimmy out before he learns about gay people!

At some point there’s a scene where Jimmy meets the gay speaker before the assembly and has a fairly normal conversation with the guy?– who was being played by one of the other boy actors who had been dropped after puberty and this was the first time I worked with him again his deep, very, very deep voice making it clear to me that if my voice ever changed I would forever end up playing gay guys grooming kids in school?

^ that is a joke. it is ok to laugh at how stupid this world is.

So George is in a panic. Probably Mr Whitaker is involved, because if there’s an old man who doesn’t want any competition grooming kids for christ I would have to imagine he’s probably in the story there somewhere? Connie? I remember almost nothing here. Blocked it out.

Also… the health issues that are revealed at the end of Volume 1… my memory has been affected by those events. Brain damage occurred. FUCK THIS IS SUCH A GODAWFUL MESS AND NOT HOW I WANTED TO WRITE THIS POST. lol. fuuuuuck.

ANYWAY.

I remember that George arrives too late.

It’s. too. late.

YOUR INNOCENT CHILD HAS BEEN EXPOSED TO A HOMOSEXUAL GIVING A SCHOOL PRESENTATION THE FUCKING HORROR

I remember there was some awkward father-to-son talk scene at the end about “We don’t approve of that lifestyle…” or something like that. It was not kind. There were things Jimmy learned about that made him uncomfortable or some crap. Iunno.

This was probably 1990? 89?


This episode would never be released. No explanation given. Not like any ever was for any reason on any issue I ever asked them about ever in the entire time I ever was associated with them but whatever.

I don’t know if the decision was made to finish production SFX and music… or if they pulled it after recording? Were the audio tracks ever edited/assembled?

dunno

I have held my tongue about this experience for 33 years, publicly. Told a few people in my proximity in the last couple years I’ve been emerging from hiding…

I always held back because the episode was never released. I believed that they made the right call and that it’s okay to make mistakes and learn things and maybe that was the case here. I wanted to extend grace and mercy to people that I believed were genuinely trying to do good in the world.



But, the number of nights in MY lifetime that I have lain awake stressing, worrying that those tracks are out there.

Especially, as I entered politics and started working with the Democratic Party.


I was– and still am— terrified of the blow back that I participated in making anti-LGBT propaganda when I was 12.

It’s taken me decades to recognize that while the production team perhaps made the correct decision in NOT airing the episode…

They did not hesitate to bring in a twelve year old child to be the face and voice of the anti-lgbt paranoia being spouted by Focus on the Family.

And if you’ve been reading the blog you’ll understand why it is significant that it’s my character and not some other kid character they attempted this with.

And a thing I’ve struggled to process for a long time was how…

I… was groomed.

Dave Griffin was groomed to be a bigot by all the evangelical adults in my life. Including the writing/directing/editing/sounddesign/production staff.

SO WHEN PEOPLE CLAIM THAT FOCUS ON THE FAMILY DOES NOT CREATE ANTI-LGBT PROPAGANDA I CAN CONFIRM THAT IS UTTER BULLSHIT.

I was there.

Yes. We. Did. It was not about loving gay people that’s for sure. It was about teaching a child being gay was wrong, bad, sinful.

Let’s talk about grooming. Because the right wing media voices, with evangelical complicity… that’s right… all you people who praise jesus and think gay people are going to hell… you are all convinced that gay people are out there grooming children to be gay so they can have pedophilic sex with your children. This is one of the Qanon/Maga lines being pushed HARD in evangelical circles.

And you all don’t hesitate for one second to whisper these messages into the ears of children. Hell, you all shout it from the rafters and on every media platform in America.

So who exactly is grooming whom here?

Is my day-to-day fear that a gay person will teach my kid that being gay is okay?

Or am I afraid of being shot by a homophobe convinced he’s doing the Lord’s Work because his family listened to Dobson 12 times a day and only an AR-15 can solve the problem.

I, personally, am far more afraid of the latter.

Not only was I being groomed to be a bigot by every adult in my life– the sad part is even if I had asked my religious parent in the parking lot if the episode was ok to do she probably would have said yes– but it worked! And for the first 20 years of my life not being exposed to gay people much– because I was in an anti-gay cult of evangelicalismianity– I adopted every single one of the toxic homophobic views of the evangelical marketing machine.

I was a bigot. I didn’t realize I was. I was parroting what all the adults taught me.

This episode doubled down on the messaging in my head that I was receiving in other corners of my life, home, church, school. And so even if it wasn’t released to the public… it did have an effect… on the 12 year old kid who recorded it.

And on top of that, that 12 year old kid is being used as the primary character vehicle in this storyline to be Iago’ed into kid’s heads. And so, I’m also being groomed to help groom kids to be bigots against the LGBT community.

The Barclay’s were the ideal white christian family to emulate. That is what my voice was used for.

Can you imagine what a mind fuck this is to live with?

Every time a right wing personality screams bloody murder about gay people grooming children to freak out a bunch of religious illiterate people I want to scream into a microphone, “YOU ARE THE ONES GROOMING”

This is a thing that weighs on me when I see the harm the organization has caused to those in that community as the years would progress.

And I never realized what the organization was doing. I thought it was just bible stories and basic morality stuff. Don’t lie to your parents. Be good to your sister.

It wouldn’t be until arriving at the 20th anniversary that I would learn and realize that perhaps my understanding of Focus on the Family was rather… skewed.

Which again… that’s volume 3. or 4. It’s gonna take some time to lay this out.

Wait til I tell you all about bumping into Mel Gibson on the Focus campus… that’s a story for later lol.

There was a lot more context necessary to mention before I unloaded this info. And it sucks that I feel like at best I can write an overview right now. I suspect that most people who read this soon will have no idea who I am. And having to balance writing this piece and the various viewpoints of readers and how sooo much info is needed before half of this makes any sense… it’s a mess.

But my conviction is that silence is complicity. A mess it will have to be.

So… what’s the point, Dave? These are tenuous threads at best.

You recorded an episode in poor taste/execution/theology 30 years ago and they decided not to release it. How does that justify the assault on their sign and the accusation that they have blood on their hands?



Well see… this is where not having 3-4 more volumes matters.



Because Volume 4… where I start meeting the fans… that’s where I start seeing the blood and body count of anti-lgbt propaganda.

The fans.

If you knew how many fans of Adventures in Odyssey have tried to kill themselves because they are queer it would infuriate you.

If you have people in your life you love, like I DO who are queer/lgbt (forgive me for not using the wokest terminology here) that you care about and love… and to see LGBT fans kicked out of their homes. Abandoned. Discriminated against. Told they were abominations.

I have been trying to help some of these fans get out of abusive living environments for years. I have been on the phone talking fans through suicide attempts when it started coming out in some of the chat rooms behind the scenes that I struggled with suicide, I became a person they could trust.

Kids isolated in homeschooling fucking prisons. The abuse. The harm. The psychological problems. The cutting.

For fuck’s sake there is a mental health epidemic that this organization is responsible for unleashing on children all over the world for decades.

And maybe your family was a Focus/Dobsonian family and y’all turned out fine.

But I didn’t. And a shit ton of my fans didn’t.

One of my fans stabbed themselves 14 times trying to die because they thought they were an abomination and god would never love them.

One of my fan’s roommates was at the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando!

These people have gone through so much already by being abandoned by their families because Dobson and Falwell & Co told ’em they were sinners and we can’t have sinners around now, can we? Was… that… the message of christ?

And they just want to find a community where they can meet people and hang out and dance JUST LIKE STRAIGHT PEOPLE GET TO.

AND THEN MEN WITH GUNS SHOW UP AND BLOW THE SHIT OUT OF PEOPLE DANCING FFS.



And I have watched for about 15-20 years now since I first started encountering the fans online…

I have watched up close as a silent mental health holocaust is occurring in the families that Dobson focused on.



THAT is why someone had the bravery to take a can of spray paint to that sign.


And that is why I write this post today.

To speak on behalf of every single person ever harmed by the false theology pushed by this abusive system.


There. is. some. heretical. bullshit. happening. in. that. building.


And it kills people.



And it is system wide. It’s not just Focus on the Family. But they are the Fox News of the world-wide radio anti-lgbt Evangelical outrage network. They are the king of that realm and thus bear the weight of their behavior and advocacy and leadership and vocal claiming of the name of Christ.



Christ commanded humans to Love One Another.

Full stop.


Ask any queer person on earth if they feel loved by Focus on the Family.



“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

You will recognize them by their fruits.

Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?

So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.

A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.

Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

There is a LOT of unhealthy fruit being produced by the evangelical system.

There’s a reason I call them… the Fucking Evangelicals™.



I do not see love here.

I agree with the SLPC’s assessment.

And that will probably make some heads explode.



It’s a fucked up feeling to have knowing that your voice was used to… get kids to be lifelong listeners of the Focus message. I was the candy used to get the kids into the van of the Dobsonian lifelong system of abuse.



It is time that those practicing evangelical christianity repent.
They have sinned against the LGBT community.
Take a good hard long look in the mirror.
And make amends.


Gay people are not the abomination here.


Your bigoted abuse posing as God’s Love is the abomination.




I have sooooooo much more to say on this.

Apologies for the roughness of the draft but I assume something is better than nothing and since everything right now is about getting it out in front of you all so I can get feedback… lemme know your thoughts.

And to those fans who I’ve worked with– you know who you are… you are the reason I write this. If you have the courage to share your stories below, please trust that I will curate this post as a safe space for those to share their experiences to back me up or tell me I’m wrong.

I would encourage any evangelical readers to shut the fuck up and listen if any LGBT people are brave enough to speak their truth here.

Maybe you’ll learn a thing or two about how the system you believe in is destroying people that god loves.


*** BREAKING NEWS***

HERE IT IS.

A quick word… I have made claims about this episode based on my memory from 33 years ago. I may have misremembered things.

I personally do not want to read this episode again to see if I’m right or wrong in my memory. I give this to you sight unseen.

Maybe my curiosity will get the best of me and I read this tomorrow or a week or month or 10 years from now. I do not have any interest of revisiting this script at this time in my life.

So, if I have called out Focus on the Family unfairly… please let me know!

I submit this for your perusal and judgment.

Am I accurate in my assessment that Little Jimmy was groomed?

BTW… The Little Jimmy I’m referring to in the title of the post is NOT my character. My first name is James.


The Little Jimmy I’m referring to here is, in fact, ME.

Was I groomed to be a bigot by being brought in at the age of 12 to record this?

Is my claim just or unjust?


And this is not a discussion for the Fucking Evangelicals™ to have below. It’s for them to listen to and learn from.

The comment section in this post belongs to those harmed by this organization.

I know that many of you have sent me personal messages since the publishing of this post do so privately because you are worried about your families and your privacy.

I will say two things to that regard:


1. You have your right to privacy. Please use a pseudonym if that helps. I don’t want your life doxxed either.

2. I do not have the luxury of hiding who I am in this effort. I am literally putting my name and reputation out there for the whole world to take shots at. Should I be the only one doing this? I understand people’s right to stay hidden… but I wanted to stay hidden, too. I could use some solidarity here. Cuz I know it’s gonna get ugly AF.

Please lemme know your thoughts!


Finally, if you are new to this blog and wondering what this project is start here: Read Me First.



26 responses to “Little Jimmy Gets Groomed. **Breaking News**”

  1. I’m only halfway done but:

    IT WASNT YOUR FAULT IT WASNT YOUR FAULT IT WASNT YOUR FAULT!!!!!!

    ❤️❤️❤️❤️

    • It still feels gross and makes me sad that I participated.

      But the rage I feel that a child was used to do this…

      That I was the child used is a whole other level of mindfuckery.

  2. I live in Colorado and had no idea that someone has spray painted the sign, but you know me – I AM CHEERING ON THAT INDIVIDUAL! Because the blood spilled this past weekend is absolutely on the hands of FotF and all Republicans in government who continue to speak untruths and falsehoods about a group of people who DO NOT DESERVE THE HATE. I haven’t said much about Club Q, but I am angry inside that it has happened again, and so close to my current home. But the community is fighting back against the tragedy and rallying behind the survivors and mourning the lost – and it is a sad beauty.

    — But FotF, AIO have continued to be assholes about LGBTQAI+, because they DID release a whole FUCKING album about “tolerance” festivals and a character who has AIDS (without ever fucking saying it! But oh it is in the unspoken lines!) and somehow found that entire album acceptable in the past fucking – ten years? Yeah. I get angry thinking about that album because it paints a terrible light on those with AIDS and how the Fucking Evangelicals have NO concept of community if they TRIED! They didn’t handle it with grace or kid gloves – they butchered it and continue to peddle falsehoods! The idea that ONLY LGBTQAI+ can get HIV is the worst lie anyone has ever told themselves. And understanding what the chronic disease is and how bigoted and racist someone must be to continue believing in the stereotypes. ARGH!!!!!!

    — I know this isn’t when or how you wanted to discuss this, but it was timely and needed and ABSOLUTELY APPROPRIATE to bring to discussion. And I can see why you would think “oh god, my fans” in all aspects of the situation, from the sign defacement (fuck yes that makes me feel good someone did that!!) to the club shooting to those who are struggling with their upbringing and the lies told to them and the mental health struggles so many have to deal with. Sigh. But know this was a necessary evil – but also a necessary good.

    –let’s be honest, anyone who doesn’t think FotF hasn’t been grooming kids and families for decades now has rose colored glasses on or are deaf and blind. And again, it wasn’t your fault!!!! That blame is SQUARELY on the shoulders of those writing that script and utilizing you for their bullshit agenda. And while I have found joy in other aspects of AIO, there is still a lot of cringe-worthy BS throughout the series. And once again, I recognize that my childhood was tainted. Not by YOU, but by the overall messaging and disdain for my own life and familial connections. That’s a loaded therapy session we don’t have time for today! Boy, growing up is certainly an act of reflection!

    –and even tho you had been groomed, once again NOT YOUR FAULT, then you fought against that and changed the course of your life for the better. Are democrats perfect? Fuck no. But I believe when I stand before God, I can say I did the right things for the right reasons. For community. For my patients. For my family and friends. I championed love, joy, and hope. A lifelong learner to advance science and the love of those around me. Even as a sinner, who falls down all the time. But we ARE on the right side of history! We have to be, or all of this is for naught and I can’t – I can’t possibly think that what FotF believes that they are the persecuted is true. Not for a second can I believe they are persecuted and clutching their fake pearls. Pul-ease.

  3. Thank you so much for writing this Dave. I was a fan of AIO as a child and I too was groomed (spot on wording there, absolutely that is what was done to us) to hate LGBTQ+ people. It was and is sick and wrong.

    I live here in Colorado. I have even taken my oldest kid to visit focus before I was saved by friends who implored me to actually think of others and think logically. I am so thankful for whoever spray painted that sign and I will join with you in speaking out against all the harm the evangelicals do. My mental health work will be ongoing to undo that damage.

    Also echoing that you were just a kid and it is not your fault.

    • We were all groomed. And it’s important we reclaim that word and use it appropriately against those who are ACTUALLY doing the grooming.

      We were groomed to hate lgbt.

      We were groomed to hate people who are mentally ill.

      We were groomed to hate liberals.

      We were groomed to pretty much hate anyone that wasn’t us.

      And the way the hate is sold is “disapproving of other’s life choices tsk tsk”.

      But it’s hate and othering and bad science. Which… of course the evangelicals refuse to believe in science because that would bust their entire philosophy that LGBT is a “choice”.

      Once it’s a choice they can toss you away.

      Got many posts coming about that nonsense.

      Anyway. All of us were groomed on 15 different levels. No wonder this community sows destruction and dysfunction.

  4. Thankfully I never heard any of their anti LGBTQ stuff. But I heard all of their “abortion holocaust” grooming. They are the ones primarily leading the mindfuck that created the vote for because, “he will pack the court” “he is a Christian”. It’s just that they started so long ago that no one even knows who they are, well they know now!

    • It is all about the court. If you go all the way back to the beginning of the blog I lay that out.

      It’s a political cult.

      They’re not interested in practicing loving one another… that’s is antithetical to the goal of dominating the government.

      And the problem with abortion and LGBT is that these prevent population expansion amongst the white evangelical crowd. And that means they won’t have a majority of voters and will keep losing power.

      Hence Trump. Hence SCOTUS. It’s ALWAYS been about that. The christianity is the smoke screen.

  5. I’m so sorry man. The raw pain and regret comes through.

    It’s not your fault, but you know that.

    If you have not read Crazy For God by Frankie Schaeffer, it touches directly on your situation.

    If it helps I used to listen to AIO on the car radio and enjoyed it very much, but have become an ex-fan. It is insidious.

    • George, thank you for sharing that gorgeous piece of music.

      I sobbed my ass off and became of giant puddle of goo.

      Thank you for the book recommendation as well. I’ll check it out!

      Welcome to our community of resistors!

  6. They groomed all of us.
    As a female growing up exposed to this bullshit, whose entire sex ed came from Dobson, I learned to submit to male will, sexuality was wrong, I was responsible for sexual behaviour of men towards me, I had to be modest, any sexual behaviour with anyone but my husband degraded my worth and would make men and the community despise me. Church men, even married ones, three times my age, would flirt with me and somehow that was my fault. My entire worth was in marriage. Had to put up with all the bullshit with the goal of being found worthy of that.
    Even though I was the smartest kid in the room and am now a doctor, having finally found my way free of the ideology but still have failed utterly to have healthy nonoppressive relationships with men….except for my gay best friend who was the reason I started to question. The whole ‘hate the sin’ shit. How could it be hateful sin when it was so obvious he was created that way?
    Thanks for thinking through and writing about your experiences.

    • What this system does to women… oof.

      This is why I asked the question about the character of “Mary (Jimmy’s Mom)” I don’t think she EVER was the featured character of a single episode I ever did.

      Women are uteruses. Get in there and make more voters for us while submitting to your husband and doing all the chores AND BEING A TEACHER TO THE 25 KIDS YOU JUST PUMPED OUT.

      This system wants girls to go to christian colleges to find a husband and by the time these “kids” are 20-21-22 their paths are set for life.

      Get married a month after graduation and enter your godly role of motherhood @ 22! Dreams? Ambition? Careers? Economic freedom? Silly women, those are for penises.

      It’s really dark shit.

      Congrats on that Doctorate! M.D./PhD/whatever. That’s a helluva accomplishment that no one can ever take from you!

      And this stuff lingers. It affects you later in life like you describe. Attempting to suss out romantic/sexual/intimate relationships was destroyed for us before we even knew what those things were. Our little brains programmed by the propaganda to have all the worst takes on everything. smdh.

  7. I am 31. I was RAISED on AIO. Like… I probably have certain episodes memorized still… My children will never listen to it, or watch the videos. My wife, who is trans, and I (I am bi) just came out to the woman who raised me on AIO, and it’s not pretty. There is a good possibility we will be losing our home as a result (she is our landlord), as she is raising the rent on us as a result since we are “no longer family”.

    I am proud of you for speaking your truth. I am thankful that you are still here. I am thankful that you have taken time to connect with those who have been struggling.

    The fundamentalist world view that says you only have mental health issues if your faith isn’t strong enough, or that they are the result of some moral failing… Or the fundamentalist world view that ends up with people trapped in abusive relationships, or women kept “barefoot and pregnant”…

    We were groomed. We were groomed to harm.

    My children, being raised by queer parents, are not.

    • There’s no hate quite like the “love” of Fucking Evangelicals™.

      My mother made my family homeless, blamed me for it, which led to another suicide attempt. That story’s coming.

      Families suck. Let’s stop making false idols out of them.

      The whole system is sick.

      Glad your children will be safe from the grooming of evangelicals!

      • I spoke with my mom today, and the pure anger and hatred in her voice for my wonderful, loving, kind, and AMAZING wife… Was sickening. I know that I need to fully come out to her, just so I can set that boundary line. But I am terrified. I am terrified I will never be able to go back home. I love my parents, but my mental health is such that I am scared. Mental health makes things that much more terrifying.

        I grew up on AIO. I grew up in a Dobson family. I grew up as the grandchild of a Baptist preacher.

        Your blog right now is being extremely… I can’t think of the damn word… Where it makes me feel like I’m not crazy. Like I’m not alone. Like this is something so many of us have gone through.

        I play D+D, I play Pathfinder. I listened to Castles and Cauldrons, and was made to read Frank Peretti’s books. My mother is still convinced that games like that, that practicing yoga and meditation… That those things can bring demonic presences into the home..

        And I don’t know how to safely set the boundary without destroying myself.

        Because it is so ingrained. Because the Guilt and Shame feelings that the Fucking Evangelicals want us to feel is so real.
        Because mental health is a fucking curse some days.
        And when you tie religion into it… It’s so much worse.

        And it takes a lot of work.

        And I’m trying.

        But so far, I’m at least surviving.

        • I rarely speak to my family anymore.

          I’m estranged from almost everyone I grew up with. They will turn their backs and blame you.

          It hurts. It never stops hurting. But it hurts less than staying in the endless rage machine of mental health destruction.

          I am glad that my story is being effective in affecting people this way. That’s the only reason for me to do it. It’s so easy to stay silent.

          Did He give me the gift of Voice so some could silence me?
          Did He give me the gift of sight not knowing what I might see?

          It’s time to take the muzzles off and let those that dwell in false ideologies of stubbornness and soul destruction reap what they’ve sown.

  8. Well there’s certainly no way that I can ignore leaving a comment on this one. Obviously as an out, gay man AND a life-long listener of AIO, I have a lot to say here. This episode’s existence certainly isn’t unknown. Either in one of the guides, or in the behind-the-scenes material surrounding Album 57 (The Ties that Bind), there was discussion that **** had written a gay-centric episode in the early 90’s which was never released, but that’s all we ever really knew about it. My sister, when I brought it up just now, had no recollection of this information, so it’s probably not super well-known. I’m certainly glad to be able to read the script. It’s important to get a direct source on what exactly was being said. Also interesting to know that it was planned to be episode 156, as that wound up being Waylaid, Part 2. It would’ve been 2 episodes after Coming of Age (though it sounds based on the story like this was recorded prior to Fucking Puberty™), and just prior to Last in a Long Line and A Day in the Life. I just think it’s interesting to put it into context in the timeline here in a more tangible way for fans. Really shows how deep we are into the show and in the midst of a slew of great episodes for this to have potentially surfaced.

    Obviously, it shouldn’t be any surprise to anyone that Focus is like this, or the impact they have. Their long-standing association with Chik-Fil-A is well-known, based on your previously-mentioned kids’ meal tapes. When I first came out to my parents (as an adult living on my own), my dad came back to me the next morning, commenting in surprise about how I would be ok being gay when Focus, who makes the AIO that I oh-so love, is explicit on their site in their stance on being gay. Growing-up-wise, I wouldn’t say that the general tone of AIO’s lessons had any negative impact on my mental health, even as far as being gay is concerned. Honestly, I think that the rest of my life and cultural understanding of what my stance was “supposed to be” as a Christian infinitely dwarfed any impact from AIO. On the contrary, I credit so much of the positive life lessons that have shaped me to this show still, to this day. Not just generic morality, but deep and specific moral and philosophical tenets were borne into me by deeply fantastic episodes of this show. It’s one of the reasons that I still make the podcast about it to this day; I want to help young people who grow up on this show to have a place, if obscure, to help sort out the good from the bad in terms of the lessons. What should you really take away here? What needs footnotes and clarifications on its stance? What is being presented as a strawman to you because it’s /technically/ true, but is misleading in how it represents a larger issue? There are plenty of episodes that handle topics well for kids, and ones that don’t. Karen, Life Expectancy, Where is Thy Sting?, these are INCREDIBLE episodes about grief and death. A Touch of Healing and The Other Woman touch on physical disabilities and mental illness excellently. I particularly appreciate, in reference to earlier, how The Other Woman /specifically/ calls out how TERRIBLE the church is at dealing with mental illness, because it’s a difficult and uncomfortable topic. That people are more than happy to pray for you and support you, but after a while, if you don’t get better, eventually you stop going up for prayer, and people stop asking. “But… where does that leave us?” “It leaves us where we’ve always been: stuck with the frailty of our humanness, dependant on the power of God’s will, and obliged to keep praying hard for people like Mrs. Riley, and the Tom Riley’s of the world who help them.” <<I will point out an important lack of discussion about accessibility of healthcare in this episode, although that's not a point that would be as pertinent to a child. Seeking appropriate medical attention as needed (as Agnes lives full-time in a mental health facility) is a core point of the episode. There are probably near a hundred episodes at this point that get really too-far with White Saviour Complex when it comes to missions, as the AIOC has naturally bolstered their production rate of those types of episodes many-many-fold. Episodes that empower women are out there, but so is the absolutely misogyny directed towards Margaret Faye and her storylines post-introduction. Pamela Has a Problem? Enough said. I always felt growing up that An American Revelation did a good job at highlighting the important black figures of the American revolution which are completely unknown to non-historians, but now I wonder if the episode allowed Whit to really brush off Marvin's valid feelings of disenfranchisement from learning about early American history because "My people were slaves! That's /our/ history!". There's so much to unpack over almost 1000 episodes. Someone should make a podcast to dig into all this complexity /shameless almost-plug.

    I never properly attempted suicide, but I spent about half my life severely depressed with suicidal ideation that was near-daily, and a lot of that revolved around my coming to terms with being gay, and while Focus didn't directly impact that for me, let there be no doubt that it has a wide-sweeping global influence on the perception of the topic that trickles down to impact kids like me through their parents, their churches, and depending where you live, your schools.

    I feel like it's especially important to point out, as Leslie said above, that while this episode was wisely kept away from ever airing, Album 57 (The Ties that Bind) took the topic to much more intricate, more horrific heights. It was clear from the album description that it was going to be targeted at the queer community, and while I won't name the writer, per your earlier rule about real-people-names, I knew going into it that he also wrote Pamela Has a Problem and Castles and Cauldrons, and if you've seen anything he says on Facebook, naught else need be said. He's /phenomenal/ at writing an intricate, heart-pounding dramatic plot, either in short or long form, but any well-formed Biblical lesson becomes completely antithetical when he tries to attempt to apply it in practical society, like racism, abortion, or being queer. Album 57 focused on a variety of topics over its FOURTEEN-part storyline. It's a shame that some really good and touching things are buried in that album. It's about 60% focused on the importance of family and family bonds and appreciating them, holding them tight. The other 40% is about the perverse ways that society tries to skew the idea of the family these days, which includes untraditional family structures, being gay, and occasional inferences to being trans. The wild thing is that, for all of the long-drawn-out length of the album, they never really explain why any of the queer stuff is supposed to be wrong (hint: It's because it isn't. That's usually a good hint for you in reading Scripture, as you lean on the Spirit in your interpretation, is to go back to the verses above and look at the fruits that are produced by that belief. As I learned from AIO in Here Today, Gone Tomorrow, there are a lot of ways that we try to decipher God's will, like seeking council and reading the Word, but the ultimate one is to KNOW God's heart. Who They are and what They want are inextricably linked, as they are for any person. Growing up, I believed that being gay was a sin, I guess, because everyone says it is, but I always wished that it wasn't, and could never understand how it could be, because it didn't make sense with God's character at all to me).

    Anyways, back to topic. The album constantly dances around why any of it is wrong. Hand-waving explanations do more to contradict Scripture and theological logic than affirm it (because they're wrong). One of the larger points is that Olivia (I believe?) is already of the belief that being gay is fine, because she still grows up in a larger society with a small modicum of sense (citation needed). Whit says that he has a Room of Consequence program that will elaborate his position and show how it becomes harmful in the larger scheme of things. Olivia goes in. Olivia comes out. She now goes "Well Whit, I guess you're right." It is never elaborated what she saw or learned to convince her of this change in stance. There was a possibility of this content being expounded upon in a side project, and it never happened. It's almost like the content doesn't exist because the reason ISN'T THERE. It's like the Greatest Song Ever Written (which is actually a song ABOUT the greatest song ever written) but for homophobic apologetics. Whit's End is targeted by Anonymous (lol) for opposing the Let's Get Together festival, meant for the town to celebrate families. It was never even supposed to explicitly be gay at all, but Whit felt the need to oppose it on the grounds that wording was too open-to-interpretation. We learn that Ms. Adelaide is so willing to die on this hill because her brother is in hospice with AIDS (implied. It's all implied. Like this old episode Dave has shared, they don't have the guts to say "gay", but at least this old episode could bring itself to say "homosexual" like a psychologist from the 1920's. This whole album, they only ever reached implications of queerness, which is probably for the best). Whit visits him. Her brother talks about how Whit used to teach him Sunday School, and eventually he "strayed from those teachings" and then got sick. He wishes he never did that. He repents for his "mistakes". And then he dies. That's right. The only canonically (barely) queer character the show has ever made, which happened in TWO THOUSAND AND FIFTEEN, was sick from AIDS and repented for being gay, and then DIED ANYWAYS. Worst piece of media this show has ever produced. It genuinely makes me sick to my stomach to think about this whole season. Whit decides the festival will go forward, but they amend the description to say that it will be a celebration of "family values". They won't exclude anyone, they just need to add in their dogwhistle and then it's all good. Honestly, this part is so painfully true-to-reality that I can't believe they put it in the episode. It started as a festival which wasn't even focused on pride, didn't explicitly mention anything queer. It was simply open to everyone. And the characters decided that that was TOO inclusive, and they wouldn't be happy until they put their stamp on it. It wasn't /exclusive/ to straight families in the end, so it's all fine. Queer people /definitely/ wouldn't feel unwelcome and unsafe attending after you slapped the most obvious and full-throated homophobic dogwhistle possible onto it. When we recorded the reviews for this album, I was still coming to terms with what my own gayness meant for me in practice. I was only out to a few people, which did not include my family. It didn't include my sister, with whom I make the podcast, so I couldn't be as open in my discussion of the album and how it affected me as I wish I could've been, but even still I railed against it hard.

    The thing that REALLY REALLY gets to me about it is, and this was the biggest takeaway I put in the final album review summary after about 15 hours of discussion, was that even if you accept the premise that being gay is a sin, it was STILL handled poorly. I asked myself 2 questions:
    1) If I'm a straight kid listening to this, what should the album teach me? What DID it teach me?
    2) If I'm a kid listening to this who is or thinks they might be queer, what should the album teach me? What DID it teach me?

    Answers are obvious to the "what should it teach me" if we're being good human beings, but even if we accept a world where we think that being gay is actually a sin, the show should emphasize this to straight kids: your gay friends are still humans. They are still loved by god. You should still be around them, befriend them, love them, cherish them. Alternatively, if YOU are gay, do not be scared. God still loves you! They've always loved you! It's ok to talk to people you trust about it if you feel safe. EVEN in a world where I'm accepting that being gay is wrong, that^^ is what the album should communicate to a child. Instead, the album taught "it's wrong, so don't do it. that's all, no further elaboration on WHAT to about that". Gross and flagrantly irresponsible.

    If any fans or ex-fans of the show want to find out in the least-direct and most-cryptic way possible what's going on in the show these days, through a far-leftist, queer, mentally ill, POC, fandom-rotted lens, please feel free to check out our podcast (Adventures in Odyssey Oddcast on youtube)

    I think that's probably about all I have to say here. Sorry for going off for quite so long, but it's important to this discussion to note that AIO's homophobic messaging did not end with this unreleased episode, and instead took a much larger and more potent form a full 25 years later. Do not give them an inch.

    At least this episode had the decency to make their gay character a rad dude who continued to be a rad dude, instead of making him repent for being gay and then die from AIDS anyways.

    • I didn’t remember when the episode was recorded only that it had occurred at a time when the gay character was being played by one of the original boys whose voice had changed. So i was assuming it was when I was 12.

      I wonder now was this recorded in a double session with Someone to Watch Over Me or Coming of Age? TBH, i really tried to block this out of memory for a long time.

      What’s fascinating to me, everyone remarking on the mental health stuff which i have zero memory of.

      And it absolutely confirms that their belief of that and how they treated me after I got sick… that’s never changed. that’s how they treat people with mental illness.

      30 years ago. Today. 30 years from now.

      I am done letting this organization define mental illness and LGBT existence when they are scientifically illiterate and groom their fans o be scientifically illiterate.

      This pro-life org is destroying millions of lives with their propaganda.

      • I’m suddenly having an interesting realization after thinking about for a couple days… you mention this episode came right at the Coming of Age timing.

        I now believe that Someone To Watch Over Me was given to me as a special… send off episode. I’m suddenly wondering: were they trying to use the character of Jimmy for the anti-gay episode before I couldn’t be on the show anymore?

        Imagine… say I never come back as a teenager. What if the last episode you hear of Jimmy before he Comes of Age is this anti-LGBT episode?

        The fact that they did this with my character and not another speaks volumes about how they were trying to sell the message to the fans. But to squeeze it in right as my voice is changing… it almost proves MORE to me now how my character was more of a propaganda weapon than other kid characters. Geezus. Devious.

        And also… none of the other core actors were there that day that I recall. Katie, Hal, Will… like how would they responded to this episode?

  9. Hi Dave. I just wanted to say I hope you are doing okay. I am fascinated to read your words, as someone who grew up with AIO and has gradually been sliding left politically through her adulthood. Please take care of yourself; you matter. Lean on anyone you can.

    • Feena,

      Thank you for joining us! Welcome.

      Thank you very much for your kind words. Seeing “you matter” hit me hard. And I keep re-reading. I’m in a good head space for this time of year. But that can always change. I will take your words to heart and lean on people when I need them. And know that when I do feel down I can come here and read “you matter” and keep that reminder in my head.

      🙂

  10. I just read that script, and I have a lot of thoughts, but I’m still working through them on my own. But three things:

    First is that I can’t believe [well I can, but you know what I mean] that they wouldn’t want sixth-graders learning about mental illness! It’s not dirty, it’s not sinful, and it’s also not something only adults deal with. Ugh.
    Second is that I hate how Mary lets George handle the conversation with Jimmy. As a woman and who wants to have kids in a year or so, my hubby and I are on the same page that I’m gonna be right in the middle of all those conversations!! No gender inequality in this house.
    Third, thanks for sharing your story. I’m grappling with it, but I’ve followed it since day one, and I’m questioning lots of things. I myself am on my way out of being an AIO fan because of how they portray disabled people [like me–I’m blind], and I’m fed up. But that’s not the only thing… there’s everything you’ve talked about here. No one can dismiss your experiences and it deserves a reexamination of everything we grew up with and were told to believe. I’m still a Christian, but redefining what that means for me personally.

    Anyway, doing lots of thinking about everything. Thanks for your vulnerability. Please take care and be well.

    • Hi Rhianna,

      1. If you are saddened that they don’t want sixth graders to know about mental illness, then Volume 2 will break your heart and infuriate you. (spoilers: what happens when Little Dave becomes mentally ill; how will the AIO team treat him?)

      2. Mary. One of the things that’s been interesting to revisit that I haven’t written about yet is the treatment of Mary on the show. I don’t think Jimmy ever had a “heart-to-heart” conversation with his Mom, did he? Like have I blocked that out? it was always me and “Dad” Exec Prod/Boss in those scenes. Which made sense because he was down the hall and bringing her in (if I was recording solo) might have been an extra actor to hire for the session. So, cost savings? I had 3, no 4 different actresses played Mary. And I can’t remember ever having a single scene just the two of us. I had to have, right? Was she anything other than a uterus and housewife?

      3. I’m disabled, too. And how they treated me in person was not right. And that’s what my story is about. And it’s good that you’re struggling with your faith! That’s a good, healthy thing.

      Any faith worth having is worth struggling through to determine if it’s real. If it’s healthy. If it’s good fruit.

      And a thing you will find as my story goes on… I don’t want people to stop being christians.

      I can imagine people will have that fear reading this project. I do NOT want people to stop being christians… I want them to START being christians.

      I want them to stop being evangelicals. Because there’s a difference and that’s what the blog is about. You are about to go through a condensed 30 year journey of how the actor who played Jimmy stopped being an evangelical.

      Thank you for investing the time to read and respond!

  11. There is definitely love missing in how many Christians respond to LGBT community. I think where Focus went wrong is conflating religous doctrine with a political fight. If the church stays out of culture/political wars, they can deliver an invitation to submit to Christ with love.

    I’m curious what you think of Preston Sprinkle’s views? I watched several videos of him on Youtube before I could even tell what his position was, but he seemed very loving.

    • I think it’s more than just a lack of love. It’s actively hateful, imo. But they absolutely don’t believe they’re being hateful. They think they’re being loving. The end result, though, is the fruit of the behavior is totally hateful.

      When slavers thought POC were subhuman back in the day… the very idea is hateful.

      Likewise, when you preach someone is an abomination– and that’s what the system Focus is a part of does– that’s more than just not loving someone. It’s actively tearing them down and encouraging others to. That’s genocidal language/philosophy, imo. And they’re complicit.

      I think people think of Focus as this religious organization that just sorta accidentally fell into politics… and if there’s one thing I really want to use my story to make clear… this is NOT a religious organization. It’s a religious propaganda organization and the entire intent of it is to ensure christians vote republican, and have big families, with lots of kids, that will vote republican for their entire lives.

      The purpose of the whole thing IS political.

      And they weaponize the abortion issue, and the anti-lgbt issue.

      They literally led these fights. It’s why the organization exists. Falwell needed a media arm like I discuss in the Original Sin Pt 1 & 2 posts and the Focus teams pretty much delivered it on a platter.

      Am not familiar with Mr. Sprinkle. I’ll have to look into his work. I’m all about loving approaches to all things! 🙂

      Also, Welcome! (if this is your first time commenting)

  12. So FotF is just out there telling parents to go be loud and anti-LGBT at school board meetings, that’s got some astroturf vibes. Then they have George Barclay channel the will of his god and say all that… And where did they get their 2% LGBT statistic from‽

    None of this is surprising, but still infuriating.

    As others have already said before, this wasn’t your fault.

  13. Still making my way through this blog and this bit of the script REALLY stood out to me, especially with everything that’s happened in your life story.

    JIMMY:
    Well, I couldn’t help it! Phyllis Ransohoff sits
    right behind me, and when Mr.
    Michaels told Rodney to read this
    section in our books about mental
    illness, Phyllis whispered,
    “Rodney’s reading about his family
    again.”

    [GEORGE CHUCKLES.]

    So much else about the script is horrifying but man. THAT especially.

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