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…
Here goes nuthin’. Somethin’. Iunno.
This is the story of:
Focus on the Family
an Anti-LGBT Bigot
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.
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?
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.
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!!!!
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.