How I was almost Neil LaBute’s HTer

I just read an article about Neil LaBute in the New York Times, which called to mind how I almost became his home teacher.

This was a number of years ago (I don’t really have a clear sense of how many years). At the time I was the Executive Secretary, so I attended bishopric meetings. One Sunday as they went over the new move-ins, they read off the name of a guy who had just moved into the ward with his wife and, I think, two kids: Neil LaBute. It was a move-in from Indiana.

I could scarcely believe my ears, and waited to see what the reaction would be among the other men in the meeting. There was no recognition whatsoever; no one had any idea who LaBute was.

I knew who he was. I had seen In the Company of Men and Your Friends and Neighbors and whatever other film work he had done at the time. (I have no scruples against seeing R-rated movies.) I had seen him in person at Chicago Sunstone a couple of times where he had brought in some actors to do readings of some of his work. One featured frequent f-bombs, and I remember one (rather weird) guy who went ballistic over the profanity.

So anyway, I volunteered to be his home teacher. My thought was that I would be able to protect him from the forces that simply wouldn’t understand his work and would be offended by it.

I went on a long drive to try to find the address on the card, but it was nonexistent. I think there was a mistake in the name of the village, and he actually lived in the village to the north, which would have been out of our stake boundaries. So the record went back. I don’t think it was very long after that that he was no longer in the church.

I still in the back of my mind figure I could have protected him, if only I could have been his home teacher.


  1. I bet you could have, at that.
    I wish you were MY home teacher, Kevin. I would make you sing hymns with us and feed you brownies with cadbury eggs in them.

  2. Perhaps the most interesting thing to me about that NY Times article was that the reporter thought that the discussion of his Mormonism and his family was more desirable to publish than exclusive stories. What does that say about how Mormonism is still perceived?

  3. Kevin Barney says:

    BiV, I’d definitely be there for that!

  4. Things that absolutely must go: Cadbury’s Creme Eggs.


  5. Not in brownies, they are not gross.

  6. NoCoolName_Tom says:

    Blasphemy, Scott!

  7. #4: truer words were never spoken.

  8. The creme ones can be banned as long as the caramel ones are granted immunity.

  9. Kevin, I read that article and saw so eerily and clearly in it one my “sons”. (A number of our kids’ friends have lived with us for varying lengths of times when they were having problems at home.) It was both encouraging and discouraging for me, and I understand your last sentence so well. If that son still lived with us and I could have shielded him from what he experienced when he left our home . . .

    As it is, all I can do is hope and pray that what he learned while with us will keep him from the logical outcome of his upbringing – that he will be better off in the long run for the time he spent with us and the relationship we were able to create.

  10. Kevin, I suspect that right about the time in question he was doing a photoshoot for Playboy. So I think things had already progressed quite far and “shielding” really wasn’t the issue.

  11. “friends and neighbors” was my first date with my husband. fall ’97 I think. anyway, it worked out fine for us but I wouldn’t recommend it to others as a first date movie :)

  12. Martin Willey says:

    I totally get the impulse. I have jealously guarded the assignment of home teacher to my inactive neighbors for the same reason!

  13. Kevin, maybe you should hire yourself out. I hear people in the Chicago area will pay quite a lot for protection.

  14. Kevin, you might want to consider this guy’s new business venture:

  15. Ray, Gatsby’s prices are outrageous.

  16. That is the second time I am going to dissagree with Scott’s comments under this same post (4 and 15).

    One time Danny from Sons of Provo was in my sacrament meeting. I was so excited that he had moved into my ward, I spent the rest of the meeting day dreaming about telling him what a big fan I am in Sunday School. And reminding him how I met him when they were signing the DVD at Deseret Book. And maybe just maybe they would make us Home Teaching partners.

    Anyway, much to my dissapointment, it looks like Danny was only there for a blessing.

    So I know your pain, Kevin.

  17. I can top that. I home taught Cristina Schultz while she was a Stanford Law Student. We suspected something was afoot, but didn’t quite guess this.

  18. Oh, the wikipedia link is safe, but careful of some of the links from the wikipedia page. . .

  19. If you haven’t seen Wicker Man, then you simply don’t know neil labute. Seriously, check out this montage of scenes from the movie. Check out this other montage of scenes. It’s absolutely brilliant. One for the history books. Like Citizen Kane for the 21st century.

  20. Neil LaBute + Nicholas Cage + Bear Suit = Oscar snub.