Hey thanks for the engagement. I don't know if my Scribd links are working. This is the Roctober article. (It's a legendary 'zine for Pop/Rock oddities. I've written for them for years.)
As I note there, Mullins was odd on "Damascus Road." At times he'd link it to the engagement narrative. But in a CCM profile that goes through the songs of the album he just says: "This track was written in the late 70s/early 80s." So that's super weird.
In general, this would be my theorized progression for his life:
- Has some sexual awakening around age 16/17 (keyed into 'Brother Sun, Sister Moon').
- By early 20s is to the point of coming out.
- Becomes a minor star, pushed forward by friends who cover for him, as does Nashville figures like Jon Rivers. Starts using the fiancé line. (No girl is ever named.)
- Travelling around he seems to be having private sexual experiences, leading to the horrifying "secret sin" moment. Theory- he's been diagnosed with HIV circa 1987.
- In a spasm of horror he gives up all things gay hoping this will cure him. (The "secret sin" interview has the odd talk of trying to be 'cured'.) "Awesome God" is the result- a revulsion against gayness (see reading of the song in my Roctober article).
- By the early 1990s he's realized he's not healed of HIV and realizes he has a few years and then he'll die. He throws himself into manic bursts of public service and solo stardom, trying to communicate an idea of a more loving God.
- Circa 1993, he moves to leave the media spotlight. He's not yet unhealthy but wants to go to college and be around hot boys, while being able to do selective work projects. Keeps saying he's retiring and will disappear soon.
- He goes out to New Mexico. His physical decline and dark spirits become pronounced. Works at the school briefly and is fired/quits. Is perceived as being tortured.
- He's intent on some pro-gay, anti-AIDS shaming messaging, and counterbalances this in Christian media with the girlfriend talk so he won't be read as gay. The Christian fanboys believe it uncritically.
- In his last days he's trying to think about how to die without being read as an AIDS victim, so his music will continue to have currency among Christians. As per "Elijah" he probably has a car crash in mind. Probably driving the car the fateful night, he's upset and spacing out and has the accident.