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LQ History

Leather Quest,
formerly known as the Journeyman III Academy:

Journeyman III Academy

In early 1997 Michael A, who is a highly regarded and respected member of the Salt Lake leather and BDSM community, as well as a former council member numerous times for Utah PowerPlay, received an invitation from his long-time friend Grand Master Keith Edward E (KEE), headmaster of the Journeyman II Academy in San Jose, California. The invitation was to be a participate in a special ritual that was being held in conjunction with the monthly J II A weekend.

After receiving the invitation, Michael announced it during the social gathering after the next Utah PowerPlay meeting, finishing by saying, "He told me to bring my students along, but since I don’t have any students, who would like to go?" Several people who had been attending PowerPlay for some time and were serious about BDSM and leather raised their hands. Seven people ended up flying to San Jose for the event, including Michael and Sunny. Not only did they attend the ritual, but they were allowed to sit in on and participate in the Journeyman II Academy class that weekend. They were impressed.

During the spring of 1997, they repeatedly and enthusiastically asked Michael A, to create something similar to the J II A, here in Salt Lake City. After considerable insistence they convinced him to create a curriculum and open an academy in Salt Lake so that they could learn more and improve their knowledge of the leather lifestyle. They held a planning and development meeting in June of 1997, deciding (among other things) to call it the Salt Lake Academy I (one). After that it was announced at PowerPlay meetings for several weeks that advanced classes were beginning and that anyone interested was invited to attend an orientation class in late July. Twenty-five to thirty people showed up for that class.

During the orientation class Michael A read a letter he had received from Grand Master KEE granting the new academy, as a legacy, the use of the name Journeyman III Academy, if they wished. The cadets voted to accept, and adopted that name. They also voted that permission for a Journeyman IV Academy would not be granted. Michael A also presented a Code of Conduct written by KEE and used in the J II A. The cadets voted to accept that for their new academy, as well. The new academy was structured very much along the same lines as the preceding J II A and taught much of the same information.

The first JIIIA lasted 22 months and met one weekend a month, Saturday and Sunday both for approximately 8 hours each day. Of the twenty-five or so who attended the orientation class, eight cadets graduated in March 1999. During this time they had to read many books varying from self-improvement books to books on specific types of BDSM play to books that dealt directly with the leather community and its history, and many other subjects, as well. The purpose of this was to help the students broaden their knowledge of themselves, as well as learning about the leather community as a whole. They had several national presenters who came and did presentations for the class on various theories and techniques that were their specialities. They also had to learn the art of boot polishing, which was no easy task: in order to graduate, a student would have to get his or her boots polished so that they would pass inspection. This inspection consisted of holding a quarter next to the shined heels and toes of the boots, while shining a flashlight on each shined part. The date on the quarter had to be readable in the reflection. This may seem simple at first glance, but many students learned about patience through this process. This part of the class became known around the region at various BDSM events like Thunder In The Mountains, in Denver. People from other areas would see the cadet’s boots and ask if they were from Salt Lake. Not only did they have book reports and presentations to give, they would also cover things such as spirituality and energy and how it plays an important part in BDSM. The mandate for those who graduated was for them to pass on what they had learned to others by teaching, mentoring and training.

There have been additional classes on a regular basis since then and Michael A continued to be headmaster and lead teacher until 2007. The majority of the curriculum remained the same. However, the length of the time it took to graduate and the order of things that were done in each class varied due to the dynamics of how each group bonded and their willingness to learn. Also taken into consideration was the fact that these classes would have guest presenters from out of town who would teach on various topics as well. Not everyone who has started taking the classes has graduated. Some find that they don't like the idea of learning about themselves. Others simply decide that it is not for them. Most of those who have completed the class have come to have a greater understanding of and respect for the leather lifestyle and BDSM

In 2003 some of the structure and also the process for becoming a student in the Academy changed, but classes continued to be held. The final students of the Journeyman III Academy finished in October 2008.

The educational program was then revamped and gave birth to two separate and complete programs: 201 level material became The Journey and the 301 level material was rebranded as Leather Quest. Classes continue to this day, now in three different states.

Sources: Utah Leather History, Sunny, LeatherQuest.org