…the parched land shall become a pool, and the thirsty lands springs of water…(Isaiah 35:7)

Why Am I Here?

A Thoroughly Mormon Question

By Rex Goode


Categories: Inspiration,Personal,Same-sex Attraction,Tolerance

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It’s a common question you hear when we Mormons are trying to share our religion. For us, it is the crux of understanding our basic doctrine about life and its purpose. It’s a question I like. The other two questions that often go along with it are:

“Who Am I?”

“Where Am I Going After This Life?”

(more…)

11 people like this post.

Copyright 2017, Inner Vessel Productions.


An Uncertain Sound

What’s a 12-Year-Old Supposed to Do?

By Rex Goode


Categories: Abuse,Personal,Same-sex Attraction,Support

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I know I’m behind the times in writing about this now. I’ve had a two-month illness that has kept me from the keyboard for anything but the most urgent business needs. Seems like things like this happen when I can’t write about them and I’m always playing catch-up with the current events. I’ve thought about it ever since it happened, deeply and with a lot of introspection and nostalgia.

I’m referring to when a 12-year-old girl named Savannah used fast and testimony meeting to “come out” to her congregation that she is gay. I don’t want to break the incident down into fault-finding or criticism of either Savannah, her parents, family, or priesthood leaders. I think a lot of very opportunistic people have already done that ad nauseum, and usually without truly knowing what was happening in any of their hearts and minds. I’ll admit before I say anything else that I don’t read minds, especially long distance, so to blame people would be nothing more than political posturing and I won’t do that. (more…)

8 people like this post.

Copyright 2017, Inner Vessel Productions.


Trusting in the Promise

When Others Speak Evil of You

By Rex Goode


Categories: Doctrinal,Inspiration,Marriage,Personal

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On 7/21/2017, I had come home early from work because Barbara told me that our daughter Melissa and the triplets were coming over and I wanted to help make dinner for them. I baked some biscuits and then kept part of the dough to make wiener wraps for them. I got the biscuits done and had rolled up the sausage dogs into the dough and put them in the fridge until Barbara was supposed to show up with the kids.

While relaxing between cooking and the arrival, I got a call from a friend, who was also supposed to come for dinner. He said that he had a blowout on the way to our house and that he was close to our church building, so he was going to pull in there. He said he needed the bathroom and I figured I would have to let him into the church building with my key.

On the way, I called Barbara to see if she had picked Melissa and the kids up. She said that she was at the church building too, that Melissa told her to meet them there. When I got there, Melissa came out of the building and my friend ran in.

(more…)

7 people like this post.

Copyright 2017, Inner Vessel Productions.


Object Lessons

an observation from learning how to make pottery with a friend of mine

By Eric Chaffey


Categories: Inspiration,Perseverance,Personal

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Art and creation is a process and nearly always an opportunity for growth and development. Quite often, creating anything though is bound to get messy. (more…)

7 people like this post.

Copyright 2017, Inner Vessel Productions.


Affordable Kindness

The Low Cost of Generosity

By Rex Goode


Categories: Issues

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Something seems to be fleeing quickly out of this world and it saddens me to see it go. With social media, I daily witness examples of the demise of kindness in our daily communications. I think we ought to really call it, “antisocial media,” because it is increasingly devoid of civility. If kindness ever leaves completely, I fear we are doomed. There will be no turning back.

Incivility takes many forms, some subtle, others blatant. Hurling epithets, oppressive name-calling, and the indiscriminate use of profanity are not the only ways to be unkind. Deceit, rumor-mongering, veiled threats, and not-so-righteous indignation all perpetuate a climate of ill will. (more…)

8 people like this post.

Copyright 2017, Inner Vessel Productions.


Jesus’ Love Is All My Theme

When We’re Not Exactly Right

By Rex Goode


Categories: Issues

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It has been a long time since I’ve written here. Yesterday, one of my neices asked me if I was writing, and the only thing I could claim to be writing lately is progress notes and technical manuals. I could’ve probably have added abuse and incident reports.

I started a new business with my best friend and have been so locked into the never-ending due dates that I don’t really even have time to think about writing other things. Today, though, I feel the need to speak out about something that has been very much in my mind and heart lately.

I always wanted to be some kind of social worker and for the last 12 years, I’ve been one. The joy of helping people who are at a disadvantage has exceeded my expectations of what it would be like. It balances out my other job as a software engineer.

I often hear people say about my job, “You must find that so fulfilling.”

It always makes me pause and think. They are right. It can be very fulfilling and it can be very heartbreaking. If all people understood what a privilege it is to be someone who helps people who need support, things would be easier for me.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of evil in the world, and not all of it is obvious. The overt stuff is easier to handle. It’s clear what to do and most people will be on your side when you have to battle for someone else.

What is not fulfilling about my work is when dealing with the sometimes subtle evil of abuse. Abuse is often committed by people who think their intentions are noble, but only on the surface. In my view, as a survivor of abuse, it is always about the desire of one person to control another.

It is hard for some of us to understand, but there are people who think that controlling others is a virtuous endeavor and they excuse it by doing what in their estimation is for the other person’s good. It is when one person thinks that their ideas about another’s life is superior to what the other person wants (D&C 121:37).

I know all about this. The one who abused me kept telling me that what he was coercing me to do was what I really wanted and he was only doing it because it would help me. He was showing me my true self and giving me what he believed me to want. That was when he was being “nice”.

Other times he outright forced me through assault and intimidation. At those times, I was afraid for my life. I often wondered if I’d ever live to be an adult. For either approach that he took, the goal was the same—control.

Some people think it would be a great feeling to know what everyone should do in all situations. They could just grab for as much power as they can and start forcing everyone to see things their way. After all, if they’re as right as they think they are, why not?

Problem is, there is right and wrong, and then there is good and evil. I think good and evil are higher and lower than right and wrong, respectively.

Right and wrong are the things we say about the choices people make. I don’t believe in moral relativism, but I do believe that most choices are more complicated than right and wrong. I believe that I can’t really know what another person should do about a dilemma that they face and that I don’t. Even if our respective dilemmas are similar, they can’t possibly be the same.

Right and wrong are necessarily dependent on all factors. I think there is a right and wrong to every question, or so the popular hymn, “Choose the Right,” says. I just don’t think I’m in a position to answer that question for other people.

I believe that there is really only one difference between good and evil. Good does not seek to control others and evil does (Moses 4:1–4). Another way of putting it, is that good lets others have their own relationship with God and evil is when someone wants to become a god to others.

Latter-day Saints understand this to be the heart of the war in heaven, a choice between being free or being controlled. More than merely admit it, I’ll assert that when we are free to choose, we also end up being bound by the consequences of our choices.

Because bad choices end up in unpleasant consequences, it’s natural to want to influence people to make good choices. Being persuasive, making a good argument, reaching out in love, and setting a good example are all things we should all do (D&C 121:41).

When someone changes because we truly ministered to them, they will experience a change of heart that will solidify their resolve to keep that change. It will become part of who they are and God will get the glory because we only pointed the way. The power of Christ does the changing.

When someone changes because we’ve manipulated, forced, pulled rank, or otherwise controlled them, the change will never last and we will have defiled ourselves in the attempt. We will want the glory and the credit. Our consequence will be to kindle the wrath of God.

I’ve always loved the poem, Truth Reflects Upon Our Senses, by Eliza R. Show that became Hymn #273 in the LDS Hymnal. She writes about judging and controlling others and the harm it does. After describing attempts to correct someone she comes to understand that she was too busy looking at the faults of another and not at her own.

She wrote, “When I saw my brother’s failing, I was not exactly right.” and “Jesus’ Love is All My Theme”. We can do the most good by making Jesus’ love the theme of our lives.

 

5 people like this post.

Copyright 2017, Inner Vessel Productions.


All is well! All is well!

Reflections on “Come Come Ye Saints”

By Eric Chaffey


Categories: Acceptance,Disability,Faith,Issues,Perseverance,Personal,Same-sex Attraction

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This hymn has been on my mind a lot lately. Somewhat intentionally to be sure. It’s a hymn that’s been a part of my life for as long as I can remember and was one of my father’s favorite hymns. I’m at a point in my life where it’s become even more meaningful; especially the last verse.  (more…)

2 people like this post.

Copyright 2017, Inner Vessel Productions.


Between Guys

A Tribute to My Friend and Mentor, Guy Newgren, Sr.

By Rex Goode


Categories: Gratitude,Personal,Same-sex Attraction

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Guy

Guy Newgren, Sr.

Last week, I attended a funeral for a man I first met at his son’s funeral. Guy Newgren, Jr. and Guy Newgren, Sr. both came into my life at opposite ends of a personal journey of mine. The time I have know Guy Newgren the elder spans a part of my life that represents the most growth I’ve experienced and he was a big part of it. Who I was when I met the son and who I was when the father passed away are two very different men. (more…)

4 people like this post.

Copyright 2017, Inner Vessel Productions.


Were There Not Ten?

What Groups Continue To Do for Me

By Rex Goode


Categories: Issues,Perseverance,Same-sex Attraction,Service,Support

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James Tissot The Healing of Ten Lepers

James Tissot
The Healing of Ten Lepers

I’ve been part of support groups that help men who are attracted to men since 1994. After twenty-two years, you’d think I wouldn’t need them anymore. Most people’s attitude about support groups is that, if you join one at all, you should stay just long enough to get your life back on track, and then leave.

I spent the first thirty-eight years of my life in hiding from everyone, including, in many ways, myself. Finding support groups saved me and helped me see that there was no real reason to hide, especially from myself. (See Knowing Worth and Worth Knowing: What Support Groups Did For Me.)

With the new confidence I gained from coming to understand that I was not alone and that I had great worth in the sight of God, I probably could have stopped going to support groups at some point. Many people think I should. I haven’t and I’d like to explain why. (more…)

4 people like this post.

Copyright 2017, Inner Vessel Productions.


Till the Day Christ Found Me

Reflections on “There But For You Go I”

By Eric Chaffey


Categories: Faith,Inspiration,Perseverance,Personal,Prayer,Same-sex Attraction

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In 1947, the song writing team of Lerner and Loewe created a musical called “Brigadoon.” It’s a fantasy that takes place in the highlands of Scotland in a village that only appears once every 100 years. One of the songs that I’ve always loved and always brings tears to my eyes is called “There But For You Go I.” (more…)

4 people like this post.

Copyright 2017, Inner Vessel Productions.


Knowing Worth and Worth Knowing

What Support Groups Did For Me

By Rex Goode


Categories: Family,Issues,Personal,Respect,Same-Sex Marriage,Support

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GGATEIf you knew me 22 years ago, you would have not really have known me. Who I was on the inside and who I was on the outside were two different men. There’s an old Freudian-type of idea that men with facial hair are symbolically hiding something. I don’t really buy that idea, but for me I think it was true.

It’s hard to describe the inside-man. So much time has passed since I knew him that I don’t remember him that well. 
(more…)

13 people like this post.

Copyright 2017, Inner Vessel Productions.


New and Everlasting

My Family Journey

By Rex Goode


Categories: Family,Family History,Inspiration,Marriage,Perseverance,Personal,Same-sex Attraction

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redwoodI grew up in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) and knew that genealogy was an important thing. When I was very little, I didn’t know why, but my mother was into it, my aunts were into it, and my grandmother was really into it. She lived in a trailer behind my aunt Jaquita’s house. We often visited there and I always spent a little time with Granny.

By the time I started to get to know her, the ravages of health problems, including diabetes, had already made her seem older to me than anyone else I knew. There was a woman in my congregation back in California who was almost 100 and Granny looked older than she did. She always wanted a kiss on the cheek and I reluctantly complied. (more…)

4 people like this post.

Copyright 2017, Inner Vessel Productions.


It Takes Two, Baby

Me and You

By Rex Goode


Categories: Faith,Family,Perseverance

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TakesTwo

Overlooking the Columbia River

It has been a long time since I’ve posted. I’ve been working on a new business with my best friend, Drew Stinson, as my partner. It’s amazing how much time it takes and I’ve never known a lot about things like employees, payroll, taxes, and accounting.

One of the main reasons for doing that is that my wife, Barbara Goode, and I, are getting on in years and without much in the way of prospects for a good retirement. We both need to slow down and spend some time looking after our health.

I wanted her to have at least one day a week that she could take off and do things that are less stressful than what our jobs are. We love taking care and helping developmentally disabled adults. It can be very rewarding, but it can also be very difficult in terms of stress on body and emotions. (more…)

2 people like this post.

Copyright 2017, Inner Vessel Productions.


Christ is My Lord

Then Ever, Ever Praise We

By Rex Goode


Categories: Christmas

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new-testament-stories-591822-galleryI have had the privilege and joy of serving every Friday morning in the Portland Oregon Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My responsibility there is to administer and officiate in the ordinances for the living and the dead. In particular, my duty is to do everything I can to make those who come to the temple feel comfortable and welcome in the House of the Lord.

To accomplish this, I have to prepare myself spiritually. It requires a certain amount of memorizing the ordinances. It is less distracting if I can do it without stumbling over the words. It also requires my thoughts to be focused on the Savior and understand where he fits in the ordinances of the temple. (more…)

4 people like this post.

Copyright 2017, Inner Vessel Productions.


When God Thinks We Are Brilliant

Spiritual Self-Honesty

By Rex Goode


Categories: Faith,Inspiration,Personal,Prayer

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first-vision-128369-tabletAbout eight years ago, I was interviewed by Helen Whitney, a documentary filmmaker for her upcoming piece on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) which aired on the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) as The Mormons. My interview was cut from the final documentary, but I remember the interview.

I was asked many questions, mostly about what it was like to be a man in the Church who experiences same-sex attraction. One question I was asked stood out for me more than the others and it wasn’t specifically about homosexuality. (more…)

2 people like this post.

Copyright 2017, Inner Vessel Productions.