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

Blameless and Harmless

By Rex Goode


One Saturday evening after a long day taking the family to a museum and the zoo, I was exhausted and wanted just to think about someone else’s problems. After a nap, I settled down on the sofa to watch a movie the children had started. My wife wanted to give the boys haircuts before Church the next day, so she told them to stop the video while she did it.

I was too tired to get up and change the channel, so I sat and watched the boxing match that was going there in front of me. I always hated these things. I could never bear to hit anyone when I was a boy. I have never had much of a killer instinct like many men seem to have. I see that as the main reason I’ve been bad at contact sports, that I don’t have it in me to be aggressive with men.

My experience watching the boxing match was very poignant. I tried to sit and fathom what a man would have to do to feel right about hurting another man for sport. The only time I’ve ever felt I could strike another person has been in defense of someone else like a member of my family. I’ve only tried it once in defense of myself and I felt so guilty that I apologized, even though I was not the aggressor.

I watched the two men boxing, wondering if they had to run some kind of hatred script through their minds in order to be able to compete effectively. I wondered if, when they were finished, if either could go back to feeling right towards the other. I pondered that they must have to maintain a certain amount of ambivalence towards other men to do such things in the name of sport.

Whenever I have felt that men have dealt with me unfairly, I wondered if it would not be a good thing to have the reflex to react like a boxer, swiftly and decisively. What difference would such a capacity have made when I was being mistreated by an older male when I was a child?

Some part of me wants to believe that my way of viewing life and others is abnormal, but I cannot seem to muster the wherewithal to change. I see evidence in the scriptures that I am not that far off.

Paul said to the Philippians:

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (Philippians 2:3–8)

I served for ten years as a leader in the Boy Scouts of America, in various positions, mostly as Scoutmaster. It was the greatest time of my live. I would not trade it for anything.

As I began to face again, the reality of my same-sex attraction, I began to be more and more open with people about it. I have long believed in the necessity of following modern apostles and prophets. It was that belief and testimony that led me to abandon same-sex relationships in 1972, prior to returning to activity in the Church.

When I discovered the Boy Scouts of America policies regarding same-sex attracted men, I asked my bishop to be released. I was serving then as a member of the troop committee. I moved to Ohio shortly thereafter and was greeted in that stake by being asked if I was a predator and when I had last had sexual relations with a man.

Through that sad encounter, many good things have happened, as I took the opportunity to be informative rather than angry.

Against my better judgment, I accepted another Scouting position in the ward, that of Varsity Coach. I had not served three months when a general authority of the Church noticed one of my writings on the Internet and launched a communication with my priesthood leaders that ended in my release. Though I have never harmed a boy or been attracted to them, I was considered a danger.

During the horrible experience of being suspected of being a danger to the boys in my ward, I wished that I had the ability to lash out in anger at the unfairness of it, to hurt those who had hurt me and somehow make them have a similar experience. I could have done something like that, but could not find in myself the will to do it.

What kind of man would I be? What kind of man do I want to be? I want to be like my Savior, humble and obedient.

The apostle Paul further counseled:

Do all things without murmurings and disputings:

That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;

Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. (Philippians 2:14–16)


I note that Paul counsels to be blameless and harmless, not unblamed and unharmed. Being the object of unfair accusations is like the Savior. Being harmed without deserving is also like him. In being the recipient of ill treatment, I am, therefore, likeminded with Christ only if I accept it with the same extraordinary patience.

I do not know where the circumstances of my release from Scouting. I gave ten good years, ten of the best years of my life. I can’t be released from my memories and the bonds of friendship I formed.

Though it is sometimes a difficult path to follow, I am glad that I am pursuing my desire to follow the commandment of the Lord Jesus Christ, who said:

Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” (Matthew 10:16

May I ever strive to be more blameless and harmless.

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