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

The Bitter and the Sweet

By Rex Goode


Why I am grateful for the struggles I’ve had.

Same-sex attraction was hell when all the feelings and emotions I experienced were wrapped up in a desire for intimacy with men and when every word that proceeds from God’s chosen servants told me I must not indulge those feelings.

The bitter years of denying myself seemed more painful than the years when I did not deny myself. One might conclude that I should have stopped denying myself and find relief. Many would understand and support me. I would find acceptance in a new community, and doubt I would really lose the acceptance of my true friends and my family. Everything would, of necessity, change in my relationship with these people, but I believe their love for me is strong enough to weather the storm.

Through the struggle of the years of remaining faithful to the teachings of modern prophets and apostles, many wonderful blessings have come my way. Though the effort is monumental and strained to live worthy of these blessings, the blessings themselves are sweet and satisfying.

In order to have an eternal companion and children that are mine through eternity, I abandoned same-sex encounters five years before I got married. My wife, my daughters, and my sons are the source of more joy and satisfaction than I knew was possible at the time I made that important decision to obey.

Sitting in the House of the Lord, feeling worthy to participate in the sacred ordinances of the holy temple is sweetness beyond description.

As David said:

One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple. (Psalms 27:4)

I look at myself now, seeing the man that is attracted to other man, and have ceased to hate him. Not only have I ceased to hate the man, but have also ceased to hate the attribute that has made him struggle, because that attribute has also made him the man he is, the man that I love.

As I enumerate my blessings, I can count each one and ponder how common they would seem without the hard work I did to gain each one. Had it all been easy, I’m not certain I would even notice them.

Not only is it the contrast that makes them precious to me. It is how the nature of my blessings has been affected and changed by the nature of same-sex attraction. The self-examination I do produces favorable results, not in spite of same-sex attraction struggles, but because of them.

In that sense, same-sex attraction, for me, has been both bitter and sweet. If I could go back to whatever was that pivotal point in my life or pre-life that instilled homosexual urges in me, change them, and move forward again, I could not be any happier than I am now. I do not know who I would be, but he would not be a better person than the me that now exists. What I would fear most about such a journey is that the second time around, I would not find occasion to rely on the strength of my Redeemer. For all the struggle against powerful temptations and all the regrets of not indulging them, there is no pain or suffering that can compare with the joy of knowing the living God of Israel and allowing him to bless me.

I feel as Adam and Eve did after their expulsion from the Garden:

And in that day Adam blessed God and was filled, and began to prophesy concerning all the families of the earth, saying: Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God.

And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient. (Moses 5:10–11)

In so many ways, I know the joy of my redemption because of my transgressions and I have known the sweetness of relying on the mercies of my Savior because of the bitterness of my struggles. Because of this, I am grateful not only for the sweet, but also for the bitter.

And to bring about his eternal purposes in the end of man, after he had created our first parents, and the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and in fine, all things which are created, it must needs be that there was an opposition; even the forbidden fruit in opposition to the tree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter. (2 Nephi 2:15)

In my prayers, I thank God for same-sex attraction, and the poignant journey through which the Lord has been my conductor. It isn’t over, but through the perfect example of Jesus Christ in loving me, I have learned to love myself.

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One Response to “The Bitter and the Sweet”

  1. kurort said:

    Love the advice. Thank you.

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