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

Not Ashamed

By Rex Goode


Since my days in Seminary a very long time ago, I’ve been able to quote this scripture:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek (Romans 1:16).

In recent things I’ve written, especially in Tired of Making It Look Easy, I may have created some ambiguity regarding my faith, testimony, and relationship with the Church. I want to try to clear up anything that is unclear.

I have a testimony of living prophets and apostles and recognize that the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only one on earth designated to exercise all priesthood keys. If you aren’t a member of the Church and don’t understand that statement, I invite you to learn more.

I also have confidence in those leaders as they administer the affairs of the Church. I support my local leaders and believe them to have my welfare at heart when they make decisions and strive to do their duty. Do I think they are perfect or omniscient? Definitely not. According to my wife, I’m the only one I think is perfect and knows everything.

Regarding marriage, I believe in its sanctity and in the seriousness of covenants made. I believe in chastity and the importance of abstinence from sexual relations before marriage and fidelity in marriage. I believe that the scriptures and teachings of the Church regarding the eternal result of marriage between a man and a woman in the new and everlasting covenant of marriage (Doctrine and Covenants 131:1–4) are true.

So much do I believe in that teaching, that at a crossroads in my life that may have taken me away from marriage, I chose to marry a woman. I did this in contrast to my almost exclusively homosexual feelings and attractions. I did not enter marriage with the idea in mind that by marrying a woman, I would no longer struggle with these things. I agree with the Church’s advice that marrying a woman is not something to advise a man to do in order to resolve his homosexual feelings.

Though I continue to struggle, I find it nearly impossible to feel like I made any kind of mistake choosing this path. Yesterday, my seventh grandchild came into the world and I have great joy in my posterity. Parenthood and grandparenthood are the greatest!

With all of this conviction, it would seem I’ve got it sewed up in a nice package with nothing really to sort out. That would be almost too convenient.

I still have questions. Most of my questions have long pre-dated the Church’s support of California’s Proposition 8. That event, precipitated in me by the reading of a letter over the pulpit, came to the forefront of my thoughts and became a fresh thorn in my flesh.

I know that many people had big objections to it. I’ve never been a very political person. Though I style myself a political conservative, I’m more interested in the personal than the political or philosophical. I’m interested in what makes people happy and productive. I want to hear people’s stories and share connections with them.

That isn’t to say that political questions aren’t important. I’m sure that there are compelling reasons on both sides of any issue. I just prefer to leave those questions to others to wrangle over. I want to know about people, their stories, and their connections to each other. I care about love, service, and spirituality.

As the scripture says:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law (Galatians 5:22–23).

Where the Proposition 8 issue shook me was in the connections I have formed after many years of being open about my struggle with same-sex attraction. I have met or corresponded with Latter-day Saint men and women across the world who have been frustrated at the lack of attention and interest of their Church leaders in the things they face.

This is illustrated in a get-together of men I know in my area who deal with homosexual feelings. The demographics include married and single, older and younger, long-term faithfulness to the demands of the law of chastity and those who have only recently been faithful. The question came up as to what is the main thing that each person could name that has helped him the most.

One or two named a specific book. Some pointed to an organization. Some said that it was similarly-challenged friends. I pointed out how ironic it was that not one person had said that it had been his stake president, bishop, quorum leader, or home teacher.

Other than those who had necessarily talked things over with a priesthood leader due to the need to confess and resolve serious sins, many lacked the confidence that they could trust their priesthood leaders or home teachers beyond that process. Some had ventured to speak up, but there was no real support forthcoming.

Since my marriage thirty-two years ago, the first bishop I told about my struggle with same-sex attraction was in his position at the same time I first told my wife. My wife had asked me how long I was going to be going through this. I couldn’t give her a satisfying answer, so she asked the bishop to ask me.

I told them both that I would struggle with it for the rest of my life. In that same conversation, I told the bishop how I struggled constantly with a sense of my own masculinity. I told him how uncertain I was of my future and how difficult it was to hold on.

His reaction was good. He talked about his association with me since he moved to the ward, of my contributions to the ward and the Priesthood Executive Committee (PEC) of which I was a member. I was really moved by his expression of love and support for me.

Since that time, I’ve made it a point to make sure that every bishop has at least known that I deal with same-sex attraction. I don’t really remember discussing it with my current bishop, but he is new and I think he knows.

Without the need to confess something, maybe I don’t really even need to get the support of my local leaders. I’m pretty strong in my determination to keep the commandments and be faithful to my wife. I don’t feel myself slipping.

On the other hand, the struggle continues and I face each day with the challenge to do what I believe is right. It gets tiring thinking that I must bear this burden mostly alone. It would be impossible for me if I didn’t have friends who know what I’m going through because they are going through it too, each in his own way.

So, what does any of this have to do with Proposition 8? For most of the men that I know whose situations are similar to mine, it has been a long and difficult road to trust priesthood leaders with the information that they struggle with homosexual feelings. It is made even more difficult when the only thing many of us have heard in the last few years was activism to stop the spread of same-sex marriage.

Regardless of how we may feel about the politics of that issue, same-sex attraction is, for us, very personal. Since it is, I’ll only point out how it affects me personally.

Over my considerable lifetime, I’ve dealt with having to hear the unkind comments that people make about men like me when they aren’t aware that they’re in the presence of just such a man. I’ve heard those comments in school, work, priesthood quorum meetings, sacrament meetings, and Sunday School classes. I’ve even heard them in Ward Council, PEC, and bishopric meetings. I’ve been thankful that such comments have died down quite a bit in recent years, but I’m still confronted with them now and then.

To the credit of the Church, I have heard a lot of talk about how when it comes to people who struggle with homosexuality, that we, as a church, according to our general leaders, love them, welcome them, if they will abide by the standards of chastity that we expect of them. All of that is very nice to hear, except for what feels like an over-emphasis on the terms “them” and “they” as if speaking of people who are on the outside. It doesn’t really sound like the words are directed at me, because I am already on the inside.

What affects me personally on a local level is more subtle but leaves me feeling like I will never really be accepted. It is the general silence on the subject locally, unless it is to promote a political campaign. What it feels like is that the subject is disgusting and distasteful, which puts into my heart that I must be disgusting and distasteful.

Fortunately for me, I’m a pretty stubborn and strong-willed person. My wife would call it pig-headed. I pride myself on being able to stand on my own two emotional feet and not need the approval or praise of others to do what I believe is right.

That’s not to say that it doesn’t hurt to get the sense that the subject is something we need to speak about only in quiet ways. It does hurt. If I weren’t inwardly assured of the Lord’s confidence and pleasure in me, I would surely be ashamed to have to own this issue. I am not ashamed.

Though I feel strong, I know that many are not. They are clinging to their spiritual life in a hostile environment and feel largely alone.

What helps me, in the void of external support, is this:

In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness (Psalm 31:1).

I know that there are many out there who are active and faithful members of the Church who fight every day to be what the gospel requires of them and do it mostly alone. Many more are not being faithful but cannot feel to reach out for the assistance that would help them reconcile their behavior with the teachings of the Church. Silence on the matter is only slightly better than unkind comments.

Does any priesthood leader who might be reading this ever wonder how many men, women, and youth would be more likely to trust you if you showed that you sometimes think about this issue and that your heart goes out to those who deal with it? I hope you do wonder. I challenge you to find out.

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2 Responses to “Not Ashamed”

  1. Blake said:


    Thank you for articulating what many of us feel. The silence on the subject at the local level is almost deafening. During Prop 8 in CA I was disturbed by the level of commitment to following the leaders when it came to fighting gay marriage as compared to following the leaders when it comes to loving people like us who struggle with the feelings yet strive to be faithful. I was disturbed by the disingenuousness and and hypocrisy involved in the dramatically different levels of obedience between following the two directives.

  2. Rex Goode said:

    Thanks, Blake. It really is endlessly frustrating.

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