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

My Daily Universe Email Interview

By Rex Goode


I was recently interviewed by BYU’s Daily Universe article about Jonathan Langford’s No Going Back and my role in his research. Following are the responses I gave to the reporter by email. I just thought you might be interested in what I had to say. The article is “New novel explores personal struggle.”The basics:

My name is Stephen Rex Goode, BSW. I do go by Rex. I live in Gresham, Oregon. I own and operate Inner Vessel Productions, which is an umbrella company for several web sites including innervessel.com, rexgoode.com, springsofwater.com, ldsr.org, disabilityreviews.org, and soon to launch voxfamilia.org. I have two jobs. My first job is as a computer consultant doing web site design and software engineering. My other job is as a social worker. I teach life skills to developmentally disabled adults and write behavior support plans for developmentally disabled adults with severe behavior problems.

I believe that No Going Back was based on several email discussions related to Mormon literature and homosexuality. I believed that my perspective as a man deals with same-sex attraction would be unique in those discussions, so I chose to disclose that information. Over the years I’ve been a member of Association for Mormon Letters mailing list, I have contributed to many discussions. If one particular discussion sparked an idea for Jonathan, you would need to ask him about that.

At one point, I was going to move from Portland, Oregon to Columbus, Ohio and thought I would be away from the internet for awhile. I wrote a “good-bye” letter to the AML List in which I thanked everyone for having been so supportive and kind to me in the discussions we had about homosexuality. In Oregon, I served many years as a Scoutmaster and when I got to Ohio, my new bishop called me to be a Varsity Couch in the ward’s Scouting program. Someone from AML List forwarded my good-bye letter to my new stake presidency, which resulted in me being released from my Scouting calling. In all of my Scouting years, no one had ever questioned whether I was a healthy influence on young men, but the Boy Scouts of America policy seemed pretty clear to the local leadership and I was released. Four years later, I moved back to Oregon.

Of course, if you’ve read the whole book, you know that Paul ran into some trouble with BSA policy also. I suspect that contributed in some way to Jonathan Langford’s plot, but could not say for certain. Jonathan and I had many private email conversations about my point of view about faithfulness in the Church while struggling with same-sex attraction. We also talked about some of my experiences dealing with this dilemma while living in Oregon. As with most regions of the country, Oregon has its own culture as do Oregon Mormons. Also, I was present in Oregon for many of the statewide votes related to homosexuality, so I was able to answer some of his research questions about that.

Although I’m much older than Paul and my youthful experiences were in a completely different era, I have been connected with same-sex attracted Latter-day Saint support resources in the local area. I have known many youth and young adults who currently deal with it. I would say that their experiences are wide and varied. In my opinion, Jonathan could not help to get it right, because just about anything he portrayed that involved real conflicts of the heart, would match someone. He certainly hit accurately on many of the things I’ve felt and experienced both as a youth and as an adult. I think that one thing that mainstream Mormon readers may not understand about same-sex attracted people in the Church is that we are as devoted to the gospel as anyone. If we weren’t there would be no struggle. Our choices would be clear.

Reactions to my openness have varied over time. Probably the worst reaction I got was when I was confronted by a member of the stake presidency in my new stake in Ohio. He demanded that I tell him when the last time had been that I had sex with a man. At the time, my answer was about 25 years. He was also worried that I was some kind of predator. The best reaction I got was from the same man. He moved to New York, became a stake president. One Sunday, when he had come home to visit his mother, he took me aside after Sacrament Meeting. He said, “I have been working with a man in my stake who has been dealing with same-sex attraction. He walked into my office the other day with a very tall stack of papers. He put them on my desk and said that if I wanted to understand him, I should read that stack of paper. It was your writings that he downloaded from the internet. I just want to thank you and tell you how grateful I am for everything I’ve learned from you.”

Today, people hardly react at all. I’m just me–Sacrament Meeting Music Conductor, High Priest Instructor, father of five, and grandfather of eight.

I would hope that readers of  No Going Back would realize that there are many faithful Latter-day Saints among them who deal with feelings of attraction to the same sex. It should be something we are willing to acknowledge and discuss. We should let our youth know that if they struggle with these feelings, they will be accepted and encouraged. It isn’t enough to say to them that we love them in spite of their same-sex attracted feelings. We love them.

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One Response to “My Daily Universe Email Interview”

  1. Jonathan Langford said:


    Thanks for your willingness to talk to the reporter. It looks like they quoted you pretty accurately in the Daily Universe article (and I’m glad they contacted you–the writer tracked you down by herself, I hadn’t suggested it), but of course they left out some of the more profound and important things you had to say.

    My memory is fuzzy enough that I don’t remember for sure which conversations when led to my story idea, though I do remember clearly that the idea sprang from those conversations on AML-List. I’m sure that your experience with your scouting calling was part of the grist for the original story, though I obviously wasn’t trying to retell your experience in any way. Certainly your comments about being misunderstood from both sides (members of the Church and members of the gay community) was a catalyst for me to realize that there was a whole realm of experience out there that deserved to be presented in fiction but largely hadn’t been.

    Thanks again both for helping to spark the conversation, and for your encouragement since then.

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