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

My Misfortune Cookie

The Evils of Gossip

By Rex Goode


A while back, I had some Chinese food, Kung Pao Chicken, to be exact. Naturally, I got the obligatory fortune cookie. When I opened it up, it said, “You will come to the attention of influential people.” Being the optimistic and sometimes conceited person, I naturally believed it to be a good thing. I was wrong.

Of course, I don’t really believe that fortune cookies tell the future. In fact, a statement like that is generic enough to make anyone wonder if events were predicted by it. I was especially interested in coming to the attention of someone who could give me a job in the data processing industry. I have been seriously considering returning to it, full time, as soon as possible.

Shortly after getting this fortune, I found out that my name had been maligned among influential people in the Church. I recall a conversation with a man where he accused me of being mean to him. He said, “I’m going to make waves, and when I make waves, they wash over EVERYTHING!” This was a couple of years ago.

At the time, I found it hard to believe that one person could make waves big enough to sully my reputation, but his prediction, like the fortune cookie’s, came true. Within a few days, the first wave hit in the form of a phone call from an old friend and representative of an organization I have supported for many years. Things had been said, anonymously of course, that had to be checked out.

A series of events that followed shortly thereafter made me believe that not only was the Wavemaker still making waves, but others were surfing on them. Over time, it seemed it was a whole fleet of them. It was difficult to sort out which events were tied to the Wavemaker’s gossip and which would have occurred anyway. That is one of the evils of gossip. It creates fear and uncertainty in the life of its victim. You end up wondering whom you can trust or believe.

One mistake I made in all of this was to try to clear it all up. Too many people believe in the old saying, “A hit bird flutters.” I found out that being defensive only makes you look guilty. This is another evil of gossip. It is nearly impossible to defend yourself against it.

Sometimes these surfers ride the wave because they want to believe what is being said. It fits their own agenda. And so, the waves keep coming, and they do indeed wash over everything.

In the time since the threat was first made, many things have happened that seem traceable to it. Only recently did I find out that even a stake president and his wife had gotten on their surfboards, people I don’t even know, but have formed an opinion of me based on things that have been said and whose prominence have only lent credence to the rumors being circulated.

Probably the most evil thing about gossip is how irreversible it is. How can you ever track down everyone who has heard a rumor and passed it on, or even worse, added to it?

A related evil, which some people do not think of as evil, is how readily a person believes gossip when their own issues make them want to be a rescuer. Much of what was said was swallowed by people who are suckers for people who play a victim role.  The imagined hurt that triggered the threat became the basis of all that followed. It spread because too many people were anxious to help the poor victim of my callousness and viciousness. Yes, that was sarcastic.

So, I am left now with how to pick up the pieces and move on. For me, it is going to be a hard process, but one I hope to move through quickly. I see my tasks as follows:

  1. Forgive. I hope to make this the quickest and easiest of the tasks. I’m a fairly forgiving person. It is not just the Wavemaker I must forgive, but all of the surfers too, including those I don’t even know about.
  2. Trust in God to advance the truth in His own time and in His own way.
  3. Continue to live my life with faith and integrity.
  4. Work to help those who have also been hit by the waves. When a tsunami hits, it hits the entire community. I know that others have been hurt by the things that have been said. Even though the things being said were about me, the wave that was aimed at me washed over many others.
  5. Let my reputation stand on its own two feet. Just this last week, I worthily entered the temple with my son to witness his sealing to our new daughter-in-law, for whom the “in-law” part seems extraneous. I had a wonderful experience camping with my children and grandchildren.

To wavemakers and surfers alike, I offer my hand of friendship. Let what has happened be behind us. For my sake and that of my family, I beg you to stop. Do what you can to restore my reputation. I know it cannot all be taken back, but let us all trust the Lord that the truth will prevail in the end.

4 people like this post.

7 Responses to “My Misfortune Cookie”

  1. Jimmy M. said:

    I needed to read this today. Thanks.

    I am a ward mission leader. In an effort to reach out to a less active person, I shared my story of leaving and returning to church. The missionaries were present. One told my story to a missionary not present, and that missionary is now in our ward. He has used that information to mock and belittle me in the spirit of healthy teasing. Your steps are what I need to practice each day.


    Jimmy Merrell

  2. Blain said:

    Wow. I have never had that kind of an experience, and I’m quite glad of that. I don’t have any way of relating to someone who would be so spiteful, expending that much of their own effort and reputation to try to hurt someone else, and I can’t understand using such an effort on someone like you at all. I can theoretically understand how someone could be threatened by you, but this is off-the-charts crazy crap.

    I think your plans make sense, but you’re correct that there’s no way to unring those bells. I do hope that people in a position to do some repairs to your reputation will do so — I can’t really find the words to say how much. Congrats on the wedding, btw. I remain very impressed with your family — very good people.

  3. Rex Goode said:

    Thanks, Jimmy. How sad for you. It isn’t fun.

  4. Rex Goode said:


    Feeling threatened by little ol’ me? Really? 🙂


  5. Springs Of Water » Have Patience With Me said:

    […] « My Misfortune Cookie […]

  6. Steve said:

    I’m so sorry you have gone/are going through such an experience. Your attitude and approach to putting this behind you is remarkable.

    All my best,

  7. Rex Goode said:

    Thanks, Steve.

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