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

Testimony Alone

The Path of Conversion

By Rex Goode


Elder David A. Bednar

Elder David A. Bednar

I have found that it is difficult for some people to read about my experiences with the Boy Scouts of America and being released by the Church from my calling as a Scout leader because of my same-sex attraction. They find it difficult to fathom how I could write frankly about a situation that tells a story involving a general authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who felt strongly about men with same-sex attraction serving in the Scouting program.

Many Latter-day Saints feel that to present even the slightest negative view of a leader of the Church, much less a high leader of the Church, is bordering on apostasy. I am familiar with the sentiment. I’m aware of the concern that arises when it happens. I know that some of that concern has been for me.

So, I want to take a few moments to establish where I stand in relationship to the Church and its teachings. In a recent conference of the Church, Elder David A Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles wrote about the interplay between testimony and conversion. He rightly pointed out that a testimony is not sufficient to stay true to the Church and its teachings.

I’ve been the Sacrament Meeting Music Conductor, what is commonly called, The Ward Chorister, in every ward where I’ve lived since 1980. I’ve had a break from it for a few months here and there, but always end up getting called to it. I was even the Ward Chorister during the time when I was also the Scoutmaster. Hey, I’m good at it.

Being in that position has me sitting on the stand in most meetings. Because of my back problems, going down into the congregation between hymns is uncomfortable and infeasible. I’m better off just sitting where I lead. It puts me in the interesting position of being near the microphone during Fast and Testimony Meeting. I get urged many times by the Spirit to bear my testimony. I feel it so deeply.

Many years ago, our stake rearranged the ward boundaries. For the last year or so, I was in the same ward as the stake president. During the stake conference, he listed a few things he was going to miss as people were redistricted out of his ward. One item in his list was, “I’m going to miss Brother Goode’s testimony of the Savior.”

It is true that I have a special affinity for testifying of Jesus Christ. I have enjoyed a deep feeling and testimony of Him since I was very young. That testimony was the impetus for the night I knelt in the back yard of my uncle’s house and wrestled in prayer with God over my life and behavior. That night, I promised the Lord that I would stop having sex with males and that I would go back to the Church. I have kept both promises.

This web site and others where I’ve posted is full of my testimony, not only of the Lord Jesus Christ, but of the Book of Mormon, of the truthfulness of the Church, and the authority of its leaders. Yet, I know what Elder Bednar means. You see, all during my absence from the Church and my involvement in homosexual behavior, I still had a testimony of these things. That testimony, gained when I was very young, lasted throughout that era. It was that testimony that worked on me to bring me to my wrestle with God and my commitment to the Lord and his church.

What happened to me that night was not the gaining or even the solidification of a testimony. It was conversion through the atoning power of the Savior and the work of sanctification in my life. I don’t think of sanctification as an event. Sanctification is a process, a journey from darkness into ever increasing light.

Elder Bednar said:

Testimony alone is not and will not be enough to protect us in the latter-day storm of darkness and evil in which we are living. Testimony is important and necessary but not sufficient to provide the spiritual strength and protection we need. Some members of the Church with testimonies have wavered and fallen away. Their spiritual knowledge and commitment did not measure up to the challenges they faced (“Converted unto the Lord“, Elder David A. Bednar, General Conference, October 2012).

I’ve faced challenges. My spiritual knowledge and commitment has been tested, in innumerable ways. Things have happened to me, terrible things, unkind things said by others, the hurts of abuse, and the misunderstandings of those who bore the mantle of leadership in the Church. It is all part of life, a life that I accept. I expect that I will have these experience the rest of my life, another thing I accept as part of life.

In the most recent Fast and Testimony meeting in my ward, I spoke of how we have been promised that in the resurrection, the Lord will compensate us for all our losses. I said how blessed and joyful I felt that the Lord has done more than that for me. I feel I am daily compensated for any loss I experience. For every unkind word or misinformed judgement, the Lord has turned it around. Even those who spoke the words have changed their opinion of me.

I have learned to not only accept that life is hard, but to also accept that God is mindful of me. I want more than mere acceptance. As I wrote about in Beyond Acceptance, I want confidence. I want the personal assurance from God that I am doing what I should. I want to hear those famous words we are told we will one day hear: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant…Enter into the joy of thy Lord (Matt. 25:23).” Almost daily, I feel the comfort and assurance that my Heavenly Father loves me and that the Savior’s thoughts towards me were as he said to ancient Israel during the Babylonian Captivity:

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end (Jeremiah 29:11).

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One Response to “Testimony Alone”

  1. Karen Cox said:

    Your awesome Rex!! I loved this article. I miss hearing your testimony too…its been many years since I have sat in a testimony meeting with you…but through your honest words and action’s through the internet, I can smile and know you are strong and true, and such a wonderful example to all who know you, and the testimony that you bear, both vocally and written, in your heart, of our Savior! 🙂

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