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

Hungry for Heaven

Where I Stand

By Rex Goode


No Big Secret

No Big Secret

It is no big secret.I’m a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, happily married, father of five, almost father-in-law of five, and grandfather of eight. I’m also gay, if that’s a word you don’t find too offensive. I’m strongly committed to my marriage and I love my wife.

When I write about this stuff on the internet, it has tended to create a bit of controversy about me. Most people like me. Some hate me. Some don’t even know I exist. Poor them.

With everything I write about it, I hope I come across as someone who is tolerant of the viewpoints of others. OK, most people tell me I come across as thinking that I know everything. I’m not only nicer than I seem, I’m also a lot more open-minded than I seem.

I just happen to think that it is the job of someone who writes things that are supposed to be persuasive, to write them in a persuasive way. The point of this particular entry is to persuade people that tolerance of others, their beliefs, and their choices is a good thing, no matter how certain you are of your own.

In that regard, I think that I’m probably not clear enough about where I stand on matters related to my faithful adherence to the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and how I view my homosexuality in light of those teachings. Even more unclear may be where I stand in light of others’ choices regarding their homosexuality.

So, in the spirit of clarity, I will lay out what is probably a somewhat complicated point of view. My defense is that these are complicated issues. I can’t possibly just keep reiterating the whole thing every time I write something. Yes, I know that my blog posts are long enough as it is.

I’ve never been able to easily straighten up a cluttered room. I look at the whole thing and don’t know where to start. It’s kind of like that in describing my point of view about being Mormon and gay, or even just being gay. The thing is, it isn’t cluttered to me. Like my desk, where I am sitting at this moment, I couldn’t ask anyone to find something on it, but I know where things are when I need them.

MY Desk

My Desk

In order of priority, my beliefs are as follows:

  • I believe in God, the Eternal Father, in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost (See Articles of Faith 1).
  • I believe in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the true Church of Jesus Christ.
  • I sustain the First Presidency of the Church and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators (See Guide to the Scriptures: Revelation).
  • I bind myself to their teachings regarding sexuality, which I understand to be that sex is to only be between a man and a woman who legally and lawfully wedded.
  • I made a commitment to God 41 years ago and a covenant with my wife 35 years ago that I would not have sex with men and even if you could convince me that the promises I made were misguided, a promise is a promise.
  • I believe in tolerance for the points of view of others who do not believe in the same things I do.
  • I readily acknowledge that it has not been at all easy for me to deal with these deep beliefs in conjunction with the indisputable fact that I am overwhelmingly same-sex attracted (See “Tired of Making It Look Easy).
  • I equally recognize that it is not easy for any Latter-day Saint to reconcile these things, especially for those of us for whom it hits very close to home.
  • I believe that God is the ultimate judge of these things and my only task is to do my best to be right with Him and not worry about whether others are right with Him.
    And ye ought to say in your hearts—let God judge between me and thee, and reward thee according to thy deeds (D&C 64:11).
  • I believe that God takes into account the light and knowledge a person has when he judges them, or as the apostle James wrote, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin (James 4:11).” In that spirit, I don’t pretend to know what another person knows or experiences. My belief is that the vast majority of people are trying to do the best they can with what they know.
  • I look at others who have chosen a different path from mine and recognize that, like me, there was no such thing as an easy choice. Every direction they might turn would result in a struggle of some kind. For me, every direction I could have turned seemed unbearable. How can I fault or judge those who have done the best they could to do what seemed right to them?

The last one I just can’t put into a bullet point. If anyone knows how hard it is to stay faithful to the teachings of the Church while dealing with feelings of attraction to the same sex, I do. I know I make it look easy. To me there is a difference between whether something is easy and whether you have to look like you are miserable while doing difficult things.

I don’t know how to describe how difficult it can sometimes be, because there is always the complication of how my wife and family may perceive me saying it is difficult. I know how I would feel if my wife were to say to me, “It’s hard to stay faithful to you.”

I’m not saying that to her, but I bet it feels that way sometimes. As one friend once said, “No one could be miserable being married to Barbara.” True that.

difficult_ne_miserableOne of my most core beliefs about life is that difficult does not equal miserable. Related to that, I don’t believe that the more difficult something is, the more miserable I am. I accept that life was designed for struggle. We’re not here just to make it through. We’re here to fight our way through.

So, in terms of my own life, if I say that something is very hard for me to do, don’t assume that the hardness makes for a miserable me. Yesterday, I went to the gym and tried out some new machines they have there. Today, I’m sore in places I haven’t been sore before. The pain is annoyingly distracting. It’s hard to move my arms today, but I’m happy with myself for having made the effort and I am certain I will reap the benefit.

For me, true misery would be a life where I only did the easy things, because the only things I would have in my life are the things that are easy to get. There is plenty that I want out of life that is hard to get and I have no problem fighting for them. I’m happy that I have to fight for them.

So, yes, being homosexual and fighting for the life I want to live instead of the life that would be easy for me is incredibly difficult. It is difficult every single day. And it is every bit as rewarding as it is difficult. God, in his infinite grace, compensates me for all of my losses.

I know I have completely skirted around the whole nature of why it is difficult for me, and like that messy desk, I keep trying to figure out where I could possibly start. I suppose I should start with just how it feels.

For me, same-sex attraction seems like this enormous hole of need in my soul that nothing else seems to me to be the right fill material other than a close, and even physical, relationship with a man. soulholePeople have given me innumerable explanations for the source, nature, and meaning of that hole.  They’ve even told me what I can fill it with.

Well, for a good many years now, I’ve tried to take that advice. I’ve done the stuff, you know, like having close, non-sexual relationships with men. I’ve tried some of the theories. I’ve prayed for relief, that the thorn might be removed from my flesh, or that the hole might be filled.

Over these many decades now, I’ve come to realize that, as the Lord said to the apostle Paul, his grace is sufficient for me. The hole is mine and I get to experience.

Once I accepted that fully, my understanding of the hole has deepened, like the depth of the hole itself. What that hole is to me is my hunger for heaven and that is why it is here to stay for this life. I have learned a secret that I hope I can somehow share with you.

Without a hunger for heaven, you won’t ever get there. This hole, this difficulty, this striving, this struggle, this sense of emptiness, and the often unbearable loneliness is me, in the depths of my soul, crying out for my heavenly home. For me, it comes in the form of same-sex attraction. For someone else, it may come in another form.

I know this much. Lord, let me be hungry enough to keep searching for Thee with all my heart, because if I ever stop being hungry, I might just sit down and give up. Always deprive me of some of my needs so that I will not only keep wanting but so that I will also treasure every bit I receive. I am grateful for the hunger.




6 people like this post.

3 Responses to “Hungry for Heaven”

  1. Susan said:

    Hi Rex. I admire your willpower in trying with all that you have to adhere to your religious beliefs. I don’t want to be offensive, but from my perspective from the photos posted, you do not look happy. The hole in the heart…. Have you ever heard that that the there is a more correct translation of “the kingdom of heaven is at hand”? The kingdom of heaven is within, is the correct translation. I grew up mormon, and though I am heterosexual I also struggled with things that I am that are not in harmony with church teachings. Long story, but in short: Until I learned to stop denying my heart and to honor who I am, I experienced deep depression and lack of physical health. Denying the heart is very hard on the body. It also took me quite a while to abandon the belief that suffering is a requirement of salvation. These are teachings that originate with the early Catholic church, and spread far and wide through the crusades. You may feel that struggle and heart hunger is your cross to bear..true, that unless you numb yourself you will never stop feeling desire for your hearts path..that hole can only be filled by following the heart without judgement and unconditional self love. Love to you, brother

  2. Rex Goode said:

    Susan, I am very grateful for your response. I’m not one to shy away from disagreement, so I really appreciate your perspective. I also appreciate your desire to not be offensive. Though I’m not offended, one thing I’ve always disliked is when someone tells me how I feel. I don’t want to put myself in the position of looking defensive about my life. I can only assure you that I’m quite happy. I don’t think I said that suffering is a requirement of salvation. I’m saying that suffering is inevitable. It’s part of the human condition.

  3. Experience Filters | Northern Lights Blog | Northern Lights said:

    […] few months ago, I posted an entry called, Hungry for Heaven, on one of my blogs. One of the pictures in the piece was this edited photo making it look like a […]

Leave a Reply

If your comment is a support question, please post it at the forums.