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

If Things Were Different

How Would You React?

By Rex Goode


mouthshutOn June 30, 2013, my ward chose for its fifth Sunday combined Melchizedek Priesthood and Relief Society meeting the topic of same-sex attraction. As many probably know, it has been something I have hoped would happen for a long time. The meeting had not been announced, so I didn’t know to expect it, but was happy when it did.

Despite this and other blogs I’ve written for, I had never really spoken publicly about my own experience with same-sex attraction in my own ward. There are many reasons for that, not the least of which was that I didn’t feel it appropriate to make such a revelation when it wasn’t the topic of the discussion anyway. In other words, I wanted to wait for a moment when it fit naturally.

When the moment came, I wasn’t nearly as prepared as I thought I would be. I was choked with emotion and my heart was beating harder than I’ve ever felt it. It occurred to me that I should get my phone out of my pocket and get ready to call 911. I got through it without paramedics and the meeting continued. Afterwards, the reaction to what I said was fairly understated. People were just as nice to me as always.

Where the big reaction came was when I described the experience on FaceBook. There was a real outpouring of love and support from my friends there. I discovered that many people knew that I didn’t know knew. It was wonderful, but it has created a question I want to ask, but first some preliminary information.

As my wife pointed out on FaceBook, my main motivation in being so open is so that others will not feel so alone. It is more than that. I want people who are harboring their struggle and suffering with it in secret to know that there are some positives that come from being open. I want them to know that they can dare to open up, if not in as public a way as I have, but to those they consider their friends and loved ones.

I remember vividly the night I told my wife. Though I was nervous, I remember feeling not the least bit worried that she would take it badly. She was wonderful. I also remember the Family Home Evening where I told my children. I wasn’t worried about them either. Similarly, the first time I posted something about it in some of the places of the internet I frequented back then, I knew there would be some who would hate what I had to say, but that most people are good and that they are ready to support someone like me.

As yesterday at church and today on Facebook proved to me, being open and honest is how we get the kind of support that makes us feel encouraged and hopeful. I have been open like this many, many times before. Sometimes there were unkind things said and done, but the good has always far outweighed the bad. I highly recommend it.

In fact, I have recommended it to many of my peers who have struggled in silence and fear of rejection. While some people have thought of me as unique, I know many men who deal with same-sex attraction and are successfully being faithful to the teachings of the Church. Yet, they are afraid to own this. I hope my example can show that it isn’t as bad as they fear. I have enjoyed the amazing support of many people over the years.

However, here is my question…

How would you have reacted to me if I had said that I had not been that successful in staying true to the teachings of the Church? I’m not planning to drop any bombshells here. I’m still doing well.

I don’t ask the question for myself. I ask it for others who may feel they are less deserving of support than I am. I ask for those who still desire to do as they feel the Lord expects them to behave, but have stumbled and fallen. Would you react to them as kindly as you have reacted to me?


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4 Responses to “If Things Were Different”

  1. Ross said:

    As a pornography addict, I can relate to falling short of keeping the commandments. For me, I would feel sad, but as long as you are trying that’s good enough for me.

    I have a close personal friend who is SSA and falls into the category you describe. Lately I’ve begun to wonder if he is no longer interested in trying. I can relate to that too.

  2. diane said:

    Rex, I don’t know you personally and I’m not sure how I came across this blog, but I will answer your call…

    As a follower of Jesus Christ, I hope that I would be just as loving and kind to an individual whether he/she was fully living the commandments of God or whether he/she was still struggling to keep a commandment(s). If I could not be kind and loving then I suppose I would have need to repent, wouldn’t I? We all have things we struggle with at some level or another, some things may be more visible then others or some more socially acceptable, but each of us have a need for the atonement in our life. NONE of us are good enough to make it on our own. It is the atonement of Jesus Christ that heals us and draws us nearer to God.

    For those individuals that suffer with temptations that seem beyond themselves to overcome… my love goes out to you. I pray that you will be able to find the solace and peace that you seek as you turn to Jesus Christ.

  3. Adel said:

    I was in that category for many years. I am always inspired by those who never faltered and wholly empathetic towards those who have. I hope that the reaction would have would be the same reaction towards any sin: an increased feeling of love towards the individual and an increased desire to help in any way possible. Asking for help gives others the opportunity to serve, we all benefit when someone needs lifting!

  4. Rex Goode said:

    Thanks for these great answers. I had hoped for more responses, but you all said it very well.

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