My work, my ideas, my faith, my life

Tired of Making It Look Easy

By Rex Goode

I’ve never posted about it on this blog, but it is fairly common knowledge among people who know me well and have read my other blogs that I deal with same-sex attraction. Some people called it “gay”. Others call it “homosexual”. I guess I call it all of the above depending on the context.

If you are reading this, then I have decided to post it. I am writing this with a great deal of anxiety. It’s not that I am unaccustomed to talking about it. It’s that I’ve kept it mainly quiet when it comes to professional venues. My intention witht his blog that actually bears my name was to keep my private life mostly out of it.

I write about my journey as a gay married Mormon man on other blogs:,, and There, I mostly write inspirational material, personal essays that I hope will provide some spiritual insight into what is like to struggle to remain faithful to a Church and belief system that is contrary to some of the more basic instincts and inclinations I deal with.

Let me spell out just what that belief system is to me. I wrote a little about it in My Faith. I am a believing member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Church). A thorough treatment of what that means is not within the scope of this entry, but you can get a fairly good idea about it here.

Specifically, regarding homosexuality, the Church teaches that marriage is ordained of God only when between a man and a woman, that there is to be no sex outside of marriage. The Church professes its love and welcome of people who are attracted to the same sex and requires for membership that such people abstain from sexual behavior with one another.

Of significance to me is the teaching and belief I grew up with that the highest of God’s blessings in the eternities is reserved for those who are married in the new and everlasting covenant of marriage. This is different than the usual “until death do us part” clause of traditional Christian marriage. We believe that a marriage solemnized in our temple by one with authority to do so lasts beyond this life and into eternity.

So important was it to me to attain to this blessing that I put aside my natural inclinations and made it my goal to marry a woman in the temple. When I really put my mind to a thing, I do it right. Such is the case with my marriage. I could not have picked a better spouse than Barbara, my truly eternal companion. She’s the best woman on the planet, even though I think my daughters come in at a close second.

Anyone who knows anything about homosexual feelings will know that if, as I claim, I experience these feelings deeply and almost exclusively, that it could not possibly be easy. It is true that it is not. I think I make it look easy because I don’t express any dissatisfaction in the life I have chosen. It is true that I am not dissatisfied. I have a good life.

I have five wonderful children, three in-laws, and six grandchildren with two on the way. My wife and I get along as well as most couples I know. We have our disagreements of course, but they rarely approach what feels like an endangerment of the happy life we’ve built together.

Any person with complex reasoning capabilities will appreciate that one can be satisfied and happy, yet still struggle with impulses contrary to the life we have chosen. Those impulses can be strong enough to create a paradox that a lot of people can’t reconcile.

I must find some reconciliation. The stress of living the life I have chosen in light of feelings I have is sometimes almost more than I can bear. However, bear the stress I do. It isn’t easy. It is sometimes nothing but hard.

I am not new to making this kind of revelation. As I’ve pointed out, I’ve been writing on-line about this for almost fifteen years now. Thirteen years ago, I moved to Ohio. Some of the things I wrote preceded me there. The reception I got at church by some of the leaders was mixed. To spell out those reactions here would be counterproductive to what I want you to understand by reading what I write here. Suffice it to say that there is a lot of fear among members of the Church that a man with homosexul tendencies is to be avoided and/or fixed.

Once the church leadership in Ohio came to realize that I was faithful to my covenants and intended to remain so, they changed their attitude towards me. The stake president asked that I participate in a fireside in my ward about same-sex attraction. I “outed” myself to two different wards, mine and the one with which my ward shared a church building.

The response from my ward was good. I never felt unwelcome or mistrusted in general. I do remember one woman who was never friendly to me again, but I could not specifically pin it on my open admission at that fireside. I saw another woman gather her children to one side as I walked past. For the most part, I got a lot of respect from them.

Then, due to the news that my mother had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, I moved my family back to Oregon so we could be near her in her last months. I immediately began to feel uneasy about the prospect of being as open in Oregon as I had been in Ohio. This was sad to me. As a youth, my parents didn’t move to Oregon until I was 15 years old, yet I think of Oregon as home.  Portland is my home town in my heart, even though I was actually born in Safford, Arizona.

Not that I’m a prophet by any means, but the saying goes that a prophet is not without honor except in his own country. I can’t put my finger on it. I haven’t been given any directives, but I feel like I’m supposed to shut up about this.

A few years ago, when Helen Whitney was making her PBS documentary called, “The Mormons”, I was invited down to Salt lake to be interviewed by her. The interview went well. I was cut from the final release. When it became known by some local people that I had done the interview, I got the impression they were uneasy about it. When I was informed that I had been cut, I think they were relieved. I feel more and more like an outsider because I bear something that for which, if known, I would be surely ostracized, or at least if feels like I would.

Over the years since I had been so open before, I have complicated the process in my mind of “coming out”. I am anxious about too many things. I worry about how my family feels about my openness. I wonder if they think that because I don’t talk about it much anymore that it’s not really something I deal with anymore. Will they be disappointed to know that I still do, as much as ever? Will they feel how powerfully I must love them if I continue to keep my commitments despite such difficulty?

With the advent of facebook, I’m in contact with a lot of people from my past whom I have never told about this struggle. Part of me wants to just keep it that way. There are hazards to being open, not the least of which is how people suddenly start to re-interpret your relationship with them when they learn you deal with homosexual feelings.

I’ve had more than one man tell me that it didn’t matter, that I was still the Rex they always knew, and then find out they told people that I was attracted to them. The conceit of such an idea! I want to tell them that I’ve only ever been attracted to attractive men, so they have nothing to worry about.

I am anxious professionally. Many people I work with will not understand. They won’t get my desire to be faithful to my wife and my faith. I might even lose some business over it.

So, I’ve said a lot here. Even in the closing paragraph, I’m not sure I’m going to publish it. I’m exhausted having written it.

2 people like this post.

36 Responses to “Tired of Making It Look Easy”

  1. Jordan said:

    Thank you for sharing these very personal thoughts and feelings. It helped me a lot to read this. And, I really love it that you are articulate and intelligent in your writing. Thank you!

    Also, thank you for the wonderful links you have provided here. is my new best friend and is helping me so much with a current problem! Your listing that link is a miracle for me. Thank you!

  2. Michael Trump said:

    This post was refreshing. Thanks for sharing it.

  3. Rex Goode said:

    Thank you, Mike. I hope you’re doing well.

  4. Peggy Bishop said:

    For years I have known this about you, and I have a strong respect for you. As you probably know Michelle is a lesbian, and my brother was gay (he died at age 43 of a DVT) so I have learned to deal with alot in this life. The Church has been my strength for 30 years now, and I feel blessed that I am a member. For without people like you sharing your true story, I could not have the inner peace that I do. YOU are truly an inspiration to me and Barbara, yes, is the bestest there is.
    Rex, just know this one little thing, YOU are a man of God, YOU are a good man, and you are, in every sense of the word, an inspiration to alot of people. The strength and restraint that you have shows your love of the Gospel. I think you are awesome. Thanks for giving me hope that someday… michelle comes back to the church!


  5. Tom Spradlin said:

    Rex, My friend, Thank you for your post! I have always truly admired your internal strength and can’t for a moment begin to understand the cross you must bear. Rex you’re a hell of a good man with some very unique and complicated internal struggles. I respect you for your openness and for your convictions. As one who has enjoyed the judgments of others as a result of my choices and pursuits of complete happiness, I salute you for maintaining consistency in your beliefs. Mine waivered and I cast my beliefs to the side as I gave in to my quest for internal harmony and happiness. I am rebuilding some bridges, and some bridges I choose not to cross again but I HAVE found something I could not have found without complete and total risk. You are a passionate man Rex with respect to seeking and obtaining your goals and PASSION is a two edged sword. It will take you places where most will be unable to go yet there will always be a degree of discontent as you recognize dreams you cannot pursue. I wish you well my friend and will always respect and value your friendship, regardless of the road you travel.

  6. Peggy said:

    You and I were penfriends many years ago when my dear LDS friend in Portland, Oregon was dealing with her husband’s SSA. They divorced, but successfully raised three beautiful children. He died of cancer a few months ago. When I wrote to you, you were quite helpful for her.

    As I see this coming out testimonial on Facebook, I feel for your discouragement. There are time cycles when it gets hard to keep up a happy countenance. While not dealing with your problem, I do deal with a problem that causes me to go through similar cycles. I have learned to deal with them in the immediate here and now by making sure two things are done when I see the first signs of of discouragement. I make sure I am getting adequate rest and nutrition. Am I taking care of myself physically? The second thing I do is get a priesthood blessing and put my name on the temple prayer roll. Am I taking care of myself spiritually? I think problems such as these force us to develop our whole selves. It is kind of merciful to know that God sees us as whole beings, not fragmented parts of our selves. So if you are worn down right now, I hope you will look into taking care of yourself. I am reminded of the book Believing Christ by Stephen Robinson where he tells us that as faithful members of the church that in some incomprehensible way, the Lord is going to fix things so that we can have perfect joy in the hereafter. Fostering faith and hope leads us to developing charity towards those who are less than charitable. I wish you the best.

  7. Laurie Miller said:

    Rex – I admire your courage and honesty in this post. If only more members of the church would share their struggles rather than putting on their “strong” faces, we could all draw from each other and lift each other up. Sometimes the expectations are so high that we feel as if we will never be “good” enough. A huge shout-out to you and your amazing wife. I’m proud to know you!

  8. Bravone said:

    Rex, I am so appreciative of you willingness to be open and honest with your feelings. You are the kind of example of a gay man that more people need to see. I think it would change the way society and the church view homosexuality to see good men living honorable lives. Too often, most equate being gay to some outlandish parade and don’t even realize that there are so many, in and out of the church, that live quiet lives of integrity.

  9. Monte said:

    As always, thanks for sharing Rex.

  10. Jill Moss said:

    Rex, We love you! You are such an asset to our ward and our world! I applaud you for your honesty (in our church it can’t be easy!) Laurie is right, if more of us were honest about our struggles we could learn so much more from each other. And I really think that we as Mormons forget sometimes that it isn’t possible to be perfect – we all struggle.

    To be honest, we’d love you if you were gay, straight, or purple polka-dotted. We’d love you if your were married to Barbara or had a boyfriend named Frank (although, Barbara is so amazing that she makes you even better than you are!!!). We love you because Heavenly Father loves you and that’s enough for us.

    Thanks for sharing.

  11. Barbara said:

    My Valiant Warrior, I am so grateful for your love of Our Savior and wisdom and strength you draw from Him daily.
    I have really never felt a need to “tighten a leash” or be clingy, or to try to squeeze out of you anything that you cannot offer. (I rely on my Savior to fill any “hole” or “gap” in any need I’ve ever felt unmet. You teach me with your strength, and wisdom that WE ALL have needs that we perceive as “unmet”.
    Years ago, you talked to me about The Savior having “unmet needs”. He had a need for food and water 40 days in the wilderness. He had a need, as we all do, to be believed that He WAS who He said He was. He had many “unmet needs when His body yearned for relief from the pain and suffering.
    His love for, and obedience to His Father and for His wayward siblings outweighed any immediate corporal urge for relief. We ALL have unmet needs. We, as weak humans, often race around desperate to do anything to fill those needs, stop the “hurt”, and fill the “Black Hole” within. Like the Israelites, busy jumping over the poisonous vipers and running for Bandaids, we forget to turn, to look, and to live! There really ARE some needs that may never be filled in this life. That is when, as you have said so many times, His loving Atonement is sufficient until this “Thorn in the side” be removed.

    You always offer so much, and have always made me feel loved and have NEVER given me reason to mistrust you.
    Every wife wants to be her husbands “everything” in many ways.

    I am no exception to that, however…..

    … I recognize the “hole in your cup” was put there by bombshells from childhood tortures that I can never even imagine. (“There but for the grace of God go I”) . I know I can fill many things, but have no envy that I haven’t the power to patch that hole. I don’t try to block you going for hikes with the group, or going to group meetings because I recognize that there is a need to build the guy comradeship in appropriate ways. There is, I understand, a development that was missed in childhood that guys NEED, to FEEL like one of the “normal guys. I know there are always risks. Our Heavenly Father knew it too when He laid the Plan where He sent us away with the known risks of losing us to TEMPTATIONS!! Any attempt of forced control is NOT His plan. I’m not that smart, but smart enough to know that a tightened leash, makes any intelligent being tug harder, and even sneak to feel free.
    I am in no way naive to risks.
    I trust YOU, because you are in fact TRUSTWORTHY.
    You are ‘ornery, headstrong, and NOT “always right”, but you ARE my Valiant Warrior! Eternal Love, Barbara

  12. Jonathan Langford said:

    I hope you know how valuable I’ve found your thoughts over the years. Most people dealing with the challenges you deal with make a choice not to talk about it publicly. While there are reasons for that, it makes it all the more valuable when someone like yourself is willing to talk publicly about this.
    It’s looking like my book will come out (so to speak) in September or October of this year. Let me reiterate again that it was your comments on AML-List that got me started thinking about this story. Your honesty, sharing, and insight are part of why the book exists. (Which I hope you’ll consider a good thing…)

  13. Rex Goode said:

    Thanks, Jonathan. I do consider it a good thing. I’m waiting impatiently for it to be published.

  14. Ed Cook said:

    Rex, it’s been a while since we’ve seen or talked, but I think about ya a lot bud, and like was said before… “you rock”.

  15. Blake said:


    I have admired you for a long time. Today my admiration for you has grown. Your courage is to be commended. I keep feeling that in order for people like us to win this battle we need to have more and more of us go public the way that you have. Otherwise people will not know that we exist and that we have done what was necessary to be faithful to our covenants in spite of our tremendous challenges.

    You are awesome.

  16. Ron Raynes said:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings. I share with you many of the issues you speak of, particularly,

    “I must find some reconciliation. The stress of living the life I have chosen in light of feelings I have is sometimes almost more than I can bear.”

    I think this is the siren call of my life as well! Being at peace with one’s self, to be satisfied that my life is enough, and making the daily choice to be happy in spite of it all, these are the things we (all humanity) must deal with.

    I appreciate Barbara’s response in recognizing we all have unmet needs. This is salve for the soul. I hope to meet some of the needs of others, and in so doing, appease the dynamic tensions of my life. I believe this is what the Saviour intended when He directed us to lose our lives in the service of others, thereby finding our lives.

    Being more open about our SSA does carry with it some risk off rejection, both at church and work. I’m struggling as well with the need to be not so closeted and the desire to be more open about myself. . . that others can view and come to understand the complexities of such a life. I don’t want to be viewed as a paragon of virtue, but that I have faith to deal with paradox. It is unfortunate that many conservative Christians simply view individuals such as ourselves as freaks or unworthy of respect or genuine consideration. If I could change anything, it would be to open up these people’s attitudes. I sense this is where you are coming from as well, and for that, I thank you for your efforts and example.

  17. Rex Goode said:

    Thanks everyone. I keep thanking people here and at facebook. It has been great to feel the acceptance. Only one person from my ward responded to my blog entry. Another responded, but it was just about the picture at the top of my blog. I couldn’t tell if she read the blog itself.

    I found out about another person who read it but had nothing to say to me either on the blog, on facebook, or in person. Well, no big deal.

    Ron, I would certainly love to have people’s attitudes be more charitable and tolerant. I hope that comes to pass over time. I’m trying to be patient for it.

  18. Melissa Marriott said:

    Love ya forever dad!

  19. Rex Goode » Not Sure What to Think said:

    […] my online revelation in Tired of Making It Look Easy, I went to church. I am the music director, meaning that I stand up front during hyms, wave a […]

  20. Scott said:

    Hi, Rex, Scott from the olden days of the Clean List, here. 🙂
    You’ve strongly helped me in defining my viewpoints, beliefs and opinions about same-sex attraction and the LDS religion. I share from your experiences and opinions often when explaining my own beliefs. I look up to you very much and my heart aches to read your concerns about being open and clear. I cannot imagine that Barbara could hope for a better husband, nor could I imagine your kids hoping for a better dad. My impression is that the Lord is well pleased in you as well. I really don’t know who else has much right to ask things of you, so I think you’re covered. My advice for ya is to be a great example like you are on the forums, even though there are sure to be some costs assocatied with doing so.
    If Barbara’s response wasn’t enough to make you bawl, then I can’t imagine what I might say to help out. 🙂 Reread what she posted, often. You might wanna print it out and post it on your office wall, or something. Such high acclaim is powerful stuff.
    Much love, Rex! You have my deepest gratitude for all that you have done and continue to do to help others!

  21. Blain Nelson said:

    Huh huh, huh huh. You said Facebook.

    I can’t begin to find the words to respond to this, which has not traditionally been a problem for me. You’ve been my hero for a very long time now. You’ve saved me and been supportive both by your example and by your actions — I won’t forget those trips to the airport that you didn’t have to make, and the welcome you and your family gave me, even though I was a total stranger to them.

    My understanding of SSA has been totally transformed by your example and insights. I have rejected the cultural cruelty that the greater society and the Mormon world have dished out to people who struggle (some more than others) with this. I hope someday to show the kind of self-restraint I’ve seen in you.

    This has been quite a ride. I don’t think either of us is close to the end. I hope we can both remember, when we’re feeling afraid and closed, to let go of the bar, wave our hands in the air, and find the enjoyment in the roller-coaster that we live on.

  22. Rex Goode said:

    Blain, thanks. Everyone’s responses have been so great. I cry at the prospect of being someone’s hero. I wish I could feel that way about myself sometimes, but it helps to know I’m helpful to others.

  23. Rusty said:

    I’m with Blain. You have very much influenced my understanding of same-sex attraction. I’ve related some of your experiences to LDS friends to help them understand a bit about SSA from one who actually does cope with it.

    Notice I said *cope* with it–because you do, and rather admirably. Those in the Church who, like you, are same-sex attracted but remain faithful are such an inspiration. It would be so easy in our society for you to just give up and give in and live a homosexual lifestyle. But you consciously choose not to, and it’s because of your testimony of the gospel. If you can hang in there, then surely so can I.

    So, yeah, chalk me up as another fan of Rex. (Hmmm…I think I feel a Facebook group coming on…)

  24. Springs Of Water » Not Ashamed said:

    […] recent things I’ve written, especially in Tired of Making It Look Easy, I may have created some ambiguity regarding my faith, testimony, and relationship with the Church. […]

  25. Phil Bell said:

    Well written (as usual) Rex. Thanks for sharing. I’m jealous you have six grandchildren. We have one!


  26. Rex Goode said:

    Thanks, Phil. Not meaning to rub it in, but I have seven now and will have eight by the end of the year. 🙂

  27. Michelle Bishop said:

    Hey Rex,

    Thanks for sharing.. I was not nearly as strong as you in my beliefs… I am proud that you chose to stick to the church as much as you have. You were always that amazing father and friend that I could look up to..

    With Love


  28. Rex Goode said:

    Thanks, Michelle. I never fault anyone like us who make different choices than I. It is a really tough thing sometimes. Whenever it gets stormy here in the Portland area, I remember the time you were hanging out at our house and the hurricane force winds hit. You wanted to go home, so I drove you home with all of the trees flailing everywhere. Even though the radio was warning people to stay indoors, I felt we were protected until I could return you to your family.

  29. Michelle Bishop said:

    It is moments like this that remind me of what an amazing person you are Rex… I am so glad that you are the friend you are in my life.. I hope we can reconnect soon… Much love


  30. Dennis said:

    Thank you Rex for the great courage and example you have shown. In my circle of friends in and out of the church I have several who also struggle (and some who have given up the struggle) with SSA. Your feelings, your ideas, your courage is and will be blessing to many of them.

    I actually have a dream several times a year. I am walking down the street with the Bishop and the Elder’s Quorum President and while talking I pull out a cigarette and light up. They look at me in shock and I feel a bit bad but I look them in the eye and inform them that this is just one time and that I am going to quit after this one. I wake up and know immediately the meaning of the dream. I am a sinner and God sees my weaknesses just as clearly as the Bishop and EQP did. While I may fool those around me I have challenges in my life of the same genre (lost for a proper word here) as smoking in public AND GOD DOES SEE THEM. I am in no position to judge.

    Lastly, as I read the posts and responses I thought I would like to thank a few of the great people who have responded on this list but there was NO FEW that deserved thanks. THEY WERE ALL GREAT!! Everyone of you are simply wonderful and deserving of Christ’s love.

    thank you again for sharing, Rex. May God richly bless you. You have blessed others.


  31. Rex Goode said:


    Thank you. Your dream reminded me of a time many, many years ago. I was walking with the Ward Mission Leader. I was a stake missionary then. That kind of dates it right then. The Church hasn’t had “stake” missionaries in a long time. Since we would be working closely together, I wanted him to know about me. Since I knew he was on-line a lot, I figured it was only a matter of time before he found out anyway. So, I told him as we walked to where we were going.

    Later, a family got baptized and he assigned me to teach them the New Member discussions. I was also assigned to be their home teacher. On our first visit, they said, “Oh. You’re the man who was hitting on _________ (the Ward Mission Leader).” I straightened them out about that. The WML wasn’t even attractive. 🙂

    They said that because I was the most “real” person they knew in the ward, they felt they could trust me. It always turns out well in the long run.

    Thanks again, Dennis.

  32. Ann Best said:

    Dear Rex, I’m glad I’m meeting you. I first met you in a round about way through Jonathan Langford. I recently read his book, partly because I knew Zarahemla was publishing a book, subject homosexuality, and I had just signed a contract with a publishing house to do my book, semi-autobiography of my first “gay” husband which is now in the editing process. The thing I find so uplifting is that you got married and determined to stay, despite feelings that had to be powerful, with your family and church, something my first BYU professor husband said he didn’t believe was possible. He said he didn’t believe it when someone said they were “cured,” meaning that they stayed with family and church and controlled their same-sex feelings. Well, you don’t get “cured.” It’s a lot like any trial we’re given, whether a catastrophic accident like my daughter was in that put her in a wheelchair at age 20, or “alcoholism” that my second husband suffered from. Nothing goes away completely in this life, but you struggle with whatever you’re dealt; and it definitely can be a struggle to try and stay on the “straight and narrow.” This life is The Test. Tribulations are required. Then the Atonement covers the rest. You are a living example of these truths. I admire your strength. I’m glad I met you. I haven’t read much yet here on your website, but I will work on it. Thank you. Ann

  33. Rex Goode said:

    Dear Ann,

    Thanks very much. I’m sorry about the things you have gone through. I am glad you have found the strength to get through it.

    Last night, my daughter, her husband, and their baby stayed with us. They had a layover at the airport. My son, his wife, and their son came over. Both grandchildren are under a year. It was great to have them both together. I thought about how great it would be if all of my children, their spouses, and grandchildren could be together at one time. Some day…

    Most of the stuff I’ve written about my struggles of various kinds are on my other web sites: and

    Good luck on your book. I’m looking forward to reading it.

  34. Ann Best said:

    Dear Rex, thanks for responding. And I would love to have you read my book when it’s published.
    Isn’t it so much fun to spend time with grandchildren? My seven grandchildren, ages 21 down to 3 months, are the reason I wanted to get back to Virginia where I moved after my divorce to my first husband; then when my second husband died I moved back to Salt Lake to help my widowed mother and then my homeless brother, and then two and a half years ago I finally got back to Virginia, the place my disabled daughter and I love the most.
    We love the beautiful Shenandoah valley. We live in Mennonite country! Life, though a struggle, is always interesting…. Ann

  35. David Spooner said:

    I am a ex-gay in a Celerbrate Recovery program for 4.5 years. I have traveled down this SSA/SGA road for about 40 years. Have been married 35+yrs. I also attend SAA groups here in San Luis Obispo, CA. I just recently started an LDS-ARP group here in SLO. I really like the LDS recovery web-sites, like yours.
    My friend, Bentley has helped me greatly,

    David Spooner
    P.O. bx 4759
    San Luis Obispo, CA 93403

  36. invicta 9094 said:

    When I commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now whenever a comment is made I get a notification!

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