Paul is growing up in Arcadia Heights, Oregon and leads the typical Mormon lifestyle until he decides to admit that he has sexual feelings for males. Thus begins the downward spiral of his social life and reputation, as well as the turbelent feelings that come with being gay in the Mormon church. Paul first reveals his “same sex attraction” (which is the phrase the Mormon church uses for homosexuality) to his best friend, and another member of the church, Chad. Chad is horrified and acts as if homosexuality is contagious and/or going to turn his friend into an uncontrollable nymphomaniac.
Paul, immersed in guilt brought on by his religious beliefs, confesses to the bishop, who also happens to be Chad’s father. The bishop explains to him that same sex attraction is not a sin in and of itself, but acting upon the feelings is sinful. He finds out that Paul has also been masturbating and tells Paul what to do in order to gain forgiveness and avoid the act from now on.
When Paul is dragged to a Gay-Straight Alliance club (GSA) by a friend, he becomes torn between the tolerance taught by the club and open opposition towards homosexuality by the Mormon church.
As someone who grew up in a strict Mormon household, I am very much aware of Mormon teachings and beliefs. Unfortunately, I was also told that I was a terrible person if I didn’t do exactly as God had commanded. At one point in my life, I had some very bad experiences when I admitted I had some questions about the religion. I also ended up being disowned simply for leaving the church. Needless to say, my own neighbors aren’t very kind to me or my children. I had a very hard time resisting the urge to toss No Going Back into the nearest trash can, but I tried my best to read it with an open mind and objective viewpoint.
Thus saying, I still couldn’t enjoy No Going Back. The reviews by BYU professors and the LDS Sexual Recovery Program didn’t help the matters either. Jonathan Langford has the appropriate writing and story telling skills that someone with his education would have, but the subject matter was something I just couldn’t handle. I’m fine with people having different preferences and opinions, but there’s no need to be hateful and intolerant towards people with a different sexual preference. The only people I know that would like this book are other staunch Mormons.
Jessa lives in Utah with her husband, 2 sons, 2 cats, and 2 dogs. She goes to school full time as an English major with a focus in creative writing. She likes anime and reads books and plays video games in her moments of spare time.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Zarahemla Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.