What is it like being a gay, teenage Mormon? That is the question of Jonathan Langford’s latest novel, No Going Back, in which the story of Paul’s dilemma is set against the backdrop of an LDS ward, a high school club for gays and a proposed anti-same-sex marriage amendment.
Though it sounds ripped from the headlines, Paul’s journey is about the personal discovery everyone faces at that age. The author says, “I wanted to write a story that reflected the dilemma of someone whose emotions pull him in one direction, but whose religious commitment pulls in a different direction … it’s about … the experience of coming to know oneself.”
Langford’s novel explores complexities of life without preaching to preconceived ideologies or pandering to false dichotomies, and it reminds readers of the need to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” Langford succeeds in this novel, which does what good stories do: make us all a little wiser about human nature.