On November 5, 2015 the policy change to LDS Handbook 1 regarding homosexual members became known to the public. Since then, in the US, 34 LDS LGBT young people between the ages of 14 and 20 have committed suicide. The numbers are being tallied by Wendy and Thomas Montgomery, leaders in the Mama Dragons and Dragon Dads support groups for LDS LGBT families. That’s 1 suicide every 60 hours, or every 2 ½ days. That number does not include a count of suicide attempts, nor of suicides by any closeted LGBT young people. Twenty-eight of these suicides occured in Utah, a state that averages 37 youth suicides in a 12 month period. Thirty-four in 84 days is a stunning statistic. It’s horrifying. And gut-wrenching. It is also telling. It tells us we adults are not sucessfully supporting our LGBT youth.
I don’t care what you think of the policy or the way it was leaked. I don’t care what you think about whether or not the policy is inspired. I don’t care if you blame the Brethren or celebrate them for sticking to their doctrinal guns. I don’t care because your opinion—my opinion, all our opinions—don’t help the parents standing over their children’s graves. All that matters is that we prevent any more kids from choosing death as the solution.
So stop it. Stop arguing. Stop trying to demonstrate your faithfulness through either stance. Look at these parents. Watch the grief tear them apart. You think your greatest desire is to have your child sitting next to you Sunday after Sunday in the true church of Jesus Christ? Imagine how much these parents long to have even one more minute of life beside their child. Gone. Can’t happen. Death is mortality’s final answer and that answer is always the wrong one for our kids. So enough!
Here’s the newsflash: every one of us has culpability for these deaths if we are not actively, openly doing all we can to reduce them. Step one in that quest is to make sure your adult voice is heard by all our youth so that every one of them knows exactly who among us will listen, love, and let them lean on our shoulders. The more voices they hear in their congregations–voices that rise not to preach, but to love and support–the lower the odds become that they will choose death. These kids are a gift from God. Let them hear you say that, clearly and often, without qualification. Save a life, starting today.
I don’t have an LGBT child, but I have had a suicidal one. I understand full well that depression is a medical condition, but I’ve lost patience with people who dismiss the deaths of LDS LGBT kids as anything more significant than to-be-expected adolescent angst gone too far. Sure, young people, in general, are at risk for serious depression, LGBT or not. But LGBT kids have a set of triggers straight kids don’t, and the messages they hear from too many adults in their religious circles is conditional. Too much of our language suggests God’s love for them is conditional. It is not. So stop it. Stop preaching. Start giving a loud, strong voice to unconditional love. We can’t lose any more kids.
We, the members of Christ’s church, are the hands our Heavenly Father reaches with, the voices He uses to calm and reassure, the hearts that beat in time with the suffering child. None of us in the proverbial trenches of Mormonism have the right, power, or influence to change a policy, establish doctrine, or institute any kind of official church-wide outreach of healing toward our LGBT brothers and sisters. But we have the right, power, and influence to cause change within our sphere, to show our desire to include, to love, and to understand. We must be the embodiment of God’s love for these young people.
Some of you probably are shouting in your heads, “But the Bible says acting on homosexuality is a sin!” or “Homosexuality is contrary to the plan of salvation!”
In my head I hear: Out, damned spot! Out, I say!
Let me clue you in. The kid that is dead? His parents? Her parents? Each of these kids is the one Christ told us to leave the 99 to find and save. THAT is the doctrine of Christ. To expend your efforts denouncing homosexuality when that one kid is staring in the mirror, thinking he’d be better off dead, places you squarely in the temple with the Pharisees. Stop arguing doctrine and go live the gospel. Stop trumpeting “righteousness” and start ministering to the wounded.
Trust me. These LGBT kids are in your ward and your stake, many gasping for air in the shadows. Love them into your arms in precisely the way you know Christ would. No people are better prepared to do exactly that than are the Mormon people. Pray for guidance. And then go do it. Go love the children. Love them with your full heart and full voice.
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Matt 25:40
Read more about Suicide Awareness and Prevention in our LDS community here.
If you are an LGBT person who is suffering today, please reach out to one of the many people who stand ready to mourn with you. You know who they are. If you don’t feel you have someone in your life who can be there for you, right now, in the ways you need, please use these phone numbers. You are precious in God’s eyes.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-8255
Trevor Project: (866) 488-7386, or Text the word “Trevor” to 1-202-304-1200
Crisis Text Line: Text “Go” to 741-741
Trans Lifeline: (877) 565-8860
Find Mama Dragons or Dragon Dads by visiting here. Young people who would like connection with LDS LGBT support groups may also follow that link and message an administrator for direction. Confidentiality will be provided
Please visit and “like” Life Outside the Book of Mormon Belt on Facebook by clicking here.
92 thoughts on “Numbers Tell the Story”
I wish I could hunt you down and hug you right now. As an ex-Mormon gay dad of teens (raising them on my own) – I wept as I read your words. If only EVERYONE in the church “got it” at the level you do. Thank you SO much for sharing this. There aren’t words to express how much I appreciate it!
I have a testimony of the truthfulness of the Church of Jesus of Latter-Day Saints and its current policies. However, I am with you about the many cultural problems that lie within the institution. It is contrary to the doctrine of Christ to hold hostility towards anyone. He pushes none away and neither should we- not in thought not in word, in conversation or in deed. Unfortunately, I have engaged in discriminating behaviors and ideologies in the past- I admit that there is a stigma against ‘same-gender attraction’ in the church culture, I know because I was one who relished in gay jokes and so forth. Since that time I have experienced ostracism for a mental disorder I accrued which was followed by a suicide attempt. Let me tell you that the Mormon group is a tough one to be ‘on the outside’ of. Gossip is brutal, loud laughter at the misfortune of others, and light mindedness are huge. I appreciate that you don’t suggest changing the policy is the answer. That solution is foolish and contradicts our belief that the Lord is the head of this institution. I think the actual solution to preventing suicides among all youth is much more difficult than political posturing. I think it requires a relinquishment of our socialistic way of life and actually keeping track of our kid’s mental/social health. If we are the initial counselors for our children then we can detect things such as closet mental illnesses, same-gender attractions, and even buried transgressions that torment the soul. We can help them every week, and ‘keep a pulse’ on their mental/social health. These things are major indicators for suicide in our culture- how can we help when we don’t know there is a problem? It is unfortunately slow and difficult to sway a large populations mannerisms- just ask the Brethren themselves…
Where can we actually verify the numbers that have been presented?
If you are looking for some state or national stats on this, I don’t think they are being kept. Wendy Montgomery (Mama Dragons) that she has had personal contact with each of the families of these suicide victims. She is my source on the numbers and likely the only person/place/institution that is focusing directly on these numbers. Of course, the real stories are not in the numbers but in the lives of these kids. I wish I could account for every one of them. I wish I could memorialize every one of them. But Wendy has assured them privacy.
I loved this post and wish everyone in the church were so open minded.
Like Matt, I would be very interested in having a way to verify the numbers. I would love to share this post on Facebook, or even just privately to my family members- but I know that some of them would doubt the numbers, because there’s no verification. I have doubts myself, not because I doubt that there are a lot of LDS LGBT suicides, but because there is simply no verification, and I am someone who needs more than someone’s word.
A post like this would have SOOO much more impact if it included a list of names of these kids. Realizing that not all family members would want their child on such a list. . . I wonder if, when Lisa has contact with these families, she could ask permission to use their names on such a list? Having a list would impact people a lot.
Chuck, I’ve let the Mama Dragons know they have access to this blog as guest posters to tell their stories. I was told by one that a friend had sent this post to her, a friend who lost an LGBT child to suicide last year. He expressed that he didn’t have the emotional fortitude yet to share this blog, so crippling remains his grief. Its no small thing to ask these families to go public. Look at the responses here and elsewhere it is shared. Some miscast this as an attack on the church or as some political conspiracy. It isn’t just that these parents are grieved about the loss of the children. In Mormon culture, on top of all the intense pain associated with suicide, they would have to deal with people who don’t know them but who challenge their motives. I know everyone wants statistically vetted reports, but we aren’t going to have them. Anecdotal evidence is legitimate evidence. The leader of the Mama Dragons has a list that is private. That is likely the best we will ever get. Honestly, I think its pretty strong. Perhaps the SL Trib or some other paper will follow up. It couldn’t hurt to send them a letter and ask them to.
One death is too many! Why do you need numbers to know that this is happening? As a gay man who grew up in the church and was suicidal and have friends that have committed suicide for being gay and Mormon I can tell you that it is happening. This article is great. Don’t argue, just go love people unconditionally.
Why? So you can validate real causes. Otherwise you just have accusations. You wouldn’t want to be judged inappropriately for your orientation, yet you have no problem casting very serious judgement and accusations without any justification whatsoever. Blaming the Church policy without reviewing the mental health of those involved and having interviewed and knowledge of their feelings and state of mind before hand is no better than blaming some guy for a shooting that took place somewhere just because he lives in a neighborhood.
Don’t misconstrue that I don’t agree that even one suicide is a tragedy, or that we should love everyone regardless of their issues. But suicides are tracked and reported by state agencies, and these reported numbers don’t come close to the state reporting. Manipulating facts to create an emotional response is emotional blackmail and false witness.
Kinda morbid. I won’t believe it till I can retraumatize the families with a list of their kids’ names…that will forever circulate online to reappear over and over again…triggering flashbacks every time the family runs across it again?? Have you never experienced life altering trauma? Privacy and letting it reside in the past is the only way to ever come to grips with the horror and pain that is the new reality of these families. How about just loving all of Heavenly Father’s children whether you have a list of his children, who left this life too early, or not? My heart hurts about the ghoulish nature of this request.
One challenge I see is that the policy of the Church is being misconstrued to be something hateful. Too many people seem to think that in order to love someone unconditionally that you have to accept everything they do. I love my children, but when they fight or are disobedient I don’t like it. In order to love them, I don’t have to agree with everything they do. I hope I don’t come across as uncaring, but I really have a difficult time with the thought that same-sex intimacy has to be accepted in order for these individuals to feel accepted. I have a friend who is living with his girlfriend. I disagree with that, but that doesn’t mean that I hate him.
I too have been looking for some verification so that I can stand behind the numbers when I bring up the issue. Also – does anybody done even estimated calculations of the rate before the policy change? It sounds very callous to ask, but I would like to know as I would assume the rate has increased.
I plan on meeting with my bishop soon and reiterating how much I don’t feel that the policy change is of God and I would like to have even more info to back up the effects of it.
The policy is of god. The policy is not the problem, the problem is those that are not showing the love to the children that need it. That lack of love is what leads to the feelings of being outcast, damned and eventual suicide.
I’m not discounting the numbers, but I am wondering what population she is looking at when she provides these numbers. I work in the area of child fatality and suicide prevention in the state of Utah and I can confirm that these numbers are NOT within the state. If they are church or nationwide, then that might make more sense.
I hesitate to present numbers/data/statistics without explanation of the logic model used to produce the results. I have heard, and understand that her evidence is anecdotal. Many times, anecdotes are far more powerful than actual hard evidence. I would like to know, however if there was an actual increase in suicides in the LDS LGBT youth population following the policy change. I think, without disclosure from the victim that their decision was based on the policy change, that it’s dubious to link the two events. (Unfortunately, this is a population that has always been at very high risk for suicide.)
All that being said (from the point of view of a violence and injury prevention specialist), I would like to say, from the point of view of a mother and a member of the church that the intent behind this article is wonderful. To be truly Christlike, we must extend a hand to those who are hurting. We must work harder to envelop the souls of those who feel they are broken beyond repair, for we are the hands of our Heavenly Father on earth.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. We must do more and do better to prevent youth suicide nationwide.
You will likely be unable to verify the numbers, because they are not genuine. Even if they are, without an analysis of the information before the policy, and information about each case with some actual link to the policy, it’s nothing more than a story made to fit her position. Just as the link to the Church policy is dubious, the author is using emotional manipulation to justify her disagreement with the Church’s policy.
I lost a son in 2007 to suicide. Not absolutely sure but some factors may have been worthlessness, loss of loved ones to divorce, parental pressures, social pressures, and the list goes on. I am with those who have commented and said that we don’t care the reason, we must find the answer to stop this epidemic. And that may be availablity. One cannot measure time and willingness to listen. In our hectic busy lives, are we just simply too busy to know what our loved ones or friends are thinking? Do we really care? Hard questions but are we? I am the first to admit I wish, and it is in the past tense, I would have been available for long talks, quiet moments of silence, and realizing my standards and beliefs are not necessarily my childs. And am I willing to accept his beliefs. Questions, answers, questions, not answers. But judging and limiting is not the way to support someone in dire need of love. Love in its deepest form begets more love. Love that sustains no matter what the choice someone has decided means unconditional.
Several years back, while on a project in Idaho, I experienced “your churches'” kindness. Or, lack thereof. Being from Southern California, I was looking from the outside in and what I saw was the largest group of hypocrites, every one with a finger pointing at someone, and always judgmental comments as to how that person is or is not living their life correctly. WOW!
During that time, there was a video made by I believe one of your members. I had a chance to watch it before YOUR CHURCH DID EVERYTHING HUMANLY POSSIBLE TO ERADICATE EVERY COPY FROM THE PLANET. Gee. Why so urgent to make it disappear?!?
I believe I can answer that based on what I saw in the video. Suicide after suicide after suicide!!! Kids!!! Your church, for lack of a better term of art, puts so much demand on them to mold into this perfect little drone mormon, so much pressure that some just cannot attain that status and whack themselves. The stats in this article are NOTHING in compare to what I recall in the video.
I also remember back in Junior High and High School, and I mean no offense or disrespect, but it was the mormon girls who were well known to be the first to delve into a life of promiscuity. As a dude I know because I would hear all the talk on the football field, basketball court and the like. I know a lot brag of things untrue, however, this was more or less an information line for dudes wanting to connect with a chick.(I need not say more)
Maybe, just maybe, do you think all this
crap is due to NOT walking the walk and
relying on your leaders’ wisdom, or great lack of?!? You say you believe the Bible but turn around and completely contradict scripture with your own home made version of the Bible with chapters such as Nephi, Ephi and such. I’m sure you’re all aware of the verse that starts out “If ANY man taketh or add to this book………..!
Man has become God and laughs at his own destruction.
Are you kidding? The loss of ONE is too many!
LDS Church leaders mourn reported deaths in Mormon LGBT community http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865646414/?user=app
“Utah won’t have final numbers for some time, but preliminary numbers for November and December in the Utah medical examiner’s database show 25 total deaths in the 14-18 age group, with 10 suicides, said Teresa Brechlin, the violence prevention coordinator at the Utah Department of Health.
“In fact, the number of Utah suicide deaths actually decreased during the final two months of 2015 compared to the final two months of 2014, she said.
“Ryan said that Montgomery’s numbers might reflect the total number of attempted suicides.”
I don’t disagree with this post. However, I don’t know the Mama Dragons group and I don’t know Wendy and Thomas Montgomery. But I have a hard time believing their numbers when the Salt Lake Tribune reported that the total number of suicides in the State of Utah in the same period among the age group cited doesn’t match the numbers they are reporting. It makes me question if they are spiking the numbers to push an agenda against the church and its policy and use peoples emotions about the tragedy of suicide to advance their cause based on false information. Please, don’t use false information to advance something worthy and noble. It doesn’t help , it distracts from what we should be doing. Is it because they don’t believe people will care about the actual numbers? Are they trying to draw a corollary between the church policy and suicided when it doesn’t exist? We do need to reach out and administer to the one because we care and love them, but that message is drowned out and tarnished when people try and use NUMBERS to get us to care. the number shouldn’t matter. one is too many.
Thank you for this: “Step one in that quest is to make sure your adult voice is heard by all our youth so that every one of them knows exactly who among us will listen, love, and let them lean on our shoulders.”
Growing up queer in the Mormon church, I had know idea there were adults in my community who would support queer kids. Turns out there were, but their voices shared with other adults and not with kids like me.
I think these numbers are very sad, but I also don’t think you can pin “the policy” on being the culprit. The way families have responded to the policy could be having a big impact too. I’ve seen how some of these people have responded. They are bitter. THEY the ones telling the children “they are not wanted” in the church and that “God does not accept them”. No where does the policy state that’s the case. Parents are a catalyst in how children interpret the gospel. On the flipside of all of the negativity, I am quite positive that there are LDS parents out there of LGBT children that have taught their children from a young age about the atonement, and about prophets and about the Plan of Salvation . . . and these children are responding with faith and trust in the policy and not fear or depression. People are putting their own interpretations on the policy (i.e. God doesn’t love homosexuals, God is exclusionary, etc.) and THAT is what is hurting kids. If indeed there have been that many suicides related to the policy, then I believe it is the inaccurate interpretation of the policy that is the culprit. I personally see the policy as a very merciful one that was put in place to keep children from having to choose between two very conflicting viewpoints. I think the basis of much of the conflict is a lack of understanding of basic doctrine, and if that was truly understood, there would not be so much animosity. In LDS doctrine, baptism is only available to those that are considered “accountable”. We do not baptize infants, as it it is not required to “keep someone from going to hell” like in Catholic doctrine. It is also not just a “symbolic” gesture like those made in other Christian denominations. It is a covenant that is real and binding. It is a serious covenant that has eternal implications. I think requiring the child of a homosexual couple to wait until the age of 18 to be baptized ensures that they more fully understand what they are committing to. It would be a tough road to covenant to live a life that is not conducive to or supported by your own parents lifestyle, and to know that you cannot be “sealed” to those parents. I think that would cause a lot of grief and confusion for a child, but the church is not going to change that. They have emphatically expressed that marriage is between a man and a woman, and they did it long before gay marriage was much of an issue. Giving these children some extra time to grow up, think about it, and form their own opinions seems very wise and merciful. I think it’s also important to keep in mind that a child that is baptized before the age of accountability is automatically saved in the Celestial Kingdom, and so “not having the opportunity to be baptized” is not anything detrimental. If anything, it’s giving some extra time to the person considering baptism to make sure it is what they are willing and able to commit to. If there are that many LGBT kids committing suicide, then I think there is more of a problem than just this policy. I don’t think they are being taught, nor do they understand, the power of the atonement or the depth and glory of the plan of salvation. You can’t just pin it on one factor. But that’s the easy thing to do. That said, I feel for any family that goes through a child that commits suicide. Being a teen in this day and age is not easy, regardless of your sexual orientation. Love and acceptance are important, but more important is teaching children from a young age true principles about God that will help them navigate the trials of life, regardless of what they might be.
For the record, comments are being submitted that continue to argue the policy, both for and against it. While I appreciate the passion on both sides, please, let’s just focus on contemplating and discussing ways we can help. Regardless of your view on the policy–within that view of the policy–you can represent Christ’s love for our LDS LGBT kids by vocalizing how precious each is to you. Doing that does not imply you reject or accept the policy. It simply shows your dedication to serving as Christ would have you. Let’s leave it at that today.
A friend sent me this post, and I found it very moving. As a gay child growing up in the church (In Utah!) I know personally how cruel it can be. I specifically remember a kid in my class saying “Oh yeah, that guy is so nice. It’s just a shame he’s gay.” And then going on about how he’s never going to meet Christ and all that.
It was horrible! Especially since I had kept it a secret for such a long time…I didn’t want to be outed and shunned by my ‘friends’.
And I know what it’s like to be suicidal, and its terrifying. Because contrary to belief, it’s not something you really know is coming. You can be fine all day and then suddenly without warning it feels like you’ve misstepped and plunged into a chasm, and it’s so hard to climb back out.
I realize that sounds dramatic, but that’s how it is… And it’s even scarier in reality. I actually did try to kill myself a while back. And while I am thankful it didn’t work, those feelings do come back time and time again. And I’ve made a couple attempts since then. You realize that you can no longer trust yourself anymore…. I refuse to have sleeping pills in the house because I know that if I’m in a dark moment, there is the very real chance that, while being out of my mind with grief, I might take them with the intent of killing myself…. my boyfriend wants a gun for self defense, but I’m too afraid that I’ll have a dark moment and it will all be over in one second of mindless depression….
That’s really depressing, but it all goes full circle back to a religion I tried to believe in that always seemed to be pushing me back down.
When that new teaching came out it was kind of the last straw for me. I sent in my resignation papers and asked them to scratch me from the records. I will admit that there was some fear since I realized that it would take away my chance at reaching [LDS] heaven. But I couldn’t continue to stay in a place that hated me for wanting to find love.
I have a friend who is still trying to be both gay and lds, and he’s having a whirlwind time. I’m told he’s caused a huge division in their ward since people are either openly supporting him, or openly rejecting it. It’s no longer a message of love, but more of a message of discrimination.
Sorry that this post was so long, but I do have a lot of feelings on the matter. Thank you for sharing this, it means a lot.
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Thank you so much for comment. Your story is vital and a gift to the rest of us. I’ve been called out for the title of this post–and rightly so, I think–because the numbers don’t tell the story. The story is inside each person who lives it. We need to hear from you. We need you to live. As a religous culture, we haven’t been succeeding, and until we face that squarely by looking through the eyes of great people like yourself, we’re likely to continue to fail. Every person who reads your comment is pulled closer to being a representative of Christ. Love to you. Hang in there. Depression is a sneakly, underhanded companion.
Thanks for sharing your story Jeff what broke my heart the most is that you think you won’t go the “LDS” heaven…you have to know in your heart that there is no “LDS” heaven but a heaven for everyone and anyone else that may be gay straight or whatever …if we live a life of love like the savior did. Don’t let yourself ever feel your less than anyone else but special be happy with your life and who you are!
I am curious to know just how this policy change is causing an increase in LDS LGBT youth. Doesn’t the policy change state something to the effect that children who live with one of their legal guardians who is gay and living together with their gay partner have to wait till they are adults to get baptized. I’m curious how that policy effects gay youth into committing suicide? I get tired of the lies the LGBT community uses to bash God’s annointed prophets.
Hi Rob. I would love to address your questions. But before I do:
Why can’t you just mourn with those who mourn? It’s in your baptismal covenant. It doesn’t matter whether you think their mourning is justified or not, it still doesn’t change the fact that they’re mourning. A part of the Body of Christ is wounded and cries out for love and consolation. Why can’t you just do it?
This post is politically motivated. It’s not about mourning, it’s about placing blame on church leadership. That’s what I am debating here.
I’m sorry you feel that way.
This particular post seems more geared at everyday members rather than leadership. It’s about reaching out to those who are in deep pain and helping them hold on another day, and then another, and then another…with hope for a good future.
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Politically motivated? You win Bizarre and Inappropriate Reading of the Internet for this one. Stop arguing and debating. Start acting like Christ. That’s the message. Not complicated. Say something in your ward like, “I hope LGBT people know I want them here.” Then shut up. No caveats. Keep saying it till you mean it.
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The entire first paragraph is politically motivated to try to sway readers into the belief that the policy change is causing an increase in teen suicide amongst LDS lgbt youth. All I am asking is how a policy, that doesnt even address lgbt youth, is causing this increase in suicides. Please point out what part of the wording does this. The policy change is geared towards and directed at adult gay couples not gay youth.
LT Downing…what a great example of the love that you demand others show. shut up? really? how hypocritical!
your premise is false as you believe people are out there saying not to love. Sure, there will be those who don’t but since you aren’t perfect demanding them to be perfect on this issues is unrealistic.
I don’t know of anyone running around saying…don’t love the person who engages in LGBT behavior…not one. Do you?
And let’s make it very clear that stating the true doctrine of the gospel does not mean someone does not love the person. Get it? Got it? Good.
You are a tad sanctimonious for the love that you demand others provide. Maybe you should check yourself first.
Yeah, I’m human, too. I can get a tad annoyed when people read a blog asking them to stop arguing and then they argue. So hush up. That’s much more polite. 😉 (Seriously said with an apology underlying it for the tone, but I do think people should practice refraining from adding the statements like “if you live worthy” to “you’re welcome here.”) That’s the point of this post. Please, lets just let people be with us and grow. Our pews are filled with sinners–like people who lose their cool and say “shut up.” So whether or not you view homosexuality (or homosexual intercourse) as a sin, as a transgression, or acceptable in the bounds of a committed relationship, lets just let them be with us without repeatedly demonstrating that there is a doctrinal stance that makes them Other. Take care.
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“We need to show these suicidal kids that we love them and want them around” is only a political statement, if the opposing political view is “f*** those kids. Let ’em die.”
I am really sick and tired of crapsacks like you making my being alive and not killing myself into a political act. I’m glad that you’re losing the battle you started, as everyone else grows a conscience and starts refusing to help you. I hope that change comes soon to where I live, because it’s soul-crushing to know that the people around me don’t care if I die.
I can’t speak for Rob but I didn’t think there was anything in his comment that indicated that mourning for those who committed suicide is not justified (or is the mourning about the LDS policy).
The problem I have with this method of counting the number of suicides since the new LDS policy is that it is implied every one of those people committed suicide as a result of the policy, and not for not any other reason. Was suicide an epidemic in the LGBT community before the LDS Church issued their new policy? Why yes! It has always been a huge problem and research has shown the people within the LGBT community have two to six times higher rates of suicide attempts compared to straight people. With regards to the 34 suicides, as tragic as they are,correlation does not equal causation.
The suicides, since the new policy came out, are being exploited for no other reason than to bash the LDS Church and its leaders. So Rob’s question “how that policy effects gay youth into committing suicide” is a completely valid one. I have asked myself the same question. If the new policy truly was a reason for someone to end his or her life, the chances are that those persons sadly had numerous other psychological problems that went unresolved. Moreover, the hysteria coming from many activists in reaction to the policy could give very vulnerable youth the impression that the policy is something worth killing oneself over.
It is very important to raise awareness of the suicide problem within the LGBT community and especially among LBGT youth. But using unverifiable numbers as proof that the new LDS policy is the cause of new suicides is completely irresponsible and in some respects dishonest.
Rob – Please consider asking 3 gay, LDS people to explain what this policy feels like to them. Just listen. See if you feel differently.
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As a queer kid, I heard adults say things about queer adults and thought, “That’s what my church community will think of me when I grow up.” An LGBT youth who hears that gay adults are apostate and that their children are, at the very least, delayed in receiving the saving ordinance of baptism may reasonably think that their future is even bleaker than before the policy was implemented.
Regardless of whether the policy is right or wrong, these kids are losing hope in their future in part because of how adult members are talking about it and talking about LGBT adults. Lisa is calling on adults to help these kids feel loved and have enough hope for their futures that they are willing to stay alive.
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I believe your question was sincere, so I’m going to try to provide a sincere answer. Keep reading because I’ll get to the crux of it in the second half of the comment.
I am not LGBT. However, I am a never-married woman in my 30s. I know I don’t face anything near what some of my LGBT brothers and sisters face when they go to church, but I can sympathize on some level. It’s really hard going to church when you don’t fit “the mold” or “the ideal.” Hearing about families and how motherhood is the highest and holiest calling is really tough when you’re the only single woman in the congregation. I feel like nobody quite knows what to do with me. I’ve left church crying on multiple occasions because I feel that according to the church ideal, I am failing at life. I don’t feel this way at all in my work or social circles. At least I have some hope that I can one day be in a situation where I can fit in and follow the ideal life narrative I have heard for so long. LGBT people may not have that hope.
The last THREE men I was in a serious and long-term relationship with were either more sexually attracted to men or exclusively attracted to men. I didn’t know about it until well into each relationship. These men were trying so hard to follow the ideal and date a woman, but in the end they couldn’t go through with it and marry me. It was traumatic for me each time because I truly loved them and thought I could finally have a partner and start a family, but I can only imagine how much worse it is for them. I can move on and try to find a relationship in which we both love each other in that way. They are likely going to keep trying and trying but never find love (and keep breaking girl’s hearts while they’re trying, which is hard for them, too). They are very faithful men – so active in church and so service-oriented. Side note: that’s why I dated them, because they are SO AMAZING!!!
My best friend is gay and active in church. He is close to 40 and never dates. He lives alone and has told me that he has come to the realization he will never have human touch, a life partner, or that kind of love throughout his entire life. Sure, we’re in the same spot right now because I don’t have that either, but I could hope to in the future. He is resigned to the fact that it will never happen for him, but the church is important enough to him that he is willing to sacrifice all hope of that future he desires so desperately.
HOW THE POLICY IMPACTS YOUTH
As for the youth, I think the policy impacts them because it brings up new consequences (no ordinances for their children) and labels (apostate) for their future should they choose to act on their feelings. It causes them to again evaluate their options and imagine their future – and none of the choices look very good. It might also make them feel like they are inadequate or bad for having those desires inside them. They basically have three options:
(1) Act on their feelings and find love/affection/partnership. This policy lets them know that they will be “apostates” – not only that but their children will not be able to receive saving ordinances. If they choose this, their community and everything they know will crumble. They could still believe in the church very much, but they will feel unwelcome. For an active, believing LDS, finding love and life partnership might not be an option at all. The policy brings all these thoughts back to mind, but now with harsher consequences and a greater feeling of being excluded should they choose this option. Now, options 2 and 3 are left.
(2) Be lonely and celibate their whole life. Which is not super fun. Try it sometime.
(3) Marry someone they don’t love in that way. Even if they decide to take this path, they would probably have to tell the other person, and would the other person then be willing to marry them? Even if so, they would have to grapple with whether or not this would be fair to the other person. I know some couples have made this work quite well, but for other people (like my best friend) it’s not an option unless the woman is willing to be celibate and not have biological children.
Does that make it easier to see why the policy could brings these thoughts and feelings back to the forefront of a youth’s mind and make the future seem pretty bleak? It brings up in a very absolute way what the options are, and sets forth new and greater consequences for Option 1. I like this article because it calls for love and acceptance. If the youth can talk about it and still feel accepted and loved instead of fighting through these thoughts and feelings on their own, it’s more likely they will feel that they can be accepted and loved in the future no matter what they choose.
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I don’t usually comment on things but I did want to thank you for your thoughts. They echo mine. I do think as a church we get caught up in the letter of the law and not the spirit of the law. More than anything Christ taught love and forgiveness. And I agree wholeheartedly that this is what we need, not jugdement.
Thank you for your well-formed words. My children are not LGBT but both of my sons have left the church because they had NO support from local church leaders (including the bishop — who more interested in finding out if they were masturbating). One of them is struggling with recovery from heroin addiction and has an out-of-wedlock son that I get to see for about 3 minutes once a month.
You are so right: “Each of these kids is the one Christ told us to leave the 99 to find and save. THAT is the doctrine of Christ.”
I can only pray for comfort for these little ones (yes, we are ALL lilttle ones) who are in soooo much pain.
Thank you again.
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That’s an awful thing. But how many committed suicide in the same time period before the policy? The difference is the important number.
God’s love is not conditional. Exaltation is. I think a lot of the problem with this topic, and many others, is a misunderstanding of doctrine. So many people, for whatever reason think that gay people are going to “go to hell”. That is NOT true doctrine, but when people have that understanding it can either make them judgmental of those that are LGBT or fearful if they are related to someone that is or if they are themselves. We need to do a better job of teaching the gospel. I believe that misunderstanding is a root cause of this problem that so many people are tied up in knots about. Gay people are not unloved by God, condemned, or destined for hell . . . they are simply not eligible for the fullest blessing of exaltation (which includes eternal marriage between a man and a woman) if they choose to act on those tendencies, which I agree would be very, very, very, difficult. But life IS difficult and living the gospel fully is really, really hard for lots of people for lots of reasons. Sacrifice is part of living the gospel, and if you fully understand the Savior’s sacrifice, then it makes any sacrifice more tolerable doable.
I think these numbers are very sad, and my heart breaks for any family that has to deal with the suicide of a family member . . . but I also think it is unfair to pin “the policy” on being the culprit. There are many, many reasons people make the choice to commit suicide. So many factors play a part . The way people have responded to the policy could be having a big impact! I’ve seen how some of these people have responded. They are bitter. THEY the ones telling the children “they are not wanted” in the church and that “God does not accept them”. No where does the policy state that’s the case. Parents are a catalyst in how children interpret the gospel. On the flipside of all of the negativity, I am quite positive that there are LDS parents out there of LGBT children that have taught their children from a young age about the atonement, and about prophets and about the Plan of Salvation . . . and these children are responding with faith and trust in the policy and not fear or depression. People are putting their own interpretations on the policy (i.e. God doesn’t love homosexuals, God is exclusionary, etc.) and THAT is what is hurting kids. If indeed there have been that many suicides related to the policy, then I believe it is the inaccurate interpretation of the policy that is the culprit.
I personally see the policy as a very merciful one that was put in place to keep children from having to choose between two very conflicting viewpoints. I think the basis of much of the conflict is a lack of understanding of basic doctrine, and if that was truly understood, there would not be so much animosity. In LDS doctrine, baptism is only available to those that are considered “accountable”. We do not baptize infants, as it it is not required to “keep someone from going to hell” like in Catholic doctrine. It is also not just a “symbolic” gesture like those made in other Christian denominations. It is a covenant that is real and binding. It is a serious covenant that has eternal implications. I think requiring the child of a homosexual couple to wait until the age of 18 to be baptized ensures that they more fully understand what they are committing to. It would be a tough road to covenant to live a life that is not conducive to or supported by your own parents lifestyle, and to know that you cannot be “sealed” to those parents. I think that would cause a lot of grief and confusion for a child, but the church is not going to change their stance on marriage. They have emphatically expressed that marriage is between a man and a woman, and they did it long before gay marriage was much of an issue. If you truly believe LDS doctrine, you MUST accept that as a true tenet of your belief because eternal marriage and eternal increase IS the plan and purpose of God. Giving these children some extra time to grow up, think about it, and form their own opinions seems very wise and merciful. I think it’s also important to keep in mind that a child that is baptized before the age of accountability is automatically saved in the Celestial Kingdom, and so “not having the opportunity to be baptized” is not anything detrimental. If anything, it’s giving some extra time to the person considering baptism, and if you understand the purpose of baptism, this “extra time” is nothing but kind.
If there are that many LGBT kids committing suicide, then I think there is more of a problem than just this policy. I don’t think they are being taught, nor do they understand, the power of the atonement or the depth and glory of the plan of salvation. Also, if members of the church are judging or condemning` those that are gay, or interpreting this policy as anything but the loving policy that it is, then THEY need to be taught some things as well. ALL are loved by God, we all should love and be kind to each other . . . but the standard for exaltation has been set, and marriage between a man and a woman is a requirement for that. Everyone needs true understanding of God and his love and his mercy, which is evident everywhere in the teachings of the Church, except where people interpret it differently or doubt the prophets. You can’t just pin these suicides on one factor. But that’s the easy thing to do. That said, I feel for any family that goes through a child that commits suicide. Being a teen in this day and age is not easy, regardless of your sexual orientation. Love and acceptance are important, but more important is teaching children from a young age true principles about God that will help them navigate the trials of life, regardless of what they might be.
We are taught over and over to be the most loving and kind of all….we do mourn….we do not judge, we give support….the Lord wants our happiness….don’t think for one minute that he doesn’t love you….he will help you through this.
Rob, I pray God will soften your heart.
Lisa says that she is not of the LGBT community. This is not an agenda, except to help give kids who feel sad for their futures more hope.
Kids were hurt by this. For the thoughts of their future and their kids as well as knowing how pushed away they are. It is dark and fearful to think that God hates you and will kick you out, excommunicate you, for something that you just feel even though you’ve tried not to. It is terrifying to believe that you are just an evil human simply for being born and having feelings you “shouldn’t” have. To desire, to pray, to beg and plead to have your heart changed, your desires different and not have it happen leaves you feeling like God must not love you. Leaves you feeling like your worth is less that that of chewed up bubble gum. And for the church you are so entirely devoted to to change its policies to write out, in detail, how unwanted and worthless you are to it, well-Why live? As adults it is hard to sort through emotions such as these, but for a growing, changing, hormonal child that already feels lost, how can you think that this would be anything other than devastating?
This is also not opinion. These are the emotions kids are happening .It is the motivation behind their suicides, and that is tragic. It is doubtful that you will put aside your anger to see the pain in others, and that is also a shame. If not to care for those around us, then what are we spending our time doing?
In Matthew 22:37-39 the Savior, Jesus Christ, summarizes his 10 commandments-which are a list of things we should not do- into two principals of how we should live. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all they soul, and with all they mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”
No one is asking for a policy change here. No one has said the church is wrong, but that we reach out and let the youth around us know they have support and love and that we will not be their judge, but their refuge from hate.
How can that be wrong?
I agree that we should reach out with love to all, including the lgbt community. But, I do have a problem when people blaim the church and its policies for an increased suicide rate. The policies made by the prophets are to ensure the safety of Gods children and bring about an increased opportunity for salvation. My belief is that the church stance and policies regarding homosexuality will actually bring overall safety and salvation to all who so wish.
The policy, along with other teachings, will help us raise a more righteous generation and thus give our youth a better chance at attaining salvation.
Rob, I beg you. Just stop. Just choose to stop talking. If you can’t support this authors crystal clear intent, move on. I’m not saying you’re not a bad person, just please. Choose to move along.
Typical liberal – always wanting to silence people that don’t agree with their point of view.
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In the 2nd paragraph and first sentence of the 3rd paragraph, I was happy to see you going in the direction of ‘either stance’, because both sides, when taken to an extreme is what causes the harm. But then the rest of the article continued with basically only one side. Have you ever stopped to think of the fear mongering being generated by those who immediately jumped to social media when the policy clarification came out in November? And I’m talking about those against the policy. Immediately assuming there would be suicide increases, and there were suicide hotlines posted everywhere. What do you think does for a confused soul? Certainly not help them feel more accepted, more loved. No quite contrary. It makes them start doubting and fearing because you’ve all told them that’s how they should be feeling. It’s been a much bigger deal in Utah, and that is where you said the majority of the suicides occurred. This whole policy thing is a mere blip everywhere else. Hence, few suicides, probably the same percentage wise as before the announcement. What we all should be doing is continuing to love and seek out those in need, include and listen to them. Those possiblely affected based on family makeup. But not scare them. Not pander to the assumption that they will have increased suicial thoughts. Not try to pit them against the church or its leaders. I love much of what this article says. Let us all be careful when things that go out on the web to be seen by so many are truly only words of love. We do not lift up one by putting down another.
If offering a phone number to call if they feel isolated and alone, (which the policy will make them feel) what does make them feel more accepted and loved? What are your suggestions? It blows my mind that people act as if this policy isn’t going to deeply affect the LGBTQ community in a negative way. That posting suicidal hotlines is worse for the youth then the policy itself. How is this even a debate?
The church responds to this heart-breaking news. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865646414/LDS-Church-leaders-mourn-reported-deaths-in-Mormon-LGBT-community.html
Since this article starts out stating specific numbers, the numbers are important to the truthfulness of it. Although Wendy (from Mama Dragons) said that there were 26 of these LGBT teen suicides in Utah since the announcement, the state records show otherwise. According to the article you linked to, “Utah health department officials have been able to confirm 10 suicides in that age range in Utah since the start of November.” And this includes both LGBT and non-LGBT. I’m not trying to dismiss the fact that some of these young people *may* have been LGBT, but when you try to create a certain feeling in your article based on specific numbers and statistics, it’s important that those numbers are correct. I think your message is correct that we need to comfort and support the youth affected by this horrible church policy change, but stating the same thing without sensationalizing a grossly overstated number of suicides would have been better.
I follow most of these blogs out of curiosity, because I am new to Utah and work in a hyper-saturated LDS environment, primarily around young adults. It helps me understand my audience better, I guess.
As a non-member I don’t have a stake in the policy fight, except as an observer. As a person, I have an obligation to speak up for what I think is right, or to speak for those who can’t.
I’m active duty military and sometimes my friends will ask me whether ’22 veterans a day’ committing suicide is a real number. Does it matter? What if it was one? Isn’t that important? Equivocating about the numbers before or after the policy change takes away from the important number, which is one. One is too many.
Thank you Lisa for the thoughtful post, and to everyone else committed to helping ‘the least of these my brethren.’
I will not stop it. I will not stop condemning this church’s unconscionable treatment of gays. It’s not the arguing that motivates these kids to kill themselves. It’s the church’s policies and attitudes toward them. The church is who is telling them they are not worth anything or welcome.
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There’s a whole lot of “The Church” outside of Utah. Those Utahns whom we perceive to be judgmental toward the LGBT people of The Church DO NOT define or represent the views of The Church as a whole. And I’m here to tell you that from where I come from……if we judged all congregants the way people do where The Church is more prominent, we would have no congregation at all.
I have a gay son. It took him three years to pluck up the courage to tell us he was gay. He fully expected to be disowned and for us not to love him anymore.
I feel terrible that he went through that anguish believing that we wouldn’t love him anymore.
Kids aren’t psychic! I thought my kids knew that I would love them unconditionally.
One of my biggest regrets is not telling my kids that. They knew I loved them but I wish I could go back in time. I would tell them repeatedly that I would always love them no matter what decisions they made in life. Whether they were gay, chose another religion or dropped out of school, whatever.
If I could only say one thing to parents it would be to tell your kids you will love them no matter what. Don’t make your love conditional and don’t set your expectations on your child.
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I’m not sure if suicides have gone up since the LDS Handbook change.
I was looking at actual suicide numbers for previous years up to 2014, which give a good baseline. And then I just read this article.
There were only 10 suicides (2 undetermined) in Utah in the time that Montgomery claims there were 28, so things are not adding up. Montgomery is going to have to give some more details if the claims are to be believed.
I’ve also worked at a Teen hotline in Utah, I’ve received suicide calls before. During training, you are told that they peak before, around, and after the holidays. The holidays can be a depressing time for any youths that come from a broken or dysfunctional home, no matter their sexual orientation.
I think there is either sloppy record keeping going on, or there is an agenda for publicity.
I agree with some of your article. Love the children. Love everyone. And do good data and analysis to cut down on the lies out there.
The church and its doctrine have only love for all of God’s children. It welcomes and loves all equally. It is the imperfection of each individual member and non-member alike that succumb to the judgmental attitude. As each person gets closer to God they develop the pure love of Christ that reaches out and understands the pains and challenges of their fellow men. The world is teaching us to be offended by every little thing and find excuses for us not to be loved. In tragedies such as this, reaching our hands out to those that stand in need of comfort can go a long ways. Sometimes we don’t see the forest for the trees, and we overlook the big picture for just one little detail that seems to obsess us and consume us. Anger and bitterness can be a plague if it is not eradicated.
LT Downing, this is beautifully written. And speaks the feelings of my heart! Thank you for putting these eloquent words out into the world! To our youth who bare this burden (or any burden for that matter) that feels or seems hopeless we plead with you to hang on! And we will stand with you to support your hold until you regain whatever strength and hope necessary to walk again.
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Reblogged this on Strikenbacher Syndrome and commented:
Good stuff. My Pops almost committed suicide rather than coming out, but he cared about us too much. Care about your kids and friends like that. Care about them too much.
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I find it hilariously hypocritical when Mormons want hard evidence of the numbers. They should doubt their doubts. They should trust this and accept it on faith and pray and fast for confirmation through the spirit, because that is the ONLY way to know anything.
It’s obvious from the comments that most just don’t care. They’d rather argue themselves into being right. Compassion is of God, love is of God. Show some instead of trying to be right. One child dead is too many.
the church has a website called the Family acceptance project. I wish everyone would read the information there. Among the advice…
—Express your love when you learn the child is gay or transgender
— Support your child even if it makes you feel uncomfortable.
What if we all just did those two things? What if we just loved people and supported them?
Click to access FAP_English%20Booklet_pst.pdf
OF corse names should not be exposed. Of corse it’s going to be hard to identify and pin down numbers. Of corse correlation and causation can be debated endlessly.
Here in our church we value families. These youth are denied marriage to someone they are attracted to and their children will ALWAYS be suspect because of something they cannot choose. Faith may be shaken, hope…how can they not feel a little hopeless? can we at least try to offer love?
Just want to clarify for readers: the Family Acceptance Project is an absolutely fantastic resource. It is independent of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Thank you so much Sean, so beautifully expressed. “As I have loved you, love one another”.
North Star International (northstarlds.org) is also a wonderful resource for both LGBTQ persons and their families. Even bishops!
Readers should know that North Star International advocates mixed orientation marriages; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints no longer recommends mixed orientation marriages. The rate of success is low and the risk of potential psychological damage is high to all involved. I’d advise careful researh before anyone recommends this. Again, the practice is not advocated by the formal church.
While it is a beautiful, emotional plea for all of us to “love” these kids more, this column really offers nothing actionable. its easy to make wide, vague sweeping statements with no concrete direction. We should all love these kids more?!? As if we don’t? The suffering these kids are experiencing is the conflicting feelings within them of right and wrong. We can absolutely express unconditional love for these kids but what else are you HINTING at? Are you (and others commenting here) suggesting we simply need to change the doctrine to say homosexuality is normal and good? Is that what you are hinting at?
Do you believe that to save these beautiful young people we need to embrace their homosexuality as perfectly acceptable lifestyle?
Because if that is NOT what you are saying, then what exactly ARE you saying? Lest you think yourself holier than the rest of us, let me set the record straight- You do not love these kids more than the rest of us> You are not more understanding or compassionate than us. WE hurt too, we long for their happiness too. We love them as unconditionally as you do! But their pain comes from a place that cannot be fixed with a hug, despite how simple you try and make it sound.
Their pain and their ultimate decision to end their life is not something that can be erased by YOU telling “the church” we are cold and disconnected. You may need to see us all that way so you can try and make sense of these horrific tragedies that are happening to these beautiful children. But thats a lie. The truth is each and everyone of us (with very rare exception) love these children at least as much as you do and do all we can to show it.
You seem to be seeking something more, something more along the line of the way the world has gone. You sound like you need an announcement from the pulpit that says “Dear LGBT people of the church- great news! We were wrong. Your alternative lifestyle is perfectly normal and in keeping with God’s Law. You may freely enter the temple and participate in all of the blessings God has in store for you. Your lifestyle and personal choices have no bearing on your worthiness anymore. We love you all and because we love you, nobody will be held to any standard other than whatever the world determines is acceptable.”
Is that what you are hoping for? Is that your wish?
Because if it isn’t, then you need to clarify your intentions. All I’m reading is that you believe you love these kids more and better than the rest of us. That’s simply not accurate.
Well, you carried a lot of baggage into your reading of this post. First, asking members to speak is actionable. It tends to be true that the only voices our hidden LGBT kids hear are ones that reiterate that they are less-than. My call to action is to open your mouth and speak this truth, “I want all LDS LGBT people sitting in the pews with me.” Simple. If you can’t do that, if you have to qualify the statement with some notion of worthiness, then yes, I think you aren’t helping.
As for the rest of your rant, it doesn’t help.
Love is action. Love is a behavior. Love doesn’t set limits.
LT claims, ” First, asking members to speak is actionable. It tends to be true that the only voices our hidden LGBT kids hear are ones that reiterate that they are less-than.”
Can you please quantify your claim? Thanks
Excellent post. You expressed very well what I feel. I appreciate you taking the time to share what you were thinking because now I won’t have to write essentially the same thing.
Tami, make no mistake…that is EXACTLY what they are clamoring for. They believe homosexuality is eternal and will be part of the celestial kingdom. They want the behavior to be accepted and condoned no earth.
They throw the “love mantra” out as to cover up their real belief….homosexuality is part of God’s plan and should not be stated as a sin.
LT’s post is to shame people into submission, not a true call for love as who doesn’t know already that these kids aren’t getting love. Anyone who has been a parent understands loving their child while still correcting their wrong behavior. Kids get loved and still commit murder, fornication, steal, lie and cheat. Are each of these children born with those tendencies and just acting on them?
Why are some sins ok but others to be justified?
The numbers are important on this issue because of the hyperbole thrown out by those who want homosexuality accepted in the gospel.
Very good points made here. To put it simply LGBT brothers and sisters can still choose to live the gospel including the law of chastity. Many do, just as hextresexuals who are not married do.
While it is never okay to condone or encourage sinful practices neither is it ever okay to condemn those who struggle with temptation. Don’t we all have struggles and temptations? To paraphrase Pres Utchdorf we should not condemn others for sinning differently than we do. To quote Eldrr a Holland “Are we not all beggars?”
As an active member of the LDS church I do not judge/condemn anyone in the LGBT community. I have family members that are gay and lesbian. That being said I feel like this article was a big “shame on you” to Mormons like we caused these suicides. The church made a decision and people reacted. The number of suicides and the fact that they were children devastate me but please don’t blame us for those deaths. I feel like this article is suggesting that if only church members would open their arms and love more, then these kids would be alive. Everyone is busy pointing their fingers, maybe YOU can make the difference.
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I appreciate your message of go out and love and be like Christ, however I do not appreciate your advertising of unverified suicide numbers to bring this message. You have sought to play on the emotions of people using deceit. I have seen this tactic more than once on this forum. Furthermore, recent research suggests that numbering those who have died on social media can increase suicide contagion. People claiming that the policy change is the reason for these suicides are completely irresponsible and using deaths of REAL people to further the LGBT agenda against the LDS church is just real really sad.
I’m so disheartened that your comments are filled with ‘prove it’. Truly, a travesty and an irony. Where are the statistics that stay the Mormon stance on homosexuality helps Mormons? Or gay Mormons? Or God? Suddenly proof and science matter? Please…stop arguing and start loving. Love is God. God is Love. The rest is doctrine and interpretation and shame on each of you for playing games with children’s lives.
These commenters are shameful.
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Indeed, getting tired of the frequent calls for proof to act, for proof to believe, for proof, for proof. Sounds like a bunch of Pharisees. What I do know is anecdotal here in Arizona. Years ago, two fine young men killed themselves in our stake, two more in my Scout troop attempted it. All from being gay. I had living in my home a young man who attempted suicide because his ‘loving’ Mormon family abandoned him. I had another young man that had been kept on drugs in Utah by his ‘loving’ Mormon family to make the gay go away. At 18 the center had no choice but to release him, uncured. I have friends that years later are still carrying the burn scars from electro shock therapy administered at BYU and through LDS Social Services. Frankly, we in Arizona are getting tired of rescuing the ‘youthful’ trash the ‘Saints’ in Utah keep throwing away. If they are not killing themselves, they are coming to Arizona homeless with nothing. People I know call them casualties of the war, I tell them no, these gay youth are simply collateral damage. The Brethren, church leadership obviously do not care, their silence through these decades is evidence enough of their agreement that their death is not relevant.
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What’s disheartening is that the institutional church created an environment via policy (now conveniently revelation) where LGBTQ members are made to feel broken, rejected and unwelcome. Once a bunch of them commit suicide the institutional church sends out its spokesman to talk about how sympathetic it is to LGBTQ members and their families.
“We mourn with their families and friends when they feel life no longer offers hope,” they say.
We’ll kill you, then we’ll mourn you.
The article from the Desert News stated that only 10 of the 27 she claimed were from Utah were verified from the beginning of November in that age range and reason she claimed through the Health Department. Nearly a third less than she has stated and that number is within the normal suicide rate number for the state even prior to the announcement. That proved that announcement has not been the caused of any created increase nor does it mean those that did commit suicide were gay or lesbian. I think if there is something positive to take from this article it is to love everyone unconditionally. However, “thou shalt not lie” is also one of the first ten commandments and this type of material shouldn’t be manipulated just to make a political point. The information and statistics provided by the women in the story were found to be inaccurate by a large margin.
ACME your comment is ridiculous. There are SO many things that go into a person deciding to end their life. Stating that the LDS church killed these children is completely irresponsible and ridiculous. It is comments like this that show the true colors of people. Instead of placing blame on institutions how about we look to what we can do at a family level. I will never blame the LSD Church for anything tha goes on in MY family.
So refreshing to read these comments. They are absent the gloss offered by the institutional church, namely that LGBTQ members are loved. Is a policy that makes them feel excluded the way loved ones should be treated?
According to the state of Utah, only 25 deaths are reported in total for the same time period so how can there be 28 suicides? The state reports 10 suicides (which is still far too many) as well as 2 undetermined and 25 total. They also report that some of the 25 they know are not suicide for sure. While it is clear there is a suicide problem, it appears that these numbers are not actual numbers being reported by the Montgomery’s so the question begs: why are they reporting these numbers, clearly they are not accurate. What is their agenda?
I’ve been pretty close to suicide. Four years later now I’ve learned to love myself and I really don’t think I’ll ever be in that darkness again. If the alleged Mormon suicides are real, bless their families. I hope they find peace. These numbers are not official thogh and shouldnt be taken as fact. It comes from one sourcecomes who can’t really explain her findings further. If she made it up for some agenda, as people do, that’s pretty awful. here s some staggering facts though…on average 22 veterans commit suicide a day!
What you have presented here has nothing to do with the change in the handbook about children living in a home where one or more of the parents is gay. This article is written to support LGBT members of the church. You are the one pitting members against each other when you take out of context the real meaning of the change in church policy. The First Presidency is trying to support the family, whatever it may be; straight, gay, or otherwise. We live in a difficult world to navigate; we don’t need it muddled by well-meaning people taking the new instruction and changing the meaning and then telling us all how we should live. We listen to the words of Christ and that will tell us how to live.
The complete lack of numbers also tell a story.
As an LDS mom with my two youngest sons ages 18, I am making them sit down with me and read In Quiet Desperation by Matis and Mansfield and another book called Voices of Hope by Mansfield. One of my sons has a friend who is gay. My goal is to open their hearts and educate them on this in our home. If one of my sons is gay and I don’t know it I am hoping he will know he is safe and loved here. If all of us will talk to our teens about this and make sure their hearts are in the right place on this issue it might help save the lives of their peers. We need to start at home. (We aren’t very far into these books yet so I’m not recommending them until I’ve read through them so don’t attack me on my book choice. We just started.)
3 Nephi 11
37 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things.
38 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.
39 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.
40 And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them.
So, I’ve been ponderizing this scripture as it relates to the subject at hand. How would a literal interpretation of this scripture potentially put an end to all of this back and forth about church doctrine and what we need to do to qualify for heaven? What was the Lord trying to tell us in this passage? Is this one of those scriptures where a literal interpretation is so counter intuitive to everything we think that we know; that we simply throw it out as being unrealistic? I mean, how can we even have a church If we don’t add a bunch of doctrine and policies to this simple statement of Christ? An example of how we do this is the one about “give no thought for tomorrow…consider the lilies of the field…” We think that this is such an unrealistic way to live that we have practically canonized the interpretation that Christ meant this for the apostles and not for the church as a whole. Can we not see the forrest for the trees because we keep planting new trees. (As in doctrine, policy, interpretation and so forth)
Great post that makes a great point—: There are many LGBT youth who feel criticized, conflcted, attacked, condemned, excluded, and a bleak sense of no hope for happiness –ever. They feel the contention that surrounds them. So quit arguing and need to reach out to them, be kind, give them hope, help them survive. Treat them like they matter , and belong, and that you care. . Be their firends. It will help save their lives.
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So poignant and thoughtful. Know well about tragedies of siicidal that’s and their successes (!). God bless those parents and loved ones.