Saturday, January 30, 2016

New Mormon Church Anti-Gay Policy Leads to 32 Suicides

Image by Brian Palmer via Facebook
Religion is a toxic evil for society in my view, but it is especially evil in terms of the damage done to LGBT lives and psyches.  In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell, the bitter old men in the Mormon Church leadership felt the need to ratchet up it's anti-gay extremism and that henceforth people in same-sex marriages would be declared "apostates" and that their children would be barred from being baptized in the Mormon Church.  A support group for Mormon parents of LGBT children is reporting that the new policy is having deadly consequences: 32 young LGBT Mormons have taken their own lives since early November, 2015, when the policy was announced.  The New Civil Rights Movement looks at the depressing fruits of religious based hate and bigorty.  Here are highlights:
Thirty-two young LGBT Mormons reportedly have taken their own lives since early November — when the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced a new devastatingly anti-gay policy labeling people in same-sex marriages "apostates" and barring their children from being baptized.

All of the victims were between the ages of 14 and 20, with an average age of 17. Twenty-seven were male, three were female and two were transgender, and all but six of the suicides occurred in Utah. 

Those figures are based on a report from Mama Dragons, a support group for the Mormon parents of LGBT children that we first told you about last May. Wendy Montgomery, co-founder of Mama Dragons, announced recently during a conference of Affirmation, another Mormon LGBT support group, that the families of the 32 victims had contacted her directly about the death of a child or sibling.

The Deseret News, a Salt Lake City-based daily newspaper owned by the Mormon church, reported the shocking figure Wednesday after obtaining the following statement from senior LDS leaders.

But in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in favor of nationwide marriage equality, the church took a major step backward. In the policy released Nov. 5, the church relegated same-sex couples to the same status as those in polygamous marriages, labeling them "apostates," a term for those who've renounced their faith. The policy also bars the children of same-sex parents from becoming full members of the church until they turn 18, disavow their parents' relationship, and leave the household.

The new policy prompted thousands to leave the church in protest. Then, earlier this month, the president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Russell M. Nelson, declared that the policy was a revelation from God to LDS President Thomas S. Monson, which elevated it to the status of church doctrine. Nelson is next in line to become church president, and his wife later said that LGBT people could "repent" and have their "sexual feelings be in harmony" with God's law. 

Even before the new policy was announced, Utah had the fourth-highest rate of suicide in the nation, and suicide was the No. 1 cause of death for children ages 10-17. Sadly, the families of LGBT Mormons who commit suicide typically don't publicize it because they want to avoid the associated shame from fellow church members.

LGB youth who come from highly rejecting families are 8.4 times as likely to attempt suicide as those who report no or low levels of family rejection. And one quarter of young transgender people "report having made a suicide attempt."

Hate, bigotry and death are the fruits of religion.  In the case of the Mormon Church, it is particularly sad - I grew up through high school in Central New York not far from where Joseph Smith claimed to have discovered the golden tablets upon which the Mormon faith is based.  Local always viewed Smith as a shyster and con-man and fraud.  That's the basis for the Mormon faith: fraud and untruth. 

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