LDS Church Leaders Call Trend ‘Heartbreaking,’ Say They ‘Mourn with Families’
Thirty-two young LGBT Mormons reportedly have taken their own lives since early November â€” 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.Â
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.Â
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.Â 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.Â
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.
“Every soul is precious to God and to the church and the loss of life to suicide is heartbreaking,” an LDS church spokesman, Dale Jones, said. “Those who are attracted to others of the same sex face particular challenges and pressures in this regard, both inside and outside the church. We mourn with their families and friends when they feel life no longer offers hope. Each congregation should welcome everyone. Leaders and members are taught to follow the example of Jesus Christ and to reach out in an active, caring way to all, especially to youth who feel estranged or isolated. The church has repeatedly stated that those who feel same-sex attraction and yet choose to live the commandments of God can live fulfilling lives as worthy members of the church. We want all to enjoy the blessings and safety offered by embracing the teachings of Jesus Christ and living the principles of His gospel.”
The 15 million-member LDS church teaches that acting on feelings of “same-sex attraction” is a sin, and excommunicates gay and lesbian members who decline to remain celibate. The church fought vigorously against the legalization of same-sex marriage, bankrolling the campaign in support of California’s Proposition 8 in 2008.
In the ensuing years, however, the church appeared to soften its anti-gay tone and left decisions about the issue in the hands of local leaders. As a result, some “wards,” or congregations, in progressive areas became welcoming of LGBT people. Last year, the church even supported a bill banning anti-LGBT discrimination in Utah, although the measure contained significant religious exemptions.Â
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.Â
The new policy prompted thousands to leave the church in protest. Then,Â 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.Â
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.Â 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.Â
Nationally, LGB youth are four times more likely than theirÂ straight peers to attempt suicide, according to the Trevor Project. 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.”
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Trump’s Chilling Re-Election Calculus Is to Focus on Economy Instead of Lives Says Former Administration Official: Report
Two top Washington Post journalists are out with a stunning story Saturday morning, an inside look at President Donald Trump’s “risky push to reopen the country amid the coronavirus crisis.”
Robert Costa and Philip Rucker took a deep dive into this week’s developments, writing that “in private discussions, the president has been driven much more by economic concerns, according to people involved in internal debates or briefed on them. Trump has long viewed the stock market as a barometer for his own reelection hopes, and he has been distraught at the meltdown in recent weeks. He has been inundated with calls from business leaders, wealthy supporters and conservative allies urging him to get Americans back to work and stave off further calamity, even if doing so carries health risks.”
Then, this chilling insight from a former Trump official:
“There’s a fatalism that no matter what he does, he’s going to get blamed by half of the country,” said a former senior administration official with knowledge of Trump’s thinking. “If there is something he has some measure of control over, which is the economy, why not potentially try to take action? Yes, there will be a death toll, and he’ll get blamed one way or another, but in all likelihood, whether he gets reelected or not will depend on where the economy is and where people’s perceptions of the economy are six months from now. That’s where he is primarily focused.”
Read the entire story here.
Image: Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour via Flickr
Hours After Announcing He Invoked the Defense Production Act for Ventilators Trump Backtracks – for the Second Time Today
President Donald Trump once again is bowing to corporate America and vacillating on using the full force of the law to save American lives.
Two hours after the White House issued a statement announcing President Trump had invoked the Defense Production Act, directing General Motors to produce ventilators (quantity, timeline, and cost not announced), Trump is again backtracking – for the second time in as many hours.
After the White House press statement, Trump sat at the Resolute Desk, telling reporters in the Oval Office, “I’ve enacted the Act, we’ve used it three of four times.” That’s false. He had never officially used the law.
“We did activate it with respect to General Motors,” he continued, announcing he has ordered the car company to produce ventilators. He added, “maybe we won’t need the full activation we’ll find out.”
That’s not how the law works.
And now, at his daily coronavirus press conference, Trump again backtracked.
“This invocation of the DPA should demonstrate clearly to all that we will not hesitate to use the full authority of the federal government to combat this crisis. We thought we had a deal for example with General Motors and I guess they thought otherwise. They didn’t agree, and now they do, they do agree, and I think we might be able to pull it,” he said, referring to his direction under the DPA to GM to make ventilators.
Proving he has no intention of actually using the law, Trump scolded the $137 billion multinational corporation: “We let them know how we felt, and they can’t be doin’ that.”
It is unclear if Trump will actually use the law, as intended, to mandate GM produce the life-saving equipment. There appears to be no contract, no order, no number of ventilators to be produced, nor at what cost. There also appears to be no specifications, and no timeline as to how many are to be delivered when.
Minutes later, talking about ventilators being made, Trump says, “Hopefully General Motors will join the fray.”
He did not explain why he said “hopefully.”
Later, Trump explains that he doesn’t want to “get ripped off on price,” then says: “So General Motors, we’ll see what happens.”
Trump Again Claims He’s Invoked the Defense Production Act – Then Backtracks Saying ‘Maybe We Won’t Need’ to Fully Use It
President Donald Trump Friday afternoon announced he has invoked the Defense Production Act to require GM to produce vitally-needed life-saving ventilators. But it’s not the first time has and his administration have claimed the DPA was being used to require the production of critical equipment, nor is it being used as it should be.
In announcing he had finally invoked it, to force GM to make ventilators they already have announced they will produce, Trump immediately backtracked, nonsensically saying he might not need to fully use the law.
“I’ve enacted the Act, we’ve used it three of four times,” Trump said, which is a lie, claiming “the companies came through in the end they didn’t need the Act.”
That’s not how the law works.
“It’s been great leverage I have instituted it against General Electric, we thought we had a deal for 40,000 ventilators,” Trump claimed, which again is false, it was for 20,000.
“We did activate it with respect to General Motors and hopefully – maybe we won’t need the full activation we’ll find out,” he said, after calling the car company “General Electric.”
Here’s Trump saying of the Defense Production Act that “I have instituted it against General Electric,” then saying 30 seconds later that “we did activate it with respect to General Motors” 🙃 pic.twitter.com/VyvXBJa6l0
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 27, 2020
Every day that went by that theDPA remained unused is a day in the future more people will die, literally unable to breathe due to an insufficient number of ventilators across the nation.
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