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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Chris Wallace ‘Sad’ How Debate ‘Turned Out’: ‘Never Dreamt That It Would Go Off the Tracks’
Chris Wallace, the Fox News anchor who more than most at the right wing cable network stands up to President Donald Trump, was exceptionally passive in his moderation of the first presidential debate of 2020.
He was equally passive in how he discussed and described his performance.
“I’m just sad with the way last night turned out,” Wallace passively told The New York Times’ Michael Grynbaum.
“I never dreamt that it would go off the tracks the way it did,” he continued, appearing to take no responsibility for what was overwhelmingly described on social media Tuesday night as a “shit show.”
Continuing down the path of passivity, Wallace lamented it was “a terrible missed opportunity.”
“I’ve read some of the reviews, I know people think, Well, gee, I didn’t jump in soon enough,” he added. “I guess I didn’t realize — and there was no way you could, hindsight being 20/20 — that this was going to be the president’s strategy, not just for the beginning of the debate but the entire debate.”
There in fact was every reason to believe Trump would do what he did Tuesday night – bully, attack, threaten, lie, talk over his opponent, talk over the moderator, refuse to answer direct questions, and embarrass the nation – because he’s done it before, to varying degrees.
“I’m a pro. I’ve never been through anything like this,” Wallace says.
He also refused to blame the president for destroying the entire debate.
Asked directly if Mr. Trump had derailed the debate, Mr. Wallace replied, “Well, he certainly didn’t help.”
Care to elaborate? “No,” Mr. Wallace said. “To quote the president, ‘It is what it is.’”
Wallace seems keenly aware of the power of public opinion, and clearly allowed that to impact his role.
“People have to remember, and too many people forget, both of these candidates have the support of tens of millions of Americans.”
Wallace does not seem to have any regrets.
“Generally speaking, I did as well as I could, so I don’t have any second thoughts there,” Mr. Wallace said, in conclusion. “I’m just disappointed with the results. For me, but much more importantly, I’m disappointed for the country, because it could have been a much more useful evening than it turned out to be.”
Debate Commission Will Let Moderators Cut Candidates’ Mics
After President Donald Trump wholly ignored both the debate rules he agreed to and the moderator he agree to, the Committee on Presidential Debates said it would examine options to get control him.
The Commission will allow future debate moderators to cut candidates’ microphones if they deem necessary, according to CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell.
EXCLUSIVE: @CBSNews has learned the Commission on Presidential Debates plans to issue strict new rules in the coming days that include cutting off a candidate’s microphone if they violate the rules, per an informed source.
More tonight on the @CBSEveningNews
— Norah O’Donnell 🇺🇸 (@NorahODonnell) September 30, 2020
That would be one option of several moderators can expect to be given – it’s unclear if the candidates will have to agree to the updated rules.
The Commission issued a statement Wednesday in response to the disaster caused by President Trump. The organization said Tuesday’s “debate made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues.”
They have vowed they “are going to be making changes” to avoid a replay of last night’s out of control catastrophe.
President Trump turned the debate into what many called a “shit show.”
Federal Judge Orders Barr to Release Redacted Portions of Mueller Report
A federal judge has ordered the Dept. of Justice to publish redacted portions of the Mueller report after determining Attorney General Bill Barr had not met his burden to satisfy keeping the information privileged.
“Based on the Court’s review of the unredacted version of the Mueller Report, the Court concludes that the Department has failed to satisfy its burden to demonstrate that the withheld material is protected by the deliberative process privilege,” U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton wrote, as The Hill reports.
The redactions are important. They detail the process by which Mueller’s team decided to charge or not charge individuals with crimes. The full extent of who that includes in the report is not known, but there was great discussion after the report was released about why President Donald Trump had not been charged.
Judge Walton was appointed by President George W. Bush.
This is a breaking news and developing story.
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