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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‘One Minute to Live, Sir’: Trump Shared Details of Soleimani Assassination With Top Dollar Donors at Mar-a-Lago Fundraiser
President Donald Trump shared moment-by-moment details of his assassination of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani with top high-dollar donors at Friday night’s fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago. The Commander-in-Chief also revealed he authorized the killing, not because of any supposed “imminent threat,” as he has previously asserted, but because intelligence reports, he said, found Solemiani was “talking about bad stuff.”
Killing Solemani as an act of retribution instead of as a preventative measure against imminent attack could be a war crime, legal experts have said.
The Washington Post reports Trump “spoke broadly about Soleimani as ‘the father of the road side bomb’ responsible for ‘every young, beautiful man or woman who see walking around with no legs, no arms.'”
Soleimani “was saying bad things about our country, like we’re going to attack, we’re going to kill your people. I said, ‘listen, how much of this shit do we have to listen to, right?’” Trump said, to applause.
The president also gave a blow-by-blow account of Soleimani’s killing.
“‘Sir, they have two minutes and 11 seconds.’ No emotion. ‘two minutes and 11 seconds to live, sir. They’re in the car, they’re in an armored vehicle. Sir, they have approximately one minute to live, sir. 30 seconds. 10, 9, 8 …’ Then all of a sudden, boom,” Trump told the group of donors, according to audio recordings the Post received.
The Post also revealed that at Friday’s fundraiser, “Trump is heard boasting about increasing the defense budget by $2.5 trillion. To those who criticized his spending and the growing national debt, Trump said, ‘Who the hell cares about the budget? We’re going to have a country.'”
Lev Parnas Details ‘Intimate’ Cannabis Industry Dinner With Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump
In an extensive interview with the Daily Beast, Lev Parnas — the associate of Rudy Giuliani who is at the center of more allegations of corruption against Donald Trump — revealed details of a meeting he had with Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner that the White House has tried to dismiss.
Speaking with the Beast’s Betsy Swan, Parnas stated that we was a participant at a private dinner at the Trump Hotel, with Swan writing, “In October 2018, he attended a dinner in a private suite at Trump Hotel hosted by the pro-Trump super PAC America First Action. The dinner, with around a dozen people, connected Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump with leaders in the cannabis industry. Parnas said he was invited because he “was a Trump loyalist,” and because the super PAC’s Director of Development Joey Ahearn knew he was pro-cannabis.”
According to Parnas, cannabis entrepreneurs were hoping to influence Kushner in the hope he could influence the White House’s stance on weed.
“They wanted Jared to be more involved, maybe help push the agenda with the president because they felt that that was something he needed to be more lenient on,” Parnas explained.
As for a picture taken with the couple that went viral, Parnas sais the White House was lying about the circumstances under which is was taken.
“The White House has claimed that a picture of Parnas with Kushner and Ivanka Trump was ‘taken at an event in a photo line.’” the report states. “Parnas, however, said it was taken at the intimate dinner with cannabis industry insiders. Two sources with knowledge of the dinner confirmed that it happened in October 2018 and that Parnas attended. The decor in the background of the picture–as Zack Everson, author of a newsletter on Trump properties noted–indicates the photo was taken in the pricey Trump Hotel suite where the dinner was hosted.”
You can read more here.
Rod Rosenstein Admits He Authorized Release of Strzok-Page Texts That Spawned Preposterous GOP Conspiracy Theories
Strzok and Page, who were involved in the Russia investigation prior to dismissal by former special counsel Robert Mueller, and whose extramarital affair inflamed Fox News’ outrage for months, revealed a dislike of President Donald Trump in their text messages, which formed the basis of GOP conspiracy theories that the FBI had been secretly working to bring down the president with the Russia investigation.
Subsequent investigations have failed to find any evidence that Strzok, Page, or any other FBI officials tried to politically target Trump with the power of the agency. However, a recent inspector general report suggests some of their surveillance practices may have been improper and require reform.
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