Connect with us

Top Mormon Leader Says Only God Can Judge Him For Gay Suicide Crisis Caused By LDS Church

Published

on

LDS Elder Says Question of Whether Church is Responsible for At Least 32 Deaths Can Only Be Answered by ‘Higher Authority’ on ‘Judgment Day’

Mormon parents with LGBT children are outraged over a church leader’s callous remarks last week concerning the youth suicide crisis that’s been linked to a horrific new anti-gay policy.

Mama Dragons, a support group for those parents, reported lsat month that at least 32 young LGBT Mormons had taken their own lives since early November. That’s when the church unveiled its policy — said to be divinely inspired — that labels people in same-sex marriages “apostates” and bars their children from being baptized until they turn 18 and disavow their parents’ relationship. 

Last week, Elder Dallin Oaks became the first Mormon leader to address the suicide crisis publicly, when he suggested that people are wrongly blaming the church for the deaths of their loved ones, according to audio of his remarks posted by the Mormon Stories podcast.

Oaks, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, added that the question of whether the church is responsible for the LGBT youth suicides can only be answered by “a higher authority” on “judgment day.” 

“I am angry,” Mama Dragons member Brooke Caldwell, the mother of a transgender son, told Salt Lake City’s Fox affiliate for a story that aired Monday. “I am fiercely angry at the church.” 

Mama Dragons’ report about the 32 LGBT youth suicides is not verifiable and has been questioned by Utah state health officials. However, LGBT-affirming Mormon therapist Hollie Hancock told the station that if even one young member of the church has taken their own life, “we’ve lost too many.”  

“It’s as if we hear, ‘Love your children, love your families, be there for your families, family is the most important thing in the church,” Hancock said. 

“Except your gay children,” Caldwell added. 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hasn’t responded to media inquiries about Oaks’ statements, which he made following a speech about the importance of religious freedom at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 9. 

A member of the audience, Andrew Evans, referenced a comment Oaks’ made about “social warfare,” then explained that his gay Mormon friend had committed suicide in D.C. less than a year ago. 

“You’ve gone on record that the church does not give apologies,” Evans told Oaks. “Does religious freedom absolve you from responsibility in the gay Mormon suicide crisis?” 

Oaks responded that Evans’ question could only be answered “on judgment day.” 

“I can’t answer that beyond what’s already been said,” Oaks explained, apparently referencing an official statement issued by the LDS church concerning the suicides last month.

Oaks also used the term “sexual preference,” considered offensive by many in the LGBT community because it implies that being gay is a choice. 

“I know that those tragic events happen,” Oaks said. “And it’s not unique simply to the question of sexual preference. There are other cases where people have taken their own lives and blamed a church – my church – or a government, or somebody else for their taking their own lives, and I think those things have to be judged by a higher authority than exists on this earth, and I am ready to be accountable to that authority, but I think part of what my responsibility extends to, is trying to teach people to be loving, and civil and sensitive to one another so that people will not feel driven, whatever the policy disagreements, whatever the rules of the church, or the practices of a church, or any other organization, if they are administered with kindness, at the highest level or at the level of the congregation or the ward, they won’t drive people to take those extreme measures; that’s part of my responsibility to teach that.”

“And beyond that,” Elder Oaks adds, “I will be accountable to higher authority for that. That’s the way I look on that. Nobody is sadder about a case like that than I am. Maybe that’s a good note to end on.”

Some responses via Twitter:

 

Image by Harvard Law Record via Flickr and a CC license

Continue Reading
Click to comment
 
 

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

‘Jesus Was Not a Socialist!’ Fox News Panel Explodes Over Jesus Christ’s Political Views

Published

on

Conservative religious pundits on Fox News recoiled in outrage on Sunday after a left-leaning guest suggested that Jesus Christ was “more of a socialist” than a capitalist.

During a Fox & Friends segment designed to cast doubt on the faith or Democratic presidential candidates, evangelical pastor Robert Jeffress argued that socialism is “antithetical to Christianity.”

But St. Paul Reverend Dee Dawkins-Haigler reminded the other panelists that scriptures seemed to point to what people now call socialism.

“We believe in things like, what did you do to the least of them?” Dawkins-Haigler explained. “You fed the hungry, you clothed the naked, you went to see those who are in prison.”

“You do not have to be a socialist to be a Christian!” Jeffress shot back. “Socialism is antithetical to Christianity and if they nominate Bernie Sanders, they are not going to be able to attract any faith voters.”

“I totally disagree,” Dawkins-Haigler retorted. “People would have said that Jesus was more of a socialist than anybody we’re talking about today.”

The remarks stopped Fox News host Pete Hegseth cold.

“Why was Jesus a socialist?” he exclaimed.

“Because Jesus did not sit with the establishment, he overturned tables of the tax collectors, he sat with people who were lepers,” Dawkins-Haigler explained. “He made sure he healed people who people thought should not have been healed.”

“So we have to be very careful how we use this language and try to take ownership of who God is,” she added.

“That’s a big claim,” Hegseth interrupted again, giving the floor to Jeffress.

“No! Jesus was not a socialist!” Jeffress opined. “He said render unto Ceasar the things that are Ceasar’s and to God the things that are God’s. He was compassionate. Church is to be compassionate, but you don’t have to believe in socialism, which is nothing but communism light and is absolutely is opposed to everything that is Christian.”

Watch the video below from Fox News.

Continue Reading

THIS IS WHAT FASCISM SOUNDS LIKE

Trump National Security Advisor Blasted for ‘Weaponizing’ Classified Intel Against Bernie Sanders as Nevada Caucuses

Published

on

President Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor was blasted online on Saturday for a smear against Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) while Nevada Democrats were caucusing to choose the DNC’s 2020 presidential nominee.

Josh Dawsey, White House reporter for The Washington Post, broke news on Saturday about what Robert O’Brien said in an interview to air on Sunday.

O’Brien was quickly criticized for his comments. Here is some of what people were saying:

Continue Reading

'WHAT REAL JOURNALISM LOOKS LIKE'

Internet Heaps Praise on CNN’s Anderson Cooper for His ‘Must Watch’ Destruction of Rod Blagojevich

Published

on

CNN’s Anderson Cooper received near-universal praise across the board for what one commenter called his “fiery rebuke” of recently paroled former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich on Friday night that culminated in the CNN host telling him excuses for why he should not have been in prison were “bullsh*t.”

During the highly-contentious interview, Cooper came armed with facts and did not let Blagojevich get away with comparing himself to political prisoner Nelson Madel a which drew a smirk and rebuke from the CNN host.

Many on Twitter were quick to point to the interview as one all cable hosts should look at as a way to stop guests who go on shows to lie with no pushback.

As former President Bill Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich put it: “At a time when so many lies go unchecked and unaddressed by the media, @andersoncooper ‘s fiery rebuke of Blagojevich’s narrative could not have been more necessary. This is what real journalism looks like.”

You can see similar comments — as well as video — below:

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2019 AlterNet Media.