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

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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

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Unpublished Bolton Manuscript Exposes Trump’s Ukraine ‘Drug Deal’ Tying Military Aid to Dirt on Biden: New NYT Report

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The unpublished manuscript of John Bolton‘s forthcoming book exposes what the former Trump National Security Advisor allegedly had called a “drug deal,” when referring to the president’s extortion scheme of Ukraine, a New York Times report reveals. Trump, according to the draft, personally told Bolton of the illegal act, including tying congressionally-approved military aid to Ukraine manufacturing “dirt” against former Vice President Joe Biden, who early emerged as Trump’s top political opponent.

“President Trump told his national security adviser in August that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens, according to an unpublished manuscript by the former adviser, John R. Bolton,” the Times reported late Sunday.

Those facts wholly destroy the president’s defense which his legal team have been arguing before and now during his Senate impeachment trial. The revelation, just before the trial resumes Monday afternoon, might make it extraordinarily difficult for Trump’s defense team to continue that line of defense.

“Mr. Bolton’s explosive account of the matter at the center of Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial, the third in American history, was included in drafts of a manuscript he has circulated in recent weeks to close associates.”

Senate Democrats tried last week to subpoena Bolton to testify, but Republicans killed all such efforts.

The Times’ report also states Bolton submitted the manuscript to the White House, which means they are aware of the existence of the allegation – and continue to engage in obstruction of Congress, one of the two Articles of Impeachment.

Maggie Haberman, one of the author’s of Sunday night’s bombshell, posted this tweet:

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.

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News

Kobe Bryant Dead in Helicopter Accident: TMZ

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Basketball great Kobe Bryant has died in a tragic helicopter accident, along with everyone on board, TMZ was first to report. The 41-year old NBA star played with the LA Lakers for two decades. He retired in 2016.

“Kobe was traveling with at least 3 other people in his private helicopter when it went down,” TMZ adds. “A fire broke out. Emergency personnel responded, but nobody on board survived. 5 people are confirmed dead. We’re told Vanessa Bryant was not among those on board.”

The LA County Sheriff’s Office posted this tweet, but did not include Bryant’s name.

In 2013 after his own missteps Bryant stepped up to correct a fan for using the word “gay” as a slur. Nearly seven years ago, it was a big moment for awareness and for the LGBTQ community.

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.

Image via Wikimedia

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CRIME

Trump Accused of Inciting Violence Against Adam Schiff With ‘Not Paid the Price Yet’ Twitter Threat

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A Sunday morning tweet by Donald Trump attacking Rep. Adam Schiff  has drawn intense scrutiny on Twitter and elsewhere with many suggesting the president is inciting violence or some sort of retribution against the California Democrat whith the phrase Schiff “not paid the price yet.”

According to the president, ““The Impeachment Hoax is a massive election interference the likes of which has never been seen before. In just two hours the Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats have seen their phony case absolutely shredded. Shifty is now exposed for illegally making up my phone call, & more!” before adding, “Shifty Adam Schiff is a CORRUPT POLITICIAN, and probably a very sick man. He has not paid the price, yet, for what he has done to our Country!”

Appearing on “Meet the Press” Schiff himself agreed that it sounded like a “threat.”

“I think it’s intended to be,” Schiff stated. “But look, it is going to be very difficult for some of these senators to stand up to this president. It really is. There’s just no question about it.”

On Twitter, the president was hammered for his rhetoric, see below:

 

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