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Gay Mormon Teen Forced to Carry Backpack Full of Stones to Make Her Straight

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Lesbian Recounts 8 Months of ‘Reparative Therapy’ Torture in Utah

A lesbian Mormon teenager was forced to wear a backpack full of stones for 18 hours a day as part of an effort to make her straight, she reveals in a new book. 

When Alex Cooper, now 21, came out to her Mormon parents in 2009 at the age of 15, they first kicked her out, then decided they were going to “fix” her.

They took her to the home of fellow Mormons Tiana and Johnny Siale in St. George, Utah, where Cooper was subject to eight months of captivity and torture, according to her book, Saving Alex.

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The Siales, who had no licenses or training in counseling, would force Cooper to stand facing a wall holding a backpack full of stones so she would “feel the burden she was carrying by choosing to be gay.”

“I felt angry, indignant, determined to find a way out,” Cooper writes. “Then the loneliness settled in.” 

The Siales told Cooper: “Your family doesn’t want you. God has no place for people like you in His plan.” She developed sores on her shoulders and cramps in her back. Cooper attempted suicide and repeatedly tried to escape, but when she was caught, the Siales allegedly beat her. 

“I came to my feet in front of him,” Cooper writes. “He made a fist and punched me in the gut, knocking the wind out of me. I doubled over and choked for breath.”

Cooper says visitors to the Siales’ home in heavily Mormon St. George knew about the abuse, but did nothing to stop it.  

Finally, the Siales allowed Cooper to attend a local high school, where she discovered the Gay-Straight Alliance. She was introduced to a Salt Lake City attorney, Paul Burke, who fought for a year to obtain a court order barring her parents from forcing her into reparative therapy. Cooper was the first openly gay teenager to win such legal protections in Utah.

Cooper, who now lives as an out lesbian in Portland, Oregon, and is no longer a practicing Mormon, ultimately chose not to prosecute the Siales. 

“As long as I was sitting in a courtroom looking at them I couldn’t move on with my life, and that’s what I needed to do,” Cooper said of the Siales in an interview with Publishers Weekly. 

She has also reconciled with her parents, saying she believes they were only doing what they felt was right, and following the tenets of the Mormon faith. 

“I think that’s what a lot of parents are under the impression of, that they’re doing the best thing for their child,” Cooper told The Salt Lake Tribune. 

“I don’t blame my parents,” Cooper told KUTV. “I am able to share my life with them, and it’s awesome.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which once conducted shock and vomit aversion therapy on homosexual members at Brigham Young University, no longer advocates so-called “reparative therapy.” However, it still teaches that gay sex is sinful, and in November the church unveiled a policy declaring same-sex couples “apostates” and barring their children from being baptized. 

More than 30 young LGBT Mormons reportedly have committed suicide in the wake of the policy. 

In response to Cooper’s book, the Mormon church issued a statement saying it “denounces any therapy that subjects an individual to abusive practices,” according to KUTV. 

“We hope those who experience the complex realities of same-sex attraction find compassion and understanding from family members, professional counselors and church members,” LDS spokesman Eric Hawkins said.  

 

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Reporters Reveal Some Republicans Don’t Understand What a Default Means – and Don’t Believe the Debt Ceiling Is Real

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CNN’s Jim Acosta and John Avlon compared notes on Republicans speaking on raising the debt ceiling over the weekend only to realize that the far-right members refuse to support the deal between Speaker Kevin McCarthy and President Joe Biden.

Acosta cited an interview he conducted Saturday with Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN), who said he’s voted for shutdowns and would vote again this week.

After ranting about cutting spending, Acosta said, “Well, you can have the argument about cutting spending during the budget and appropriations process, but as you know, Congressman, the U.S. has never missed making payments on its bills before. In the last 45 years, Congress has raised the debt ceiling 65 times. So, again, I go back to the question: is it responsible — I understand what you’re saying about how much your daughter spends, but we’re not talking about $15. We’re talking about the American economy. Is it responsible to be the deciding vote to send the country into default?”

Burchett claimed that the country wasn’t going to be sent into default. He crafted a conspiracy that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen kept changing the date the U.S. default would happen.

“Nobody is, as the young people say, nobody has provided the receipts. Nobody has called her into Washington and said, ‘Show us the math on this,'” he said.

Yellen works at the Treasury Department, which is in Washington.

Burchett also had his own math, saying that if they cut the budget spending to the 2022 levels, the country would be in a surplus. The House passed a massive defense spending package that would have required cuts from other places.

“All they’re doin’ right now is scarin’ people,” Burchett claimed. “They’re talkin’ about cutting programs that have no need other than political cronyism, we’re tellin’ our seniors — and the Democrats will, and I get it — they’re tellin’ the seniors they’re gonna be cut. Veterans are gonna be cut. And nothing can be farther (sic) from the truth. And that’s just the reality of politics.”

The reason Democrats were citing cuts to seniors and veterans goes back to the Republican Party budget bill that required cuts to seniors and veterans. That’s because returning to the 2022 budget levels means making cuts to increases already passed by Congress.

Acosta turned back to Burchett to ask if he believed the debt ceiling wasn’t real.

“I think the debt ceiling is — it’s just a creative thing to hold us into responsible — into check,” said Burchett.

Avlon cited Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC), who claimed he refused to sign a bill that would bankrupt the economy.

“Well, hold it right there,” said Avlon. “I mean, if you let the country default on its debt, that’s functionally the same thing.”

An annoyed Avlon was frustrated the process was even something allowed to happen.

“It’s a fact, Congress has to control the pursestrings. So, frankly, someone should figure out the 14th Amendment side of this because I think this is not the way we’re supposed to play ball, the greatest nation in the world constantly every couple of years when there’s a Democratic president flirting with defaulting on our debt because it’s fiscal policy by extortion,” said Avlon. “This is a win to the extent that we came up to a bipartisan agreement, but this is not the way the greatest nation in the world should conduct its fiscal policy. It’s ridiculous. And it didn’t happen when Donald Trump was president because Democrats worked with Republicans to ensure the debt ceiling was raised three times.”

See the discussion below or at the link here.

Image: GOP Rep. Tim Burchett

 

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‘Start the Kevin McCarthy Death-Clock’ After Biden Wins Debt Ceiling Battle: Rick Wilson

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Appearing late Saturday night on MSNBC after it was announced that President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) had reached an agreement “in principle’ on a budget deal, former GOP strategist Rick Wilson claimed this could be the beginning of the end for McCathy’s speakership.

Sitting in on a panel with guest host Michael Steele, Wilson suggested that McCarthy’s decision to compromise with the president to avoid a default that would spin the economy into chaos will not go over well with far-right members of his House caucus who could make a motion to “vacate the chair” to express their displeasure.

Asked by host Steel about what comes next, Wilson stated it was a win for the White House which will not make conservatives happy.

RELATED: ‘Crazy cuckoo MAGA people’ could sink debt ceiling deal: Dem strategist

“Great night for Joe Biden, great night for the White House even though I think their messaging has been kind of tentative the past few weeks” the Lincoln Project founder began. “I think though we are now going to start the Kevin McCarthy death-clock. He has certainly got a very angry part of his caucus tonight who probably burning up his phone no matter how good it is for the country not to default.”

“It’s not going to please the chaos caucus in the GOP,” he added.

Watch below or at the link:

 

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Debt Ceiling: McCarthy Faces ‘Lingering Anger’ and a Possible Revolt as Far-Right House Members Start Issuing Threats

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As House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) continues to negotiate a deal to avoid a debt crisis, members of the far-right Freedom Caucus are growing furious with him over broken promises he made to them.

According to MSNBC political analyst Steve Benen, with a slim GOP majority in the House, McCarthy is walking a tightrope to get a budget deal passed and may need help from House Democrats if members of his caucus refuse to go along with him.

As Benen points out, in order to win the speakership McCarthy agreed to an easier path for a motion to “vacate the chair” which could end his tenure as Speaker. That could come into play if the Freedom Caucus stages a revolt.

“… as the negotiations approach an apparent finish line, the House Republicans’ most radical faction is learning that it isn’t likely to get everything its members demanded — and for the Freedom Caucus, that’s not going to work,” he wrote in his MSNBC column.

ALSO IN THE NEWS: Trump in danger of heightened espionage charges after bombshell report: legal expert

Citing a Washington Times report that stated, “[Freedom Caucus members] want everything from the debt limit bill passed by the House last month plus several new concessions from the White House,” Benen suggested far-right House Republicans are now issuing veiled threats.

In an interview, Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) stated, “I am going to have to go have some blunt conversations with my colleagues and the leadership team. I don’t like the direction they are headed.”

With Politico reporting, “The [House Freedom Caucus] was already unlikely to support a final bipartisan deal, but lingering anger with Kevin McCarthy could have lasting implications on his speakership,” Benen added, “If this is simply a matter of lingering ill-will from members who come to believe that GOP leaders ‘caved,’ the practical consequences might be limited. But let’s also not forget that McCarthy, while begging his own members for their support during his protracted fight for the speaker’s gavel, agreed to tweak the motion-to-vacate-the-chair rules, which at least in theory, would make it easier for angry House Republicans to try to oust McCarthy from his leadership position.”

Adding the caveat that he is not predicting an imminent McCarthy ouster he added, “But if the scope of the Freedom Caucus’ discontent reaches a fever pitch, a hypothetical deal clears thanks to significant Democratic support, don’t be surprised if we all start hearing the phrase ‘vacate the chair” a lot more frequently.”

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