Story by Torry Barnes, @Torrybb
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints responded Thursday to a report of rapid suicide rates among the LDS LGBT community, according to the Deseret News.
“Every soul is precious to God and to the Church, and the loss of life to suicide is heartbreaking,” church spokesman said to Deseret News. “We mourn with their families and friends when they feel life no longer offers hope.”
Wendy Montgomery, a co-founder of the Mama Dragons, a support group for LDS mothers with gay children, reported that she had been told 32 LGBT Mormons have died by suicide since November.
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Montgomery reported at a conference for Affirmation, a Mormon LGBT group, that 32 families have contacted her directly about the death of a family member.
She said 27 of the deaths were males, three were female and two were transgender. Of those deaths, 26 took place in Utah, four in Idaho and one in both Arizona and New England.
The individual families who lost loved ones require privacy as this time, according to Deseret News.
On Nov. 5, 2015, Church leaders announced a new policy regarding same-sex couples and their children, causing some in Mormon LGBT community to speculate a connection between the suicides and the policy.
“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,” Church spokesman said to Deseret News.
Former Church president Gordon B. Hinckley advised members in 1998 to love people with same gender attraction as sons and daughters of God.
“They may have certain inclinations which are powerful and which may be difficult to control,” Hinckley said. “Most people have inclinations of one kind or another at various times. If they do not act upon these inclinations, then they can go forward as do all other members of the Church.”
Stay tuned for a more in-depth article.