Suicide Among LDS Youth in Utah


In the Q&A session of the April Conference in Grand Junction, a response to one of the questions was greeted with applause. Given the informal atmosphere of the conferences of the remnant movement, applause is not unusual. However, from my recollection, this was one of the few if not the only response that generated applause. When I transcribed Denver’s response to my question about doing family history work, I listened to all the responses once again. I felt impressed to transcribe that response and share it here.

The question: (#16): We are obligated to teach our children that God intended marriage to be between one man and one woman and that chastity is important. As the LDS church has employed various strategies to promote these values in recent years, suicide rates among the young have climbed in Utah. Do you think this has to do with the way the LDS church has handled these issues, and if so, do you have any insights into what we might do differently to better help youth who struggle? (Asked by Ritamcn)

The answer (57:25):

Wickedness Never Was and Never Will Be Happiness

There is embedded into each of us, as deeply as our DNA itself, a course in life, which, if pursued in the proper way, will result in the bearing of children, and a fulness of joy experienced, and as a consequence of introducing offspring into the world, for whom you are granted, the challenge, the privilege and the opportunity of nurturing and caring [for] and teaching.

These are things that stretch you beyond your comfort zone. These are things that will tear at your heart. These are challenges that will befuddle you, that will make you question and reevaluate and reconsider time and time again, who you are, and what you’re saying and how you’re treating these your children.

The institution of marriage was designed by its very nature, by that God who created us, to allow us to engage in that God-like process. It can be experienced in the way that God intended in one and only one way, that is, through the marriage of the man and the woman together.

Through their union, that is intended to produce offspring, through her struggle to bear and bring forth the child, through his protection and providing for her during her period of inability [to do so] and her period of nursing and caring for the infant that is utterly dependent upon the body of the mother for its existence.

All of these things are God-like. They are instructions. They are experiences that are intended to convey, through the mortal body and the mortal experience, things that replicate and reflect a divine perspective about life itself, about who God is. Because God is a male and a female and they are productive. Their love results in the creation of more life.

They experience a fulness of joy. And when you have all joy, in its fulness, the only way in which it is possible to make more joy is to create others in which, they too can experience a fulness of joy. And so that increases through offspring, through family, through progeny.

Reducing Suicide Rates

You will not reduce suicide rates by pursuing a course that says wickedness can be entertained, the purposes of God can be frustrated, the experiences that God intended for us to go through, and to have in this life, can be set at naught, and you can approach the whole thing in a different mechanism, in a different pretense.

Because however deeply you may feel about that structure, at its core, it is defective. It is desolation. It is the practice that, if it were universally engaged in, then all who are here today will be the last generation that will ever live because it produces desolation.

And if at the core of the relationship, what you have is a desolate future, there is no amount of psychological treatment, anti-depressive medication, or lies you can tell to yourself, that will make you say, what I’m engaged in is not, in the eyes of God, abominable. You cannot destroy that truth.

If you want happiness, because of the way we were created, by the creator himself, it is to be obtained by following the path ordained by the creator, to realize the results that He established in your heart, in your soul, in your spirit, in your body, even in your DNA.

(end 1:03:00)

A Few Thoughts on the Response

My heart goes out to those who struggle with same-sex attraction, no matter what age or gender they are. There is no doubt such individuals are marginalized in our society. It is a difficult thing for young people to obtain guidance on how to deal with their feelings. Gratefully, things are getting better. Their peers are more accepting than in previous generations. Sexual orientation is now a legally protected class in the United States.

I continue to read stories of how families deal with the discovery or announcement from their children that they are gay. It warms my heart to read the happy stories of those who continue to love and support their children no matter what. Not having such feelings themselves, they may not be able to relate, yet they do not judge or condemn. They deeply love their children and want them to be happy and successful in this life.

Sadly, I have also read stories of families who have rejected their children who come out as gay. They either think they can force them into a “normal” sexual orientation or they flat-out reject them. No matter what the age of the child, this can be devastating, but is especially difficult for those who know at a young age they are different. Such youth are at much greater risk of suicide because of the rejection their feel from their families.


LGBTQ Members of the LDS Church

I don’t know if we can lay the blame for increased suicide among the youth at the feet of leaders or members of the LDS church. As far as I have observed, the church leadership has been making greater efforts to counsel their members to be loving, kind, tolerant and accepting of LGBTQ members of the church, no matter what their age. Evidence of this is found in the recent reversal of the policy regarding children of LGBTQ members.

The controversial 2015 policy automatically labeled Mormons in same-sex marriages apostates and barred their minor children from being baptized. Under the new policy, same-sex marriages are still considered a “serious transgression,” but not definitively apostasy. The children of LGBTQ couples can now be baptized. For many, the damage has been done and may be irreversible. They have left the church and don’t plan to return.


LDS Church in a Difficult Position

For those who stay, I say good for you. God bless you for your faith and courage. You are standing together with community and family. Your example of loving acceptance and kindness demonstrate how to follow the admonition of Christ to judge not, but to help one another through this difficult life. However, you must still deal with the fact that the LDS church still believes and teaches that acting on same-sex attraction is a moral sin.

I don’t know how long the LDS church will be able to hold on to and enforce that policy of exclusion to those who participate in homosexual behavior. The law requires the church to recognize same-sex marriages, yet the church condemns sexual expression within those marriages. “Immoral conduct in heterosexual or homosexual relationships will be treated in the same way,” thus affirming that LGBTQ relationships are wrong.

The Fundamental Core of the Structure

In reading the response to the question asked at the conference, I focused on the idea of mechanism and structure. In other words, the method in which God designed to bring children into this world has never changed. One man and one woman united to create offspring. Anything other than that is considered an abomination. It produces desolation, defined as a state of complete emptiness or destruction, anguished misery or loneliness.

Through artificial means, mankind has devised ways around that core structure to bring children into the world. Two men or two women can now become parents without going through the same method set forth by God. However, this defeats the purpose of the divine plan, which is to unite a man and a woman in the procreative process. That unity is much more than physical, it binds the couple together at a much deeper spiritual level.

Born that way - not a choice

Discerning The Spirits Around Us

A long time ago, I published a post that was labeled the most politically incorrect post in the history of the Bloggernacle. I just re-read it and stand by what I wrote. Our theology allows for the existence of spirits from the world around us that can and do influence us for good or evil. It also allows for the idea of demonic possession, although as a people, we don’t normally go in for the type of possession depicted in the movie, the Exorcist.

I remain convinced, even some twenty-five years after I was first exposed to the idea, that we can overcome the influence of those spirits that afflict and torment us from the unseen world around us. It’s not as difficult as some may think. There is a logical and proven method to identify their influence and if there are any attached to us, as opposed to just hanging around. And, believe it or not, this can help explain same-sex attraction.


The Unquiet Dead All Around Us

In another post in which I reviewed the book, The Unquiet Dead, I quoted from Dr. Fiore:

“Entities of the opposite sex are the cause of a great deal of confusion about sexual identity. Homosexuality, transsexuality and transvestism are the extreme results of this kind of possession.” (page 36)


“One of the causes of homosexuality is possession by spirits of the opposite sex. If the possession began before puberty, heterosexual development often was disrupted and the afflicted grew up believing they desired sexual partners of the same sex, when it was the entities who were determining their choices.” (page 43)

Dr. Fiore’s work was not readily accepted by the medical community or the public. In the post, you’ll note other quotes from additional witnesses who attempt to explain the cause of same-sex attraction. If you think identifying a potential source of homosexuality was politically incorrect, that’s nothing compared to the idea that it can be treated. It is not popular to suggest that feelings of same-sex attraction are anything but God-given.


However, that’s exactly what Dr. Fiore, Dr. Modi, Wesley Craig and others like Mel Fish, and Doug Mendenhall have proposed. I must emphasize that individuals can only be helped if they want to be. It also takes faith in Jesus Christ to bring about the change, as the casting out is done in the name of Jesus Christ. By the way, it does not require priesthood to cast out evil spirits.

A Few Concluding Thoughts

Just about everything I’ve shared in this post will not be new to long-time readers. However, I always get new readers with each new post. I know the subject matter is difficult and can be fraught with emotion. New readers can be professionals looking for news on the subject or family members looking for consolation in light of a recent loss in their family due to suicide. Perhaps my reader is a young person considering suicide.

My beliefs and convictions about this subject remain at odds with the enlightened out there who know that same-sex attraction is not something that can ever be treated or removed. To even suggest the possibility is irresponsible, based on clinical evidence that nobody has ever had their sexual orientation changed, or so they claim. I have evidence to the contrary. Same-sex attraction can be removed or reduced by caring individuals.


3 thoughts on “Suicide Among LDS Youth in Utah”

  1. Hi Tim,
    Thank you for sharing this! I remember feeling conflicted about all of this years ago. I was conflicted (about the “why” of homosexuality) until I read your blog and studied and prayed about this for myself. I thank you for bringing this to light.

    IMO, this doctrine/concept should be taught more overtly, within the home, to give more clarity. We are truly in a war. The more the truth gets out there, the more parents can have clarity and fight this evil plague infiltrating our society. It has helped me to navigate through this minefield of gender identity and homosexuality for my own adolescent children. All of these poor youth struggling with these issues need their parents to know the truth and for the parents to teach the truth with boldness, power, and conviction – this is the key.

    The 1995 “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” seemed ridiculously obvious when it came out but has proven to be truly an inspired document, perfectly timed for its day. I appreciate it greatly and you, Tim, for helping me to understand the why. Please continue to spread this truth.

  2. The youth in the LDS church have been in a tough spot over the past decade. Society, including those within the church, are now teaching the youth that if you have homosexual feelings, that is just part of who you are. Whether or not the kids are being taught to act on those feelings, they are being taught by almost everyone now to embrace unclean spirits foreign to themselves. That can’t be good for anyone’s mental health!

    If the believing kids only knew that very often those feelings were a sign that something foreign to them was trying to act on them, what would that do to reduce feelings of shame, of fear, and of hopelessness? How much more empowered would they be to fight back?

    I don’t know for sure that what you are saying is correct Tim, but this is the explanation that has made the most sense to me over the past few years. If it is true, then I believe the children need to be taught because knowledge is power.

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