This week in The Huffington Post, Fred Krager, President of Rights Equal Rights, penned a powerful op-ed detailing the suicide epidemic among young LGBTQ Mormons that has unfolded since the church banned married same-sex couples and their children.
Krager writes that in the 10 months since the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) adopted the policy, 32 Mormon teens have taken their own lives. An estimated 125,000 Mormons have resigned from the church since the anti-LGBTQ measure was passed.
In the shocking and heartbreaking piece, published just after last week’s National Suicide Prevention Week, Krager calls on church leaders to reverse the measure during their upcoming Semiannual General Conference in Salt Lake City and welcome members of the LGBTQ community and their families.
“There’s an easy fix for the First Presidency and the 12 Mormon Apostles,” Krager said. “Open your doors to all members of the LGBTQ community and their families just like you did for African Americans 40 years ago.”
In 1978, the Church, with a simple statement, lifted its 150-year-old policy banning African Americans from the church.
The state of Utah, home to the LDS Church and half of its active members, consistently has one of the highest attempted suicide rates in the country.
In the coming months, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation will be releasing Coming Home to the Latter-day Saints Church and to Self, its fifth guide in the Coming Home series. The new guide will feature personal stories of LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ Mormons of good conscious who are working to lead their Church toward a more welcoming stance, one that embraces and accepts LGBTQ people as God’s children. To learn more, visit www.hrc.org/religion.
HRC is committed to working with our Mormon allies, partners, members, and supporters to combat suicide and support LGBTQ youth. To learn more about supporting LGBTQ youth in their homes, schools and communities, visit www.hrc.org/youth.
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. If you’re a young person and need to talk to someone, call The Trevor Project’s 24-hour crisis hotline for youth at 1-866-488-7386.