About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

Is LDS theology responsible for LGBT Suicides? No.

It probably is time to re-introduce this article from May 2020 that points out the following:

“The claim sometimes made that there is an established massive suicide phenomenon among LGBT+ Latter-day Saints directly attributable to Latter-day Saint theology—or policies—is not supported by current data and scholarly research.”

As this article points out, it is a widespread myth that LDS theology is responsible for LGBT suicides. I keep on seeing people make the claim without any real evidence. But as the article points out:

Again, as mental health experts in partnership with GLAAD observe: “The underlying causes of most suicide deaths are complex and not always immediately obvious. Making hasty assumptions about those causes, even when based on comments from family or friends or media reports, can result in statements that are later proven to be inaccurate.” 

It’s difficult to rigorously test claims regarding suicide causality to peer-reviewed standards. But people may be surprised how little evidence there is for related side-claims such as, in the words of one celebrity, Utah has experienced a surge in suicide “because of the shame (LGBT+ teenagers) feel from the Mormon Church.” 

Lamentably, these beliefs have sometimes taken on a life of their own, regardless. 

I have spoken to sophisticated, intelligent colleagues in the social sciences who take the theology-suicide correlation as a fact, even when confronted with conflicting information—including objective, official numbers that do not provide any evidence for the claim. 

Such a narrative is extremely dangerous because it begins to normalize the idea that people with same-sex attraction should be inclined toward suicide:

This would normally be benign—people can believe what they want to believe—but the fact is that those pushing a narrative of mass suicidality among LGBT+ youth are themselves risking suicide contagion in order to win rhetorical points (this point, meant for the population in general, has actually been made by Rick Savin-Williams, the father of gay youth health research). Belief in LGBT+ Mormon suicide pandemic in the absence of good social science evidence may actually contribute to the troubling phenomenon of heightened suicidality among the LGBT+ population by normalizing suicide rather than resiliency, hope, and life. 

Is the Church and its practices and theology responsible, or is it the belief in the narrative itself? If you keep pushing the idea that all gay Latter-day Saints are depressed and suicidal, then those who are most vulnerable to that narrative may start to believe you. If you are contributing to the narrative that the only orthodox Latter-day Saint LGBT+ is a dead one, then you may in fact be hurting Latter-day Saint LGBT+ youth. 

So, please stop with the unscientific and false claims of proven links between LDS orthodoxy and LGBT suicide. It is not true.

Note: I have written about this before, once in 2016 and once in 2019. It seems like some clearly false claims simply won’t die.

Why was a Utah BLM activist who threatened to attack Trump in the Capitol yesterday during pro-Trump rallies?

Utah BLM activist John Sullivan was in the Capitol building yesterday during the pro-Trump rallies. Here is a picture:

Sullivan was interviewed on CNN because he filmed the death of Ashli Babbitt, the US Air Force veteran who was killed by Capitol Police as she tried to climb through a broken window at the Capitol. He admitted to being in the Capitol building, but the incurious “journalists” at CNN failed to ask the left-wing insurgent what he was doing there when supposedly only pro-Trump people were in the Capitol.

More on Sullivan:

Just in case you think that Sullivan has somehow become a secret Trump supporter, here is a video of him promising “revolution” and promising to rip Trump out of the White House. WARNING: LOTS OF PROFANITY.

As I wrote this morning, the majority of people who invaded the Capitol building were Trump supporters, but what the heck was Utah’s John Sullivan doing there? Were there many more Antifa/BLM types in the Capitol building yesterday?

The worst of times

Regarding the Capitol Hill situation with Trump supporters yesterday, I think the first point we should acknowledge is that we as members of the Church support the rule of law, and these people broke several laws, so they should be punished. They definitely will be. The FBI is already involved, and the people who invaded the Capitol building will go to jail, in some cases for a long time.

It is worth noting that at least some of the people involved definitely were NOT Trump supporters, and may have been Antifa/BLM supporters. Here are some articles you may not have seen on SOME of the people who invaded the Capitol who were apparently not Trump supporters:

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2021/jan/6/xrvision-firm-claims-antifa-infiltrated-protesters/

But conservative members of the Church must face the fact that even if there were some Antifa false flag infiltrators, it is simply a fact that the majority of the bad actors WERE Trump supporters. And this is not good by any standard.

Conservative members of the Church have always had an uneasy relationship with the populist elements of the Trump message, and in this case we can see why. I discussed that in detail in this recent post here:

It is clear that the Trump populist message is not in line in many ways with what many LDS church members believe on important issues. But I would point out that the Democrat party is not in line with what most LDS Church members believe on even more issues. And Libertarians (and I say this as a liberty Republican myself) support many things we as Church members do not believe in. So, LDS Church members often feel politically homeless. With the Republican party going through yet another political evolution, LDS members may end up feeling more homeless than ever.

What the media will NOT be talking about, however, is WHY the 73 million-plus Trump supporters voted for him and why they are so upset with the results. The first step toward peace is sympathy, and Trump supporters are getting very little of that these days. This is a dangerous position for progressives and anti-Trump people to take. Trump supporters feel they are being backed against a wall with no escape. They are mocked by all of the dominant groups in society, and if they try to express their feelings on Facebook or Twitter they are censored. I would recommend, at least as a practical measure, that the political winners try better to understand where Trump supporters are coming from.

There are significant claims of voter fraud that have not been addressed. It is simply not good enough to say the claims are all conspiracy theories. When you look at the evidence, there are claims in six states that should be looked at. I am not saying the claims are all valid, but the political process does not allow for these claims to be studied in detail.

Conservatives are now facing a future where Democrats may have gotten away with widespread voter fraud and will continue to use these tactics for the foreseeable future. The legality and appropriateness of widespread use of mail-in ballots needs to be discussed. Do we really believe this is how people should vote? The process for monitoring mail-in ballots and assuring their validity was extremely poor in many if not most states. Remember that Republicans can do mail-in ballot fraud too, so we will be heading to a future where all elections are called into question unless we address this issue.

Sadly, part of being a conservative member of the Church is the inevitable sense that things will fall apart eventually, and personally I have been feeling this way since the 2000 election and Bush v. Gore. And of course 9/11 in 2001 solidified that feeling. As I re-read the Book of Mormon this year, I felt that I was feeling the same things that Mormon and Moroni felt as they watched their civilization devolve into chaos. We are getting a little taste of that happening before our eyes. The good news is that we know the ending will be happy, with the Savior returning and wiping away the tears from every face. But in the meantime, it seems like the world is spinning out of control before us, and that is not a good feeling at all.

Trump, the Church and the future of the Republican party

Nobody knows for sure how many LDS members in the United States voted for Trump in 2020. One poll in Arizona indicates that 76 percent of Church members there said they would vote for Trump. Trump won Utah with 58 percent of the vote and Idaho with 64 percent of the vote. It is probably safe to say that Trump won somewhere between 60 and 70 percent of the U.S. LDS vote.

It is also safe to say that Trump was less popular than past Republican presidential candidates with LDS members. President Bush received 80 percent of the LDS vote in 2004, and Mitt Romney received 78 percent in 2012. It is probably worth noting that Trump was less popular with outspoken LDS politicians and intellectual figures than any recent Republican.

What does this mean for the Church and its relationship with the Republican party? Well, some hopeful progressives are overplaying LDS opposition to Trump and the Republican party, in my opinion. Trump only won 45 percent of the vote in Utah in 2016, but he got 58 percent in 2020. Utah’s congressional delegation, which had one Democrat, now has only Republicans. Idaho is safely Republican. But it is also true that Biden got the highest percentage of Democratic votes for a presidential candidate in Utah since LBJ in 1964. And of course Biden won Nevada and Arizona, states with large LDS populations. So, progressives have some reasons to be optimistic.

To understand the Church’s future with the Republican party, we must understand that there are four ideological trends within the party. Right now, the Trump/nationalist trend, which is the trend least compatible with LDS voters, is in ascendance. But that could change, and the Republican party could become friendlier to the majority LDS view.

Let’s take a look at these four different groups within the Republican party.

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