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LDS Church Donates $25K to Affirmation (Re: Suicide Prevention Training)

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3 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Here:

The "Comments" section contains the de rigueur hatefest against the Church that springs up every time the Trib publishes, well, anything about the Church.  Ah, well.

More here:

And here:

I am glad to hear about this.  I wonder if other private donations to this initiative are possible.

Thanks,

-Smac

 That is good to hear. Whatever one's doctrinal or moral beliefs, these are people, and they need help. 

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Thanks for sharing.  This is good news. The LDS church has made some significant efforts in combating suicide this year.  I was impressed that one of the quorum of the twelve was serving on the governor's suicide prevention task force as well.

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I've been somewhat conflicted in my thoughts about how the church is dealing with this problem of suicide in the LGBT community.  Some of their recent efforts seem helpful and empathetic to the problem.  But at the same time they have policies and theological rhetoric which certainly are a significant contributing factors to creating this environment in the first place.  On one hand I want to say this announcement is a good sign, but on the other hand I'm skeptical of institutional sincerity.  

Some speculate that there is a battle waging within the church on this topic, and some people are able to get the leaders to agree on helping in good faith, while at the same time others with in the church are pushing back and implementing policies like the Nov 2015 policy, so its a back and forth battle.  But I think its also possible that leaders are well aware of the contradictions in how they are operating and that this is all an intentional strategy.  If the latter is true it would mean these tokens and gestures of good will for the purposes of positive PR are very suspect.  

 

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9 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

I've been somewhat conflicted in my thoughts about how the church is dealing with this problem of suicide in the LGBT community.  Some of their recent efforts seem helpful and empathetic to the problem.  But at the same time they have policies and theological rhetoric which certainly are a significant contributing factors to creating this environment in the first place. 

What "policies" in place in the LDS Church have "contributed" to suicide?  I'm skeptical of a meaningful causal link.

Our society is a bit too eager to create blame in vague ways such as this.  Maintaining standards of conduct in a society will always be susceptible to such characterizations. 

Pressure to get good grades in school can be characterized as a "contributing factor" to depression, substance abuse, even suicide.  Does that mean that we should abolish grading systems in schools?

Sending a person convicted of criminal conduct to prison can be characterized as a "contributing factor" to challenges faced by that person's family (particularly spouse and children).  Does that mean that we should eliminate all incarceration penalties for criminal offenses?

Foreclosure on a family's home can be characterized as a "contributing factor" to depression, anxiety, etc. for the family (particularly small children).  Same with evictions.  Does that mean what we should elimiate these things from society?

Such facile assessments do not do us much good.

9 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

On one hand I want to say this announcement is a good sign, but on the other hand I'm skeptical of institutional sincerity.  

That is too bad.  The fruits of inveterate hostility to a religious group, I think.  In the eyes of some, Mormons are damned if they do ("I'm skeptical of institutional sincerity"), damned if they don't (The LDS Church isn't doing enough to help gay people!), damned no matter what they do.

9 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

Some speculate that there is a battle waging within the church on this topic, and some people are able to get the leaders to agree on helping in good faith, while at the same time others with in the church are pushing back and implementing policies like the Nov 2015 policy, so its a back and forth battle. 

I don't think that's the case at all.  There is no tension between the 2015 policies and a sincere concern for those struggling with suicidal ideation.

I don't think it's a "battle" at all.  The Latter-day Saints, including their leaders, love their fellow man.  They also want to obey God's will.  What tension exists, then, arises from situations where the children of men, particularly those who have covenanted with God, deviate too far from the precepts God has given us to govern our behavior while on this earth.

9 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

But I think its also possible that leaders are well aware of the contradictions in how they are operating and that this is all an intentional strategy. 

There is no contradiction between encouraging obedience to the Law of Chastity and seeking to help those struggling with thoughts of suicide.

Zero.  Zip.  None.  At all.

9 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

If the latter is true it would mean these tokens and gestures of good will for the purposes of positive PR are very suspect.  

Just a few weeks ago I said this:

Quote
Quote

Tacenda: I agree the church has made many inroads, but I also know it's not enough.

I'm reminded of the lyrics to a song from The Greatest Showman:

Quote

All the shine of a thousand spotlights
All the stars we steal from the night sky
Will never be enough
Never be enough
Towers of gold are still too little
These hands could hold the world, but it'll
Never be enough
Never be enough
For me

Never, never
Never, never
Never, for me
For me...

😀

In this, the Age of Perpetual Outrage, there will always be someone insisting that someone else is doing something wrong.

Thanks,

-Smac

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28 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

I've been somewhat conflicted in my thoughts about how the church is dealing with this problem of suicide in the LGBT community.  Some of their recent efforts seem helpful and empathetic to the problem.  But at the same time they have policies and theological rhetoric which certainly are a significant contributing factors to creating this environment in the first place.  On one hand I want to say this announcement is a good sign, but on the other hand I'm skeptical of institutional sincerity.  

Some speculate that there is a battle waging within the church on this topic, and some people are able to get the leaders to agree on helping in good faith, while at the same time others with in the church are pushing back and implementing policies like the Nov 2015 policy, so its a back and forth battle.  But I think its also possible that leaders are well aware of the contradictions in how they are operating and that this is all an intentional strategy.  If the latter is true it would mean these tokens and gestures of good will for the purposes of positive PR are very suspect.  

I used to be a lot more cynical about the church in cases like this, having seen firsthand that what the church says in public does not always reflect its motivations. At this point in my life, I'm content to just let them donate the money. It will help, whether there's an ulterior motive or not. 

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5 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

I used to be a lot more cynical about the church in cases like this, having seen firsthand that what the church says in public does not always reflect its motivations. At this point in my life, I'm content to just let them donate the money. It will help, whether there's an ulterior motive or not. 

I'm curious as to how you were able to gauge the Church's "motivations."

Thanks,

-Smac

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Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I'm curious as to how you were able to gauge the Church's "motivations."

Thanks,

-Smac

I saw a press release that said one thing about the church's motivation behind a certain action, and the accompanying internal memo and executive summary said something quite different. Our summer intern had been assigned to edit the documents, and she came into my office in tears because she said the press release was a lie, and she didn't know if she could work on it in good conscience. I told her I understood why she was upset, and if she wanted me to do the edit, I would. 

ETA: I think I did edit it for her, but it's been a long time. At the time, I figured that it was just standard procedure for the public affairs department. 

Edited by jkwilliams
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45 minutes ago, smac97 said:

What "policies" in place in the LDS Church have "contributed" to suicide?  I'm skeptical of a meaningful causal link.

Our society is a bit too eager to create blame in vague ways such as this.  Maintaining standards of conduct in a society will always be susceptible to such characterizations. 

Pressure to get good grades in school can be characterized as a "contributing factor" to depression, substance abuse, even suicide.  Does that mean that we should abolish grading systems in schools?

Sending a person convicted of criminal conduct to prison can be characterized as a "contributing factor" to challenges faced by that person's family (particularly spouse and children).  Does that mean that we should eliminate all incarceration penalties for criminal offenses?

Foreclosure on a family's home can be characterized as a "contributing factor" to depression, anxiety, etc. for the family (particularly small children).  Same with evictions.  Does that mean what we should elimiate these things from society?

Such facile assessments do not do us much good.

While its hard to quantify or point to specific policies as direct causes, I think its easier for me to say with some level of confidence that these are contributing factors.  The Nov 2015 policy, the family proclamation, the rhetoric of church leaders on the topic are all contributing factors that I see.  

You analogies are very inaccurate and insulting equating discrimination and prejudice to encouraging students to get good grades in school or worse implying that LGBT individuals are guilty of criminal conduct.  The tone you've set here is concerning.  

53 minutes ago, smac97 said:

There is no contradiction between encouraging obedience to the Law of Chastity and seeking to help those struggling with thoughts of suicide.

Zero.  Zip.  None.  At all.

Just because you don't see a conflict doesn't mean it doesn't exist.  Just sharing my perspective on what I see from my vantage point.  

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55 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

I used to be a lot more cynical about the church in cases like this, having seen firsthand that what the church says in public does not always reflect its motivations. At this point in my life, I'm content to just let them donate the money. It will help, whether there's an ulterior motive or not. 

Yes, I agree that the money will help, but there are other things the church could do that would help a lot more than $25k.  Such as revoking the dubious Nov 2015 policy starting to be more inclusive of LGBT individuals in substantive ways.  

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2 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

While its hard to quantify or point to specific policies as direct causes, I think its easier for me to say with some level of confidence that these are contributing factors.  The Nov 2015 policy, the family proclamation, the rhetoric of church leaders on the topic are all contributing factors that I see.  

You analogies are very inaccurate and insulting equating discrimination and prejudice to encouraging students to get good grades in school or worse implying that LGBT individuals are guilty of criminal conduct.  The tone you've set here is concerning.  

Just because you don't see a conflict doesn't mean it doesn't exist.  Just sharing my perspective on what I see from my vantage point.  

Maybe it's just me, but the requirements on gay members go well beyond obedience to the law of chastity. Kissing and embracing someone else are not violations of the law of chastity, but from what I can see, they would be a problem for a gay member.

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2 hours ago, smac97 said:

Here:

The "Comments" section contains the de rigueur hatefest against the Church that springs up every time the Trib publishes, well, anything about the Church.  Ah, well.

More here:

And here:

I am glad to hear about this.  I wonder if other private donations to this initiative are possible.

Thanks,

-Smac

WOW!  Didn't see that happening.  I am really impressed that the church would even acknowledge anything Affirmation has been doing for the past 40 years.  I have never been involved in Affirmation, and know very little about the organization.  It was just something I wasn't interested in.  Seemed kind of disgruntled members  organization to me.  I do have former Mormon friends that are involved with the organization who always invite me to some of their big events.  Perhaps I should take a closer look.  

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1 minute ago, hope_for_things said:

Yes, I agree that the money will help, but there are other things the church could do that would help a lot more than $25k.  Such as revoking the dubious Nov 2015 policy starting to be more inclusive of LGBT individuals in substantive ways.  

I've said all I want to about the policy. Given the church's track record, I wouldn't be surprised to see changes in the way gay members are treated doctrinally and practically. When challenged on something, the church seems to double-down for a while, and then eventually make changes. My guess is that we are in the double-down stage, but then I'm often wrong about these things.

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48 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

I saw a press release that said one thing about the church's motivation behind a certain action, and the accompanying internal memo and executive summary said something quite different. Our summer intern had been assigned to edit the documents, and she came into my office in tears because she said the press release was a lie, and she didn't know if she could work on it in good conscience. I told her I understood why she was upset, and if she wanted me to do the edit, I would. 

ETA: I think I did edit it for her, but it's been a long time. At the time, I figured that it was just standard procedure for the public affairs department. 

This is interesting, and supports a position I know that some orthodox and conservative members hold.  There are members who think the church's PR department does not represent the true gospel message.  That the actions and statements from the PR department can be looked at as the means the church is using to play nice with the outside world, but that the actual PR statements don't constitute doctrine. 

As evidence for this beyond my personal experience and anecdotes, I believe this is why you see the church releasing statements on immigration in Utah that show a much more inclusive position on the topic, but then you have members supporting candidates that are firebrands on the issue of illegal immigration.  Same goes for LGBT inclusiveness.   Orthodox members pay attention to talks in general conference, and they don't pay attention to the PR department, and many members view the PR department with a cynical eye.  

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6 minutes ago, jkwilliams said:

Maybe it's just me, but the requirements on gay members go well beyond obedience to the law of chastity. Kissing and embracing someone else are not violations of the law of chastity, but from what I can see, they would be a problem for a gay member.

You're exactly right.  Even non-sexual romantic relationships are labeled as sin and shunned by the church.  

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8 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

This is interesting, and supports a position I know that some orthodox and conservative members hold.  There are members who think the church's PR department does not represent the true gospel message.  That the actions and statements from the PR department can be looked at as the means the church is using to play nice with the outside world, but that the actual PR statements don't constitute doctrine. 

As evidence for this beyond my personal experience and anecdotes, I believe this is why you see the church releasing statements on immigration in Utah that show a much more inclusive position on the topic, but then you have members supporting candidates that are firebrands on the issue of illegal immigration.  Same goes for LGBT inclusiveness.   Orthodox members pay attention to talks in general conference, and they don't pay attention to the PR department, and many members view the PR department with a cynical eye.  

I'm not saying it was doctrine, or anything like that, just that it was dishonest. That the whole set of documents had been approved by Correlation tells me that they reflected the church's position. 

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2 hours ago, smac97 said:

Here:

The "Comments" section contains the de rigueur hatefest against the Church that springs up every time the Trib publishes, well, anything about the Church.  Ah, well.

More here:

And here:

I am glad to hear about this.  I wonder if other private donations to this initiative are possible.

Thanks,

-Smac

It's hard to hear anything useful when the Trib speaks, what with all the obligatory libels.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, hope_for_things said:

While its hard to quantify or point to specific policies as direct causes,

And also very easy to make vague, unsubstantiated accusations.

Quote

I think its easier for me to say with some level of confidence that these are contributing factors. 

Yes, it's always easier to merely "say" something than to "quantify" it.

Quote

The Nov 2015 policy, the family proclamation, the rhetoric of church leaders on the topic are all contributing factors that I see.

Again, what "rhetoric?"

Quote

You analogies are very inaccurate and insulting equating discrimination and prejudice to encouraging students to get good grades in school or worse implying that LGBT individuals are guilty of criminal conduct.  The tone you've set here is concerning.

Your rote dismissal of the analogy is noted.

I have a dear friend.  A mother of four wonderful children.  Her husband recently concluded a fairly lengthy stay in prison.  His stay in prison has been very, very difficult for my friend.  Now, a facile complaint about this situation would be quite similar to yours.  I could "say" (instead of "quantify") that the government's punishment of this man, its prolonged deprivation of his liberty, has been a "contributing factor" to the difficulties my friend has faced.  And that assessment, while technically and vaguely correct, is nevertheless facile and unhelpful.  Implicit in criticizing this man's stay in prison is the notion that his stay was morally wrong.  Unjust.  Because it can be vaguely and abstractedly characterized as having created difficulty for someone, somewhere.  But the corollary implication - that this man's stay in prison was morally wrong and therefore should not have happened - is untenable and absurd.  It is facile.  It focuses on personalized impact and personalized emotions, while utterly disregarding the broader "moral" considerations involved.

So it is, I think, with simplistic complaints about the Church's teachings about the Law of Chastity.  Sexual behavior is authorized within a "closed set" of circumstances (marriage between a husband and wife), and is otherwise prohibited.  This gets routinely and emphatically ignored in facile criticisms of the Church's teachings, which teachings are instead falsely characterized as punitive, weird, etc.  Such criticisms simply refuse to grant the Church any ground to teach what it believes regarding sexual ethics.  It's the critics' way or the highway.

If and when the Church is given such ground, then its doctrines and policies become significantly less controversial.  Not recognizing same-sex marriage becomes not only uncontroversial, but axiomatic.  Determining same-sex marriage to be profoundly and fundamentally incompatible with continued discipleship and holding of the privileges of membership in the Church becomes not only uncontroversial, but axiomatic.  The Church's bending-over-backwards to accommodate members who struggle with sexual issues come into focus.  The Church's efforts to replace past stridencies with more measured, compassionate messages are more susceptible to being accepted as being sincere and in good faith.  When space is allowed for reasonable minds to disagree, and for different ideas about sexual ethics to be presented, when diversity of opinion and thought is tolerated and facilitated, then the Church's position becomes much more difficult to characterize as sinister, evil, cynical, etc.

Which, I think, explains why so many of our critics are so devoted to falsely characterizing and slandering the Church.  Why so many of them, as you have done here, damn the Church for what it does, for what it does not do, for whatever it does.

Quote

Just because you don't see a conflict doesn't mean it doesn't exist.  Just sharing my perspective on what I see from my vantage point.  

Same here.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, jkwilliams said:

I've said all I want to about the policy. Given the church's track record, I wouldn't be surprised to see changes in the way gay members are treated doctrinally and practically. When challenged on something, the church seems to double-down for a while, and then eventually make changes. My guess is that we are in the double-down stage, but then I'm often wrong about these things.

The Church's treatment of unauthorized polygamy seems to be the closest analog.  The difference is that the Church allowed, even authorized via divine mandate, the behavior (polygamy), whereas same-sex behavior (unrepentant, that is) has never, in the entire history of the Church, been compatible with continuing membership in the Church.

As to polygamy, the Church has not "double[d]-down for a while, and then eventually ma[d]e changes."  Instead, the Church has spent more than a century excommunicating members who enter into polygamy.  It's a form of marriage that is incompatible with membership in the Church.  The same has been said for same-sex marriage, such that the Church's posture on SSM aligns with its ongoing posture on polygamy (and I think will continue to do so on into the future).

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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10 minutes ago, smac97 said:

And also very easy to make vague, unsubstantiated accusations.

Yes, it's always easier to merely "say" something than to "quantify" it.

Again, what "rhetoric?"

Your rote dismissal of the analogy is noted.

I have a dear friend.  A mother of four wonderful children.  Her husband recently concluded a fairly lengthy stay in prison.  His stay in prison has been very, very difficult for my friend.  Now, a facile complaint about this situation would be quite similar to yours.  I could "say" (instead of "quantify") that the government's punishment of this man, its prolonged deprivation of his liberty, has been a "contributing factor" to the difficulties my friend has faced.  And that assessment, while technically and vaguely correct, is nevertheless facile and unhelpful.  Implicit in criticizing this man's stay in prison is the notion that his stay was morally wrong.  Unjust.  Because it can be vaguely and abstractedly characterized as having created difficulty for someone, somewhere.  But the corollary implication - that this man's stay in prison was morally wrong and therefore should not have happened - is untenable and absurd.  It is facile.  It focuses on personalized impact and personalized emotions, while utterly disregarding the broader "moral" considerations involved.

So it is, I think, with simplistic complaints about the Church's teachings about the Law of Chastity.  Sexual behavior is authorized within a "closed set" of circumstances (marriage between a husband and wife), and is otherwise prohibited.  This gets routinely and emphatically ignored in facile criticisms of the Church's teachings, which instead are falsely characterized as punitive, weird, etc.  Such criticisms simply refuse to grant the Church any ground to teach what it believes regarding sexual ethics.  It's the critics' way or the highway.

If and when the Church is given such ground, then its doctrines and policies become significantly less controversial.  Not recognizing same-sex marriage becomes not only uncontroversial, but axiomatic.  Finding same-sex marriage profoundly and fundamentally incompatible with continued discipleship holding of the privileges of membership in the Church becomes not only uncontroversial, but axiomatic.  The Church's bending-over-backwards to accommodate members who struggle with sexual issues come into focus.  The Church's efforts to replace past stridencies with more measured, compassionate messages are more susceptible to being accepted as being sincere and in good faith.  When space is allowed for reasonable minds to disagree, and for different ideas about sexual ethics to be presented, when diversity of opinion and thought is tolerated and facilitated, then the Church's position becomes much more difficult to characterize as sinister, evil, cynical, etc.

Which, I think, explains why so many of our critics are so devoted to falsely characterizing and slandering the Church.  Why so many of them, as you have done here, damn the Church for what it does, for what it does not do, for whatever it does.

Same here.

Thanks,

-Smac

Slanderers do tend to be both facile, self satisfying and self congratulatory, don't they?

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Posted (edited)

This is all good...but I had to agree with some of the comments.  Anything that anyone can do big or small to make a difference  is always a good thing. This includes me and my own contribution.  

Edited by Jeanne

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1 hour ago, hope_for_things said:

Yes, I agree that the money will help, but there are other things the church could do that would help a lot more than $25k.  Such as revoking the dubious Nov 2015 policy starting to be more inclusive of LGBT individuals in substantive ways.  

Just curious if you know of any gay married couple who have children and who do want their children to be baptized and thereby be obligated to support the doctrines of the church regarding SSM, which would be contradictory to what the parents believe? 

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13 minutes ago, smac97 said:

So it is, I think, with simplistic complaints about the Church's teachings about the Law of Chastity.  Sexual behavior is authorized within a "closed set" of circumstances (marriage between a husband and wife), and is otherwise prohibited.  This gets routinely and emphatically ignored in facile criticisms of the Church's teachings, which instead are falsely characterized as punitive, weird, etc.  Such criticisms simply refuse to grant the Church any ground to teach what it believes regarding sexual ethics.  It's the critics' way or the highway.

If and when the Church is given such ground, then its doctrines and policies become significantly less controversial.  Not recognizing same-sex marriage becomes not only uncontroversial, but axiomatic.  Finding same-sex marriage profoundly and fundamentally incompatible with continued discipleship holding of the privileges of membership in the Church becomes not only uncontroversial, but axiomatic.  The Church's bending-over-backwards to accommodate members who struggle with sexual issues come into focus.  The Church's efforts to replace past stridencies with more measured, compassionate messages are more susceptible to being accepted as being sincere and in good faith.  When space is allowed for reasonable minds to disagree, and for different ideas about sexual ethics to be presented, when diversity of opinion and thought is tolerated and facilitated, then the Church's position becomes much more difficult to characterize as sinister, evil, cynical, etc.

Which, I think, explains why so many of our critics are so devoted to falsely characterizing and slandering the Church.  Why so many of them, as you have done here, damn the Church for what it does, for what it does not do, for whatever it does.

A lot of truth here. 

I will be interested to see what Affirmation does with the donation, and whether their intetvention actually does help the situation. I have my doubts, but I'm willing to be wrong.

 

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8 minutes ago, smac97 said:

The Church's treatment of unauthorized polygamy seems to be the closest analog.  The difference is that the Church allowed, even authorized via divine mandate, the behavior (polygamy), whereas same-sex behavior (unrepentant, that is) has never, in the entire history of the Church, been compatible with continuing membership in the Church.

As to polygamy, the Church has not "double[d]-down for a while, and then eventually ma[d]e changes."  Instead, the Church has spent more than a century excommunicating members who enter into polygamy.  It's a form of marriage that is incompatible with membership in the Church.  The same has been said for same-sex marriage, such that the Church's posture on SSM aligns with its ongoing posture on polygamy (and I think will continue to do so on into the future).

Thanks,

-Smac

I was thinking more in terms of 1890 and 1978. I’m seeing this as a long game, as those were. I could be wrong. My assumption is that if/when this issue is seen as damaging to the church’s growth and success, its leaders, being rational men, will make changes. But what do I know?

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One of the issues about youth suicide in Utah is the automatic blame.  ellen certainly did her part to misinform and automatically blame regarding youth suicide in Utah.

The CDC studied youth suicided in Utah and found, in part, that youth who felt accepted in a religious community were less likely to commit suicide. I think the key there is acceptance in the religious community. 

Other findings, in part, were also related to acceptance in the community and the less likelyhood of suicide.

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