“Youth suicides in Utah have doubled and tripled over the past eight to nine-10 years, and so it is weird for a Christian church to be taking action that actually leads people to want to kill themselves,” said John Dehlin, host of the Mormon Stories Podcast and expert on the intersections of Mormonism and LGBTQ issues. Dehlin was involved in the making of “Believer,” a new HBO documentary following Dan Reynolds, lead vocalist of Imagine Dragons, as he goes on a journey to spread love, understanding and acceptance of LGBTQ-identifying members of the Mormon community.
The documentary showcases the “LoveLoud Festival,” officially applauded by the Mormon Church, officially known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). LoveLoud was held last summer and organized by Reynolds and his friends to show support for LGBTQ youth in Utah. Dehlin questioned whether the Church’s support for the festival went beyond a mere PR tactic into something more substantive.
As former members of the LDS church who support LGBTQ rights, Dehlin and Bold TV host Carrie Sheffield discussed the role that the LDS Church may have played in the horrific spike in depression and suicide among youths in Utah. Heidi Hatch of Utah TV station KUTV reported “The number one killer of Utah’s kids is suicide according to new numbers from the Utah State Health Department. Utah’s youth ages 11 to 17 are dying at their own hands at the three times the rate recorded less than 10 years ago, in 2007.”
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