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The following was excerpted from the Idaho Statesman. To read the full article, CLICK HERE.
When reporting on the LGBT community, suicide and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it’s vital to include a thorough analysis of accurate data. Headlines, and the substance of the reporting, should also align with generally established professional recommendations that seek to avoid sensationalizing issues. We hope raising important discussions around these topics leads to greater understanding. Lamentably, a recent story in the Idaho Statesman, “‘Endure until you die’: LDS Church’s LGBT policies put gay youth at risk, advocates say,” (Sept. 8, 2019) didn’t fully live up to these standards.
The author makes it easy to infer a correlation between LGBT Church membership and suicide: “LGBTQ advocates cite Utah’s high levels of youth suicides and high population of Latter-day Saints as an indication of LDS youth suicides,” the author writes, linking to a report that shows rising and troubling suicide trends in Utah.
Probing a bit deeper, it becomes clear that many of the counties in Utah with the highest percentage of Latter-day Saints also exhibit some of the lowest rates of suicide in Utah. Carbon County, one of the four counties with the lowest percentage of Latter-day Saints, has the highest rate. Idaho suicide data seems to run contrary to the story’s evident thesis, at least in part. Public Health District 7, which includes eastern Idaho counties with the state’s highest proportion of Latter-day Saints, has Idaho’s lowest suicide rate.
To read the full article, CLICK HERE.