Gay suicides and the Mormon Church

Gay suicides and the Mormon Church November 8, 2010

IN  July of this year – following the suicide of Todd Ransom, a 28-year-old gay man from Orem, Utah, who was reportedly struggling to reconcile his sexual orientation with his Mormon upbringing – horrifying statistics emerged regarding  suicide, particularly among teenagers,  in Utah.

Todd Ransom
Deseret News, a newspaper owned by the Church of Latter Day Saints revealed that:

– Every 11 days a Utah teen commits suicide
– Utah leads the nation in suicide among men 15-24
– Utah has the 11th highest overall suicide rate in the nation
– Suicide is the #1 cause of death among Utah teens

Utah bloggers pointed that Ransom’s was the third gay suicide in Utah in the the summer. David Standley, 21 of Ogden, took his life on June 30, and Weber State University student Tim Tilley, 20, killed himself on July 11. These deaths were largely ignored by local news outlets.
Ransom’s family denied their son was gay. In a website memorial they stated:

Our beloved son, brother and friend took his own life at Battle Creek Canyon near Pleasant Grove, Utah after a long and painful battle with depression. Some people have said that Todd ended his life because he was gay or felt persecuted by the LDS Church and his family, but this is not true.

We now learn that another 28-year-old gay man from Utah, Colt David Hansen, died last Wednesday After a lifelong struggle against the Mormon Church which he felt never accepted him because he was gay.
According to friends, Colt had a fight with his father the night before he died over the Mormon faith and his refusal to be a part of it. However, his obituary reads that he was a member of the Mormon church and despite never going on a Mormon mission, the family is asking that donations be made to the Mormon Mission fund.

Colt David Hansen
The obituary also never makes any mention that he was gay.
Colt’s family was refusing to let his friends attend the funeral, presumably presided over by a Mormon Bishop, calling it a private family affair.
LGBTQNation asks:

When will our families learn that they must love us for who we are, and they dishonor our memories when they try to pretend we are something other than who we are.

At this stage it is uncertain as to whether Hansen took his own life or had died from an accidental overdose. PRIDEinUtah is trying to get a copy of the coroner’s report, although even in the case of suicides those reports almost always rule accidental.
LGBTQNation adds:

We may never know what truly was going through Colt’s mind in those final moments, but what we do know for sure is that we loved him, he will be dearly missed and we must do more for these people who feel that suicide is the only way out.
Hat tip: Alan

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  • Al

    What a tragic waste of life. I just wish these guys could have escaped their environment in time, and seen like I did, that things like religion and what your ‘community’ thinks are worth f* all in the grand scheme of things.

  • Graham Martin-Royle

    Those statistics are awful. Even worse is the refusal, even after their children are dead, of the parents to accept them for who they were. Religion really does poison everything.

  • ZombieHunter

    Sad sad sad 🙁
    I remember watching a documentary earlier this year about teens in utah trying to escape the mormon church, it was moving and eye opening stuff.

  • Harry

    Denying what the deceased believed and insisting that all donations be given to those who drove him to suicide is beyond evil.

  • Pete H

    Nice parents Colt Hansen had. Several different counts of disrespecting their son’s memory for the price of one.
    1. Claiming he was a mormon, when he wasn’t
    2. Asking for donations to the mormon church in his name (see 1.)
    3. Denying he was gay (and probably shunning him when he was alive too, for that reason)
    4. Banning his friends from the funeral
    Religion – don’t you just love it? What a pair of cunts.

  • Religion is truly toxic.
    His parents’ behavior isn’t surprising. They’re Mormons. That means they’re utterly brainwashed and they Lie for the Lord as a matter of habit.

  • Angela_K

    One would think that a shocking statistic like a teen suicide every 11 days would set alarm bells ringing, investigative journalism and questions in the White House, but because religion is involved – silence. I am almost lost for words regarding the sheer callousness of the parents, they really are utter bastards.

  • Bozana

    Mormon Church = Moron Church.. a CULT! It’s not even a true Christian church! It was founded by a convicted fraudster, who abused the system and was eventually lynched by a mob. Why do you think that this church was founded in middle of a desert? Think on that……..
    I feel sorry for the guy.. should’ve left Utah completely or move to the other side of the world… too late now and pray for him.
    I’m sadden to see lots of cult churches around and all benefiting the people who own the these churches and lining their pockets with money that these misguided people give and whilst making ordinary people like lamb to the slaughter. It’s like Hitler syndrome…. Hail Hitler!!!
    Church of Scientology isn’t any better, another cult… so be careful of these “new fangled churches” springing up.. it’s more for money making then for the community… Churches that been around for a few thousands of years are not a bad thing.. they’ve been proven and tested and won’t force you to believe what you don’t want to believe and won’t take over your life if you don’t want it to. Unlike the new ones, they intrude, pushy money eating bastards and care nothing for you!
    If you want to know my religious belief, I’m an Serbian Orthodox. Part of the first church to be recognised by Constantine the Great as the First true Christian church.. From Orthodox, came Catholic and everything else sprung from it.
    Oh and by the way.. you won’t hear any Orthodox door knocking on your door and trying to force you into their religion.
    Cheers from Australia,
    An Orthodox Serb

  • JohnMWhite

    @ Bozana – “Churches that been around for a few thousands of years are not a bad thing.. they’ve been proven and tested and won’t force you to believe what you don’t want to believe and won’t take over your life if you don’t want it to.”
    So that whole Inquisition thing was just a misunderstanding? Catholics and Anglicans stealing children from native parents and forcing them into residential schools where they will pray to the right god in the right language or be tortured with car batteries is not trying to force people to believe what they do not believe? Christianity as a whole trying to enforce its will on the laws of the land of Western democracies for generations, including trying to remove rights from women and homosexuals just because their own faith says they shouldn’t have any is not a bad thing? Israel treating Palestinians like cattle because they believe god gave the Jews that scrap of land thousands of years ago, that’s not trying to take over people’s lives if they don’t want to?
    “Why do you think that this church was founded in middle of a desert?”
    So was yours. All the Abrahamic faiths stem from bronze age shepherds who were pressured into brutal beliefs by an encroaching arid climate and never got over it.
    It is nice that you feel sorry for these people who have been driven to suicide, but your excuses for similar faiths don’t really help. Churches that have been around a few thousand years are definitely a bad thing. They’re the reason the new ones exist, and they have their own horrendous track records.

  • Broga

    In my view there ain’t no such animal as “a true” Christian Church. They are all based on the bible and that is full of contradictions, obscenties and cruelties. The Christian Churches are selective in what they convey to their flocks and ignore the bits they find inconvenient. I hope you stick around here as we may persuade you towards abandoning christianity and moving into atheism. At least let us discuss the evidence. You, by what you place before us, may move some of us towards a “true” christian Orthodox Serb Church. Although on that one don’t hold your breath.
    An Atheist.

  • Graham Martin-Royle

    Just in case you hadn’t noticed, it doesn’t matter how long an idea has been around, if it’s wrong, it’s wrong! It doesn’t matter who set up the church or who recognised it. All churchs are cults and they all line their pockets with money that poor misguided fools donate.

  • Anonymous

    I wonder how many of those suicides are the “lost boys” cast out of fundamentalist Mormonism.
    Utah needs to get out of the grip of its Mormon politicians and bureaucrats, who carefully guard the image of their faith rather than shine some sunlight on how abusive it is.

  • Broga

    @Graham Martin-Royle
    If I might just add to your pertinent comment. Human kind has considered the earth flat and believed that the earth was the centre of the Universe for a very long time. The Christian Church has been vigorous and bloodthirsty in insisting on the latter and many were burned alive for believing otherwise. Indeed, any opinions, scientific or philosophical which contradicted the religious view, were resisted with severe punishments. The resistence was also to views with had been expressed by the leading lights of the early church. The disastrous effects on science, including the advancement of medecine which might have alleviated untold suffering, has been a devastating blow to helping humanity. This process, as we all know continues today and one of the most resistent to scientific advance is Ratzy.

  • Angela_K

    Bozana, to add to Graham Martin-Royle’s comment: Not only does the length of time an idea been around count for nothing, but also if a billion people still believe this bad idea, it is still wrong. Religion no matter how old or presented is still a vile dogma.
    Oh, and the only True Christianâ„¢ church is Landover Baptist.

  • Daz

    So your church claims to be The One True Churchâ„¢ because it was recognised by Constantine? That is, it claims authenticity through a patron who lived over 250 years after the beginning of the Christian religion? I find it hard to see your claim as any different from those of later churches. Now, find me a church with non-Roman traditions, based on the beliefs of the Jewish early Christians, using a different canon of books from those defined by the Romanised churches, and I might consider calling them the True Church. It wouldn’t make a believer of me, but I’d be interested to see a development of the tradition which hadn’t been bastardised by the Romans.
    Oh, and on a point of pedantry, it’s ‘Heil Hitler.’ Pronounced ‘hile’. Still, it’s an obscure phrase, known only to historians, and I wouldn’t have expected even an obviously well educated person like yourself to have read or heard it before, so the mistake is understandable. Oh, wait…

  • Broga

    Landover Baptist! Wonderful church and great people. I’m a member of that congregation. I have asked for them to be represented on Thought for the Day. No luck so far. They are definitely people of faith so I can’t see the problem. Maybe we need a campaign.

  • frankyv

    You mean the Emperor Constantine who accepted christianity and then had his son murdered and his wife boiled alive not long after? Very christian — actually, it is, they’ve only just stopped doing this sort of thing, relatively speaking.

  • barriejohn

    Glad to hear that the Catholic church isn’t “lining its pockets with money” then. That’s put my mind at rest!

  • barriejohn

    Broga. Landover Baptists is the church for me. They are the only ones to give a money-back guarantee, so that if, perchance, you should find yourself consigned to the Lake of Fire for eternity they will happily refund all financial contributions in full. What more can you ask?

  • Daz

    Barriejohn, of course they aren’t lining their pockets with money. No one has pockets that big. They line vaults and bank-accounts instead.
    A thought about these religiots who claim that ‘gay is a choice’. I’d wonder why they think anyone would make a choice to adopt a ‘lifestyle’ that leads all too often to bullying and harassment, social ostracism, depression and suicide.
    Just to state an opinion here, I wouldn’t care if it was a choice, and nor should anyone, any more than choice of musical, fashion, or reading tastes. The only reason it could be called a bad choice is that it opens one up to social stigma caused, for the most part, by the very people who claim it’s a choice.

  • Newspaniard

    I have a LandRover, is it compulsory for me to join that baptist church?

  • Angela_K

    @Newspaniard. I trust you own a “true” Landie: Series, 90, 110, Defender style and not a heretical Disco, Rangie or Freelander!

  • Radi

    @Angela_K: Yeah – these effete Disco, Rangie or Freelander Landie series are such an insult to the spirit of the True Landrover (TM)!

  • Newspaniard

    My Mk1 Disco was born in 1997 and I love her dearly. Please moderate your tone within her hearing or she’ll develop yet another expensive fault. Thanks

  • Neil

    As an exmormon, I can tell you that what the LDS church says to the public is total and utter BS compared with what truly goes on in that community.
    Gays are scorned, have the piss taken out of, shunned and generally cast off by their families, in a paradoxical way; because this church is one that promotes the ‘families forever’ idea.
    Last Octover, in the Mormon General Conferance, the 2nd in command (as it were), Boyd K Packer gave a talk that further ostracised homosexuals, and then a few days later, the typescript of his talk was doctored! Thats the way of this church: like the Ministry of Truth in Orwell’s 1984, it rewrites history to make itself pallatable to the outside world.
    For more info go to this site:
    There you will find literally thousands of topics and a history of this church that the ‘boys in black suits’ who knock on your door won’t tell you (or most likely don’t know).
    Bottom line is the people who run the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints are EVIL and don’t give a shit about their members, unless they stop paying tithing.

  • Li Vincent

    These hearsay so called ‘news’ posts about Colt are getting pathetic. They are also becoming more and more offending.
    Colt’s death was -NOT- because of the LDS church, and Colt’s death with -NOT- because of a fight with his father.
    Stop to think how you would feel if your child died and people were saying such things about you!
    Colt’s family were NOT refusing to let people attend his funeral. ANYONE that wanted to go to his graveside service were welcome! One of their first stops after finding their son was to let Colt’s Friends at Try-Angles know he had passed.
    Colt has been a member of my family for the past 16 years, I knew him well, better than most people.
    You should be ashamed of yourselves for spreading hurtful gossip about such an amazing man whom I loved dearly.
    Before you post things like this, that you have no idea whether or not they are true. Stop to think; these are REAL people you are talking about. They have REAL families who loved them. And if it is concerning someone’s death, there are REAL PEOPLE MOURNING FOR THEIR LOVED ONE!
    It is true Colt was not Mormon, yes Colt was gay and very proud of it. But funerals really are not for the dead, they are for the living, so the living can say goodbye to the person they loved. So if his family (who are mostly LDS) choose to have an LDS service for him, because that is what they believe and that is what comforts them, What does it matter???
    I am not mormon at all, but I respect others values and wishes. Colt wouldnt have been mad about his family giving him an LDS service if he knew that is what comforted them the most.

  • Newspaniard

    @Li Vincent. You represent the Mormon Cult’s view on this apalling matter do you? Why should we believe ANY statement coming from such a hateful organization?

  • SteveW

    It’s best to get ahold of some facts before spouting off about an issue like this. Here is an update from regarding Colt.
    Whatever the reasons or causes, it’s a tragic loss for Colt’s friends and family. A little more sensitivity and a lot less judgment is certainly warranted.

  • Newspaniard

    The mis-information on Colt’d passing is regrettable, however, it doesn’t detract from the high number of suicides linked to that terrible “church”.