Episode 45: Rising Utah Suicide Rates & LGBT Members

Natasha Helfer Parker interviews Dr. Daniel Parkinson, a psychiatrist who was raised Mormon and left the church partly due to being gay, and Thomas Montgomery, Mormon father of a gay son and husband to Wendy Montgomery who helped found the Mama Dragons. Both men recently collaborated on some articles they decided to publish on the same day, Utah’s Escalating Suicide Crisis and LDS LGBTQ Despair on Rational Faiths and Rejection and the Family on No More Strangers. They discuss the alarming increase in suicide rates in Utah — a trend that has been apparent since the Church’s involvement in Prop 8, increased focus on anti-gay rhetoric in talks over the pulpit and the “November 5th policy” which specifically calls out homosexual marriage as a sin worthy of excommunication going as far as disallowing children who reside in such marriages to participate in Mormon ordinances. Many from within church activity dismiss this type of “anecdotal evidence” stating that one can not blame the Church or any one reason for something as complicated as suicide. Both interviewer and interviewees challenge this type of thinking and call on leaders and members alike to take note and be alarmed at the harm that is being done to LGBT+ members across the age spectrum. With the April 2017 Ensign having yet another anti-LBGT article being published just this coming month… these types of podcasts sharing valuable information can be life-saving to many within our midst. Please listen.

Resources/Articles/Support Groups mentioned throughout the podcast:

Family Acceptance Project
Families are Forever
The LGBTQ Mormon Crisis: Responding to the Empirical Research on Suicide
Youth Suicide Rates and Mormon Religious Context: An Additional Empirical Analysis
Dialogue
Mama Dragons
Affirmation
ALL Arizona
Utah’s Youth Suicide Problem interview with Doug Fabrizio
Mormon Mental Health Association
Mackintosh Family Video
ACE Study
I'll Walk With You: Latter-day Saints Encouraging Love for our LGBT Brothers and Sisters
     This organization has a Facebook group for active LDS parents of LGBTQ children - you can request to join by contacting this website

Thank you to Jeff Meyers for the intro and Peter & Mary Danzig of Otter Creek Duo for the concluding bumper music. 


Natasha Helfer Parker runs a private practice in Wichita, KS and writes at The Mormon Therapist for Patheos: Hosting the Conversation of Faith.  She also hosts the popular podcast, Mormon Mental Health