This past weekend, we in Utah lost another wonderful young man. He was, sadly enough, just the latest in a long series of teenage/young adult suicides by Latter-day Saint youth who were gay. Some, like this young man in Fountain Green, were bullied to the point that they just gave up. Others had just lost all hope of living a fulfilling life. For whatever reason, their pain grew to the point that it was larger than their desire to live, and they ended life.
I have no desire to point fingers, but I think that each of us can play a part in preventing these tragic and early endings in the future. These young men (and women) are products of a society and community which sometimes is very difficult for them.
They cannot picture themselves being able to fulfill the roles that their religious beliefs tell them are so vital to their eternal purpose. It just isn't in them. Simply put, they've failed before life has really even begun. They've listened to more snide comments and harassments than most of us have ability to imagine. They find no hope for "this" life, and figure they just as well push the fast forward button and move on to the next one. Their families are left behind to grieve and wonder why.
Do you pay attention to your own remarks? Do you teach your children that God loves all his children and it is not our place to judge? Do you teach your children and grandchildren that bullying is wrong, no matter what? When giving family "lessons" about these topics, are you careful with your words? I ask you this for one simple reason. A child may well be listening, and you have no control over whether or not that child has the same feelings.
After all, how would you feel if it were your own son or grandson who had just taken their life?
Kurt R. Peterson