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The Mormon church has donated to an organization that offers suicide prevention support to LGBTQ Mormons.
Affirmation, which helps LGBTQ Mormons to “live healthy and productive lives consistent with their faith or heritage,” received $25,000 dollars from the LDS Foundation, the charity arm of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Affirmation President Carson Tueller said in an interview with The Salt Lake Tribune that they are working with the Church to “create a safe space for LGBTQ people.” Tueller also added that preventing suicide is important to the LDS church, despite their anti-LGBTQ beliefs.
“This is one of those places where our missions overlap and mesh,” he said. “This is a good stepping stone and shows a certain amount of trust that has been built.”
Tueller also said in a news release that he hopes Affirmation will “aid in suicide prevention amongst LGBTQ+ Mormons throughout the world.”
“We can’t do this alone,” he added. “Only by working together can we begin to reach everybody who needs to be reached both in and out of the church.”
LDS Church spokesman Doug Andersen said in a statement that the Church is “committed to working with community partners to help prevent suicide” and that they are “mindful of those who are struggling and encourage them to reach out for help.”
While the LDS church has previously backed LGBTQ non-discrimination bills, in 2015 they dubbed same-sex Mormon couples “apostates” and did not allow LGBTQ couples’ children to take part in religious ceremonies until they came of age.
The Church’s donation comes a few weeks after HBO released Believer, a documentary that followed Dan Reynolds, lead singer of Imagine Dragons, as he delved into the Mormon’s treatment of LGBTQ youth and how it has led to increases in youth suicide.
“I’m a Mormon who is not happy with where the church is at, and I know in fact that it’s hurting our youth and even killing our youth. Period,” Reynolds said.
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