The hubs and I recently watched an amazing, incredible and hugely important documentary titled Believer. In this film, HBO follows Imagine Dragons lead singer Dan Reynolds as he navigates through the issue of youth suicide in Mormon communities (trailer below).
In this documentary, Reynolds interacts with LGBTQ youth who have reached out to him in an attempt to help the Mormon church begin to recognize that the way they treat LGBTQ individuals is leading to higher youth suicide rates than in the rest of the nation. In short, the Mormon church has very outwardly denounced same-sex marriage, and refuses to support anyone who has "same-sex tendencies," going so far as to create a website, Mormon and Gay, about how to live a life as a Mormon and gay person at the same time. Much of the information on this site attempts to have LGBTQ individuals essentially hide their internal tendencies, and live a life in accordance with God's gospel as a way to escape death.
In my humble opinion, anytime you are asking someone to live in such a way that goes directly against their inner compass and belief system, something is inherently wrong. I didn't grow up in a particularly religious household, mostly because my parents had experienced a sense of hypocrisy from churchgoers in their religious upbringings. My parents taught my sisters and I to be good people, tell the truth, treat ALL human beings with respect, love and acceptance, and had grown up in a church-forward world where the very ideas that were being preached (and that they instilled in my sisters and I) weren't followed at all. I'm not saying ALL religious people are hypocrites, but if the church, ANY church preaches day in and day out that God accepts ALL of his children, shouldn't God be more accepting of LGBTQ youth?
This is the very idea Reynolds explores in the film. Essentially what is happening is kids are growing up and hitting adolescence, being who they are at their core, then being told by the church they've grown up in that who they are is wrong and they need to change. They experience a VAST sense of rejection for just being themselves and are left to feel that they don't have anyone to turn to or anywhere to go, and their only way out is suicide. This is UNACCEPTABLE. Reynolds thought so too, and as such organized an annual festival that has now turned into an organization called Loveloud. He and Neon Trees frontman Tyler Glenn, both raised in the Mormon church, put on a festival of acceptance and love held in Utah every year, in an attempt for the Mormon church to begin a more inclusive practice for LGBTQ youth. I 100% admire Dan and Tyler, and truly hope their efforts will help guide a new movement for LGBTQ individuals struggling to find acceptance in a sense of values they were raised with since birth.
I'd love to know your thoughts as well...
And in the meantime, everyone needs to love a little louder!
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