Saturday, October 27, 2007

Mormon Suicide List

Why make this list? Some may accuse me of sensationalism or being morbid, but I assure you that is not the case. This list is to remember those who took their own lives, because of their Mormon upbringing and beliefs.

At first I was going to make a "Mormon Murder List", but changed my mind. If I had done that, I would have to put literally hundreds of names on it: those from the Mountain Meadows Massacre, those killed by Danites and Brigham Young's murder squads, those killed by early saints for leaving Utah, on and on. Then I thought I would make a "Mormon Death List" to at least commemorate those that had died at the hands of Mormonism in recent years - but realized that would be criticized as well.

There are dozens upon dozens of men and women that have committed suicide because of the Mormon church. However, on this list I have chosen to represent those that committed suicide specifically because of the LDS church and its teachings; and whose deaths are KNOWN to be for that reason, and cannot be disputed.

People say the work that we ex-mormons do is useless, or a waste of time. But I know it is not. Look down the list at these people that have killed themselves and ask yourself: would they have still done it, if they knew the church was not true? These people thought this was God's one and only true church on earth. They believed it was true. If they had known the truth - that it is a fraud - would they be alive today? I will never, ever believe the work I do is pointless when it might save lives!

Below: a list of people who have committed suicide thanks to Mormonism. Their name and a brief summary of information is listed. Please note: this information has been taken from public sources such as newspapers, articles, or other websites like "Affirmation". If you have other information to add, or know of someone to add to the list, please email me.

This will be an ongoing article.

BRAD LAURITZEN (1947-1971)
The son of Gilbert Fay and Lucy Pettingill Lauritzen, Brad G. Lauritzen born in Brigham City, Utah on October 26, 1947.

In 1966, Brad registered in Brigham Young University's Study Abroad Program and spent a semester in Grenoble, France. While a student at BYU, Brad became affiliated with a social group for gay people in 1967 and early 1968 that met regularly in the "step down lounge" at the Wilkinson Center.

Brad was outed by Donald Attridge, another gay student, in the early spring of 1968. Attridge had turned in a lengthy list of names to Apostle Spencer Kimball after receiving assurances from both BYU's head of Standards Office, Kenneth Lauritzen (no relation to Brad), and Kimball that those on the list would be "helped" by Kimball.

Instead, Brad was hospitalized in the psychiatric ward of a mental institution by his family. He later escaped and ran away to San Francisco, where he committed suicide just before Christmas, on December 18, 1971. He was 24 years old.

KIP ELIASON (1966-1982)
"On March 2, 1982, Kip Eliason, age 16, distraught and filled with self-hate over his inability to stop masturbating, committed suicide. Before asphyxiating himself, Kip left his father a note:
"Dear Dad,I love you more than what words can say. If it were possible, I would stay alive for only you, for I really only have you. But it isn't possible. I must first love myself, and I do not. The strange feeling of darkness and self-hate overpowers all my defenses. I must unfortunately yield to it. This turbulent feeling is only for a few to truly understand. I feel that you do not comprehend the immense feeling of self-hatred I have. This is the only way I feel that I can relieve myself of these feelings now. Carry on with your life and be happy. I love you more than words can say.—Your son, Kip"
Kip Eliason's five-year struggle to overcome masturbation started at age 11 when his grandmother persuaded him to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), whose members are better known as Mormons.
Kip was an intelligent and sensitive young man, perhaps too sensitive. The death of his mother when the boy was six had profoundly affected him. At times he was quiet and reflective, spending hours alone in his room, and yet he was outgoing by nature. He was a born leader. His classmates and teachers admired him for his friendly way and all-American good looks. Kip was truthful and possessed a farm-community naïveté.
Kip was not the kind of youngster you'd think would commit suicide, but when his church told him that he'd find guilt, depression and self-hate if he masturbated, he believed so. When it said he'd go to hell if he didn't stop, he believed that too. And when he was told that masturbation was a "building block of suicide," he took the church at its word."

Jay Lynn Peterson was born on January 23, 1966, in West Valley City, Utah.
He was baptized in the LDS Church on May 3, 1975.
After high school, Jay served in the US Navy.

On January 31, 1998, Jay was involved in a violent altercation at the Exchange Place, downtown Salt Lake City, with a man who made a derogatory statement about Jay's sexual orientation. After the altercation, Jay drove to his apartment in the Avenues and committed suicide. He was 32 years old.
Jay is buried at the Utah Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Riverton, Utah.
HENRY STUART MATIS (1967 - 2000)

On February 25, 2000, Stuart Matis drove to the LDS chapel in Los Altos, California, and took his life. He was frustrated by the efforts by the LDS Church to pass Proposition 22, and he felt that he could not reconcile his religion and his homosexuality. He was 32 years old.

After high school, Stuart enrolled in BYU and served a mission in Italy (where he met Clay Whitmer). After graduation, in 1996, he started to work for Andersen Consulting in California.

His brother Bill wrote the following: "To those who feel that my brother was no better than a murderer or an adulterer, I would like to say that the murderer and adulterer choose to be what they are. My brother didn't choose to be homosexual any more than you or I chose the color of our skin. Many who knew him say that he was one of the most Christ-like people they had ever met. He was a son, brother, uncle, nephew, cousin and true friend."

Words by Stuart: "I implore the students at BYU [Brigham Young University] to re-assess their homophobic feelings. Seek to understand first before you make comments. We have the same needs as you. We desire to love and be loved. We desire to live our lives with happiness. We are not a threat to you or your families. We are your sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, neighbors, co-workers and friends, and most importantly, we are all children of God."

CLAY WHITMER (1965-2000)

Clay Douglass Whitmer was born May 21, 1965. He was an incredibly intelligent person. He had an M.B.A. and a J.D. He could pick up just about any subject matter with complete ease. He was someone who had very high aspirations.

Clay had been involved with Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons as a member of the San Francisco chapter. His family lives in Kansas City, Missouri. Clay had a very complicated relationship with his parents, and they have decided not to memorialize his life or death.

Clay committed suicide in the San Francisco Bay Area on March 20, 2000--three weeks after his friend Stuart Matis. Stuart was Clay's very dear friend. They went to Brigham Young University together and served Mormon missions together in Italy.

The death of his friend Stuart may have been the last straw in Clay's life. He wrote in his suicide note that he wanted to say good-bye to all his friends and to apologize for the pain he knew he would cause them. He also chose a place to commit the suicide which he knew none of his friends had any particular connection to. Peculiar as it may sound, even in contemplating his own death, he thought of others. This was the type of person he was.


Brian David James Hyer Thompson was born on June 22, 1967. During his life he was intensely involved in the LDS Church, Affirmation (Gay and Lesbian Mormons), and the community at large. He graduated from Bingham High School in South Jordan, Utah. After serving a Mormon mission in Seattle, he returned to Utah, where he was elected president of the Utah Log Cabin Republicans and participated in several gay and lesbian organizations.

DJ had a strong connection with Mormonism, especially through Affirmation, Reconciliation, and his Salt Lake City singles ward in the Avenues. Years after coming out, he was still attending that ward and discussing gay issues with his bishop. DJ was a strong advocate for gay rights. He was proud to be gay and proud to be Mormon.

DJ lived in many places and tried very hard to find happiness. He loved French culture and once traveled to Paris as an artist's assistant. He loved movies, paintings, and art. He loved hiking, nature, and animals—especially cats. He loved to grow flowers and was a talented cook.

At the time of his death, DJ was living with a gay couple near Kingman, Arizona. He was very frustrated over the LDS Church's involvement with Proposition 22 in California and the recent suicide of Stuart Matis.

DJ committed suicide near Kingman, Arizona, on March 9, 2000. He was 32 years old.

BRYAN JORDAN SMITH (1983 - 2004)

Bryan Jordan Smith was born March 27, 1983 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

He graduated from American Fork High School and LDS Seminary. He was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served an LDS mission in Omaha, Nebraska.

Bryan was a loving son and brother who enjoyed the outdoors, scrap booking, animals, and gardening. He loved cars and especially, his white Ford convertible Mustang. Bryan worked for Alpine School District at the Pony Express Elementary School. He planned on attending Joseph Patrick Academy of Hair this fall.

Bryan committed suicide on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 in American Fork. He left a suicide note stating that he could not handle the fact that he was gay and that was at least one of the reasons for his suicide. He is survived by his mother, sister, brother, grandparents, and numerous other relatives. Funeral services were held August 24, 2004 in the American Fork LDS West Stake Center (700 East 500 North). Bryan is buried in the American Fork Cemetery.

Jordan was born September 19, 1989 in Richmond, Virgina to Tony Merrill and Jamie Porter Jensen. He passed away October 15, 2007.
He was an honor student at Alta High School and an Eagle Scout. His friendly personality drew many friends to him. Jordan will be severely missed by his family and friends and will forever be remembered for his loving nature, beautiful smile, many talents and his keen mind.