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
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.
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
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.
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
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:
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"
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.
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.
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
JAY LYNN PETERSON (1966-1998)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 DJ HYER THOMPSON (1967-2000)
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
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
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.
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 JAMES JENSEN ( 1989-2007)
was born September 19, 1989 in Richmond, Virgina to Tony Merrill and
Jamie Porter Jensen. He passed away October 15, 2007.
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.