Since a severe new anti-gay policy was enacted in the Mormon Church last fall, 32 LGBTI people between the ages of 14 and 20 have committed suicide.
The devastating number was made public by a group of Mormon mothers with gay children called the Mama Dragons.
Senior church leaders released a statement about the deaths to the Salt Lake City newspaper The Deseret News which is owned by the church.
‘Every soul is precious to God and to the church and the loss of life to suicide is heartbreaking,’ said church spokesman, Dale Jones. ‘Those who are attracted to others of the same sex face particular challenges and pressures in this regard, both inside and outside the church.
‘We mourn with their families and friends when they feel life no longer offers hope. ‘
The dead young people includes 27 males, three females and two transgender persons.
In November, church leaders released new policies targeting gay men and lesbians, and their children including a ban on baptisms for children of gay parents until the kids turn 18. Afterwhich, they must disavow gay marriage and stop living with their parents.
The book of guidelines, known as Handbook1, also state that Mormons in same-sex marriages or similar relationships must face disciplinary councils — and possible excommunication.
‘The church has repeatedly stated that those who feel same-sex attraction and yet choose to live the commandments of God can live fulfilling lives as worthy members of the church,’ Jones also said in his statement.