Tyler Glenn, lead vocalist of Neon Trees, posted a powerful video on his Facebook page where he addressed “members and leaders of the LDS [The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints] Church” and pleaded with church president Russel Nelson and other church leaders to not let this be “a summer of more gay suicides.”
Glenn is referring to the increase in LGBTQ youth suicides in Utah, where 62.6 percent of residents are Mormon. Since November, when LDS’s anti-gay new policy was unveiled, “we’ve heard of over 40 suicides within the mormon LGBTQ world,” he says.
(According to CBS-affiliate KUTV, “Utah suicide rates are skyrocketing and are now the leading cause of death for Utah youth. The youth suicide rate has tripled in Utah since 2007 — jumping from three out of every 100,000 youth to 8.5, an alarming increase not seen anywhere else in the country.”)
In the video, a visibly shaken Glenn shows the photos of Stockton and Wyatt, two gay mormon teenagers who had recently killed themselves: “These two teenage boys have something in common: they are both gay, they are both Mormon, and then last week they both committed suicide.” He also mentions that “in the last week, it has been reported that three other LDS and LGBTQ teenagers took their own life.”
The openly gay musician grew up as a Mormon and worked as a missionary for the church, but he says that trying to adjust to Mormon teachings as a gay man still brings him pain: “I struggle weekly to find my place in this world, because for so long I struggled to find my place in God’s plan.”
Glenn says that he wanted to make the video to show LDS leaders the tragic consequences of the church’s policies: “I make this live video right now to help you put a face to this policy that bans same-sex couples and their kids, to see that this is actually happening, and it’s real, and it’s right now.”
Glenn pleads directly with the church president: “Dear Russell Nelson, you spearheaded this policy in November, and you and your colleagues claim to speak directly to and for God. As his mouthpieces on this Earth today, you have yet to respond to the confusion, chaos and disruption that you have caused so many current and former members of your church, both queer and straight alike,” Glenn says. “You’ve had months and a public conference satellite-broadcast to the world in April, and you’ve yet to give light to the actual darkness that so many of your members are living in currently.”
He says that he converted people to the church’s plan, and yet “this plan has no space for me,” and that the plan is “flawed”.
“I beg of you and plead with you to change this doctrine,” he says, fighting back tears. “There’s blood of your members in your hands.”
Glenn ends the emotional video showing the photos of the teenagers one more time. “Please make a space for your gay members. Please tell them they are okay and they’re made in the image of God and they’re not flawed. Please stop telling them that they are abnormal. Please, please, please. How many more? How many more?”
As of Friday, the video had been seen more than 424,000 times.
Watch it below: