Tag Archives: suicides

Bryan Jordan Smith (1983-2004), Mormon Suicide

b. March 27, 1983

d. August 18, 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.

Affirmation, Suicide Memorial

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Christopher Paul Ricksecker (1982-2003), Suicide

b. January 22, 1982

d. June 16, 2003

Christopher was born in San Diego on January 22, 1982, and attended Highland High School in Salt Lake City. Life was not easy for Chris; he felt overwhelmed with emotional problems and suffered depression. He committed suicide in Salt Lake City on June 16, 2003. Christopher was cremated at his request, and his ashes were later scattered on the Pacific.

A vigil for Chris was held on July 1, 2003, in Sugarhouse Park in Salt Lake. The service was conducted by Chris’s step mom, Sheri Young; Chris’s dad, David, also said a few words.

Through a candlelight ceremony, the audience remembered not only Chris but all gay and lesbian people who have taken lives. Charles Milne, GLBT advisor for the University of Utah, helped conduct the candle lighting ceremony and made some remarks. Kristine Clifford said a prayer.

These are some experts for the remarks made by Chris’s dad:

“I went to several churches for answers. The answers that they gave me were that gay people are evil and bad. One pastor in a local church told me that gay people are possessed with demons—that they are bad and that they are going to hell.”

“Chris wanted to be accepted for who he was, but he could never accept himself who he was and how he felt.”

“We don’t need special groups for gays or anyone else. We cannot judge gay people and put them in special groups. What makes us better than gay people? We need to save our children.”

Jack Denton Reese, Mormon Suicide

Jack Denton Reese, a gay teen of LDS background committed suicide on April 22 in Mountain Green, Utah. He was 17 years old.

According to Jack’s boyfriend, Alex Smith, Jack was bullied at school. On April 23, Alex, who didn’t know yet that his boyfriend had taken his life, spoke at a panel about the bullying Jack experienced. The panel was held in connection with the screening of the documentary film, “Bullied.”

Jack attended Morgan and Weber High schools. On April 27, Weber High students attended class in their Sunday best in Jack’s honor. “You’ll always be remembered,” wrote a close friend on the mortuary’s guestbook. “I know you’re looking down on us all right now, telling us all to be ourselves no matter what people say or how harshly they judge. I know it because that’s all you wanted. I love you, Jack. Love forever in our hearts. You’re amazing just the way you are.”

“I remember Jack when he was in our ward and when he would pass the sacrament,” reads another entry. “What a handsome and dedicated young man!”

“How is it possible that on the same day on one side of the country we are being affirmed as gay and Mormon [at the Circling the Wagons Conference] while on the other side another gay Mormon is taking his life?” wrote Randall Thacker, senior vice president with Affirmation: Gay & Lesbian Mormons. “How will this suffering ever come to an end?”

read more at Affirmation, Suicide Memorials

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Chris Wayne Beers, Mormon Missionary – and Suicide

d. March 18, 2012

According to stories posted on several Mormon blogs, Chris Wayne Beers, a returned missionary and former church employee, took his life on March 18. He was 38 years old.

Beers was a returned missionary and had worked for years at the Church Office Building in the missionary and travel department, and at the time of his passing he was working at the University of Utah Hospital.

A native from Bountiful, Utah, Beers graduated from Woods Cross High, where he played football and other sports. After serving an honorable mission for the LDS Church, he touched the lives of countless youth as an EFY counselor.

“If we, as Mormons, did what we were supposed to do for all of our brothers and sisters–love them unconditionally–Chris would never have been stripped of his family of faith,” wrote Mitch Mayne on a Facebook entry. “He would not have been forced to choose. He would have had a deeper, richer and more spiritual support network to walk him through what life brought his way. Sadly, like many, he was given the ‘Sophie’s Choice:’ live life according to a heterocentric cultural practice and do so alone, without a partner–or live life without your family of faith and the strength of that spiritual community.”

– from “Affirmation” (LGBT Mormons)

Jay Lynn Peterson (1966-1998), Mormon Suicide

b. January 23, 1966

d. January 31, 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.

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.

Michael J. Green – Mormon Suicide

b. June 26, 1961

d. January 10, 1986.

My Gay LDS cousin Michael J. Green committed suicide on January 10, 1986. He parked his truck outside of a tavern in Clearfield, Utah, where he lived (I don’t think it was a Gay tavern), and shot himself to death in his truck.

Michael was born June 26, 1961 in Ogden, Utah to Ralph Jay Green and Mary Penman. By birth, he was my third cousin through the Beazer line, but then my grandmother Beazer married his grandfather (Ralph Beazer Green) about 1974, after the deaths of their spouses, and so by marriage Michael and I became first cousins. I remember sitting in our grandparents’ new motor home in the summer of 1975, talking about our homosexuality, both of us very confused and terrified. As badly off as I was, I remember he was even worse — he always had huge dark circles under his eyes because he couldn’t sleep at night, so tormented was he about his sexuality, and later we got into a huge fight about it.

After both our grandparents died (his grandfather in March 1976 and my grandmother in June 1976), we never spoke again. He was buried in the Syracuse City Cemetery in Utah on January 15, 1986. I sincerely hope at last he found the peace he never could find here on earth.

– from Affirmation

Brad Lauritzen (1947 – 1971), Mormon Suicide

b. October 26, 1947
d.. December 18, 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.

– from Affirmation Suicide Memorial