Gay Mormon Students Discuss Struggles With Suicide in 'It Gets Better' Video

PHOTO: Students at Brigham Young University released a video about their experiences as homosexuals in a religious community that prohibits gay sex and marriage.
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Students at Mormon college Brigham Young University have released a video about their experiences as homosexuals in a religious community that prohibits gay sex and marriage.

The video, called "It Gets Better at Brigham Young University," is part of the "It Gets Better" project, founded by columnist Dan Savage to prevent suicide among LGBT youth.

Erikka Beam, a recent BYU graduate in psychology, said that when she realized she was gay, she became depressed, started cutting classes, and was told by her bishop that she wasn't worthy to take the sacrament.

"I just felt, 'I'm not worthy. God clearly doesn't love me because he does not love gay people,'" she said in the video.

Beam also talked about her struggle with suicide.

"I just thought that I needed to just kill myself because the heartbreak of me dying would be less than the heartbreak my parents would experience if I came out to them," Beam said.

According to the video, 74 percent of LGBT students at BYU in Provo, Utah, have contemplated suicide, and 24 percent have attempted suicide.

"I thought that eventually maybe it would be better if I died," one male student said, "so I did everything I could to really be that perfect Mormon. I thought that was going to cure myself."

There were other personal stories. "When I was a little kid, I was that kid that would make you smile because he was so darn gay," Adam White, a sophomore at BYU, said with a smile.

But his smile faded in the video when he spoke about realizing he was gay within the Mormon community.

"I was so scared because I thought I was broken," White said, adding that he would feel "empty" inside when his friends would talk about liking girls.

The students in the video said that at one point, they felt like there was no one in the Mormon community to whom they could turn.

White noted that there is an active gay Mormon blog community, and advised gay Mormons to use the blogosphere as an outlet.

God, 'Will You Please Take This [Homosexuality] Away From Me'

The video noted that increased personal righteousness is reported by LGBT Mormons as the most common yet least effective method of attempting to change sexual orientation, and several students talked about trying to change their orientation because they were raised to believe it is wrong.

"I would ask God if I read my scriptures every day, and I pray every day and I do everything I can, will you please take this away from me. And it never went away," a female statistics major at BYU said in the video.

Another female student in the video, speaking of realizing she was a lesbian, said, "It scared me. It absolutely terrified me, naturally, because I truly believed in this church, and these feelings did not coincide with that church."

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