PBS and Frontline produce some of the best documentaries, and tomorrow is the premiere of the highly-anticipated documentary series “God in America.” The six-hour series will span 400 years of America’s religious history. Early reviews are heralding the series as a must-see. It will air October 11th at 9 PM EST (so 7 PM for those of us in Utah).
Utah’s local PBS affiliate, KUED, will also air the documentary “God in Utah” tomorrow night at 10 PM.
From what I understand, government land was being used to display 12-foot-high crosses donated by the private organization UHPA to honor officers that died near that location. The decision could still be appealed to higher courts, so this isn’t necessarily the final result. I suggest reading over the court’s decision for more details.
Utah leads the nation in male youth suicides, and there was a tragic reminder of that fact yesterday.
On July 19th, Todd Ransom, a young gay man from Salt Lake City, committed suicide. It is unclear why exactly Todd took his life, but his friends report that he faced disapproval from his family and struggled to reconcile his sexual orientation with his Mormon upbringing.
I never knew Todd, despite sharing several mutual friends with him. But his death has greatly saddened me and countless others. There will be candle-light vigil held in memory of Todd tonight at 9:00 PM outside the state capitol building.
In response to this and other recent gay Mormon suicides, my friend Isaac shared his own personal struggle as a gay Mormon on Facebook. With his permission, I’m posting the full note here.
Hardly. I just wanted to make Ezra Taft Benson turn in his grave from the mere suggestion. Ha ha. But Utah does possess at least one trait of a socialist utopia: It has relatively low income inequality—the lowest in the country.
The LDS Church maintains a robust welfare system; that may explain a small part of this phenomenon. The Economistattributed it to the “Mormon work ethic” and the church’s emphasis on education. I think Utah’s lack of racial diversity is also a factor.
What do you think explains Utah’s low income inequality?
Update: A recent Salt Lake Tribune article also discussed Utah’s low income inequality. The article used U.S. Census data from 2011, whereas my post relied on data from 2006. And even in this latest report, Utah remains the state with the lowest income inequality.
No matter what population level is examined — state, metro area, large place, small place or even census tract — a Utah area came up in the report as the most homogenous by income in the nation, or close to it.
Utah was the most homogenous for household incomes among the 50 states. The Salt Lake metropolitan area ranked Continue reading →
Today, just minutes from my house in Draper, UT, convicted murderer Ronnie Lee Gardner was executed by a firing squad. Gardner is the first man in 14 years to receive death by firing squad in America, and only the third man since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.
His execution has renewed a national debate about capital punishment. I oppose the death penalty, but I think the firing squad is preferable to other methods. Gardner actually requested it; it’s a quick death. I also agree with what Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, in a Fox News editorial, wrote regarding the firing squad: “I support firing squads because of the personal responsibility they impose on those who execute, and because the full awareness of the horror of taking another life may actually lead to fewer executions.”
But this is not the appropriate forum to discuss the merits of capital punishment. I mention this story for its connection to Utah and Mormonism.
The Deseret News circa 2007 read: “Utah most depressed state in the country.”
Utah is the most depressed state in the country, according to a nationwide study.The first-of-its kind examination of “level” of depression and actual outcomes for those seeking help for it ranks Utah 51st on a list of 51. South Dakota has the “best depression status” in the country.
Just two years later: “Feeling unhappy? Move to Utah”
Never mind the anti-depressant drugs. A recent study suggests that the saddened at heart should consider moving to Utah for a happiness boost.
Running at nearly 70 points on a well-being scale out of a possible 100, Utah hit the top of the charts according to a study by University of Cambridge researcher Jason Rentfrow.
So what explains the disparity between these studies? And which do you find more believable: Utah as the happiest state or the most depressed?
For those who fall squarely in the latter camp and believe that Utah’s depression/suicide rates are tidily reducible to Mormonism, you owe it to yourself to consider FAIR’s apologeticarticles on this matter. Some good points are raised.
As many of you are already aware, the LDS Church recently endorsed a number of Salt Lake ordinances banning discrimination against gays in housing and employment. Now, I don’t think this is penance enough for the untold pain the church and its rhetoric has caused the LGBT community (both within and outside the church) over the past few decades. But nevertheless, this is a positive development and one for which the LDS Church and Equality Utah deserve our thanks.
Andrew Sullivan is a conservative, Obama-supporting, homosexual, Catholic blogger—oh, and a walking contradiction. Last year, he wrote at length about Proposition 8 and the Mormons’ involvement in it.* What Sullivan wrote today in response to the LDS Church’s support of non-discrimination laws expresses my sentiments exactly. Below are some excerpts, but be sure to read the article in full.