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Neon Trees’ Tyler Glenn blames Mormon church for gay youth suicides

frontman gets emotional in Facebook video

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(Screenshot via YouTube)

(Screenshot via Facebook)

Neon Trees lead singer Tyler Glenn, who is gay and a former Mormon, called out Mormon church leaders for contributing to rising suicide rates among young LGBT Mormons in an emotional video posted on Facebook on Tuesday.

Glenn holds up photos of two young gay Mormon members who recently committed suicide before addressing the church leaders.

“I want you to say their names and remember their photos,” Glenn says in the video. “Russell Nelson and the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, there is blood of your members of your hands. Please don’t let this be a summer of more gay suicides. Please make a space for your gay members. Please tell them they are OK 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?”

New Civil Rights Movement reports Utah’s suicide rate has almost tripled from 2007 to 2014. Glenn says in the last week five LGBT Mormons have taken their lives.

Glenn continued on to mention Nelson’s anti-gay policy, which barred children of same-sex couples from being blessed or baptized.

“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.

“There is either no God, or God isn’t speaking to you,” Glenn continued. “Maybe it’s both, but you have a responsibility to speak to us.”

 

 

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27 Comments

27 Comments

  1. E L Frederick

    July 8, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    …and nobody cares. Stick to music. Nobody forces them to be Mormon, this joker clearly left.

    • Eric Canfield

      July 8, 2016 at 5:23 pm

      Nobody cares?! Is that how how life is valued in this religion? What about, “the worth of souls is great?” What about, “as I have loved you love one another?” What about “mourn with those who mourn?”

      • E L Frederick

        July 8, 2016 at 5:35 pm

        No one is forcing them to stay Mormon. They can walk away very easily, nobody wants them to commit suicide. But nobody wants to hear the over inflated self important opinion of some apostate musician either.

        • Eric Canfield

          July 8, 2016 at 6:01 pm

          Before you dismiss someone and their experience out-of-hand, you may want to listen to their story. He was a missionary, he loved the church, he believed in it. Does our love and compassion for someone end as soon as they walk out the door? Do we understand how excruciating that walk was? Do we have enough humility and curiosity to look at that pain and the conditions that caused it?

          • E L Frederick

            July 9, 2016 at 11:32 am

            I still don’t blame the church my own problems or my own lousy choices. He shouldn’t blame the church for his choices or for the choices of a group he is a part of.

            No one is forcing these people to stay Mormon. I was out of the church for 10 years. I’ve been there. If the choice is between staying LDS or walking way to keep from killing yourself… choose life.

          • ⥢☆ Michael [G-13]☆ ⥤

            July 11, 2016 at 2:01 pm

            There is no god, choose reality.

          • E L Frederick

            July 10, 2016 at 1:13 pm

            If the Church is supposedly causing you enough grief to commit suicide, then walk way. It’s that simple. There is nothing on this planet that should be worth more than you own life.

            A few years down the road, it might get better… things change with time and distance. If you are alive, things can get better. If your dead, they do not.

            It’s simple choice. Just walk away. Nobody is forcing them to stay in a situation that is causing them pain. Get over it.

          • Eric Canfield

            July 11, 2016 at 11:14 am

            I agree, there are some that maybe should walk. But that probably not an option for a 13 year-old kid who’s still in the closet. What is our responsibility to that kid?

          • E L Frederick

            July 11, 2016 at 11:22 am

            Unfortunately, the Church is not in a position where they can help. Anything the Church does, short of changing doctrine to meet the expectations of the world, will be condemned.

            The world is convinced that there is nothing wrong with said 13 year old, other than the fact that he is in the closet. So there is going to be no way to get him the help he needs; without being called homophobes or haters or whatever, because the majority believe that there is nothing wrong with him.

            So sorry, but the kid is on his own. He will either find a way to live the way he has been raised to believe he should (like Josh Weed), or he will leave (like Tyler Glenn). Those are really the two options.

          • Eric Canfield

            July 11, 2016 at 12:25 pm

            So you’re proposing we turn our back on these kids? What if this was your child? I think there is a lot the church can do. How about teaching parents to love their gay kids unconditionally. Telling the kids that they are needed, loved, valued, respected, and that they always have a place in the home and the church. That even if they don’t understand this complex issue, that their love for them isn’t contingent.

          • E L Frederick

            July 11, 2016 at 12:36 pm

            If the parents aren’t already doing that, then they shouldn’t have become parents. That should come with the role of Mom or Dad, no matter the child.

        • Dottie

          July 9, 2016 at 11:17 am

          Mr Frederick. You can’t even see that you are part of the problem. Tyler Glenn is a very hurt and beautiful young man. Somebody should sit you down and break you open so that you can feel the pain. Somebody?

          • E L Frederick

            July 9, 2016 at 11:31 am

            How compassionate. Thanks for re-enforcing my complete apathy.

          • Dottie

            July 9, 2016 at 12:33 pm

            I don’t know what this means. Maybe this is a cultural misunderstanding? If I go with that, then breaking you open in my country means allowing healing and understanding and compassion in? You don’t sound apathetic to me, you sound hostile to young people who can’t carry on in the community they were raised in because of the a attitudes of unkind and unChristlike people.

            Tyler, it is not your music that speaks to me. It is your struggle, your openness, your love for these boys who could do easily be you. Aluta Continua!

          • E L Frederick

            July 9, 2016 at 8:01 pm

            It’s not hostility. I’m not against these people.

            If the choice is between staying LDS or walking way to keep from killing yourself… choose life.

          • Dottie

            July 10, 2016 at 4:04 am

            These choices – walking away, choosing life, what to do about doctrines and attitudes that put you outside of your group: these are not clear choices when you are a depressed teenager, or a depressed adult.

            ‘These people’ is a hostile statement. ‘Reinforcing my complete apathy’ – apathetic people don’t have the interest to take to the media to express really cold hearted opinions on the pain of others.

            I hope you become open to the possibility that you may have missed an opportunity to voice compassion for a tragic series of events, instead of just another defender of another church with no vision for its LGBTQ members and their families.

          • E L Frederick

            July 10, 2016 at 1:10 pm

            Whatever. I have the same vision Paul had when he addressed the Romans about LGBTQ members of the ancient church. Frankly, if there has been a change to the Christians world’s view, I missed the memo.

          • Dottie

            July 10, 2016 at 2:10 pm

            Yeah. That Paul. He said a lot of things. You stick around with Paul. You’ll be fine.

          • ⥢☆ Michael [G-13]☆ ⥤

            July 11, 2016 at 2:01 pm

            Yeah, you don’t care at all. LMAO.

        • Dottie

          July 10, 2016 at 4:05 am

          How is this not hostile? Cold, cold, brutal.

          • E L Frederick

            July 10, 2016 at 1:17 pm

            Hostile would require me to care about them in some way.

            I just don’t. It’s apathy. Plain and simple apathy.

            If you can’t live it, don’t be in it.

          • The_Infidel_01

            July 11, 2016 at 7:58 pm

            how is telling someone that they have blood on their hands not hostile?
            cold and brutal I would suggest.

      • ⥢☆ Michael [G-13]☆ ⥤

        July 11, 2016 at 2:00 pm

        It’s how it is with nearly all religions.

  2. Dottie

    July 9, 2016 at 11:21 am

    Tyler Glenn is not blaming the church. He is BEGGING the church leaders to acknowledge what is happening in his community. Yes, his community. Or would you prefer to have his loving and supportive family throw him out like trash? You are so insensitive I can hardly believe it. And I am not gay. I am an elderly, grieving widow of a kind, LDS man.

  3. ⥢☆ Michael [G-13]☆ ⥤

    July 11, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    You want equality and freedom, stop hanging out with religionists.

  4. phillipcsmith

    July 11, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    We should all be sorry about suicide. These victims are all children of God and deserve love and respect. If those who have same-sex attraction feelings will consult mormonsandgays.org, they can find good guidance as to what to do.

  5. Dean Lewis

    August 2, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    really, in what way?

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Photos

PHOTOS: GMCW Holiday Show

Chorus performs at Lincoln Theatre

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(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington performed its “Holiday Show” at Lincoln Theatre on Saturday. The Chorus has performances on Dec. 11 and 12. For tickets and showtimes, visit gmcw.org.

(Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)

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Photos

PHOTOS: International LGBTQ Leaders Conference opening reception

Politicians and activists from around the world met and mingled at the JW Marriott

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Politicians and activists from around the world met and mingled at the JW Marriott. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The LGBTQ Victory Institute held an opening reception for the 2021 International LGBTQ Leaders Conference at the JW Marriott on Thursday.

(Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)

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Theater

Meet the husbands and creative partners behind ‘Christmas Angel’

A funny, redemptive world premiere with a diverse cast

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Stephen Gregory Smith and Matt Conner with pugs Edgar Allan Pug and Lord Byron.

The Christmas Angel
Dec. 9-19
Creative Cauldron
410 South Maple Avenue
Falls Church, VA 22046
Tickets:  $35. Students $20.
Masks and proof of vaccination are required
creativecauldron.org

“Ours is like a lava lamp,” says composer Matt Conner describing the collaborative creative process he shares with musical writing partner and husband Stephen Gregory Smith. “We move together in motion in a continual ebb and flow.” 

A couple for 23 years, married for eight, and making musicals together for 11, the talented pair’s current offering is “The Christmas Angel,” opening on Dec. 9 at Creative Cauldron in Fairfax. 

A musical adaptation of the same-named 1910 novel by Abbie Farwell Brown, it’s the story of Angelina Terry (Kanysha Williams), a wealthy embittered recluse who learns the lessons of Christmas from a box of old toys that she casts into the street. Also featured in the hour-long one-act are Ryan Sellers as Horton, Angelina’s butler, and Carl Williams who plays her brother. The angel and toys are brought to life by an ensemble of a dozen teens plucked from the company’s musical theater training program. 

Via phone from their home in Arlington, Smith and Conner shared thoughts on their new show and working style. In attendance are pug dogs Edgar Allan Pug and Lord Byron, whom they call Eddie and Byron in public – otherwise “it’s just too much,” says Conner whose ultimate fantasy involves living on a pug farm where he’d write music and present the occasional show.

Rather than finish each other’s sentences, the duo (both Helen Hayes Award winners – Smith for acting and Conner for directing) expound on one another’s thoughts.

While Conner composes the music, Smith writes the book and lyrics, and together they co-direct. “But there’s no end and beginning where my job ends and his begins,” says Smith. “What we do complements each other’s work.”

Still, there are differences. Smith’s approach is focused. He writes pages at night and edits in the morning. Conner’s method is more relaxed, preferring to sit at the keyboard and talk rather than writing things down. But throughout the creative process, there’s never a moment when the project isn’t on their mind. They can be watching TV or buying milk when an exciting idea pops up, says Conner. 

A clever nod to Dickens, the novel is more than just a female “Christmas Carol,” says Smith. And in some spots, he’s beefed up the 55-page book, fleshing out both storyline and characters including the toys whose shabby appearance belies a youthful confidence. 

He adds, “Every holiday season you go to the attic and pull down the box, or boxes in my case, of holiday decorations and it’s all old but it’s new. That’s the nostalgic feeling of toys from the attic that we’re trying to find through the show.”

The music is a combination of traditional carols performed by a hand bell chorus, and original Christmas songs that intentionally sound very familiar. The score includes songs “Don’t Hide Your Light,” “The Sweetest Gift,” and “Yestermore” – the moment when the past, present, and future come together. 

Also, there’s Angelina’s Bah! Humbug! number “Fiddlesticks,” her great renunciation of the holidays. She believes the world a disappointing place to be, and the sooner realized the better. 

Conner and Smith aren’t new to Creative Cauldron. Through the company’s Bold New Works project, the team was commissioned to write five world premiere musicals in just five years. The result was “The Turn of the Screw,” “Monsters of the Villa Diodati,” “Kaleidoscope,” “Witch” and “On Air.”

Judging from some of the titles and their slightly macabre content, it seems the duo was better poised to write for Halloween than Christmas, but nonetheless, they were commissioned. Creative Cauldron’s producing director Laura Connors Hull brought them the obscure yet charming book that surprisingly had never before been reworked for stage or celluloid, and the pair got to work last spring. 

Conner and Smith agree, “The show is a lot of things rolled up into one.”

Not only is it a funny, redemptive world premiere with a diverse cast, but it’s also a story largely unknown to today’s audiences. Additionally, the show boasts intergenerational appeal while holding messages about Christmas, family, and finding light when you’re in a darker place. 

More information about Conner and Smith, including links to their music and popular podcast “The Conner & Smith Show,” can be found on their terrific website at connersmithmusicals.com.   

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