Conversion Therapy ban is shot down by LDS church

Ellie Jean, Staff Writer

As of now, the number of states that have joined in on banning conversion therapy is 18, and Utah will not be joining them any time soon. 


As of Tuesday, October 15th, 2019, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints opposed the rule to ban Utah’s licensed mental health profesionals from using conversion therapy on patiants. Making it legally allowed to try and change a minor’s sexual orientation or gender identity. 


“The church is concerned that the proposed professional licensing rule is ambiguous in key areas and overreaches in others,” it was started in a news release


This proposed rule was brought on by Governor Gary Herbert after stating he had “concerns about some of the abuse that I’ve heard talked about.” Which there are many cases of minors going through this therapy and suffering from serious psychological and emotional trauma from it as a result of this practice.

LGBT advocates, mental health representatives, as well as nonprofit leaders built an alliance to add Utah to the list. A deal between advocates and church leaders resulted in a ban that both parties could agree with.They enlisted two republican GOP lawmakers to help sponsor the legislation. 


However after an attack of the left wing saying that therapist would be silenced the plan fell through. 


After the deal fell through,the LDS church stated that this proposed rule “fails to protect individual religious beliefs and does not account for important realities of gender identity in the development of children.”


 The church also states that they do however believe that the “ LGBT people” deserve love and understanding.


A student at riverton high school, Ashtyn Cayias, exclaimed “ It is morally unacceptable because people should be allowed to be who they are and love whoever. You do not need to change people just because they are not the same as you. This should not make them less valid.” 


A statement from the LDS Church “The church hopes that those who experience same-sex attraction and gender dysphoria find compassion and understanding from family members, church leaders and members and professional counselors. The church denounces any abusive professional practice or treatment.” 


Troy Williams is the executive director of Equality Utah and he says that the church’s statements are “highly disappointing.” 


Williams goes on to say that this rule would do nothing more than protect LGBT kids from conversion therapy. It is said to be a cruel life-threatening practice by many who have gone through it.


He also mentions that studies have found 60% of children who under go conversion therapy attemp suicide. LGBT youth are more prone to suicde and it is the leading cause of death in Utah among teens. 


“Being gay and growing up in utah makes me heart hurt to hear that they want to get rid of a law that would help so many people. I have heard so many horror stories of people having to go through conversion therapy. I know people who have been electrocuted and water bordered. These people hate themselves still to this day because it was drilled into their heads that they were wrong. It hurts me to see a state that claims to be so kind and loving because of the religion say that they won’t support something to help their kids. I have seen people say that the parents should be able to choose until they’re 18 bc it’s the parents choice. But i think those parents should be put in jail for child abuse, no parent should be able to put their child through something that causes that much pain.” started Eli Davis a former Riverton high student. 


Along with this, Sam Walker said “Utah’s opposition to banning conversion therapy gives us an open perspective to the combination of church and state ruling in utah. Many times it has proven that the vast majority of religious opinions often sway the ruling of state, and while it is technically not a federally unjust ruling, and not made to help or hurt any religion in any particular way, the way rulings often go are in favor of religious regulation and often assisted by religious leaders as well ( LDS family service therapy for homosexuals is often a form of conversion therapy ) secondly, conversion therapy is cruel and ineffective, and it is well known to be this way and opposing the ban shows that the government is openly ignoring facts and speaking for a state as one group of peoples opinion.”


The LDS church goes on to say that the appreciates peoples comments and opinions. They also say that they will use these comments and science to make a final decision on the rule.