MESA, AZ - As thousands gather for the Christmas Lights ceremony at the Mesa Mormon Temple Friday night, a local gay-rights organization has plans for a suicide prevention outreach event.
Volunteers for the Phoenix Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender Coalition for Mormon Action began gathering at Pioneer Park, across the street from the temple, and planned to take to the public sidewalks around the temple at 5 p.m. to distribute outreach cards with the information for a suicide hotline.
Bobby Parker, a Mormon and leader of the Phoenix GLBT Coalition, said the group aims to make the Mormon community aware of both The Trevor Project Suicide Prevention National Hotline as well as Phoenix Affirmation , a local organization for gay Mormons.
According to Parker, 400,000 Mormons are Arizona residents and estimated that roughly 10 percent were gay or lesbian.
Arizona’s suicide rate is higher than the national average, Parker says.
The group also expected to hear speeches from several people working to prevent suicides of homosexuals within the Mormon population.
Following the evenings speeches, attendees plan to stand around the temple with candles singing “Silent Night” before simultaneously blowing out the candles to represent the loss of the lives of those who have committed suicide.
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