Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Utah Leads The Way, Again

You will remember that the very conservative state of Utah leads the nation in downloading pornography. New statistics indicate that residents of the state, where schools teach abstinence-only sex "education," do more than just look at pictures. From Medical News Today:
The number of chlamydia cases increased by 50% and the number of gonorrhea cases nearly doubled in Utah between 2003 and 2007, according to a report released Thursday by the state Department of Health, the AP/ reports. Many men and women experience no symptoms from chlamydia infections. Chlamydia, which can lead to fertility problems if untreated, is more than three times more likely to be reported in women than in men. The report found that more than 70% of chlamydia cases in the state occurred among women ages 15 to 24. Some men experience symptoms from gonorrhea, but most women do not. More men than women in Utah were diagnosed with gonorrhea. According to the new report, chlamydia was the most frequently reported communicable disease in the Utah in 2007 with 5,721 cases, while gonorrhea was the fourth most-reported with 821 cases.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Utah's increase in chlamydia cases mirrors a nationwide trend that could be the result of improved screening measures. Federal recommendations on chlamydia screening emphasize testing for sexually active women age 25 and older. A January CDC report found that there were 1.1 million chlamydia cases nationwide in 2007, the most ever recorded. In addition, the percentage of young women undergoing chlamydia screening rose by double digits between 2003 and 2007, according to the National Committee for Quality Assurance, a not-for-profit organization that monitors health care. Cases Of Chlamydia, Gonorrhea Up In Utah Since 2003, Health Dept. Finds

The probability of transmission of gonorrhea and chlamydia can be greatly reduced by correct use of a condom. Montgomery County Public Schools now have a good lesson for tenth graders to learn the proper way to select and use a condom. Utah doesn't.
Some Democratic state legislators say that Utah's rising number of STI cases indicates that the state's policy of providing abstinence-only sex education in public schools is ineffective, although Republican lawmakers say they will continue to support the programs. The Republican-controlled legislature has approved a state health department campaign aimed at curbing the spread of STIs, including statements that condom use can greatly reduce the risk of STI transmission. The health department also is providing answers to common questions about STIs on the campaign's Web site (Vergakis, AP/, 4/30).

At the start of this post I mentioned that Utah leads the nation in downloading porn. Double-checking that fact I found the most interesting paper HERE, published in the Journal of Economic Perspectives. Benjamin Edelman at the Harvard Business school analyzes patterns of subscription to pornographic web sites, it is fascinating. For instance ...
... subscriptions are also more prevalent in states where surveys indicate conservative positions on religion, gender roles, and sexuality. In states where more people agree that “Even today miracles are performed by the power of God” and “I never doubt the existence of God,” there are more subscriptions to this service. Subscriptions are also more prevalent in states where more people agree that “I have old-fashioned values about family and marriage” and “AIDS might be God’s punishment for immoral sexual behavior.”

It's easy to simply conclude that conservatives are a bunch of hypocrites. But everybody already knew that, it's not news that they do all the things they tell everybody else not to do. It's easy to understand saying you shouldn't do this or that, for instance you shouldn't have sex outside of marriage or you shouldn't look at porn, you can imagine that hearing it said would discourage people from doing those things. But the evidence seems to point the opposite way. At least with sex, it appears that the more people are told to abstain from things, the more they do them. It seems much more sensible to acknowledge that things are going to happen and to prepare young people for dealing with their sexuality safely and responsibly.


Blogger Priya Lynn said...

The good news just keeps rolling in. The death of religion is coming:

"New research shows young Americans are dramatically less likely to go to church -- or to participate in any form of organized religion -- than their parents and grandparents.

"It's a huge change," says Harvard University professor Robert Putnam, who conducted the research.

Historically, the percentage of Americans who said they had no religious affiliation (pollsters refer to this group as the "nones") has been very small -- hovering between 5 percent and 10 percent. However, Putnam says the percentage of "nones" has now skyrocketed to between 30 percent and 40 percent among younger Americans.

Putnam calls this a "stunning development."".

The hypocrisy of right wing religionists and their successful efforts at redefining religion to be primarily about hating gays has increasingly led young people to turn away from it in disgust.

May 06, 2009 4:17 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

And equal marriage comes to Maine! WooHoo!

May 06, 2009 4:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrea-not anon
Gay marriage- uh, oh, next thing you know straight people will get divorced at a rate of 50%. Oh, wait,that already happens. I am never sure why anti- gay marriage people think gay people getting married will affect their own marriages- unless of course, they are actually gay and now will be free to divorce their straight spouse and marry the gay person they always wanted.

Priya- not everyone who practices religion is right-wing- quite a few of us here attend services or pray and are not right wing.

May 06, 2009 4:52 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Yes, Andrea, I'll try to remember that. Not all religious people are bad people.

May 06, 2009 5:03 PM  
Anonymous Level Headed said...

It is evident there is lots of bitterness in you guys(?).
A heart that seeks God will find Him. The hole in your heart is God shaped. Only God can fill that hole.

May 07, 2009 8:30 AM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

No hole in my heart. Life is wonderful. Although for you I guess an imaginary being can fill an imaginary hole - makes sense in a nonsensical sort of way.

May 07, 2009 9:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm curious, "Anonymous"...will God fill the hole in your brain? Maybe He/She can also address your total lack of human compassion and love as well.

May 07, 2009 9:55 AM  
Anonymous Level Headed said...

As I said, you're bitter and angry.
Keep telling yourself you're happy, life is wonderful, yada, yada, yada.

May 07, 2009 10:52 AM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

You're projecting. You see your bigotry being increasingly disapproved of day by day, your type dying off and being replaced by believers in equality and justice. You hate and fear the world you see coming and I'm chuckling to myself as I watch it happening. As for me, ever since I entered into the relationship bigots like you would try to deny me I've never been happier. Many days I literally jump for joy and let out squeals of delight at my tremendous good fortune. You will die lonely and despised as the purveyor of evil you are.

May 07, 2009 12:40 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

And bad anonymous, you failed to answer good anonymous's question - will your imaginary god fill the hole in your brain?

May 07, 2009 12:49 PM  
Anonymous Level Headed said...

God is real. You choose to be an unbeliever. Seek Him. What are you afraid of?

May 07, 2009 2:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lop-sided Headed: Not everyone agrees with your particular religious beliefs : "God is real. You choose to be an unbeliever. Seek Him. What are you afraid of?"
Afraid? I'm afraid not! What particularly disgusts me is your hiding behind bogus religious beliefs to justify your bigotry and hatred. I wonder what your God thinks of that??

May 07, 2009 8:45 PM  
Anonymous svelte_brunette said...

Sometimes I find it insightful to read the heartfelt stories of Mormon families who have had to come to grips with giving birth to a gay child.

Here is one excerpt:
( From )

“I write this letter out of the realization that to maintain my own personal integrity, I need to inform you of the personal heartache and damage you have to some degree been responsible for visiting upon my immediate family as the author of To the One. Although originally delivered by you as an address in 1978, the pamphlet To The One remains to this day the Church's most current and definitive written statement by a General Authority on the issue of homosexuality. It is available to the general Church membership and the public, and my wife and I have been referred to it numerous times as we have come to grips with this issue over the past few years. As one who has always been mindful of my Temple covenants, an unwavering believer, and a follower of my Priesthood leaders, this is not an easy letter to write. For me it represents an anguished "Crossing of the Rubicon." I hope you will take the time to read it, for in it I have invested my very soul.

Early on a Saturday morning six weeks ago, I watched as our car pulled away with my wife driving our eldest son to a new city, a new community, and a new school to complete his senior year of high school. Ever since that morning, I have grown progressively angrier that to protect our son's life and sense of self worth, we are compelled to send him away from our home and family. You see, this community of "Saints" we live in is so steeped in ignorance, fear, loathing, judgment and qualified "love" towards our son and those who like him face the challenge of homosexuality, he twice arrived at the point where he was devoid of hope and felt he had no alternative but to take his own life. Fortunately, he did not succeed. My son is not manic-depressive, nor was he ever before suicidal. He simply understands too well the Gospel and believed what his Seminary teachers and Priesthood leaders taught him about homosexuality, based upon the doctrine set forth in To The One.

My wife and I are the parents of six children - two daughters and four sons - ranging in age from twenty-three to eight. Our oldest son at age thirteen had the courage to come to us with his growing fear that he had no attraction whatsoever to girls - the thought in fact disgusted him - but that he was very attracted to those of his same sex. That he would come to us without fear or shame, confide in us, and seek our counsel attests to the strong relationship my wife and I have both always had with our son. (This is ironic in light of the "parental causation" theories routinely hauled-out by the Church's LDS Social Services counselors and Evergreen as the primary cause of homosexuality.)

This son was always spiritually mature for his age. He is the finest young man I have ever known - giving, loving, supportive, honest, reliable. Most definitely unselfish. A leader among his peers in his school and primary classes and in his Priesthood quorums. Since he was old enough to talk and walk, we were very much aware of certain differences that concerned us. He carried himself differently, walking and running. When we could get him to pick up a ball, he threw it differently. He spoke differently. He was not in the least interested in sports (in spite of countless practices and Saturdays we spent supporting him in sporting events that utterly disinterested him). He loved dolls and playing house. He loved music, literature, drama and poetry. He made friends easily with girls, but very rarely with boys. Carlie and I listened with hope to LDS counselors and leaders who dismissed or downplayed all of this as merely a "phase." We believed in and relied on them.

The years passed, but the "phase" didn't - this in spite of our doing everything recommended to us by LDS counselors, Priesthood leaders and, of course, the teachings of the General Authorities such as you (scarce as they are is on this subject). While we were assured by LDS counselors that this was little more than a correctable Pavlovian response and that "nothing could be easier to cure," and took hope in your confident statement in To The One: "When we understand fundamental moral law better than we do, we will be able to correct this condition routinely. . . ," matters went from bad to worse. One evening in 1997, while I was out of town and my wife was being assured by our well-meaning Stake President at his office that "if we just keep it quiet - the same as if someone in your family had committed adultery [our son had done nothing]- it will all be just fine, trust me . . . ," our son slit his wrists in his room at home. Earlier in the day, it had been the " Sodom and Gomorrah" lesson in Seminary.

As bishop of a student Ward at the University of Utah working with homosexual returned missionaries, I came to the painful realization that the "reparative therapy" practiced by LDS Social Services and organizations such as Evergreen (whose board of directors I then served on) was not merely ineffective, it was terribly damaging. In every instance I found that this "therapy" accomplished little more than driving these earnest brothers and sisters, desperate to believe that they would "change," deeper into self-loathing and despondency.

Their failure to "change" as promised them by you and other Priesthood leaders - a failure ultimately arrived at by each and every one of these young men and women who were honest with his or her situation - left only three realistic alternatives: (1) practice deceit as long as possible to remain in good standing with Church and family, (2) give up completely, abandon Church and family, and turn to the only community that will accept you - the gay community, or (3) commit suicide. “

Other insightful information can be found at:

“Snake Oil” vs. Responsible Information
From the daughter of a gay dad...
And from:
A Letter To Gordon B. Hinkley
“Brother Hardy's letter is dated October 7, 1999, and is the most lucid, comprehensive and eloquent writing I have seen on the subject. Since then, the Church has poured many resources money, time and effort into preventing same-sex marriage. Here in California, the Church used its local leaders, its communication channels, and the general membership to promote the Defense Of Marriage Act, an initiative stating that only marriages between one man and one woman will be legally recognized. I cannot imagine how allowing a homosexual the privilege of formalizing his or her exclusive relationship through marriage would in any way detract from the holiness of my own marriage or that of any other heterosexual. Marriage as an institution is much more great, hallowed and blessed than any person's or group of persons' ability to detract from it in any way. I believe that just as "the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath" marriage was made for man, and not man for marriage. And if marriage truly is from God, as the Church states, then to stand between a homosexual person (or any person, for that matter) and his or her God by denying him or her the God-given blessing of marriage is nothing short of reprehensible.

In our area, a young, faithful, returned-missionary, gay man committed suicide in front of his stake center when he learned of the Church's active support of the Defense Of Marriage Act initiative in California. I have not seen an acknowledgment from the Church that such a thing happened. I am so thankful I did not take part in the Church's decision to become involved in California's political process as I'm afraid I would not be able to sleep at night with that young man's blood crying out to me. I am also thankful I have not relinquished my right to think and decide right from wrong for myself, and found the courage to vote against the DOMA initiative in California. (Yes, it took moral courage because the Church of which I have been an active and faithful member for 50 years pressured me to vote for it, thus encroaching upon my political privacy.)

At the time the DOMA initiative was an issue in California, I was our ward Young Women's President. I was honest and confessed my "heresy" to my bishop and stake president's counselor during my subsequent temple recommend interviews. My bishop was very understanding, and acknowledged that the Church had indeed entered the political arena while stating the half-truth that the issue was not a political one but a moral one. Those who are ignorant of the facts of homosexuality could possibly consider it a moral issue by, but only a person of very limited intelligence or in denial of fact could believe it was not also political. My stake president's counselor hesitated to sign my temple recommend, reminding me that, "When the prophet has spoken, the thinking has been done." But, nevertheless, he did sign my recommend.

I, like Brother Hardy, have a homosexual child, a beautiful, talented daughter. Thank goodness we raised her here in California where there are loving, understanding, accepting people inside as well as outside the Church, and she did not come to the point of feeling that suicide was her only option. She has left the Church and is living a full, happy, productive life. She is the most loving, kind and giving of all my nine children, and to imagine her "recruiting" any of them or any of the children she works with is utterly ludicrous. I wish she could sanctify her special relationship with marriage, as I, along with the Church, believe the bonds of a loving, committed marriage provide the most healthy and joyful way of life for human beings. But that will not be an option for her in the foreseeable future, thanks in some measure to the Church to which I have given a considerable portion of my life and means.”

There are plenty more, if you care to look around.



May 08, 2009 9:53 AM  

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