Letter: In line with the ban on transgender health care, we shouldn’t allow kids to make decisions about religion

(Scott Sommerdorf | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Salt Lake LDS Temple and the Utah Capitol are seen together, Wednesday, July 26, 2017.

As a practicing psychotherapist for nearly 25 years, I am accustomed to life in an anti-science state. I was nevertheless appalled by the state’s recent decision to further harm our transgender youth, notwithstanding the best research on this topic: “Gender-affirming care has been shown to reduce suicide ideation and attempts in transgender individuals, along with social support, familial support, and reduction of discrimination.”

If, indeed, transgender youth and their parents are unable to make decisions about their own health and welfare, surely it is inappropriate to permit eight-year-olds to make decisions about religion. After all, a significant percentage of those who join the LDS Church ultimately end, or significantly reduce, their affiliation with the organization.

Many of those who sever ties with the LDS Church report having been harmed by their involvement. For some, the damage is profound and long-lasting.

How can an eight-year-old, in response to years of indoctrination and pressure, make an informed “decision” to be baptized? How many of our youth are harmed by this practice?

If we truly care about our children, let’s protect them from their parents and other adults, who are clearly too biased to make these decisions for our children. Let’s require our youth to wait until they are adults before making life-altering decisions about church membership.

Ken Roach, Salt Lake City

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