Utah’s Vital Statistics 2008


2008 Vital Report

     Before I sent this off to be published I wanted to add a few words, especially for the members of the LDS Church.


     You know, as we live this life on earth we learn and grow while encountering things we never thought of before.  Years ago I went about making sure that I brought children into this world because I was convinced it’d get me into heaven.  Now of course I’ve learned this doctrine isn’t true, but more importantly there was one other thing I didn’t think about when having all these kids.  That one thing was growing attached to and feeling compassion for the kids my own children would one day surround themselves with in life.


     My objective as you read through this is for you to stop and think about the statistics; and keep in mind, they aren’t just numbers.  Think of them as your child’s classmates at school or your best friend’s children.  You may think these scenarios don’t affect you or your family personally, but they do.  The kids in your son’s or daughter’s class might be the next Bill Gates or someone who will cure cancer…or more importantly… change your personal life for the better.


     There aren’t enough people in Utah to not know someone that these things have happened to.  All twenty-nine counties inUtah have been affected by at least one of the tragedies listed below.


     A Christian knows when God is speaking to him or her.  As we go about our daily lives there are various ways God clearly intervenes to let us know when He wants to manifest Himself to people through you.  Writing this article has been one of those times!


     There were four distinct times He interrupted this from going to the website to have me add one more thing!  The day I got ready to publish this, I was downloading e-mails, preparing to send it to my other computer and received my “Daily Gem” from the LDS Church that I signed up for a few years ago.  The message was a snippet from an Ensign proclaiming the “voice from the dust” was indeed the Book of Mormon.   (See Daily Gems for November 17, 2008; Biblical Descriptions of the Book of Mormon.)


     Biblically speaking, the phrase “voice from the dust” is a warning to God’s people there is trouble lurking.  The trouble in this case from the book of Isaiah is listening to the voices of wizards and familiar spirits.  Listening to these things caused the Israelite people to fear for their eternal lives as they cursed the Almighty God.  I’ll be writing more about this subject within the month so look for it on our site.


     The scenario in Isaiah reminds me of the hopelessness and fear in the actions of the Mormon people as they are evident in the statistics we’ve provided. 





     Well here we are with the biennial Vital Statistics Report for Utah.  I wish I could be more energetic about it, but some things never change do they?  The only significant difference I found with all statistics was in the suicide category in which not all the age groups ranked number one as the leading cause of death. 


     Instead, two of the age groups for suicide fell to the second leading cause of death in Utah.  I’m still appalled, don’t get me wrong as I still don’t understand it and apparently neither does the CDC; or at least that’s what they say publicly.  By the way…



Suicide is still the 11th leading cause of death inAmerica; forUtah it is number 1 and number 2 in a good part of the age categories.



     In March of 2008 ABC News reported that a study by Mental Health America found Utah once again earned the notorious award of the “most depressed state”.  (1)  The report found the top five states were Utah, Idaho, Nevada, Wyoming, and West Virginia. 


     Whenever I read reports like this I also like to read the comments section from the general public and you’d probably not be surprised when I tell you the readers believe the reports are skewed.  My question for those who doubt: 



     When the overwhelming evidence of suicide, rape, depression, prescription drug usage and child abuse are at or above the national average why would this be a surprise?



     According to the homepage of Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, it says, “As heinous as these impacts are, many Utahans would be surprised how common these crimes are.  Of the violent crimes that occur in Utah, rape is the only one in which Utah’s rate is above the nation’s average.(#2)  More than 35 percent of the victims were between the ages of eleven and fifteen. 


     These aren’t just numbers – they’re actual real live junior high school kids.  These experiences stay with them until they die, affecting every single aspect of their life; spiritual, emotional, mental etc.  Why are you allowing these things to take place with these children?  Because they don’t have a voice and can’t always demand an answer, I will.  Aren’t the children worth more than this?  Whatever happened to high moral standards?


     If you need more proof these things take place, just read the report from the September 2008 Salt Lake Tribune on a phone survey conducted in 2007.  They reported that thirteen percent of those who took part in the survey had been sexually assaulted in their lifetime.  The reporter, Erin Alberty also said, “According to the most recent federal crime report,



“ Utah’s rate of reported rapes was about 10 percent higher than the national average.(#3)



     Sadly enough this example is indicative of what takes place in Utah.  The Deseret News ran a report about teacher sex abuse on October 17, 2007 (#4) which gave an ominous truth that sits in the shadows of the above information.  It said;



The AP review shows Utah ranks 16th in the number of license suspensions or revocations for sexual misconduct.


Nationwide, 26 percent of actions taken on teaching licenses were related to sexual misconduct. In Utah it was 52.7 percent. In a state where about one out of every five residents is enrolled in a public school, many find the statistics jarring.



     Utah police officer and Republican lawmaker Carl Wimmer stated that it “shocked” him and made him “sad” the rate was so high in a “state where family values mean something, a state where we’re conservative and morality is important”.  Utah’s rate is twice the national average.  He also said something that not a lot of other people in Utah will say out loud. 



Sometimes I don’t think people realize the extent of the sexual perversion that is in the underbelly of this state…



     I pray Utah will connect the dots.  When you believe that you will one day become a god with multiple wives and beget millions of spirit babies, then perhaps there might be some sort of correlation!  This is what James Talmage had to say about salvation and the necessity of having kids;



Articles of Faith, pg. 402; “Grand as may seem the achievements of a man who is truly great, the culmination of his glorious career lies in his leaving posterity to continue, and enhance the triumphs of their sire. And if such be true of mortals with respect to the things of earth, transcendently greater is the power of eternal increase, as viewed in the light of revealed truth concerning the unending progression of the future state.””



     I have a lot of people who call to ask for a synopsis of the main tenets of Mormonism and my answer has always been the same.  Sex and godhood are the basics of Mormonism and you can’t get one without the other.



     In the little booklet called “Chastity” written by Mark Petersen, printed in May 1965 it says;



“Sex is Essential to Exaltation


Pg. 28; “It is through sex that we co-operate with God in the act of creation.  He is our Father.  How did He get to be our Father? – ask yourselves – how did we get to be His children?  How did you get to be the children of your Father and Mother here on earth?  Don’t you look upon Mother as almost sacred herself, as a saintly person….”



     Obviously, sex has always been an integral part of LDS doctrine and continues to be as such even today; that is why the ugly underbelly of Utah is sexual perversion! 



Morality, pg. 105;The power of creation-or may we say procreation-is not just an incidental part of the plan: it is essential to it. Without it the plan could not proceed. The misuse of it may disrupt the plan.” – Boyd K. Packer



     And on the flip side of this awful reality is finding there is no redemption in the dark crevices of a broken heart for a female in Mormonism if she’s been raped. 



Ensign, May 1992, pg. 31;The victim must do all in his or her power to stop the abuse. Most often, the victim is innocent because of being disabled by fear or the power or authority of the offender. At some point in time, however, the Lord may prompt a victim to recognize a degree of responsibility for abuse. Your priesthood leader will help assess your responsibility so that, if needed, it can be addressed…” – Richard G. Scott, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles



     Here are two examples of what the Church thinks of those who have lost their virginity.



Miracle of Forgiveness, pg. 63;There is no true Latter-day Saint who would not rather bury a son or a daughter than to have him or her lose his or her chastity-realizing that chastity is of more value than anything else in all the world. – Spencer W. Kimball



Mormon Doctrine, pg. 124; “Loss of virtue is too great a price to pay even for the preservation of one’s life — better dead clean, than alive unclean. Many is the faithful Latter-day Saint parent who has sent a son or a daughter on a mission or otherwise out into the world with the direction: “I would rather have you come back in a pine box with your virtue than return alive without it.” “I the Lord God delight in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts.” (Jac. 2:28.)” – Apostle Bruce R. McConkie



     Virginity and virtue are synonymous in Mormonism and of course this isn’t always the case, but you don’t hear of this in the Church’s teachings.  Young people are taught that if their virginity is gone, they are impure and unworthy of the coveted temple recommend through which they may receive exaltation, aka salvation.


     While the words can and do intertwine at times in the subject matter, the determination that loss of virginity equates to loss of virtue is preposterous with devastating results.  Just take the foregoing conclusions from Spencer Kimball and Bruce McConkie as examples of what Mormons go through. 


     While the result of rape or premarital sex doesn’t always lead to drug abuse or suicide, it’s remarkable to note the ongoing problems thatUtah keeps incurring decade after decade in the areas we’re looking at in this report.


     Every time I counsel someone getting out of the Church I have to be sure we touch upon the incorrect understanding of the verse from Matthew 5:48; “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. 


     There isn’t a Mormon alive that doesn’t take this verse literally and will tend to fret themselves about it relentlessly.  None of their good works are good enough, no amount of temple recommends can guarantee their entrance into heaven to become a god husband or goddess wife and no amount of sleepless nights lying awake thinking about it makes it any less stressful. 


     However when you look at the truth, the word “perfect” in this verse actually means “complete”.  The Greek word for it is teleios.  The Scofield Reference notes for this verse say;



The word implies full development, growth into maturity of godliness, not sinless perfection. Eph 4:12, 13. In this passage the Father’s kindness, not His sinlessness, is the point in question. Lk 6:35, 36.”



     My pastor’s sermon last week made me think of the stats in Utah and the Mormon psyche.  He was quoting another pastor from a Dare to Share Conference who said; “God doesn’t care about your virginity.  He cares about your purity.”  To that I say, “amen brother”!  Also note how the website of www.dictionary.com defines the following three words;



Chastity; virginity, virtuous character, celibacy


Virtue; moral excellence, goodness, righteousness


Virginity; the state of being a virgin, pure, fresh, unused



     The Mormon feels they have to be perfect in all things and as we all know this is absolutely impossible for any of us.  This type of “culture” is passed down and stays with the next generation even if they’re not active in the LDS Church.  The cultural belief system in the people doesn’t change just because they don’t attend church anymore!  What changes our behavior is accepting Jesus Christ into our lives and allowing the Holy Spirit to supernaturally change our attitudes.


     Staying along the same subject matter, take a look at what I found about rape nationwide with comparisons to the state ofUtah.


     According to the FBI, the rate of forcible rate in the state of Utah for 2007 was up 0.7% from 2006.  (#5)  There were 908 rapes reported in Utah for 2007 compared to 869 for 2006.  Total population for the state of Utah in 2007 was 2,643,330 and in 2006 it was 2,550,063. 

     The national percentage of rapes in the U.S. was 30.0% of the population.  For Utah the percentage was of course higher at 34.3%.  (#6)  Why is this always higher than the national average?  The bright side of this statistic is what I found for the Utah rate in 2004.  The Utah health department reported the rate was 39.1% per 100,000 persons.  (#7)


     The rate of domestic homicide went down by half for 2007 when compared to just the previous year 2006.  The Governor’s Office on Domestic and Sexual Violence reports in 2007 eighteen people died from domestic homicide.  This amounts to 30% of all homicides in Utah for 2007.  The percentage for 2006 was 60% so they’ve obviously seen a significant change! (Pg. 10 of report).


     This report also states in 2007 the “domestic violence information line experienced its highest call volume since the fall of 1993”.  Total calls for help because of all domestic violence reached 2,467.  (See page 5 of report.)  This causes me to wonder why the discrepancy…the hotline reported higher than usual activity, yet the numbers of rapes were less than one percent higher.


     The Sexual Violence Victim services report also said they received a total of 1,790 crisis calls and provided 2,978 victim services from January 1st to December 31st, 2007. (See page 12 of report link below.)  (#8)



Domestic Related Homicides in US Compared withUtah



     The Violence Policy Center has published a report for the first half of 2007 for domestic related homicides and suicides in the US.  (#9)  The information below comes from page 2 of the report.  Take note that there is another obvious discrepancy in the numbers further down in the report as it states that no murder-suicides took place in Utah during the first half of 2007.  This is in direct opposition of what the Deseret News reported which retrieved their data from local police agency reports.



In the first half of 2007 [for theUS]:



        There were 554 murder-suicide deaths, of which 234 were suicides and 320 were homicides


        Using these figures, nine murder-suicide events occurred in the United States each week

   during the study period


        Of the 234 suicides, 218 were male, 11 were female, and five were of unidentified gender


        Of the 320 homicides, 227 victims were female and 74 victims were male and 19 were of an

   unidentified sex.


        Forty-five of the homicide victims were children and teens less than 18 years of age.


        Forty-four children and teens less than 18 years of age were survivors who witnessed some

   aspect of the murder-suicide.



      The website of Utah Domestic Violence Related Deaths for 2007 reported the following information in a nine page report.  The information below was taken from page 8.  (#10)



“While virtually all homicides are covered in the public media, and are therefore included in this report, the majority of suicides not related to a criminal event are not so covered.  Accordingly, it is probably that a number of domestic violence related suicides were not learned of by the compilers of the report and are not included in the report.  That assumption is supported by information compiled by the Utah State Department of Health from confidential sources.”



          Cohabitant homicides:  5


          Perpetrator suicides:     6


          Dating relationship homicides:  2


          Domestic violence related homicide:  1


          Domestic violence related suicide:  2


          Domestic violence related death:  2


          Total domestic violence related deaths in Utah during 2007:  18



Number of domestic violence related deaths caused by the use of a firearm:  8


A total of 5 children were present at 2 of the above listed deaths.



     I know the hordes of statistics that we’ve listed tend to detach the reader from the deplorable reality, but remember these are all real people that had lives which will continue to impact all of us into the future, not to mention devastating the family and friends involved.


     The next subject that needs to be addressed is the amount of anti-depressant use by the residents of Utah.  The “opinion polls” of the newspapers would have you think the reporters are sensationalizing their stories all for the sake of a sale; nothing could be further from the truth.  Why would organizations like ABC and Mental Health America go out of their way to pick on Utah?  I’m sure they have other things to do!


     In our last biennial report we noted that Eli Lilly dispensed 62% more Prozac to Utah than any other place.  This is not a fictitious story or numbers pulled out of thin air, it is reality.  This time around I couldn’t find a percentage of how much Prozac was dispensed directly toUtah, butUtah did come in at number one for prescription drug abuse according to a report published by the Associated Press in March of 2007.


     When we look at the numbers of what is going on in Utah it would stand to reason there would be a high incident of people taking medications to fix their ailments.  USA Today and Express Scripts published a chart showing the “percentage of insured people in each state who have received at least one prescription in various categories of drugs”.  (#11)


     They listed seven different types of medications and the category that caught my attention was drugs for depression.  Utah ranked the highest at 18.4% of the population receiving this type of drug.  The next highest state was Kentucky which came in at 17.3% and Maine at 17.2%.  Here is part of what their report had to say;



“Higher age-gender adjusted rates of antidepressant use were found in Utah, Maine, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Oklahoma with lower rates found in South Dakota, Maryland, California, New York, and New Jersey. Conclusions:  This study is the first to report geographic variation in the use of prescribed medication across the United States.  While patient age and gender remain key factors driving prescription utilization important geographic variations in the use of prescription medication remain unexplained.”



     I know I’m beating the same drum as I hope and pray that someone from any of these groups who compile the data will call me to ask for a reason why they have to dispense so many antidepressants toUtah, but alas no one ever calls…


     The Salt Lake Tribune had a very interesting report published in October of 2008 which should concern every one of us.  Utah has another secret hiding in their medicine cabinets.  The number one cause of accidental deaths isn’t from car wrecks or hiking accidents; no, it is from the improper use of prescription drugs.  The Utah Health department launched an advertising campaign to warn people to use prescription drugs as directed.  In part the Trib report said;



The incidence has grown at an alarming rate. It is now the No. 1 cause of accidental deaths in Utah. A decade ago, about 40-50 Utahns died each year from prescription drug overdoses, or deadly combinations of prescribed medications. Last year, 320 perished.”


     Imagine, 320 people died in Utah in 2007 from the improper use of medications.  That’s the entire elementary school population in this part of Woodinville, Washington.  Three hundred and twenty people – are they sure these were all accidents?  In March of 2007 the Deseret News reported that Utah was number one in prescription drug abuse.  (#12)    


     The report in the Deseret News said that a “federal study of painkiller use found in Utah led the nation in nonmedical use of prescription drugs in 2004 and 2005 with 6.5% of the population using drugs without a doctor’s order”.  Utah likes to brag about the rate of alcoholism being low while they control it, but what about people self-medicating?  Remember when I said that these statistics touches every one of us?  Well, even a member of my own family became part of this ugly statistic in 2007.  


     In 2000, studies show that 16% of Utahans were taking antidepressants and that number was up to 18% by 2006.  (#13)  Methadone deaths were up a staggering 300% between 2000 and 2004 (14).  Additionally, Express-Scripts noted the following;



“Antidepressant prevalence grew by 33%, however, intensity of use grew by 50.7%.  Unlike other therapy classes, no clear pattern of geographic variation in use was observed.  Three of the five states with the highest rate of use in 2000 – Utah, Maine and Kentucky – remained in the top five in 2006.  Although Utah continued to be the state with the highest prevalence of antidepressant use, it had one of the lowest rate increases of any state (2.4%) between 2000 and 2006…”(15)



     In case the reader might think it’s an isolated incident here’s what the Deseret News had to say in March 2007 about the illegal use of prescription drugs;



The number of Utahns dying from prescription drug overdoses is also rising, said Christy Porucznik, an epidemiologist at the Utah Department of Health.


Per capita,Utah has one of the highest rates in the country.


In fact, in 2005 prescription drug overdoses accounted for more than twice the number of deaths from illegal drugs, although some had obtained the prescription drugs illegally, she said. Preliminary data from 2006 shows 20 percent of overdoses were caused by prescribable narcotic painkillers.”  (16)



     So why are Utahans so depressed and taking narcotics illegally or prescription antidepressants so much of the time?  Why did 320 die of drug overdoses?  I’m not convinced they were accidental deaths.  Could it be they’re trying to escape from the awful reality of never being good enough?  Anyone from the outside looking in would think so!   Look, we can’t change history for it contains truth and the truth tells us that even the young people of Utah are playing Russian Roulette while trying to escape the inescapable.  This category also caught the attention of locals at the Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (http://www.dsamh.utah.gov/docs/prescription_drugs.pdf).  They said;



In a study by the U.S. Department of Health Services, Utah leads the nation in nonmedical painkiller abuse.  The information collected in the study infers that most prescription drug abusers are under the age of 25.  Of those abusing prescription painkillers, 7.88 percent are 12 to 17 years old, 13.49 percent are 18 to 25 years old, and just 4.32 percent are over age 25.  The Utah Department of Health reported that 308 Utahans died from prescription drug overdose last year.  That number is twice as high as deaths caused from illegal drugs.



     Unfortunately Utah has another busy award.  This time the Beehive State has made the “top ten for mortgage fraud hot spots” according to the FBI.  (17)  In 2006, Utah along with California,Florida,Georgia,Illinois,Indiana,Michigan,New York,Ohio andTexas are being heavily investigated in a response to these serious federal crimes.


     Utah also ranked 12th in the number of foreclosures in August of 2008.  (18)  In August alone 1,611 homes foreclosed.  During these tough economic times everyone is feeling the pinch, but it’s obvious from the sheer numbers and the FBI involvement there is more than foreclosures going on in the Wasatch Front.  The news station KSL reported that foreclosures jumped 141% in June alone from the same month last year.  (19)  They also said; “The Provo-Orem area is the worst, with an 810 percent increase in foreclosure filings from June 2007 to June 2008.

      Unfortunately, with foreclosures there is often bankruptcy around the corner as well and again Utah made the top ten. 


     Utah ranked #10 for number of bankruptcies filed in 2006; there were 167.42 households for each bankruptcy filed.  Maine came in 51st with 552.34 households for every bankruptcy and Tennessee had the ugly award of first place at 83.98 per household.  In 2005 Utah was in 3rd place at 39.52 households for every bankruptcy filed.


     In the first two quarters of 2008 there were 4,296 bankruptcies filed.  Total for 2007 was 6,461.  As you can see they’re ahead of last year’s stats.  You can read the totals for all states at American Bankruptcy Institute.  (20)


     Utah’s population didn’t slow down with the rise of bankruptcy.  In the latest census from the Utah Health Government Indicator there were 55,063 live births to Utah residents in 2007.  (21)  This equates to 20.4 births for every 1,000 births in Utah for 2007.  For the US it was 14.2 for every 1,000 births in 2006.  (The birthrate forUtah in 2006 was 20.7 so the comparables aren’t going to differ a whole lot regarding the difference in years.)


     The statistic above is yet more proof they have but one objective…


     And speaking of children, the “Highlights from the 2008 Economic Report to the Governor” noted the following;



“In 2007, there were an estimated 537,653 students in Utah’s public education system, a 2.6% increase over 2006… Utah’s 2007 per pupil expenditure was the lowest in the nation at $5397. [Emphasis mine]  However, Utah’s total expenditures on public education as a percent of state personal income, 4.0% was just below the national average of 4.1%.”  (22)



     …Yet the state that promotes families and children,Utah ranks near the bottom of the scale for the following –



Utah is #23 of 50 in number of divorces = 4.1


Best educated –Utah ranks #33 of 50


Mental health expenditure ranked #48 = $33.00 pp/py (23)






     For all of us, the rest of this report is gut-wrenching.  As the data revealed itself to me on the laptop, my hopes of discovering a drastically different outcome from the previous years were dashed.  Once again suicide was the number one cause of death for 25-29 year olds in Utah. 






What’s it going to take to get your attentionUtah?






How many people literally need to kill themselves before you open your eyes?





     As you can see 368 people found life in Utah too difficult to deal with and put an end to their misery. 




     None of the age groups are more significant than the other, but my eyes keep going back to the teen category.  Twenty-three teenagers are gone forever.  I think of my own teenage daughters when I see this and can’t help but think of them and their friends.  It’d be like they showed up for school one day and an entire science class at their high school is gone forever.




     Below is a synopsis of the annual Utah government report for 2007 on suicides (24).  In total there were 10,819 deaths in Utah and the original post cited 38 “cause of death” categories with suicide being the 8th leading cause overall.  Nationally, suicide is the 11th leading cause of death.  (25)  From this same page they also reported the following;






“How Do We Compare WithU.S.?




Utah‘s suicide rate has been consistently higher than the national rate. From 2003 to 2005, the age-adjusted suicide rate for the U.S. was 10.9 per 100,000 population while Utah’s age-adjusted suicide rate was 15.2 per 100,000 population.









Rank of leading cause of death


Number of suicide deaths





































































































  Use this link for page 2 including references



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