Las Vegas dad takes on Mormon Church after son’s suicide
Brian and Samuel Bresee
Brian and Samuel Bresee

Brian Bresee of Las Vegas is challenging the Mormon Church after his teen son’s suicide, which Bresee attributes to the institution’s anti-LGBT teachings and culture.

“Bullying is part of the reason Samuel Bresee, who identified as straight, took his own life five years ago at the age of 14, says his father Brian Bresee... The intractable policies and homophobic beliefs practiced and preached by the Church of Latter-Day Saints is another,” writes the Los Angeles Blade.

The trouble started for Samuel when the family moved to a new neighborhood in Las Vegas and he befriended some non-Mormon boys. He invited his new friends to his Boy Scouts meeting at the family’s new Mormon congregation, where the joy didn’t last long.

The 14-year-old boys from church had been calling one of Samuel’s new friends “f*ggot” at school, “to the point where this young man was actually suicidal,” Bresee told the Blade. Upon seeing them at church, that friend hid behind Samuel, who defended him.

“They made our son their new target and they started calling him f*ggot,” said Bresee. “This is something that got spread to his school and online in online chats.”

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Bresee shared that being labeled a “f*ggot” is one of the worst things you can be called as a young man in a Mormon context. 

What’s more, this father is also calling out a controversial Mormon practice called the “worthiness” interview.

“As soon as a child turns 12 years old, every six months or sometimes even more often, they’re called into the Bishop’s office and asked about every sexual question that you could possibly think of,” explained Bresee. 

“Imagine if you are a child at 12, 13, 14 years old, and you’re starting to discover your body, and you’re starting to feel an attraction to the same sex, and this is a sin next to murder. And the Bishop is asking are you having homosexual feelings and maybe you are so now, this child is in great danger of being outed for their sexual preference, long before they’re ready to share that.”

Bresee is currently “looking at possible legislation to help children better report what he considers religiously-based child sexual abuse.”


On Sept. 7, from 10am to 1pm, The Stop It Foundation, created in Samuel’s honor, and the Child-Friendly Faith Project, an organization that raises awareness about child abuse in the religious world, are sponsoring the Hike to Protect Every Child and a barbecue at Lone Mountain Regional Park.