He loved the Mormon Church — which has 5.5 million members worldwide — and was devoted to its teachings. His father, Eugene Eliason, a non‑Mormon, believes that in some ways the church may have played a substitute‑mother role for the boy. (For clarity, Eugene Eliason will be referred to as Eliason throughout this report; his son will always be called Kip.) Kip was not the kind of youngster you'd think would commit suicide, but when his church told him that he'd find guilt, depression and self‑hate if he masturbated, he believed so. When it said he'd go to hell if he didn't stop, he believed that too. And when he was told that masturbation was a "building block of suicide," he took the church at its word. Kip's death rocked the predominantly Mormon agribusiness community of Boise, Idaho, where he was a high‑school senior at Capital High School. Of course, there were the stories that occasionally filtered through the congregation about young people who, like Kip, committed suicide because they couldn't live up to the church's stringent anti‑sex doctrines. But they were just stories and, if they were true, they didn't happen in Boise; they happened some 300 miles southeast, in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Mark A. Taylor
, Affirmation: Sin & Death in Mormon Country: A Latter‑day Tragedy