A 12-year-old gay Mormon girl from Savannah has delivered a powerful message to her church in a testimony.
Savannah, a young girl from Utah, stepped up to give a few words at her Mormon ward’s monthly Fast and Testimony meeting. At these meetings, members stand up and deliver a short speech about why they believe in God and The Book of Mormon.
In the video, she tells the crowd how she believes her ‘heavenly parents’ made her the way she is.
‘I believe I was made the way I am, all parts of me, because of my heavenly parents,’ Savannah says.
‘They did not mess up when they gave me brown eyes, or when I was born bald. They did not mess up when they gave me freckles, or when they made me to be gay.’
A murmur sweeps the congregation, and no one knows what to do.
‘God loves me just this way, because I believe that he loves all his creations.’
She is allowed to continue for a few moments until her microphone is shut off.
Savannah turns to the officials behind her, and the 1st Counselor in the Stake Presidency to ‘sit down’.
It turns out she was close to finishing her testimony.
In an interview with the queer Mormon podcast I Like To Look for Rainbows, Savannah reflected on what she said and why she was both sad and happy.
‘I was sad because I wanted to finish it, and I felt like what I was saying should’ve been heard by everybody else,’ she said.
‘I was happy because I could finally get out to everyone, and show that gays aren’t weirdos.’
Savannah’s parents had read through earlier drafts at her speech, and she has had support from younger members of the congregation.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is typically extremely conservative in its views on LGBTI people.
Prospective members of the church must agree, at their baptismal interview, to remain chaste, never enter into a homosexual relationship and marriage is between a man and a woman. Any child of same-sex parents are banned from receiving a blessing unless they ‘specifically disavow the practice of same-gender cohabitation and marriage’.
LDS members also famously bankrolled a lot of the campaign for Proposition 8, the law that banned same-sex marriage in California.