Last month, a 12-year-old Mormon girl came out as lesbian during a powerful testimony in front of her entire church.
During a Fast & Testimony meeting on May 7th 2017, Savannah bravely came out as gay to her entire congregation. "I believe I was made the way I am, all parts of me, by my heavenly parents," she began. "They did not mess up when they gave my freckles or when the made me to be gay."
“God loves me just this way, because I believe that he loves all his creations. I do believe he made me this way on purpose. “No part of me is a mistake. I do not choose to be this way, and it is not a fad. I cannot make someone else gay and being around me won’t make anyone else this way. I believe that God wants us to treat each other with kindness, even if people are different. Especially if they are different.”
Savannah knew she was different from a young age and her mom, Heather, told HuffPost that Savannah “felt alone in her thoughts, that the other girls all had crushes on boys, but she didn’t, she liked the girls.”
Savannah begged her mother to let her share her story with her church because she wanted to let other closeted Mormon people know they're not alone. "She is brave and courageous," Heather explained. "I would have been terrified to get up and say something so close to my heart for fear of what people think. I’m proud of her, even now, she doesn’t want any of this to be about her, she wants it to be about protecting other LGBT kids. She wants her story told so that this doesn’t happen to other kids."
Unfortunately, about three-quarters of the way through Savannah's testimony, her microphone feed was cut and she was asked by a church official to sit down.
"I was pretty sad and happy at the same time," she explained in the I Look For Rainbows podcast. "I was sad because I wanted to finish it and I felt like what I was saying should've been heard by everyone else. I was happy because I could finally get out to everyone and show that gays aren't weirdos."
While the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claims to accept the gay community, LGBTQ church members are still expected to commit to a lifetime of celibacy or marry partners of the opposite sex. In 2015, the church adopted a policy stating that Mormons in same-sex marriages are considered apostates and can be subjected to disciplinary hearings that could lead to their excommunication and their children must disavow their parents if they want to return to the congregation.
After her testimony was interrupted and Savannah walked out to the foyer of her church, she says that the administrator who cut her off got up and told everyone that "only Christ-like testimonies are to be said and that you can only go up when your name is called."
Regardless, Savannah's mom hopes the church heard her daughter's message loud and clear. “I want the Mormon Church to know that gay people are beautiful, they are just as good and whole as everyone else, and they deserve life long love,” she explained. "Christ would want us all to just love.”
Watch Savannah's testimony in the inspiring video below.