Last month, a 12-year-old girl named Savannah wanted to say a few words during her Mormon ward’s monthly Fast and Testimony meeting. She wanted to talk about what God meant to her.
She told the crowd that her “heavenly parents” made her just the way she is. They gave her freckles. They gave her brown eyes.
And they made her gay.
As soon as she says it, there’s a murmur in the crowd. No one really knows what to do. So the “1st Counselor in the Stake Presidency” eventually made the decision for everyone: He shut off Savannah’s microphone and told her to sit down.
(UPDATE: The video has been removed from YouTube, but you can see a mirror right here.)
In an interview with the podcast I Like to Look for Rainbows, Savannah talked about what happened in that moment.
Jerilyn: Why were you sad?
Savannah: I was sad because I wanted to finish it, and I felt like what I was saying should’ve been heard by everybody else.
Jerilyn: And why were you happy?
Savannah: I was happy because I could finally get out to everyone, and show that gays aren’t weirdos.
What’s surprising to me is that she actually seems to have a lot of positive support among her family and friends, even if LDS officials aren’t fans. Her parents even read through earlier drafts of her speech.
The question is whether she’ll be a voice for change in Mormon culture from the inside or outside as she gets older.
(Edit: This did not occur at a temple, but at a ward meeting. The title has been changed to reflect that.)