They shut off her mic and ordered her to ‘sit down’
As American society has slowly evolved toward LGBT acceptance, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has lagged far behind the rest of the country. Recent efforts to soften the church’s stance have left it with a policy that allows Mormons to be “same-sex attracted” and either live celibate or in “mixed-orientation, opposite-sex marriages.” Still, a Pew Research study found that only 36 percent of Mormons believe homosexuality should be accepted by society at large.
A video filmed at a Mormon ward in Utah last month shows just how chilling the church’s attitude toward the LGBT community can be. A 12-year-old girl named Savannah was testifying to her congregation about being a lesbian when she was silenced by the first counselor in the stake presidency. First, the girl’s mic was turned off, and then the first counselor asked her to “sit down.”
During her speech, Savannah made an impassioned plea for understanding and the right to live her life as a both a Mormon and lesbian. “I know I’m not a horrible sinner for being who I am,” she said. “I believe that, if God is there, he knows I am perfect, just the way I am, and would never ask me to live my life alone or with someone I am not attracted to. He would want me to be happy. I want to be happy. I want to love myself and not feel shame for being me.”
After she was silenced, the next speaker delivered a noncommittal sorry-not-sorry, saying he’s grateful “Heavenly Father has made us all unique in different ways.” According to her mother, Savannah left the pulpit in tears. “She came off crying to me … and I held her face in my hands and told her over and over that she is perfect and good, that there is nothing wrong with who she is, that she is brave and beautiful,” she added. “I was angry that they chose to hurt her for whatever reason they had.”