Last month, a 12-year-old Mormon girl came out as a lesbian in front of her church congregation, only for an elder to ask her to stop in the middle of her speech. But it’s only now that Savannah Ward is getting worldwide attention for her courageous decision and her belief in God’s love for everything he created, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
According to a report from Pink News, the coming-out speech took place in Utah, as young Savannah’s church held its monthly Fast and Testimony meeting. The girl began her speech by calling herself a “child of heavenly parents” who were responsible for her appearance as a baby — bald, with brown eyes, and with freckles. But when Savannah added that these “heavenly parents” also happened to have made her gay, this caused a “small murmur” from the assembled crowd. Undeterred, the Mormon girl continued her coming-out speech, until she was asked by a church official to stop.
“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,” Savannah Ward reportedly said, before her mic was cut off by officials.
“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.”
Savannah recorded the rest of her speech separately, and it was there where she admitted to being disappointed she wouldn’t be allowed to marry in the Mormon temple because of her sexual orientation.
Speaking to the Huffington Post, Savannah Ward’s mother, Heather, admitted that the young girl had originally come out as a lesbian in June of 2016, when she admitted that she wasn’t having any crushes on boys like most of her peers were. Instead, Savannah had crushes on girls, but that was not a problem for her mother, who told her that she still loves her and that she still sees her as “perfect.”
As it turns out, the young Mormon girl had long been wanting to come out in front of her church, having first asked if she could do so in January. According to Heather, this was because Savannah wanted to possibly help other closeted members of her church find the courage to come out.
“She is brave and courageous. 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.”
The Huffington Post noted that the options for Mormon men and women wanting to come out as gay have been limited, even in recent years. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints doesn’t consider same-sex attraction to be sinful, but draws a line when it comes to “same-sex behavior.” Meanwhile, the Mormon Church has a website for LGBT church members that stresses it’s alright to be a gay Mormon, “as long as you don’t sexually act on those impulses,” as the HuffPost observed.
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