Wednesday 23 August 2017

Proud mum tells of 'positive reaction' after Mormon girl (13) comes out in church

Mother of Mormon teen who came out in church tells of positive reaction from viral video

Rebecca Lumley

The mother of a Mormon teenager has told of the positive reaction her daughter has received since coming out as gay during a church service.

Savannah (13) revealed her sexual orientation during a church service in Eagle Mountain Utah, which was taped by a friend and went viral online. The video has since been picked up by media outlets across the globe.

Savannah’s mother, Heather Kester, said the extra attention the family had received since the video’s release had been "weird" and "a little crazy."

Speaking to Independent.ie, she said Savannah had received lots of positive feedback from well-wishers.

"She thinks it’s cool, most people have been very receptive. She’s had a lot of positive feedback, some really positive feedback from the LGBT community in particular. The only negative feedback is online and I haven’t let her on there to see any of that stuff," she said.

Ms Kester added that it had been more difficult to handle the response in the local area.

Savannah (13) revealed her sexual orientation during a church service (Photo: Heather Kester)
Savannah (13) revealed her sexual orientation during a church service (Photo: Heather Kester)

The video was criticised by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, who slammed the video as an attempt to "politicise worship services" and said it had violated "church decorum."

Ms Kester said that while recording was not common practice in church, it was not unheard of.

"It’s not normal to record in church but people will often do it if there’s a musical number being performed or your child is up speaking," she said.

"I think people in the church were upset because it went online. It was taken by a friend of Savannah’s as a memento, a keepsake because that was a big thing she was doing. I really wish that they would cut them some slack."

Savannah (13) revealed her sexual orientation during a church service (Photo: Heather Kester)
Savannah (13) revealed her sexual orientation during a church service (Photo: Heather Kester)

Neither Ms Kester nor Savannah have returned to church since she gave her speech.

Savannah revealed her sexual orientation before a packed church in early May, saying; "(God) did not mess up when he gave me freckles or made me to be gay."

Savannah (13) revealed her sexual orientation during a church service (Photo: Heather Kester)
Savannah (13) revealed her sexual orientation during a church service (Photo: Heather Kester)

She continued: "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."

The brave teen also stated her desire to have a partner and family in the future and said she was not "a horrible sinner for being who I am."

The video shows Savannah’s microphone being cut by church leaders a short time later, when she is asked to return to her seat. 

Ms Kester said she was "extremely proud" of her daughter and was "in awe of her bravery."

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, whose followers are commonly referred to as Mormons, is one of many conservative faith groups that oppose same-sex relationships.

According to the church’s official website: “Sexual relations are reserved for a man and woman who are married and promise complete loyalty to each other. Sexual relations between a man and woman who are not married, or between people of the same sex, violate one of our Father in Heaven’s most important laws and get in the way of our eternal progress.”

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