Watch: Mormon girl (13) has mic cut as she comes out during church service
A 13-year-old Mormon girl who came out as gay during a church service had her microphone turned off by church leaders mid-speech.
Savannah revealed her sexual orientation before a packed church in Eagle Mountain, Utah in early May, saying “(God) did not mess up when he gave me freckles or made me to be gay.”
In a video reportedly captured by one of Savannah’s friends, she is shown confidently addressing the crowd.
She said: “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.”
Her microphone was cut a short time later, when she was called on by a church leader sitting beside the pulpit and was asked to return to her seat.
Her mother, Heather Kester, said her daughter was passionate about coming out in church to be a voice and example for other LGBTQ children who struggle for acceptance within the religion.
Ms Kester asked that Savannah’s full name be withheld to protect her privacy, according to the Associated Press.
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.”
In a statement released by church headquarters, the lay bishop who leads the town’s congregation said Savannah was a “brave young girl”, but hit out at the attention the speech has received because of in-church recording.
Judd Law, who was not at the ceremony where Savannah gave her speech, said that “the congregation is making sure she and her family feel loved”, but that people who had recorded the speech were attempting to “politicise worship services” and had been in violation of “church decorum.”
He did not address or explain the decision by two of his counselors to cut the microphone off.
Ms Kester said her daughter was upset when told to go back to her seat and had been crying in her lap.
She said: “I was devastated for her. I was angry at how that was handled.”