A 12-year-old girl defied all expectations and came out as a lesbian to her Mormon church.
Savannah Ward from Utah took the stand at the churches monthly Fast and Testimony meeting at the church.
She began the moving speech by explaining that she believes she is “a child of heavenly parents”.
“I feel in my heart that they made me and that they love me. I believe I was made the way I am, all parts of me, by my heavenly parents.
“They did not mess up when they gave me brown eyes or when I was born bald. They did not mess up when they gave me freckles or when they made me gay,” the 12-year-old said.
The announcement was met with a small murmur from the church congregation but Savannah carried on with her testimony.
“I do believe he [God] 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,” she said.
Savannah goes on to explain that her identifying as a lesbian does not and should not have an effect on anybody else.
She said: “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. Especially if they are different.”
The girl goes on to explain that she is not a “horrible sinner” for being a lesbian and she hopes to lead a normal life of dates, school dances and one-day college, a good job, a partner and a family.
“I know these dreams and wishes are good and right. I know I can have all of these things as a lesbian and be happy,” she explained.
Savannah added that she believes God wants her to be happy and that means not living her 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 to feel shame for being me,” Savannah said.
However, half way through her testimony the girl was cut off by the “1st Counsellor in the Stake Presidency” who asked her to sit down.
He then takes the stand and asks the congregation to “recognise” that they are “all children of God” who made them all “unique in different ways”.
After her testimony was cut off, Savannah finished her testimony in a separate recording and explained that she had recently found out she would not be permitted to marry in the temple – a dream she had since she was little.
However, Savannah explained that she was now choosing to “find my joy outside of my old dreams”.
“I have new dreams and I know my earthly parents and my heavenly parents love and accept me just the way I am,” she finished.