I never expected it to, but the video of Savanna sharing a very personal, intimate part of herself in front of her Mormon congregation has taken the internet by storm. In the process, just about everyone has jumped in to offer their opinion. I’ve seen people praise her for daring to share something so personal in a church environment, while other people have loudly claimed that her testimony wasn’t truly a testimony and had no place in a fast and testimony meeting. A lot of what I’m hearing hasn’t sat well with me.
I was raised in the church and taught a core set of values: Don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t judge, treat everyone with kindness, forgive others, love unconditionally. Now that I’ve grown up I’m deeply troubled that I don’t see these same values practiced by the church as a whole and by some of its membership.
I’m tired of people spreading rumors and jumping to false assumptions when somebody stops going to church. I’m tired of seeing prosperity equated with righteousness. I’m tired of seeing blind obedience lauded as an honorable. I’m tired of seeing people treated negatively when they don’t fit the mold. I’m tired of seeing unchristlike behavior justified as righteousness. I’m tired of women being told that it’s their responsibility to protect men from having impure thoughts. I’m tired of seeing those who don’t fit the stereotypical LDS mold choose to take their own lives when they feel that they have no place in the church. I’m tired of seeing people claim to follow Christ only to push away those who don’t fit their definition of “righteousness.”
I just wanted a gospel and a church that not only taught unconditional love but lived it too. Unfortunately, I see almost daily reminders that the church and many of its members have no interest in loving people unconditionally.
Savanna needs our unconditional love and support, not our criticism. What she is going through is extraordinarily difficult, especially for somebody her age. The church and many of its members who should be there as a system to help “lift the hands which hang down and strengthen the feeble knees” have instead resorted to personal attacks and claims that Savanna wasn’t truly sharing a testimony. What Savanna shared was one of the purest, most honest testimonies that I’ve ever heard as a member of the church. She shared her pure knowledge that God loved her regardless of her differences.
“In as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”