Savannah & 12 Year Old Mormon Girls

Savannah

Savannah

I really admire the courage of a 12 year old LDS girl named Savannah.  In May, she bore an amazing testimony at church.  Last Sunday, I showed this video to my wife and two of my daughters.  They all said it was a beautiful testimony.  And…that it’s unfortunate she was cut off.  They speculated that if this had happened in our ward, she would not have been shut down.  The members would have rallied around her in love and support.

We ought to treasure and embrace our gay children!!!  All of us!!!

For Savannah’s testimony, click HERE.

So Many Other 12 Year Old Mormons

I cringe at the thought of what will happen tomorrow in Mormon chapels all across the country.  Twelve year old girls, like Savannah, will be taken behind closed doors, alone, by an older man.  He will proceed to ask the innocent young girl questions of a personal sexual nature, like, “Do you touch yourself down there?”  He will have no professional training.  He will not have the parents’ permission for his probing questions.  Frequently, the parents will have no idea that the inappropriate interview even took place.  Often, the 12 year old child will not understand the questions.  The man, the only other person behind the closed door, may then give additional graphic details.

Tomorrow, this will not only happen with 12 year old girls, but with 12 year old boys.  13 year old girls.  13 year old boys.  14 year old girls.  14 year old boys.  15 year old girls.  15 year old boys.  16 year old girls.  16 year old boys.  And who knows at what age it stops?  Or IF it stops?  If you are OK with this practice….well, that’s fine with me.  They are your children.  Every person outside of the church, who I’ve brought this up to, has been horrified.  Frankly,  I AM TOO.  I wish I’d known this was going on with my own 2 youngest children…when it was going on.  But, I had no idea.  Bad on me.

Related Posts

Behind Closed Doors–Don’t Let it Happen  An account of a Mormon dad protecting his child during an inappropriate interview.

Happy 12th Birthday!  Let Me Ask, Do You Masturbate?   Some members don’t believe this interview practice is actually happening in the church.  This post relates numerous accounts.

33 thoughts on “Savannah & 12 Year Old Mormon Girls

    1. Hi Xena,

      It is shocking to me that this practice is tolerated by the good members of the church.

      Thanks for reading my blog and making a comment!

      Like

      1. Do you speak against in church, to you tell your bishop it is wrong, do you tell your fellow ward members it is wrong, do you let bishops interview your kids.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I left the church over 25 years ago when I got off my mission. It was then that I realized that there was something terribly wrong with the church. I have spoken out and spoke and spoke out to the point that I have actually left the USA because I’m so tired of being hit in the face metaphorically by my family for being who I am. It is so caustic and so abusive and it feels amazing to be away from this culture that marginalizes people and hates them. This church is not about love at all. All they talk about is fear and frighten people and make them feel like one way or another they are flawed and they can’t be saved and less they live every single Mormon rule to the most perfect degree. Joseph Smith was a fraud and I hate what he did to women and wet leadership today is still doing to the youth. To me, it is rape.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I watched the video and then followed this link in the comments below the video to fairmormon.org

    https://www.fairmormon.org/blog/2017/06/18/testimonies-twelve-year-olds

    I was impressed by how close the fairmormon commentary approaches “fair and balanced” while still communicating that SSA is unacceptable behavior for LDS members.

    While watching the video, I was actually surprised how long the stake presidency dude tolerated pro gay speech from an LDS pulpit before intervening. No doubt it took some time for what was actually happening to sink in and elicit a defensive response.

    My opinion is that raising your hackles over Mormon leadership stopping pro gay speech from his pulpit is wrong headed. He should be commended for clearly communicating the following to all of those present (my words):

    “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has not ever, does not now, and will not ever consider same sex relationships as acceptable, moral, non-sinful behavior in the eyes of the God we worship. We believe that any member who engages in same sex relations will be punished by God if they do not repent of this reprehensible and abominable wickedness. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”

    The subtext of this message is pretty clear.

    If you were born Mormon and gay, ne’er the twain shall meet. One of those attributes you can fix; one you cannot. Fix the one you have control over and live a happy life being who you were born to be.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gary, I don’t see a loving Heavenly Father as one who would be so duplicitous as to create an individual as gay (your words, “born ……gay”), where his/her best chance at a happy life is to “live a happy life being who you were born to be,” and then deny him/her that opportunity in the one and only true church.
      Can you help me understand how this is reconcilable?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jan,

        The reconciliation is dirt simple.

        Joseph lied. The “only true church” is an egregiously damaging Mind Control Cult that brainwashes its members and then exploits and manipulates them through guilt and fear.

        The only healthy choice (especially for a gay Mormon) is to leave, and the sooner the better.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Sam – I have been a big fan of fair Mormon for years – i can appreciate your sentiments with those struggling with issues of identity- your love and concern for this segment in and out of the church Has gotta put you in good standing with Christ!!!

      Like

      1. Oh man, Gerry! That is the nicest thing I’ve heard for a long time. Thanks. I can only hope to be in the same good standing as you, my friend.

        Like

    3. Hi Gerry,

      My post was not criticizing the leadership. I was complementing the courage of a young girl. You make an interesting comment about being Mormon and gay. You can fix one but not the other. I agree with you. A person CANNOT change the fact that they are gay. However, they can stop being Mormon. I wish that was not the only choice. Our top leadership no longer teaches that gay people can change to being straight. We were wrong on that teaching. Just like we were wrong about why black people were denied the priesthood and excluded from the temple. Unfortunately, we are not correcting our outdated teachings from the pulpit. As a result, many of our members believe that the LGBT community chose their sexual identity. They no more did than you and I made a conscious decision to be straight. It doesn’t work that way.

      Like

      1. Sam,
        I have really enjoyed reading your messages and especially the responses. I the above response you said “A person CANNOT change the fact that they are gay.” That is an incorrect statement in my eyes. Below are just a few articles you can find on the internet stating that gays can and do change sexual orientation.
        http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Sex/story?id=117465
        http://www.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/anderson.cooper.360/blog/2007/02/can-people-change-from-gay-to-straight.html
        https://world.wng.org/2016/01/homosexuals_can_change
        https://socialinqueery.com/2013/03/18/no-one-is-born-gay-or-straight-here-are-5-reasons-why/
        https://illinoisfamily.org/homosexuality/homosexuals-admit-sexual-orientation-can-and-does-change/

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Nate,

        Thank you for the interesting links. I looked at all of them and scanned the content.

        I have to agree with your objection to Sam’s unequivocal claim that “A person CANNOT change the fact that they are gay.” As a general rule, I think most all-or-nothing aka black-and-white statements can deny the realities of the shades-of-grey spectrum of human experience.

        I don’t doubt that some individuals can transition in and out of SSA feelings based on birth circumstances, youthful life experience, societal and family influences and desire to change. I also suspect that other individuals are much more hard-wired with SSA deeply embedded in their personhood, not to be dissuaded by any level of desire or effort to change. Not even shock therapy administered in BYU campus basements.

        A key component in this complex scenario is WHY does the SSA person want to change to hetero? If it’s because The Brethren convinced them they are disgusting, immoral deviants if they succumb to SSA desires, then the reason for wanting to change is FEAR and GUILT.

        If the intent of your post was to defend The Brethren’s complete rejection of SSA as a sure passport to hell, then shame on you, Nate. Jesus maybe would not much enjoy sharing a bottle of wine with you (particularly if you actually believe that Jesus was not a wine drinker).

        I hope you can admit to yourself that if Jesus were to reincarnate and join the LDS Church, it would not be long before The Brethren would convene a Court of Love and eject Jesus from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for breaking too many rules.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. The contents of Savannah’s testimony are suspicious. In the one I read there was more written , but not read that questioned church leaders and doctrine. It was also suspicious to me that someone filmed this in Sacrament meeting. It leads me to think that this was a setup to make the Church look bad. I read also where this story was pushed to all medical and certain written media. Supposedly it will be in the next people magazine. She had every right to bear her testimony, but as a former Bishop, you know that there was a point when she crossed the line. This was something to be discussed with her Bishop and parents. I do totally agree with you on the meetings between Bishops and young adults.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Janice, check out the fairmormon.org link in my post above. It does appear that the young girl’s testimony may have been an orchestrated performance intended to elicit a reaction from priesthood leadership, which indeed it did.

      Is it a bad thing to shine a brighter light on The Brethren’s dinosaur core values that only harm innocent church members who got themselves born incorrectly?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Gary, not at all her intent. She simply wanted to be seen, to be heard, for who she is. And, secondly, to let anyone in the congregation who was gay, that they are not alone and they are okay; better than okay, they are good.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Janice, I promise you this was not a set up. A close family member knows this family and spoke with them several days before the testimony was given. Yes, it was recorded, but not for the reasons you are thinking. It was not intended to go viral. There was no way she could have anticipated the reaction of the stake leader (as a matter of fact, she didn’t even know he would be in attendance). Had the leader stood, embraced her, told her he loved her and how courageous she was, and then, perhaps, said “this may not be the best venue for this, can we talk after the meeting,” it would have had a different message. Had she been permitted to finish, none of us would even know it happened.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. jan0828,

        Thank you for sharing your inside information.

        It’s awe nspiring when spontaneous acts of human authenticity go viral . . . powered only by compelling truth, which needs no defense . . . ever.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Nan,

    I don’t speak against the church. Rather, against policies that I believe are dangerous and unnecessary. I’d recommend the following. 1) Let the bishop know that masturbation is a taboo subject to discuss with your children. 2) Sit in on all interviews with your children. Don’t allow them to be taken behind closed doors where they cannot be observed. 3) Tell your child you want to be informed anytime a leader asks to meet with them.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sam, I am Spencer’s friend and he sent this site address for me to read.
    As a lifelong member and former Bishopric member myself(ask Spence) I have NEVER once asked those questions alluded to, been told to ask them or read in any Handbook to ask them. If YOU asked them then it was YOU directing the discussion and NOT the church. And any others asking them are doing so outside of their purview they are wrong and should not be so asking. Also, like Janice, I am wondering why a Sacrament meeting was being recorded. Was it specifically to do what was then done by making it a public recording to be viewed by all? I have nothing and the church has nothing to hide at our meetings, as you know, but we are asked as members to refrain from filming, recording etc. Why did someone do so just this time and just this testimony meeting? Suspicious at best and duplicitous on its face.
    My question to you is this; Why do people such as yourself leave the church but then can’t leave it alone. I truely and sincerely wonder why. And this includes personal friends and family of mine as well. Since you no longer believe the doctrine then it should be no different than a social club in its functions as far as you are concerned. Please don’t get me wrong and that I am demeaning or belittling your decision to chose another religion for I am not. But tell people how great your new church is and invite them to come with you rather than tear down another’s choice of religion. Good luck and God Bless You in your new spiritual efforts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Tim,

      First, thanks for reading my blog and then leaving your well thought out comment.

      I think you have misunderstood me on a couple of points. First, I never asked kids about their mastubatory habits. Nor was I ever asked about it when I was a kid. I’m glad you didn’t ask when you served in a bishopric. However, it has come to my attention that it is a common practice. If you read the links on my blog you will find numerous references to interview stories. My own children were asked numberous times during their teenage years. Unfortunately, I had no idea until this past year.

      Second, I haven’t left the church. My wife and grown children are in the church. My grandkids are in the church. Why the heck would I want to leave it alone when all of us are still in? The church is good. I want to see it better. I’m not tearing down anyone’s choice of religion. Especially not those who have chosen the very church that I belong to. I care about my church. I care about my kids and grandkids. For this reason, I speak up when I see problems that should be corrected. It sounds like you actually agree with me regarding an older man taking a 12 year old girl behind closed doors and asking if she “touches herself down there.” As far as I’m concerned, it’s a practice that should be torn down.

      Thanks again, Sam

      Like

  5. Gary…you’re back!

    Joseph lied? Hey. I love everything that Joseph had to say about the horrid sin of homosexuality. He brought forth the Book of Mormon…the most correct book on the planet. He produced revelation after revelation….establishing the long awaited restoration. He even gave us the utilitatian Book of Abraham. All to give us a perfect understanding or God’s will and commandments for the Latter-days. And what light did the voluminous work of the great prophet shed on homonsexuality. Exactly…..nothing, nada, not a word, not a peep. Good for Joseph.

    So nice to hear from you, my friend.

    Like

    1. Hey, Sam! As far as I know, I did not go anywhere, but thanks for the greeting.

      Curious perspective to credit Joseph Smith for what he NEVER said or wrote. Point well taken . . . if SSA is such a heinous insult to all that’s decent, why didn’t it rate at least one of the Thirteen Articles of Faith or at least one verse in the BofM, PofGP or D&C.

      Deafening silence.

      Sounds like The Brethren made it up as they went along. They can unmake it up anytime they feel like it were it not for the fact that they NEVER apologize.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Nada, not a word, not a peep, THEN! But they sure are making up for lost time now! The lds church is not a safe place for lgbtq folks. Period. The brethren are just planting their feet more firmly in quicksand.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. They NEVER apologize? Well, you are correct there. However, they came pretty darn close by condemning the racist policies, practices and doctrines of the past. I say that’s big progress.

        And as to the deafening silence of Joseph Smith and LDS scriptures on LGBT issues, it all falls right in line with how many times Jesus condemned the gays. He was deafeningly silent, too. To me, this silence speaks volumes.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I served as president of a small branch as a missionary. During that time I don’t recall any youth interviews, but I did interview a couple for temple recommends. I don’t remember where, but somewhere I got instructions to the effect of, the questions for temple recommends are given in the front of the book of recommends. Ask those specific questions, word for word: no less, and no more. Was that just something my mission pres told me, or was it written in the recommend book? At any rate, it seemed like good advice. My question is, why isn’t such a list of questions and instructions given for youth interviews? Again, it seems like instructions from the church such as: “You may ask ‘Do you keep the law of chastity?’ but no more nor less” would be wise. I would hope the church would do so in the interest of protecting the youth. But even if not for the sake of the youth, I would expect them to have such guidelines in place to prevent law suits over the practice of older men meeting with young boys and girls in private which could easily lead to predatory behavior and potentially be actionable against the church.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sam, I have been misinformed about your church status or I misunderstood what was told to me. So first I owe you an apology on that.
    The church has made lots of course corrections on some things since it’s beginning and has stayed the course on many others. That’s why we have a Prophet. Some people think that because things have changed from the beginning that it proves the church is not true. Again, that is the role of the Prophet. Remember; “It is not mete that I command you in all things.” That alone tells us the Lord will not always tell us what to do but leave it up to us to wander in the wilderness, that’s why he gave us brains and the ability to have questions which he promised he would answer. There are many questions that we have and sometimes the Lord just wants us to ask him before he gives directions. I’m sure you have seen this many times in your own family’s and wards lives.
    I read your comments when you used the words of the song from Les Mis to help convey your feelings and can sympathize with your position on those feelings but have my own similar and different beliefs about the actions of people vs the people themselves. It will all be sorted out in the next existence and SOMEONE is going to be correct in the beliefs. What ALL people need to remember is that the Godhead is a function of Love not Hate or Retribution and We need to be also but still have to function in a mortal world with the strictures placed on us and our church.
    Have a great day.

    Tim

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Nate,

    You raised a very interesting issue. Can a person choose their sexuality? I posted your comment on my Facebook page. It’s gotten a bunch of highly insightful comments. Certainly enlightening to me. I have several gay friends. Very dear and close friends. Including a man who served as my counselor for the entire time I was bishop. All of them say that they knew they were gay from a young age. It was never a choice. However, it appears that there is a spectrum of sexuality. Fascinating.

    Like

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