12 Year Old Mormon Get's "Kendrick Lamared," 22 Year Old Mormon Responds.
I tend to look for humor in uncomfortable situations.
That probably explains why Kendrick Lamar's song "Humble," was the first thing to pop in my head when I saw the video of a 12 year old girl who was told to sit down, after she came out as a lesbian to her LDS congregation.
If you think that reference is insensitive. I'm deeply sorry. You're probably right.
But I promise that this isn't about to be some hateful or deeply prejudiced blog post about how gay people are all going to hell or anything like that. Quite the opposite.
So let's move on.
In case you missed it, a super controversial video is circling the internet right now, where 12 year old Savannah shares her testimony at an LDS chapel, revealing to the congregation she is a lesbian. In the midst of her heartfelt words, her microphone is cut and she is asked to sit down.
Cue the hurt, defensiveness, and internet trolls.
In the midst of the anger and divisiveness, I would like to share my unique perspective.
The LDS Church takes a firm stance on sexuality, and these principles depicted in the Bible and Book of Mormon, are the doctrinal beliefs that I've personally wrestled with the most. At many times, questioning my faith entirely.
One, because I'm a highly sexual person, recognizing this as a part of my personality and divine identity. Two, because I’m pretty sure I am bisexual.
I say "pretty sure," mostly because sexuality isn’t black and white. It lives on a spectrum. And while the idea of having sex with a girl kind of weirds me out, I think women are sexy, I’ve kissed girls and liked it, and the whole polygamy thing that happened in the 1800’s doesn't really bother me as much as it used too, so long as the girls got to get in on the action too.
This is my first time publicly discussing this, and its probably the first time most people close to me are even learning this, because its something that has taken me a long time to come to terms with.
Also its not something that really fits into the average conversation. "Hi, nice to meet you. My name is Rachel, I'm a writer, I love the ocean, and I once kissed a girl and liked it."
All that being said, over six months ago I went on my first date with this beautiful girl, and there were two things I became very certain of: 1. I was into it. 2. I strongly believed that marriage was meant for a man and woman, and that this was God’s plan from the beginning and remains truth to this day.
So things with her didn't really work out...
I’ve struggled to talk about these things for a while because it alienates me from two different cultures.
In the LDS community, admitting you are bisexual or gay can cast a tint of dirtiness upon you, and while I certainly do have a "dirty" side, it doesn't have anything to do with being attracted to women.
A woman can be attracted to other women, without that meaning that she's always checking out girls, or constantly imagining having threesomes.
In the same way that a girl can tell you she is straight, and you don't automatically assume she must have non-stop sexual fantasies about men, or obviously wanted to sleep with that guy who she happened to compliment for looking nice that day.
It doesn't work that way.
Don't get me wrong, I also do have a dirty side to me. But that is not synonymous with being bisexual anymore than being straight means you want the "D" all the time. I choose to reserve that sexual part of myself for my husband. He's gonna know I want the "D" ALL THE TIME. But only him.
Also, by admitting that I believe in the LDS proclamation to the world, that states that sex is ordained of God for a man and woman, promised to each other in marriage, it alienates me from the LGBTQ community, and from those who know that sexuality can live on a spectrum and doesn't always tie itself up in a nice little box with a ribbon. I am easily perceived me as narrow minded, or "obviously filled with self-loathing."
To my LGBTQ friends who are reading this, and feel themselves filling with hurt or anger because I believe in these things, please pause for a moment, and just imagine that I'm not betraying you anymore by my beliefs than a vegan betrays carnivores. By reserving sex for marriage, and abstaining from sexual relationships with women, I am simply a sexual vegan. And as annoying as vegans may be, they are also harmless, right?
MEAT EATERS CAN BE FRIENDS WITH VEGANS OKAY!??
I don't think all gay people are going to hell. Heaven wouldn't be heaven without my LGBTQ friends there too, so I'm trusting that Jesus is going to work this all out on the other side.
But as for Savannah, and the bishop who asked her to sit down, I think they were both correct.
Coming forward to a community you long to be apart of, only to admit you don't fully fit in with all of their beliefs, is a tremendously courageous thing to do. I wish more people felt comfortable to openly discuss their sexuality within the walls of the LDS church.
You can be mormon and gay. 99% of Savannah's testimony fits completely in line with the doctrine of the LDS church, and if it made you feel uncomfortable, that speaks more about your own prejudice and ignorance than it does of the choice she made. She shared beautiful sentiments, and truths, about her uniqueness as a daughter of God.
But I also think it was okay for the Bishop to ask her to sit down.
Testimony meeting is a time for short comments from the heart about our beliefs in the Savior and His church, designed to uplift and connect the congregation to each other and deepen faith. 99% of what Savannah had to say, fell into this category, despite the fact that it was a much longer speech than what typically takes place in these meetings. But at the end, she stated beliefs that opposed core LDS doctrine. Beliefs she is 100% allowed to have, and to share, but did not choose the right time or place.
I have visited many houses of worship for other faiths, and at times I have had to alter my typical Sunday behavior or dress, to show respect for the beliefs of that faith. For example, I have covered my head, or my ankles, out of respect for another's faith. That doesn't mean I agree, but I behaved in accordance to the traditions of that faith out of respect.
By filming in sacrament meeting, using the platform of testimony meeting in a way that it is not intended to be used, and focusing her message on beliefs that are contrary to the core doctrine of the church, rather than her personal relationship with Christ, I believe the bishop made the best judgement call he could.
While Christ taught unconditional love, He also taught us our responsibility as children of God to set aside our will for the will of the Father.
Religion does not alter itself to fit our will. We can choose to stay, and make room for ourselves, or we can choose to not believe. And that is our choice.
God loves all his children. This includes all his LGBTQ children.
This love is unconditional.
Even when I have lived outside the doctrines of the LDS church, I have still been bestowed with blessings and love from my Heavenly Parents.
God will always continue to bless his children, to the maximum capacity that our agency allows, and I do believe that one of these blessings can be a life partner that will fill this life with joy and company for those who decide that is what they want.
God honors our choices, loves his children unconditionally, and wants us to be happy.
But I also believe that to attain the blessing of eternal families, we must follow in the example of our Heavenly Father and Mother.
Sexuality is beautiful, it is divine. I am not ashamed to be a sexual being, a woman in every way. Yet while that is a part of me, it is not all I am. It is just one reflection of my divinity in this human form, a glimmer I intend to expand into a spotlight inside an eternal marriage with a man.
And if I never marry, it may remain just a glimmer, sparkling at the corners of my spirit, coloring my sense of humor with a twinge of inappropriateness.
And for me, that is okay.
That is my choice to make.
Because for me, no relationship with a man or woman, could ever compare to relationship I have with my Savior, Jesus Christ.
His perfect example of endless love is something worth standing for.