by Breaunna Stone
Ever since my experience at the United Nations at the 2017 Commission on the Status of women, I have found a voice inside of myself that is more outspoken and boisterous than it has ever been before. Whether it is on social media, at a family gathering, or just at the grocery store, I find myself speaking up and speaking out more often on issues of the family, the sanctity of life, and religious freedom.
Standing up, standing out, and speaking up for what you know to be right, is intimidating. Often times, the responses I get are negative, hurtful, or not what I expected. The “other side” seems to have many more followers and loud voices that are hard to compete with.
When I was at the UN, I had no idea how to handle this kind of rejection and push back. Once I returned home, negative comments and remarks cut me to the core, and I questioned if what I was doing, standing up for the family, was making a difference or was even the right thing to do.
There are many, many things that the world declares to be right and acceptable. In particular, the world has redefined the family and has diminished what it means to have both a mother and father in the home raising their children as equal and supportive partners.
The importance of the family, mothers, and fathers, has always been something that I believe in and hold dear to my heart. It is something that I will speak up on, and defend in any circumstance. Being devoted to defending the family, or in defending anything, comes with its own set of rules and boundaries. Dale G. Renlund, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has said that “Everyone, including people of religion, has the right to express his or her opinions in the public square. But no one has a license to be hateful toward others as those opinions are expressed.”
The word “defend” by definition is to maintain or support in the face of argument or hostile criticism. As a millennial advocate, maintaining and supporting my definition of the family means practicing what I preach about the importance of healthy marital relationships, marriage between a man and a woman, the sanctity of life, religious liberty, etc.
Defending what you believe can be done in kindness, and understanding towards others. The goal is not to force or make the “other side” believe the same things you do. That is simply impossible, and you will never succeed no matter how hard you try. Defending the family is not about sitting in the shadows and waiting for the storm of criticism to pass you by. It is about using your voice for good, trying again when you fail, and standing up and speaking out even when it is hard.