So, here we go.
I believe in a lot of things, but here are just a few of them:
I believe in a loving Heavenly Father and my Savior, Jesus Christ, who is God's Son.
I believe we are all God's children.
I believe God gave us the agency to choose for ourselves, and He wants us to have every opportunity to do so.
I believe the consumption of tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs, as well as coffee and tea, is harmful to the body, mind and soul.
I believe in always being kind, no matter what.
I believe in standing for your convictions.
I believe God has ordained marriage between one man and one woman.
To me, marriage between one man and one woman is a sacred and holy institution. This is a religious belief I hold dear, and no matter how many people disagree with me, the right to believe it cannot be taken away. Thanks, Constitution!
Why is traditional marriage so important to me, as an LDS person (Mormon)? I believe God is married to our Heavenly Mother, and They intended for Their children to marry in the same fashion. I believe They set the pattern for us to follow with the creation of the first mortal children, Adam and Eve. I don't believe they were merely the first humans to inhabit the Earth, but I believe they were also married by God in the Garden of Eden. I believe God's ordination sealed their companionship, permitting them to bring children into the world. I believe we are supposed to follow their example so we can someday become like our Heavenly Parents. This is not only a personal belief, but also a core teaching of Mormonism. It is a very significant part of my faith.
I do not believe it's my place to judge others. I don't know why some people are attracted to the same gender, to both genders or to no gender at all. But I believe they are my spiritual brothers and sisters and they deserve respect and kindness. I am so relieved I don't have to judge anyone for their choices or actions. God will see to that. My responsibility is to love my neighbor and share the Gospel with them. That's all.
I do not believe in blocking others from accessing agency. It is now legal for gays and lesbians to marry in this country. And I believe in obeying, honoring and sustaining the law. I also believe the Constitution was inspired by God because He wants us to be free to choose and think however we see fit. I believe in equal rights and fairness in the eyes of the law. And just as my abstinence from alcohol doesn't infringe on others' right to drink, my belief in traditional marriage cannot stop gay couples from marrying, either. What a great country we live in, where all kinds of religious and personal beliefs are allowed to co-exist! It would be even better if we could figure out how to do so peacefully.
I do not believe "the gays will ruin America." Since the ruling came down, I've read numerous sentiments in the vein of, "Oh, now that gays can marry, all the children are going to suffer and divorce will be rampant and we're all gonna DIE!!!" These thoughts disappoint and depress me. But I'm choosing to be optimistic. I hope that since everyone can marry now, people of all orientations will choose to commit to their significant others for life and do their best to provide stable homes for their children. I hope that we will see stronger relationships and greater respect between parents and children in general. I hope that married people will value the commitment they have made and appreciate its importance instead of running straight to court at the first sign of martial stress. I hope we will all be more conscientious of how our choices affect those around us, particularly the children, because -- "I believe the children are our future!"
If anyone is ruining America, it's the selfish, prideful, angry and violent people who reside here. Those adjectives can apply to people of all genders, orientations, races, economic statuses and religions. It's our personal responsibility to see that we don't contribute to the demise of this great nation, no matter who we claim to be.
I do not believe in being argumentative or mean. I've seen people on both sides of this coin acting so cruelly toward those with whom they don't agree, and it's disheartening. Here's a little secret I've learned in life -- you don't have to be friends with everyone, but you can always be friendly. What do snark and scorn accomplish? Do you honestly think that yelling at someone or calling them names, either virtually or in person, will win them over to your way of thinking? Guess what, it won't. Don't be a bully. Think before you speak.
Remember, LOVE WINS. (See what I did there?)
Oh wait! There's one more thing:
I believe people who believe differently can be friends without judging each other. A few years ago, I went to lunch with four other blogging ladies here in Arizona. I knew from reading their blogs that one was a nutritionist, one was very vocal about the importance of eating whole, raw foods and one was gluten- and dairy-free. The remaining blogger was very thin, and I assumed (perhaps wrongly) that she watched what she ate, too. At the time, I was beginning to care more about the importance of a healthy diet, and I felt immense pressure about what to order at that restaurant. I felt like all the food-conscious eyes were on me as I selected what to eat. I ended up settling on an underwhelming and really lame (but healthy!) salad, and I was so mad at myself. I succumbed to imagined peer pressure instead of doing what I wanted to do.
The thing is ... all four of those ladies probably wouldn't have cared too much if I had chosen something greasy and delicious instead of that salad. I am still in touch with all of them on a regular basis and as I get to know them more, I realize judgment isn't their thing. I can eat what I want in front of them and they'll still like me!
My point is, you and I can be friends, even if we disagree about food. Even if we disagree about marriage, even if we disagree about education, about parenting, about religion, about the best place to go on vacation ... doesn't matter! Friendship is more than finding people who are exactly like you and deleting them from your life the second they don't conform anymore. We are better than that. We are evolved humans and our close relationships should transcend our differences.
I believe in this.