Belief and Belonging in an Age of Doubt: Patrick Mason

How do Latter-day Saints maintain personal belief and commitment to the church community in the face of a seemingly inexhaustible series of internal and external challenges to faith?

Time: 

Friday, September 16, 2016, 7:30 pm
We encourage you to come 10 minutes early. The evening will be more productive and helpful with minimal interruptions.

Location: 

Home of Ed and Kristen Iversen
3582 Oak Rim Way Salt Lake City, UT 84109

Please park in the “park & ride” lot nearby. It’s only a block away. See Google map pict at bottom. Car pool if you can. 

B.A.C.: Bring A Chair

The discussion:

How do we deploy theological and institutional resources already within our grasp to foster reconciliation in a church membership seemingly hopelessly divided between the “orthodox” and “doubters”?  Some of the greatest challenges—but also most important lessons—appear while we work in the laboratory of love that we call the church.  Maintaining belief is essential, but Christ also calls upon us to live out our discipleship within the context of a flesh-and-blood community that makes demands of us and gives us assignments and opportunities to take a lively interest in other people.  Perhaps the most important thing we can do in the face of our current challenges is to make the church a more welcoming place for those who struggle, creating the conditions in which they can feel comfortable while they work through questions in the midst of the body of Christ rather than feeling excluded from it.  A more embracing Mormonism may thus be the most important factor in helping people more fully embrace Mormonism.

mason-headshot-smallAbout Patrick:

Patrick Mason is the Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon Studies and associate professor of religion at Claremont Graduate University, where he also serves as chair of the Religion Department. He is the author or editor of multiple books, including most recently Planted: Belief and Belonging in an Age of Doubt, published jointly by Deseret Book and the Maxwell Institute at BYU. He is the chair of the board of directors of the Dialogue Foundation, which publishes Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought.

Read, listen, watch:

Planted
A Thoughtful Faith podcast with Patrick

 Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 9.59.18 PM

Did you hear the one about the Jew, Muslim, and Evangelical?

Dialoguing with Jews, Muslims, and Evangelicals in a Polarized Political Environment: Risks, Rewards, and Methods.

Time: 

Friday, August 5, 2016, 7:30 pm

Location: 

Home of Elizabeth and Mark England
1194 S. 500 E., SLC, UT

Please come in the back door if you arrive late. 

Details of the discussion:

Shon has served as president of the University of Texas Interfaith Council and currently serves as Associate Chair of BYU’s Council of Interreligious Outreach, primarily focused on interfaith efforts with Jews and Muslims. He has recently begun and helps lead a bi-annual dialogue between Muslim and Jewish scholars. For many years he has also participated as part of the Mormon-Evangelical dialogue led by Robert Millet and Richard Mouw. He will share experiences he has had and insights he has gleaned during his years of interfaith engagement. Questions that will be discussed include: What are some of the goals of interfaith dialogue (and what are they not), particularly in the current, political climate of fear? Considering the polarized, political environment, what are some of the pitfalls and danger spots of dialoguing with Jews? with Muslims? with Evangelicals? What are fruitful topics of discussion with these groups? How can one become engaged in interfaith dialogue?

Screen Shot 2016-07-29 at 8.58.26 PMAbout Shon:

Shon Hopkin received his B.A. and M.A. degrees in Ancient Near Eastern Studies from Brigham Young University, and his Ph.D. in Hebrew Studies from the University of Texas at Austin, focusing on medieval Hebrew, Arabic, and Spanish literature. While in Austin he served as president of the University Interfaith Council, and currently serves as Associate Chair of the Council of Interreligious Outreach at Brigham Young University, where he is an Assistant Professor in Religious Education. He is faculty advisor for the Muslim Student Association as well as Students of the Ancient Near East. He has travelled extensively in the Middle East, including extended stays in Syria, Israel/Palestine, Egypt, Jordan, and Turkey. In January 2016 he traveled to Singapore to give the keynote address as the Christian representative at an interfaith dialogue. In addition to his interfaith interests, Shon teaches courses at BYU on the Old Testament, Isaiah, the New Testament, the Pearl of Great Price, the Book of Mormon, and Ritual Theory. His research focuses on medieval Judaism, the impact of religious beliefs and practices, biblical studies, and ritual theory. He has written over thirty books and articles, and is currently working on a project assessing the impact of Western universities on Muslim students from the Middle East, comparing that impact between BYU, Oxford, and other universities.

Read, listen, watch:

Almost anything from the current presidential campaigns seems to fit! I’ve attached an article on Muslims at BYU, if any are interested in reading it.

2015.byu studies.muslims and mormons

An Evening with Richard and Claudia Bushman

The Bushman’s have been key instruments in revealing authentic Mormon history, acknowledging current challenges within the church on historic and social issues, and having empathy and appreciation for the doubter. All this while maintaining their faith in, and support of, the institutional church. How have they done this? I see these two not as apologists but activists. We are very fortunate to be able to spend an evening graced by these two Christ-centered intellectuals.

Time: 

Sunday, June 12, 2016, 7:30 pm

Location: 

Home of Elizabeth and Mark England
1194 S. 500 E., SLC, UT

Please come in the back door if you arrive late. 

Details of the discussion:

Claudia will talk about materials concerning Mormons and Salt Lake City that she stumbled across while doing a study of Boston in 1870. She was explicating the diary of an activist named Harriet Hanson Robinson who moved to a Boston suburb and bloomed as “New Woman.” While pouring through the Boston newspapers, Claudia kept coming across long write-ups of people who visited Salt Lake City and came back to tell the tale. The reports offer a new perspective on how Easterners viewed Mormons as the Cullom Bill was under national discussion.

Richard will talk about reconstructing the narrative of early Mormon history in light of the new information that has accumulated over the past fifty years. Most of the discussion will be devoted to questions from the audience about Joseph Smith and early times.

50yrs109About Claudia and Richard Bushman:

Claudia Bushman, an historian of the United States with degrees from Wellesley College, Brigham Young University, and Boston University, has taught courses on nineteenth century social and cultural history, American literature, American women and Mormonism at several universities, most recently at Columbia University and at Claremont Graduate University.   She has published fifteen books of social and cultural history and is currently exploring the development of the New Woman in America after the Civil War. She and her historian husband Richard Lyman Bushman have collaborated on literary publications as well as producing a family of six children and twenty grandchildren. She was named the New York State “Mother of the Year” in 2002. The Bushmans served as senior scholars in residence at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts for the academic year 2014-2015.

Richard Bushman retired as Gouverneur Morris Professor of History at Columbia University In 2001, and then came out of retirement in 2008 to accept a position as visiting Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon Studies at Claremont Graduate University. He is the author of Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling and is on the National Advisory Board of the Joseph Smith Papers. Among his other books is The Refinement of America: Persons, Houses, Cities. He is currently completing a book on the American farmer in the eighteenth century. He chairs the Board of Directors of the Mormon Scholars Foundation which fosters the development of young LDS scholars. He has been a bishop, stake president, and patriarch and is currently a sealer in the Manhattan Temple.

Read, listen, watch:

Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, ed. Dean L. Jessee.

Claudia L. Bushman A Good Poor Man’s Wife:” Being a Chronicle of Harriet Hanson Robinson & Her Family in 19th-Century New England.

Navigating different faith journeys in marriage. And surviving.

One spouse sees the church quite differently now than they did when they were married. But this is causing their partner serious consternation and at times conflict. How to navigate the turbulent waters of different faith journeys and remain individually authentic and happily married. Well, mostly happy. That’s about the best most can hope for on a good day anyway. Right?

Time: 

Friday, April 29, 2016, 7:30 pm

Location: 

Home of Elizabeth and Mark England
1194 S. 500 E., SLC, UT

Please come in the back door if you arrive late. 

13046057_10207942136025621_1599764487_nAbout Walt and Lori Wood:

Each of these bios were written by the other, which gives a hint of one tool they use to navigate their faith differences—humor.

Lori Peterson Wood was born in Idaho Falls, Idaho. After graduating at the top of her class from Bonneville high school, she attended Ricks College and then BYU where she promptly cashed in her tuition for a season ski pass and a spa membership. And so began her non intellectual journey into living a joy filled life. She bought for a chain of women’s clothing stores and loved buying trips to LA, NYC, and Dallas. She waited faithlessly (she dated every man who skied at Sundance that semester) for Walt to complete a mission after which they were promptly married in the Idaho Falls Temple. They took their time to start a family and by year 4.5 of marriage had four children. She gave up the glamour and excitement of buying to become a full-time mom. With four girls and two boys now all married and 21 grandchildren, she spends much of her time selling real estate rather than going crazy with all of the ‘littles,’ but still has enough time to be adored as ‘Mommers’ by all 21. Her ability to negotiate and facilitate real estate sales has her at the very top of agents in the Phoenix Metro East Valley. She has served as a YW President and Primary President among other things and has basically “been there, done that,” in church service. Her only sister has been in a same sex relationship most of her adult life and has been in part why the LGBT community/issues are so important to her. While the church shelf has been getting increasingly heavy with polygamy, race, history, and inequality, Lori hasn’t given up—or given in. She is outspoken, loyal, authentic and loves all—but especially her husband, Walt.

Also born in Idaho Falls, Walt, oddly enough, also attended Idaho Falls High School where he was a deadbeat student and social pariah. He and Lori dated in High School because she felt sorry for him—that, and as a senior, he was awarded the top honor of best student/athlete 1975. He served in the Italy-Rome mission where he finally learned how to talk to people as well as serving in the office and escorting GA’s through the Vatican. All the while becoming fluent in Italian and Spanish. After some college and other adventures he ended up building luxury homes. He doesn’t really like to get his hands dirty though, which makes things tough, but he has somehow figured out how to make a living thanks to the fiercely loyal and good people who work for him. Widely read and a deep thinker, Walt has had to dive especially deep this past year to keep his head above the marital water. Walt has also ‘been there, done that,’ in the Church—bishop, etc. Currently, he has served in the stake Presidency of the MESA, AZ Mountain View Stake for almost seven years, and it can’t get over fast enough for some members of his stake—especially Lori. He does do okay as a father, and loves being with his family when they let him on to where they are hanging out. He and Lori are on the board of ALL AZ, the largest LDS LGBT family and friends support group in Arizona. They have group meetings in their home, help facilitate larger LDS LGBT gatherings and are working hard to create a safe and loving space for LGBT individuals.

Details:

Having been married 38 years and experiencing faith quite differently, Lori and Walt will lead a discussion which delves into the challenges of spiritually mixed orientation—mixed faith—mixed up something  marriages. Their ability to maneuver within their nuanced views of Mormonism with humor, honesty, and love make them uniquely qualified to speak and discuss the pitfalls and best practices of marriage within modern Mormonism.

Read, listen, watch:

Planted, by Patrick Mason
Interview with Patrick Mason
Another interview with Patrick Mason

Most anything by Brene Brown

Dan Wotherspoon, Adam Miller, Sunstone for Lori and General Conference for Walt. The works of Terryl and Fiona Givens. The books by James Ferrell. The plight of the Tom and Wendy Montgomery family.

Rethinking Revelation and the Mormon Racial Story

How does viewing Mormon whiteness as a contested variable in the nineteenth century change our understanding of the Mormon racial story? And of revelation? Paul Reeve’s presentation explores the possibilities.

Time: 

Friday, April 1, 2016, 7:30 pm

Location: 

Home of Elizabeth and Mark England
1194 S. 500 E., SLC, UT

Please come in the back door if you arrive late. 

Paul #2About Paul Reeve:

Paul Reeve is the author of Religion of a Different Color: Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness, published by Oxford University Press in 2015. He also wrote Making Space on the Western Frontier: Mormons, Miners, and Southern Paiutes, and co-edited with Ardis E. Parshall, Mormonism: A Historical Encyclopedia. With Michael Van Wagenen he co-edited Between Pulpit and Pew: The Supernatural World in Mormon History and Folklore. He is the Director of Graduate Studies in the History Department at the University of Utah where he teaches courses on Utah history, Mormon history, and the history of the U.S. West. He is the recipient of the University of Utah’s Early Career Teaching Award and of the College of Humanities Ramona W. Cannon Award for Teaching Excellence in the Humanities.

Details:

Drawing upon evidence from his new book, Religion of a Different Color: Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness, Paul Reeve suggests that Mormon whiteness in the nineteenth century was a contested variable, not an assumed fact. Situating the Mormon racial story within the broader context of a very fluid and illogical American racial history, Reeve will trace the evolution of Mormon whiteness over time and offer a new lens through which to view the evolving priesthood and temple bans within Mormonism. He argues that one way in which Mormons attempted to secure whiteness for themselves was in distance from their fellow black Mormons.

The discussion will include an exploration of ways to think through this history, prophetic infallibility, and what it means to be Mormon in the twenty-first century.

Read, listen, watch:


RadioWest: The Mormon Struggle for Whiteness

Maxwell Institute podcast:
Part 1: http://mi.byu.edu/mip-22-reeve-parshall-p1/
Part 2: http://mi.byu.edu/mip-23-mormonism-race-reeve-parshall-p2/

For those who are interested in how Paul navigates the space between his profession and faith, read his Mormon Scholars Testify post here:
http://mormonscholarstestify.org/2699/w-paul-reeve

Membership, Ministry, LGBTI Policy, and the Body of Christ

The church’s new policy has created a pastoral crisis for LGBTI church members, their families, loved ones, and allies. Suddenly, many feel faced with an either/or choice—to stay in a church where they may be treated as apostate, or retreat from, or leave church participation. Are there other options for responses to this policy? Can lay members minister to the needs of LGBTI members and their children in ways that help to offset some of the anxiety, stress or harms triggered by the policy?  Is the policy an opportunity for members to discuss related issues more deeply?

Maxine Hanks and Tom Christofferson will share some ideas and pose some questions to foster dialogue within the group.

 

 

Time: 

SUNDAY, March 6, 2016, 6:00 pm

Location: 

Home of Elizabeth and Mark England
1194 S. 500 E., SLC, UT

Please come in the back door if you arrive late. 

1624274_1522653481292243_1954226496_nAbout Maxine Hanks:

One of the “September Six” who were excommunicated in 1993, she returned to LDS Church membership in 2012. In those years of “non-membership” Maxine studied Christian liturgy and clergy formation, also serving in interfaith ministry and chaplaincy.

Maxine lectures and writes on Mormon studies and women’s studies in religion. Her work focuses on gender in Mormonism and in Christianity, and explores other themes in Mormon studies and religious studies. She was a visiting fellow at Harvard Divinity School, and a research fellow with the Utah Humanities Council. She has lectured at the University of Utah, and guest lectured at Utah Valley U., Salt Lake Community College, Weber State U., Harvard Divinity School, and Claremont Grad. U. Her first book, Women and Authority, excavated Mormon feminist history, theology, discourse, and women’s authority. Subsequent books include Mormon Faith in America, and Getting Together With Yesterday. Her essays appear in anthologies such as Religion in America (2005), Secrets of Mary Magdalene (2006), and Latter-day Dissent (2011), among others.

IMG_0413About Tom Christofferson:

Tom has had a thirty-five year career in investment management and banking in the US and Europe. He served in the Canada Montreal Mission of the LDS church, and later asked to be excommunicated as, at that time in the mid-1980s he could not see a way to be gay and Mormon. He and his former partner, Clarke, were together for nineteen years. Tom is currently an active member of the LDS church and serves as a gospel doctrine teacher in his Salt Lake City ward.

 

Read, listen, watch:

Mormon Matters: Are There Fresh and Productive Ways to View the New LGBT Policy?

Jacob Hess: Thirty Questions Towards a More Productive LGBT-Conservative Dialogue

Jana Riess: Mormon lesbian told to divorce her wife or face excommunication hearing

Judy Dushku on the policy

Tribune stories:

http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/3463749-155/op-ed-as-lds-grapple-with-handbook

http://www.sltrib.com/news/lds/3446271-155/split-surfaces-in-lds-policy-on

http://www.sltrib.com/news/lds/3473487-155/suicide-fears-if-not-actual-suicides

http://www.sltrib.com/blogs/2301174-155/mormons-free-to-back-gay-marriage

http://www.sltrib.com/home/3147285-155/new-mormon-policy-on-gay-families

http://archive.sltrib.com/story.php?ref=/sltrib/news/52486958-78/mayne-gay-lds-ward.html.csp

http://archive.sltrib.com/story.php?ref=/sltrib/lifestyle/56677808-80/gay-argetsinger-mormon-church.html.csp

Some questions to consider:

  • How does the new policy affect you? loved ones? members?
  • Can we reframe the policy to empower members esp. LGBTIs?
  • How can members respond to the policy in effective ways?
  • Can members minister to each other, in ways that offset harms of the policy?
  • Who is the Church ? What is the body of Christ? How can LGBTIs belong?

Speaking Up and Out During the First Fifty Years of Relief Society

Explore with Kate Holbrook five rich but little-known case studies from the first fifty years of Relief Society for the initiative, resilience, and exciting material they contain.

 

Time: 

Friday, February 5, 2016, 7:30-9:30 pm

Location: 

Home of Elizabeth and Mark England
1194 S. 500 E., SLC, UT

Please come in the back door if you arrive late. 

 

SamanthaKellyPhotography-9042About Kate Holbrook:

Kate Holbrook is a leading voice in the study of Mormon women and Mormon foodways. She grew up at the feet of the Rocky Mountains and is happy to live there again, among the historic sites, cultural currents, and food environments where her scholarship has its roots. As a Specialist in Women’s History at the LDS Church History Department, she writes, studies, and interprets history full-time. Her major research interests are 1) the practice of everyday religion, how religious beliefs and affiliation impact the ways people eat, speak, and behave; and 2) the nuances and developments of LDS women’s relationship with their church institution.

Holbrook is a popular public speaker, presenting at diverse venues from large academic conferences to more intimate university and community groups to television and radio programs. She was voted Harvard College’s Teaching Fellow of the Year for her work in a course that enrolled nearly six hundred students, and she co-edited Global Values 101: A Short Course, based on that class. Her master’s degree, from Harvard Divinity School, is in the study of world religions and her PhD, from Boston University, is in the study of religion and society. Harvard University, Boston University, Brigham Young University, and the Roothbert Fellowship have all awarded her fellowships and grants for her academic work. She also received the first Eccles Fellowship in Mormon Studies at the University of Utah to examine the foodways of American religious groups.

She is currently revising the resulting dissertation, Radical Food: Nation of Islam and Latter-day Saint Culinary Ideals (1930–1980), for publication. She is also coeditor of two forthcoming books. The first, “A Book of Records: Selected Relief Society Documents, 1842–1892 (Church Historians Press, 2016), is a documentary history of the first 50 years of Relief Society, the women’s organization of the LDS Church. The second, Women and Mormonism: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives (University of Utah press, 2016) examines agency in the lives of LDS women through multiple disciplinary perspectives. Her published work also includes chapters in edited volumes for university presses such as Oxford and Columbia and various journal articles.

Description:

This will be a sneak preview of contents from the Church Historian’s Press next documentary history entitled The First Fifty Years of Relief Society: Key Documents in Latter-day Saint Women’s History, which will be on shelves February 29. The volume is capacious and promises content for many lively thinking and discussing sessions ahead. One of the prominent refrains that runs throughout the book is Mormon women’s initiative and resilience during this period. Kate hopes that our discussion will also lead us to consider the ramifications of these stories for us today.

Read, listen, watch:

For those with access to it, watching the History of the Saints episode “The Origins of the Relief Society: “I Now Turn the Key to You” would be useful to watch in preparation for the evening’s discussion.

Mormonism at a Crossroads—Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going

Explore with Robin Jensen the faith and fortitude of the early Saints as discovered through the Joseph Smith papers.
(Not what you learned in Sunday School.)

Emily Jensen will take us through the evolution of contemporary Saints traveling through troubled waters and arriving at a more generous and modern Zion.

 

Time: 

Friday, January 8, 2016, 7:30-9:30 pm

Location: 

Home of Elizabeth and Mark England
1194 S. 500 E., SLC, UT

Please come in the back door if you arrive late. 

Robin

 About Emily and Robin Jensen:

Emily W. Jensen writes, edits, and mothers five children, often simultaneously. For five years Emily covered the online world of Mormonism for the Deseret News and currently webedits Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. She loves to ski the Utah powder, ride horseback through Utah sagebrush, sail Utah lakes, and indulge in dark chocolate on less adventurous days. Find her work at the http://deseretnews.com, http:// dialoguejournal.com, and http://bycommonconsent.com.

Robin Jensen is a scholar on the Joseph Smith papers and is co-editor of three volumes of the Revelations and Translations series of that project, the third of which was just released in early August. He loves to study old documents. Find his work at the josephsmithpapers.org.

Description:

Mormonism is at a crossroads, having been under the microscopic lens of the media for the past five years, even as Mormons young and old grapple with the openness and accessibility of the information age. Both the institutional church and its lay members are working to better define their faith for outsiders as well as within. So what does the idea of Zion mean to modern-day Latter-day Saints? Emily will describe how the work of pulling together many diverse people into one collective book during a time of media scrutiny and upheavals in contemporary Mormonism modeled a community of people dedicated to a kind, open-hearted, open-minded Zion.  Robin will discuss approaches to early Mormon history, and what it’s documents can tell us about a people we think we’ve learned about in Sunday School but whose faith and fortitude were much more nuanced, and in many ways more powerful, than we give them credit.

Read, listen, watch:

abookofmormons.com

Dialogue Facebook page for the type of conversations that have been happening the past few months for Emily

http://mi.byu.edu/mip-32-jensen/  Interview with Robin at the Maxwell Institute

Invite:

Feel free to invite others who might benefit from this evening.

Be Ready to Share Your Hope

baby jesus3 [Converted]

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts:
and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.”

1 Peter 3:15

Friday, December 4, Potluck dinner at 6:00 pm
Music and sharing at 7:30 pm
At Mark & Elizabeth England’s: 1194 S. 500 E., SLC, UT

Please join us for a delightful evening of sharing food, song
and reasons for your hope in Christ.

While we are greatly blessed, many others are struggling. Below are some of the remarkable organizations that we have had represented at our
Faith Again and Think Again groups the past several years. Feel confident in contributing to these worthy causes:

Liahona Children’s Foundation

Interweave Solutions

Fahodie for Friends

New Light

LDS Earth Stewardship

Fern Foundation

FarBetween

 

We look forward to enjoying your love, light, and thoughts one last time this year. Blessings to you and yours.

Circles Of Empathy – Helping Straight and Lgbtq/Ssa Mormons Manage Sexual, Gender, and Religious Conflicts

Circles of Empathy is a small-group discussion practice that helps straight and LGBTQI/SSA Mormons engage in the critical and challenging conversations about the conflict between the teachings of the LDS Church and their feelings about homosexuality or homosexual loved ones. We’ll dialogue about how to implement the Circles of Empathy practice in our own hearts, homes, and communities. Through this practice, we can find hope of achieving peace with all the things we care about most, such as: our basic humanity, our relationship to family, our identity and potential as a child of God, how we treat others and how they treat us, and what it means to be a disciple of Christ.

 

Time:

Thursday, November 19, 7:30-9:30 pm

Location: 

Home of Elizabeth and Mark England
1194 S. 500 E., SLC, UT

Please come in the back door if you arrive late. 

10666100_10153265747790380_7587970837584365698_nAbout Kendall:

Kendall Wilcox grew up in an LDS home, served a mission for the LDS church in Barcelona, Spain, and graduated from Brigham Young University. Over the years, Kendall has produced hundreds of hours of Emmy Award-winning nonfiction television programming for the Discovery Channel, BYU Television, and PBS and has taught courses in documentary production at BYU. Kendall has enjoyed his church service over the years in callings ranging from Ward Clerk to Elder’s Quorum and Sunday School President but his favorite callings have been Sunday School Teacher and Home-Teacher. Since 2010, Kendall has been producing a documentary called Far Between that portrays what it means to be LGBTQI/SSA and Mormon. In 2011, Kendall founded the Empathy First Initiative which is dedicated to cultivating habits of empathy for addressing divisive social issues. In 2012, Kendall stepped in to help Erika Munson found Mormons Building Bridges. Since 2013, Kendall has developed and grown Circles of Empathy, which is a small-group discussion practice that helps straight and LGBTQI/SSA Mormons engage in the critical and challenging conversations about the conflict between the teachings of the LDS Church and their feelings about homosexuality or homosexual loved ones. Kendall continues to gather and curate stories of what it means to be LGBT and Mormon in various venues including the ongoing partnership with the Utah Pride Center called Utah LGBTQ Stories and the upcoming documentary The Kitchen Case: Utah’s Battle Over Same Sex Marriage.

Details:

For many members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, conflicts between the teachings of the LDS Church and their own feelings about homosexuality and/or transgender identity can be painfully disorienting. Managing these conflicts internally can be difficult enough, but facing conversations about these conflicts with loved ones or ecclesiastical leaders can be even more daunting.Circles of Empathy are small discussion groups that help participants sort through their thoughts, feelings, and beliefs while practicing empathy and healthy interpersonal boundaries. They constitute a practice, or a way of approaching the religious, sexual, and gender conflicts through self-reflection, open-ended conversation, and empathetic support. Each time you meet, just follow the simple process and adhere to the guidelines explained on this website. No special training is required. Many current and former Mormons have found the Circles of Empathy practice helpful, particularly when they can’t access therapeutic support (do to lack of money, trust issues, time, distance, etc). The Eight Fundamental Questions at the heart of the practice, arose out of the over 300 interviews for the Far Between documentary. After processing the interviews to reveal the patterns of behavior and thought, the eight fundamental questions revealed themselves as the most salient and pivotal to understanding how and why we choose to live our lives given the similar set of circumstances (i.e.: same-sex attracted and Mormon or living an LGBT person and having faith in the LDS Church).

Read, listen, watch:

Explore the Circles of Empathy website and come prepared with thoughts and questions about how to implement the Circles practice in their own life.