This site was created for those who are transitioning away from the Mormon Church and who are interested in exploring a more authentic and satisfying spirituality.
While our longings for spiritual connection may be stronger than ever after we leave the Church, the concepts and metaphors for spirituality that we were given as members no longer work well for most of us. We need new stories and new metaphors that we can use to speak about a new way of being in the world. The goal of this site is to facilitate this discussion and to reach for these new stories and metaphors, laying the foundation for a deep and meaningful spiritual life outside of the Church.
An important example is the story of Lehi’s dream in the Book of Mormon. In the dream, Lehi sees a mass of people pressing forward through a dark and obscuring mist toward a tree representing the love of God. Those who hold onto the iron rod find their way safely to the tree, and those who don’t are lost to the mist, or to a dangerous river nearby, or to a myriad of other dangers and temptations. In the dream, holding on to the rod meant safety, and letting go meant danger and almost certain death.
Those of us who were raised in the Church know this story well. We were taught Lehi’s dream and other similar stories in Primary lessons, and they became foundational to our conceptions of spirituality. But through studying spirituality over the past 15 years, and through my own experience leaving the Mormon Church and making a new life for myself, I’ve come to believe that true spirituality isn’t about holding on to anything. Spirituality can be much better described as a continual process of releasing and letting go – letting go of our assumptions, our ego and everything it clings to, our desire to have things turn out a certain way, and the idea that we know what God wants for us or anyone else. I see spirituality as a state of radical openness to the deep mystery of life. This state is more like moving through mist than holding onto anything, let alone something straight and fixed like an iron rod.
From this perspective, Lehi’s dream is actually an inversion of the kind of spirituality I have come to value and trust. The metaphor seems to perfectly speak to how we would cling to the security of what we know and thereby avoid moving into the type of openness that I feel is at the heart of authentic spirituality. I’ve concluded that in order for us to spiritually grow beyond a certain point, we need to do the thing we’ve been taught to never do – that is, let go of the iron rod and move out into the mystery of the darkness.
This site is a gathering place for those of us in the mist, so that we can find each other and help each other reorient to a much different world than the one we had understood as Mormon children. Once we have let go of the path prescribed to us by the Church, our lives become radically open-ended. I see this openness as part of the human condition and an important opportunity for spiritual growth. But it can also be uncomfortable and bewildering, so my hope is to foster a community of connection and support.
So welcome. Please check out what I've written, leave comments, and contact me if you like. Your feedback is appreciated and will help develop and refine these ideas, which I hope will be useful to many others who are navigating this misty territory.
My OWN Dream
A short, lighthearted story for Church members. I wrote this in response to Lehi's Dream (found in the Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 8 and 11). I use some of the same imagery but take the story in a different direction—one that better represents my own conception of the spiritual journey.
I recently completed a doctoral degree in Philosophy and Religion from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. My dissertation looked back on my Mormon mission and focused on the ways the Mormon Church guarded against the emergence of a more authentic spirituality.