From Sam (For Context see Chapter 2)
You had mentioned the Talkeria in your e-mail. I’d like to give you a little flavor of what will happen at tomorrow’s gathering.
Most of the time, I have no idea who will walk in the door. Usually, I have no advance notion of what they might want to discuss. When I do know, I try to prepare. Yesterday, I received the following email from a new couple. I don’t know who they are, nor where they come from. What I do know is that we’ll be fast friends when the night ends.
They included additional personal information that’s not appropriate to share. Apparently, they are currently active members.
We saw your invitation for the Tannenbaum Talkeria this Wednesday and are planning on coming. I’m a voracious reader, and have found many things that have caused me (us) a number of cognitive disconnects with the current church. We’re looking forward to chatting with you and others with similar questions.
Since, it looks like they are active, I’ve reached out to some active members I know who are safe and non-judgmental. These members have or previously had questions. They have managed to come to peace with their doubts…at least enough to continue in faithful activity. Of those I’ve invited, four plan to come. Their current callings are: counselor in primary presidency, counselor in elder’s quorum presidency, YW counselor, and seminary teacher. None of these active, serving members have spoken to their bishops about their doubts.
Likely, there will also be others in attendance: non-members, former members, inactive members. All will be supportive of this couple. But, I wanted to make sure that the newcomers also have support from those inside the church who can totally relate to their questions and queasiness.
You had also mentioned me giving advice. I don’t like to advise people as far as what path they should choose. The following sentiment appeals to me, “The difference between ‘advice’ from someone who sees you as inferior, and support from those with genuine respect for others is like night and day.” Whatever path a person chooses, I don’t view it as inferior to mine. I listen, validate and support them in their journey.
Ideally, this couple should be able to explore their religious questions within the walls of our own church. Today, that is not a viable option. The four active members who I’ve invited are safe. I know from experience and observation that they are judgment free and full of love.
George, let me, again, extend the invitation to come to the Talkeria. You have demonstrated a concern about members leaving. That is a huge deal to me. In the past 2 years, I have not found one single person who is willing to put action behind their words of concern. So, thank you for your original communication. It was certainly an odd way for us to connect. But, we connected. I’d love it if we could join forces in a good cause.
All My Best, Sam
For information on the Tannenbaum Talkeria click HERE.