Talkeria Takes a Turn

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Talkeria #25

Thursday, May 18, 2017, 7:00pm. Location: James Coney Island, 11940 S.W. Frwy., Stafford, TX.

The Talkeria Turns

My faith journey is now 3 years old.  In February 2016, I made the fateful decision to follow the teachings and example of Christ in the Church of Jesus Christ.  Over the intervening months, I have come to several realizations.  As a result, I’m taking a major turn in direction.

There have been two intentions behind the my blogs, the Talkeria, and the voting opposed initiatives.  #1:  To help the church.  #2:  To help people.  I’ve decided to drop #1 and advance #2 to #1.  The Good Ship Zion leaves a plenitude of damage in it’s wake.  Damage to real live human beings.  I’m turning away from helping the corporate church and turning exclusively toward helping those being beaten up by the boat.

I’ve discovered a new spiritual experience.  A spirituality that is satisfying and long lasting.  It’s certainly much easier to access than my old paradigm of being touched by the Spirit.  And this is it…simply connecting with people through understanding, empathy and validation…without judgment.

Please Come If You Need a SAFE PLACE to….

  • Discuss Mormon questions
  • Discuss Mormon doubts
  • Talk about your faith journey
  • Listen to other’s stories
  • Vent
  • Express anger
  • Express sadness
  • Explore new conclusions
  • Discuss gender questions and challenges
  • Discuss family difficulties resulting from a faith transition
  • Etc…etc…etc

Anyone is welcome regardless of where they fall on the believing/non-believing spectrum.

For the history of the Mormon Talkeria click HERE.

P.S.  I love the amazing people who have come to talk in past Talkerias.  I wish you Godspeed on your journey.

P.S.S.  Many experience great pain and turmoil during and after a faith transition.  I’ve often heard it described as gut-wrenching, excruciating and lonely.  Today, a reader shared the bit of wisdom below.  Sounds like a great maxim for the Talkeria.

“You’re not a victim for sharing your story.  You are a survivor setting the world on fire with your truth.  And you never know who needs your light, your warmth and raging courage.”

 

 

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Talkeria-Columbine-Connection

img_0169Sundance Film Festival.  I’ve never gone.  But, one of my daughters just returned from it.  On her way home she clipped an article from United Airline’s inflight magazine.   With eager anticipation it was presented to me when she walked in the door.

Unlike what you are about to read, my faith journey does not include the horror of mass trauma.  But, it does share a similar element of gut-wrenching pain and loneliness.  My experience has also resulted in a similar resolution.  The Talkeria was born.  Born “to reach out and find others, to talk to others, and to make those vital connections so they never feel alone.”

Heather, thanks for your kind example of vision and initiative.  And thanks for the validation!

Dear World,

We interact with hundreds of new people every year, and yet there are times we all feel alone. I believe that if we took the time to notice, we’d see that we are infinitely more connected by our similarities than divided by our differences.

Hours after the SWAT team found my classmates and me huddled in a locked office in Columbine High School, I sat on my couch, feeling utterly alone – even though I was surrounded by loved ones.  Years passed and tragedies kept happening. But I continued to feel alone, convinced that no one understood what I had experienced. Until one day the helpless feeling just became too much, and I realized that I did have something unique to offer others: experience. Experience fighting the personal battle that results from mass trauma. I never wanted another person to feel like I did for over 10 years. So now my efforts are to reach out and find others, to talk to others, and to make those vital connections so they never feel alone.

The truth is, none of us are alone. All we have to do is take notice.

So reach out.  Be kind.  And don’t forget to notice our similarities instead of focusing on our differences.

Peace,
Heather

Conversations. Chapter 5: George Politely Declines Talkeria Invitation

invitation

From George (For Context see Chapter 3)

Dec. 20, 2016

Sam,

Geography makes this impossible.  I used to travel to Houston frequently for work, but that was a previous employer.  I expect that I would not be considered “safe” by your group.  I would defend the doctrine and teachings of the Church.  I would encourage the invited people to reconcile themselves to the prophets of God and to subject themselves to the will of their Heavenly Father like a child despite places where their opinions and understandings differ.  Your guests would not be happy to have me there.

My Response

Jan. 3, 2017

Hi George,

Oh, that darn geography.  You are probably right. Your presence might not contribute to a ‘safe’ environment.  When trying to find answers to questions and doubts, being called to repentance can be very off-putting.

Defending the doctrine and teachings of the church is absolutely permitted in the Talkeria. But, the discussions have to be totally open to examine the complete history and doctrine from all sides.

A faith crisis is often painful and lonely.  The purpose of our meetings isn’t to tell someone what decision to make or what direction to take.  Rather, it’s to listen, support, and empathize without judgment.  These are intelligent, thoughtful adults who are hurting and confused.  They’ll make the choice that is right for them and their family.  I trust them.  Those who choose to leave, I can and do support.  Those who choose to stay, I absolutely support.

The last 2 Talkerias have been dedicated to help struggling members remain active and continue to serve in their callings.  Of course, that’s what these folks desire.  The heavy weight of silence is lifted from their shoulders as they are able to talk and share openly.  At the end of the gathering one person said this, “I’m looking forward to going to church, now.”

This Thursday’s Talkeria will be much more diverse.  One person wants to stay.  One person left the church 15 years ago, but still has issues.  One couple has decided to leave.  Again, I’ve asked members to come who can relate to specific concerns that have been expressed.

George, you are selling yourself a little short.  I think you would be surprised at how well you could express love to people in all stages of testimony.  After all, we are in the Church of Jesus Christ.  His great commandment is to love.  Charity never faileth.

By the way, I plan to respond to the longer email soon.

Best Wishes for a Happy New Year,

Sam

 

O Tannenbaum Talkeria

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O Tannenbaum Talkeria—It’s Christmas!

Ok…we won’t have snow.  But, we will have great food & great conversation.  Friendships formed.  Connections created.  Stories shared.  Loneliness lifted.

The food has generously been provided for!!!  So, come and enjoy.

If you plan to attend, please send me an RSVP.  Either private message on Facebook or email me at liberty-sam@msn.com.

Over the past 6 months, 32 people have visited the Talkeria.  Ten more have told me they hope to come soon.  The largest gathering ever was 7 attendees.  We may have more or less this Wednesday.  If you have never come before, you are always welcome to join us.

What’s the Talkeria all About?

Gut-Wrench in the Closet

Over the past 2 1/2 years, I have undergone a gut-wrenching faith transition. I am still a faithful member of the LDS church. However, I look at the world much differently. I say gut-wrenching because my journey has been accompanied by a good bit of anguish, pain, anger, disappointment and loneliness. Navigation has been difficult for me…..and my family.

For the first 7 months, I thought that I was completely alone in searching out new truths. Little did I know that there were, and are, many treading the same path. But, that was not initially evident. There was a part the LDS culture that I was naively unaware of. Much of the history and doctrine of Mormondom is forbidden to discuss at church. Asking certain questions in public or in private yields judgment but no answers.

The suppression of honest discussion causes a number of unintended consequences. I have personally experienced several. I have also witnessed the difficult experience of others.   Two years ago, I started suggesting to my local church leaders that there was a need to find a way to discuss troubling issues. As the years have passed, I have watched as more and more friends and family walk away from the church that they had once been so committed to. All of them had basically grappled in private with their gut-wrenching faith transition.

So, absent any other venue for open & in-person discussion, I started the Mormon Talkeria.  A casual sit-down to kindly and respectfully talk.

Talkeria Topics

If you find yourself in any of these situations, let’s talkeria.

  • LDS history and doctrine are troubling you, family members or friends.
  • You have a child who is doubting or has left the church.
  • You have a parent, sibling or friend who is doubting or has left the church.
  • Your faith has changed, and you are having difficulty interacting with family or friends
.
  • Your faith has changed and are having difficulty in your marriage.
  • The faith of your spouse has changed and you are having difficulty in you marriage.
  • You are LGBT, in or out of the closet.
  • You have an LGBT child, sibling or friend.
  • You have left the church, but still have Mormon issues to discuss.
  • You have left the church, but still want to maintain contact with Mormons.

Belief Spectrum

The Mormon Talkeria is meant for both believing Mormons, ex-Mormons and anybody in-between. Whatever path a person choses or has chosen, judgment has no place here. Discussions are not intended to try to sway anyone to leave, stay or come back to church. Rather, this will be a place of support for the journey each has chosen.
I am not an expert at anything.  I’m certainly not a professional counselor. That’s not the purpose of The Talkeria.  It’s simply a venue for talking face-to-face and friend-to-friend.

For more information on the Talkeria history, click HERE.

The Mormon Talkeria

3D colourful people talking

Two Traveling Talkerias:  #29 & #30

Coming this weekend to a city near you.  Well…maybe.  At least, if Phoenix and Las Vegas are cities near you.  For more details of what this is all about, scroll down to “Original Post.”

Phoenix:  Saturday, Sept 9, 3:00pm.  At…..a private residence.  If you would like to come, send me an email or PM me or make a comment on this blog and I’ll share the address with you.  It’s in Scottsdale near the intersection of Shea & 142nd

Las Vegas:  Sunday, Sept 10, 1:00pm.  At…The Macayo Mexican Restaurant, 1741 E Charleston Blvd, 8245 W Sahara, Las Vegas, Nevada 89104.

Talkeria #28.  Wow, it’s been 1 1/2 months since the last Talkeria.  Twelve were in attendance.  About half were first timers.  The stories…the heartache…the light that were shared that night created wonderful bonds of  empathetic friendship that will not be forgotten.

Talkeria #28

Sorry about the late notice in announcing TOMORROW’s talkeria.  Thursday, July 20, 2017, 7:00pm.  Location:  James Coney Island, 11940 S.W. Frwy., Stafford., TX.  For more details of what this is all about, scroll down to “Original Post.”

Talkeria #27 had 6 attendees.  Two were first timers.  I loved the discussion.  Especially love the people.  I’d really like to list each person’s name and write how amazing each one is.  Of course, that would violate a core value of our get togethers.   The conversations aren’t secret…they’re sacred.

The two newbies are both active in the church.  Love the church.  Have no intentions of leaving.  Good for them.  They received complete support and understanding for their chosen path.  The other four are at various stages away from the church.  They received complete support and understanding from those still in the church.  In this kind of environment, there is such love and connection between all; active & inactive, believer & non, atheists & god-fearing.  It is so beautiful.

#27 The Daugher Talkeria

That’s right…one of my TBM daughters plans to attend.  She’s terrific.  Non-judgmental.  She gets where I’m at and what I’m doing.  You’ll really like here.  The Talkeria will convene Thursday, June 15, 2017, 7:00pm.  Location: James Coney Island, 11940 S.W. Frwy., Stafford, TX. For more details of what this is all about, scroll down to “Original Post.”

Talkeria #26 was held two weeks ago.  Tears well up as I think of the amazing people who were there.  Four first time Talkerites.  A young couple with their 2 super well behaved children.  A prior acquaintance who I hadn’t seen for several years.  One year ago he was in a bishopric.  Another man who I became FB friends with only a few months ago.  Also, recently serving in a bishopric.  Such lovely people.  The church is truly losing it’s best and brightest.

Recently, the Talkeria has taken a new direction. Click HERE to read about it.

We talk about ANY Mormon issues you’d like to discuss. Especially, those you are afraid to bring up at church. Here are some of the reasons people have come to the Talkeria.

You want to share the story of your faith crisis/journey/transition.
LDS history and doctrine are troubling you, family members or friends.
You have left the church, but still have Mormon issues to discuss.
You have a child who is doubting or has left the church.
You have a parent, sibling or friend who is doubting or has left the church.
Your faith has changed, and you are having difficulty interacting with family or friends
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Your faith has changed and are having difficulty navigating a mixed faith marriage.
The faith of your spouse has changed.
You are LGBT, in or out of the closet.
You have an LGBT child, sibling or friend.
You have left the church, but still want to maintain contact with Mormons.

Talkeria #Twenty Six

Thursday, June 1, 2017, 7:00pm.  Location: James Coney Island, 11940 S.W. Frwy., Stafford, TX.  For more details of what this is all about, scroll down to “Original Post.”

Five people attended Talkeria #25.  Five fabulous people.  Three veterans.  Two fledgling visitors.  One was an amazing woman.  Asked why she came, she responded, “To be with other people who have left the church, but can’t leave it alone.  Until recently I felt so alone.”  Over the past 2 years she has been attempting go get her temple sealing cancelled.  It’s been a demeaning, cruel and grueling process.  The wringer that the church puts women through, and only women, is misogynous and MUST be changed.

The other newbie flew all the way from North Carolina, just to attend the Talkeria.  That’s right.  He lives in North Carolina.  Flew to Houston in the afternoon.  Rented a car.  Spent the night in a hotel and flew back home the next day.  Obviously, he felt a great need to talk about what he’s facing with his faith transition.  And talk he did.  It was cathartic for him.  Frankly, it was cathartic for all of us.

Talkeria #25–Turning in a New Direction

Thursday, May 18, 2017, 7:00pm. Location: James Coney Island, 11940 S.W. Frwy., Stafford, TX.  Click HERE for more details.

Talkeria #24–Voting Opposed

Simply amazing.  Held in SLC, Saturday evening, April 1.  Earlier that day I along with 2 friends voted opposed in the Conference Center.

Eighteen people attended.  Lasted 5 hours.  I need to make sure the time doesn’t get out of control.  Wonderful people.  Tender and heart rending stories.  Great friendships established.

Talkeria #23–Trailblazing!

Thursday, February 9, 2017, 7:00pm.  Location:  James Coney Island, 11940 S.W. Frwy., Stafford, TX.  For more details of what this is all about, scroll down to “Original Post.”

A very special visitor is coming.  Click HERE for more details about my honored guest.

Talkeria Twenty-Two

Thursday, February 2, 2017, 7:00pm.  Location:  James Coney Island, 11940 S.W. Frwy., Stafford, TX.  For more details of what this is all about, scroll down to “Original Post.”

Talkeria Twenty-One.  Back to Houston.

Thursday, January 19, 2017, 7:00pm.  Location:  James Coney Island, 11940 S.W. Frwy., Stafford, TX. For more details of what this is all about, scroll down to “Original Post.”

Sincerity in Sin City.  Oh boy, was last week’s Talkeria amazing.   4 1/2 hours of discussion.  How in the world did we manage to talk that long?  The meeting in Las Vegas was held in a private residence.  After about 3 1/2 hours, I tried to wrap it up.  The homeowner said, “Just 15 more minutes.”  Another hour transpired.  Of course, the conversation was poignant and passionate.  Here’s the  juicy part……Sorry, talk in the Talkeria stays in the Talkeria.

For all those who came out, all I can say is..THANK YOU.

#20:  Traveling Talkeria–Las Vegas

Wednesday, January 11, 2017, 7:00pm.  Location:  Private Residence in Las Vegas, NV.  Please private message or e-mail me for the address.  If you are new to the Talkeria concept, see all the details by scrolling down to “Original Post.”

Last Sunday’s Talkeria in Salt Lake City was totally terrific.  Eighteen attendees.  Six still active and want to continue so.  Two resigned.  One gay man.  One transgender youth.  One pink haired woman.  One amazing hostess.  And…..my MOM.  That right there made it worthwhile for me.

Eighteen new friends as a result of sharing and discussing personal journeys.  I’ve come to recognize the recounting of these journeys as sacred stories.  Of course, all the narratives were interesting, touching and insightful.  There were 2 that I was stunned by…in a good way.  I plan to write a short blog about them both.  Thanks to all who came.  It’s an honor to be counted as your friend and you as mine.

#19:  Traveling Talkeria—Salt Lake City

Sunday, January 8, 2017, 2:00.  Location:  Private residence.   Please private message or e-mail me for the address.  If you are new to the Talkeria concept, see all the details by scrolling down to “Original Post.”

Embarking on a new adventure.  Several friends have expressed a desire to have a Talkeria near them.  OK.  Here goes nothin!  I’ve decided that in the course of business travel, I’ll attempt to schedule something.  First up….the world headquarters of Mormondom…Salt Lake City.

BTW, last Thursday’s Talkeria was amazing. Twelve people came. One non-member and her Mormon wife. One resigned. Five active members in various stages of faith, 4 not-active faith transitioned members. Poignant. Fascinating. Four shed tears during the course of their story. All of us FULLY supported the others in the faith choices they have made or are in the process of struggling through. We parted with a hearty hug of friendship, forged in the crucible of trust and openness.

Talkeria Eighteen….the 1st of 2017

Thursday, January 5, 2017, 7:00pm, James Coney Island, 11940 S.W. Frwy., Stafford, TX.  For more details of what this is all about, scroll down to “Original Post.”

The Tannenbaum Talkeria was terrific.  Nine of us gathered to share an intimate dinner at delightful and delicious Fung’s Kitchen.  The food was great, but the real highlights were the conversations and personal stories.  Five of the attendees were first timers.  This gathering had a somewhat a different flavor in that 8 of us are still active members.  Amazing and open were the narratives that were shared.  Some shocking.  Some heart rending.  Some topics never discussed before.

#17—O Tannenbaum Talkeria

Special Christmas Talkeria.  Dec 21, 2016.  For details, click HERE.

Talkeria Sixteen

Thursday, December 8, 2016, 7:00pm, James Coney Island, 11940 S.W. Frwy., Stafford, TX. For more details of what this is all about, scroll down to “Original Post.”

Sorry about the month long hiatus.  But, the Talkeria hasn’t stopped.  It’s just gone underground this past month.  Several ‘individual’ Talkerias were held at lunch or in people’s homes.  Some trying to stay in the church.  Others who are in the process of leaving.  I’m finding that when we open up our deepest concerns to one another, something magical happens.  A spiritual connection is established.  A bond of love is established.  Of course, this beautiful bridge is only built if judgement is totally absent.

Some Personal News.  I’ve decided to give up my temple recommend. No one is asking that I relinquish it.  I’m worthy to keep it.  But, here’s the problem I’m trying to resolve.  Over the past 2 years, it has been super difficult to get any attention to the concern of people leaving the church.  None.  It’s been very weird.  So counterintuitive.  One of the distractions has been my temple recommend.  Members continue to criticize and complain that I have one.  In their view, the sin of voting opposed in conference is of such magnitude that my temple privileges should be yanked.  OK, I cry uncle.  Now, can we just focus on the painful faith struggles that our friends are enduring in excruciating silence.

I have made the sacred temple covenant to live the law of sacrifice.  It basically says that I will sacrifice everything to sustain the kingdom of God.  Elder McConkie said that includes my good name, reputation, and honor.  This past year, I’ve definitely put my good name on the sacrificial altar.  To many of my friends, it’s been trashed.  At this point, I’m willing to sacrifice my temple privileges in the attempt to draw attention to the cause of sustaining the kingdom of God.  What we are doing is not sustainable for so many of our friends, family and children.  It’s time to do something different.  If not, the steady bleed of church members will start to gush.  In England, the activity rate is now 22% and declining.  The same trend is emerging in the U.S.  Are we going to wait until it’s ‘English’ bad before taking any action?

No temple recommend to distract.  So, let’s act.

Talkeria Fifteen

Sunday Nov. 6, 2016, 3:00pm, 8744 Westpark, Houston, TX.  For more details of what this is all about, scroll down to “Original Post.”

To accommodate more people’s schedule,  I’m alternating between Thursday and Sunday. If you have a hard time finding the location, send a PM on FB.

Last week a sad, fascinating, and hopeful discussion with a strong woman who drove across state lines to attend the Talkeria.  She inspired and heartened me.  Thank you, my friend.

Talkeria Fourteen

Thursday, Oct 27, 2016, 7:00pm, James Coney Island, 11940 S.W. Frwy., Stafford, TX.  For more details of what this is all about, scroll down to “Original Post.”

We’ve taken a 2 week hiatus due to travel.  The last 2 Talkerias were held on Sunday.  At this point, I plan to alternate.  So, this time it will be moved back to Thursday.

Over the intervening weeks, lots of great discussions being had, over the phone, by e-mail and in person.  If you want to talk about anything Mormon, feel free to come.  Groups are usually small.  I’m hearing about lots of family issues related to faith transitions.

Talkeria Thirteen

Sunday Oct. 9, 2016, 3:00pm, 8744 Westpark, Houston, TX.  New time & place–my business office.  Hopefully, this new day and time will be more convenient for many.  If you have a hard time locating it, send a PM on FB.

Last week another amazing discussion was had.  At this point, over 30 different individuals have come to talk about Mormon issues.  From Mormon atheists to current Relief Society presidents, and all the way in between. No Mormon topic is forbidden.

For more details of what the Mormon Talkeria is all about, scroll down to “Original Post.”

Talkeria Twelve

Sunday Oct. 2, 2016, 2:30, 8744 Westpark, Houston, TX.  We’ve moved the time and place, this week.  This is my business office.  Hopefully, this new day and time will be more convenient for many.  If you have a hard time locating it, send a PM on FB.

Today’s GC has been very exciting.  Many reports of opposing votes, including one at the conference center.  My wife and I voted together at home, seated side by side, in front of my laptop.  More on all this later.

For more details of what the Mormon Talkeria is all about, scroll down to “Original Post.”

Talkeria Eleven

September 22, 2016, 7:00pm.

James Coney Island, 11940 S.W. Frwy., Stafford, TX.  For more details of what this is all about, scroll down to “Original Post.”

Last week, four intrepid souls shared intimate concerns and issues.  One atheist, one questioning, one transitioned, on traditional believing.  No judgmentalism interferred. We shared problems, concerns, compassion, wisdom.  When all was said and done one Talkeria attendee had this to say, “We both really enjoyed the evening. This is one of the first times we’ve been able to discuss our situation openly with others. It was very therapeutic.”

Talkeria Times Ten

September 15, 2016, 7:00pm.  James Coney Island, 11940 S.W. Frwy., Stafford, TX.  For more details of what this is all about, scroll down to “Original Post.”

Shocking that 2 1/2 months of Talkeria have already transpired.  With the release of the Mormon Stories podcast, there has been a ton of activity.

Talkeria Time #9

September 8, 2016,7:00pm.  James Coney Island, 11940 Southwest Frwy, Stafford, Texas.  For more details of what this is all about, scroll down to “Original Post.”

Last Thursay was like Christmas in September.   I gained a new perspective on my favorite holiday.  It’s going to make a difference on the next Dec. 25th.  This week I have a topic submitted by someone out of state.  This person is struggling in the church and is looking for input.  His wife has no idea that he has doubts.  Of course, he can’t discuss anything at church.  So, loniness and isolation has set in.

Talkeria Tonight #8

September 1, 2016, 7:00pm.  James Coney Island, 11940 Southwest Frwy, Stafford, Texas.  For more details of what this is all about, scroll down to “Original Post.”

Last Thursday was amazing.  7 people attended.  One from Utah, here on business.

Whether you are angry or at peace, at the start of your journey or years into it, whether you don’t have the courage to speak yet or are bursting to speak out, this is a safe space to talk.  Whether an active member (like me), inactive, resigned, or never been Mormon, you are welcome.

Talkeria #7

Next meeting, August 25, 2016, 7:00pm.   James Coney Island, 11940 Southwest Frwy, Stafford, Texas.  If you have any questions or problems regarding Mormon issues, please come.  Whether you are angry or at peace, at the start of your journey or years along it, whether you don’t have the courage to speak yet or are bursting to speak out, this is a safe space to talk.

Twenty-two different people have now attended our little Talkeria.  People from all across the spectrum:

Non-memeber & members: inactive, active non-believing, active believing, resigned, left to go to other churches, left to become atheist.  Current RS Pres, HPGL, Ward mission leader, several former bishops.

P.S. I buy the hot dogs!!!

Talkeria #6

Next meeting, August 18, 2016.  James Coney Island, 11940 Southwest Frwy, Stafford, Texas

What an amazing discussion in #5.  An active RS president & her husband, in the HP leadership joined us.  They sincerely wanted to know how to interact with those who have doubts without offending or pushing away.  The 5 other attendees had great feedback for them.

Total run down:

  • One in-active
  • One non-member spouse.
  • One resigned
  • One recently left
  • One active, transitioned faith
  • One active R.S. Pres
  • One active HP group leadership

Talkeria #5

Will be held Aug 4, 2016.  Same time.  Same place.  James Coney Island, 11940 Southwest Frwy, Stafford, Texas.

Last week, amazing and amazingly frank  discussion.  There were four attendees.  A pretty perfect number.  Two new.  Two veterans.  Here is the run down.

  • One active, traditional believing member
  • One active, with very nuanced belief
  • One active, non-believer.  Has YM calling.  Major concern:  authenticity
  • One ex-member.  Left church 20 years ago.  Major concern:  how to discuss church with adult children who are still active.

At this point, 16 different people have joined in the Talkeria discussions.

Talkeria #4

July 28, 2016, 7:00pm, James Coney Island, 11940 Southwest Frwy, Stafford, Texas.

14 people have now attended.  Many more have wanted to come.  Today, I received a heartfelt message from a very good friend.  I cried through most of it.  For the past 3 to 4 years, he has been wrestling with faith issues.  As many experience, it has been done in silence and loneliness.  His wife is aware of his struggles.  But, he doesn’t have the confidence to discuss with his parents, siblings or members of his ward.  He has witnessed all the judgmentalism so commonly leveled at those with doubts and questions.  Unfortunately, he lives far from Houston.  I wish he could visit in on our Talkeria.

If you are anywhere near my home town, & need to talk about Mormon issues, feel free to join us. -All My Best to ya’ll.

Talkeria #2

July  7, 2016, 7:00pm, James Coney Island, 11940 Southwest Frwy, Stafford, Texas.

Talkeria One was terrific.  Eight wonderful souls showed up.  Much needed talk ensued.

Original Post

Six weeks ago, I started this blog.  At the time I had no idea if anybody would be interested.  I was willing to write, even if I were to be the only reader.  To my pleasant surprise, as of this moment 11,765 views have been registered from 63 countries around the globe.  Thanks for reading.  I hope you have enjoyed, learned, or experienced new thoughts.  It’s certainly been a learning experience for me.  Your comments have been especially meaningful.

Tomorrow Night, Thursday, June 30, 2016, something new is in the offing.  It will be called The Mormon Talkeria.  YOU….are invited.  7:00pm at James Coney Island, 11940 Southwest Frwy, Stafford, Texas.  Of course, I know most of you can’t make it.   There might only be 3 of us in attendance, me, myself and Irene.  I’ll be sitting there from 7 to 9, in my gray hair and black, long sleeve shirt.  Oh, yeah, I’ll have pants on, too.  This is not a one time affair.  I plan to be there talking at the Talkeria for the next several Thursdays that I’m in town.

Gut-Wrench in the Closet

Over the past 2 years, I have undergone a gut-wrenching faith transition.  I am still a faithful member of the LDS church.  However, I look at the world much differently.  I say gut-wrenching because my journey has been accompanied by a good bit of anguish, pain, anger, disappointment and loneliness.  Navigation has been difficult for me…..and my family.

For the first 7 months, I thought that I was completely alone in searching out new truths.  Little did I know that there were, and are, many treading the same path.  But, that was not initially evident.  There was a part the LDS culture that I was naively unaware of.  Much of the history and doctrine of the Mormondom is forbidden to discuss at church.  Asking certain questions in public or in private yields judgment but no answers.

The suppression of honest discussion causes a number of unintended consequences.  I have personally experienced several.   I have also witnessed the difficult experience of others.  1 1/2 years ago, I started suggesting to my local ecclesiastical leaders that there was a need to find a way to discuss troubling issues.  As the months have passed, I have watched as more and more friends and family walk away from the church that they had once been so committed to.  All of them had basically grappled in private with their gut-wrenching faith transition.

So, absent any other venue for open & in-person discussion, I’m starting a Talkeria.  A casual sit-down to kindly and respectfully talk.

TopicsTalkeria Topics

If you find yourself in any of these situations, let’s talkeria.
  • LDS history and doctrine are troubling you, family members or friends.
  • You have a child who is doubting or has left the church.
  • You have a parent, sibling or friend who is doubting or has left the church.
  • Your faith has changed, and you are having difficulty interacting with family or friends
  • Your faith has changed and are having difficulty in your marriage.
  • The faith of your spouse has changed and you are having difficulty in you marriage.
  • You are gay, in or out of the closet.
  • You have a gay child, sibling or friend.

Mormon Talkeria

The Mormon Talkeria is meant for both believing Mormons, ex-Mormons and anybody in-between.  Whatever path a person choses or has chosen,  judgment has no place here. Discussions are not intended to try to sway  anyone to leave, stay or come back to church. Rather, this will be a place of support for the journey each has chosen.

I am not an expert at anything.  I’m certainly not a professional counselor.  That’s not the purpose of The Talkeria.  It’s simply a venue for talking face-to-face and friend-to-friend.

Recently, I was called in for Jury Duty.  Four hours at the courthouse.  Rounds of questioning by the prosecuting and defense attorneys.  Finally, the actually jurors were selected.  The judge turned to those of us who didn’t make the cut and said, “Thank you for your service.  Being a part of the jury selection process is very important to our system of justice.  We have found that the best way to discover the truth is through a jury.”  I was kind of blown away.  Twelve ordinary, untrained men and women from all walks of live, are the best way to determine truth.  Whatever The Mormon Talkeria turns into, it will just be ordinary, untrained men and women trying to ferret out the best course to take at this time in their life.

For the next few weeks, I plan on being at JCI every Thursday.  Me, myself, and anyone else.

Not in Houston?

Well, that’s pretty much 99.9% of everybody reading this.  But, if you would like to be a part of the discussion, feel free to send an issue my/our way.  We’ll chew on it at our little Talkeria and share whatever wisdom might pop out.