The 2017 Salt Lake Sunstone Symposium convenes in two weeks (July 26–29), and this episode introduces some of its highlights. But far more than just that, two of Sunstone’s leaders—Lindsay Hansen Park, and Sunstone magazine editor Stephen Carter—speak candidly about the new directions Sunstone has been moving in lately, and the new identity it is embracing. And it is also an identity that many listeners to this podcast will find fascinating and empowering for themselves in their individual lives within the Mormon tradition. Rejecting the foundation’s past attempts to try to bend its focus to convince people that it is not primarily is a group of Mormon misfits who negatively influence the wider LDS Church, it has completely tossed damaging scripts that play over and over in wider Mormonism about who is “in,” who is “out,” who is “heretic,” “apostate,” or a “real” Mormon, etc. Instead it is embracing the motto that “There are many ways to Mormon.” It recognizes the individuality of paths within the Mormon tradition and invites all to come and share about their journeys, beliefs, peculiarities, and spiritual cores. If you’re able to speak well and respectfully of others, Sunstone welcomes you to its gatherings and to submit pieces to be considered for publication. It will no longer play identity games that ultimately only benefit institutions rather than individuals. And just as Sunstone embraces all ways to Mormon—active and fully engaged in the LDS church, post-Mormon, ex-Mormon, fundamentalist Mormon, member of the Community of Christ or groups who separate from the Salt Lake headquartered church, or individuals who are in any other way shaped in some way by the Mormon tradition might think of themselves—might we also consider this attitude and path for ourselves? What might our Mormon journeys look like if we truly internalized the message that our way of “Mormon-ing” is just fine.
Listen in as this approach and embrace of every path (whether others consider it “fringe” or not) is laid out. Along the way you’ll learn more about the history of the Sunstone organization and its development alongside key moments in the past four-plus decades of Mormon history, including those brought on by the emergence of the internet and other things that have led it to seek new ways of connecting with Mormons. And, if you’re interested in learning more about its 2017 Salt Lake symposium and some of its key sessions, and other details such as how to register and how to purchase audio of the sessions should you not be able to attend (or that you missed because there were so many good ones happening concurrently!), you will not be disappointed. Those come in the final third of the episode.