Community Conversations are an opportunity for individuals of all backgrounds and philosophies to join in civil discourse about issues of interest to the LGBT and LDS communities. Community Conversations are not debates, presentations, or panel discussions; they are genuine conversations that are grounded in the conviction that the human experience is complex and progress only comes when we listen, love, and seek to understand.
All you need to do is: pick a topic question (must be open-ended), set a date, schedule a room in your local library or community center, invite the community to attend, prepare a one-page handout with helpful information and facts about your topic question, and then host the conversation by following the guidelines below. It’s that easy.
How to host a Community Conversation:
- Welcome everyone and refer them to the handout you’ve provided, containing pertinent facts and information about today’s topic.
- Explain the guidelines for participation (below).
- Read the topic question and then let the conversation unfold according to the needs of those gathered.
- End the conversation strictly on-time and allows for smaller conversations to carry-over until the library’s closing time. (Suggested length: 90 minutes)
1. Be curious: Try to empathize with one another by asking open, honest questions about perspectives and ideas that you feel you genuinely can not relate to or understand.
2. Be humble: Respond to questions only with “I” statements, avoiding statements like “we all know…” or “everyone tends to…”
3. Be respectful: Do not try to fix, save, invade, persuade, debate, teach, advise, counsel, challenge, or change others.
4. Please only participate either by asking open, honest questions or by answering questions from personal experience. (This is not a forum to “make your point.”)
You can also view and share previous online MBB Community Conversations:
Bill Bradshaw and Dr. John Dehlin 2011 survey of LGBTQ Latter-day Saints
An on-line survey was conducted in the fall of 2011, under the auspices of Utah State University, which yielded 1612 participants – LGBTQ Latter-day Saints (current and former members of the Church). Responses to the large number of questions produced a wealth of data regarding such topics as sexual identity development, religious identity development, interventions engaged in for the purpose of coping with or changing one’s sexual orientation, mental health outcomes, and religiosity and religious trajectories. Seven published papers reporting this work have now appeared in prominent academic journals, with others in preparation. This was a wide-ranging Community Conversation. Although many in the LDS/LGBT community were excited about their work, this was not just an event for fans. The participants submitted questions to the Doctors about their methods and about why they feel this is a valuable study.
Featuring North Star leadership Gregory Harris, Becky Mackintosh and Kyle Merkley. Topics included (but were not be limited to) North Star’s mission, the themes for this year’s North Star conference happening in Provo on March 18-19, 2016, expected messages from keynote speakers at the conference, and shifts in North Star messaging away from supporting sexual orientation change efforts. This Community Conversation was a great example of vigorous and respectful discussion with input from across the LDS LGBTQ/SSA community.