Circling the Wagons conferences seek to be safe spaces where all Mormons and former-Mormons can discuss their authentic thoughts, feelings, beliefs and life experiences. Some of our attendees self-identify as LGBTQ. Others experience same-sex attraction. Some strive for celibacy or choose mixed-orientation marriages, others are in same-sex relationships or marriages. Families, friends, church leaders, and ward and community members are all welcome and present.
The diversity of our attendees is the strength of Circling the Wagons conferences. Conversations among people of different opinions and life experiences are enriching, exciting and fruitful. Compassion and understanding develop and friendships are made.
The diversity of our attendees is also a great challenge. Same-sex attraction is a topic that is at the center of many social, religious, political and family conflicts. Coming together to have healthy, productive conversations with people with whom one disagrees requires courage, strength, and tenacity as well as flexibility, meekness, and love. This year’s theme, Courageous Conversations, seeks to honor the courage of all who choose to come to the table to authentically speak, respectfully listen and to seek to find solutions that serve the most vulnerable members of our community.
We acknowledge that discussions about sexuality, religion, family relationships, and intimacy can be especially tumultuous and are sometimes less productive than we would prefer. In an effort to foster healthy and productive discussions, our Dialogue Workshops about high-conflict issues and our Affinity Group Dialogue Workshops will all be facilitated by licensed mental health professionals of differing perspectives who will work together to mediate conflicts and ensure that all perspectives are allowed voice. We have also drafted Standards of Ethical Communication and Conflict Resolution to guide us throughout the discussion process.