We’ve happily seen amazing progress towards more open stories and empathic awareness of one another’s lives, triumphs, and heartaches since Circling the Wagons’ first attempt to bring a broader range of lives face to face. We’ve also seen natural, complex challenges in the inevitable collisions.
Cutting through the noise of culture wars to truly see one another is crucial in our community as much now as ever. This year, we learned and practiced skills to listen louder, disagree more accurately, and find common ground to more confidently and peacefully navigate our relationships as families, friends, and communities. By adjusting our reception, we can more meaningfully check in and ask, “Can I hear you now?”
Heidi flew across the country into unfamiliar Mormon country to share some of her observations and insights from her own eye-opening and transformative experiences with LGBTQ/SSA
and Evangelical friends and family and her years of working to build bridges of understanding across divides in her own community. In her keynote, she champions meaningfully courageous conversations, gives reminders of shared and distinct experience, and raises reality checks. And after spending a day with her through raw emotions and vulnerable stories, we’re happy to count her as a new friend.
Download MP3 (23 MB, 33:05)
This publicly available video was presented to the CTW audience as an example of exploring constructive dialog. Facilitated by Krista Tippett, two vocal political opponents retrospectively delve into their turbulent history of dialog. Together, they admit their past failure to really hear one another, and they share what they’ve learned about themselves through the process. While they now find themselves more aligned on one particular issue despite continuing disagreements, their agreement isn’t presented as the takeaway nor the inevitable result of constructive dialog; rather, the takeaway we intended for our purposes is that as they continue to be at odds in other ways, they’ve come through the experience with lessons learned, better ability to reach understanding even if not agreement, and deeply valuing the rewards of “achieving disagreement”.
In this session, Lisa helps participants prepare to approach difficult conversations with some practical tips and pointers for creating safety, being aware of what’s going on inside of us during conflicts, establishing boundaries, and setting out with healthy curiosity as we find our own courageous conversations.
Download MP3 (21 MB, 30:20)
Jacob and Kendall dig into how the breakout small-group conversations went and what dynamics participants noticed, then explore developing relationships with people with whom we disagree, some skills to help navigate, and why anyone would be crazy enough to do it.
Download MP3 (26 MB, 38:06)
Facilitated by David Matheson and Jerry Buie (both from The Reconciliation & Growth Project), Lisa and David discuss what it’s like to be in a public position, explore the role of sexual fluidity in the greater conversation, answer audience questions, and touch on complex political or social factors that come into play in seeking and conveying understanding of LGBTQ/SSA & Mormon experience.
Download MP3 (42 MB, 1:01:04)
Circling the Wagons Conferences seek to facilitate ethical discussions in the Mormon community by aligning with the Standards of Ethical Communication and Conflict Resolution, drafted by community members of varying perspectives and ratified by the Circling the Wagons Coalition.