Beyond Cults and Culture Wars: Building a Home For Freethinkers

A Look into the Origins of the Free Thought Forum through the eyes of a Founding Board Member.

By Jacob Collier, Utah Valley Group

Hello Free Thought Forum! Before today, I hadn't put anything out there for our newsletter. As one of the founding board members of this organization, I figured it would be remiss of me not to explain my original motivations for starting this group with Nick and Lance…

Before I begin, it’s important to note my background. I come from a currently-active polygamist group. My distaste for Joseph Smith and his teachings still make it quite difficult for me to get along with my family who, for the most part, still belong to that group. Likewise, I really wasn't comfortable being a part of the predominant religious group in my area, the LDS church. I had also recently ended a long term relationship. The combination of all these factors left me feeling pretty much on my own. As such, I began visiting a local ex-Mormon Meetup group that met at a local coffee shop.

Unfortunately, this group didn't have consistently attending members. Anytime I went, I was equally likely to end up sitting there alone for an hour as I was to actually talk to anyone. Fortunately, when I was sitting in the coffee shop one day, wasting my time on my phone, Nick and his wife sat down and asked if I was part of the local ex-Mormon meetup group. We talked about a lot of the things that would end up becoming the core ideas of the Free Thought Forum. The rest is history.

See, as humans, we all need to belong somewhere. The lack of any kind of social group can leave one feeling vulnerable, alone, and depressed. As a young non-believer, it can be quite difficult to find a group that promotes things like skepticism, open-mindedness, and freethought, without also being infested with the kind of rampant anti-white, anti-western sentiments that I have found in some predominately atheistic groups.

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It’s important to have a healthy social group to find a spouse, to raise your children, to connect with others who share your core principles, to have a more local financial safety net, etc. Throughout history, humans have always benefited from these kinds of groups. While the criticisms toward our institutions of belief have been rightly aimed, it has left a lot of people feeling as though there is nowhere to turn to for the previous social necessities, while still holding some modicum of love and gratitude for your culture and the ideas that helped to create it.

For all these reasons and more, the Free Thought Forum was founded in March of 2019. We sincerely hope to provide people with a life-long practical social “backbone” to meet their social needs and aid in their self and familial development.

Can we measure up to that promise in the long run? I believe that with the efforts of Nick, Lance, myself, and you, our members, we will make that important difference. I believe that this organization will continue to grow and help far more people with stories similar to mine.

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