Conversations about the religious and spiritual life on the other side of fundamentalism
200: Online Unchurched Mormonism: Lindsay Hansen Park & Natasha Helfer-Parker

200: Online Unchurched Mormonism: Lindsay Hansen Park & Natasha Helfer-Parker

Mormons all over the world are gathering online in increasing numbers.   They do this to process their past, present and future relationships with the church.  It is online that they find people who understand their growing or changing faith lives and the increasing size and complexity of Online Unchurched Mormonism attest to its utility.

But without the formal rules, manners and ethics found in face to face community, online ‘progressive’ or post-Mormon communities sometimes face challenges that signal the community’s volatility and vulnerabilities.

Lindsay Hansen Park, Natasha Helfer-Parker (who joins us later on in the conversation) and I talk about the benefits and challenges of one of Mormonism’s fastest growing congregations.


  1. AP

    Really enjoyed this discussion. It has become apparent to me over the last 20 years of spiritual transitioning that intimacy is what every community is wanting to create. We desire deeply to be heard, to feel understood. When we share common beliefs,aingst, rage or excitement we feel more connected. Your discussion raises the question : How can we do these things in a healthy way allowing for diversified perspective and not repeat the limiting binary processes? I find being human with all it’s ego traps very challenging and ever motivating as I challenge myself to be more self aware and mindful. Thank you for the candor and vulnerability all the discussion participants demonstrated. My journey has been enriched and supported by this podcast.

  2. Adrie de Jong

    Dear Gina, Lindsay and Natasha,
    just heard this podcast and have to re-listenThe sound of sweeping the floor made me not hear all your words properly.

    According to me the church made the wrong switch in early 1960’s: they decided to let go of Jesus Christ and choose to follow Patriarchy attitudes and planted those attitudes into the church. Not letting Jesus’ or Joseph Smith’s words and teachings be celebrated in the gatherings, houses, tempels and speeches, but to use these gatherings, houses, tempels and speeches for the limited (read:selfisch) attitudes, wishes and longings from those who follow patriarchy principles.

    Patriarchy is not a grown-up way of living, it is an attitude of a 5 year old male kid. It never comes to mature attitude, because it’s stuck there. When we look at the way patriarchy build it’s communities we see, that only males matter, they want their freedom to and play out all the things that come to their mind. They don’t feel restricted by responsibilities toward others, they just see them as tools to serve them.

    Just as a kid wants to go its way, they don’t want to be bothered by no-no’s. And since they have no idea of larger/unseen processes, that they can’t see, but are parts of our lives to live a healthy life, they want to rule all, over all and have say about everything … no matter at the costs of whatever. They think that what they can’t see, is simply not there. All the while like little kids can be bewondered by blingbling, money, status, big cars, big houses, many kids, all about quantity, they have no clue about quality, are important for them and their right to reach … at the cost of everything and everyone. If you have doubt about this theory … look at the place of women: they are in the kitchen or cleaning the house, exactly like mums of 5 years old do, right ? And if not being busy housekeeping, women are still nice toys to play with for status while going out, or in bed. The mormon church has been swallowed empty over the last 50 years for use of all kind of things that we heard in podcasts. Having made Joseph Smith in to some kind of Jesus and having Jesus put away for talks with only the prophets. Money used for blingbling buildings, and women taken away their rights to develop: to make them ask for money for their activities and have their lessons under male supervision.

    Well, is a kid innocent when they harm others while wanting to play their games ? Well, a kid has to learn and when it grows up it is considered to grow up to understanding limits in what it can or cannot do: do no harm to others, live and let live, respect others etc. This internal understanding we call being mature ! Now, that is what we expect to have happened to each person on earth when they grow up.

    And this is the problem with patriarchy: males don’t grow up to this internal understanding of responsibilities to others, habitat and all that lives. They keep maintaining this 5 year old attitude ! They want to have what they see, and everyone and everything is a usefull tool to get it, and if it says no: it’s their right to get it out of their way ! Even if their actions are harmfull for themselves in the end. We see how our earth suffers, how our women suffer, how habitat is hollowed and has become dirty, unusefull for life. They are only slowly waking up from the damage they have done, but rather close their eyes and keep on going.

    The polygamy problem is due to this limited mental attitude of men and them being superior to those that they use as tools to reach their goals: to have many wives and to have many kids, not seeing the needs for aswell the women as the basic needs for the children. Just a theory of how the picture looks like, is not enough to bring that picture into a real life event. The unseen needs are unseen and not included into the actions and outcome.

    When I hear Lindsay speak of her understanding of the polygamy theory, than … yes the theory could be a beautiful picture. We can understand a beautiful idea and hold on to it and try to make it work, even when it hurts and asks to go an extra mile. Many times to often the picture is told, but the things that the picture doesn’t show are not told. And since its unseen, there are no words for it, you can’t point unto it. And since the unseen needs were not respected, given and learned, that is the basic layer of all the hurt: while it can’t be expressed. Since ‘its unseen’ and to patriarchy 5 year old attitude, all unseen is not there ! Patriarchy male become intolerant, violent, impatient, using control to make his picture work. We can’t see the air that we breath, but we need it. We can’t see how food fuels our bodies, but we need it. Each of us have a calling to live our life for a particular reason, not merely to fill in a 5 years old mental male’s picture. This calling is a quest, you can’t see it, but one is murdered if it can’t live it. Just like clean air, food and drink, it has to be respected. This personal quest needs space and tools to find it and materialize it. The patriarchy picture has no room for personal quests, a 5 year old has no clue of personal quests, it only sees its own longing and needs for blingbling and status, and everything and all in the world are usefull and tools to reach his fullfillment of blingbling and status. And patriarchy males urge other patriarchy males into reaching this status to glorify and let it grow into ‘a heaven on earth’ of blingbling and status ! Here you see that some of patriarchy pictures might serve some males, but uses other males to add to their blingbling and status, while also these males are just used, without getting to the quest they were about to find and live. Patriarchy is too simple and has no room for that.

    We can understand pictures, precisely described by patriarchy males and how wonderful it is to work that out. Now all those who are hurt by all that is unseen on the pictures, without words, or never been told, talked about or given words to, they are afraid of loosing your understanding, Lindsay, while you are captured in the wonder of the picture that is told. They become fearfull and afraid of you getting lost into the picture, while often they don’t even have found words yet to describe what is missing. Your positive attitude toward the picture makes them afraid of losing you to that theory, while you don’t see ‘the unseen’, the wordless and missing parts. I know you don’t want to hurt, neglect or misunderstand them. Maybe this is a tool to give words to what is missing, to what is only felt in fear, anger or emptyness. Lay down the whole picture that is told, and let those who are hurt put words behind the words that describe the picture. Words that are unseen, untold, undescribed, but are clearly there in feelings of hurt, pain, fear, emptyness and loss of reasson to live, cos the quest got out of view.

    When a patriarchy male thinks of polygamy as women and kids, he feels he is a great guy, if the women feel rivalry against each other, to get his love or attention. While the women felt lonely, left alone and fearfull for losing their basic needs. Like toys they have been played with, instead of being respected and being asured of their basic needs and to live at peace without fear of facing poverty, hunger or loosing other needs. They sure must know many more little things that fringed, hurted and made them fearfull and alone. Little things become a huge pile, so, don’t think of little things that they don’t matter. Every negative wink with the eye makes a person more afraid of being in the right place and makes look for attitudes to save itself in the situation. Every wink adds to the huge pile of uncertainty and unsafety and great fear.

    Patriarchy is a sickness that rules the world. The church of Jesus Christ should have never gotten into it. We longed to be gathered in the church of Jesus Christ, but we found our selves caught into a patriarchy emptyness. We still long for the church of Jesus Christ as established by Joseph Smith, but we feel lost. Only if the church of Jesus Christ is cleansed from patriarchy insanity, we have been given back Jesus Christ church. Just like the reorganised one did, when they stepped out of patriarchy insanity, I’m not yet ready joining them. Maybe my quest is that I should’ve been in this church, and that is why I can’t let go, but I need it to be without patriarchy. I’m still filling in unseen parts of the picture that the church had gone into. Already in my time, the 70’s, patriarchy was ruining the teachings of Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith, I left before it became too ackward in the 90’s. I rather followed Jesus Christ, than patriarchy rules.

    Patriarchy is ruining the world, we see it in big businesses or in organisations that should create safe societies, everywhere the 5 year old mental male is working out his desire for blingbling and status. And citizens and just the normal people are being used as tools to wringe out the money of their pockets and make them poor or work too hard, but never getting them to their own quest in a world where there is safety and peace. Too bad the church got into the patriarchy direction, while it should have been a save haven ! :o(

    Sorry, pretty long, but maybe it helps ?
    Adrie de Jong
    The Netherlands

  3. David

    I guess it must be odd to leave the Mormon Church only to find other Mormon churches (things that happen in our church in other places).


    You so adverse to black & white thinking, but is there a place where B&W thinking maybe a positive rather than a negative. Studying Doctrinal mastery this morning, I came across 1 Cor 15:20-22, where basically it says that if you don’t believe that Christ resurrected your faith will do you no good.

    So we come across lot of B&W thinking in the scriptures, but I think there are areas in our life where just having B&W thinking can provide a greater drive than nuance.

    I guess what am saying is that at times in place binary thinking can be more helpful than analogous reasoning or fuzzy logic wherein we acknowledge that both take place at the same time. In any case, I admire the work that you do and your approach….

  4. Melissa Elliott

    I’m active in the exmormon Reddit. As far as authority goes, Lindsey has historical authority in that community. She does not have moral authority to tell anyone how to behave, speak, or feel. I think it would not be wise for her to seek that authority, especially since she’s not normally a participant in that space. As far as conference goes, I think there’s a carnival atmosphere, not just outrage. I often see a meme of a goat eating popcorn and fun selfies. We tend to schedule our drama when we can, and try to inject humour into that communal experience. Often there is a mix of people who are trying to deal with watching it when they don’t want to, and others who are checking in. When we can choose our drama schedule, it happens around conference or other holidays. Other times, we try to have substantive conversations.

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