Project Zion Podcast

377 | Fair Trade Chapter 2 | Brittany Mangelson

May 18, 2021 Project Zion Podcast
Project Zion Podcast
377 | Fair Trade Chapter 2 | Brittany Mangelson
Show Notes Transcript

Chapter Two of joining Community of Christ and leaving the faith of your childhood. Brittany takes us through the many layers of transitioning into new theology and culture with the recognition that every seeker represents a unique life.

Host: Robin Linkhart
Guest: Brittany Mangelson 

377 | Fair Trade Chapter 2 | Brittany Mangelson

Josh Mangelson  00:17

Welcome to the Project Zion Podcast. This podcast explores the unique spiritual and theological gifts Community of Christ offers for today's world.

 

Robin Linkhart  00:33

Hello, and welcome to Project Zion Podcast. This is your host Robin Linkhart with another episode in our Fair Trade series where our guests share about their journey of faith and what brought them to Community of Christ. Today we are exploring Fair Trade Chapter Two, which means we are checking in with a previous guest to hear what's been happening in chapter two of journeying the way with Community of Christ. Our guest is Brittany Mangelson. And we last spoke with her on this topic about 18 months ago. Welcome, Brittany.

 

Brittany Mangelson  01:13

Hi, Robin. Glad to be here today.

 

Robin Linkhart  01:16

Well, we're glad to have you. Brittany is well known to many of our Project Zion Podcast listeners. She is Project Manager for this podcast and has served in full time ministry with Community of Christ for almost three years as a social media seeker ministry specialist. She holds the office of elder and has a finger in many diverse expressions of mission and ministry as well as shepherding her family, which includes three very active kids. So Brittany, please tell our listeners a little bit more about you what's going on in your life right now.

 

Brittany Mangelson  01:58

Yeah, well, gosh, I feel like I've already shared a lot about myself and my family in various places on the internet. But basically, my family and I live in Saratoga Springs, Utah. We've lived here for 10 years now, although we recently moved a few miles south of our first house in this area. My twin daughters are almost 11 and my little boy just turned seven a few months ago. And yeah, I work for the church full time. I've always worked from home. My job and assignment is internet based. So the pandemic didn't change a whole lot for me. My husband works at Kennecott Copper Mine and we attend the Salt Lake Congregation.

 

Robin Linkhart  02:44

Well, thanks for that update, Brittany. I just have to say your life is never, what should we say, lay on the couch and lounge style. You're always going full throttle, embracing all life has, and all the many dimensions of what it looks like to be raising a young family in the midst of that. So Brittany, I thought before we launch out on chapter two, please just give us a brief overview of what, from this juncture, we might call chapter one.

 

Brittany Mangelson  03:16

Yeah, so I would say that I entered into my faith transition, for me it was a crisis, in about the year 2013 or so. Mormons are familiar with the analogy of putting things on your shelf, meaning that you start to have doubts, you start to have questions. And that process started from about the time I was honestly six or seven years old. And it just sort of all exploded with the excommunication of Kate Kelly in 2014. So that was the time that I gave myself permission to step away from the LDS church and explore Community of Christ. My husband had already attended a few times in Salt Lake. He was going through his own deconstruction period. We were doing kind of parallel journeys. We each understood each other's concerns, but we had separate primary concerns and reasons for our faith transitions. And honestly, once I met Community of Christ, I fell in love with you all very quickly. And I attended just a few days of a reunion, of a family camp, and realized that there was actual potential for this to be our spiritual home, or at least a stop on the journey. And so we quickly told our Mormon church leadership that we are stepping back and, long story short, six months later we were baptized and confirmed, my husband and I were, and we've stuck with the Salt Lake Congregation. Now my daughters have been baptized and confirmed in that congregation. I serve as an elder. My husband serves as a priest and, yeah, like you said, I've been working for the church full time for about three years. Before that I went to seminary, Community of Christ seminary through Graceland. And I really just dove headfirst into not only figuring out this church, but figuring out how I could share the story of the church. I like to say that Community of Christ when I, when I take all the things that I had on my shelf that were just, that became my faith crisis, Community of Christ just had such a logical, Spirit-filled rational response to my issues. And I, I really have, have run with that. And I really tried to help others see that this is not the only way to exit a faith transition, but it is a way and that it can be a helpful place to land as you're figuring out who you are. So, that's, that's my elevator pitch.

 

Robin Linkhart  06:01

Thanks, that really helps, especially for our listeners that may not be aware of your story and how you came to be in Community of Christ. And certainly, the opportunity that you had to go to Graceland University Community of Christ Seminary and get your Master of Arts in Religion was a great way to go deeper in a lot of ways. But we know that life transitions of any kind can be very challenging. And transitioning from one faith to another, while that can be joy filled and liberating, for many folks, it's also incredibly complex and multi-dimensional. In Community of Christ, we look at faith as a lifelong journey. And making a major shift along the way, is part of every chapter of life thereafter. And you are also connected with hundreds of Latter-day Seekers across the world, many of whom have, like you, transitioned into Community of Christ. So as we dive into what we're calling chapter two, what are the topics of discussion in chapter two on this story, Brittany?

 

Brittany Mangelson  07:22

Yeah. So first, I want to say thank you for mentioning that I am one of literally hundreds of Latter-day Seekers who have been interested in Community of Christ or who have even joined. I'm always sensitive. I don't want to become a vocal spokesperson for everyone, right? Like this is just my observations. These are only my thoughts, this is my experience. So I want to be clear that I don't speak for everyone. And I hope that any time that I've shared my stories or my experiences, that, that I do make that clear because the diversity in Latter-day Seekers is strong, is a real thing. So, I just want to give that disclaimer first, that these are just my observations. So what I would say is, I am just constantly faced with the reality that I need to remind myself that this, this church, this community, is different, right? We are a different church. We have a few short years of shared history. We have shared scripture, etc. But we have going onwards of almost 200 years of difference. And so, of a different, of a different journey. And so there are similarities, there's no doubt about that. But it is so easy for me personally, to resort to my old way of thinking. And so when I hear certain things, or when I hear certain stories, or when I see certain scriptures brought up, it, it's really easy for me to kind of get stuck in my Mormon brain, even now, six plus years later. But what I have been able to discover for myself when I realize that I'm doing that, and I'm, you know, in that moment of like, Oh, Brittany, you don't need to be triggered by this or whatever it may be. I've learned that deconstruction and reconstruction is a really deep dive process, that you really need to go deep into your beliefs and come out the other side. So I've talked to several people and, and we've often used this analogy of there's two cliffs and you can't just safely jump to the other side of the cliff. The safe way to do it, the most productive way to do it, if you want to, you know, maintain personal integrity, safety in a faith community, whatever it may be, is to, to, really the process is to go down into the valley and up the other side, which is a really painful process. And it's a long process. And so being honest with myself, and saying that, in many ways, I'm still in that process, has, has been helpful and productive. And honestly, I think we all should be in that process to some degree. I don't necessarily think that it's a one time journey. And that's been something that I know that a lot of Latter-day Seekers, myself included, have had to face. I also think, kind of going along with that, the reality that this is a different church, which means we are in a new community, we're in a new culture, we're in a new way of being theology aside, this is a different organization. And so that has been something that I think that myself and again, other Latter-day Seekers have kind of brushed up against because they're similar wording, they're similar structures, again, similar scripture, similar history. But the reality that we, as a, as part of the whole restoration community, Community of Christ, and all the schisms, including the LDS church, and all of the the people that have lived their faith out differently in the restoration, we have been apart longer than we were together. And so what is normal for one church or community is completely foreign to another. And so that's something that I'm constantly having to remind myself of. And then, with all of that, when seekers and members of Community of Christ come face to face or over zoom during the pandemic, the reality is, is that we are often at very different starting points, or we have a different foundational understanding of any given topic. And so it's really, really easy to talk over each other or past each other without even realizing it. There's a lot of opportunities for misunderstanding because we are coming at these different questions, whether they be historical or theological or cultural, we think we're speaking the same language, but we're just off by just a little bit. And that can make all the difference. So those are really the three things that I have repeatedly been faced with. And now kind of being on the other side of Latter-day Seeker Ministry, I can see that other seekers, they get faced with those challenges, too. So just the reality that deconstruction and reconstruction is an ongoing process that really does take an examination of, of all of your beliefs and preconceived ideas. And then the constant reminder that this is a new church and a new culture and a new way of being. And then understanding that I might be approaching something different than a lifelong Community of Christ member, even without realizing it. And there can be just a big opportunity for misunderstanding.

 

Robin Linkhart  12:50

That is a great list. I love the way you have walked us through these three kind of umbrella categories of things that are such a deep part of this whole process. And I really want us to take time to go deeper. So let's start with deconstruction and reconstruction. Just take us on a deep dive with you.

 

Brittany Mangelson  13:14

Yeah, and I mean, this has kind of been a learn as you go experience for me, because I, I have felt like, you know, once I get comfortable in my own beliefs, then they get rattled again, right? And I think that as a minister, it can be, you know, our go to might be, you know, well, here's our basic beliefs, or here's our Enduring Principles. And as a seeker, I can say, like, Okay, I'm going to take these resources from this minister from this church, and I'm going to read it, and then I have this community figured out or now this is my new theology. But I'm not convinced that you actually get to know who we are, just by our basic beliefs, because if you see them on paper, and you think, Okay, this is, this is my new theology because I like this church, you're missing the complete deep dive deconstruction, reconstruction, that Community of Christ went on as a people. And I think that it can be really tricky for Latter-day Seekers, because they see that we started out at the same place. They see that we ended up in this, in a very different place. But if they don't figure out those, that, that middle ground, the, the middle story, the middle part of the story, they're missing out on the deep, deep, cultural, theological, historical, richness that Community of Christ has walked through and continues to offer. So when we talk about the ordination of women or the ordination of the LGBTQ community, these are not things that we just suddenly decided one day. We as a church did a, a theological, cultural doctrinal, uh, we looked at the nature of God. We, we, did all of these transformational things. We looked at our own biases. We looked hard at ourselves in the mirror and really asked difficult questions. And we continue to ask those difficult questions. So I can see on paper that in the US, we are inclusive of the LGBTQIA plus community. I can see that we ordain women. But that doesn't mean that we're, that we just decided that overnight, right? We didn't just appeal to the popular opinion. We actually did work to get to that place. And so you're missing out on such a rich experience and a, a journey of heart and soul and relationships if you just try to skip that part of the story and, and jump to the other side of the cliff. And I think it matters, because I have had some men come to Community of Christ and they assume, or they hope, that their ordination in their former denomination would just transfer over to Community of Christ. And I always have to delicately say, We are at a different place with ordination. It, we're, we're saying similar things, but we're not talking about the same thing, right? Because we did this full deconstruction and reconstruction. And we did that with God. And we walked together in a community and decided these things together. And that shaped how we saw ordination. I mean, you want to get like down in the weeds of it, it's because of the ordination of women that we were faced with, well, what, what qualifies someone for ordination and do we want to look at that again. And now we have Temple School courses. And we expect some level of education of our ministers. And that's not something that a Latter-day Seeker would bring with them if they just came into Community of Christ expecting their ordination to be valid. And so I think that there is just so much richness of the Christian tradition of spiritual practices, of Christian history, of culture, of theology, that Community of Christ faced, implemented, etcetera, when we, when we were on this journey, and again, we're continuing to do that. And we're not done. And that's what revelation means to us. And it, it matters and it makes a difference and an impact on the ground in actual congregations. And so if you've just try to take your current understanding of what ordination is, and then plop it into Community of Christ, you are missing that deep, deep valley of richness that, again, includes so many things. It touches on ordination. It touches on common consent. We vote on our priesthood calls on a congregational level and on other appropriate levels. Depending on the nature of the call. We expect education. It's not an automatic, linear thing, where you're ordained to one office with the expectation that the next office is going to come and, and so on, and so on. It's a completely different thing. And you miss that when you just read things on paper. You really have to look at what ordination means in Community of Christ today. And I believe that takes the big deep dive of the history of the different understanding that we have gained over the course of the years. So that's just one example. But ultimately, I think that in order to go deep, you have to shift from doctrinal thinking to theological thinking. So faith, not knowing the answers or not believing that a point on a piece of paper is the end of the discussion, but more of faith seeking understanding, meaning that when you see a point on a paper, it, it sparks curiosity. And the faith is wanting to know more. The faith is the process of looking into the how, the why, because that's where transformation happens. I, I truly think that transformation happens in that deep, lowest part of the valley. And it's so tempting and it's so much, again, it's so much easier to just want to jump to the next part of the cliff and to just think like, Okay, I've got it. I've got this new set of rules. I've got this new set of, of beliefs or whatever it may be. But to truly understand and be transformed, to come back up the other side and have this new set of beautiful beliefs like the equality of women and the equality of marginalized genders and the LGBTQ community. I mean, that's, you can't just decide to do that overnight. I mean, maybe you can but but you miss you miss relationship, you miss transformation, if you just try to jump from one answer to the other. It really takes a process. And it's a process that we should all be doing all the time, which is something that I appreciate about Community of Christ, the expectation that we will continue to examine our current understanding and see where is God calling us to go and we are willing to walk into the wilderness together. That's what we talk about when we talk about discernment and when we talk about revelation, that that this is a lifelong process. And when I say lifelong, I mean, individually, it's my lifelong process. And it's the lifelong process of the church. I, I think we're always going to be doing this and always going to be challenging ourselves and not trying to take the easy way out. But to understand that taking that hard, long, deep journey, is part of who we are. And to be honest, that's one of the misconceptions that I had about Community of Christ as a Mormon, is that you all just kind of followed the crowd and made these decisions to appease people without really having the doctrinal justification for it. And I was completely naive, right? It's not that at all. It's that this community chose to walk with God, into the wilderness, into the valley, into these dry places of, of deep, deep discovery and vulnerability and faith seeking understanding, and then coming back up and building Zion together.

 

Robin Linkhart  22:08

And like you say, this deconstruction reconstruction, you mentioned that it's like a lifelong journey, regardless of where you came from, with your faith, and certainly, our, our theological work and the, the process of living and discovering is, it's so integrated into every dimension of our life that this is one for sure that you said we all need to be on this journey all the time. I, I couldn't agree more. And when one is in the midst of a faith crisis and doing that almost fissure work, this image of these two cliffs that are spaced a distance apart, it's impossible to jump from one cliff to the other, is such a, a great illuminating image to keep in mind as you talk about your journey of faith, faith crisis, faith transition, uh, in light of the fact that so many people are going through that journey. So let's see, let's go to new church culture way of being.

 

Brittany Mangelson  23:20

Yeah, so this is a big one. Um, like I've said, we have a shared foundation. However, the way that that's been lived out over the last couple hundred years, even before the churches officially, you know, even before the official reorganization, there was tension of how church was being lived out. That was part of the succession crisis after Joseph Smith. And so, I like to remember that those who became part of the reorganization, they were the dissenters. They didn't, they weren't necessarily all on the same theological page. I mean, they were debating things like baptisms for the dead for decades and decades and decades and decades and decades. So there's always been room for theological disagreement. There's always been room for structural disagreement, the way that the, the church hierarchy and organization functions has changed. The way that, you know, each, each quorum, or, you know, mission centers or stakes or whatever point in history you want to talk about, there has been tension there. And that is not necessarily how modern day Mormonism is, right? And so along with, with those differences, there also is room for theological disagreement. So one thing that I have brushed up against and it was a little bit, I don't want to say jarring because I want to be sensitive, but it was just like, oh, when I first encountered this, but the reality is, is that you might have someone in your congregation that has a very quote unquote LDS sounding testimony of the Book of Mormon or of Joseph Smith, meaning they believe that Joseph Smith restored the church and they would say that that true church is Community of Christ. Or they have a very traditional sounding testimony of the Book of Mormon and they believe in the historicity claims and they use it as a very, very sacred text, even some more primarily than the Bible, right? And in the same congregation, you could also have someone that wants to throw the Book of Mormon out the window and wants to never speak of Joseph Smith again. And these two people are worshiping side by side in a pew in pre-COVID times, and they get along and maybe they've been worshipping together for decades. And that is allowed. That is okay. That is embraced. That is celebrated. And maybe they get in theological bickers back and forth with potluck, you know, over potluck, but they still both claim Community of Christ as their spiritual home and Community of Christ claims them. So that is completely foreign to any and all Latter-day Seekers' experience. Most of us are here, I, I would say all of us are here, because some degree of not agreeing with the institutional LDS church and realizing that that wasn't okay. And so sometimes I have run up against people that have very different views from myself. And I have to rein in my, But what about. . . But what about. . . What about, you know, like, I, I have had to learn how to make space for different beliefs. And I have not always been perfect in that. But at the same time, I know what it feels like to be marginalized for your belief or lack of belief. And so that also is something that I'm sensitive to. And sometimes online, I can see, you know, online bickering going back and forth. And I want to be the one to like, link the faithful disagreement document, because it really does mean so much to me. And so, I have to keep reminding myself that just because somebody has a testimony that's different, a belief system that's different from me, doesn't mean that they're wrong, or that I'm wrong, because this is a different church. And it's a different church that was built on dissent, and on upholding the worth of all people, even though we didn't have that, as an Enduring Principle, we had it as scripture. And we believed in common consent from the beginning. And those are still very, very, very much part of our DNA. And that means that person A, that has a traditional testimony, can sit next to person B who might even consider themself an atheist, or might even you know, consider Joseph Smith a fraud or whatever, whatever it may be, that they can sit side by side, and have institutional credibility with their congregation. And that is just, I still don't understand how that happens. So I would say at this point, I'm much more chill about other people's personal beliefs, even though again, I haven't always been that way. And I'm able to be more chill about them, because I know that I'm not bound to their beliefs. There's no one single way in Community of Christ that's upheld as this trump card or is this marker of you're in or you're out, or you're worthy, or you're not, but that we can collectively sit together as a community and still disagree with one another? So another thing that kind of goes along with that is I get the question all the time, What does your church believe about x, y, or z? Because there are, I like to say, you know, Joseph Smith is kind of a moving target, in, in his ministry. And so, I have found that even with some of my own active LDS family and friends, that they'll try to pull out scriptures or things like that and say, Well, what about this? Or what about this? Or seekers will want to know exactly what Community of Christ has to say about x, y, or z? And I think that that comes from a difference of the LDS Church having doctrine and Community of Christ having theology, meaning that, and I'm sure that there's a more eloquent way to say this, but from my experience, doctrine is almost like a statement of belief. It's a, it's an answer to questions. Whereas theology is the process of discovery of exploring God and Jesus and a belief system and it's almost more of like a scientific process, the scientific method, in that it can change, it can be wrong, it can be tested, it can be experienced. It's not the end point. You know, theology isn't, isn't the answer. It's the process. And I think that when people say, you know, what does your church believe about x, y, or z, they're kind of looking for that end points, that end answer, which I mean, you know, we have maybe some answers about things or some thoughts about things. It's not like we're in anything goes church. But we are more interested in the theological process to get to these statements of faith. And so I know that people have said even our basic beliefs, it's not a conversation ender. It's the conversation starter. So even if there's something in the basic beliefs that you don't agree with, or you're unsure about, they're meant to open the door to theological discovery. And so if you take any given topic that a seeker might have, the response is more of an invitation to figure out where that person individually stands on the topic, not just like, Well, here's our spoon fed answer. And that can be really tricky for Latter-day Seekers. I know it was for me, because I grew up in a church that gave me the answers, right? And so it kind of puts more of the responsibility on myself in that, okay, now I have to come up with my own framework and values. And when you mix kids into that, you know, how do you teach kids to be the type of humans that you want them to be without this strict line of, lists of do's and don'ts. And that has been something that has been, has been a struggle for me, to be brutally honest, this idea that theology puts more of the responsibility on yourself, whereas doctrine is given to you and you decide whether you believe it or not. And again, these are just my observations. But that has rung, pretty true to me. And then the last thing in this little category of, of it being a new church, it's just kind of the purpose of church, right? Community of Christ does not claim to be the one and only true church or to hold your salvation in our authority or through our sacramental ministry. We, we no longer claimed that we are the only way to get to heaven. And so then a lot of people are left with well, then what's the purpose of church? Right? If you're not holding our salvation hostage, why should we show up in your pews? And I think that that one's really interesting. And I mean, I think a lot of the topics that we hit on Project Zion are trying to explore those questions. But again, those are questions that Latter-day Seekers or just seekers in general, post-religious folks in general need to wrestle with. For me, I have a background in sociology, I'm very interested in community building, and institutions and culture, and how humans learn to live with one another. And I'm still very, very much committed to the idea that people do better in community. And even, even if it's not a community that is holding my salvation hostage, I don't really know how else to say that, I don't have to pledge allegiance to Community of Christ, right? But there is something there in the mission of the church, which as we understand it is to make this life better. So when we do say Christ's mission, our mission, we're talking about doing good in the world today, here and now upholding the worth of all people, abolishing poverty, doing things that, that matter today, and not necessarily worrying about the afterlife. We don't do these things to earn our salvation. But we talk about salvation here and now today, and upholding the worth of all people and making sure that, that the thoughts and opinions and experiences of all are considered before we make decisions as a body. So I definitely, I mean, again, I think that we could for sure, spend a whole podcast just on talking about the purpose of church in Community of Christ. But sometimes I think that that gets lost in the conversation because people are still under the assumption that we believe that salvation is only found through Community of Christ. And I see that generalization a lot of, like, All religions claim to hold your salvation. Or, All religions claim to be the only way back to heaven. And that's simply just not true for Community of Christ. So I just wanted to call that out pretty bluntly, because whether a person chooses to journey with Community of Christ or not, I'm not worried about their salvation at all, which to me is a huge difference.

 

Robin Linkhart  34:39

I think what you're talking about is so important because it is a shift of night and day to go from a culture or context where things are pretty well spelled out in black and white, into this, all these different shades, not only of gray, but color. And the description you shared of having two people that may have almost polar opposite perspectives on something be able not only to participate in the same congregation, but oftentimes be dearly beloved friends that journey the way together and make space for that to happen. That's not to say we don't have some really vibrant, zealous discussions about perspectives and share our opinions. And that's part of being Community of Christ. So Brittany, one question I have before we move on, how long do you think it, it took you as someone who really dove into Community of Christ and put your whole self into learning as much as possible to get to a place of feeling okay with people having different opinions? Or that the questions might be more important than having the answer, an answer which kind of speaks to this, this sense of journey and the theological process? How long would you say it took you to really kind of get to a place where that felt a little bit comfortable?

 

Brittany Mangelson  36:23

That's a really good question. And I hope that it happened before the story I'm about to tell. But I'm not sure it did. When I went to World Conference in 2016. So I was baptized and confirmed at the very beginning of 2015. And then World Conference was in 2016. And we were discussing Section 165, what is now 165, and a woman stood up, and I don't even remember what mission center she was from. I don't, I mean, and if she's listening, know that I cherish this story. But she spoke up in opposition to Section 165. And it was a really interesting experience for me because Section 165, when they were the words of counsel, that was one of the first texts that I had read from Community of Christ. That actually might have been the first text that I read from this community. And I fell in love with it. And I fell in love with the process. Not only the words, but the process of, of canonization. So I, you know, watched all those Q and A's between President Veazey and Linda Booth, and I was really, I really tried to be involved with the process, to the point of going to World Conference. But this brave, brave woman stood up and said, I don't think that this message is from God. And I'm, I'm, I'm sure she had her reasonings and, and she was representing her congregation. And I mean, she was emotional. She was saying that she and her fellow congregants just could not support these words. And the amount of bravery that that took was colossal, right? I mean, going in front of thousands of people, the most governing body of church leadership and saying, like, I'm sorry, I do not think this was from God. And I remember just being like, Oh, my gosh, because, you know, in the LDS church, they had just kind of started to do this. There was a movement called any opposed. And, you know, we had had a seeker, a member of the Salt Lake Congregation who was part of that, who had their conference, stood up and opposed what's kind of more of just a formality, a,a vote of affirmation. But they broke that cultural stereotype and they actually opposed church leadership and bad things happened. And so it made me really uncomfortable to see this woman, even though I knew that she had the institutional ability to do that. It wasn't just a empty platitude of a debate, right? Like they actually wanted to hear opposing views. They wanted to have these words discussed, and I just remember being so struck by her bravery, and then sitting with my discomfort, because I know what it feels like to oppose the institution that you love. And, I mean, she made it very clear that she loves Community of Christ. And my heart just broke, but it swelled with pride, like it was such a multi emotional experience for me. And when she was done, she was thanked. And she sat down, and I hope she felt empowered. I hope she felt good with what she said. And I hope that her congregation was proud of her because she did represent them. And even though I had come to a different conclusion about those words, even though those words were a huge part of my conversion to Community of Christ, just the fact that she had the ability to have a different opinion and was able to publicly speak it in front of thousands of people, including, I think maybe at this point, President Veazey was out of the chamber, but I think members of the First Presidency were in there, Council of 12 was all in there. I mean, she was speaking to the highest of the church leadership, right? That's huge. And she was thanked. And her words were considered, and she sat down. And that, to me was a massive turning point in the reality that we don't just say that we can disagree. We can actually verbalize those disagreements in very public and vulnerable ways. And, yeah, it just, it was such a moment for me, because again, I didn't necessarily agree with her conclusion. But I thought, holy moly, if I had an ounce of the bravery that she has, like, I could do anything, right? It just, and she was respectful. And she just was like, I love this church, except I can't accept this. And I don't know, I've thought about that dozens of times. I've told that story in various settings. And it just, it really meant a lot. So, I hope that I was maybe comfortable with disagreement before that moment. But that was the moment that I can really remember being faced with disagreement on that scale and seeing the church's reaction, and it being okay. And she was able to say what she needed to and then sit down and faithful disagreement happened, right? It was, it was a really, really cool experience for me.

 

Robin Linkhart  41:49

Thanks so much for sharing that with us. So let's go to your last topic--different starting points.

 

Brittany Mangelson  41:58

Yeah, so I feel like I've kind of been building up to this, and maybe there'll be a little bit of repeat. But again, there, I think it's really easy for all of us to assume that there's more similarities than differences. But the reality is, is we have upwards of 200 years of theological differences between the two groups. And so I think that both sides of the conversation often forget that. So even before my full time employment with the church, I was getting contacted by ministers, and by seekers, who felt confused or felt misunderstood or felt like, you know, they might be talking past each other, but they couldn't like pinpoint what the issue was. And most of the time, I have been able, just because of my lived experience in both communities, have been able to help both of them understand what the other one is saying. There was one relatively recently about the nature of God and about the concept of the soul having a gender and the Community of Christ minister just could not understand why this Latter-day Seeker was so focused on that, because they didn't have the background understanding that gender in the LDS Church is very black and white, there's very, very little room for non binary or the trans community. And gender is eternal, meaning that we are going to be men or women in the afterlife. And that is a huge, huge part of our identity and the theological trajection of the afterlife. And that, there was no reason why the Community of Christ minister would know anything about that. And the Latter-day Seeker, I don't know, just wasn't able to fully explain the angst behind their question. And so when I talked to the minister, it was like, Oh, okay, this is where the you know, misunderstanding is happening. And within five minutes, the minister was like, everything makes so much more sense now. So I run into things like that a lot. And again, it happens with Latter-day Seekers as well when, you know, a Community of Christ person is trying to explain something to a Latter-day Seeker and it's just like, Something is missing here. And I really think that it's because we're coming at various topics from, from different perspectives. One of those, one of those things is what we quote unquote, believe in, which I kind of touched on, but Latter-day Seekers are often very curious about if we believe in Joseph Smith, or if we believe in the Book of Mormon, or if we believe in the Bible, and from a Mormon perspective, they're coming at that question with very literal interpretation of scripture, historically accurate interpretations of scripture that, you know, the Bible is a history book and so is the Book of Mormon. And that's Not the same starting point that a Community of Christ person is coming from. And so when you say, Do we believe in the Bible? You know, I've heard John Hamer say, like, what does it mean to believe in a book? Do we believe in Harry Potter? Do we believe in Lord of the Rings? You know, do we believe in the, the history book that we use in college or high school? You know, what does it mean to believe in a book? Same thing with Joseph Smith? What does it mean to believe in church history or to believe in a story or to believe in a leader? I don't think that many Community of Christ, folks would say we believe in President Veazey. It's just it's not how we would approach our relationship to presidents of the church past or present, right? But that's, that's a, a cultural thing that can be a bit of a hiccup when, when people are approaching Community of Christ. And I also think that this kind of goes along the line with the idea of theology and doctrine. Again, a lot of people that come from the LDS church are used to having very specific answers to their questions, not necessarily an open conversation, that the end point could be various conclusions. That's not the way that things are looked at. So when you say, don't, you know, do you believe in President Veazey, a Community of Christ person would be like, What are you talking about? But then it would open a conversation to say like, well, we believe in the prophetic impulse. We believe that the community is part of that. We believe in the process of common consent. But we wouldn't whittle that down to say we believe in President Veazey. Love President Veazey, but, just, you know, it's just not the language that we use to package the conversations about being a prophetic people. So that, that, that's a big difference. And so I think that the way that we interpret scripture goes along with that really well, too. Again, with the Book of Mormon, what does it mean to believe in a book, I've seen again, to bring up John Hamer, but I've seen him on several Mormon Stories podcasts, and people will ask him questions. And, and it's, it was made very clear to me that people who are asking him questions are coming at it from a completely different angle. And John has verbalized that before. And I, too, have been able to see that in Latter-day Seeker Ministry, where the questions about, about scripture, about church doctrine, or it's, it's just missed. And a couple other things that have come up recently is that I, that I've recognized in just recent weeks is how people want to find spiritual nourishment. So something like spiritual formation, those words aren't necessarily used in the LDS Church. But people will take scripture and study them by topic, and have that be their spiritual nourishment. So I did this all the time. If I wanted to learn about faith, in my Mormon set of scripture, there's a topical guide in the back, and you could look up all the references on faith. And, you know, look up however many scriptures you wanted, go through, flip back and forth, and then suddenly you had all the information you needed about faith. Or if you wanted to learn about salvation, you would do the same thing. Or repentance or whatever it may be. And that was the way that I studied scripture, which is not the way Community of Christ folks study scripture. To me, that is a very, you know, proof texting way to go about it. You're taking scripture out of its context. It's, it's not the most theologically consistent way to look at scripture. But a lot of times Latter-day Seekers feel totally lost in how do they rebuild their faith, which not to like plug the podcast that you're listening to, but that was kind of our purpose with the Percolating on Faith series. It's to help people, whether they're Latter-day Seekers, or not, kind of build on their foundational beliefs or even to figure out what their foundational beliefs are because it's just so different from, from studying things, topic by topic. So when I hear Mormons wanting spiritual nourishment, or their, you know, wanting to reimagine prayer, sometimes the language that they bring doesn't necessarily translate well to the Community of Christ person. And again, it gets missed, but from a Community of Christ perspective, if you say, Well, they, they're looking for spiritual formation, they're looking for spiritual practices, then suddenly they're on the right page, but then the Latter-day Seeker's like, What are you talking about? It's just this constant process of going, of going back and forth. Same I mean, the word follow has recently come up in conversations of Latter-day Seekers. Like is there a belief system that you follow. And again, you know, I would bring up President Veazey. I hope he's okay that I'm picking on him. But you know what Community of Christ, people say we follow President Veazey? Would they say we follow the Bible? Would they say we follow our church? I haven't heard a lot of Community of Christ people saying those words, because we don't follow President Veazey in the same way that a Mormon would follow President Nelson. And, you know, this might not make sense unless you have a background in, in both faiths, but it just, it's, the whole point is, is that I'm continually faced with common language that Latter-day Seekers come in with and common language that Community of Christ would learn. And realizing that we're like, almost talking about the same thing, but we're just missing each other by, by that much. And so, it, it, like, name a topic that we talk about in Community of Christ and there's going to be a misunderstanding with Latter-day Seekers. So in my years of working with Latter-day Seekers, and being a Latter-day Seeker myself, those have just really, really come to the surface.

 

Robin Linkhart  51:13

It's fascinating to me that you bring up spiritual formation, spiritual practice, because that's relatively recent in Community of Christ's journey, certainly, probably about the last 20 years or so and gaining momentum and really becoming part of our way of being. So I'm interested, Brittany, when a Latter-day Seeker asks you to tell, tell them like, Okay, Brittany, what, what is spiritual practice? How, how do you interpret that?

 

Brittany Mangelson  51:51

That's tricky. Because honestly, I mean, I'm still kind of on that process, too, right? Like, this is still pretty new to me. In Mormonism, you are taught very specific ways to pray. I think I've mentioned it on the podcast before, but there's a children's song that actually outlines the format of a prayer and the order that you're supposed to go in. And it's kind of become a joke among Mormons, because they say, you know, in any given Mormon prayer, there's going to be three or four of the exact same sentences, no matter where you live, it's just, it's just what, what happens. And so the idea that you can play around with prayer, or that you can borrow prayers from other traditions, or that you can write your own prayer, that prayer can be an angry thing, there's multiple emotions that are allowed in prayer can be really difficult. And I under, I'm focusing on prayer, but that's usually where I start, because that's the one spiritual practice that Mormons are most used to. When you start talking about walking the labyrinth, at least from my perspective, they're like, The what? And it takes a little more of an explanation. But when you talk about reimagining prayer, and that you don't have to pray to an old man on the cloud, like that's usually a place where Latter-day Seekers are like, Okay, yeah, I can reimagine prayer. And then going from there and saying, Okay, well, spiritual practice can be a different way to look at art. It can be, you know, a meditative way to look at a text, whether it be a scripture or a hymn, or whatever it may be. I usually say that in the restoration, we claim that all things are spiritual, and that it, spiritual practices often take a common practice that you do in your everyday life and put spiritual intention behind it. So, you know, there're spiritual practices of baking. Well, everyone bakes, but how do you make it a spiritual practice. Even something like washing the dishes, right? That there's an element of a common act, a common action with a form of meditation or intention, that, that really helps keep us grounded. But it is an interesting conversation. I was just, I'm in a Facebook group, and I had mentioned spiritual practices and about four people, and these are people that I would not consider to be Latter-day Seekers, but they are in the restoration, and they were like, What? because spiritual practices is just not something that's, that's talked about, or spiritual formation. So I usually start with prayer and the understanding that prayer doesn't have to fit in a certain formula or a certain box, and then kind of expand the conversation from there. People understand what Yoga is. Yoga is a spiritual practice. So usually that's kind of my bridge to talking about walking the labyrinth or even walking the neighborhood, just doing physical movement with our body that can become a spiritual practice. So it's, it's an interesting conversation for sure to have with seekers because it's very foreign. But yeah, familiar. So,

 

Robin Linkhart  55:02

Right, right. I love the way you put that and, and the focus, you're articulating that focus on interconnectivity and physical and spiritual with intention. And it reminds me of early conversations in Community of Christ when we were like, What are they talking about? Alrighty, so, Brittany, how do you think living out faith in the midst of a global pandemic has impacted chapter two, so to speak?

 

Brittany Mangelson  55:34

Yeah, so I think all of us, but especially seekers, or I'm gonna say progressive Mormons, because that's the group of people that I closely work with, but really, it's, it's given all of us the opportunity to take a step back and re-examine the things that are in our lives. A lot of things were taken from us or put to the side during the pandemic, and now we're kind of left with what do we put back into our lives. So I know that for me, when I was going through my faith transition, my church attendance at that point had just kind of become a mundane habit that I wasn't really thinking too hard about, that was more of a routine that I was obligated to do. And I didn't have a pandemic that stopped that, right? I, I again, for me, it was the excommunication of Kate Kelly, but it was, there was an event that kind of made me step back. And I think that that's what the pandemic has allowed people to do. More people have found themselves online. More people are allowing themselves to explore religions that they would not have encountered before. You know, there are services online. There's podcasts that people are engaged with. Different mission centers have been hosting different events. And I know that Latter-day Seekers have just kind of quietly joined those just to see what it's about. Because I mean, the stakes are low, you don't have to physically leave your house, you can just be on the privacy of your own screen. And, and I think the pandemic has really allowed people to do that. And so as we're figuring out what we want to do in the post-pandemic, life, people now realize that their lives aren't over when they stopped going to their ward. I mean, and I say that with a slight smile on my face, because I thought that when I was LDS. I thought horrible things were gonna happen when I stopped attending my ward and didn't. And so with the pandemic, people are realizing that, that they can actually be in charge of, of their own spiritual destiny. So I know that a lot of ministers in Community of Christ and all over the place have found their jobs totally shifting, right, because they're used to doing a lot of face-to-face ministry that has not been as easy or safe during the pandemic. But my job really didn't shift at all. I have still been doing what I've always been doing connecting seekers, connecting with seekers online. And if anything, I've seen an increase of workload during the pandemic because there are more seekers online. And so, that's been, that's been exciting for me, honestly. My calendar is more full than it has been since the days before my pandemic. I'm meeting with seekers on Zoom. I'm meeting with them, you know, all over the place, Facebook and Twitter and just Instagram, just all over the internet. And they all, you know, most of them say that they are glad that they've had this time to just step back and reevaluate things. And so I think as people are putting together their post pandemic life, a lot of people are only going to want to add back the things that truly give them joy. And for some of them that won't include religion at all. And for some of them that will include a different religion or doing, you know, a hybrid model or just doing faith on their own terms. But I do think that so many people are in transition now and the pandemic was kind of that click that they needed to have permission, if you will, to just start exploring, and I, and I really have seen a lot of people doing just that, is just exploring their own faith and their own belief system.

 

Robin Linkhart  59:20

So as you reflect on your journey of faith, what do you wish you had known about chapter two when you were living the pages of chapter one?

 

Brittany Mangelson  59:31

So I think maybe first and foremost is that I wish that I would have been a little more chill and just more confidence that things were actually going to work out. My very Mormon brain, again, wanted answers wanted to kind of get to that finish line of having my faith settled and my belief settled. And I now realize that that is a lifelong journey. But again, I think I mentioned that when I decided to join Community of Christ, I  recognized that this was a community where my faith could evolve in many different ways, in many different directions and that, in general terms, it would be okay. That it would fall under the umbrella of who Community of Christ is because again, in some congregations, you have a very traditional person with a very non-traditional person, and they can be best buddies and disagree and, and it's okay. And so I saw that level of diversity. And I found a lot of comfort in that. However, I, it, it's comfortable, and it's in my head, and intellectually it's okay, but I wish that I would have been a little more realistic on how painful that process can still be. So anytime my faith has shifted, it's been difficult. Anytime that I've had to re-examine an old belief system or face my own harmful theology, like, that's been, that's been difficult. You know, I, I grew up in a very rigid understanding of, of gender, of sexuality, of race, even. And those are things that I've had to reckon with. And, and that's not easy. And I wouldn't say that I was, I wouldn't say that I had complete rose colored glasses on, but I think that, that there is difficulty when you have to examine your own harmful belief systems and recognizing that, even though you feel liberated, and you feel great, and, you know, you still might be holding on to some old ideas that are harmful. So, I think I wish, I wish I would have been a little more honest with myself for that, because it is a difficult process. And then with that, I think I would have been, I wish that I would have been a little more honest about giving up certainty and how difficult that would be, because I think that it is really liberating to break God outside of a little box that we put God in, or the idea of salvation or the idea of the afterlife. And when I first realized that theology was so much more expansive, it was really empowering to be able to, to chart my own way and to figure out my own beliefs. However, I mean, there have been times where it's, it's been difficult because I don't have a solid understanding of what the afterlife looks like. And that's hard in a pandemic when you just kind of say that it's, it's a mystery that we don't have to worry about. That can be comforting, but then also, when people are dying at rapid speed worldwide, people that you know and love, it's, it's painful to not have a certain concept of what's happening next, right? There's pain in letting go of uncertainty. And it's really destabilizing, even this idea of saying that God is a mystery, and that we can't put God in a box. I mean, it's great and I theologically agree with that. However, when you live your whole life with a certain understanding of what something is, it's continually destabilizing when you really want to lean back on that piece of theology that has brought you comfort before. So, and I, I've talked to several Latter-day Seekers during the pandemic who have experienced personal loss. And they say very similar things that, Man, I just, I wish that I could believe in a Mormon afterlife right now because that would really help. So, I, I didn't realize that there would still be kind of that longing for certainty. And, you know, as a mom of three wild and great young kids, it's been difficult to deconstruct my faith, while they're growing up and trying to, try to build faith with them, right? And I know that kids and stages of faith and you know, there's a lot of research and things that have gone into this, but I've really tried to plug in to some post-evangelical communities that are figuring out how to, well there's one Facebook group, it's like unfundamentalist, and it's essentially post- evangelicals that are trying to raise their kids with some degree of faith, but not in a rigid way. And I think when I first was a Latter-day Seeker and I was first joining, I could kind of see, you know, that like this would be an issue with my kids because we came when my twins were three. And so I guess I just kind of thought that whatever Community of Christ had to teach them would be enough and I'm not saying that it's not, but when you live in Utah and your whole family is LDS and they want to know why they're not LDS and they want to understand, to, to, to understand the unfundamentalist side of the restoration they have to understand the fundamentalist side a little bit. And I'm not saying like Mormon fundamentalism like polygamy, but in a more literal view of what the restoration is. And so I don't feel like I can hide that from my kids, because I don't, I don't want them to hear a magical story that I don't agree with. The story of the church that I grew up with, I don't want them to feel like we made the wrong move because, because it's less literal. I don't, I don't know if this is making sense, but it's just it's been a, it's been a big deal for me. And I have had to raise them to some degree, with the not the Mormon clause, just because literally everyone around them is. And so to help them understand that, yes, we have this founder named Joseph Smith, but I don't want you to attend your neighborhood activity days just because they also have Joseph Smith, right? Like, I've had to face that pretty directly. And I think that I would have tried to get ahead of it a little bit more if I would have realized how that was going to play out down the road a little bit with my own kids. So it's, it's been an interesting part of my faith transition that I didn't necessarily know was going to happen. And I also, I guess, I'm just, I wish that I would have had a better understanding that religious trauma was going to follow me for a little bit longer, maybe my whole life, than I would have hoped. I think I kind of thought, you know, like, Well, again, all these things are on my shelf Community of Christ had a good response to and so now I'm fixed and I'm not fixed. And I've, I've worked really hard to try to become fixed. But I think that, that my upbringing, I can't always just run away from it, right? I can't, like that religious trauma will will always be there. And so I will just be honest, and say that I have found that my baggage dictates kind of how I talk to some Community of Christ people because I think that there is a misunderstanding of, if you didn't grow up with the one true church and you didn't have that whole system come crashing down, it can be difficult to understand that level of trauma. So I kind of joke that I really click with older generations in Community of Christ because they have walked through the full deconstruction as a community together. And sometimes when I talk to millennials, who, you know, their moms were ordained, and they didn't really learn about Joseph Smith until they went to Graceland. And you know, like, there's just not that same level of, of institutional baggage and religious baggage, that can kind of be a miss for me. And so sometimes I feel like I wear several different hats in Community of Christ of like, What part of my religious personality am I gonna wear today, just, you know, depending on, on who I'm with. So, that's also something that I didn't, didn't see coming when I was first a Latter-day Seeker.

 

Robin Linkhart  1:08:14

This has been very informative. So along those lines, and in light of the fact that you do serve on the front lines helping so many other seekers, new seekers, seekers all over the world, seekers from different religious backgrounds even, what would you like to say to them today? And, and I think, primarily, Latter-day Seekers. But if you want to broaden that at all that, that's good, too.

 

Brittany Mangelson  1:08:45

Yeah, so I would say, just in general terms, don't be afraid to dive into congregational life and to see how you can engage and that doesn't mean that you have to be a member to do that. I often say that I was doing more as a non-member in Community of Christ than I ever would have been able to do as a Mormon woman because there is so much that a seeker can do. And I know some congregations can be a little slow to include seekers. But what I love about Community of Christ is that when we are at our best, we are led by the people on the ground. So, ministry that happens comes out of the context of the group. So, it's a reflection of the interests of the group, the skills of the group, the availability of the people in the group. And so if you are attached to a congregation or a group online in any level of participation, there might be something for you to do. And I think that just getting your toes wet, is a good way to see how Community of Christ prac, like lives out there faith practically, in, in real tangible ways. So I've seen, so many Latter-day Seekers do really, really cool things. And Community of Christ isn't going to ask you to do anything, right, like, you are in control of the level of your participation. It's, it's something that you get to choose. And so some of the things that I've seen are leading book discussions on things like the Book of Mormon. There's a lot of theological discussion groups that are led by Latter-day Seekers, spiritual formation groups that have been started by Latter-day Seekers. There are people who are getting involved with their local community organizations like food banks, or different ministries that they are working at or with in their secular life, and then they bring in Community of Christ. So there's a lot of really good ways to do good in the community before you are even a member or regardless of your membership. And so if you struggled in Ward life, or in, or in your former religion, because you didn't feel utilized, or you were just assigned to do things that you didn't want to do, that is one of my favorite things about Community of Christ is that the congregation, the things that the congregation are involved in are a reflection of the people's interests. So share what your interests are and get involved.

 

Robin Linkhart  1:11:18

Great advice. So do you have any sage advice for lifelong Community of Christ members who are also walking with seekers or other spiritual refugees?

 

Brittany Mangelson  1:11:30

So just remember that most Latter-day Seekers are coming to Community of Christ because they really like Community of Christ. Ultimately, I do not believe that Latter-day Seekers want to change who we are. They see the journey that we've taken over decades and decades and decades and they honor that, they're impressed by it, and they're excited about it. I think that Latter-day Seekers find a lot of hope in our story. And, in general terms, they're really eager to get involved and to participate in the group. I think that sometimes they need to be given direct permission to get involved with groups, with the congregation, etc., because, I mean, if you just listen to what I told Latter-day Seekers, Latter-day Seekers are used to being told what to do. Mormons are used to being assigned things. And that's not how we work in Community of Christ. But I think that being intentional and Invitational about how you utilize the interests and skills of Latter-day Seekers is, is really important. I also think that it's really important to remember that there's always almost some level of religious trauma and distrust to anything that looks like top down authority. I know that I've brushed up against that in multiple ways over the course of my experience with Community of Christ and that's at no fault of Community of Christ. It's me bringing my own baggage into the situation. And so I need to be aware of that and it's helpful if Community of Christ folks are aware of that as, as well. But ultimately, they really like us. And they want to help us be who we say we are. And they read who we are on paper, they listen to who we are on podcasts, and in videos and through our hymnody and they really, really like what they see. And they're curious about it and they want to be part of it. And so remembering that, I think, is just helpful. They like us.

 

Robin Linkhart  1:13:32

What are your hopes for Community of Christ as you're, we're almost, we hope, post-pandemic, but as you look, post-pandemic and beyond, what are your hopes for this faith community?

 

Brittany Mangelson  1:13:46

So I, I hope that Community of Christ can have confidence in our message and in our story and in the way that we live out Christ's mission. I think that there is historically a lot of hesitancy to be proud of being Community of Christ, right, like, but we're not this, but we're not the biggest, but we're not the richest. And there's always these excuses of how we could be better. But I think we're good. I think that we are a good community. And so one of my biggest hopes is that the members would just be able to confidently say that. That we are a group of scattered saints that are doing what we can to make the world a better place. And, and with that, I hope that we can continue that, right? I, I am very driven and compelled and I just, I want to be involved with things that relates to the Enduring Principles and the Mission Initiatives. I think that those are very good markers to frame our faith and then to live it out. And I think that we have a message that people who are spiritually hungry are wanting even if they don't know how to verbalize that, and even if we do talk past each other sometimes, I think the core message and identity of who we are is very relevant in today's world and I think that people want it. And so I am of the opinion that if we could work on the confidence issue just a little bit, get people excited about living out Christ's mission, I just think that we can, we can do a lot of good in the world. And then my hope is that we, we continue to do that.

 

Robin Linkhart  1:15:34

So, Brittany, what's next on your journey of faith?

 

Brittany Mangelson  1:15:38

That is the million dollar question. I have no idea. I really like what I'm doing. I really, I really like being on both sides of this conversation. I cannot wait until we are post-pandemic and can meet face-to-face. I think that Latter-day Seekers crave being together. And I know that whenever we've met at World Conference, or at different events and retreats there's just such a shared, just a shared understanding of one another's journey that, that is, that is really beneficial to everyone who's involved with that. And so when I think about what's next, I want to work on ways to get Latter-day Seekers more involved. I want to get us to meet together. I just really want to continue this story because, this chapter of our story, because I don't think that ministry with Latter-day Seekers is going to stop anytime soon. And, again, I just think that we have a message to share and I think that people are hungry for it. And so whatever the next steps look like for me, I think it's going to include that message.

 

Robin Linkhart  1:16:55

Is there anything that you would like to share about today that I didn't ask you about?

 

Brittany Mangelson  1:17:01

I knew you were going to ask this question that I probably should have thought about an answer, but I don't think so. I think we covered everything. I mean, I don't know, I, I think that it's, I think that it's good for both sides of this conversation to remember that ultimately, we are just humans trying to walk each other home. And I know that there's a quote that I probably totally just butchered, but, but at the end of the day, these are imperfect people on both sides of this ministry and we are trying to do the least amount of harm and throw the most amount of grace that we can out there. Both sides, right. And I think it's fascinating that we collectively all started with the same foundational story. We have common ancestry, we have shared historic sites, we have shared stories. And yet the places that the two churches are today are so drastically different. But when Latter-day Seekers come to Community of Christ, they often say that it feels like they're coming home. And I did not think I was going to get emotional. But that's what it's all like for me. And I didn't have to get rid of everything from my past. I can still be proud of my pioneer heritage that loaded up their hand carts and walked into the Salt Lake Valley. I can be confused by them. But I can also show them grace. And I can be accepted back into a community that I think I've always been a better fit for. So we're imperfect, we've got a lot of grace to go around, and we're all part of this story in one way or another. And that's a really beautiful thing.

 

Robin Linkhart  1:19:10

It is a very beautiful thing. Thank you so much for being with us today, Brittany, for being vulnerable and transparent and courageously honest, and telling your story. The words you've shared today and the sacred spaces that run all through the things that you talked about I know have been very meaningful for many people and with the life of podcast will continue to nurture and guide lives for many years to come. And also a very special thanks to all of our listeners. If you would like to learn more about Brittany's journey check out some podcasts that we have. The first telling of her story, which appeared on Project Zion Podcast episode 20 was a cross post of a faith transitions podcast interview Brittany did with Nancy and Rob. Also, her Fair Trade series story is episode 238. To hear more stories about faith transitions, just look for Fair Trade in the categories list on our website, projectzionpodcast.org. This is your host Robin Linkhart. And you are listening to Project Zion Podcast. Go out and make the world a better place. See you again soon. Bye Bye.

 

Josh Mangelson  1:20:46

Thanks for listening to Project Zion Podcast. Subscribe to our podcast on Apple Podcast, Stitcher, or whatever podcast streaming service you use. And while you're there, give us a five star rating. Project Zion Podcast is sponsored by Latter-day Seeker Ministries of Community of Christ. The views and opinions expressed in this episode are of those speaking and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Latter-day Seeker Ministries or Community of Christ. Music has been graciously provided by Dave Heinze.