Invitation to Submit Essay for the "Why People Leave" book

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johndehlin
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Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 19:56

Invitation to Submit Essay for the "Why People Leave" book

Post by johndehlin » 22 Aug 2010, 11:15

I sent this to a bunch of you individually, but I know I've forgotten some of you....so here it is more broadly for anyone who is interested:

Even though this is technically a form letter, I wanted to extend to you a very personal invitation to submit an essay for the "Why People Leave the LDS Church" Book that I'm looking to publish -- based on what I know about you, your heart, your story, your writing ability, etc.

A few things about this book:

It will be the first in a series of books published under the Mormon Stories brand -- all based on personal stories written by Mormons in first person.

The primary audience for this book will be traditional, believing LDS church members...so it should be written with that audience squarely in mind.

The primary purpose of this book is to build empathy for those who have left, and to dispel misperceptions about why people leave the church.

The secondary purpose of this book is to build a greater understanding amongst the general membership for the issues that often cause people to leave -- to help them be more informed. That said -- we do not wish to push people in or out of the church.

I am hoping that each essay will focus on at least one specific/different theme (e.g. a historical concern, feminism/women's issues, being LGBT, being single, abuse, Prop 8, feeling called by God to do something else, a reworking of your epistemology, etc.) -- though I realize that for most, the issues are multiple and complex. We're just hoping that the Table of Contents will be able to list a general theme, to help pull readers in on individual topics.

You do not have to be in our out of the church to contribute to this book. If you're out of the church, then you clearly qualify. If you're still in the church -- you can talk about why others leave, or about why you once left, or about why you sometimes really want to leave. We hope to have a really good mix of people out and in the church for this book. We feel that this will help foster additional credibility with existing, believing members.

As I mentioned above, we are planning several other books in the Mormon Stories series (e.g. one on historical issues, one on women's/feminist-related stories, one on LGBT-related stories, one on "staying" in the church after losing your faith, etc.)-- so at some point, we will have to decide whether your essay will work best in this first book, or in a follow-up book....but I promise to do my best to make sure that your essay gets published.

If you are willing to write an essay for this book, here's what I need:

I need you to email me ASAP to let me know you will write it

I need you to let me know what general theme you will likely cover in your essay

I need you to try to get me the essay by August 31st, if possible

I need the essay to be between 6 and 10 double-spaced pages.

I need the essay to be as tight and as well-written as possible. Please use friends/family to help you edit, where possible.

I need the essay to speak to hearts and minds -- with the TBM audience in focus

If there's anyone else who you feel would contribute a fitting essay for this collection, please feel free to pass this email on.

All proceeds from the book will go towards the Mormon Stories foundation -- a 501c3 non-profit I have created with several friend to support Mormons in transition

Thanks so much for your willingness to consider. Please get back w/ me as soon as you can.

--
John Dehlin, M.S.
Psychology Doctoral Program
Utah State University
2810 Old Main Hill, Logan, Utah 84322-2810
Lab Phone: (435) 797-8303
Cell Phone: (435) 227-5776
Fax: (435) 797-1448

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SilentDawning
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Re: Invitation to Submit Essay for the "Why People Leave" book

Post by SilentDawning » 22 Aug 2010, 13:43

Can we submit this so it's anonymous?
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

johndehlin
Posts: 159
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 19:56

Re: Invitation to Submit Essay for the "Why People Leave" book

Post by johndehlin » 22 Aug 2010, 13:47

SilentDawning wrote:Can we submit this so it's anonymous?
Maybe...it totally depends on the essay.

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SilentDawning
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Joined: 09 May 2010, 19:55

Re: Invitation to Submit Essay for the "Why People Leave" book

Post by SilentDawning » 22 Aug 2010, 14:18

Some may be reluctant to be open about their identity over concerns about the reaction of local leaders. As we've seen in the podcasts, there are risks that outwardly active members may lose opportunities to exercise their priesthood should they openly share doubts, notwithstanding their success in remaining active.

From the sound of it, one has to be willing to shoulder that risk if there's no guarantee the essay will be published anonymously. Either that, or ask that the essay not be published at all if there is a requirement that is provide a person's identity.

By the way, I think this is a highly worthwhile project. As a recently released priesthood leader, being on this site has helped me gain insight into how many of the brethren under my stewardship might have been feeling when I was their leader; and it's changed my outlook on Church leadership significantly. I'm looking forward to seeing the book in print, which I see as another way of gaining empathy for others who struggle with their activity in the Church.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

johndehlin
Posts: 159
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 19:56

Re: Invitation to Submit Essay for the "Why People Leave" book

Post by johndehlin » 22 Aug 2010, 15:28

I definitely won't use anyone's name without their consent....

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