Saturday, April 12, 2014

A Brief History of Postmos

Long ago, I was alone.  I went to work, and I went home.  I didn't know how to meet people, and didn't know where to begin.  I lived alone, so there were some days where I may not have even talked to anyone.  That was for about a year, maybe two.

These days, my life is very different.  I meet so many people, that I can't keep up.  It's been a fun, wild ride.  I don't have time for the people that I do know, and I can barely keep up with my own life, much less with organizing Postmos.  In fact, I'm about to step down from being the chairperson of our group -- I've done this for years, and my life is changing enough that I no longer have the time to do what I used to.

The Beginning

As mentioned, I didn't know where to meet people.  I was afraid to just go to a bar, because I didn't even know where to begin.  I watched the Exmormon Conference online, and wished that I had gone.  I was very disappointed that I didn't go, because I couldn't find any groups to go to.  It was another year before I even saw anything social for exmormon groups posted anywhere online.  There's lots of secret exmormon Facebook groups, but you'd never know if you weren't already in those circles.

I went to an exmormon brunch, nearly a year later.  That brunch was life-changing.  I don't know what it is, but somehow meeting other people and talking things over with them gives you the confidence to be the person that you want to be.  It still wasn't enough, as soon I felt like I didn't know where to meet people.  But I had the confidence to post a question online --- whether anyone else was interested in meeting at a coffee shop once a month.  Soon, I received an email from a lady, Heather, who was already trying to organize a group in our area.  She basically said that I was interested in doing it more often than her, so that I should just lead the group.  She then gave me an email list.

So, I organized our first coffee.  There was about 12 people there, and it turned into a discussion with the group of us in a big circle.  I don't remember exactly how it turned out, but I realized that I didn't like that particular style.. at least not for the staple event.  So, the next event, I got a clown and that had about forty people there.  The next event was the Danzigs, I think, and that was about 25 people.  It's been interesting seeing the swings in crowds and people.  It's been interesting seeing the psychology of the different people involved.

The First Drama and the Admins

About a year into it, we had our first set of real drama.  A picture was posted to our Facebook group, that was somewhat sacrilegious.  I'm not a person with strong opinions about very much, but this encouraged the organizational structure of our group.  Basically, the idea was that I simply did not know enough (and maybe didn't care enough) to handle many of dramas that could arise.  For more, most issues are typically non-issues.  Additionally, I'm always a busy person.  We also wanted some protection in the case of a lawsuit, so that the individuals in our group were protected if something were to go wrong beyond our control.  Thus, our first admin group was formed.  Myself, Valerie, Hilerie, Lisa, Brian, and Tera. 

Utah Valley Postmos

It was about a year in that I was emailed by a girl named Anne.  She wanted to find other people in Utah Valley.  I then gave her the opportunity to start up a group, to use some of the resources that I had been using.  Anne is amazing, simply funny, smart, and personable.  Anne became a "godsend" for people in Utah Valley. 

Our groups grew.  People need a place to meet.  It isn't even about meeting other Postmos, it's about meeting thoughtful people.  I'd rather be with a thoughtful, non-dogmatic Mormon, than an unthoughtful, dogmatic atheist.  I simply prefer being around people who are not judgmental, and are understanding of people who come from different walks of life.  Most of us crave that, and so that's what our groups became.  And it's been a blast.

Seeing lives change

This has been hard work.  It's been rewarding work, but I've been amazed that we've been able to keep it up this long.  There are so many different personalities and philosophies among Postmos, that sometimes it can be hard finding the right balance.  Keeping things on a personal level, making sure everyone feels that connection, and making sure that the quirks in any individuals personality don't destroy the connections that could be made.. it's all though work.  Especially when you have so many people that you meet, so many stories that you hear. 

There's things that I simply didn't have time for, but that I've helped with.  The connections made in our group formed the basis of people who started the Provo Pride Festival.

But when it comes down to it, it has been rewarding.  Long term friendships have been made, and although people move on from our groups, you can see those friendships last.  I can name a lot of people who are getting married from meeting in our group.  I can think of lives improved.  My own, to say the least.  It's been the most rewarding thing that I've ever done.  Unfortunately, what we can do is limited, because we all only have limited funds, time, and energy.  But I'm glad to have been part of it all.. I'm glad to call myself a Postmo.  I'm glad to have made all the friends that I have. 

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