Last night another LGBT teenager tried to kill themselves because of their Mormon parent’s reaction to their coming out.*

They are okay now. That is to say, they are alive. They’re probably not “okay”.

This happens all the time, I know. This one struck home because I know this person.

I was raised Mormon. I left the LDS church when I was 25. This was before Proposition 8, the Mormon-funded California referendum to ban gay marriage. It was before I became really aware of the impact of ignorant and hateful religious doctrines on the psyches and lives of LGBT people…


Sliding on the Political Spectrum

For most of my life, my vision of the political spectrum was, in a typically American fashion, woefully narrow. I was raised by conservatives and, for a long time, I thought the political world consisted of Republicans — who wanted the government out of their pocketbooks, but in (other people’s) bedrooms — and Democrats — who wanted the government out of their bedrooms, but in (other people’s) pocketbooks.

I went to a very conservative college where I studied political science. This was just after the collapse of the Soviet Union and Francis Fukuyama’s “end of history” was all the rage…


May is National Masturbation Month. I am posting this a little early, because I just found out that the Mormon Church has excommunicated sex therapist and educator, Natasha Helfer (formerly Parker), for her professional activities which included teaching “that masturbation is part of a normative sexual development journey”. (Other issues the church had with her included her opposition to treating pornography as an addiction and her support of LGBT equality.)

Natasha is a friend and colleague and someone who I greatly admire. Both of us used to write at the interfaith site, Patheos, her on the Mormon channel as “The…


I’ve organized quite a few protests over the last few years. Around issues of climate change, racial justice, gun control, immigration reform. And I’ve attended and provided support to a lot more. Over time, I noticed a pattern. Regardless of the cause, regardless of which organization is in charge, almost all of them followed this pattern:

  1. Something happens which provokes justifiable outrage among progressives.
  2. A person, often someone who is multiply-privileged like me, who is enthusiastic about social justice, decides to “do something”.
  3. That person then contacts all of their self-identified activist friends. …

Ever since I started identifying with the Deep Adaptation/Post-Doom (terms I use interchangeably here) perspective, I make it a practice to read critiques of that perspective, so as to avoid falling into the errors of group think and confirmation bias. Unfortunately, what I’ve read so far has been disappointing, because none of the critics have really engaged with the nuance of the Post-Doom message. Michael Mann’s The New Climate War (2021), which came out this past January, is no exception.

Michael Mann is a respectable and respected climatologist and geophysicist, not to mention climate activist. He is credited with the…


For the past year, my small Unitarian Universalist congregation in Northwest Indiana has been conducting worship services virtually using Zoom. When the quarantine was announced and our church went remote, few of us had any idea it would last this long. We were thinking in terms of weeks, maybe months. Even though the Unitarian Universalist Association advised its member congregations to expect to be doing virtual services for a year, at the time, few of us could imagine it.

When the announcement was made last March that our in-person worship services would be cancelled, there was a scramble to figure…


A Modern Prophetess: Octavia Butler

Yesterday, several women spoke at my Unitarian church, as part of our celebration of International Women’s Day, sharing stories of women who had inspired them. One of them spoke about three modern-day “prophetesses”, female science fiction authors, who have written about futures that have already started to happen or might happen soon. The three she listed were Children of Men by P.D. (Phyllis Dorothy) James, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, and Ink by Sabrina Vouroulais.

Another prophetic book by a female science fiction author, which I think deserves attention on this day, is Parable of the Sower (1993) and…


A “Right to Shop”?

You’ve probably seen lots of them by now. Videos of people having public meltdowns in private businesses, because they’ve been told to leave the business for not wearing a mask during a time of global pandemic. Sometimes they overturn something on their way out. Sometimes they assault a worker. Sometimes they are arrested. Oftentimes, they yell something about their rights being violated … about their right to shop or their “right to commerce”.

For me, the experience of watching these videos is an exquisite joy. To begin with, I love seeing some of these anti-maskers getting a little of their…


The chart above is an attempt to offer some structure for understanding the positions of various collapseniks, doomers, post-doomers, etc. More-or-less mainstream folks like Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein could be placed on this chart, as well as more radical folks like Derrick Jensen and Ted Kaczynski.

The two spectrums are (1) optimism versus pessimism and (2) cultural transformation versus material resistance.The chart assumes that you take some form of societal collapse as a given, whether it is a sudden collapse, a slow decline, or a staggered combination of both. …


Just before COVID was recognized as a national health disaster in the U.S. last spring, I began a climate grief group for people to talk about their experiences of climate grief and eco-anxiety. This was prompted by my own struggle with grief and overwhelm related to awareness of climate change and ecocide.

Then COVID arrived. The pandemic made meeting in-person impossible or at least unadviseable, but it seemed like people needed something like a grief group more than ever. Fear about our health and that of our family and friends, concern about the loss of employment or income, social isolation…

John Halstead

John Halstead is the author of the book *Another End of the World is Possible*. Find out more at AnotherEndoftheWorld.org.

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