Erika Munson and Jacob Hess
THUR, NOV 2, 2023 | 7:30-9:00 pm MDT
Exhausted by political polarization? Join us as two political opposites help us explore how we can restore the promise that America offers.
Home of Ed and Kristen Iversen
3582 Oak Rim Way
Salt Lake City, UT 84109
If there is no parking to be found near the home you can also park in the “park & ride” lot on the NW corner of 3900 South and Wasatch Blvd. Oak Rim Way is just east of the intersection on the north side.
Or join us via Zoom.
Thanks to Kristen and Ed Iversen for so often welcoming us into their home. And thanks to Tim and Aubrey Chavez and the Faith Matters Foundation for providing the Zoom connection. Scroll down the page for the link to connect virtually. Below that link are some helpful tips for being part of a Zoom convo.
To get email notifications of upcoming conversations go to the bottom of this site’s home page or text or call me at 801-695-5036.
I’m delighted that those who can’t attend in person can join virtually. I’m sorry I can’t give you the same care and attention given to those in person. But if you ever can join us physically in the same space, then I hope you will. Y0u won’t regret it. And if you have suggestions for how this space and these Zoom or in-person conversations can go better, then please contact me.
“In cynical times like these, someone has to serve as the guardian of lost causes” writes Atlantic journalist McKay Coppins in a 2019 profile about Mitt Romney’s isolation among the Republican caucus. Even if political peacemaking and cooperation seem a lost cause to many, there are good reasons to believe it is still the moral high ground and is essential if our democracy is to be preserved and minorities protected.
Whatever political and religious differences Erika and Jacob disagree on, they are united in a shared passion for a better way forward in this country. No group has done more to span the liberal-conservative divide in America than Braver Angels—whose work will be a backdrop for the discussion. We will be joined by partners and participants in bridge-building and dialogue work in Utah who have worked with Erika, Jacob, and Jay over the last decade. We will be asking hard questions, sharing what’s on our hearts, and seeking to unite our strength and hope together. Is there anything more we can or should be doing? We will also discuss what more we can do in Utah through Braver Angels and other efforts to dampen division and help each other see and respect the humanity in each other. Bring us your brave mind, heart, and ideas to share. And please consider bringing or inviting a friend—or enemy—of the opposite political persuasion. We will be experiencing meaningful and proven ways to engage in peacemaking while still strongly holding different opinions.
Erika Munson is a writer, educator, and activist. She grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts and received a BA in Fine Arts at Harvard College. She and her husband raised their five children all over the Northeast and in Europe. In 2009 she moved her family to Utah and she was prompted to learn more about the LDS/LGBTQ experience, co-founding Mormons Building Bridges in 2012. At MBB she was involved in public advocacy and community building around queer belonging in the church. In 2020 she left MBB to focus on ward- and stake-based outreach through Emmaus LGBTQ Ministry. At Waterford School in Sandy, Utah, Erika is an English teacher, librarian, and dean. She promotes engagement across differences through her role as the Utah Co-Chair of Braver Angels, a national citizen’s movement to end political polarization. She also is a member of the faith working group of the Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition. Her most recent publication is the essay “Eve’s Choice” in the current issue of Dialogue. Erika believes in the power of community to reconcile high ideals with the realities of difference and the tragedies of human weakness; She serves as an advisor in the Young Women’s program of the Pinehurst Ward in the Sandy East Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Jacob Hess has often written about the need for open-hearted dialogue on political and health issues for Deseret News and has a new substack, Publish Peace. He has worked with Village Square, Living Room Conversations, and the National Coalition of Dialogue & Deliberation and wrote with Phil Neisser, “You’re Not as Crazy as I Thought, But You’re Still Wrong.” His most recent book with Carrie Skarda, Kyle Anderson, and Ty Mansfield, is “The Power of Stillness: Mindful Living for Latter-day Saints.”
EXPLORE BEFORE WE MEET:
- What’s your ‘red line’? | Jonathan Haidt with Mónica Guzmán
- The Remarkable Braver Angel Debates
- Governor Cox Speaks About Healthy Conflict Initiative at the Braver Angels National Convention
- The Braver Angels plan to heal America Mar 9, 2022
- Can America’s guardian Angel help save it? Jul 7, 2023
A couple from Jay:
My apologies. The Wifi dropped off several times, we couldn’t get the sound to work on the video, nor get the breakout rooms up on Zoom. Add to that I didn’t realize there would be handouts we would be working from which left those on Zoom at a disadvantage.
- Click on the Zoom link above for either last month’s recorded conversation (if the event date has passed) or the live conversation now. If you are participating in the live conversation keep reading.
- When you are connected you will either be waiting in a lobby and will let be in shortly or you will immediately be able to see other participants. Please make sure that you are muted and that your video is on if you choose to have it on. (Love to see and hear you live, but we’ll take curious lurkers also.)
- If you can’t hear the host, me, or others, find your settings and make sure you have a working microphone and speaker selected. OR maybe the problem is on my end so please let me know if it is.
- Please mute your microphone before entering and when you are not speaking so noises are not heard by everyone else.
- If you are going to multitask—not recommended—or wander around a lot, please turn off your video and make sure you are muted. No one wants to be distracted by you eating or using the loo.