Yesterday I attended a few sessions of the Sunstone West conference at Claremont Graduate University, an event that examines Mormon culture and thought. Several people asked me why I attended the event, or why I continue to be involved in Mormon circles given that I'm not a practicing member of the LDS church.
Those are good (hard) questions, ones that I've often asked myself these past few years. I don't know if I have any good answers. But I continue to feel that these folks are my 'tribe.' These are not your everyday Mormons, these are women and men who've walked much of the same path that I have. Our shared history and experience allows me a freedom that I don't have in other spaces. My Quaker Friends, as dear as they are, can't fully sympathize with my struggles. Nor can most of my local ward members. Having a continued tie to the Sunstone and Exponent community is somewhat akin to having a shared history with extended family members. There is so much joy in the reunion, even if it is a rare occurrence.
It may be that at some point I will cease being involved in Mormon organizations altogether. But for now, for me, it feels right to continue. Much joy comes from being with this group, and that joy is what keeps me returning. I need those hugs and hi-fives from my fellow travelers. I especially relish the strength and support of my Exponent sisters--each of you give me the courage to continue on my journey.