Jay Griffith currently facilitates Think Again and Faith Again—organizing, arranging presenters and venues, sending notification emails, and creating and maintaining the websites. Below, in his own words, is how these communities came to be in Jay’s best, albeit imperfect recollection.
“The very ink with which all history is written is merely fluid prejudice.” ~Mark Twain
“Early 2009 I was introduced to Mitchell Spence due to similar callings he and I had in separate LDS Stakes. Mitchell invited me to bring my stake people and any mentor/presenters to a stake Mentor Series they had created. This was a monthly meet-up consisting of a presentation by an established entrepreneur to help people seeking employment.
Mitchell and I became friends and a few months later he invited me to attend a discussion group that he and his wife, Tiffany Ivins, facilitated called Think Again. Tiffany had helped start a similar discussion group while at graduate school back east. After moving to Salt Lake City she and Mitchell created a Salt Lake version which they hosted in their home.
In late Spring of 2013, Allison Pond, who was facilitating Think Again, asked if I would take over due to a promotion at work. At that time Think Again had moved to the home of Mark and Elizabeth England because Mitchell and Tiffany had moved to Bountiful. The England home has been our primary location for great conversation, community, and amazing gelato every since. (They own Dolcetti Gelato on 9th & 9th.)
In June of that year I arranged for a Think Again discussion on Navigating Mormon History and Faith Crises. It was a topic that I was attracted to for personal reasons as well as an increasing awareness of how many I saw who were struggling with this issue. I asked two friends of mine to lead the discussion, Jim McConkie, nephew of Bruce R. McConkie, and Andrea Maxfield, long time personal assistant to then, Assistant Church Historian, Richard E. Turley, Jr.. It was a remarkable evening of questions and discussion.
Most remarkable was how many came to this event—about 80—leaving standing room only. A much larger attendance than prior Think Again’s. Afterwards, the England’s and my wife, Jane, and I were talking about what we had just experienced. Elizabeth suggested that maybe we should hold a separate monthly group to explore similar topics. Mark said he had been wanting to do such a thing for a while. Jane and I agreed but I initially didn’t want to facilitate both groups. After failing to get anyone to take it over, and feeling some responsibility for the care of this community, I took it on.
I first turned to the helpful and generous Dan Wotherspoon for suggestions for presenters and connecting with them. Since then both groups have become a passion as I’ve grown to love and appreciate so many of the people who I’ve had the privilege of traveling this journey of curiosity with.
I love helping bring diverse as well as similar people together in a physical space to enjoy enriching conversations about challenging concepts. Think Again and Faith Again are part of my continuing education, and spiritual, social, and intellectual growth. And part of my contribution in creating a healthy community. They are an investment in myself, my family, faith, and friends as well as the larger community.
My gratitude goes out to those mentioned above as well as to the unmentioned. And to other friends who host our discussions on occasions. I greatly appreciate the many exceptional people who have been willing to lead the discussions in the two groups, and do so without remuneration. And I’m especially grateful to those who so often attend, participate, and share a desire to explore and challenge themselves.
Combining the two groups into one website made sense not only for management purposes, but also because historically the secular space and the spiritual/religious/faith space have often not played well together. I hope by sharing the same space while exploring our questions that we will find connecting threads of thought, trust, and respect for each other and those who see things differently than us.”
Presenters come from both within the group and from without. If you would like to present on a topic or know someone who would be good for us to engage with, then please contact Jay at Thinkagain.FaithAgain@gmail.com.