January 2020

Solstice Banquet

Our annual Banquet was well attended! All 44 participants seemed to have a good time. There were representatives from Atheists of Utah and Freethought Forum. We look forward to working more closely with them and other similar organizations in the coming year and beyond.

Beginning next year we plan to modify the format to join the HumanLight Festival that was originally started in the late 20th Century by the New Jersey Humanist Network. The name HumanLight comes from a non-supernatural emphasis on humanity with “Light” pointing to human reason. The event is designed to celebrate the “positive human values of reason, compassion, humanity and hope.” The celebration is also supported by the American Humanist Association.

Board of Directors Election Results

 · 58 ballots created and sent to members
 · 23 ballots returned
 · 23 votes for Loren Florence, MD, Craig Wilkenson, MD, and Wayne Wilson. Two write in votes were cast for Jared Anderson. Jared was formally accepted to the Board at our monthly meeting on December 19 meeting

President’s Report

Happy New Year, everyone! We are entering not only a new year, but a new decade and here at HoU, we are optimistic and excited about the future of the organization and humanism in general. In the spirit of reflection and future vision, I would like to give you an update on what we accomplished this year and what we are looking at moving forward.

For 2019, we set out three specific goals: to become a community versus a group, to gather a dynamic board and officer cadre for future leadership, and to make ourselves a known and active entity in the Utah secular community. I feel that all of these have been accomplished and will be a solid foundation for 2020. Accomplishments this year include:

· Nearly doubling of average meeting attendance

· Increases in HoU social media membership and activity

· Upgrading branding and trade dress of HoU media and communications

· Launch of new version of website (please go check it out at humanistsofutah.org

· Launch of HoU YouTube channel for viewing our speakers and events

· Participation in Utah Pride parade, all-secular community events and service projects

· Hosting community events including Charles Darwin birthday, the Summer Barbeque, and our Winter Solstice Banquet

· A wider variety of speakers for monthly meetings, including subjects as varied as: climate crisis, international refugee entrepreneurism, judicial ethics, healthcare, meditation and mental health and more

For 2020, we will be focusing on growing our active membership, branding HoU with more participation in the community and modernizing our framework, tools and messaging for further impact. We aim to participate in regional gatherings and increase our presence with events such as Utah Pride and civic events/ceremonies. Additionally, we will be rebranding the Winter Solstice banquet as HumanLight to dovetail with national AHA efforts to provide a humanist-oriented holiday celebration for the community.

The unfortunate reality is that this impact and support is not free. The events all take money to put on. We have no paid positions and all of the hours and efforts are volunteered by your local HoU team. I am asking each of you reading this to consider financial support of Humanists of Utah so that we may continue our mission to provide education and a community in Utah based on Humanist principles. If you are a member currently, please renew when the time is up. If you are not yet a member, please consider joining us officially —memberships start at just $35 annually—for the cost of a cup of coffee each month. Regardless, we want you to come and participate with us in these fun events and informative meetings. We will see you there.

Thank you and we look forward to a successful year with your support!

—Jeff Curtis
President, HoU

This is a new series where Lisa Miller and Brian Trick will be exploring some of the groups that have either given talks to our chapter or have associated themselves with us through some other venue in depth. We want to be able to give some feedback on the group’s activities and possible ways our chapter members can get involved.

HoU Out’n’About with the Citizens Climate Lobby

After Bill Barron and Tom Moyer, Citizens’ Climate Lobby Leaders in Utah, spoke with the Humanists of Utah on “Solving the Climate Challenge” we (Lisa and Brian) had the opportunity to attend their Citizens Climate Lobby’s (CCL) monthly meeting in September. The meeting was well organized and CCL’s maturity around their messaging and focusing on their objectives was very evident. It should be noted that their plan is a truly bipartisan effort for meaningful Carbon Reduction through Carbon taxing legislation. As first timers we participated in a 1/2-hour pre-meeting where the essence of what the CCL is doing was explained. After that a general meeting with all the participants was held and a guest speaker presented a relevant issue. Details on this call can be found on the CCL’s website at: https://citizensclimatelobby.org/dr-jonathan-haidt-on-how-moral-psychology-can-inform-climate-advocacy/

After the General meeting the new members were put together again and a general discussion around opportunities and how they could help support the cause was discussed. Overall it was a very pleasant experience with a very well-organized group. In our opinion, any time and effort that you may have would be well spent helping the CCL. If planning on attending a call, please allow for an additional 1/2 hour before (and after) the meeting for your first time.

There are several opportunities for interested parties to help the CCL including contacting congress through writing, calling or tweeting.

For more information on the CCL’s presentation to the HoU follow https://humanistsofutah.org/climate-action/

The CCLs home page is


—Brian Trick and Lisa Miller
HoU Board Members

Website Upgrades

I have substantially updated our Humanists of Utah website. Please come on over and take a look at humanistsofutah.org! We wanted to be able to have more interactive content—and finally the ability to pay for memberships and to make donations online. We now have a PayPal portal that will accept your payments. It notifies Leona so that you get credit and a receipt for your charitable contribution. It also lets Wayne know so that your membership records can be properly updated. The website should be more active in future so check back and see what we’re up to.

The website still contains archived resources from all our newsletters going back to 1991. The information is presented logically and can easily be searched for content.

If you have a dinosaur selfie that you’d like to star in the Slide Show on our Front Page, please email a landscape orientation photo to lisa@humanistsofutah.org. Include a description of where it was taken.

—Lisa Miller

Webmaster / Editor / Publisher