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Mormon Discussion: 337: The Evolutionary Need for Community and A Better Tribe

Today I want to talk about tribes and community.  About the “we” of family and friends.  The “we” of religious tribes.  How intimacy is the secret ingredient of small tribes (25 or less), gossip the secret of medium sized tribes(25 to 150) and myth for large tribes (150+)

I talk about leaving a tribe when fitting in (presenting a false version of yourself) is too painful, and how we all want to “belong” ( be and present yourself fully and still be accepted).  And I end talking about my tribe right here and now!

we mention briefly about how humans across the ages have navigated community and tribalism and why it is so crucial and inside our evolutionary DNA.  We have survived better in small tribes that trusted each other and as we grew we moved from Intimacy to Gossip to Myth.  And how once we remove the threats of the wild, we desire to move back to intimate tribalism.


 Why Myth is useful and separates Humans from other animals
More on Gossip and Myth and their usefulness
More on Gossip as a binding force
What gave rise to gossip
Gossip as a social skill
Intimacy as a binding force
Intimacy within social relationships

10 thoughts on “Mormon Discussion: 337: The Evolutionary Need for Community and A Better Tribe”

  1. Wow, very powerful Bill.
    Wish I was within proximity to be part of this special group of yours.

    I believe you were trying to create local support groups back in the day for those going through faith (crisis) transition, and I was listed as a support group for Toronto area.

    Your epiphany is brilliant, it’s true… all day long we want to know how acceptable we are with each other, the worst part is not being acceptable to ourselves (or our notions of God), then to our family, our community, etc.

    Brene Brown’s episode on Netflix (which I thought was poorly delivered) near the end holds great insights on how to be vulnerable effectively. But perhaps this could be the foundation of new rules for a 21st century way of doing community (religion/tribalism).

    Any how, I’m glad you achieved a strong sense of belonging and you have a special inner circle. Part of me wishes that could be turned into a product, franchised, and licensed. Truth is the world needs this now more than ever before, but how do you best communicate and transmit these ideas.

    Perhaps time for a TEDx talk or something like this, but then you will suffer from what Celebrities have to go through if you aren’t already.

    1. Our tribe still has boundaries and rules. We still include and exclude. What makes you think you could fit in or naturally belong? you see, it still is complicated.

      1. I never thought it to be otherwise.
        That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t want to still be part of it if you would accept me.

        I understand the limitations as there will be physical, spiritual, intellectual, emotional, social, even economical and mental considerations that need to be weighed in.

        That said I would still hope to make the cut, but if I didn’t I would hope a reason would be given. Once the circle of trust is complete why risk letting another person in to disrupt that, right?

        Thanks for excluding me right off the bat. =P

        1. Haaa, I was just saying that we often think we leave a rigid tribe and now I get to be accepted and be myself. NOPE! every tribe has boundaries and rules and litmus tests for membership. This tribe we are talking about (my friends) are the closest I have found in people leaning into authenticty and vulnerability but I also concede they they think like me and we enjoy the same experiences and talk about the same subject matter. If any of those things were not a good fit exclusion would enter the conversation.

          1. After following your podcast closely for over four years now, I would hope to be the right fit. Sometimes these litmus test rules are well written down for everyone to examine and comprehend and in other instances it’s just up in the ether to be generally understood through word of mouth (oral traditions).

            But even I were exactly the right fit, I can sense the rest of the tribe feeling uneasy about letting new people in. It’s sort of like restarting the whole process of can I trust you and are you trustworthy?

            Also, how big can this house/tribe get before it’s overly crowded. It’s definitely complicated.

            The church in that sense has done pretty well, could it do better? Definitely. Currently the church feels like it has lost its way to me, and I’m not even empowered to help corrects its course.

            But the Church of Bill of Post-Mormon Saints sounds pretty cool, I gotta admit.

            1. the tribe can only reach around 15-25 based on intimacy and then gossip starts to kick in…. And I want to stay away from that!

      1. going through human development. leaning into the ideas of Richard Rohr, Brene Brown, Eckart Tolle, Liturgists podcast, michael Pollan, Miguel Ruiz. Combined with my deep exploration of ethnocentricity and what moving out of ethnocentricity looks like.

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