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Not Fearing Others' Faith Journeys - A Conversation with Valerie Hamaker
Not Fearing Others' Faith Journeys - A Conversation with Valerie Hamaker

Faith Matters

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This week, we’re thrilled to welcome therapist and podcaster Valerie Hamaker.

In his book Falling Upward, Franciscan priest Richard Rohr uses the metaphor of a container to elaborate on what he calls “the two halves of life.” The first half of life, he says, is for building the structure of the container; the second is for filling it and sharing from it. This concept has been foundational for us in our faith journey over the last 10 years, and today with Valerie, we delved into how everyone’s faith evolves over time, the necessity of structure and identity in early faith development, and the importance of embracing complexity, depth, and paradox as we grow.

One of the tricky parts about faith evolution is that not everyone’s faith evolves in the same way; and because so many of us have built our lives on or around our faith, it can be hard when we see loved ones’ and family members’ beliefs diverge significantly from our own, in any direction. This is a real area of expertise for Valerie in her own practice, and we found her insights on managing complex relationships and spiritual growth super helpful—she helped us see that genuine curiosity can be crucial in navigating complex conversations around beliefs, and explained why we can, and should, let go of any belief that engenders fear. 

Valerie is a licensed therapist specializing in marriage and couples work. She owns a private counseling practice in Kansas City, Missouri, and is the host of the Latter Day Struggles Podcast, where she helps Latter-Day Saints understand and navigate their spiritual growth.

This conversation is packed with practical advice for anyone experiencing or supporting others through faith transitions. We hope you find Valerie’s insights as enlightening and encouraging as we did. And with that, we’ll jump right into this conversation with Valerie Hamaker.

Note: the research Valerie refers to in this interview was done by Liz Macdonald.

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