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Recovering from Religion


Activity Overview: 
The transition to secularism can be a difficult one in many ways. Recovering from Religion is an organization that brings together people who have been through (and are going through) similar hardships on the road to nontheism. Student groups often include members who are either still closeted with their nontheism or are dealing actively with coming out to their families; which makes them ideal hosts for Recovering from Religion meetings.

From Recovering from Religion’s website:

“A Recovering from Religion meeting may take one of several forms, but at any meeting you will find people like yourself talking about what religion did to their lives and personalities, what actions they took to help themselves, and how they are living after faith.”

Planning timeframe: 
There is some ahead of time planning needed to get officers trained to lead meetings as “group facilitators” through Recovering from Religion. Apart from that, the timeframe is judged by how long it takes to secure a location and adequately promote the meeting. Easily 2+ weeks.

The first thing that needs to be done to host RR meetings is to have a handful of members (preferably officers staggered by class) trained as “group facilitators” by RR’s development director, which can be arranged through Recovering from Religion's website. These are typically done via an online meeting (such as through skype).

Once that is done, a location needs to be chosen that is conducive to discussion. As long as people can effectively speak / be heard and there is room for everyone to sit at a location, it can potentially work as a RR meeting location.

Promotion can be done however is deemed best to reach the community. Fliering, chalking, print advertisements, new media, etc. are all appropriate.

Material requirements: 
Advertising materials and a suitable meeting location.

Consider the audience you need to reach to promote this event. Reach out to off-campus groups, hang flyers, and promote within your group through your email list. For promotion ideas, see our Group Promotion and Media Relations Guide


1. Around a month before you schedule your first meeting, potential group facilitators need to be chosen and receive training from an official RR representative.

2. A location needs to be collaboratively decided upon before advertising for the event starts, so at least 2 weeks prior to the meeting.

3. Within two weeks of the scheduled meeting date, advertising should be emphasized heavily. Fliering, print advertisements, chalking, new media, plug it in the student newspaper, etc (make sure to stay within your school’s official guidelines for advertising).

4. The meeting itself should be treated the same as a discussion meeting: the facilitator should have a number of topics prepared ahead of time to keep the discussion moving if it begins to die down. However, it might be best to open the floor to individuals to discuss their personal experiences to promote discussion as well. The facilitator should also act as a moderator to keep meetings from getting overly heated or out of hand.

5. Ideally, meetings should be held on a monthly recurring basis and kept on a regular, consistent schedule. Facilitators should check in with an RR representative on occasion to keep the organization up to date with how events are going.

Ideas for topics: Dealing with Proselytizing; Coming Out; Dealing with Death; Family and Relationships; Clash with Culture; Sexuality

One of our best resources to find out what works and what doesn't is you - our student leaders! If you've employed a strategy that worked well, let us know about it so other groups can also use that idea. If you've learned a lesson of caution about something we suggest, point out the pitfalls. You can email us at organizer@secularstudents.org!

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