October in Alberta is beautiful but there is one place where the beauty is unique. That place is Larch Valley which is filled with larch trees. Larch trees are unique because they are conifers but they are not “evergreen.” In the fall, the needles of larch trees turn yellow making a beautiful contrast to the intermingled evergreen trees. Hiking the Larch Valley trail in October, which starts at Lake Moraine, is a must.
In the spring, Margaret Downey, founder and president of the Freethought Society, will be speaking at a webinar for us. For now, Margaret has invited us, members of RMA, to an annual, online event of the Freethought Society called the International Secular Day of the Dead. It is actually on November 2nd from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm MDT, but in order for people to plan ahead, we decided to announce it now. The event will include musical performances, a message from actor Jon Huertas, and the keynote speaker will be Dr. Hector Garcia. The original Day of the Dead is a holiday celebrated in Mexico and anywhere that a large group of people of Mexican heritage are found. It is related to the Christian All Saints Eve (Halloween) and All Saints’ Day but it is more joyful and celebratory. For anyone who is not a believer but likes to celebrate the Day of the Dead, the Freethought Society has created its International Secular Day of the Dead. You can learn more about it by going to the Freethought Society’s Meetup page. If you decide to attend, you will need to pre-register at https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYsd-qtpj4qGtOCULSJDr-IaO17vI8OVwJY.
We should also mention that we are including, in our listing below, the events of our sister organization, the Calgary Secular Assembly.
My pick for October is The Influence Continuum with Dr. Steven Hassan. Steven is an expert on cults and came by his expertise in two ways, through personal experience and academic study. As a young man, he was drawn into the “Moonie” cult. He remained in it for two years when his family successfully assisted him in his escape from the cult. Since then, he has dedicated his entire life to helping people whose lives have been affected by cults. His podcast is only one of many ways he reaches out to assist people. It is part of his Freedom of Mind Resource Center. In the podcast, he interviews people who have escaped cults and high-control religions as well as other experts in fields similar to his own. You can find his podcast at https://freedomofmind.com/resource-links/podcast/.
Note: Some events might not appear on this list because they are not yet confirmed. Check the Meetup page to find any new events that might be planned during the month.
Tuesday, October 3
Skeptics in the Pub
First Tuesday of every month at 7:00 p
DON’T FORGET, Skeptics in the Pub is at a new location, the private Barrell room at the Trolley 5 Brewpub, 728 17th Ave. SW. This month, Stephen Sit will be presenting the topic for discussion. Stephen has expertise in the supply chain but he might talk about a related subject. Come and find out then enjoy a discussion the like-minded people. Check the Meetup page for more detailed directions
Thursday, October 5
Life Without Religion - Online
First Thursday of every month at 7:00 pm
Life Without Religion (LWR) is a peer support group for people whose lives have been negatively impacted by religion. When you discover that you simply cannot believe what you have been taught about your religion for years, maybe even a lifetime, you lose more than just the religion. You lose your community, friends, and sometimes even family. Your whole life changes and you don’t know what is “out there” for you. It is extremely hard to let go of what you have relied on for years, even though it is now causing you pain. In LWR meetings, we discuss issues such as this and help each other find our way through the maze of building a new life.
These first Thursday of the month LWR meetings are online and members receive the Zoom link by email, a day or two before the meetings. If you are struggling with a serious issue caused by religion and you are not a member of LWR but are interested in joining, contact Lois at email@example.com.
Monday, October 9
RMA Coffee Chat
Second Monday of every month at 1:00 pm
Do you have a topic that you are just itching to discuss with someone? Or are you interested in finding out what other people are discussing? Possibly you would just like to enjoy the company of a group of like-minded people. The answer to all of those questions is Coffee Chat. Join us for a relaxing afternoon of friendly chatter. You don’t even have to dress up or go anywhere. Just click on https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82796694414 and you will be there.
Thursday, October 12
RMA Book Club – ONLINE
Second Thursday of every month at 7:00 pm
The title of the book that Book Club is discussing this month is Cave of Bones by Lee Berger and John Hawks. Berger is a paleoanthropologist whose explorations have led to the discovery of two new species related to humans, Australopithecus sediba and Homo naledi. John Hawks is a paleoanthropologist who specializes in human evolution and genetics. The two men were part of the team that explored the Rising Star cave system in South Africa where they discovered the bones of many individuals of the newly discovered species, Homo naledi. This discovery forms the basis of the book. You can join the discussion, whether or not you have read the book, by clicking on the link, https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85159964956.
Thursday, October 12
RMA Book Club – In Person
Second Thursday of every month at 7:00 pm
The title of the book for this month’s Book Club meeting is Cave of Bones by Lee Berger and John Hawks, as described above. If you prefer in-person discussions to Zoom meetings, this is for you. We read the same book and meet at the same time, but we meet in person. Go to the Meetup page to find the meeting location and how to get there. By the way, if you haven’t read the book, you are still welcome. After hearing the discussion, you will probably be inspired to read the book.
Sunday, October 15
RMA Monthly Board Meeting
Third Sunday of every month at 1:00 pm
Do you think board meetings are boring? Wrong! RMA is such an active organization that board meetings are interesting. Come and find out. Yes, everyone is welcome at board meetings. You can learn about how we make decisions, you can make suggestions, and you might find a way in which you want to volunteer. However, only board members vote on motions. Once again, the board meeting will be at the Calgary Central Library in meeting room 2-05A. You can get more information on the Meetup page.
Tuesday, October 17
Life Without Religion - In person
Third Tuesday of every month at 7:00 pm
Last month, we had a successful in-person LWR meeting and our effort at making it a hybrid was somewhat successful. We are working on ways to make it even better.
We started our in-person meetings with a discussion of the first letter of the BITE model of authoritarian control, behavior control. This month, we will discuss the I in BITE or information control. Steven Hassan developed this model mainly to help people understand how cults control their members. Because high-control religions function much like cults, the BITE model can be used to understand how religions control people. As we understand more about the mechanisms of control, we will become better equipped to free ourselves of the remnants of that control that we still carry with us, as well as help others who are trying to free themselves from the grip of a fundamentalist religion.
LWR members will receive information about the location of the meeting or, if you are joining by Zoom, the link, in an email that will be sent a day or two before the meeting. If you are trying to cope with difficulties caused by religion and are not yet a member of LWR but are interested in joining, contact Lois at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, October 23
Movie Night - Online
Fourth Monday of every month at 7:00 pm
The movie for this month’s Movie Night is the documentary, Canada’s woke nightmare: A warning to the West, produced by The Telegraph, a conservative British newspaper published in London. The documentary contains some very controversial topics that are presented from a conservative viewpoint. The documentary is relatively short, leaving a lot of time for a challenging discussion. This should give us practice in having a calm, cool discussion on several controversial issues. Everyone should feel free to express their honest opinion being confident that no one will raise their voice. Are you ready for it? Then click on https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81805882498.
Thursday, November 2
Calgary Secular Assembly Events
Tuesday, October 10
Pub Social - conversations over coffee or beer
7:00 pm, Kilkenny Irish Pub
Sunday, October 15
College – Has it Lost its Way?
1:00 pm, Evergreen Community SPACES
Sunday, October 22