I've started a lot of ambitious projects in my life, and I used to joke about how I wanted to some day start a new religion. I was half serious. Some time in late 2011, I started to think more about this wild and crazy idea.
A group of my friends and I, especially my friends Sylvia and Anna, would often meet to discuss religion, values, and the state of society. We would have consistently satisfying conversations, and, while we disagreed on numerous issues, we found ourselves able to discuss topics that are normally considered controversial.
For my whole life, I've had the experience of going through various groups of people, and sometimes feeling really wonderful connections with people, but other times feeling frustrated, excluded from groups, bored, or otherwise unfulfilled. Although I was always able to articulate how I felt after the fact, I had a relatively poor grasp on how and why I would feel so good in some group settings and so bad in others.
We started talking about how to replicate the positive and fulfilling dynamic that existed in our own conversations.
On January 4th, 2012, a group of five of us gathered in West Philadelphia to found the group. At this meeting, we started building our rules of communication, the rules that would be used to guide and govern our discussions and how our organization is run. We continued to meet, with different people coming to the meetings, but the meetings remaining small.
On March 28th, after we had already built a substantial portion of our belief system, we finally agreed on a name for the group, Why This Way, and on April 4th we agreed on a symbol. The next day, the 5th, our wiki was set up. With the wiki up, the extent of our group's system of beliefs and practices began to blossom.
The group now has regular meetings in multiple locations and has been slowly growing, both in terms of participation, and the extent of the belief system.