Former GOP lawmaker’s new project? Starting a mushroom-based religion

On this episode of “In the Hive,” we have a conversation with former GOP state lawmaker Steve Urquhart, who served 16 years in the Utah legislature. Urquhart had a falling out with his party, and with his church, over the stance both took when it came to equal protections for LGBTQ people. After finally getting a landmark antidiscrimination bill passed in 2015, he announced his retirement from the legislature in 2016, though he went on to work behind the scenes on a variety of the same issues he championed while in office. 

Here’s where the story takes a surprising turn. 

As Salt Lake Tribune columnist Robert Gehrke reported earlier this month, Urquhart has a new project, one that is a far cry from his Mormon, Republican roots. In June, the lawyer and former lawmaker filed paperwork to create a new church, “The Divine Assembly,” which is centered around the use of psilocybin mushrooms.

Why?

Urquhart believes that the use of the illicit, psychoactive substance is a way to access something that he can only describe as a religious experience. But will his new religion meet the standards of those “spiritual giants” at the IRS and the DEA? And what about the fact that Urquhart’s chosen ‘sacrament’ is a Schedule 1 controlled substance under federal law? 

Guest: Steve Urquhart, former state lawmaker and founder of “The Divine Assembly”

Book referenced:
How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence, by Michael Pollan

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