In the Hive

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.


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

In the Hive
From local politics, to arts and culture, to history, the environment and beyond, “In the Hive” explores the issues and ideas that tie Utah together. Produced by KCPW Studios
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