The Olam Institute is a 501(c)3 non-profit that was planted in 2009, instituted in 2012, designed in 2013, and incorporated in 2014.
In 2009 I started teaching World Religions at Westminster College, a Liberal Arts University in Salt Lake City, Utah. I was immediately struck by how powerful religion is, but also how inescapably human it is. Test the power of religion yourself… try to think of any cultural institution more powerful than religion. If you think of one, please send me an email.
At the same time, no matter what you believe, you have to acknowledge that at a functional level, all religions are human institutions, even if they may be guided by God. All religions claim to be divinely inspired, but inescapably remain permeated by human ideas and culture.
In 2013 I designed and taught a course on the Future of Religion, and felt both my call to ministry and my path to addressing the world’s urgent needs. The fundamental epiphany behind the Olam Institute is this: You don’t need to convert to anything. You need to harness the power that is already within you. At the same time, we all struggle with motivation. We have dreams and goals, but all of us need support to motivate us to consistently work towards them.
For the past eight years I have produced the Engaging Gospel Doctrine podcast, an example of my “Religion so good it doesn’t need to be true” approach to well-being. I have also given numerous presentations on Humanism and well-being.
I have increasingly realized that even as a Chaplain and minister, my primary passion is not religion… my primary passion is well-being. In order to thrive, we need to take our human nature seriously. Through the Olam Institute we will continue to use the resources of spirituality, religion, and culture to create resources and programs that provide the structure and support to help you show up to life as your best self.
Board of Directors
Jared Anderson President and Founder
Trent Oliphant Vice-President
Incoming Members of the Board
Rev. Karen Hutt