Becoming Yoan and Participating in the Evolution of Yoan Doctrine

    Note: This web page is outdated and in need of revision. Because it has some valid content that has yet to be incorported elsewhere and includes some earlier ways in which Yoism was described, it remains available here until it can be revised fully.

  1. How does one participate in Yoism?
  2. What does it mean "to be a Yoan?"
  3. What does it mean to be a "Consensus Yoan?"
  4. How does one become a Consensus Yoan?
  5. How does one participate in the evolution of the Yoan beliefs?
  6. Do I have to give up my personal beliefs to become a member of Yoan community?
  7. So, is it possible for me to retain my identification with Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, or other spiritual practice and still be a Yoan?
  8. Why must Yoans fully understand and embrace the beliefs of Yoism before becoming Consensus Yoans?
  9. What if someone mostly agrees but there are parts yo disagrees with or does not understand well; can yo still become a Consensus Yoan?
  10. What if later I change my mind about certain portions of Yo, does that mean I'm no longer a Consensus Yoan?
  11. Isn't this a "cult mentality" where everybody is compelled to think the same thoughts?

  1. How does one participate in Yoism?

    We have started holding open meetings in the Boston area. Everyone is invited to come to these and other community gatherings and participate in Yoan worship, community, and other projects. Currently, for those of you who do not live near Boston, the best way to become involved in Yoism is to communicate with us over email and on the yoism.org website. Study of Yoan beliefs can be pursued through our website and can include electronic discussion with current Yoans. We welcome your participation, creative suggestions, stories, song writing, rituals, and other insights. However to actually make direct changes to the website and the evolving Yoan documents, you need to join the Yoan community by becoming a Yoan. It is our hope that, after taking a closer look and participating in activities and/or dialog with us, you will then want to join us as a Yoan.

  2. What does it mean "to be a Yoan"?

    Yoans are people who have come to believe in the Great Holy Open Source Truth (GHOST) and have made a decision to join Yoism. By joining, we mean that they have decided to participate in the Yoan community and support Yoan projects and have made this decision clear to other Yoans. All Yoans are invited to participate in dialogs about the GHOST and make suggestions about how to improve it to make it closer to a True reflection of Yo.

    Simply following through with these decisions is what makes one a Yoan. Upon an individual's request (after at least three months have passed since announcing the decision to become a Yoan) at the next community meeting where there is a quorum of at least 10 Yoans, a special ceremony will be held. In this ceremony, yo proclaims yos belief in the over-arching principles of Yoism and asks to have yos name become part of the True Name of Yo. Yo chooses one syllable from yos name to add to the True Name.

    All Yoans are expected to contribute to the support of the Yoan community (and a tithe of 10% of income is recommended but the actual amount is up to the individual based on their personal feelings and circumstances). The tithe is the money that Yoans use to maintain the Yoan community, to distribute the GHOST, and to invite others to join us. Information about Yoan finances (organizational income and itemized spending) is available to all Yoans. (Information about individual contributions is only made available with the permission of the donor.)

  3. What does it mean to be a "Consensus Yoan?"

    Consensus Yoans are Yoans who have decided they want to be more involved in shaping the Great Holy Open Source Truth. The evolving GHOST is determined by agreement of Consensus Yoans (CY's), those of us who have decided to fully embrace the current consensus and work with other CY's to expand the frontiers of our knowledge of the Truth. CY's have become a part of the group that actually decides on the changes to be made in the GHOST. For changes and additions to become part of the Yoan doctrine, all CY's must reach consensus to include the changes. Anyone can take part in the discussions about revising the GHOST. However, all CY's must be able to embrace a new insight or modification before it is incorporated into the GHOST. If some CY's do not feel that proposed modifications bring us closer to the Truth, the rest of the community will have to engage these ideas until a new consensus emerges. This is the consensus process.

    Not everybody who contributes to a discussion is a Consensus Yoan whose vote will be part of the consensus. The discussion and development of the Yoan doctrine is important and sacred to Yoans. It is necessary to ensure that the process is not disrupted by people who do not start from a fundamental point of agreement on the over-arching principles of Yo, or by people who are not committed to participate fully, to listen and understand others' viewpoints, and to be sincere and kind in discussion. We need to be sure that only people willing to work toward mutually agreeable solutions can become Consensus Yoans; by the nature of consensus, a Consensus Yoan can block consensus on any issue.

  4. How does one become a Consensus Yoan?

    First, you would become a Yoan, participate in the Yoan community, study the beliefs of Yoism and the existing GHOST, and participate in the dialogs that lead to revision of the GHOST. One must participate in the discussion for a while to get an understanding of the process and the customs through which the GHOST evolves. Once you have spent a significant amount of time participating and contributing (in person or on the Internet) to the dialogs that are used to come to consensus about modifications to the GHOST, you are eligible to become a Consensus Yoan.

    After you have participated in these ways, have gotten to know the community (and some members of the community have gotten to know you), and you thoroughly understand the beliefs of Yo, you announce that you would like to become a Consensus Yoan.

    Shortly thereafter a ceremony will be held to welcome you as a Consensus Yoan. The ceremony begins with other Consensus Yoans asking questions to ascertain your understanding of the GHOST. Next you must fully embrace the beliefs of Yoism.

    Remember, if there were beliefs which did not make sense to you, then you would have been expected to have discussed them with other Yoans and to have tried to understand why the beliefs made sense to them. If the beliefs still did not make sense to you, then you are expected to have worked with other Consensus Yoans to find a way to have changed the doctrine so that it made sense both to you and others in the community. It is assumed that for many people the GHOST will need to be changed for them to be able to embrace it fully. This is good! This is how the GHOST grows and improves.

    When these conditions have been met, you are a Consensus Yoism. Keep in mind that this is not meant to be an exclusive group. All who have demonstrated their participation, their willingness to invest time and resources, and who believe in Yoism can expect to be accepted as Consensus Yoans if they want to participate more directly in the evolution of the GHOST.

  5. How does one participate in the evolution of the Yoan beliefs?

    First read through the pages of Yo, and try to get an understanding of the beliefs as they are currently articulated. If you find something that could be expressed better or that needs correction to be more accurately in sync with Yo/Reality, then suggest a change to other Yoans who are involved in revising the GHOST. Join the discussion group (discussion@yosim.org) and participate in the conversation. If you would like to contribute something of your own, first present your ideas on the discussion forum and get some feedback. When you feel you have been able to express your idea in a form that should be incorporated into the GHOST, post it to the discussion forum with that suggestion. A discussion will ensue, and eventually Consensus Yoans will either reach consensus to include the idea or explain why they choose not to, and possibly how the writing could be modified so they would.

  6. Do I have to give up my personal beliefs to become a Yoan?

    Of course not. Yoans have formulated the GHOST in order to be a community that joins to celebrate the Truth. However, we understand that there are a lot of personal truths that come from life experiences we cannot all share. These inner beliefs of your own are your own choosing; and it is not important that we all share the same thoughts on every matter. What is important is that the consensus we have taken the time to articulate is one that all members can agree to, understanding that it will change and grow over time.

    If you feel that the consensus of Yoism violates or explicitly contradicts your personal beliefs, then we would assume you would not be able to embrace the current consensus and identify yourself as a Yoan. We would then hope you would 1) work to change the GHOST, 2) be open to changing your mind if in discussions regarding revising the GHOST it makes more sense to revise some of the ideas you currently hold, and 3) perhaps decide not to be a Yoan until such time as you feel comfortable embracing the current consensus of the community.

    The Yoan GHOST provides a point of commonality among a diverse group of individuals, helping to restore a form of communal, spiritual awe and celebration that is consistent with an experientially valid understanding of creation and sane, spiritually sound values. Yoism will not be all things to all people; it will be the common foundation for our community, the closest formulation of the Truth that a group of human beings can articulate in the current day and age.

  7. So, is it possible for me to retain my identification with Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, or other spiritual practice and still be a Yoan?

    The short answer is of course this is possible. But clearly it depends on how you define your existing religious affiliation; the GHOST cannot include special claims by supposed authorities who reported miracles or other supernatural experiences that defy what can be experienced and verified. Yoans worship the genuine miracle of creation and the utterly fantastic qualities of the supernatural world, and we see the universe as a unified entity of which we are an intimate part; this entirety forms part of our sense of Yo.

    While Yoism recognizes that many valuable insights, comforting rituals, and inspiring stories are to be found in past religious traditions, Yoans have determined that these religions are built upon unsubstantiated claims of divinity and other "magical" thinking, which Yoism rejects. In addition to creating new symbols, rituals, songs, and stories, as the GHOST expands, we will be working to re-cast some of the old, inspiring myths, legends, stories, and symbols of past religions to form a Yoan literature, collection of parables, and poetic expressions of Yoan values. We welcome your help in this project.

  8. Why must Yoans fully understand and embrace the beliefs of Yoism before becoming Consensus Yoans?

    The tremendous and unique power of Yoism is that everybody can believe in it completely based on their personal experience. Though other religions strive for this they ultimately fall short for two reasons. First, their belief systems are delusional and typically conflict in tremendous ways with people's experience, which constantly challenges their religious beliefs. Second, in each instance where there is a conflict, there is no way to change the religion to make it correspond to your experience. This is because the standard religions are based on dogma which is determined by means outside your control.

    Yoism circumvents these difficulties by establishing a non-delusional belief system, and establishing a non-dogmatic method for modifying its belief system. This is a very powerful idea for a religion. Yoism has the potential to be the most successful, viable, and positive religion in history. We see no reason to dilute the power of this idea by being fuzzy about our commitment to it.

    Yoism is a spiritual community. We are not merely trying to create sound personal religious beliefs, rather we are trying to actualize those beliefs in the real world by building communities based on them. A community can act on its goals much more effectively when it is united in purpose and has a common framework and blueprint for action. We expect Yoan communities to be actively engaged in improving themselves, their environments, and the world in general.

    This is the power of religion, and this is how Yoism will improve the world.

  9. What if someone mostly agrees but there are parts yo disagrees with or does not understand well; can yo still become a Consensus Yoan?

    Not yet. To become a Consensus Yoan one must embrace the essential beliefs of Yoism in their entirety, or work with the Yoan community to expand and change those beliefs until yo can.

    This is important for a few reasons.

    We want Yoism to remain flexible and dynamic. It is a cultural norm that to become a Consensus Yoan you typically will have to work to expand the consensus to include your perspective as well as work to have a firm understanding of the consensus and the reasons behind it. Since the consensus will be changing with the addition of each new member, this will keep it from calcifying by preventing people from clinging to the idea that Yoism shouldn't change, or should rarely change.

    One of the most difficult aspects of consensus is that people often use different words to mean the same thing, and mean different things by the same words. This is like speaking two different languages, and coming to understand the language someone else is using often takes time. If this time is not invested in coming to share a language, the result can be unresolved confusion leading people to believe there are irreconcilable differences. Its important that we establish a common language so that we can understand each other. Having everybody agree on the language before joining the group that must decide by consensus, will make consensus more viable.

    Yoism simultaneously defines a belief system, a system for changing it, as well as a language for talking about it. For example, Most Yoans believe in Yo and all believe in the Divinity of sentient beings, that is, the each Human life is Sacred. However, Yoans know that in such notions we are not referring to something that the fantasy religions mean by "God," e.g., a humanoid spirit who operates the universe like a puppeteer and craves your love and devotion without which He will be angry and punish you. The decision to use "Yo" to refer to the "Infinite Unknowable Essence which Manifests All that Is" ("I am that I am") is a language decision, and someone who enters the discussion without understanding that decision will not be able to participate effectively. Many people who embrace most of Yoism experience an "allergic" reaction when it comes to our belief in Yo. This is because they haven't thoroughly understood what the word refers to and separated the Truth of Yoism from the god of the childish religions of delusion.

  10. What if later I change my mind about certain portions of Yo, does that mean I'm no longer a Consensus Yoan?

    When becoming a Consensus Yoan, it's important to embrace the beliefs of Yoism completely. Again, this is not just for you; it also means that Yoism will be subject to constant review and evolution of the religious base. This strengthens the community, makes discussion more productive, and promotes a spiritual sense of familial connection.

    After you have been a Consensus Yoan for a while, it's inevitable that your experience will grow and you will find that parts of Yoism no longer make sense to you or need to be expanded and updated. This is the natural process of evolution which make Yoism so dynamic and relevant.

    Therefore it is assumed that at times you will not believe entirely in Yo, and that you will work to improve Yoism so that you once again can. However, no matter how much your beliefs change, as long as you believe in the Divinity of the core idea of the Evolving, Sane, Open-source Religious Community called Yo, and as long as you continue to participate in and value the Yoan community, you remain a Consensus Yoan.

  11. Isn't this a "cult mentality" where everybody is compelled to think the same thoughts?

    Sorry, we are not allowed to think about these things. (Just kidding.)

    Consensus Yoans do share an unequivocal enthusiasm for---i.e., they totally embrace and completely accept---the truly beautiful idea of a community coming together in a sane system of belief that they form, modify, and maintain based on their own direct experience of the myriad manifestations of Yo (Reality). Yoism does not insist on slavish devotion to unchangeable, received dogma, i.e., a cult mentality. In this way, Yoism captures the valuable essence of religion without the ugly part: submission to nonsense (proclaimed by some dead authority) that is out of sync with reality and leads to horrific actions.

    If what you mean by "cult mentality" is belief, commitment, and enthusiasm, then we would freely admit that Yoism does foster these. But that is not what makes for a "cult mentality." There is nothing wrong with belief; even atheists believe in the nonexistence of God. There isn't anything wrong with commitment either; it is the lack of commitment that has led to a society of broken families and broken values. And without enthusiasm, there is no joy. However, when a group has a "cult mentality," in addition to belief, commitment, and enthusiasm, their beliefs are dictated by a dogmatic source and people are not allowed to question the validity of that source or the doctrine; Yoism is the exact opposite of such a "cult mentality."

    You should never believe anything that doesn't make sense to you. To do so is dangerous and leads to the delusions which are currently destroying our world.

    In contrast to cults, we are saying:

    "Come join a community that is crafting a system of belief and way of life that makes complete sense to you based on your experience. If at first the body of work that people have already done doesn't make sense to you, study it, learn about it, try to understand it. If it still doesn't make sense to you, work with us in expanding and modifying it until it does."