Anne McMullin Peffer is the founder and president of Circling the Wagons. She was the founder of the Mormon Stories conferences and communities and served as the Operations Director of Mormon Stories until September of 2012. She is a member of the Mormons Building Bridges Steering Committee and is the visionary behind the Circling the Wagons Coalition. She is a clinical psychology graduate candidate at Harvard University Extension School and is particularly interested in suicide and self-destructive behaviors that occur in association with feelings of not belonging to one’s community and the self-perception that one is inherently flawed and burdensome to others. She received her B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Utah where she studied the impact of early childhood environments on human development across the lifespan, parent-child relationships and family systems.
Anne is committed to creating safe spaces where Mormons of all beliefs, sexualities, levels of activity in the Mormon Church and life decisions can speak honestly and interact authentically without fear of rejection, retaliation or exclusion. To this end, she helped author the Shared Values and has organized fifteen conferences across the United States featuring Mormons of different sexualities and levels of belief for the purpose of demonstrating the power and effectiveness of inclusiveness, conflict resolution that does not resort to making accusations and taking sides, and healthy communication. She feels Mormon communities are healthiest when Mormons of all beliefs and sexualities feel comfortable articulating their belief, disbelief and personal stories side-by-side without feeling the need to exclude, accuse, reject or change each other because of their differences. She also believes that Mormon communities will be healthier when Mormon women are equally represented in all leadership positions and are able to speak from a place of equal empowerment and that such equality will, in turn, positively impact Mormon families.
Anne self-identifies as a former Mormon who no longer believes in Mormonism and who views Mormonism as her cultural heritage. She self-identifies as a former Mormon in an effort to be transparent as she forwards her work with Circling the Wagons and Mormons Building Bridges. She has not resigned from the Church nor has any intention of resigning in the future. She values her membership because she loves the Mormon people and she feels Mormonism is part of her life and identity.
Anne does not self-identify as a New Order Mormon and does not actively campaign to change the institutional church. She is solely interested in social justice, inclusiveness within Mormonism, freedom of authentic speech, and working to positively affect Mormon communities, Mormon families and the lives of individual Mormons. She served in a Relief Society presidency and a Sunday School presidency, and as a Relief Society teacher, Gospel Doctrine teacher, youth Sunday School teacher, Primary teacher and Primary chorister.
Anne lives in New Hampshire and is the mother of three children who do not self-identify as Mormon, who do not believe in Mormonism and who do not discriminate for or against others based on belief, race, sex, sexuality, gender identity, or gender expression.