“It’s the same fight regardless” – Ex-Mormon writer Coral Sands – Sentientism Episode 96

Find our Sentientist Conversation here on the Sentientism YouTube and here on the Sentientism Podcast.

Coral is an aspiring writer, an animal rescue volunteer/donor & runs a bunny boarding & grooming business. She is an ex-Mormon atheist with a naturalistic worldview & a “meat & potatoes girl” turned vegan.

You can find her and her content here: @atheist_vegan,,, Coral on YouTube, Discord JoinTheConversation Invite, Coral on WorldAnvil.

In Sentientist Conversations we talk about the two most important questions: “what’s real?” & “what matters?”

Sentientism is “evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” In addition to the video above the audio is on our Podcast here on Apple and here elsewhere.

We discuss:

00:00 Welcome & why Sentientism is important

02:39 “Vegan Atheist Coral”‘s Intro

  • A Mormon, military family
  • Joining the Coastguard
  • From “A meat & potatoes girl” to vegan & animal rescue
  • From religious to “spiritual” to agnostic/atheist
  • #JoinTheConversation & Street Epistemology
  • Stories with morals. Star Trek

11:55 What’s Real?

  • Growing up Mormon (yet another “one true church”)
  • “It encompasses every bit of your life”
  • 4 hours in church then 2 more in “school” every Sunday
  • “Most of my childhood I felt like I was in church”
  • Strong emphasis on family, but “very good at shunning” if you don’t believe
  • Internal self-pressure: “You’re constantly measuring yourself against what you think Jesus would want you to do”
  • Joseph Smith & the golden plates
  • The old & new Bible testaments superceded by The Book of Mormon
  • The trinity, creationism, proselytising
  • Fundamentalist & progressive Mormons
  • Managing the public perception of Mormonism (e.g. modesty dress codes)
  • Sending children on missions. Isolating from families & friends to reinforce church teachings
  • “The other people you’re on the mission with are almost snitches”
  • Church sees friends & even own parents as potential threats
  • Pressured to speak to elders about doubts “testimony” as long as they’re resolved in favour of the church
  • Moving from the west coast to Alabama. Culture shock
  • Growing up with a naievety about race & racism
  • The shock of a new school “We pray here”
  • “I go to the one true church & they’re all wrong”
  • Parents drifting away from the church due to accusations about a minister
  • Studying other religions… “there has to be an ultimate truth”
  • Some family are still Mormon
  • Asking “what do we know & how do we know?”, exploring philosophy (brain in a vat, The Matrix), re-evaluating “the god question”
  • “If you’re going to call the universe god why not just call it the universe”

51:00 What (& Who) Matters?

  • Sticking to rules (military mindset) instead of thinking about morality, “until I got to my atheism”
  • Learning about non-human animal morality/altruism (Frans de Waal)
  • A vegan best friend has a vegan wedding. Joking about leaving to get a burger
  • Following some vegans online
  • If when I think of veganism I think of the word “moral”… “then why aren’t I vegan?”
  • A turning point when friends made jokes about rabbit stew
  • It’s not considered extreme “to help a victim”
  • “I was a meat & potato girl… & I couldn’t cook!”
  • Veganuary… finally getting help & resources
  • Human duties as caretakers of animals, living things and our planet
  • Motto: “When given multiple options try to use the least shitty”
  • Utilitarianism
  • Extending John Rawls’ “Veil of Ignorance” to also obscure species when designing a just society (see Rowlands, Dombrowski, Varner)
  • “What if you didn’t know if you were going to end up being a cow or a pig or a fish?”… “When I ask that question, people’s speciesism drops”
  • The Tyra Show experiments… encouraging empathy

01:19:00 How Can We Make a Better World?

  • Why animal ethics is like kryptonite for otherwise rational, skeptical thinkers
  • “You never know what is going to end up being that lightbulb”
  • Writing fiction as a driver of change
  • Story & narrative
  • Suspected Sentientist Yuval Noah Harari
  • Messaging tone. Judgement vs. compassion & empathy
  • Parallels between social change re: smoking & animal farming
  • Will animal farming one day be outlawed?
  • Human & non-human oppression: “It’s the same fight regardless”

Sentientism is “Evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” More at

Join our “I’m a Sentientist” wall using this simple form.

Everyone, Sentientist or not, is welcome in our groups. The biggest so far is here on Facebook. Coral and I are already there!

Thanks Graham for the post-production.

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