Conversations about the religious and spiritual life on the other side of fundamentalism
086: Bob Rees:  The poetic life of a devout Mormon dissident

086: Bob Rees: The poetic life of a devout Mormon dissident

Bob Rees stands out as an extraordinary human being, one who has navigated the road less travelled that meanders around and through the valleys and peaks of Mormon orthodoxy and progressivism.  Succeeding Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 5.39.58 PMEugene England as the editor of Dialogue, Bob has lived almost 50 years as a vocal critic and conscience of the church, all the while giving the church of his youth and heart his absolute devotion.  A former missionary, Bishop, and counselor in a Mission Presidency; Bob has been outspoken in his writing about his advocacy of equal rights, particularly gay, gender and race rights –  sometimes in the face of profound resistance and punitive discipline from his church leaders.  Bob proclaims his Christian devotion as the centre of his faith life which has, without doubt, provided him with a strong sense of  spiritual centeredness that transcends the sometimes inflammatory situations that periodically erupt as the church groans into maturity.  While he could have transferred his Christian devotion to other religious contexts he has chosen the theology of the restoration as the basis of his faith and ultimate hope.

Bob is a writer, a poet, a speaker, an author and characteristically responds with a searing intellect and wisdom to the challenges of the day.  Bob is candid about the shortfalls in the LDS community, but he is ever hopeful, generous and kind about the religion he loves.  His faith is of the rare variety – while he raises poignant challenges to the body and leadership of the church he sees himself as ultimately responsible for his own spiritual creation.

Bob is currently the Vice-President of the Liahona Children’s Foundation, he is a Visiting Professor at the Graduate Theological Union and UC Berkley and the editor of ‘Why I Stay’.


  1. A Happy Hubby

    Wow – that was even better than I thought. I was hard to listen to how humble Bob was when he was improperly “chastened” by his leaders. The title was very appropriate – a devout dissident.

  2. Jay Griffith

    I met Bob last year. On more than one occasion. I have spoken to him one-on-one a number of times and he is the real deal. I think that comes through well in this podcast. He is powerfully meek. Like our savior.

  3. Pingback: Bob Rees on Dialogue, and traveling the Mormon orthodox and | Dialogue – A Journal of Mormon Thought

  4. E.P

    Obsolutely EXCELLENT! One of the very very best interviews I’ve ever listened to, if not THE BEST. Thank you. Bring him on again for another 3 hour-interview on other subjects….Is there a way we can clone him and spread his clones throughout the church? If we could, Zion would arise overnight! Thank you.

  5. Pingback: Tikkun k’nessiah: Repairing the Church: Bob Rees – faith again

  6. Pingback: Life as a Devout Mormon Dissident – Mormon Alchemist

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