Conversations about the religious and spiritual life on the other side of fundamentalism
242:  Interrupting General Conference with a Reflection on Holy Week:   Bob Rees

242: Interrupting General Conference with a Reflection on Holy Week: Bob Rees

Credit: Altar at Easter, St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, Adam by Massachusetts Office Of Travel & Tourism CC

General Conference is often scheduled at the same time as Holy Week.  While there is much in LDS History to suggest that the formal organisation of the church occurred not coincidently with Holy Week of 1830, we are, according to Bob Rees, still missing out on the most important season of the Christian year.

In this discussion, Bob and I share our passion for Holy Week and talk about how we would love to see it taken up in LDS liturgical and contemplative practice.


  1. Laura

    I know Mormons generally don’t do Easter well, but in a small corner of Mormondom, it is remembered and a big part of the community. I grew up in Mesa, AZ where there is a yearly Easter pageant on the Temple grounds. Thousands attend and I believe there are at least 6 performances, several nights in Spanish. My father was the producer for many years and my mother the narrator. It started as a Sunday Sunrise Service. Every year as a child, we would dress up in our Sunday best, with our white Easter gloves and wrap up in blankets while we waited for it to begin. In many ways, I view it as too big now with a huge set and elaborate costumes. I agree, it’s barely a blip in Sacrament meetings. If we claim to be Christians, we need to make this a greater part of our worship. Thank you for a wonderful podcast this Easter!

  2. clh

    Thank you for the worthwhile ideas you presented. I was a missionary in Germany and a former investigator emailed me on Friday noting that it was Karfreitag (Good Friday) ‘when our Lord died on the cross for us.’ I was sad that I hadn’t even recognized that day as such. I was interested in the origin of the syllable Kar and found that it comes from the old High German Chara which means Trauer, sadness or mourning. In fact, the whole time from Aschermittwoch (Ash Wednesday) begins the Trauer or mourning time until the jubilation of Easter Sunday. I like the idea of remembrance of all the days of the Holy Week, especially Friday.
    Would there be a link to Bob’s poem At Trinity Church?

  3. Tamzine (Tammy) Johnston

    The gist of this discussion felt to me like a yearning to unite with all of God’s family.

    I propose we close all chapels on Palm Sunday and encourage all members to attend their local Catholic or Protestant church.

    I venture to encourage a visit to a local Hindu or Muslim or Sikh centre this week also. Cancel all Youth activities and visit these faithful faiths. They are most welcoming and many Mormons will be pleasantly surprised to discover our similarities with all.

    It surprises me, having our knowledge that all will go somewhere better that we insist on not mixing with any who may sway our beliefs.

    How can one lose or let go of the beautiful understanding that God loves every human, and that all kingdoms are better than this earth as it now stands?

    If we truly understand that we can help others by serving alongside and if we truly respect their worshipful traditions, having our understanding can only enhance others, and us them xo

    (Good work, Gina. I am so grateful everytime I see you poking the bears too btw. Refreshing.

    And I have now figured out how to use Google Home Mini, making it much easier to listen in.

    Just need to figure out how to ask her to play specific podcasts and not just the latest.

  4. Linda Easthope

    I’m quite astounded at Bob’s sense of ecumenical hopefulness for Mormonism. When I was an active member it felt traitorous to set foot in another church, even just for an extended family event or music recital. I was taught that the cross was tantamount to idolatry and that the liturgy was the equivalent of the repetitive prayers given on the Rameumptom in the Book of Mormon. Advent and Holy Week were part of the “false traditions of my fathers” that Mormonism had rescued me from. As my consciousness expanded at midlife there was no room for my “bigger God” in a religion where even five year-olds could stand and say they were proud to be part of the One True Church. Now a few years out, I still find it difficult to approach Mormonism without experiencing the soul-crushing sensation that the walls are closing in again. I hope that Bob represents the “new Mormonism” and that his ideas will lead to a time when Mormons can join with other Christians without judgment in worshipping and serving Christ.

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