For this episode, we talked to Dr. Robert Rees. Bob has fit enough into his life to fill several lifetimes, so we can’t talk about everything he’s done, but we’ll give you some highlights here.
Bob has taught in humanities and Mormon Studies at UCLA, UC Berkeley, and several other institutions. He’s also been the editor of Dialogue, former Chair of the Sunstone Foundation, and has published a wide variety of scholarly articles, personal essays, editorials, and poetry. Bob is the editor of a book series called Why I Stay, which compiles essays by some really remarkable Latter-day Saints; the latest edition, Why I Stay 2, which contains essays from Carol Lynn Pearson, Jennifer Finlayson-Fife, Phil Barlow, and others, was just released in April.
Bob is also one of the founders of The Bountiful Children’s Foundation, whose mission is to nurture the potential of infants and toddlers to lead healthy, productive, and self-reliant lives by eliminating malnutrition.
We spoke with Bob about how we as Latter-day Saints can engage fully and faithfully with a world that’s in need of imaginative and optimistic discipleship. He embodies that ideal so perfectly, and we came away so inspired by his energy and enthusiasm for making the Church and the world better places.
Selected quotes from Robert Rees:
“To me it’s exhilarating, because in my lifetime, I see some of the efforts that ordinary Saints have made that have changed the Church. The Church that we live in today is much more enlightened on race, it’s much more enlightened on LGBT issues, it’s much more enlightened on women’s issues, it’s much more enlightened on a number of things–and some of those things have come from the bottom as well as from the top, because we believe in both horizontal and vertical revelation. And so many of the really exciting and revolutionary changes in the Church started on a local level.”
“When we stand before the Lord . . ., what we’re going to be accountable for is: Have we used the best of our hearts and minds and spirits? Did we make good judgments?”