2012 Gay & Lesbian Mormons Conference: Robert A. Rees Receives the Affirmation Allies Award
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Published on Oct 30, 2012
Bishop Robert A. Rees is a writer and an editor; he's a professor, a poet, and a pastor. A former editor of Dialogue: A Journal Mormon Thought, Bob has spent most of his life advancing Mormon scholarship in Sunstone magazine, Brigham Young University Press, Signature Books, and other venues.
Bob's views on the issue of homosexuality evolved rapidly in 1986, when he was called as bishop of the Los Angeles Singles Ward and counseled with many gay men and women. His reflections on this issue have resulted in many remarkable publications which span more than two decades. In 1991 Bob gave an address in sacrament meeting titled "No More Strangers and Foreigners," which marked a turning point in the way the LDS community understood homosexuality. In 2000 he gave a speech at a Family Fellowship forum titled "In a Dark Time the Eye Begins to See," also published in booklet format. In 2002, along with Ron Schow, Marybeth Raynes, and Bill Bradshaw he published "A Guide for Latter-day Saints Families Dealing with Homosexual Attraction," available as a booklet and in electronic format. And a few months ago he co-authored "Supportive Families, Healthy Children: Helping Latter-day Saint Families with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Children" — hailed by many as the best resource for LDS parents and leaders who are dealing with LGBT children in their families and congregations.
When you add his reflections and book reviews in Dialogue, his talks at the Sunstone symposiums, and his foreword to Carol Lynn Pearson's No More Goodbyes, Bob emerges as one of the most prolific authors on this important topic. While many Mormons would rather forget the 2000 suicide of Stuart Matis, a young gay LDS man who had counseled with Bob, Bob chose to remember. He published a requiem in his memory, and ten years later attended the memorial service organized in Los Altos by our friend Laura Compton.
The day he finally retires, Bob will be remembered for many things: from his explorations of countless LDS-related issues to his humanitarian service and his interfaith work. But for us, I believe he will be mostly remembered as a pioneer who challenged the LDS community to treat LGBT people with love and respect.
We honor Bishop Robert A. Rees today as a recipient of the 2012 Affirmation Allies Award.
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