Were there an official calling within Mormonism of “Church and Culture Lampoonist” (and there should be!), Robert Kirby would be magnifying the heck out of it! For better than thirty years, including the past twenty-one as a columnist at the Salt Lake Tribune, he has held up an affectionate but also serious mirror (and shock collar) to Mormonism, its culture, and its excesses in Utah and other places in which it dominates, especially when its members take themselves too seriously. As an insider who loves his community even as it also at times drives him crazy, Kirby has been able to find a way to give voice to thoughts that so many of us members are thinking—though we are generally less hilarious and insightful than he is—and, in so doing, bless us tremendously. It is important that we see the folly in some of our ways, whether it’s how we prioritize certain ideas or practices over others, or how we globalize our way of acting and thinking as the only way to “Mormon” correctly. His work helps us laugh even as we are also caught up short, allowing us to “let in” what we might not otherwise were it presented in a more solemn or preachy manner. And, as we chew on the wisdom of the priorities and ways of being embedded in his humorous and sometimes biting observations, we are better as people and a community.
In this episode, Kirby shares with Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon many things about his life, from his upbringing within the church and the many challenges he’s faced in his journey and the changes he has undergone, to his thinking about Mormonism and his role within it. He also shares glimpses at his own spiritual world and the centrality of his marriage in his life and how relationships inform his thinking about what things are of most worth.
We know you’ll enjoy this conversation! You’ll be laughing one moment and your soul touched the next. Just like what should happen in our lives every day.
(Photo credit: Salt Lake Tribune)
Robert Kirby, “Five Kinds of Mormons,” Salt Lake Tribune (archived version)
Robert Kirby, “Five Kinds of Non-Mormons,” Salt Lake Tribune (archived version)
Richard C. Edgley, “Enduring Together,” (October 2007 General Conference address that leads off with an extended quotation from a Kirby column).
Information and Registration link for the upcoming June 1-3 Mormon Matters Retreat (led by Dan Wotherspoon, Natasha Helfer Parker, Jana Spangler, Jennifer White)
“May Flowers for Mormon Matters” Spring Fundraiser. Donate here! Thanks, so much!