Five Paradoxes of Mormon Environmental Advocacy

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This is a brief summary of the speech I gave at the recent Stegner symposium, with a little more elaboration on the final point that I ended up having to rush through. You can see a video of the lecture here. … [Read more...]

A General Authority Teaches Stewardship

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History was made on Friday. Elder Marcus Nash, a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy of the Church of Jesus Christ, spoke as a formal representative of the church at the recent Stegner Symposium on “Religion, Faith, and the Environment” and presented an official view of Mormon stewardship of the earth. The symposium was remarkable in many ways. We heard from ecclesiastical leaders and representatives of evangelical Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam. We heard a variety of sch … [Read more...]

Stewardship and Citizenship at the State Level

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Polls in this country indicate a gap between the mainstream voter and elected officials at the state and national levels. I am not sure how different the trends are between the two parties, but there is certainly evidence this has happened on the right. Most recently, for example, we find evidence that a majority of Republicans are concerned about climate change and believe that more should be done to address the problem. This is true on other issues as well, including gun control and … [Read more...]

Immigration, Promised Lands, and Homelands

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 LDS pioneers who arrived in the Great Basin in 1847 were, well, squatters. I don’t know what else to call them. The academic term for their development of the Great Basin is “extralegal,” that is, outside of the bounds of law. They were stepping into the ungoverned and soon-to-be contested territory of the Spanish colonies, but even if their immigration was not technically illegal, their practice of polygamy certainly was. LDS pioneers were deemed a sexually deviant and threatening bunc … [Read more...]

Pope Francis Links Concerns for the Poor and the Environment

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“Please, let us be protectors of creation, protectors of God's plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment."At first glance this is a counterintuitive statement. How might concern for the poor and for the environment be linked? Aren’t they often mutually exclusive? Aren’t humanitarians and tree-huggers loving different things? Can we be both Mother Teresa and St. Francis of Assisi? Pope Francis obviously seems to think so. Of course, this really is not new Chris … [Read more...]

LDS Belief as Ecologically Responsible

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As I mentioned, this is part II of a brief investigation. I have spent a great deal of energy and writing on this particular question, so I make mention of some of these points at the risk of repeating myself. But perhaps now, stated in direct dialogue with perspectives within LDS culture that are decidedly anti-environmental that I described in my previous post, we can gain some clarity about how these positions might better understand one another. … [Read more...]

LDS Belief as Ecologically Harmful

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I once read an excellent essay by David Kinsley entitled “Christianity as Ecologically Harmful” with a companion essay entited “Christianity as Ecologically Responsible.” These two essays explore two sides of the same coin. I think this was an excellent exercise in helping readers to understand that a religious tradition provides many principles and doctrines that are important guideposts in life but there is nothing deterministic about a belief system that dictates certain attitudinal or behavio … [Read more...]

Interview with Generation Anthropocene

This was a very interesting opportunity to be interviewed at Generation Anthropocene, a podcast program based at Stanford University. Our interview covered everything from Utah politics, attitudes about climate change, Mormonism and the environment, and the value of what is known as ecocriticism. Check it out: http://www.stanford.edu/group/anthropocene/cgi-bin/wordpress/ecocriticism-the-intersection-of-faith-and-our-environment/  … [Read more...]

Smoking, Pollution, and Other Sins

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The Utah State Legislature is contemplating a bill that would outlaw smoking within a car when a child is present. The bill seems to bring into direct conflict two of the most cherished principles of this conservative group of politicians: 1) choices about our own bodies matter because they impact others, especially our children and 2) government should respect freedom of choice. This isn’t the first time we have seen these battles in the state legislature. They have debated similar laws c … [Read more...]

Stewardship and Citizenship at the City Level: Part II

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It is easy, and understandable, to get cynical about politics. There are those who choose not to vote out of a sense of frustration because they sense that a vote makes little difference. I think this is a poor excuse, and I would go so far to say that it is unconscionable as inheritors of our freedoms in this country to not vote. My suspicion is that most of those who don’t vote do so out of laziness or ignorance and not out of any reasoned political stance of opposition to an imperfect d … [Read more...]


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