On the Ideologies and Theologies of the Earth: Reprise

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In honor of the conclusion of 2012, I thought I would post one of my previous posts, this one from April 20. I chose this post because these issues continue to haunt the land where I live, and I hope it is useful for those who share my concerns for the land to revisit the question of how easily ideology disrupts the logic, ethics, and values that should follow from belief. I don't pretend to have all the answers or to be immune to the seductions of ideology, but I at least think I know the … [Read more...]

Review of The God Who Weeps: How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life by Terryl and Fiona Givens

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 This is a terrific and beautifully written book, one I intend to recommend for many years to come, especially to anyone looking for a thoughtful and well reasoned articulation of the Mormon view of life. Its advantage is that it is not defensive, insular, or triumphal in its tone. It is a view that is offered with a kind of deference to a skeptical reader that somehow manages to not sound patronizing. It is an honest and genuine reflection on the reasonableness and satisfactions of … [Read more...]

Do We Harm the Earth Out of Indifference or Resentment?

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One of the most important premises of environmental thought seems to be that we do damage to the earth because of indifference, ignorance, and apathy, and that the solution, therefore, is to rekindle affections for places, for natural beauty, and for the simple pleasures of the outdoors. In the hands of more romantic thinkers, this formula becomes a kind of quasi-spiritual journey and an argument for a renewed form of animism. If we just paid nature closer attention, it would reveal its spirit … [Read more...]

In Memoriam: Kenny Handley, April 13, 1960-December 16, 1982

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Today is the 30th anniversary of the death of my wonderful brother, Kenny, who tragically took his own life at the young age of 22. The most difficult writing I have ever done was for the chapter in Home Waters that provides an account of his death and its impact on my family. I won’t revisit those details here, but I do wish to pay him special tribute and to reflect for a moment about what his death has meant. … [Read more...]

Cross-post, on Mormon Environmentalism and Political Advocacy

 http://ldsearthstewardship.org/2012/12/should-lds-earth-stewardship-engage-in-political-advocacy/#disqus_thread … [Read more...]

Love of Nature

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Woody Allen, no nature lover, was fond of saying, “Nature and I are two.” Which reminds me of another joke I once heard on Car Talk. “What did the Buddhist monk say to the Hot Dog vendor?” “Make me one with everything.” … [Read more...]

On Parenting, Love, and Surprise

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“Love is not love,” famously wrote Shakespeare, “Which alters when it alteration finds.” Love’s high moral mark is its constancy, its unconditionality, its resistance to fickleness. “Love’s not Time’s fool,” he insists because it should remain unchanging in a changing temporal world. … [Read more...]

What Good is the Earth?

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In Genesis, we are told that God pronounced the earth and all of its creations “good” but it never says what it is good for. Of course, perhaps that’s because Genesis speaks of intrinsic value, something that is inimical to our more comparative, utilitarian, and monetary meanings of “good.” One wonders, then, what to make of the special emphasis placed on the physical world in the LDS account of the creation where we learn that the world was created spiritually before it was created physically an … [Read more...]

Giving Thanks

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 In the midst of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln promoted the holiday of Thanksgiving. In the proclamation, Lincoln wrote of the nation’s blessings and then said:“They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my … [Read more...]

Faith and Scholarship

I am a scholar but I am also a believer in religion, my LDS religion in particular. For some, that might seem like a contradiction or a serious compromise of my intellectual integrity or, for that matter, of my religious faith. I see no contradiction whatsoever. I like a guideline a leader in the LDS church, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland provides for parenting that has relevance to scholarship: … [Read more...]

Exploring Environmental Stewardship at BYU

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In a recent post, I described the general questions that would be explored at the symposium at BYU, “Conservation, Restoration, and Sustainability: A Call to Stewardship.” I wish now to provide some perspectives on the symposium, which was in my opinion a great success, with papers from plenty of participants from nearby but as far away as Japan, the UK, Australia, and Canada. All papers will be online in either podcast form or in video before too long. I will be sure to post a link when it is av … [Read more...]

A Podcast of a Recent Interview

Below is a link to a recent interview I gave for Kirk Caudle at Mormon Book Review, a new site that promises to provide interesting and valuable reviews of books published in Mormon Studies. We explored some aspects of Home Waters not normally treated, especially the issue of mental illness.Have a listen!http://www.themormonbookreview.com/  … [Read more...]


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