This is an encore presentation of a podcast conversation we had in April 2011 on the heels of the then-recent Japanese earthquakes and tsunamis. With Hurricane Harvey currently devastating Houston and surrounding areas, it’s as timely now as it was then. Are there theologically and pragmatically healthy discussions to be had within Mormonism about nature, and especially natural disasters? Often we hear claims that the upheaval and suffering caused by earthquakes, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, tornados, famine, and the like are “God’s will,” that God is sending a message through these events. And certainly there is certainly scriptural precedent for that view, and even modern prophetic utterance. But are there other, more nuanced and perhaps more ennobling ways to frame natural disasters within a theistic worldview? And if there are ways of seeing these upheavals that can lead to increased faith or broadened and deepened spirituality or love for God and the world, are any of these healthy approaches hinted at or embedded in particular Mormon views and practices?
We know you’ll enjoy this dynamic discussion between Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon and panelists George Handley, Duane Jeffery, and Joanna Brooks. We encourage you to also visit and contribute to this episode’s blog discussion.