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  1. Living in Utah as one of  ‘those’, I think that they are more concerned about having their spirit children than worrying about any wildlife. They are just about GOP hard core in their beliefs when it comes to the environment.

    1. I hope you’ll listen to the podcast and see if your sense of what the “they” are concerned about holds up as cleanly as you think it does. My guess is it won’t. 

  2. as a person with a background in environmental studies I can say that the biggest problem is that this has been politicized–
    concern for and a serious sense of stewardship for the earth and other living creatures can’t be legislated; it has to come from within as with other spiritual things–
    I have no idea how well “LDS” are doing with this; I know that many meetinghouses are toxic to humans or at least I know of several that are, and nothing is being done about it; things that are toxic to humans are generally toxic to other living beings–
    My family and I ‘walk the walk’; we garden and live organically, and we have as chemical-free a home as is possible; we have restored (with few chemicals) an older home–
    we are attempting permaculture, and we don’t drive, if we can walk–
    baby steps–

    but most consumer-driven organizations are highly unsustainable–

  3. sorry–

    the person above (marginalizedmormon) does not live in the intermountain west; I can’t say anything about what might be happening in Utah; our connections/ties to Utah are slight–
    but we are ‘active’ LDS–
    I use the name “marginalizedmormon”, because I represent others (there are several in my family) who are chemically sensitive–
    it’s not easy to be ‘active’ in the church when buildings are toxic for those who have compromised immune systems and sensitivity to building chemicals–
    hence “marginalizedmormon”–
    in our particular area our church building actually qualifies as a ‘sick building’, but it meets state codes, so nothing is being done–
    there are a few compassionate and enlightened leaders who understand, and others who don’t, so those of us with chemical illness just bobble on as best we can–
    I’m no help as to having an opinion about ‘the church’ in general–
    just specifically in our area–

    1. If we had someone in our area with struggles like that I would hope they’d make it known so we would address it.  This is something I haven’t heard of before…

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  5. I loved this discussion. Thanks for the shout out, Dan! On the topics of shout outs, LDS Earth Stewardship is now an official nonprofit organization. We have a blog, facebook group, and google group for those interested in joining. The idea is to get across this ecotheology in an LDS-friendly way. 

    1. Awesome, Dave! Thanks for more info on LDS Earth Stewardship. Hope many who listen to this will start connecting with all of you there!

    2. now THAT is exciting.  THANK you–
      I have powerful feelings about stewardship and the ‘earth’, and yet I have been quiet in LDS groups; some of us who are more passionate about the earth tend to feel that we are . . . LOL!  –marginalized–
      Have a healthy family member who feels as strongly about this as I do, though; this isn’t something people feel just because they have encountered the downside of industrialization/’progress’–
      and that is good–
      Thank you for this; I was so excited when I saw this on a Mormon blog–
      And, in my humble opinion, ‘pure’ Mormonism is very compatible with earth stewardship–VERY!
      I have a suspicion that President Hinckley and President Kimball were perhaps a bit more interested in it than some of the others, though?
      But the personal feelings of the president of the church really shouldn’t matter to those who feel that they don’t have to be ‘commanded in all things’–

  6. I am so glad you did this!!! I am currently a sustainability major at ASU and I always felt frustrated that I felt so “liberal” and different compared to the typical mormon even though I found so many similarities with being stewards of the Earth and Mormon teachings. I too think that a major problem is political. But what I find more problematic is that the culture of the church (mainly in the mormon corridor being mostly Republican and not open to certain changes) has more weight on members’ decisions that what the church is actually teaching. Thank you for the link to the many quotes by mormon authoritative figures.

    I also liked what one of the panelists said about how the weight of the current environmentalism is discouraging our efforts to take action. I am a good example of that. Even though I am passionate about sustainability, I many times find myself immobile because it can seem hopeless. But it isn’t a hopeless cause at all.

    Anyway, thanks again for this!!!

  7. We pay $6 a month to recycle and know we should do more… but so overwhelmed about what else I/my family realistically can do.  We also have gone nearly vegetarian.  I’m also hounding family to not let the water run…and worried about the future for our posterity for sure.  We have hot dry summers that don’t support gardening real well.  Going to try following that facebook LDS earthstewardship and see if it gives any direction.  Thanks for a good podcast.

    1. You are absolutely right to go as nearly vegetarian as you can, since it pleases the Lord that you not eat animal flesh. He has only permitted it in times of famine. Most of us have to admit that the average year doesn’t qualify as a famine, and yet we are eating meat every single day. I had to go vegetarian myself because I realized I wanted to keep the Word of Wisdom as the Lord intended it. In fact, if you want to know the real deal, it’s far more offensive to the Lord when you eat animal meat than when you drink coffee. Sure, coffee’s bad for you (and I’ve never developed a taste for it), but it’s not another living being that’s been slaughtered so you can consume it. In short, we should all be more like Daniel and less like the Israelites that ate at the king of Babylon’s table. We should be more concerned about pleasing the Lord than we are with going along with the world.

  8. I haven’t listened to the whole podcast yet, but I was wondering if you discussed how Joseph Smith’s teaching that animals have spirits might fit into this concpet of environmentalism? I think Joseph would approve of an eco-theological environmentalism inspired by a care for the welfare of animals. I’ve read several statements, teachings and portions of the JST that seem to indicate he was pretty into animal rights and welfare.

    1. One of my favorite bits is the episode with the rattlesnakes wherein Smith tells members of Zion’s Camp not to kill them. He basically says, how will we be able to coexist with all of God’s creatures in the millennium when we as priesthood holders incite violence upon God’s creatures. Bushman calls it “millennial ecology.” There was a Dialogue issue devoted to Mormon environmentalism last summer, I think, where one article teases out this idea a bit further.

      1. I wasn’t aware of that story; I really like it though. I also particularly like Joseph Smith’s Translation of Genesis 9:11 – “And surely, blood shall not be shed, only for meat, to save your lives; and the blood of every beast will I require at your hands.” I think this idea that God endorses meat-eating, but that animals should not be harmed except in times of absolute necessity, is reiterated throughout the Doctrine and Covenants (perhaps most notably and controversially in the Word of Wisdom), particularly in D&C 49 – “And whoso forbiddeth to abstain from meats, that man should not eat the same, is not ordained of God; For, behold, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which cometh of the earth, is ordained for the use of man for food and for raiment, and that he might have in abundance. And wo be unto man that sheddeth blood or that wasteth flesh and hath no need.” I wish this concept of animal welfare was more prevalent in the Church today.

  9. Humans should be aware that everything in the earth belongs to the Lord, not to them. Therefore, they should check with the Lord as to what can and ought to be done with what he has provided. Most people are more interested in what other people are saying than in what the Lord has to say. You better believe the Lord will hold humans accountable for the way they treat his creatures. Keep in mind that all the animals will return to heaven, but that is not the case for many humans.

  10. What a delightful, far-sighted conversation. I’ve long believed that we helped create this marvelous home earth. I love the Native American notion that the earth is our mother. 

    One of the most thought-provoking books I’ve experience recently is Susan Freinkel’s Plastic – A Toxic Love Story: 
    http://www.susanfreinkel.com/books_Plastic.html  (I listened to the audiobook version) We are changing our world with plastic and it is changing us. The book is not so much a call to abandon plastic as much as a wake up call to become aware of its impact. The later chapters explore some of the same concerns that were discussed in the podcast.

    The the discussions about the meaning of life and the earth reminded me of another favorite book, The Field, by Lynn McTaggart: http://books.google.com/books/about/The_Field.html?id=uivwpQIRMwUC  There are numerous tantalizing correlations between the Zero Point Field that McTaggart introduces us to and Mormon views of the universe and God. Quantum theory suggests that because everything is one, that not only do we hurt ourselves when we hurt others but that we hurt ourselves when we abuse the world in which we live.  

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  14. Thank you for your thoughts. As an LDS environmentalist, I often feel a little at odds with some of the cultural things we do… lots of disposable cups, cutlery and plates at ward functions, for example. It’s sometimes hard to speak up when others may not understand or put the same value on our Earth Stewardship.

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