Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Scriptural Basis For Mormon Environmentalism

As a Mormon and an environmentalist I believe that ensuring healthy air, water, and ecosystems is our moral and religious duty.  My own Mormon environmentalism is based on three important principles found in the scriptures.

First, all of creation is imbued with a soul, and thus has value.  We are taught that all things, both animate and inanimate, were created “spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth” (Moses 3:5), therefore they all have a “living soul” (Moses 3:9), and the “worth of souls is great in the sight of God” (Doctrine and Covenants 18:10).  We are even taught that our mother earth herself has a soul and is conscious of our “filthiness”  (Moses 7:48).

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Pro-Death Bona Fides

In a strange twist, Republican candidates now must seemingly prove their pro-death bona fides to the Tea Party extremist base.  In the last two Republican debates the crowd has made it clear that death is preferable to life, eye-for-an-eye-tooth-for-a-tooth is preferable to love thy neighbor and blessed-are-the-peacemakers and good-samaritanism and so forth.  (Videos below)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Social Justice in Book of Mormon-Era Governments

I recently came across the following verse in the Book of Mormon, Helaman 6:39:
And thus they did obtain the sole management of the government, insomuch that they did trample under their feet and smite and rend and turn their backs upon the poor and the meek, and the humble followers of God.
At this time in the history of the Book of Mormon, the Lamanites are righteous and the Nephites are not, so much so that the Nephites have allowed the Gadianton robbers to take control of the government.  Upon taking control the Gadianton folks immediately started harassing and making life miserable for the poor.
There are various ways to interpret this verse, we don't really know for sure exactly what was going on, but it struck me that this verse may be evidence of social justice in Book of Mormon-era government.  The assumption of the verse seems to me to be that previous to the robbers taking over the government, the government was in the business, to some unknown degree, of helping the poor.  Following the take-over the policy is reversed and the robbers used the government as described.  Why else would the author describe of the oppression of the poor and meek in the same sentence he states that the Gadianton's took over the government if not to draw that contrast?