Mormon perspective Joseph Cannon

Ministry Letters

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The Mormon Church is a lay-leader church; it does not yet have an official position on climate change. Those of my faith believe that the Scriptures call us to fulfill our obligations to fellow man and to the environment. In writing his recent book, entitled The Creation, E. O. Wilson indicated that his purpose was to involve religious people in environmental issues. Our interpretation of the scriptures is that we have a duty to take care of the Earth; we do not believe there is a basis in the scriptures for taking the view that the end is coming so our stewardship responsibilities can be ignored.

Unlike other Christian religions, Mormons have modern-day Scriptures in addition to those from antiquity. One of the passages is particularly relevant, indicating that Man can make use of the environment, but with judgment, not going to excess, and avoiding extortion of it (i.e., not twisting resources from the Earth).

Mormon history also helps to explain our relationship with the environment. Mormons literally left the US when they moved west to Utah, which at the time was under the control of Mexico. The Salt Lake area was a barren place that the newly arrived Mormons worked to improve, as they had done to the region of Illinois from which they had come.

It is often not realized that more Mormons live outside North America than inside it. In the years that our young people serve overseas as missionaries, they come to better understand the world and its condition, and they often return with an environmental focus, recognizing that environmental degradation is both a social and a moral problem. This understanding is long lasting, and as a result, many in the Church are committed to the environment and their responsibilities of stewardship.

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