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Environmental Ethics

Volume 25, Issue 4, Winter 2003

Matthew Gowans, Philip Cafaro
Pages 375-394

A Latter-Day Saint Environmental Ethic

The doctrines and teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints support and even demand a strong environmental ethic. Such an ethic is grounded in the inherent value of all souls and in God’s commandment of stewardship. Latter-day Saint doctrine declares that all living organisms have souls and explicitly states that the ability of creatures to know some degree of satisfaction and happiness should be honored. God’s own concern for the well-being and progress of all life, and His sacrifice through Jesus Christ, illustrate the generous way that He expects His children to exercise their brief stewardship of this world. In addition, the important role nature has played in the religious lives of Latter-day Saint members, from the Prophet Joseph Smith to the present day, argues strongly for wilderness preservation as a spiritual resource for future generations.

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