Element : A Journal of Mormon Philosophy and Theology
Spring & Fall 2007
The Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology
There are a number of reasons for being concerned with the state of the natural world. For instance, we may be alarmed by the growing rate of habitat destruction or rising levels of pollution and the consequent affects these potentially have on our health and well-being. We may be worried about future human generations and the kind of world they will inherit. Perhaps our concern is rooted in the sense of obedience to God’s divine commands or in response to His all-inclusive love. Lastly, we may be interested in understanding the obligations that humans have for non-human life itself. All of these, as different as they appear, are legitimate reasons for examining the kind of footprint humans are making upon the earth. Furthermore, all of them are capable of being supported by the doctrines of the LDS church and the teachings of its prophets and apostles. The issue that I wish to address in this work pertains to the question of our direct obligations for non-human creation. I argue that the idea of nature’s intrinsic value is supported by the doctrines of the LDS Church, and that relationship is key to recognizing such value in nature. The Apostle Paul declared to Timothy that in the last days humans will be without natural affection.2 I hope to demonstrate that this loss of natural affection can be applied, not only to our relationships with other humans, but to the natural world as well, and that restoring these affections requires a dedication to relationship and an attitude of service.