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Of Gardens and Prosperity

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Toward an Inspired Land Ethic

image of Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), like many other Christians, believe in the importance of human stewardship over the natural world; yet within LDS doctrine, hints of less hierarchical inclusiveness of non-human beings can be found. The interpretation of LDS doctrine relating to the Fall underlie the influences of two LDS presidents, Ezra Taft Benson and Spencer W. Kimball, whose contrasting ideas illustrate that connections among ecology, righteousness, and prosperity continue to be complicated by the progression of technology and globalization in contrast to the frontier and agrarian foundations of the church. A close examination of a frequently cited passage in the Book of Mormon shows how Kimball’s encouragement to plant gardens is more amenable to a “prosperous” spiritual and/or material relationship to the environment than the methods Benson advocated to promote efficient agriculture and general prosperity.

Affiliations: 1: Associate Professor, Murray State University, 7C Faculty Hall, Murray State University, Murray, KY 42071


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