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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended April 30, 2000
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 26Apr00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

LDS Church Is Already Green, Says Panel
Salt Lake Tribune 26Apr00 D3
By Glen Warchol: Salt Lake Tribune

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- The green movement doesn't conflict with the teachings of the LDS Church, said a panel of LDS Church members and environmentalists, including Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone of the LDS Church's First Quorum of the Seventy. The presence of Elder Featherstone, who cautioned that he spoke for himself and not for the Church, was called "a historic event" by Rich Ingebretsen, who moderated the forum on the LDS Church and environmental issues.

The panel spoke at the Wasatch Front Forum last night, an event sponsored by the environmental organization Save Our Canyons. The discussion was held at the University of Utah.

Elder Featherstone told the group "I love the out-of-doors with all my heart and soul," and went on to defend the LDS Church's record in environmental issues. As examples, he cited the Church's used of energy- and water-efficient systems in its buildings and the park on the roof of the new Conference Center, which includes a meadow and waterfall.

But he also observed that the Church teaches that "the Earth was created for man, not man for the Earth." He also cautioned that it would be unreasonable to expect the Church to take stands on specific environmental issues. He said that the Church encourages good stewardship of land, but "we don't dictate."

Other panel members, including former Salt Lake City Mayor Ted Wilson and BYU professor Geore Handley sought to explain the perception that LDS Church members disagree with environmentalism. Wilson observed that LDS and Utah culture was shaped by the epxerience of the pioneers who had to conquor nature to survive, "For their time it was quite natural to take on nature and subdue it," he said. "It was survival." He noted that a majority of Utahns favor wilderness, apparently including large numbers of LDS Church members.

Handley added that many LDS Church members have problems with the environmental movement because the rhetoric is politicized. But he says that most environmental concepts are already taught in LDS doctrine, "The sermon has already been preached. We just haven't been listening well enough."


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