• Steve

Brigham Young: Radical Environmentalist (Part 1)


Listening to Utah's Republicans, you might get the impression that unfettered capitalism, economic expansion and unlimited exploitation by the extraction industry should be included as Section 139 of the Doctrine and Covenants. As a counter argument, this blog and the next will consist of quotes by the American Moses, Brigham Young.


“Keep your valley pure, keep your towns as pure as you possible can, keep your hearts pure, and labour what you can consistently, but not so as to injure yourselves. Be faithful in your religion. Be full of love and kindness towards each other.”


“Our enemies would like to see society in Utah polluted, and their civilization introduced; but it would be a woeful day for the Israel of God, if such efforts were to be successful.”


“The greatest acts of the mighty men have been disastrous. Before them the earth was a paradise, and behind them a desolate wilderness. The designs of God, on the other hand, are that the earth shall yield its increase, resume its paradisaical glory, and become as the garden of the Lord.”


“There is a great work for the Saints to do. Progress, and improve upon, and make beautiful everything around you. Cultivate the earth and cultivate your minds. Build cities, adorn your habitations, make gardens, orchards, and vineyards, and render the earth so pleasant that when you look upon your labours you may do so with pleasure, and that angels may delight to come and visit your beautiful locations.”


“Early this morning, as I worked in my garden, I heard high over my head the beat of hundreds of wings. Looking up, I saw one of nature’s most thrilling spectacles—a vee of Canada geese silhouetted against the early morning sky. Fulfilling the purpose of their creation, they were on the move—northward to their nesting grounds in the barren lands of northern Canada. These wondrous wild creatures—and even man himself—are threatened by the erosive forces that reduce the quality of the environment. In the name of “progress” and “growth,” we have plundered our planet and despoiled our environment.”


And as a bonus, the following prophetic counsel from the August 1971 article in the Ensign by Elder Alexander B. Morrison:


“There is widespread agreement that in our mindless rush toward material prosperity we have unbalanced powerful biological forces that we do not fully understand, that portions of the environment are now extremely unstable and susceptible to rapid and potentially catastrophic change, and that we have not been paying sufficient attention to the very serious problems created by our technology. I believe that pollution and environmental deterioration are primarily moral and spiritual problems, rather than problems of technology. Technology is mindless—a double-edged sword that will either produce or reduce pollution as man wills it. The prevalence of pollution stems from a lack of proper knowledge and understanding of the real purpose of life and of man’s place in the eternal plan provided by a loving Father in heaven.”


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