Donald Trump’s Climate Stance is Against Mormon Doctrine
Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement this week is just the most recent hit in a long record of shameful environmental policy stances. Trump has tweeted his skeptic thoughts about climate change 115 times, including several times stating that he believes it is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese government.
After being elected President, Trump appointed the EPA’s most notable critic to be its chief. Scott Pruitt sued the EPA fourteen times prior to running it. He challenged regulations in the Clean Power Plan, the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, and the Clean Water Rule, all while taking donations from energy companies that were co-parties in these lawsuits. Pruitt also rejects the scientific consensus on climate change.
How do these aggressive anti-climate moves square with the religious doctrine of Mormons? Not well. And the LDS Church would like you to know that.
This week, seemingly in response to Donald Trump’s boorish climate moves, the Church is publicizing its long-held doctrine on environmental stewardship.
What is that doctrine?
Mormons believe humans are not the owners of this planet, but stewards who have a sacred duty to preserve it for future generations.
From the church’s own website:
What does it mean to be a steward of the earth and its resources?
God has made us accountable for the care and preservation of the earth and the wise use of its resources (see D&C 104:13–15). As stewards, we avoid complacency and excessive consumption, using only what is necessary (see D&C 49:19–21). We make our homes, neighborhoods, and cities beautiful. We preserve resources and protect for future generations the spiritual and temporal blessings of nature.
Contrast this stance with that of many modern Christians who ignore climate issues because they believe “God will take care of it.” Hey, maybe God is taking care of it by sending us a message through 98% of all Scientists and hoping we pay attention. Just a thought.
How does the church itself practice environmental stewardship? It has a green building and water conservation program for all of its buildings. The behemoth mall the church built next to its Salt Lake City temple is even LEED certified.
But most of all, the church encourages its members to do what they can to preserve the planet. The church’s website counsels members to get involved with community groups that practice stewardship and conservation, find ways to conserve energy and recycle, and “use the resources of the Earth sparingly and reverently.”
This stance by the Church is not a new position. The scriptures cited above were written by Joseph Smith himself in 1834. And check out this fun video from 2014:
Did we hear the words “preserve these special places in their unspoiled state?” Shh, don’t tell Orrin Hatch or anyone near Bear’s Ears.
And this is where we have to rain on the parade a little bit. Although the church’s public stance on climate issues is admirable, we wonder how many members are actually making it a priority in their politics today. It’s hard to ignore the fact that 61% of Mormons voted for the environment’s biggest living threat.
The church counsels members to “learn, ponder, and pray about what you can do to be a better steward.” Here’s one thing you can do: call your Congressperson and tell them you care about this. Because in Utah, they don’t know.