Mormons on the land

  • Cover of "New Genesis" book

  -We cannot return to Eden. We know too much and we care too little about the complexities of our collective past. But perhaps we can find our way toward a new genesis, a wiser relationship toward Creation that is founded on the sacred principles of love and respect and empathy."


* Terry Tempest Williams,


New Genesis





Mormons have played a powerful role in defining the Western landscape ever since they first carved a niche for themselves in the Great Salt Lake Valley in 1847. But now that Salt Lake City is a sprawling metropolis and Utah's landscape has changed, some Mormons have begun to express concern for the wilderness that has been lost in the process. They'd like to seek a reconciliation between the Mormon faith and the land.


These are the voices of New Genesis: A Mormon Reader on Land and Community, edited by Terry Tempest Williams, William B. Smart and Gibbs M. Smith. Many of the essays they've selected are unified by their attention to the same landscapes: the Wasatch Mountains that cradle Salt Lake City, the red rock deserts of southern Utah, the Colorado River. They also venture into unexpected terrain: the Alaskan wilderness, the Australian outback, even New York City. The individual perspectives are as varied as the landscapes. A woman who grew up in a fundamentalist Mormon polygamist family says the natural world helped her find personal freedom when she felt trapped by religious institutions. A Mormon leader describes how his outdoor experiences in the Boy Scouts shaped his spiritual as well as his physical character. A Taos Pueblo woman says "the significance of place" helps unite her Native American traditions with her Mormon beliefs.


Few of the essays are didactic. Each is poignant - not so much because of literary style (although many are beautifully written) - but because of the writer's humble honesty and courage. The collection broadens the possibilities for what it means to be a Mormon, as well as what it means to be an environmentalist, and it proposes a common ground between these two camps. As Clayton M. White, a professor of zoology at Brigham Young University writes, "the real quest is in trying to understand the stewardship of all landscapes, internal and external."


* Jenny Emery Davidson





High Country News Classifieds
  • CLEAN ENERGY PROGRAM ATTORNEY, NEVADA
    Position Summary: Western Resource Advocates (WRA) is seeking a Staff Attorney who is passionate about Western communities and the protection of the natural environment to...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Deschutes River Conservancy in Bend, Oregon
  • WATER POLICY ANALYST WITH WRA (BOULDER)
    Position Summary: Western Resource Advocates seeks a passionate Water Policy Analyst with knowledge of western water issues to join our Healthy Rivers Team to strengthen...
  • GILA NATIONAL FOREST
    9+ acre inholding. Passive solar strawbale off the grid and next to the Continental Divide Trail in ponderosa pine/doug fir forest at 7400.
  • HIRING BEARS EARS EDUCATION CENTER DIRECTOR
    Conservation nonprofit Friends of Cedar Mesa in Bluff, Utah is hiring an Education Center Director to oversee the operation of the Bears Ears Education Center....
  • PROGRAM MANAGER, SUSTAINING FLOWS
    Friends of the Verde River, Cottonwood, AZ. Apply at https://verderiver.org/employment-opportunities/
  • PROGRAM ASSOCIATE - VERDE RIVER EXCHANGE
    Verde River Exchange - Friends of the Verde River, Cottonwood, AZ. Apply at https://verderiver.org/employment-opportunities/
  • CODE COMPLIANCE OFFICER
    Teton County Planning & Building is hiring! Our ideal candidate is a team-player, a problem-solver, pays attention to detail, and can clearly communicate technical material...
  • ARCHITECTURE DRAFTSPERSON/PROJECT MANAGER
    Studio Architects is seeking a full time Architectural drafts-person/project manager with1-3 years of experience to join our firm. At Studio Architects our mission is to...
  • ASSISTANT MANAGER/TRAINEE, COLORADO RANCH
    needed for 16,000+ acre conservation property in south central Colorado. Qualified candidate would have experience working on a ranch or wilderness property, general forestry/fire management...
  • FARM HAND &/OR NANNY IN ESCALANTE
    Nanny for 18-mnth-old. Yearly salary, vacation, health insurance. Spanish/other foreign-language native spkr prefrrd.
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Washington Association of Land Trusts seeks an ED to build on WALTs significant success & to lead the association to new levels of achievement. See...
  • BEAUTIFUL CUSTOM STRAWBALE HOME IN WESTERN COLORADO!
    Secluded, energy efficient Southwestern home on 40 wooded acres. Broker - Rand Porter - United Country Real Colorado Properties. 970-261-1248, $425K
  • FORMER RETREAT CENTER/CONSERVATION PROPERTY FOR SALE
    57 acres in Skull Valley, AZ, 17 miles from Prescott, year-round creek, swimming holes, secluded canyon, hiking/meditation trails, oaks, pines, garden, greenhouse. House, office building,...
  • ARIZONA PUBLIC LANDS ORGANIZER
    Title: Public Lands Organizer About the Arizona Wildlife Federation (AWF) The AWF is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating, inspiring, and assisting individuals and organizations...
  • HISTORIC RANCH HOME W/ 20 ACRES
    Historic 1893 Ranch Headquarters. 4 Bdrm, 3.5 Ba, 4000 ft2. Remodeled 2002. Includes 2 studio apts, stables, arena, workshop, 5 RV hookups. Chirachua & Peloncillo...
  • VICE PRESIDENT OF RETAIL OPERATIONS
    The Vice President of Retail Operations will provide overall leadership and accountability for purchasing, product development, merchandising planning, visual merchandising, retail operational excellence, oversight and...
  • ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR
    Grand Staircase Escalante Partners seeks an experienced fundraiser with excellent communication and organizational skills.
  • PROGRAM MANAGER
    position in Phoenix with the Babbitt Center for Land and Water Policy.
  • ROADS END CABIN NEAR YELLOWSTONE
    Vaulted ceilings, two fireplaces, two bedrooms, loft, jetted tub, wifi. Forest, mountain views. Wildlife. [email protected]