The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints possesses a subversive and fecund interpretation of the Christian creation narrative. This interpretation, denying creation ex nihilo
, bespeaks a particular attention to and care for the living earth. However, Latter-day Saint praxis is wounded by a searing disconnect between the theopoetics of its conceptual creation and its lived practice. I argue that the Church must understand this disconnect as a wound and attend to it as such. I turn to theopoetics, arguing that it is in the lived practices of Latter-day Saints engaging somatically with the Earth that can restore our imaginative potential and move toward healing. I begin by exploring the Christian conception of creation ex nihilo
and juxtapose this with the Latter-day Saint understanding of formareex materia
. I then explore the implications of such a cosmology for environmental ethics and probe the disconnections between theory and practice in Mormonism broadly construed. I propose that the healing salve for disconnection is imagination, a salve found in the first heartbeat of the Latter-day Saint story. I speak with Latter-day Saint theopoetics and indigenous voices, proposing ultimately that is with them that the healing of theology and praxis must begin.
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