The Desert Blossoms as a Rose

Toward a Western Conservation Aesthetic


  • George Handley



Mormon Church, Mormonism, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Utah, ecology, desert, Aldo Leopold, Wallace Stegner, conservation aesthetic


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka The “Mormon” Church) offers what believers consider to be the restoration of an original Christianity. This essay explores the grounds for a Latter-day Saint restoration of a once-lost ecological wisdom that could make contemporary settlements in the American West more sustainable, especially where Latter-day Saints have established many communities. While Latter-day Saints and many other settlers of the West considered their work to be a kind of fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy to make the desert “blossom as a rose” through radical environmental transformation, this essay argues for a more aesthetic and ecologically sensitive response to the native qualities of the desert that need protection or even restoration.


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How to Cite

Handley, George. 2021. “The Desert Blossoms As a Rose: Toward a Western Conservation Aesthetic”. Poligrafi 26 (103/104):39-61.