Belief in a world or environment created and called “good” by God (Genesis 1) should cause us to to consider how we treat creation. And as science uncovers the wonder and beauty of this creation, it also uncovers our ill effects on it. As humanity grows in power, our capability to cause great harm to God’s creations increases. An awareness of our responsibility and ability to preserve God’s creation is important for us to express gratitude for that creation.

The following is a collection of quotes from (or about) various LDS leaders advocating the need for environmental stewardship. Indeed, Joseph Smith, early in Mormonism, tied our disposition to the environment to our ability to fulfill soaring prophecy in scripture when he said, “when men lose their vicious dispositions and cease to destroy the animal race, the lion and the lamb can dwell together, and the sucking child can play with the serpent in safety.” Additional light and knowledge about our environments can help us understand the effects of our actions on it and to become better stewards of healthy and beautiful environment.

 

 


“… the blood of every beast will I require at your hands.”

(JST, Gen. 9:11.)


“Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart;

Yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul.

And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion.”

(Doctrine & Covenants 59:18-20)


President Spencer W. Kimball:

“We recommend to all people that there be no undue pollution, that the land be taken care of and kept clean to be productive and to be beautiful.”

(“Why Call Me Lord, Lord, and Do Not the Things Which I Say?” Ensign, May 1975)


Stephen L Richards:

“Do you think it becoming in God’s children to deface the earth while we sojourn here? Being the stewards and custodians of the resources which are committed to us, have we not an obligation to use them, preserve them and return them in the best possible condition that our circumstances will permit?”

(Conference Report, Apr. 1940.)


President Ezra Taft Benson:

“Pollution of one’s environment and moral impurity both rest on a life-style which partakes of a philosophy of ‘eat, drink, and be merry’ — gouge and grab now, without regard to the consequences. Both violate the spirit of stewardship for which we will stand accountable.”

(The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson [1988], 644.)


Elder L. Tom Perry:

“Teach [children] the basic knowledge that the earth is the Lord’s. He has a marvelous system of replenishment and renewal so long as we care for, conserve, and waste not.”

(“Train Up A Child,” Ensign, Nov. 1988.)


“For, behold, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which cometh of the earth, is ordained for the use of man for food and for raiment, and that he might have in abundance.

But it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin.

And wo be unto man that sheddeth blood or that wasteth flesh and hath no need.”

(Doctrine & Covenants 49:19-21)


“For it is expedient that I, the Lord, should make every man accountable, as a steward over earthly blessings, which I have made and prepared for my creatures.

I, the Lord, stretched out the heavens, and built the earth, my very handiwork; and all things therein are mine.

And it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine.

But it must needs be done in mine own way; and behold this is the way that I, the Lord, have decreed to provide for my saints, that the poor shall be exalted, in that the rich are made low.

For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.”

(Doctrine & Covenants 104:13-17)


“Thou shalt be diligent in preserving what thou hast, that thou mayest be a wise steward; for it is the free gift of the Lord thy God, and thou art his steward.”

(Doctrine & Covenants 136:27)


“That which is spiritual being in the likeness of that which is temporal; and that which is temporal in the likeness of that which is spiritual; the spirit of man in the likeness of his person, as also the spirit of the beast, and every other creature which God has created. … Beings in their destined order or sphere of creation, in the enjoyment of their eternal felicity”

(Doctrine & Covenants 77:2-3)


Brigham Young:

“You are here commencing anew. The soil, the air, the water are all pure and healthy. Do not suffer them to become polluted with wickedness. Strive to preserve the elements from being contaminated by the filthy, wicked conduct and sayings of those who pervert the intelligence God has bestowed upon the human family.”

(Journal of Discourses, 8:79)


Brigham Young:

“It is our privilege and our duty to search all things upon the face of the earth, and learn what there is for man to enjoy, what God has ordained for the benefit and happiness of mankind, and then make use of it without sinning against him.”

(Journal of Discourses, 9:243)


Brigham Young:

“All that we possess and enjoy are the gifts of God to us, whether they be in earthly substance, physical constitution, or mental power; we are accountable to Him for the use we make of these precious gifts. … It is not our privilege to waste the Lord’s substance.”

(Journal of Discourses, 11:136)


Brigham Young:

“Here are the stupendous works of the God of Nature, though all do not appreciate His wisdom as manifested in his works. … I could sit here for a month and reflect on the mercies of our God.”

(The Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star, 18:675)


Brigham Young:

“When the Spirit of revelation from God inspires a man, his mind is opened to behold the beauty, order, and glory of the creation of this earth and its inhabitants, the object of its creation, and the purpose of its creator in peopling it with his children. He can then clearly understand that our existence here is for the sole purpose of exaltation and restoration to the presence of our Father and God, where we may progress endlessly in the power of godliness.”

(Journal of Discourses, 9:256)


Brigham Young:

“Our Father in heaven wishes us to preserve that which he gives to us….It is not our privilege to waste the Lord’s substance.”

(Journal of Discourses, 9:169 and 11: 136)


Brigham Young:

“It is the privilege of the Saints to enjoy every good thing, for the earth and its fulness belong to the Lord, and he has promised all to his faithful Saints; but it must be enjoyed without spirit of covetousness and selfishness—without the spirit of lust, and in the spirit of the Gospel; then the sun will shine sweetly upon us; each day will be filled with delight, and all things will be filled with beauty, giving joy, pleasure, and rest to the Saints.”

(Journal of Discourses , 8:82)


John Taylor:

“But as an intelligent being, if I have a mind capable of reflection, I wish to contemplate the works of nature, and to know something of nature’s God, and my destiny. I love to view the things around me; to gaze upon the sun, moon, and stars; to study the planetary system, and the world we inhabit; to behold their beauty, order, harmony, and the operations of existence around me. … everything is beautifully harmonious, and perfectly adapted to the position it occupies in the world. Whether you look at birds, beasts, or the human system, you see something exquisitely beautiful and harmonious, and worthy of the contemplation there was a God, [even] if there was no such thing as religion in the world.”

(Journal of Discourses, 1:151-52)


Joseph F. Smith:

“Further, the mission of Jesus will be unfinished until He redeems the whole human family, except the sons of perdition, and also this earth from the curse that is upon it, and both the earth and its inhabitants can be presented to the Father redeemed, sanctified and glorious.

“Things upon the earth, so far as they have not been perverted by wickedness, are typical of things in heaven. Heaven was the prototype of this beautiful creation when it came from the hand of the Creator, and was pronounced ‘good.’”

(Journal of Discourses 23:175)


Joseph F. Smith:

“We have eyes and see not, for that which we cannot appreciate or admire we are largely blind to, no matter how beautiful or inspiring it may be. As children of God, it is our duty to appreciate and worship Him in His creations. If we would associate all that is truly good and beautiful in life with thoughts of Him, we would be able to trace His handiwork throughout all nature.”

(Cited in George B. Handley, “The Environment Ethics of Mormon Belief,” BYU Studies, 40:2, 2001)


Stephen L Richards:

“I am a lover of the nature and the great outdoors … .I must tell you what they mean to me … .I feel reconciled with life. The broken harmonies are mended. My soul is calmed.”

(Conference Report, Apr. 1940)


Stephen L Richards:

“I am sure that beauty is intimately associated with pure religion. I believe that our Father in Heaven is a God of order and beauty. I doubt if any rational being ever entertained a concept of God, that is, as a personal Being, except in surroundings of beauty and exquisite loveliness … .Do you think it becoming in God’s children to deface the earth while we sojourn here? Being the stewards and custodians of the resources which are committed to us, have we not an obligation to use them, preserve them and return them in the best possible condition that our circumstances will permit?”

(Conference Report, Apr. 1940)


Stephen L Richards:

“[Speaking of Zion National Park in Utah] “It is a sermon—inspiring, exalting, lifting man from the baser things in life to the nobler … .His vision is enlarged, his sympathies are broadened, his love of his fellow-men is deepened and his trust in God and the universe is supreme. He is made a better man.”

(Conference Report, Apr. 1940; “Avocation,” Improvement Era, June 1927)


Spencer W. Kimball:

“We are a throw-away people. … Now we ask you to clean up your homes and your farms. ‘Man is the keeper of the land, and not its possessor.’ … We look forward to the day when, in all our communities, urban and rural, there would be a universal, continued movement to clean and repair … and to make our properties a thing of beauty to behold. … Therefore, we urge each of you to dress and keep in a beautiful state the property that is in your hands.”

(“God Will Not Be Mocked,” Ensign, Nov. 1974)


Spencer W. Kimball:

“We recommend to all people that there be no undue pollution, that the land be taken care of and kept clean to be productive and to be beautiful.”

(“Why Call Me Lord, Lord, and Do Not the Things Which I Say?” Ensign, May 1975)


Spencer W. Kimball:

“When I pass through the lovely countryside or fly over the vast and beautiful expanses of our globe, I compare these beauties with many of the dark and miserable practices of men, and I have the feeling that the good earth can hardly bear our presence upon it. … The Brethren constantly cry out against that which is intolerable in the sight of the Lord: against pollution of mind, body and our surroundings.”

(“The False Gods We Worship,” Ensign, June 1976)


Ezra Taft Benson:

“Surely you can see the inconsistency in the individual who insists that we be good stewards and not pollute our environment, and yet who is unscrupulous in his personal life. Again, physical and spiritual laws are interrelated. Pollution of one’s environment and moral impurity both rest on a life-style which partakes of a philosophy of ‘eat, drink, and be merry’ — gouge and grab now, without regard to the consequences. Both violate the spirit of stewardship for which we will stand accountable.”

(The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson [1988], 644)


Ezra Taft Benson:

“Stewardship in the Church is a very important matter. The Lord has mentioned it in the revelations. (See D&C 59; 104.) We are stewards over these earthly blessings which the Lord has provided, those of us who have this soil and this water. We have no moral latitude, it seems to me. In fact, we are morally obligated to turn this land over to those who succeed us — not drained of its fertility but improved in quality, in productivity, and in usefulness for future generations.”

(The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, 645)


Gordon B. Hinckley:

“I believe in beauty. The earth in its pristine beauty is an expression of the nature of its Creator…. I believe in the beauty of nature—the flowers, the fruit, the sky, the peaks and the plains from which they rise. I see and believe in the beauty of animals….I believe in beauty—the beauty of God’s unspoiled creations, the beauty of his sons and daughters who walk without whimpering, meeting the challenges of each new day.”

(The Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, 248, 249)


Boyd K. Packer:

“The earth did not come by chance nor by accident. It is the result of a creation that is based on purpose, on agency, on choice. It accords with laws which were in force long before the plan was every laid down. All of it has order; all of it was planned for us. The beauty and precision of the universe, the endless variety of plant and animal life­—all testify of a plan and a creator.”

(The Earth Shall Teach Thee, 12)


Boyd K. Packer:

“There is law and order and precision in the universe, which is breathtaking! What is physical interconnects with the spiritual; what is spiritual, or eternal, or moral resonates with the physical. We respond in our very soul to the order in the universe, and how we respect these interconnections will have a profound effect upon our happiness.”

(The Earth Shall Teach Thee, 19)


L. Tom Perry

“Teach [children] the basic knowledge that the earth is the Lord’s. He has a marvelous system of replenishment and renewal so long as we care for, conserve, and waste not.”

(“Train Up A Child,” Ensign, Nov. 1988)


M. Russell Ballard:

“I thought … how important it is for every human soul to see and appreciate the glory and grandeur of God in everything about us … .Those who feel no reverence for the creations and the divine attributes of God likely will have little appreciation for other sacred things. Such a lack of veneration for God’s creations may diminish until a person becomes totally insensitive to the feelings of others. This, I am afraid, is the condition in some parts of the world.”

(“God’s Love for His Children,” Ensign, May, 1988)


M. Russell Ballard:

“To truly reverence the Creator, we must appreciate his creations. We need to plan to take time to observe the marvels of nature. Today, we can easily become surrounded by brick buildings and asphalt surfaces that shelter us from real life around us. Plan to share with your family the miracle of buds changing to fragrant blossoms. Take time to sit on a hillside and feel the tranquility of the evening when the sun casts its last golden glow over the horizon. Take time to smell the roses.”

(“God’s Love for His Children,” Ensign, May, 1988)


Russell M. Nelson:

“As beneficiaries of the divine Creation, what shall we do? We should care for the earth, be wise stewards over it, and preserve it for future generations. And we are to love and care for one another.”

(“The Creation,” Ensign, May 2000, 84)


Official LDS Church Statement on Environmental Stewardship:

“All humankind are stewards over the earth and should gratefully use what God has given, avoid wasting life and resources and use the bounty of the earth to care for the poor and the needy.

God created the earth to provide a place for the human family to learn, progress and improve. God first created the earth and all living things spiritually, and all living things have great worth in His eyes.

The earth and all things on it should be used responsibly to sustain the human family. However, all are stewards — not owners — over this earth and its bounty and will be accountable before God for what they do with His creations.

Approaches to the environment must be prudent, realistic, balanced and consistent with the needs of the earth and of current and future generations, rather than pursuing the immediate vindication of personal desires or avowed rights. The earth and all life upon it are much more than items to be consumed or conserved. God intends His creations to be aesthetically pleasing to enliven the mind and spirit, and some portions are to be preserved. Making the earth ugly offends Him.

The state of the human soul and the environment are interconnected, with each affecting and influencing the other. The earth, all living things and the expanse of the universe all eloquently witness of God.”

(Source: http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/environmental-stewardship-conservation)


Lorenzo Snow:

“While moving slowly forward in pursuit of something to kill, my mind was arrested with the reflection on the nature of my pursuit—that of amusing myself by giving pain and death to harmless, innocent creatures that perhaps had as much right to life and enjoyment as myself. I realized that such indulgence was without any justification, and feeling condemned, I laid my gun on my shoulder, returned home, and from that time to this have felt no inclination for that murderous amusement.”

(Biography And Family Record Of Lorenzo Snow, pg. 28)


Joseph F. Smith:

“Kindness to the whole animal creation and especially to all domestic animals is not only a virtue that should be developed, but is the absolute duty of mankind. … It is an unrighteous thing to treat any creature cruelly. … It will be a blessed day when mankind shall accept and abide by the Christ-like sentiment expressed by one of the poets in the following words: ‘Take not away the life you cannot give, For all things have an equal right to live.’”

(February 1912 Juvenile Instructor editorial “Kindness to Animals”)


Juvenile Instructor editorial:

“What is it to be humane to the beasts of the fields and birds of the air? It is more than to be considerate of the animal life entrusted to our care. It is a grateful appreciation of God’s creations. It is the lesson of divine love. To Him all life is a sacred creation for the use of His children. Do we stand beside Him in our tender regard for life?

“Our sense of appreciation should be quickened by a desire to understand divine purposes, and to keep the balance of animal life adjusted to the needs of creation. Man in his wanton disregard of a sacred duty has been reckless of life. He has destroyed it with an indifference to the evil results it would entail upon the earth. Birds have been uselessly slaughtered, and pests have sprung up as a consequence to plague the people of the world. Animals in the providence of the creation have been intended as a prey upon one another. They preserve a safe balance for the benefit of man.

“… The unnecessary destruction of life is a distinct spiritual loss to the human family. Men cannot worship the Creator and look with careless indifference upon his creations. The love of all life helps man to the enjoyment of a better life. It exalts the spiritual nature of those in need of divine favor.

“The wanton destruction of life reacts upon the human family. There is something in the law of compensation which makes criminals injure and destroy life. Men who are unsympathetic toward the life of domestic animals entrusted to them usually receive the reward of their cruelty by the dumb animals which they maltreat. Love begets love in all creation, and nature responds bounteously to the tender treatment of man.

“… Nature helps us to see and understand God. To all His creations we owe an allegiance of service and a profound admiration. Man should be kind to the animals which serve him both directly and indirectly. An angry word or a brutal blow wounds the heart from which it comes. Love of nature is akin to the love of God; the two are inseparable.”

(Juvenile Instructor editorial April 1918, repeated again in April 1927)


David O. McKay:

“a true Latter-day Saint is kind to animals, is kind to every created thing, for God created all.”

(October 1951 Conference Report)


Joseph Fielding Smith:

“So we see that the Lord intends to save, not only the earth and the heavens, not only man who dwells upon the earth, but all things which he has created. The animals, the fishes of the sea, the fowls of the air, as well as man, are to be recreated, or renewed, through the resurrection, for they too are living souls.”

(Conference Report, October 1928, p. 100.)


Brigham Young:

“Let the people be holy, and the earth under their feet will be holy. Let the people be holy, and filled with the Spirit of God, and every animal and creeping thing will be filled with peace. … The more purity that exists, the less is the strife; the more kind we are to our animals, the more will peace increase, and the savage nature of the brute creation will vanish away.”

(Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, p. 203.)


Joseph Smith:

“John learned that God glorified Himself by saving all that His hands had made, whether beasts, fowls, fishes, or men… Says one, ‘I cannot believe in the salvation of beasts.’ Any man who would tell you this could not be, would tell you that the revelations are not true. John heard the words of the beast giving glory to God, and understood them. God who made the beasts could understand every language spoken by them. The beasts were four of the most noble animals that filled the measure of their creation, and had been saved from other worlds, because they were perfect. They were like angels in their sphere. We are not told where they came from, and I do not know; but they were seen and heard by John praising and glorifying God.”

(Documentary History of the Church, vol. 5, pp. 343–44)


Joseph Smith:

“In pitching my tent we found three massasaugas or prairie rattlesnakes, which the brethren were about to kill, but I said, ‘Let them alone—don’t hurt them! How will the serpent ever lose his venom, while the servants of God possess the same disposition, and continue to make war upon it? Men must become harmless, before the brute creation; and when men lose their vicious dispositions and cease to destroy the animal race, the lion and the lamb can dwell together, and the sucking child can play with the serpent in safety.’ The brethren took the serpents carefully on sticks and carried them across the creek. I exhorted the brethren not to kill a serpent, bird, or an animal of any kind during our journey unless it became necessary in order to preserve ourselves from hunger.”

(Documentary History of the Church, vol. 2, pp. 71–72)


Dr. Gerald E. Jones:

“That animals are to be treated with kindness is indicated in the law of Moses. The Lord enjoined the Israelites to show kindness to the ox by not muzzling it when it was treading the corn during the harvest threshing. (Deut. 25:4.) Undue strain on unequally yoked animals was forbidden as well. (Deut. 22:10.) The ancient Israelites were also to avoid destroying birds’ nests while working in their fields. (Deut. 22:6–7.)

The Lord instructed the Hebrews to help the overburdened animal, even if it belonged to an enemy. (Ex. 23:4–5.) Even animals were to be spared labor on the Sabbath. (Ex. 20:10.) A proverb observed that “a righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.” (Prov. 12:10.)”

(“The Gospel and Animals”, August 1972 Ensign)


Eviend T. Scoyen (first superintendent of Zion National Park):

“…when Scoyen was asked to identify the most influential park supporters, he listed Randall Jones as the most important person in southern Utah and called him “the Apostle of the Utah Parks.” He also identified several Mormon leaders: Heber J. Grant, president of the church; Anthony W. Ivins, counselor in the First Presidency; George Albert Smith of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles; and former bishop and current state legislator David Hirschi.”

(Wayne K. Hinton, Utah Historical Quarterly 68 Fall 2000)


Brigham Young:

“We should waste nothing, but make everything in some way or other minister to our wants and independence. Everything which we use to feed the life of man or beast, not a grain of it should be permitted to go to waste, but should be made to pass through the stomach of some animal; everything, also, which will fertilize our gardens and our fields should be sedulously saved and wisely husbanded, that nothing may be lost which contains the elements of food and raiment for man and sustenance for beast.”

(Journal of Discourses Vol. 11:129)


Brigham Young:

“Let the people be holy, and the earth under their feet will be holy. Let the people be holy, and filled with the Spirit of God, and every animal and creeping thing will be filled with peace; the soil of the earth will bring forth in its strength, and the fruits thereof will be meat for man. The more purity that exists, the less is the strife the more kind we are to our animals, the more will peace increase, and the savage nature of the brute creation vanish away.”

(Journal of Discourses Vol. 1:31)


Joseph F. Smith:

“I do not believe any man should kill animals or birds unless he needs them for food, and then he should not kill innocent little birds that are not intended for food for man. I think it is wicked for men to thirst in their souls to kill almost everything which possesses animal life. It is wrong, and I have been surprised at prominent men whom I have seen whose very souls seemed to be athirst for the shedding of animal blood.”

(Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed., Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1939, pp. 265–66)


Gordon B. Hinckley:

“What then shall you do with Jesus that is called Christ? This earth is his creation. When we make it ugly, we offend him.”

(“God So Loved the World,” New Era, Apr. 1983, 48)


 

Brigham Young:

“Endless variety is stamped upon the works of God’s hands. There are no two productions of nature, whether animal, vegetable, or mineral, that are exactly alike, and all are crowned with a degree of polish and perfection that cannot be obtained by ignorant man in his most exquisite mechanical productions. Man’s machinery makes things alike; God’s machinery gives to things which appear alike a pleasing difference. Fields and mountains, trees and flowers, and all that fly, swim, or move upon the ground are lessons for study in the great school our heavenly Father has instituted for the benefit of his children. Let us explore this great field of information that is open before us in good books and in the great laboratory of nature…”

(Journal of Discourses, Vol 9, pg 370)


 

Dieter F. Uchtdorf:

“An old proverb says, ‘The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.”

(Ensign, First Presidency Message, January 2014)


“But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the Lord hath wrought this? In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.”

(Job 12:7-10)


 

Gordon B. Hinckley:

“All of beauty in the earth bears the fingerprint of the Master Creator”

(April, 1978 Conference – “Be Not Faithless”)


 

Brigham Young:

“Let me love the world as He loves it, to make it beautiful, and glorify the name of my Father in heaven. It does not matter whether I or anybody else owns it, if we only work to beautify it and make it glorious, it is all right.”

(Journal of Discourses, Vol 2, Discourse 46)


Neil A. Maxwell:

“True disciples… would be consistent environmentalists — caring both about maintaining the spiritual health of a marriage and preserving a rain forest; caring about preserving the nurturing capacity of a family as well as providing a healthy supply of air and water”

(“A Wonderful Flood of Light,” by Neal A. Maxwell, page 103)

 


 

Dallon H. Oaks:

“These are challenging times, filled with big worries: wars and rumors of wars, possible epidemics of infectious diseases, droughts, floods, and global warming. Seacoast cities are concerned with the rising level of the ocean, which will bring ocean tides to their doorsteps or over their thresholds. Global warming is also affecting agriculture and wildlife.”

(BYU–Hawaii Commencement Address, February 25, 2017)


Further resources: