In section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants, which is more commonly referred to as the Word of Wisdom, it makes the statement that: “[A]ll these are to be used with prudence and thanksgiving.” Although this scripture was specifically referring to herbs and other edible plants, this is good advice to live by in everything we consume. For that reason, this scripture text is going to be our November Earth Stewardship theme.
The word “prudence” has two meanings. In one respect, it means to be wise. But it has an additional meaning of being provident—in other words, saving and preparing for the future.
The word “thanksgiving” isn’t too difficult to figure out. If you’re an American, you’re familiar to the custom of celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday in November, which is a time of gathering with family to express gratitude for the blessings that you’ve been granted that year.
Unfortunately, the US Thanksgiving season has also gradually come to be associated with gluttony and consumerism. Typically, Americans spend the Thanksgiving holiday indulging in lavish feasts. Then, the following day tends to be the biggest shopping day of the year known as Black Friday.
Let me of course be clear that I love the traditions of the holiday season just as much as the next person and it is not my intention to say that these traditions or bad or that we should feel overly guilty about how we spend our holidays. But I also think it’s a good idea to sometimes take stock of our traditions and evaluate whether they are over-indulgent or if we’re forgetting the true meaning of the holiday we’re celebrating.
So, this month, we’d like to encourage you to have conversations with your family members and friends about how you can focus a little more on “prudence and thanksgiving” this holiday season. How can we find ways to feel happy with what we’ve already been blessed while still maintaining our important cultural traditions? How can we have a holiday season that is less focused on over-consumption and indulgence and more focused on expressing our genuine gratitude to God for all that we have been blessed with? How can we return to the original meaning and intention behind the holidays we celebrate?
Please feel free to share your ideas and comments this month here on the blog, the Google Group, and in our Facebook group. And don’t forget to join us for our Fall Membership Meeting on November 10th!