Exploring the gospel principles of earth stewardship

What is stewardship?

Earth Stewardship Word Cloud

Word cloud representing the most common responses to "what earth stewardship means" according to 800 LDS survey respondents in Nov. 2008

Because this blog is called “LDS Earth Stewardship,” I figured it would be appropriate in our inaugural blog entry to ask a few questions that will help us think about the concept of stewardship. Hopefully in doing so, it will initiate a healthy discussion about what the principle of stewardship potentially means within an LDS context and what its implications are for our stewardship over the earth. Perhaps it may even spur on future blog entries.

To start off, how is the term “stewardship” used in other gospel or temporal contexts? Here are a few other areas where the term “stewardship” could easily be applied:

  • Our role as parents
  • Our church callings
  • Our bodies
  • Our talents
  • Our personal property
  • Our employment
  • Our citizenship

Does our stewardship over the earth function the same way that it functions in these contexts? In what ways is earth stewardship similar or dissimilar?

Secondly, what are some of the related terms or key areas of discussion when thinking about stewardship?

  • One related term is “ownership.” How is stewardship similar to or different from ownership and/or entitlement? How does stewardship compare or contrast with exploitation?
  • Another related concept is “nurturing” because we are often responsible to nurture the people or things we have stewardship over. To nurture something is to care for it, to put forth an effort to help something grow and improve. What is the relationship between nurturing and love? Can you truly nurture something if you do not love it? Can you learn to love something by nurturing it?
  • Another related concept is “accountability.” What kind of accountability is implied by the term stewardship? To whom or to what are we accountable? When will we be held accountable? What are the consequences if we fail in our accountability?

And lastly, when we talk about stewardship in relation to church callings, we often use the related term “mantle”? Usually this refers to the right to receive revelation or inspiration over the individuals in our stewardship, to begin to see the individuals in our sphere of responsibility the way God sees them. Does the concept of the mantle apply to earth stewardship? Is it possible to receive revelation or inspiration about the earth? Exactly what aspects of the earth are within our sphere of responsibility?

Feel free to respond with your own reaction to these questions in the comments. Better yet, compose a blog entry with your thoughts and submit it as a guest post to us!