Exploring the gospel principles of earth stewardship

Peach Trees and Exaltation

Editor’s Note: Today’s post is by Dave Dixon, co-founder of No Poor Among Them, a non-profit organization that approaches the issue of poverty from a gospel-centered perspective. Dave and his family like in South Dakota, where he works as a GIS analyst.

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Source: freeimages.com

 

Last weekend, I went with my family to a peach festival in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I have only lived in the area about a year, but I’d heard it was difficult to get a good peach out here. Thankfully, some clever folks down in Georgia knew that there was likely a large market of people like me willing to pay top dollar for a good peach. Now, I know those peaches had to travel 1,200 miles to get to that park, but can you blame me? For me, a summer without fresh, juicy peaches is a complete waste of time. Can a peach be improved by putting it in anything? A muffin? Ice cream? A cake? I submit that it cannot. There is something wonderful about eating a peach. And as 19th-century Mormon Daniel H. Wells put it, there is something exalting about growing a peach tree:

The man who . . . plants a single fruit tree . . . and cultivates it, and cause[s] it to bring forth fruit, he has done something toward his exaltation—has made one step towards redeeming the earth from sin and from the curse pronounced against it.” [1]

LDS scripture is clear that this blue marble we call home will one day become the celestial kingdom. [2] Joseph Smith taught that “Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisaical glory.” [3] Today, many Latter-day Saints may not reflect upon how this transformation will take place on the earth, but early Mormons believed that just as they needed to prepare their souls to dwell with God, so too did they believe that it was up to them to prepare the earth as the dwelling place of God, hence the statement from Daniel H. Wells.

I take great joy in the monumental efforts these early Mormons made, and for the vast hopes they had in themselves and in the earth. In addition to making “home a heaven on earth,” we as Latter-day Saints ought to make “earth the home of heaven.” It’s time, once again, to think big as Mormons. It’s time to reflect upon how our decisions here can impact others elsewhere. And it’s time to recognize that preparing to meet God not only means preparing ourselves, but preparing our current (and future) home.

So what does heaven look like to you? In what ways do you or could you work to make the earth a little more sacred and a little less profane? A place wherein all of God’s children have access to the abundance of the earth? For some, it may be a peach tree, for others it may be planting wildflowers to provide beauty and pollen for local bees. Whatever your heaven looks like, there is something each of us can do daily to renew the earth or to use its resources more prudently.

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[1] Daniel H. Wells, in Journal of Discourses, 14 Sept. 1862, 9:363.

[2] Doctrine and Covenants 130:9.

[3] Articles of Faith 1:10.