Creation's Inherent Value and Sanctity

"It is amazing to think that the influence of a single being can be present everywhere. Yet when we worship Christ, we recognize that in all of his creations he is present, that all forms of life are sacred and should be treated with great reverence. Is it strange to think that a meadow can bear testimony? This meadow bears a testimony to me. Through my simple walks here, I have learned to know the Master Creator and to rejoice in what he shares so freely with me."
Anselm Spring

"The Meadow" in April 1985 New Era.
“'Mormons, of all people, should be nonmaterialistic,' Dr. Murphy suggested. 'But concern about ecology in the Church is not new. All of our theology indicates that the earth is a very important place, spiritually and temporally.' To the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord revealed: 'Yea, all things which come of the earth . . . are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart . . . for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul (D&C 59:18–19)."
Richard Olsen

"Ecology, Pollution, and Consumerism," in Sept 1971 New Era.
"Here are the elements; they are not made in vain, but are made for the benefit, comfort convenience and happiness of God’s children."
Church Leaders
Brigham Young
Presidents of the Church
Journal of Discourses, 8:340, January 20, 1861.
“The riches of the kingdom or nation do not consist so much in the fulness of its treasury as in the fertility of the soil and the industry of its people.”
Church Leaders
Brigham Young
Presidents of the Church
Journal of Discourses 10:266
"[President Young said that] God has given us a commandment that we should not waste meat, nor take life unless it is needful, but he can see a disposition in this camp to slaughter everything before them. . . ."
Church Leaders
Brigham Young
Presidents of the Church
William J. Clayton, William Clayton Journal, entry made on May 18, 1947, at 156-57.
"The earth is very good in and of itself, and has abided a celestial law, consequently we should not despise it, nor desire to leave it, but rather desire and strive to obey the same law that the earth abides.”
Church Leaders
Brigham Young
Presidents of the Church
Journal of Discourses 2:302-303
"The earth and its heaven shall, after passing away through death, be renewed again in immortality. This earth is living and must die, but since it keeps the law it shall be restored through the resurrection by which it shall become celestialized and the abode of celestial beings. 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. The earth, as a living body, will have to die and be resurrected, for it, too, has been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ."
Church Leaders
Joseph Fielding Smith
Presidents of the Church
Doctrines of Salvation (compiled by Bruce R. McConkie) 1:46
“The Lord gave life to every creature, both the birds in the heavens, beasts on the earth, and the fishes in the streams or seas. They also were commanded to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. It was intended that all creatures should be happy in their several elements. Moreover, were not all creatures commanded to be happy in their spheres?”
Church Leaders
Joseph Fielding Smith
Presidents of the Church
The Improvement Era, 568-569 (August 1961).
“Latter-day Saints, at least, do not take the view that animals have no reason, and cannot think. We have the divine knowledge that each possesses a spirit in the likeness of its body, and that each was created spiritually before it was naturally, or given a body on the earth. Naturally, then, there is some measure of intelligence in members of the animal kingdom.”
Church Leaders
Joseph Fielding Smith
Presidents of the Church
Man His Origin and Destiny p. 194
“To Him all life is sacred creation for the use of His children. Do we stand beside Him in our tender regard for life?”
Church Leaders
Joseph F. Smith
Presidents of the Church
"Humane Day," Juvenile Instructor 53 (April 1918): 182-83.
“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.’”
Church Leaders
Joseph F. Smith
Presidents of the Church
Journal of Discourses 23:175.
“In modern revelation the Lord told us more about . . . the light which was to shine, which was to enlighten our understanding, and was to give light and intelligence to all mankind; it was to be in the light of the sun, the moon and the stars; indeed, we may say this light [the light of Christ] was to constitute the reason in man and the instinct in animal life.”
Church Leaders
Harold B. Lee
Presidents of the Church
Conference Report, October 1944, 74.
"It is not likely that someone who does not love his neighbor will be concerned with his adverse impact on the environment. . . . If there is disregard for oneself, there will be disregard for one's neighbor. If there is no reverence for life itself, there is apt to be little reverence for the resources God has given man. The outward expressions of irreverence for life and for fellowmen often take the form of heedless pollution of both air and water. But are these not expressions of the inner man? You are among those who must undertake the task of alerting mankind to problems with regard to his physical environment, but do you not see that if you attempt to do this without giving heed to the spiritual law involved, you undertake an impossible task."
Church Leaders
Ezra Taft Benson
Presidents of the Church
The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988), 643
"As I watched this magnificent scene in reverence, a window formed in the clouds; the glistening rays of the rising sun broke through the overcast sky, transforming everything with its luminescence, its color, its life. It was as if the Lord wanted to share an additional blessing, a symbol of the light of His teachings that gives brilliance and hope to everyone it touches. Tears of gratitude formed for this wondrous world in which we live, for the extraordinary beauty our Heavenly Father so freely shares with all that are willing ot see. Truly, life is beautiful."
Church Leaders
Richard G. Scott
General Authorities
"Finding Joy in Life," Ensign, May 1996, 24.
"The Creation itself testifies of a Creator. We cannot disregard the divine in the Creation."
Church Leaders
Russell M. Nelson
General Authorities
“The Creation,” Ensign (May 2000), 84.
"Meanwhile, brothers and sisters, we should understand our significant responsibilities. Both the creations of God and the creations of man teach us the importance of each component. Do you think that the absence of one piece of granite from the face of this building would be noticed? Of course it would!"
Church Leaders
Russell M. Nelson
General Authorities
"The Creation," April 2000
"Not only is animal life capable of happiness, but it is also included within the scope of His redeeming power, as taught in this uniquely LDS scripture: [D&C 29:23-25] . . . Plainly, all forms of life identified in this verse have great value in the eyes of God, for they are the workmanship of His hand, and will be blessed by His redeeming power. This doctrine leads one to view plant and animal life differently, as living souls created by God."
Church Leaders
Marcus B. Nash
General Authorities
"Righteous Dominion and Compassion for the Earth." Speech at 18th Annual Stegner Center Symposium on 12 April, 2013.
"According to LDS scripture, there is a corollary between the selfish, materialistic man out to hoard money, material possessions, and/or the man with irreverence for life—and pollutions (spiritual or temporal) upon the face of the earth."
Church Leaders
Marcus B. Nash
General Authorities
"Righteous Dominion and Compassion for the Earth." Speech at 18th Annual Stegner Center Symposium on 12 April, 2013.
"Our Great Creator . . . has bestowed life upon man, and upon beasts, birds, fishes and insects, and no one has the right to take that life, except in the way and under the conditions which the Lord prescribes."
Church Leaders
George Q. Cannon
General Authorities
“Wanton Killing,” Juvenile Instructor 24, no. 23 (December 1, 1889): 548–549.
"We should by every means in our power impress upon the rising generation the value of life, and how dreadful a sin it is to take life. The lives of animals even should be held far more sacred than they are. Young people should be taught to be very merciful to the brute creation and not to take life wantonly or for sport. The practice of hunting and killing game merely for sport should be frowned upon and not encouraged among us. God has created the fowls and the beasts for man's convenience and comfort, and for his consumption at proper times and under proper circumstances; but he does not justify men in wantonly killing those creatures which He has made and with which He has supplied the earth."
Church Leaders
George Q. Cannon
General Authorities
Juvenile Instructor 31:218-219, April 1, 1896
"Our religion teaches us that human life is most sacred and should not be wantonly taken. The Lord also has spoken with great plainness concerning the animal creation. The beasts, fowls, and fishes are all the creation of His power and their lives are precious in His sight. No properly constituted person will lightly take the life of any creature; and every girl should be taught that it is wrong to adorn herself with feathers obtained from the slaughter of birds. Animals, fowls and fish are created for the use of man; but their lives should not be wasted. They are to supply the wants of man, not to be slaughtered for mere amusement or for the gratification of vanity."
Church Leaders
George Q. Cannon
General Authorities
Juvenile Instructor 28:712-713, Nov. 15, 1893
"How is the time to come when enmity between man and beast shall cease, when a little child shall be safe in playing with and leading the most savage animal—how is the world to reach an era of universal peace, if man, the superior animal, does not himself take the first steps toward it by getting rid of his blood-thirstiness and by regarding all life as sacred!"
Church Leaders
George Q. Cannon
General Authorities
Juvenile Instructor 34:493, Aug. 15, 1899
And on the seventh day I, God, ended my work, and all things which I had made; and I rested on the seventh day from all my work, and all things which I had made were finished, and I, God, saw that they were good;
Pearl of Great Price
2 3
Moses
Moses 3:2
And I, God, saw everything that I had made, and, behold, all things which I had made were very good;
Pearl of Great Price
31 2
Moses
Moses 2:31
And I, God, made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and cattle after their kind, and everything which creepeth upon the earth after his kind; and I, God, saw that all these things were good.
Pearl of Great Price
25 2
Moses
Moses 2:25
And I, God, created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind; and I, God, saw that all things which I had created were good.
Pearl of Great Price
21 2
Moses
Moses 2:21
And the earth brought forth grass, every herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed should be in itself, after his kind; and I, God, saw that all things which I had made were good;
12 2
Moses
Moses 2:12
And I, God, called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters, called I the Sea; and I, God, saw that all things which I had made were good.
Pearl of Great Price
10 2
Moses
Moses 2:10
And the Gods prepared the waters that they might bring forth great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters were to bring forth abundantly after their kind; and every winged fowl after their kind. And the Gods saw that they would be obeyed, and that their plan was good.
Pearl of Great Price
21 4
Abraham
Abraham 4:21
"God declared the Creation to be 'very good.' When we care for and reverence His creations (including our fellow beings), we show love and respect for Him. Gratitude in turn brings additional blessings. The beauty of the earth goes beyond the surface to penetrate the careful observer's soul: 'That which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually' (Moroni 7:13). Reverence and gratitude for the earth lead to increased faith in a Creator who provides a wonderfully beautiful and awesome place for His children to live."
Other Sources
Danielle Montague-Judd
Other Writings of Mormons
“How Can Church Members Increase Their Environmental Awareness? ,” in Stewardship and the Creation: LDS Perspectives on the Environment, eds. George B. Handley, Terry B. Ball, and Steven L. Peck (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center), 141–53.
"Recognition of all life as sacred and eternal, having God as its author and owner, should evoke in us a deep reverence and humility in our approach to the earth and all upon it."
Other Sources
Alisse Garner Metge
Other Writings of Mormons
“Conservation through Consecration,” in Stewardship and the Creation: LDS Perspectives on the Environment, eds. George B. Handley, Terry B. Ball, and Steven L. Peck (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center), 109–19.
"As we progress in incorporating gospel culture more fully in our lives, a deep sense of incongruence with physical surroundings that are ugly, polluted, and deprived of life grows within us. We are familiar with the many ecological promises God has made, such as the declaration in our tenth article of faith that the 'earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.' We wonder how we can participate with other like-minded people, including those not of our faith, in helping such promises be fulfilled, for we find them to be motivating, ennobling, and harmonious with what we know about the eternal nature of all mankind. We do not want to repeat past mistakes in our actions toward the Creation. Rather, it is our hope that the ebb and flow of intelligent, faith-directed action toward the Creation will give way to sustained improvement in attitudes and behaviors that are consistent with the eternal value of the Creation and its integral role in our own development."
Other Sources
Aaron Kelson
Other Writings of Mormons
“The Hope for Extraordinary Ecological Improvement,” in Stewardship and the Creation: LDS Perspectives on the Environment, eds. George B. Handley, Terry B. Ball, and Steven L. Peck (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center), 89–95.
"'Reverence for Life' was an article published to be used by teachers of three different courses of the Sunday School in 1960. The name of Albert Schweitzer is prominent in the article, first by a sketch of his activity in a hospital. The caption of the sketch of Schweitzer stressed his concept of 'reverence for life.' The editor's preface to the article stated that 'an attitude of respect or reverence for life is one thing that will help a person to exercise self-control in human relations.' The article reminds the youth that God 'does not want man to hurt and kill animals and people needlessly,' He would rather have youth 'show respect for life as [did] Albert Schweitzer.'"
Other Sources
Gerald E. Jones
Other Writings of Mormons
Animals and the Church (2003) pg 80, footnote: Bennion, 164-5
"Also during Joseph F. Smith's time as Church President, superintendent of the Sunday Schools, and editor of the Juvenile Instructor, a special editorial on 'Humane Day' was published. Signatures accompanying the editorial were of the Sunday School superintendency, which included the future President of the Church, David O. McKay, and Stephen L. Richards, later counselor in the First Presidency to David O. McKay. This same editorial was repeated by Heber J. Grant, successor to Joseph F. Smith as President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and editor of the Juvenile Instructor. Thus three Presidents of the Church gave their endorsement and published this important statement on zoophily in the Church. Because of its unique status this document is also reproduced in full. "'What is it to be humane to the beasts of the fields and the 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 law. 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. We are a part of all life and should study carefully our relationship to it. We should be in sympathy with it, and not allow our prejudices to create a desire for its destruction. The unnecessary destruction of life begets a spirit of destruction which grows within the soul. It lives by what it feeds upon and robs man of the love that he should have for the works of God. It hardens the heart of man and makes him prey upon the social welfare which he should feel for the happiness and advancement of his fellow 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 creation. 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 of 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 the cruelty by the dumb animals which they maltreat. Love begets love in all creation, and nature responds bounteously to the tender treatment of man. "Men learn more easily in sympathetic relationships of all life than they do in the seclusion of human interest. Their minds are more open to the manifestations of that inspiration which all nature gives to those who lovingly enjoy her. Wisdom and virtue come from the animal and vegetable world which carries with it a spiritual as well as a material blessing. 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.'"
Other Sources
Gerald E. Jones
Other Writings of Mormons
Animals and the Church (2003) [Pages 64-5, footnote: Juvenile Instructor, LIII (April, 1918), 182-3; Juvenile Instructor, LXII (April, 1927), 190-1.]
"If Mormons are serious about ending inequality and they are serious about restoring dignity to the lives of the most poor and the most vulnerable in society, as the law of consecration demands, then they should be equally serious about respecting the creation as God's, understanding property as contingent, avoiding overconsumption in all of its forms, and honoring and protecting the sacred sources of physical life."
Other Sources
George Handley
Other Writings of Mormons
“Mormon Views of Environmental Stewardship” in Routledge Handbook on Religion and Ecology, edited by Mary Evelyn Tucker, John Grim, and Willis Jenkins. 97-106.
"If the sources of human life are sacred and to be protected, so too then is the earth's capacity to nurture us and to bring forth all of life abundantly."
Other Sources
George Handley
Other Writings of Mormons
“Mormon Views of Environmental Stewardship” in Routledge Handbook on Religion and Ecology, edited by Mary Evelyn Tucker, John Grim, and Willis Jenkins. 97-106.
"If we comprehend that all life has a spirit, is beloved of God, and destined for eternal life through the atonement, would we ever wastefully or wantonly destroy?"
Other Sources
Craig Galli
Other Writings of Mormons
"Enoch’s Vision and Gaia: An LDS Perspective on Environmental Stewardship" in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, 44, no.2 (Summer 2011)
"The LDS concept of the preexistence promotes a heightened intimacy with and reverence for the creation of the earth. It emphasizes the need to understand the earth's importance in the plan of salvation. How can we despoil God's earthly creations over which we rejoiced in the the preexistence?"
Other Sources
Craig Galli
Other Writings of Mormons
"Enoch’s Vision and Gaia: An LDS Perspective on Environmental Stewardship" in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, 44, no.2 (Summer 2011)
"These principles have been well developed in the literature and are only summarized briefly here. First, the earth and all creation belong to God; they witness, bear record of, and reflect his power and love for humankind. The earth’s resources are to be used not just to meet human needs but also to elevate the human spirit. All forms of life have intrinsic value. All are creations of God. All living things have a spiritual as well as an earthly dimension, and all were created spiritually before being placed on the earth physically (see Moses 3:5; D&C 59:18). Second, our use of resources should be guided by principles of equity, conservation, and minimal waste; consumption that meets our needs; and restraint that encourages spiritual values (D&C 49:19–20; 70:14; 104:14–17). Third, materialism and overconsumption are threats to environmental and spiritual well-being. The biblical injunction of Luke 12:15, 'Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth,' is repeated in Mormon scriptures where members are urged to seek first the kingdom of God and to trust not in the things of the world (see Jacob 2:18–19; D&C 121:35). Fourth, humans have a sacred stewardship to protect and preserve creation for themselves and for succeeding generations (D&C 104:11–17)."
Other Sources
Gary C. Bryner
Other Writings of Mormons
"Theology and Ecology: Religious Belief and Environmental Stewardship," in BYU Studies 49, no. 3 (2010)
"How might our perception of the cosmos shift if the 'eternal felicity' we were waiting for was the continual emergence of the cosmos taking place all around us?"
Other Sources
Jason M. Brown
Other Writings of Mormons
"Whither Mormon Environmental Theology?" in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, 44, no. 2 (Summer 2011)
"The fact that matter is eternal and inherently alive strongly implies that, in addition to its instrumental uses, the earth and its creatures have intrinsic worth as ends in themselves."
Other Sources
Jason M. Brown
Other Writings of Mormons
"Whither Mormon Environmental Theology?" in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, 44, no. 2 (Summer 2011)
"We are likewise stewards over this beautiful earth, to keep and protect it as a sacred and precious gift. After creating this earth and all the creatures thereon, God proclaimed them to be good. God loves not just us, but the whole earth, and all the creatures on it. In fact, God gave commandments not just to us, but also to all His creatures. And He covenanted not just with us, but also with every living creature (Genesis 9:8-15)."
Other Sources
Jane Birch
Other Writings of Mormons
Discovering the Word of Wisdom, pg 81
"In spite of the fact that 'all things which [the Lord] had made were very good' (Moses 2:31), and even though it is said that his preparations for the earth were finished (Moses 3:1), it is interesting to note that he put Adam into the garden of Eden 'to dress it and to keep it' (Moses 3:15) and to subdue the earth (Moses 2:28). Such phrases suggest that the earth needs to be looked after and that man has the responsibility to dress, to keep, and to maintain the earth as a habitable place. The indication is that in the beginning the Lord placed upon man the responsibility for the use he makes of his environment."
Other Sources
Robert J. Matthews
Church Magazines
"What the Scriptures Say About: Ecology" in March 1972 New Era.
"When we confine creation to an originating event, we lose the sense of it as a dynamic place so cherished that God enters into covenant relationship with it, so beautiful that God promises to renew it, and so valuable that God takes up residence within it. Creation is not a vast lump of valueless matter. It is God's love made visible, fragrant, tactile, audible, and delectable. Because God's love is eternally hospitable and always fresh, creation will always have a place in God's life."
Other Sources
Norman Wirzba
Inspired Writings of Non-Mormons
From Nature to Creation: A Christian Vision for Understanding and Loving Our World
“The earth I tread on is not a dead, inert mass; it is a body, has a spirit, is organic and fluid to the influence of the spirit.”
Other Sources
Henry David Thoreau
Inspired Writings of Non-Mormons
The Writings of Henry David Thoreau: Journal, ed. by Bradford Torrey, 1837-1846, 1850-Nov. 3, 1861, pg. 165.
"Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve its life than destroy it."
Other Sources
Henry David Thoreau
Inspired Writings of Non-Mormons
The Maine Woods, pg 62.
“Every form of life is unique, warranting respect regardless of its worth to man, and, to accord other organisms such recognition, man must be guided by a moral code of conduct.”
Other Sources
United Nations General Assembly
Inspired Writings of Non-Mormons
Preamble, United Nations Charter for Nature, United Nations General Assembly Resolution 37/7, October 28, 1982
"The ecological teaching of the Bible is simply inescapable: God made the world because He wanted it made. He thinks the world is good, and He loves it. It is His world; He has never relinquished title to it. And He has never revoked the conditions, bearing on His gift to us of the use of it, that oblige us to take excellent care of it."
Other Sources
Wendell Berry
Inspired Writings of Non-Mormons
What Are People For? (1990), pg. 98.
"Can Heavenly Father be any less pleased with this willful destruction of nature than when we break the Word of Wisdom? Certainly, if we are to become like him, we must begin to master the skills necessary to preserve and encourage the processes of life. It seems to me that part of our responsibility as caretakers for the earth is to learn about those processes and take advantage of opportunities to protect our world’s resources."
Other Sources
G. Michael Alder
Church Magazines
"Earth—A Gift of Gladness" in July 1991 Ensign.
O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches. So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts.
Old Testament
24-25 104
Psalms
Psalms 104:24-25
Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? . . . When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
Old Testament
4,7 38
Job
Job 38:4,7
Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail,
Old Testament
22 38
Job
Job 38:22
And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
Old Testament
31 1
Genesis
Genesis 1:31
And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
Old Testament
25 1
Genesis
Genesis 1:25
And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
Old Testament
21 1
Genesis
Genesis 1:21
And the earth brought forth grass, every herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed should be in itself, after his kind; and I, God, saw that all things which I had made were good;
Pearl of Great Price
12 2
Moses
Moses 2:12
And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
Old Testament
10 1
Genesis
Genesis 1:10