Connection Among All Living Souls

"John saw curious looking beasts in heaven, he saw every creature that was in heaven, all the beasts, fowls, & fish in heaven, actually there, giving glory to God. I suppose John saw beings there, that had been saved from ten thousand times ten thousand earths like this, strange beasts of which we have no conception all might be seen in heaven. John learned that God glorified himself by saving all that his hands had made whether beasts, fowl fishes or man, and He will glorify Himself with them."
Church Leaders
Joseph Smith, Jr.
Presidents of the Church
The Words of Joseph Smith: The Contemporary Accounts of the Nauvoo Discourses of the Prophet Joseph, 185.
"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 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."
Church Leaders
Joseph F. Smith
Presidents of the Church
Juvenile Instructor 53;182-183, April 1918
"The idea prevails in general, I believe, in the religious world where the Gospel truth is misunderstood, that man is the only being on the earth that has what is called a 'soul' or a spirit. We know this is not the case, for the Lord has said that not only has man a spirit, and is thereby a living soul, but likewise the beasts of the field, the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, have spirits, and hence are living souls. But this does not make them kinsmen to the sons and daughters of God. They are our Father's creations, not his offspring, and that is the great difference between man and beast. It would be a very strange world where animals were not found. If, after the resurrection of the dead, we discovered that man was the only living creature with immortality, we would certainly consider it a very strange world. Yet the idea does prevail that man has a spirit and the animals have not, and this is the great thing that distinguished man from all other beings. The fish, the fowl, the beasts of the field, lived before they were placed naturally in this earth, and so did the plants that are upon the face of the earth. No doubt the spirits that possess the bodies of the animals are in the similitude of their bodies. In other words the bodies of animals conform to the spirits which possess them, and which existed before they were placed on the earth. The Lord has made nothing to be destroyed. He has not [built] to tear down, but what is done is done with the idea of permanency."
Church Leaders
Joseph F. Smith
Presidents of the Church
Doctrines of Salvation 1:40
“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.
"We can never afford to be cruel or indifferent or ungenerous, because we are all connected, even if it is in a pattern that only God sees."
Church Leaders
Chieko Okazaki
General Authorities
"Cat's Cradle of Kindness," April 1993 General Conference.
"To be whole. To be complete. Wildness reminds us what it means to be human, what we are connected to rather than what we are separate from."
Other Sources
Terry Tempest Williams
Other Writings of Mormons
“Statement of Terry Tempest Williams, Naturalist-in-Residence Utah Museum of Natural history, Salt Lake City, Utah, before the Senate Subcommittee on Forest & Public Lands Management regarding the Utah Public Lands Management Act of 1995. Washington, D.C. July 13, 1995”
"A sustainable relationship with the Earth nurtures a sustainable relationship with God, because we acknowledge and honor the power of reciprocity, that there are in fact limits and consequences of what we desire. If we act on the premise that we are not alone, that other individuals and creatures have wants and needs, that our definition of community is not just human-centered but Creation-centered, then we begin to engage in a spiritual economics that promises to be more unselfish than our present relationship to other. We cannot continue to simply take from the Earth without giving back something in return, even if that means drawing on principles of restraint, generosity, gratitude, and compassion."
Other Sources
Terry Tempest Williams
Other Writings of Mormons
"West of Eden," in New Genesis: A Mormon Reader on Land and Community
When we move beyond the Sunday School answers and consider these episodes from an animal studies perspective, however, the stories begin to yield important insights into the development of a viable Mormon ethic of interspecies and intercultural care that, according to Mormon thought, has (or should be perceived as having) implications of eternal significance. Lehi’s family’s experience in the desert illustrates the doctrine that would shortly be articulated more directly in the Book of Moses (1830) and Joseph Smith’s translation of Genesis 9:11, in revelations that would be canonized as sections 49, 59, and 77 of the Doctrine and Covenants (1831–32) and, most explicitly, in the 1833 Word of Wisdom: the idea that animals are eternal beings possessing spirits, are subject to Christ’s atonement, are more than Cartesian automata or symbolic screens for human spiritual needs and truths, and that their lives—like human lives—are to be taken only under strictly defined conditions.
Other Sources
Bart H. Welling
Other Writings of Mormons
“'The Blood of Every Beast': Mormonism and the Question of the Animal" in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 44, no. 2 (Summer 2011).
"All creatures exist in their own particular spheres. . . . We feel a kinship with the animals—and we should. We are going to live with them in the eternities. We should love the critters, and they will learn to love us."
Other Sources
Hugh Nibley
Other Writings of Mormons
Of All Things! Classic Quotations from Hugh Nibley, compiled by Gary P. Gillum
“The notion that physical matter and all living things have some living spiritual character grants a sacred identity to the nonhuman realm, and this would seem to give us pause to consider the ethics of our use of such inspirited material.”
Other Sources
George Handley
Other Writings of Mormons
“The Environmental Ethics of Mormon Belief,” BYU Studies, 40, no. 2 (2001): 187-211.
"Among modern scientists, James Lovelock first developed the 'Gaia Theory,' named after the earth goddess of Greek mythology, to help explain how the earth’s biosphere and atmosphere function as a tightly integrated, self-regulating, evolving system or organism. Lovelock explained, 'I am not thinking of the Earth as alive in a sentient way, or even alive like an animal or a bacterium.' Rather, the earth’s biosphere functions or 'behaves' as a living system to maintain temperature and atmospheric conditions in an equilibrium conducive to life through a complex set of interactions or 'feedback loops.'"
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)
"Joseph Smith taught that we look forward to 'the happiness of man, and of beasts, and of creeping things, and of the fowls of the air' that will exist in the next life."
Craig Galli
Other Writings of Mormons
"Study Guide: LDS Perspectives on Environmental Stewardship," Section B, pg 6
"An environmental ethic begins with the idea that the well-being of the entire community of earth is paramount, and human well-being takes place within that broader community."
Other Sources
Gary C. Bryner
Other Writings of Mormons
"Theology and Ecology: Religious Belief and Environmental Stewardship," in BYU Studies 49, no. 3 (2010)
"The earth is not only a living soul with a past, present, and future but is also inextricably connected to the fate of its inhabitants, an idea that I find particularly powerful."
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)
"Joseph Smith taught that we look forward to 'the happiness of man, and of beasts, and of creeping things, and of the fowls of the air' that will exist in the next life."
Other Sources
Craig Galli
Other Writings of Mormons
"Study Guide: LDS Perspectives on Environmental Stewardship," Section B, pg 6
"Within Mormonism, this vital primordial force is intelligence. Thus, the vitalistic tradition contains scriptures and teachings that elaborate on the nature of intelligence. It also includes teachings such as the eternal nature of matter and expands traditional Christian notions of spirit to nonhumans, including the earth itself, both of which join humans in possessing an eternal existence."
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)
"As Berry and many others suggest, the problems associated with the environmental crisis-pollution, species extinction, climate change—are but symptoms of a much deeper failure on the part of our civilization to relate to the earth and its creatures in moral terms."
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)
"One reason Church leaders may have felt so strongly about this issue is that the Latter-day Saint view on animals is fairly unique among Christians. We believe animals, like humans, are eternal beings (see D&C 77:2–3); that they are 'living souls' (Moses 3:19) who will be 'resurrected and glorified' in God’s presence; and that we are accountable to God for our stewardship over them (see JST Genesis 9:5 and D&C 104:11–14)."
Other Sources
Jane Birch
Other Writings of Mormons
Discovering the Word of Wisdom, pg 87-8,
"Just as we depend on this earth, the earth depends on us. We are intimately interrelated, and I'm concerned that she groans under our sins. The biological and physical worlds are pure. They fully obey the will of the Lord and are redeemed through their service to us, but they also suffer due to our disobedience. I believe we humans are the cause of much of the 'natural' chaos in the world. It is a reflection of who we are and of the choices we have made."
Other Sources
Jane Birch
Other Writings of Mormons
Discovering the Word of Wisdom, pg 86
". . . we need to define ecology. Dr. Murphy said ecology is 'the mutual relations between organisms and their environment.' It is more than cleaning up lakes and picking up cans at the park. Anytime any of us draws upon natural resources, we step into the ecology picture."
Other Sources
Richard Olsen
Church Magazines
"Ecology, Pollution, and Consumerism," in Sept 1971 New Era.
"Ecology is that branch of biological science that deals with the interrelationships of all living organisms—including man—and their environment. And the scriptures have a great deal to say about life on earth."
Other Sources
Robert J. Matthews
Church Magazines
"What the Scriptures Say About: Ecology" in March 1972 New Era.
"One touch of nature makes the whole world kin."
Other Sources
William Shakespeare
Inspired Writings of Non-Mormons
Troilus and Cressida. Act III. Sc. 3. L. 175.
“There can be nothing dead or mechanical in Nature. . . . [L]ife and feeling . . . must exist in everything. . . . [A] mountain, a tree, a river, the fish in the river, drops of water, rain, a plant, fire—each separately must possess a mind of its own.”
Other Sources
Peter Ouspensky
Inspired Writings of Non-Mormons
Tertiam Organum (1912/1981), pg. 165-166.
"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe."
Other Sources
John Muir
Inspired Writings of Non-Mormons
My First Summer in the Sierra, Ch. 6 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1911).
“All of animate nature is thus bound together in common interest by the chains of sustenance that link the living to the dead, the predator to its prey, the beetle to the dung on which it feeds. . . . God has set up an enduring community of peaceful coexistence.”
Other Sources
Donald Worster
Inspired Writings of Non-Mormons
Nature's Economy: A History of Ecological Ideas, 35.
"That land is a community is the basic concept of ecology, but that land is to be loved and respected is an extension of ethics. That land yields a cultural harvest is a fact long known, but latterly often forgotten."
Other Sources
Aldo Leopold
Inspired Writings of Non-Mormons
A Sand County Almanac, and Sketches Here and There (1949), viii-ix.
"We are as much alive as we keep the earth alive."
Other Sources
Chief Dan George
Inspired Writings of Non-Mormons
Quoted in Roy C. Dudgeon's Common Ground: Eco-Holism and Native American Philosophy, pg. 319.
"Everything is related, and we human beings are united as brothers and sisters on a wonderful pilgrimage, woven together by the love God has for each of his creatures and which also unites us in fond affection with brother sun, sister moon, brother river and mother earth."
Other Sources
Pope Francis
Inspired Writings of Non-Mormons
Encyclical Letter Laudato Si': On Care for Our Common Home (24 May 2015)
"Moreover, when our hearts are authentically open to universal communion, this sense of fraternity excludes nothing and no one. It follows that our indifference or cruelty towards fellow creatures of this world sooner or later affects the treatment we mete out to other human beings. We have only one heart, and the same wretchedness which leads us to mistreat an animal will not be long in showing itself in our relationships with other people. Every act of cruelty towards any creature is 'contrary to human dignity.'"
Other Sources
Pope Francis
Inspired Writings of Non-Mormons
Encyclical Letter Laudato Si': On Care for Our Common Home (24 May 2015)
"A sense of deep communion with the rest of nature cannot be real if our hearts lack tenderness, compassion and concern for our fellow human beings. It is clearly inconsistent to combat trafficking in endangered species while remaining completely indifferent to human trafficking, unconcerned about the poor, or undertaking to destroy another human being deemed unwanted. This compromises the very meaning of our struggle for the sake of the environment."
Other Sources
Pope Francis
Inspired Writings of Non-Mormons
Encyclical Letter Laudato Si': On Care for Our Common Home (24 May 2015)
"At the birth of mankind, the whole creation, issuing from the hands of God, is holy; the earthly paradise is nature in a state of grace. The House of God is the whole cosmos. . . . In the cosmic Temple, man is not living primarily in his own house, but in the house of God."
Other Sources
Jean Daniélou
Inspired Writings of Non-Mormons
The Presence of God, trans. Walter Roberts (Baltimore, Md.: Helicon Press, 1959), 9.
"Nature is a part of our humanity, and without some awareness and experience of that divine mystery man ceases to be man. When the Pleiades and the wind in the grass are no longer a part of the human spirit, a part of very flesh and bone, man becomes, as it were, a kind of cosmic outlaw, having neither the completeness and integrity of the animal nor the birthright of a true humanity."
Other Sources
Henry Beston
Inspired Writings of Non-Mormons
The Outermost House: A Year of Life on the Great Beach of Cape Cod, x.
"Because the Divine could not manifest itself fully by creating another deity, he created the great diversity of things so that the perfection lacking to one would be supplied by the others and that the whole universe together would participate in and manifest the divine more than any single being whatsoever."
Other Sources
Thomas Aquinas
Inspired Writings of Non-Mormons
Summa Theologica, I, q. 47, a. l.
"The reason we are in trouble ecologically is because of our inability to see ourselves as a part of nature. We have not seen ourselves for what we are: part of the web of life and part of the biological community; a portion of an incredibly complex ecological system; and intimately a part of the total environment. Our ability to acquire and apply technical information has far outstripped our biological ability to adapt to the changes technology has brought."
Other Sources
A.B. Morrison
Church Magazines
"Our Deteriorating Environment," Aug 1971 Ensign.
And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
Old Testament
30 1
Genesis
Genesis 1:30
For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.
Old Testament
19 3
Ecclesiastes
Ecclesiastes 3:19