The Measure of Creation

Yea, verily I say unto you, in that day when the Lord shall come, he shall reveal all things—Things which have passed, and hidden things which no man knew, things of the earth, by which it was made, and the purpose and the end thereof—Things most precious, things that are above, and things that are beneath, things that are in the earth, and upon the earth, and in heaven.
Doctrine and Covenants
32-34 101
D&C
D&C 101:32-34
"God has given this great variety of intelligence. He has also given this great variety of forms—that eternal variety which we see upon this earth, not only among human beings, but in every class of all the creations of God; and they are all designed to be preserved to all eternity. None of them were made to be destroyed, except those that do not abide the law given them. The earth will abide its creation, and will be counted worthy of receiving the blessings designed for it, and will ultimately roll back into the presence of God who formed it and established it mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms. These will all be retained upon the earth, come forth in the resurrection, and abide for ever and for ever."
Church Leaders
Brigham Young
Presidents of the Church
Journal of Discourses 8:8, March 4, 1860
"Man's machinery makes things alike; God's machinery gives to things which appear alike a pleasing difference. . . . Endless variety is stamped upon the works of God's hands. There are no two productions of nature, whether animal, vegetable or mineral, that are exactly alike and all are crowned with a degree of polish and perfection that cannot be obtained by ignorant man in his most exquisite mechanical productions."
Church Leaders
Brigham Young
Presidents of the Church
Journal of Discourses 9:369-70
“If we could understand all the purposes of God in His wonderful creations, we would avoid diligently the dangers of disturbing the balance in the distribution of life which God so wonderfully ordained.”
Church Leaders
Joseph F. Smith
Presidents of the Church
Juvenile Instructor, 50:373, June 1915.
“Prof. Pauls tells us . . . that 'six species of American birds are already extinct; fourteen other species are apparently doomed. Here are the next candidates for early extinction in this country: Trumpeter swan, whooping crane, roseate spoonbill, redbreasted sandpiper, sandpiper, bartramia, sandpiper, golden plover, dowitcher, willet, American egret, snowy egret, wood duck, sage grouse, prairie sharp-tailed grouse, pinnated grouse.' With these startling facts before us, is it not time that something be done by every organization in the world to discountenance extermination and favor protection of feathered beauties. . . . In all the teaching, the element of love for all of the creatures of the earth can be emphasized, and thus true religion imparted. ”
Church Leaders
David O. McKay
Presidents of the Church
Juvenile Instructor, Vol. 48 (May 1913), 311.
They, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort.
Old Testament
14 7
Genesis
Genesis 7:14
Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.
20 6
Genesis
Genesis 6:20
And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.
19 6
Genesis
Genesis 6:19
"The very object of our existence here is to handle the temporal elements of this world and subdue the earth, multiplying those organisms of plants and animals God has designed shall dwell upon it."
Church Leaders
Brigham Young
Presidents of the Church
Journal of Discourses 9:168
“We cannot restore life when it is taken, and all creatures have the right to enjoy life and happiness on the earth where the Lord has placed them.”
Church Leaders
Joseph Fielding Smith
Presidents of the Church
Church History and Modern Revelation (Salt Lake City: The Council of the Twelve Apostles, 1946), 210.
“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).
"Since both plant and animal life are living souls, they are capable of experiencing happiness as they fulfill the measure of their creation."
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.
"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.
"As one of the presidents of the Church, Joseph Fielding Smith, taught, 'the Lord gave life to every creature…[and] commanded [them] to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. It was intended that all creatures should be happy in their several elements.'"
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.
And I, God, blessed them, saying: Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the sea; and let fowl multiply in the earth;
Pearl of Great Price
22 2
Moses
Moses 2:22
"To appreciate God’s creations, you have to learn to see. I believe this is what the Savior is teaching us in the first part of section 88, how to see. Everything around us bears witness of its own creation and design. Every animal or plant, in filling the measure of its creation, praises God. We must, by fulfilling our creation, do the same."
Other Sources
Anselm Spring

"The Meadow" in April 1985 New Era.
"How many nonhuman living souls would be allowed to live out their natural life spans if the 'forgotten verses' of Doctrine and Covenants 89 were restored to prominence, and how would the economies and ecologies of Mormon-populated areas adapt? How will Mormon animal theology and policy themselves adapt to pressures from within and without, including the rising financial, ecological, social, medical, and climate change-related costs of raising animals for food according to the factory farm and industrial slaughterhouse paradigm of meat production and consumption? What about the increasingly complex ethical challenges posed by animal testing, xenotransplantation of body parts from animals to humans, genetic engineering and plastic surgery resulting in human/ animal hybrids, and eye-opening scientific discoveries in the fields of animal communication, culture, and emotion? Finally, to return to one of this essay’s central concerns, is the ideal of the peaceable kingdom worth reviving as we work to prevent another era of 'hideous mistakes,' to borrow George Q. Cannon’s term—namely, cataclysmic extinctions?"
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).
"Similarly, we seem to have little to say in the Church about the worldwide extinction crisis, despite our doctrinal mandate to care for the nonhuman creatures which, like us, were designed to 'fi[ll] the measure of [their] creation' (D&C 88:19) and that also received God’s blessing/commandment to 'be fruitful, and multiply' (Moses 2:22)."
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).
"Granted there are different levels and degrees that exist within as well as between species, still it is the privilege of every form of life to multiply in its sphere and element and have joy therein."
Other Sources
Hugh Nibley
Other Writings of Mormons
"Brigham Young on the Environment," from Hugh Nibley's Brother Brigham Challenges the Saints; printed in Truman Madsen and Charles D. Tate, eds., To the Glory of God: Mormon Essays on Great Issues—Environment, Commitment, Love, Peace, Youth, Man (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1972), 3-29.
"In commanding Adam to 'be fruitful, and multiply,' God also informed him that he had given the identical command to all his other creatures, and furthermore, that he was putting Adam in charge of things to see to it that his purposes were fulfilled. Specifically, he was to 'replenish the earth, and subdue it, and to have dominion over' every living thing in the biosphere (Abraham 4:28). There are two clearly marked departments—the earth itself as a storehouse and source of life, which Adam is to keep replenished (filled is the word), and the creatures that move about on and over the earth, over which he is to have dominion. As Brigham Young explains it, while 'subduing the earth' we must be about 'multiplying those organisms of plants and animals God has designed shall dwell upon it,' namely, 'all forms of life,' each to multiply in its sphere and element and have joy therein."
Other Sources
Hugh Nibley
Other Writings of Mormons
“Man’s Dominion, or Subduing the Earth,” in Brigham Young Challenges the Saints (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book, 1994), 6.
"Central to LDS theology is the understanding that while ‘subduing the earth’ we must be about multiplying these organisms of plants and animals God has designed shall dwell upon it, namely all forms of life, each to multiply in its sphere and element and have joy therein."
Other Sources
Hugh Nibley
Other Writings of Mormons
“Man’s Dominion, or Subduing the Earth,” in Brigham Young Challenges the Saints (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book, 1994), 6.
"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 (footnote: D&C 77:2)."
Other Sources
Craig Galli
Other Writings of Mormons
"Study Guide: LDS Perspectives on Environmental Stewardship," Section B, pg 6
"The concept of other forms of life experiencing joy coincides with the fact that all of God’s creation possess a spirit."
Other Sources
Craig Galli
Other Writings of Mormons
"Study Guide: LDS Perspectives on Environmental Stewardship," Section B, pg 6
"We are not told in detail all the covenants the creatures of this earth made. We know that they, like us, were commanded to multiply and replenish the earth (Genesis 1:22). But we also know animals have a role to play in the preservation of human life: 'And whoso forbiddeth to abstain from meats, that man should not eat the same, is not ordained of God; For, behold, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air and that which cometh of the earth, is ordained for the use of man and for raiment, and that he might have in abundance' (D&C 49:18-19)."
Other Sources
Jane Birch
Other Writings of Mormons
Discovering the Word of Wisdom, pg 81-2
“Many good people believe that alligators were created by the Devil, thus accounting for their all-consuming appetite and ugliness. But doubtless these creatures are happy and fill the place assigned them by the great Creator of us all. Fierce and cruel they appear to us, but beautiful in the eyes of God. . . . The universe would be incomplete without man; but it would also be incomplete without the smallest transmicroscopic creature that dwells beyond our conceitful eyes and knowledge.”
Other Sources
John Muir
Inspired Writings of Non-Mormons
"A Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf" (1867), in American Earth, 86, 88.
“[God] made the tadpole and the ape, the lion and the elephant. . . . The whole animal creation will be perfected and perpetuated in the Hereafter, each class in its ‘distinct order or sphere,’ and will enjoy ‘eternal felicity.’ That fact has been made plain in this dispensation.”
Other Sources
First Presidency
Improvement Era
Improvement Era, Nov 1909, pg 81
"Fulfilling the purpose of their creation, they were on the move—northward to their nesting grounds in the barren lands of northern Canada."
Other Sources
A.B. Morrison
Church Magazines
"Our Deteriorating Environment," Aug 1971 Ensign.
Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth.
Old Testament
17 8
Genesis
Genesis 8:17
And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life. And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the Lord shut him in.
Old Testament
15-16 7
Genesis
Genesis 7:15-16
Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female. Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.
Old Testament
2-3 7
Genesis
Genesis 7:2-3
Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.
Old Testament
20 6
Genesis
Genesis 6:20
And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.
Old Testament
19 6
Genesis
Genesis 6:19
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
28 1
Genesis
Genesis 1:28
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
Old Testament
28 1
Genesis
Genesis 1:28
And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
Old Testament
20 1
Genesis
Genesis 1:20
And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
Old Testament
12 1
Genesis
Genesis 1:12
For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and elements inseparably connected, receive a fullness of joy; And when separated, man cannot receive a fulness of joy.
Doctrine and Covenants
33-34 93
D&C
D&C 93:33-34
And again, verily I say unto you, the earth abideth the law of a celestial kingdom, for it filleth the measure of its creation, and transgresseth not the law—
Doctrine and Covenants
25 88
D&C
D&C 88:25
For after it hath filled the measure of its creation, it shall be crowned with glory, even with the presence of God the Father;
Doctrine and Covenants
19 88
D&C
D&C 88:19
Wherefore, it is lawful that he should have one wife, and they twain shall be one flesh, and all this that the earth might answer the end of its creation; And that it might be filled with the measure of man, according to his creation before the world was made.
Doctrine and Covenants
16-17 49
D&C
D&C 49:16-17