Living for Future Generations

And when the Lord had said these words, he showed unto the brother of Jared all the inhabitants of the earth which had been, and also all that would be; and he withheld them not from his sight, even unto the ends of the earth.
Book of Mormon
25 3
Ether
Ether 3:25
"[W]e owe something to future generations and those that declare 'plenty more where that came from' are recklessly indifferent to the gravest responsibilities . . . The Latter-day Saints ought not to be governed by purely selfish motives in the use of their landed inheritances. The number among us who have converted a single acre of our farms into forestry must be extremely small, and yet it is a duty which we owe to ourselves and to those who have the right to rely upon us to give this matter our earnest munerative; but we are so accustomed to look for immediate returns that we insist upon an early harvest for all that we do. The policy of living for today is not only destructive of our material interest, but it begets a selfishness harmful to religion and discreditable to patriotism."
Church Leaders
Joseph F. Smith
Presidents of the Church
Juvenile Instructor 38:466-467, Aug. 1, 1903
"Years ago I read that Emerson was once asked which one of all the books he had read had most affected his life. His response was that he could no more remember the books he had read than he could remember the meals he had eaten, but they had made him. All of us are the products of the elements to which we are exposed. We can give direction to those elements and thereby improve the result. I pray that we shall make an effort to improve the environment in which we and our children live."
Church Leaders
Gordon B. Hinckley
Presidents of the Church
"Tithing: An Opportunity to Prove Our Faithfulness," April 1982
“Stewardship in the Church is a very important matter. The Lord has mentioned it in the revelations. (See D&C 59; 104.) We are stewards over these earthly blessings which the Lord has provided, those of us who have this soil and this water. We have no moral latitude, it seems to me. In fact, we are morally obligated to turn this land over to those who succeed us—not drained of its fertility but improved in quality, in productivity, and in usefulness for future generations.”
Church Leaders
Ezra Taft Benson
Presidents of the Church
The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, 645.
"[W]e are morally obligated to turn this land over to those who succeed us—not drained of its fertility, but improved in quality, in productivity, and in usefulness for future generations. I am sure our Heavenly Father expects us to use these precious natural resources wisely, unselfishly, and effectively—both our soil and our water."
Church Leaders
Ezra Taft Benson
Presidents of the Church
The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, Inc. 1988), 645.
"It is terribly important that we preserve and improve the great natural resources with which the God of heaven has so richly blessed us, that we may not follow the experience of some other nations that have come and gone because of the mismanagement of their natural and God-given resources."
Church Leaders
Ezra Taft Benson
Presidents of the Church
The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, 645.
“Our generation, more than any other, has the ability to irretrievably change the land.  Financial rewards provide tremendous pressure to unleash our technology to reinvent our surroundings.  There will be growth; change will come. But failure to care for the land on which we live means turning our backs on a heritage laid down carefully and at such great cost by our forefathers—and will leave us immeasurably poorer.”
Church Leaders
Steven E. Snow
General Authorities
“Skipping the Grand Canyon,” in New Genesis: A Mormon Reader on Land and Community (ed. Terry Tempest Williams, William B. Smart, Gibbs M. Smith eds. 1998).
“As beneficiaries of the divine Creation, what shall we do? We should care for the earth, be wise stewards over it, and preserve it for future generations."
Church Leaders
Russell M. Nelson
General Authorities
“The Creation,” Ensign (May 2000), 84.
"Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ teaches us to live lives of internal consistency, true to God, true to his present and yet-to-be born children, and true to the purpose of his creations. To the degree that it enlarges our understanding of who we are, why this earth was created, and inspires us to respect this earth as the handiwork of God and to think of others (including future generations), religion can change how we will treat the earth and all things thereon."
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.
"Faith and religion should have the capacity to stretch, enlarge, and change the human soul beyond self, and to inspire love of God and His creations, to think of others, and to consider the needs of future generations, even to the point of sacrificing personal desires. We need that soul-stretching, for the state of the human soul will directly impact the condition and health of the environment—which, in turn affects our quality of life."
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 the human soul is thus changed, the environment is better cared for. The doctrine and commandments of God lead us beyond the suffocating, self-limiting weight of selfishness, the blinding press of self-gratification or aggrandizement. The gospel of Jesus Christ helps us think beyond ourselves, to think of the earth and all life given by God and to think of others now and in future generations, rather than pursue the immediate vindication of our personal desires or avowed rights. If I pursue a selfish, irreverent course, I pursue a course that gives license to despoil the earth, for pollution, damage, and waste are almost always the product of selfishness or irreverence. To the degree that religion teaches reverence for God, for His creations, for life, and for our fellowman, it will teach us to care for the environment. In short, the state of the human soul and the environment are interconnected, each affects and influences the other."
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.
"I will not try to unravel these complexities, but they do help us to remember that our approach to the environment must be prudent, realistic, balanced, and consistent with the needs of the earth and of current and future generations. In an effort to go to the root of the issue (no pun intended), I suggest, 1. that it cannot be reasonably disputed that we depend upon this earth to sustain life, and 2. that the quality of the earth and its environment will directly affect the quality of our life—and that of future generations."
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.
“The instructions to Adam and Eve about the garden earth . . .have not been rescinded. They were, and we are, to dress it—not destroy it. They were to take good care of it instead of abusing it. Our increasing interdependence on this planet makes some forms of individual selfishness the equivalent of a runaway personal bulldozer. If we have no concern for the generations to follow, the means are at hand to tear up the terrain much more than was ever possible anciently.”
Church Leaders
Neal A. Maxwell
General Authorities
That Ye May Believe (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1992), 75.
"Apparently wise and powerful people blame poverty and famine on there being too many people in some parts of the earth or in all the earth. With great passion they argue for limiting births, as if that would produce human happiness . . . Heavenly Father would not command men and women to marry and to multiply and replenish the earth if the children they invited into mortality would deplete the earth. Since there is enough and to spare, the enemy of human happiness as well as the cause of poverty and starvation is not the birth of children. It is the failure of people to do with the earth what God could teach them to do if only they would ask and then obey, for they are agents unto themselves."
Church Leaders
Henry B. Eyring
General Authorities
"The Family," Ensign, February 1998, 15.
"The eyes of the future are looking back at us and they are praying for us to see beyond our own time. They are kneeling with hands clasped that we might act with restraint, that we might leave room for the life that is destined to come. . . . Wild mercy is in our hands."
Other Sources
Terry Tempest Williams
Other Writings of Mormons
"Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert" (New York: Pantheon, 2001), 215.
"These also are God's creation and, along with that strength I have left to enjoy them, his gifts. I am given stewardship for them; so are we all. We can't escape it, and Mormon scripture makes clear that God will hold us accountable for our performance. That's sobering enough. But my grandchildren and their grandchildren will also hold me accountable. Loving them as I do and praying for them to enjoy in nature such beauty, peace, solitude, and soul-renewal as that with which the earth has blessed me, how can I fail to do my best?"
Other Sources
William B. Smart
Other Writings of Mormons
"The Making of an Activist" in New Genesis: A Mormon Reader on Land and Community
"A far better gift than cash handouts to our nature-loving Boy Scouts, and school children, and to the freedom-loving citizens attending the festival in July, would be 'the clear blue sky [arching] over the values of the free,' the clearer the freer, including freedom from respiratory complications in later life. But of course there is one serious drawback to that. The clear blue skies cost much more than the highly publicized handouts."
Other Sources
Hugh Nibley
Other Writings of Mormons
"Stewardship of the Air," from Hugh Nibley's Brother Brigham Challenges the Saints; this talk was given 16 February 1989 in Provo, Utah, as part of a Clear Air Symposium at Brigham Young University.
"For Brigham was keenly aware of his unique opportunity to lay the foundations of a new civilization and of the awful responsibility that weighed upon anyone who presumed to alter the face of nature and create an environment in which generations yet unborn would be obliged to live."
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.
"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 our 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) [Pg 64-5, footnote: Juvenile Instructor, LIII (April, 1918), 182-3; Juvenile Instructor, LXII (April, 1927), 190-1]
While sustainability is clearly compatible with the idea of self-interest, especially our interest in ensuring a healthy environment for our own future, it is much more dependent on an ethic of caring for others and accepting the responsibility for how our actions limit or expand the choices of not only those with whom we share the planet now but also those who come after us."
Other Sources
Gary C. Bryner
Other Writings of Mormons
"Theology and Ecology: Religious Belief and Environmental Stewardship," in BYU Studies 49, no. 3 (2010), p. 32.
"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)
"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)
"The message of economists is much more attractive: continue to consume as much as you want, be free to live your lives as you wish, and do not worry about future generations. However, as discussed below, the warnings from ecological science about the importance of ensuring our activities are environmentally sustainable is a much more cautious, conservative approach to how we live our lives and much more consonant with religious values and beliefs than the pursuit of unbridled growth and consumption."
Other Sources
Gary C. Bryner
Other Writings of Mormons
"Theology and Ecology: Religious Belief and Environmental Stewardship," in BYU Studies 49, no. 3 (2010)
“Of all the questions which can come before this nation, short of the actual preservation of its existence in a great war, there is none which compares in importance with the great central task of leaving this land even a better land for our descendants than it is for us.”
Other Sources
Theodore Roosevelt
Inspired Writings of Non-Mormons
"New Nationalism Speech," delivered at the dedication of the John Brown Memorial Park in Osawatomie, Kansas on 13 Aug 1910.
“Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children's children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.”
Other Sources
Theodore Roosevelt
Inspired Writings of Non-Mormons
"The Eleventh Commandment: Thou shalt inherit the Holy Earth as a faithful steward, conserving its resources and productivity from generation to generation. Thou shalt safeguard thy fields from soil erosion, thy living waters from drying up, thy forests from desolation, and protect thy hills from overgrazing by thy herds, that thy descendants may have abundance forever. If any fail in this stewardship of the land thy fruitful fields shall become sterile stony ground and wasting gullies, and thy descendants shall decrease and live in poverty or perish from off the face of the earth."
Other Sources
Walter Clay Lowdermilk
Inspired Writings of Non-Mormons
Conquest of the Land through 7,000 years, U.S. Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service: Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 99 (Washington DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1994), 30.
"We are living in the century of change. But if future generations are to remember us more with gratitude than with sorrow, we must achieve more than just the miracles of technology. We must also leave them a glimpse of the world as God really made it, not just as it looked when we got through with it."
Other Sources
Lyndon B Johnson
Inspired Writings of Non-Mormons
Remarks at the signing of a bill establishing the Assateague Island Seashore National Park, September 21, 1965. The American Project
"The destruction of the human environment is extremely serious, not only because God has entrusted the world to us men and women, but because human life is itself a gift which must be defended from various forms of debasement."
Other Sources
Pope Francis
Inspired Writings of Non-Mormons
Encyclical Letter Laudato Si': On Care for Our Common Home (24 May 2015)
"I am speaking of the life of a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children; who has undertaken to cherish it and do it no damage, not because he is duty-bound, but because he loves the world and loves his children."
Other Sources
Wendell Berry
Inspired Writings of Non-Mormons
The Unforeseen Wilderness : An Essay on Kentucky's Red River Gorge (1971), p. 33
"The gospel teaches us that we are part of the continuum of human life. We do not stand alone in our generation. We are part of a great eternal patriarchal family. We draw from the past and are obligated to give to the future. We have an obligation, therefore, to others yet unborn—an obligation to present to them a world with beauties that they too can enjoy."
Other Sources
A.B. Morrison
Church Magazines
"Our Deteriorating Environment" in Aug 1971 Ensign.
"[T]oo often we fail to see ourselves as part of a human continuum. We think only of our own generation as though it exists alone, with no obligations to the future and without any heritage from the past."
Other Sources
A.B. Morrison
Church Magazines
"Our Deteriorating Environment" in Aug 1971 Ensign.
"At the same time, there is a very special obligation to do everything possible to create an environment in the world that will be warm and hospitable for these new spirits. The problems of population are mostly the problems of our abuse of the land, the air, and the water. It may be that more of us should work more vigorously to preserve and replenish the earth that God has given us."
Other Sources
Unknown
Church Magazines
"Editorial: Population, Pollution, and You" in June 1971 Ensign.
And the hour and the day is not given unto them, wherefore let them act upon this land as for years, and this shall turn unto them for their good. Behold, this shall be an example unto my servant Edward Partridge, in other places, in all churches.
Doctrine and Covenants
17-18 51
D&C
D&C 51:17-18
And the people who were in the land northward did dwell in tents, and in houses of cement, and they did suffer whatsoever tree should spring up upon the face of the land that it should grow up, that in time they might have timber to build their houses, yea, their cities, and their temples, and their synagogues, and their sanctuaries, and all manner of their buildings.
Book of Mormon
9 3
Helaman
Helaman 3:9
And there being but little timber upon the face of the land, nevertheless the people who went forth became exceedingly expert in the working of cement; therefore they did build houses of cement, in the which they did dwell.
Book of Mormon
7 3
Helaman
Helaman 3:7
And now no part of the land was desolate, save it were for timber; but because of the greatness of the destruction of the people who had before inhabited the land it was called desolate.
Book of Mormon
6 3
Helaman
Helaman 3:6
Yea, and even they did spread forth into all parts of the land, into whatever parts it had not been rendered desolate and without timber, because of the many inhabitants who had before inherited the land.
Book of Mormon
5 3
Helaman
Helaman 3:5
"The idea of a sacred stewardship for the earth that enables succeeding generations to enjoy the same resources and opportunities our generation enjoys should resonate with Mormons, who see themselves inextricably linked to their progenitors and descendants. For many the connection between environmental stewardship and genealogy may seem tenuous, but in reality they both reflect a way in which we can become more linked across the generations."
Other Sources
Gary C. Bryner
Other Writings of Mormons
"Theology and Ecology: Religious Belief and Environmental Stewardship," in BYU Studies 49, no. 3 (2010), pp. 38-39.
And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
Old Testament
4 6
Malachi
Malachi 4:6
And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.
Doctrine and Covenants
2 2-3
D&C
D&C 2:2-3