Teaching About the Creation

"Then let there be good teachers in the schoolrooms; and have beautiful gardens, and take the little folks out and show them the beautiful flowers, and teach them in their childhood the names and properties of every flower and plant, teaching them to understand which are astringent, which cathartic; this is useful for coloring, that is celebrated for its combination of beautiful colors, &c. Teach them lessons of beauty and usefulness while they are young, instead of letting them play in the dirt, making mud balls, and drawing the mud in their hats, and soiling their dresses, and cultivate their mental powers from childhood up. When they are old enough, place within their reach the advantages and benefits of a scientific education. Let them study the formation of the earth, the organization of the human system, and other sciences; such a system of mental culture and discipline in early years is of incalculable benefit to its possessor in mature years. Take, for instance, the young ladies now before me, as well as the young men, and form a class in geology, in chemistry or mineralogy; and do not confine their studies to theory only, but let them put in practice what they learn from books, by defining the nature of the soil, the composition or decomposition of a rock, how the earth was formed, its probable age, and so forth. All these are problems which science attempts to solve, although some of the views of our great scholars are undoubtedly very speculative. In the study of the sciences I have named, our young folks will learn how it is that, in traveling in our mountains, we frequently see seashells—shells of the oyster, clam, &c. Ask our boys and girls now to explain these things, and they are not able to do so; but establish classes for the study of the sciences, and they will become acquainted with the various facts they furnish in regard to the condition of the earth. It is the duty of the Latter-day Saints, according to the revelations, to give their children the best education that can be procured, both from the books of the world and the revelations of the Lord. If our young men will study the sciences, they will stop riding fast horses through the streets, and other folly and nonsense which they are now guilty of, and they will become useful and honorable members of the community."
Church Leaders
Brigham Young
Presidents of the Church
Journal of Discourses 17:36
"Kindness to the whole animal creation and especially to all domestic animals, is not only a virtue that should be developed, but is the absolute duty of mankind. Children should be taught that Nature in all her forms is our Heavenly Father's great book of life. Furthermore, he who treats in a brutal manner a poor, dumb animal at that moment disqualifies himself for the companionship of the Spirit; for the Lord will not sanction an unrighteous act, and it is an unrighteous thing to treat any creature cruelly."
Church Leaders
Joseph F. Smith
Presidents of the Church
"Kindness to Animals," Juvenile Instructor (February, 1912), 78-9.
"As I have driven through the streets of New York and the bigger cities and seen the little tots struggling to make their play dreams come true, out on the hard, unyielding pavement, without a spear of green or a flower or a tree, I have felt that I would like to pick up every child and bring it to a cottage where it could dig its fingers and toes into mother earth, not encrusted with an impenetrable shell."
Church Leaders
Stephen L. Richards
General Authorities
April 1940 General Conference
“Teach [children] the basic knowledge that the earth is the Lord’s. He has a marvelous system of replenishment and renewal so long as we care for, conserve, and waste not.”
Church Leaders
L. Tom Perry
General Authorities
"Train Up a Child," Ensign Oct. 1988
“Children who are trained to respect the rights of the lower animals will . . .respect human rights and become good citizens.”
Church Leaders
George Q. Cannon
General Authorities
Juvenile Instructor 35 (Feb. 15, 1900), 124.
"Where we treat our animals in an inhuman manner we not only displease the Lord and are guilty of sin toward the animal creation, but we also set an exceedingly bad example to the rising generation, one which is very likely to have a bad effect on their whole character. Such examples harden the hearts of the children, and stifle the feeling of kindness and mercy that ought to be cultivated."
Church Leaders
George Q. Cannon
General Authorities
Juvenile Instructor, Feb. 15, 1899, pg 114
"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
"Trees are more precious than gold. . . I consider the life of a tree so sacred that I am reluctant to destroy it, even when the tree is no longer useful where it is, and even when it is in the way of a better improvement. . . I would like to see our children taught to respect tree life as they do bird life and animal life and human life. All are parts of the great creation of our Father—and none of the workmanship of His hands should we presume to tamper with, wreck or destroy, except as our needs may justify or our intelligence suggest as necessary for the welfare of those concerned."
Church Leaders
George Q. Cannon
General Authorities
Juvenile Instructor, May 1, 1899, pg 266.
"There can be no doubt in the mind of any person who believes in the God of heaven that He will hold man accountable for any ill treatment of the creatures He was placed under his control, and those who misuse or treat them with cruelty will be called to an account for such acts. It is not our acts to our fellow man alone that we shall be called to an account for, but our acts to the creations of our Father in heaven. These animals are His, He created them, and they are not outside of the reach of His love and care, and they cannot be badly treated with impunity. This is the lesson that should be impressed deeply upon the minds of the young, and when they are awakened to realize this they will be more humane to the animals they have in their keeping and be more likely to treat them with consideration and kindness."
Church Leaders
George Q. Cannon
General Authorities
Juvenile Instructor, XXIX (January 15, 1897), 59.
"Every child that is brought into contact with animals should be taught, by parents and by all who attempt to instruct the young, that it is a very great sin in the sight of the Almighty for the dumb creation to be treated with cruelty or even with neglect. A merciful man is merciful to his beast."
Church Leaders
George Q. Cannon
General Authorities
Juvenile Instructor, Feb 15, 1899, pg 113.
"Children should be taught that it is a duty to protect and care for the creatures that are in their charge; to see that they are fed and watered and housed, so that they will not suffer. They should not be overworked. They should not be beaten improperly or abused; but should be treated with kindness. A child that is cruel to an animal exhibits a bad disposition. He will be apt to grow up to be an unfeeling, cruel man. Therefore children should be taught to be merciful to the brute creation."
Church Leaders
George Q. Cannon
General Authorities
Juvenile Instructor 26:443, July 15, 1891
"But it is not only the shedding of human blood which children should be taught to avoid; they should be impressed with the value of animal life. No animal should be killed except to supply food for the sustenance of human beings."
Church Leaders
George Q. Cannon
General Authorities
Juvenile Instructor 26:443, July 15, 1891
“We have taught our children by precept and example that every living thing exists to be converted into cash, and that whatever would not yield a return should be quickly exterminated to make way for creatures that do.”
Other Sources
Hugh Nibley
Other Writings of Mormons
“On Subduing the Earth,” in Nibley on the Timely and the Timeless (Salt Lake City, Utah: Publishers Press, 1978), pp. 85-6.
"Environmental stewardship is taught most effectively in the home. Children notice and follow parents' examples in appreciating, respecting, and learning about nature."
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.
"Through my work I help others to appreciate and reverence the beauties of nature. It gives them a desire to help preserve and protect wildlife. I can pick up an old, dirty bird that someone has cruelly shot, restore its beauty, and show it to the boys. They can then more fully appreciate the glory and beauty of that which is destroyed when a bird is shot."
Other Sources
John Hutchings
Improvement Era
"Westerners in Action: John Hutchings, Naturalist," Improvement Era vol. 30, no. 8 (June 1927), pg. 686.
"You (and your family) will be involved in nature. You also will have become more deeply involved with each other, of course, for exploring together entails developing (and possibly changing) attitudes and values."
Other Sources
Sharon Dequer
Church Magazines
"Discovering Nature" in June 1977 Ensign.
"Once, after a family-oriented discovery walk I conducted, a woman confided that she'd never seen her children so vitally involved and active. 'I've always told them ‘Don't touch!’ about everything,' she said, 'and now I see what a mistake that has been.”
Other Sources
Sharon Dequer
Church Magazines
"Discovering Nature" in June 1977 Ensign.
"Think of the attitudes parents convey to children in such experiences, not necessarily attitudes about thunderstorms or snakes, but about life and the joy of living! Spiritual experiences can't be staged, but one fruitful avenue that involves our children and ourselves in inspiring experiences is to explore—fully and enthusiastically—God’s creations. In the course of growing up we tend to acquire a worldly sophistication that dampens this enthusiastic sense of wonder about nearly everything. Cultivating wonder about nature heightens our appreciation of all creation and begins to break down our artificial distinction between things temporal and spiritual. (See D&C 29:34–35.)"
Other Sources
Sharon Dequer
Church Magazines
"Discovering Nature" in June 1977 Ensign.
"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.
"The Lord expects us to believe and understand the true doctrine of the Creation—the creation of this earth, of man, and of all forms of life. Indeed, as we shall see, an understanding of the doctrine of creation is essential to salvation. Unless and until we gain a true view of the creation of all things we cannot hope to gain that fulness of eternal reward which otherwise would be ours."
Church Leaders
Bruce R. McConkie
General Authorities
"Christ and the Creation" - Ensign; June 1982
And now, behold, I say unto you, that these are the generations of the heaven and of the earth, when they were created, in the day that I, the Lord God, made the heaven and the earth,
Pearl of Great Price
4 3
Moses
Moses 3:4
And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I reveal unto you concerning this heaven, and this earth; write the words which I speak. I am the Beginning and the End, the Almighty God; by mine Only Begotten I created these things; yea, in the beginning I created the heaven, and the earth upon which thou standest.
Pearl of Great Price
1 2
Moses
Moses 2:1
"All cultures have a story or stories by which they explain their origins and thereby set the stage for their own sense of "being-in-the-world." The manner in which individuals and communities perceive themselves in the world vis-a-vis creation mythologies—their cosmic context as it were—influences how they perceive and treat the world and entities in it."
Other Sources
Bryan V. Wallis
Other Writings of Mormons
"Flexibility in the Ecology of Ideas: Revelatory Religion and the Environment" in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, 44, no. 2 (Summer 2011)
These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens,
Old Testament
4 2
Genesis
Genesis 2:4
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
Old Testament
1 2
Genesis
Genesis 2:1
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day. And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. 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. And the evening and the morning were the third day. And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day. 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. 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. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day. And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. 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. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 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
1-28 1
Genesis
Genesis 1:1-28
And as I suppose that the first part of this record, which speaks concerning the creation of the world, and also of Adam, and an account from that time even to the great tower, and whatsoever things transpired among the children of men until that time, is had among the Jews—
Book of Mormon
3 1
Ether
Ether 1:3
But behold, when the time cometh that they shall dwindle in unbelief, after they have received so great blessings from the hand of the Lord—having a knowledge of the creation of the earth, and all men, knowing the great and marvelous works of the Lord from the creation of the world; having power given them to do all things by faith; having all the commandments from the beginning, and having been brought by his infinite goodness into this precious land of promise—behold, I say, if the day shall come that they will reject the Holy One of Israel, the true Messiah, their Redeemer and their God, behold, the judgments of him that is just shall rest upon them.
Book of Mormon
10 1
2 Nephi
2 Nephi 1:10
And he beheld that they did contain the five books of Moses, which gave an account of the creation of the world, and also of Adam and Eve, who were our first parents;
Book of Mormon
11 5
1 Nephi
1 Nephi 5:11
"Today Brother Cox tries to teach his own family the same love of the gospel, love of the earth, and love for all people that he learned from his parents. 'Our children pray for the forests and the animals,' he says. 'It’s sort of a family mission we have—to do what we can to help protect the planet. Our children all have a deep love for nature and a deep appreciation for cultural differences."
Other Sources
Anne Billings
Church Magazines
"Paul Cox—Preserving God’s Creations" in Nov 1998 Liahona.