Latter-day Saints and the environment

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Latter-day Saints and the environment


Good environmental stewardship is important to Latter-day Saints: "This beautiful earth and all things on it are the creations of God (see Genesis 1:1; Moses 2:1; John 1:10; 2 Nephi 2:14). As beneficiaries of this divine creation, we should care for the earth, be wise stewards over it, and preserve it for future generations."[1]

The Church takes efforts to ensure wise use of natural resources. For example, in some areas the Church:

  • Uses water-wise irrigation systems and low-flow plumbing systems[2]
  • Reduces watering of lawn and landscapes in drought-afflicted areas[3]
  • Uses solar panels to power meetinghouse facilities[4]

The Church teaches its members that "as stewards, we avoid complacency and excessive consumption, using only what is necessary (see Doctrine and Covenants 49:19–21). We make our homes, neighborhoods, and cities beautiful. We preserve resources and protect for future generations the spiritual and temporal blessings of nature." The Church encourages its members to:

  • "Check with your local utility company, local community groups, or on the internet to find suggestions to conserve energy and to recycle.
  • "Support community recycling programs.
  • "Consider starting a community garden.
  • "Support local civic groups that promote stewardship and conservation.
  • "Be an involved citizen in government.
  • "Be informed, respect the views of others, and treat everyone with civility.
  • "Learn, ponder, and pray about what you can do to be a better steward.
  • "Use the resources of the earth sparingly and reverently.
  • "Adopt lifestyles and personal habits that respect the Creation.
  • "As you can, fix up and keep clean the places where you live, work, recreate, and worship.
  • "Make your own living space more beautiful and inspirational.
  • "Contemplate the ways that nature bears testimony of God and the harmony between the laws and patterns of nature and the gospel of Jesus Christ."[5]

Teachings from Church Leaders

Church leaders have taught about the importance of good environmental stewardship. Some examples include the following.

President Russell M. Nelson

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. . . . The Lord has entrusted us to care for the earth. He said: “It is expedient that I, the Lord, should make every man accountable, as a steward over earthly blessings, which I have made and prepared for my creatures. I, the Lord, stretched out the heavens, and built the earth, my very handiwork; and all things therein are mine. And it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine” (D&C 104:13–15; see also Rev. 7:3).[6]

President Ezra Taft Benson

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.[7]

Elder Marcus B. Nash

All humankind are stewards over this earth and its bounty—not owners—and will be accountable to God for what we do with regard to His creation. . . . As stewards over the earth and all life thereon, we are to gratefully make use of that which the Lord has provided, avoid wasting life and resources, and use the bounty of the earth to care for the poor.[8]

Elder Massimo De Feo

For people of faith, protecting and preserving our planet is not just a matter of survival. It is our home, and we consider it a creation and a gift of God.[9]

Elder Steven E. Snow

God expects every one of His sons and daughters to act as good stewards of the land He created. It causes me much grief when I look outside my window and see a hazy inversion or when I hear consistent reports of Utah’s poor air quality. I am concerned for the families affected by wildfires and for the schoolchildren forced to stay indoors because of smoky skies. Algal blooms are breaking out in Utah’s lakes. We are experiencing unusually dry seasons and record-breaking warm winters. . . . Climate change is real, and it’s our responsibility as stewards to do what we can to limit the damage done to God’s creation. . . . God made us stewards over His creations and, as such, He expects accountability. believe it is unbecoming of a Latter-day Saint to willfully deface and defile the earth.[10]

Bishop Gerald Causse

The Creator has entrusted the earth’s resources and all forms of life to our care, but He retains full ownership. . . . As God’s children, we have received the charge to be stewards, caretakers, and guardians of His divine creations. . . . Our Heavenly Father allows us to use earthly resources according to our own free will. Yet our agency should not be interpreted as license to use or consume the riches of this world without wisdom or restraint. . . . The care of the earth and of our natural environment is a sacred responsibility entrusted to us by God, which should fill us with a deep sense of duty and humility. It is also an integral component of our discipleship. How can we honor and love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ without honoring and loving Their creations? . . . Considering our individual circumstances, each of us can use the bountiful resources of the earth more reverently and prudently. We can support community efforts to care for the earth. We can adopt personal lifestyles and behaviors that respect God’s creations and make our own living spaces tidier, more beautiful, and more inspirational.[11]

Bishop L. Todd Budge

God created the earth for the use of man, and each one of us is accountable to God for how we use it. This trust is not a matter of what we have the right to do to the earth, but the responsibility to care for the earth. The earth is a gift to care for, not a possession to keep. . . . If we act as good stewards, there are plenty of resources for the needs of our brothers and sisters around the globe, but not in excess and not to hoard from the poor. . . . When it comes to taking care of the earth, we cannot afford to think only of today. The consequences of our actions, for better or worse, accumulate into the future and are sometimes felt only generations later. Stewardship requires feet and hands at work in the present with a gaze fixed on the future. . . .

We have an obligation, to be good stewards, to pass to future generations an earth better than we found it through the habits and values of wise stewardship. We have the power within us to not only maintain, but to be co-creators with God in beautifying and replenishing the earth. In doing so, we not only show our reverence and love for God, the Creator, but love for His greatest creation — each of us, humankind.[12]

Bishop H. David Burton

It’s about creating a place of worship that works in harmony with the environment. . . . For decades we have looked for innovative ways to use natural resources in our meetinghouses that reflect our commitment as wise stewards of God’s creations. . . . As the Church continues to grow globally, and there is a greater demand for meetinghouses, more than ever we need to engage in wise construction practices to benefit both the environment and our members.[13]

Church Statement

We have a responsibility to care for and gratefully use what God has given, avoid wasting resources and wisely use the bounty of the earth to care for one another. . . . We all play a part in preserving the critical resources needed to sustain life — especially water — and we invite others to join us in reducing water use wherever possible.[14]

Additional Statements

Additional statements from Church leaders, along with related scriptures, are available in "Selected Scriptures and Church Leader Statements on Environmental Stewardship and Conservation," Newsroom.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.


Notes

  1. "Environmental Stewardship and Conservation", Gospel Topics, accessed 4 September 2022.
  2. "The Importance of Water Conservation" Newsroom.ChurchofJesusChrist.org, 22 June 2022.
  3. "The Importance of Water Conservation" Newsroom.ChurchofJesusChrist.org, 22 June 2022.
  4. "Solar-Powered Construction Design Gets “Green” Light from Church Leaders" Newsroom.ChurchofJesusChrist.org, 27 April 2010
  5. "Environmental Stewardship and Conservation", Gospel Topics, accessed 4 September 2022.
  6. Russell M. Nelson, "The Creation," April 2000 general conference.
  7. The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, 645, as cited in Steven E. Snow, "The Moral Imperative of Environmental Stewardship," address given at an environmental stewardship symposium at Utah State University on 10 October 2018.
  8. Marcus B. Nash, "Righteous Dominion and Compassion for the Earth," Newsroom.ChurchofJesusChrist.org, 2013
  9. Massimo De Feo, "Elder De Feo participates in Conference on the Future of Europe session," The Church News, 20 Jan 2022
  10. Steven E. Snow, "The Moral Imperative of Environmental Stewardship," address given at an environmental stewardship symposium at Utah State University on 10 October 2018.
  11. Gerald Causse, "Our Earthly Stewardship," October 2022 general conference.
  12. L. Todd Budge, "The Divine Gift of Creation: Our Sacred Duty to Care for the Earth," address given at “Why it Matters: The 1st International Academic Conference on the Sustainable Development Goals,” Utah Valley University, on October 5, 2022.
  13. H. David Burton, "Solar-Powered Construction Design Gets “Green” Light from Church Leaders" Newsroom.ChurchofJesusChrist.org, 27 April 2010
  14. "The Importance of Water Conservation" Newsroom.ChurchofJesusChrist.org, 22 June 2022.