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Mother Earth

By Kimberly Sears

“Puzzling to me how so many who believe in creationism/intelligent design don’t seem to feel it important to protect Mother Earth,” a Facebook friend recently posted. The resulting comments ranged from defensive (“I probably don’t do all I should to care for the earth, but wasn’t it given to us to use?”) to tongue-in-cheek (“Jesus is bound to be back any day now and he’s just gonna fix everything, so why stress?”).

Like my insightful acquaintance, it has always rattled me how some of the most avid Instagrammers of landscape scenes I know are also some of the most dogmatic opponents of environmental stewardship. What gives? Is our earth just something to be exploited for hikes and likes? My hippie-dippy heart felt delighted (and probably too smugly vindicated) when Mormon Newsroom recently published the article In Honoring Creation, We Honor the Creator and an accompanying Gospel Topics essay. Here are some gems from both:

“We should live for future generations, not just for our own. This means learning about the earth and having a responsible relationship with it; we can become informed, engaged, and attuned to sound science.”

“Latter-day Saint teachings are unequivocal—we all have a responsibility to care for God’s majestic creation and to use its resources ‘with judgment, not to excess’… (D&C 59:20).”

“The earth is vulnerable, and we are accountable to God for how we treat and use it…The creation groans under the weight of recklessness and indulgence that neglects both the poor earth and the earth’s poor.”

“Ultimately, the earth is God’s property. Basic moral obligations compel us to act as good stewards and to not damage or harm what belongs to God; we should treat His creation with the heightened care it deserves…”

“All humankind are stewards over the earth, and should gratefully use what God has given, avoid wasting life and resources…”

“Approaches to the environment must be prudent, realistic, balanced and consistent with the needs of the earth and of current and future generations, rather than pursuing the immediate vindication of personal desires or avowed rights.”

Boom! Pow! Win! Score one for Planet Earth! And while we’re on the subject, isn’t it amazing that our scriptures teach that our earth has a mother spirit (Moses 7:48) and everything created on her has a spirit too (Moses 3:5)? For all of human history we have intuitively called her Mother Earth. Of course we have. Who but a mother could exist on so little thanks, recognition, and care? Who but a mother could give so tirelessly of herself while her children continually demand more, more, more?

One of my best friends recently launched a website called HerStory.Earth, dedicated to environmental change and to sharing women’s stories. “The title, Herstory, is a play on the word history,” she explained to me, “because so often women’s voices are missing from the historical narrative, and I believe that part of healing our planet includes telling women’s stories.” I love the connection she identifies between female empowerment and caring for our earth mother. (And, interestingly, studies show that men who feel more secure in their manhood are more supportive of conservation efforts, too.) “Healing our planet”–what a vision! Let’s work to heal our planet in preparation for the great millennial day, instead of waiting for our Savior to come fix everything.

“For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare…” The Lord tells us in D&C 104:17 that he prepared all things for his children. But what if he prepared enough and to spare for our needs, not our gluttonous wants?

Two truths–the earth was created for the use of all humankind, and the Lord commands us to be good stewards over the earth–need not be mutually exclusive. But living in the balance where both these truths peacefully coexist may mean being a little inconvenienced. It may mean being willing to own less than the generation before us; it may mean being willing to consume less than our means could allow us.

When have you felt Mother Earth’s spirit in the presence of nature? 

The Newsroom article states that “the Church recognizes that appropriate stewardship may vary according to individual circumstances.” What stewardship measures feel appropriate to you and your family in different seasons of life? 

Himalayan sunrise over Annapurna Range: photo credit Mark Sears. 

About Kimberly Sears

Kimberly Sears has lived on four continents, summitted dozens of peaks, and written too many stories and articles to count. She is fluent in Spanish and in the art of toddler boy sword fights. Follow her at kimberlysears.com.

8 thoughts on “Mother Earth”

  1. THANK YOU, Kimberly, for this important post. I feel very strongly about this and the cavalier attitude I too often hear (especially from Americans) toward our one glorious but vulnerable planet is so discouraging. I especially love your paragraph on Mother Earth. I don't know of a clear doctrine on the topic, but I have always felt Mother's spirit in the earth. I see Her in the grass struggling up through sidewalk cracks. I taste Her in the dirt, which I used to eat as a child. I hear Her in the hum of honeybees. I feel Her in river rocks and mossy tree trunks. I smell Her on bright, snowy days and in summer gardens. Mother/Earth births and nourishes us and I am daily in awe and deep gratitude.

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  2. YES!! Thank you so much for this. It has always boggled my mind how environmentalism has become such a crazy politicized issue. Don't we all live here? Not just one political party? I honestly think that's the unfortunate reason why those who you would think would be naturally caring stewards (those of faith, who believe in creationism) are often those who have cavalier attitudes toward environmental protections. Somehow, caring for the earth has gotten lumped in with liberal political views that many Christians askew. In my opinion, that's messed up! It's actually one reason I love living in a super liberal state, people here really care about the earth!

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  3. Buying our produce from a local organic CSA. It's not as convenient as the grocery store, but I feel good about taking care of Mother Earth, helping my family learn to eat healthy food, and strengthening friendships with the people we've split our share with (the shares in this CSA only come in size Huge.)

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  4. Thank you Lisa for your comment and for your beautiful words. I love that you see Her even in little things. All this week I have thought of you when I saw grass struggling to grow through cracks in the pavement. "Mother/Earth births and nourishes us and I am daily in awe and deep gratitude"–well said.

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  5. Emily, I couldn't agree more! Why has this become such a partisan issue? Shouldn't all parents and grandparents look into the eyes of the children they love and want to leave them a better world? One of my friends said, "Sometimes Mormons/Christians tend to work from a (mostly unspoken) assumption that God simply wouldn't allow ecological destruction to happen, or at least wouldn't let it go 'too far.' I think they're underestimating God's willingness to allow humanity to inflict suffering on itself, not to mention the rest of creation."

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  6. GOD himself will take action to protect his extremely beautiful planet. A prophesy in the last bible book Revelation 11:18 says "….and to bring to ruin those ruining the earth".

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