This week Göteborg was absolutely swallowed up in snow. The temperature went down to -27 (and in such a poor insulated bathroom as ours that meant our toothpaste shaving cream froze solid.) and every tree was coated in the finest of dry powder. I was positively overwhelmed by the level of beauty the snow storm brought to the Swedish landscape. My camera could hardly capture the surface of the beauty. I am yet to find poetry that properly describes or art that properly paints nature in it’s full measure of beauty. We haven’t the words, or paints or technology to capture it. We haven’t the ability to create it for ourselves. Appreciation of nature leads to a further appreciation of God. (and likewise ingratitude of nature leads to a undervaluing of God) The gift of this earth and all the wondrous beauties it contains is a gift we can never fully repay God for by any act of love. Just take one flake of snow; have you ever noticed the unique design of each and every flake. How much artistic passion is poured into each flake God gives us? An,d then zoom out to a field of snow, whose brilliant whiteness is a piece of Heaven, and then zoom out to the landscape that blanket of snow covers. The trees and hills and lakes and aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh………..We live in a beautiful world..yeah we do yeah we do.
My point? Spirituality includes connection to nature, for nature is one of our many connections to God. The first temples were mountaintops. There is no feeling quite like that of reaching a peak and looking at the miraculous world below. There is a level of spiritual peace that you find on the top of a mountain or in a silent forest or in any other patch of untouched nature. Why else did Joseph Smith chose to pray in a grove of trees? Enos decided to prayer in the forest? Jesus Christ fasted in the wilderness? The prophets of the Old Testament and the Book of Mormon sought spiritual inspiration by separation from civilisation and seeking in the wilderness. Even latter-day Prophets do the same. President Joseph F. Smith particularly loved nature and claimed to receive his greatest spiritual enlightenment when in the untouched natural world. Being a gift from God, it is our duty to protect and preserve nature. It was one of the very first commandments ever given to us; to be stewards of the Earth. Not stewards like Denathor (The Lord of The Rings) was the steward of Gondor, ruling selfishly and apathetically, letting his people perish because his pride prevented him from properly protecting his city. We are to be honourable stewards, loving and saving what we are given. Here is a strong statement: I believe that with the degradation of the world’s natural beauty will come a degradation of spiritual revelation from God. Our connection with him will be far fainter in the chaos and interference of our own built creations than can be acquired in the sanctuary of his creations.
Nature, preserving nature is not only a good thing to do. It is not only a social trend for girls with purposefully poorly clipped bangs and guys in Peruvian llama sweaters. It is a commandment from God. A commandment given in the genesis of human history. There was a time when the human race did not care for the earth, many many years ago, and in The Pearl of Great Price we not only learn that the earth has a soul, but that the earth was weeping for the wickedness of mankind, asking God to relieve it from the pain mankind was inflicting upon it; and so the earth was flooded. It was literally baptised and cleansed and restarted again in purity. Now, we are drawing nearer and nearer the second baptism of the earth I can imagine the Earth is in the same position as the last time. Weeping for the abuse mankind inflict upon it. The church asks us to be environmentally conscious and caring of the world. https://www.lds.org/topics/environmental-stewardship-and-conservation?lang=eng
Please read their official statement. It straightforwardly states:
” The earth and all living things on were first spiritually created, were blessed by God as “good,” and are to fulfill the measure of creation that God has given them. In our care and preservation of the creation, we either accept or reject our accountability to God.”
Later suggests what we as members can do:
I love nature. It is one of the purest means I have found to finding God in my life. As we all consciously care for it, enjoy it and surround our lives with it, we grow in our relationships with our Heavenly Father. I am absolutely blessed for my opportunity to serve in the beautiful land of Sweden, so very very blessed. I am in love with this country. The islands and forests and lakes and every bit and piece of it. I sincerely want to dedicate the rest of my life to protecting this earth and serving every living thing on it, plant, animal and human. Joseph f. Smith said “the domination the Lord gave man over his creations has been, to a very large extent, used selfishly, thoughtlessly and cruelly.” Lets change that. Today. Lets serve the Lord by serving our fellowman and serving our fellow creatures and creations on this earth