August 8th, 2006

There Is Enough And To Spare

Oil rig

Some people are of the mind that our consumer-driven society is rapidly depleting the earth’s natural resources. They argue for conservation, for minimization, and for better self-control. They argue for water conservation, gasoline conservation, and all worthy efforts seeking to slow down man’s usage of what the earth can provide us with.

But why?

Do they really think we’re going to run out? Do they really think that within their lifetime, or that of their children or grandchildren, there will come a point where the oil reserves will dry up?

I would argue that nobody knows how much oil this world has to provide us. Estimates are merely speculation based on known oil reserves. I would also argue that there are oil reserves known of, but not used, by our government. That’s another discussion for another day, but common sense and scriptural understanding tells me that they’re out there.

For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves. (D&C 104: 17)

Ladies and gents, we have nothing to worry about. Granted, we shouldn’t be hogs and consume that which we don’t really need, but c’mon… the earth has enough, and to spare. We’re fine.

56 Responses to “There Is Enough And To Spare”

  1. LaurenceB
    August 8, 2006 at 12:58 pm #

    A deeply unconvincing argument. I don’t even know if I can call it an argument. No facts – just scripture. I would rebut it, but there’s nothing to rebut.

    Sorry to be so critical, but this is just pathetic.

  2. Connor
    August 8, 2006 at 1:01 pm #

    Sorry, but that’s all I need. “Facts” of men pale in comparison to what God has to say on the matter. If God says there’s enough in this planet to support man, then that’s good enough for me.

  3. LaurenceB
    August 8, 2006 at 2:04 pm #

    Connor,

    If that’s a position you feel comfortable with, then that’s up to you.

    But don’t be surprised if you find that very few people respond favorably to your ideas. Most of the world (thankfully) is of the opinion that an argument should have premises and logic, followed by a convincing conclusion – not just a series of statements and a scriptural reference.

  4. Connor
    August 8, 2006 at 2:15 pm #

    Most of the world (thankfully) is of the opinion that an argument should have premises and logic, followed by a convincing conclusion – not just a series of statements and a scriptural reference.

    Hmmm.. is this not what faith is all about? “Most of the world” seeks a tangible answer, evidence based on logic, and facts and charts they can use their intellect to understand and verify. Faith is things which are hoped for and not seen.

    So yes, it’s a position that I feel comfortable with. I believe the scriptures to be the word of God. I don’t need scientific studies and facts to prove that there is an abundance of resources in the earth sufficient to provide for all mankind, just as I don’t need scientific studies and facts to prove that the Book of Mormon is scripture.

    So if God says there’s an abundance, I have faith that there is, despite any studies, speculations, academic research, or hollywood productions that may claim the opposite to be true.

  5. the narrator
    August 8, 2006 at 2:19 pm #

    hey LaurenceB! Since my banishment from provopulse, I’ve had to go elsewhere for fun.

  6. LaurenceB
    August 8, 2006 at 2:57 pm #

    OK, Connor. I understand where you’re coming from. Sorry if I offended. I don’t agree, but that’s cool. Take care!

    Narrator,
    I didn’t realize I was banished from ProvoPulse. (I haven’t been there in a week or two) Why was I banished? Just wondering.

  7. LaurenceB
    August 8, 2006 at 2:58 pm #

    Oh, I’m sorry. You were banished.

    Oh well. Play nicer, ok?

  8. the narrator
    August 8, 2006 at 3:54 pm #

    Conner your appeal to D&C 104 is problematic for several reasons. First of all, I assume that you would agree that claims and blessings by God are contigent upon obedience to the commandments for which they are associated with. In the case of D&C 104, it is contingent upon abiding to the precepts of the United Order.

    Even if we were living the United Order (which we are far far far from), this in no way means that we can use and abuse resources without consideration of the plentitude of resource. Such an idea would go against the notion of the United Order.

    Furthermore, what is meant by ‘enough’ and ‘to spare’ is problematic as well. Enough for what? If we were living the United Order, it could very well mean that it is merely enough to last until alternative fuels or energy sources could be utilized, or a plethora of other interpretations. This would make much sense in light of the United Order. In the United Order, there would be no distinction of rich and poor. Wealth, the primary drive to use and abuse resources, would no longer be a contributing factor in the discussion of resource use and conservation.

    In other words, a more viable interpretation of the scripture would be that resources would be enough for a society that lives the UO because such a society would actively seek the alternative resources needed to avoid a possible shortage.

  9. Dustin Davis
    August 8, 2006 at 3:58 pm #

    Not exactly true Connor. Sure this mother earth provides more than enough for all of her inhabitants, but not without our control. Given your statements we should all shower 10 minutes longer and water our lawns 5 hours a day. Yes, there is more than enough water for everyone on this earth, but if we felt the way you described surely our water supply here in Utah would dry up faster than it could be replenished.

    We do need to conserve and we do need to store up for ourselves rather than living like “we have nothing to worry about.”

  10. Connor
    August 8, 2006 at 4:13 pm #

    In the case of D&C 104, it is contingent upon abiding to the precepts of the United Order.

    Indeed, “when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated”. However, the verse cited in this post is not necessarily a promised blessing; it is a statement of fact. God is saying in his omniscience that he has created a world that will provide more than enough for its inhabitants. Therefore, it is not contigent upon the righteousness and obedience of the people, for the resources are already there and able to be used.

    However, God can control the access to these resources based on the righteousness of the people, such as when he sends a famine to punish the wicked and bring them back to remembrance of the gospel. So in a way, yes, our access to the resources is based on our righteousness; but the resources are all here, and there’s plenty to spare.

    In other words, a more viable interpretation of the scripture would be that resources would be enough for a society that lives the UO because such a society would actively seek the alternative resources needed to avoid a possible shortage.

    Although this verse is stated in a section dealing with the United Order, I don’t interpret it to be tied directly to it. Nor do I think that living the UO necessarily indicates that we wil be “actively seeking the alternative resources needed to avoid a possible shortage”. If we’re all farming, and producing enough of what we all need, does that imply we’re also going to be working hard to find alternative resources? No. Chances are we will anyways, for humankind is always looking for cheaper, faster, more efficient solutions. But just because you’re living the UO doesn’t indicate such will be the case.

    “Enough” and “to spare” indeed are subject to interpretation. I interpret them to mean that there are enough resources in this earth to last until it receives its paradisaical glory.

    While I believe that to be the case, I also believe, as I stated in the post, that we shouldn’t consume more than is necessary. Just as the pioneers were counseled to only kill animals along the journey for food and not sport, so we should also use only the resources necessary for our needs and justified wants. But I do think that the Lord forsaw all of our usages of this earth, and planned accordingly.

    Do you think that if the Lord said there’s “enough, and to spare”, that we can, through our greedy consumption, reverse that? Perhaps use too much gasoline for our commute, and then all of a sudden the earth’s resources are depleted? So then God would say “oops, you used a little too much, so I guess there wasn’t “enough, and to spare”. I think He knows what his children would use this planet for, and has planned accordingly.

    That does not mean that we shouldn’t be good stewards of what we have, and promote a healthy, environmentally-conscious lifestyle (for ourselves and others within our sphere of influence)… but it also doesn’t mean we should be extremists on the other side of the spectrum either.

  11. the narrator
    August 8, 2006 at 4:20 pm #

    However, the verse cited in this post is not necessarily a promised blessing; it is a statement of fact.

    Mormonism has a long tradition of statements of fact becoming conditional blessings after the facts are no longer true.

    The rest of your argument is mere speculation based on this false premise.

  12. Connor
    August 8, 2006 at 4:30 pm #

    Mormonism has a long tradition of statements of fact becoming conditional blessings after the facts are no longer true.

    Such as?

  13. the narrator
    August 8, 2006 at 4:48 pm #

    Such as?

    Blacks, polygamy, Missouri Temple, Zion’s camp, treasures in Salem, timing of Christ’s return, and a myriad of other supposedly failed prophecies that are understood as being contigent in retrospect.

  14. Connor
    August 8, 2006 at 4:57 pm #

    Mormonism has a long tradition of statements of fact becoming conditional blessings after the facts are no longer true.

    After the facts are no longer true… you fail to mention (I’m sure unintentionally) that the facts became no longer true due to additional revelation.

    Has there been additional revelation to inform us that there is no longer “enough, and in excess”? No.

    So, God’s original statement of fact still stands, pending any new revelation or edict to the contrary.

  15. the narrator
    August 8, 2006 at 5:36 pm #

    After the facts are no longer true… you fail to mention (I’m sure unintentionally) that the facts became no longer true due to additional revelation.

    If a claim is made without qualification (or is universalized), and then the claim is discounted, then it’s not that the claim “became no longer true” but that the claim was never true in the first place. Any further revelations just create a redactionary understanding of the initial revelation.

    Take for example the claim that blacks would never get the priesthood in mortality (B Young among others taught this). It’s not this claim was true until the 1979 revelation. The 1979 revelation shows that it was never true in the first place.

    The revelations and teachings that polygamy would always be practiced by the church wasn’t true until Woodruff changed it, the abandoning of polygamy showed that the claim was never true in the first place.

    The Missouri temple’s construction in this ‘generation’ (as understood by the early saints) wasn’t true up to the point that it never happened and was contingent after that point. The early understanding was always false.

    Zion’s camp’s members were quite pissed off that Joseph Smith retreated from their goal and promised assurance. The promised redemption wasn’t true for the duration of the trip, and suddenly contingent upon it’s failure and justificatory revelation for a redactory understanding. It was contingent all along.

    The same story happens over and over and over again in Mormon history. Just read Joseph Smith’s biography by Richard Bushman for several dozen examples.

    Furthermore, even if we take our rather fantatical understanding of these scriptures. It still gives no justification for claiming that oil resources will never run out. Plenty of the earth’s natural biological, geological, and geographical resources have already run out. Over consumption and urbanization have destroyed plants, animals, rivers, lakes, water, agricultural land, food, medicines, and many other resources that humans once depended on (and could still be highly useful if they were still around).

    What I am about to say is not an ad hominem argument, so don’t accuse me of it. Your argument is just plain silly. It completely lacks any and all rational, exegetical, and empirical, argumentation that would give it an viability.

  16. Connor
    August 8, 2006 at 11:45 pm #

    Who am I, saith the Lord, that have promised and have not fulfilled?
    I command and men obey not; I revoke and they receive not the blessing.
    Then they say in their hearts: This is not the work of the Lord, for his promises are not fulfilled. But wo unto such, for their reward lurketh beneath, and not from above. (D&C 58:31-33)

  17. LaurenceB
    August 9, 2006 at 7:59 am #

    Connor,

    1. Of the roughly 5 billion inhabitants of the world, more than 99% are not Mormon. For them, your argument is absurd to begin with, given that it has no premises, no logic, no reasoning – only Mormon scripture.

    2. Of the remaining Mormons, many of us (if not most) are of the opinion that scripture does not always over-rule reasoning. For example, even though the scriptures tell us to pluck out our eye if it offends us, we don’t do it. Our brain tells us otherwise and we choose to follow the brain. (Dustin Davis appears to be a member of this group. Although he may be in #3 – only he can say.)

    3. Of those Mormons who do believe (as you apparently do) that every uterrance of the scriptures should be unthinkingly followed, there are many (I suspect the majority) who would simply disagree with your interpretation of this particular scripture. (Narrator appears to be among this group, although he may actually be part of group #1 – only he can say).

    Which is why your argument is “deeply unconvincing” (as a wise man once said :) ). Very, very few people are going to be convinced by this argument. In fact, I wonder if you yourself are even convinced – given that you seem to want to qualify the Lord’s words with statements such as “we shouldn’t consume more than necessary”. (If we accept your interpretation of scripture, Isn’t that heresy?)

    The subtitle of this blog is “Welcome to My Brain”. I like that. It’s very clever. I respectfully ask that you use your brain. Is there an argument to be made against conservation? If so, what is it? Please make it. Don’t use the scriptures as a crutch. Please.

    Otherwise, don’t expect anyone to be convinced. At least not me and some 4.9 billion others.

  18. Connor
    August 9, 2006 at 9:11 am #

    1. Of the roughly 5 billion inhabitants of the world, more than 99% are not Mormon. For them, your argument is absurd to begin with, given that it has no premises, no logic, no reasoning – only Mormon scripture.

    Then perhaps my citing a scripture as my evidence will lead people who aren’t LDS to wonder what the heck I’m talking about. Who knows, it could be a great missionary opportunity, if anything. Also, the fact that scripture doesn’t convince 99% of the world does not make it any less true. We can also try convincing 99% of the world that God the Father and Jesus Christ visited Joseph Smith in a personal vision, but hey, citing journal accounts and canonized scripture will have “no premises, no logic, [and] no reasoning”. So why bother, right? Wrong.

    2. Of the remaining Mormons, many of us (if not most) are of the opinion that scripture does not always over-rule reasoning. For example, even though the scriptures tell us to pluck out our eye if it offends us, we don’t do it. Our brain tells us otherwise and we choose to follow the brain.

    Very true. The spirit of discernment and personal revelation are great things, aren’t they?

    3. Of those Mormons who do believe (as you apparently do) that every uterrance of the scriptures should be unthinkingly followed, there are many (I suspect the majority) who would simply disagree with your interpretation of this particular scripture.

    I think you’re taking my position to an extreme. Do I feel that every utterance of the scriptures should be unthinkingly followed? Heavens no. We should study it out in our mind, we should “search, ponder, and pray”, and we should let the spirit guide us. The great thing about the scriptures is their duality – multiple layers of meaning and significance. Sometimes you can literally interpret scripture, and sometimes it is to be spiritually interpreted. In this case, I have interpreted the scripture to literally mean that the Lord has provided enough resources in this earth for all of its inhabitants. If you disagree, that’s okay.

    Which is why your argument is “deeply unconvincing” (as a wise man once said :) ). Very, very few people are going to be convinced by this argument. In fact, I wonder if you yourself are even convinced – given that you seem to want to qualify the Lord’s words with statements such as “we shouldn’t consume more than necessary”. (If we accept your interpretation of scripture, Isn’t that heresy?)

    I have talked about this subject with some friends and family who also agree with my interpretation of this scripture. Perhaps “birds of a feather flock together”, but I’m finding more people that agree than those who disagree.

    Am I myself convinced? Yes. However, as you point out, I think we should help the Lord fulfill his promise (read: statement of fact). When God says Zion will be redeemed, we should help that to happen. When God says that there will be a marvelous work and a wonder spread throughout the earth, we should help that to happen. We are the vehicles of the Lord’s work. He uses us to accomplish his promises. That isn’t to say that God isn’t all powerful and can do things on his own, because he is, and he can. Nevertheless, the Lord often works through his chosen servants to accomplish his tasks.

    So, do I think that there are enough resources? Yes. Do I think that we should still do our part to conserve (not to a radical extreme) and be good stewards over what the Lord has made available to us? Yes.

  19. the narrator
    August 9, 2006 at 11:06 am #

    Very true. The spirit of discernment and personal revelation are great things, aren’t they?

    I think this is what the whole argument boils down to. Forget reason. Forget exegesis. Forget empirical evidence. Forget common sense. Forget history. Connor’s got personal revelation.

  20. Dan
    August 9, 2006 at 11:28 am #

    The sad thing about this guy (the narrator) is that he undermines the part of the plan of salvation where we are to learn things for ourselves and try them out to see if they are good… or, in other words, the process of personal revelation. It seems to me that if it isn’t clearly given to us through some absolute infallible means, then it has no credibility. On the other hand, man is fallible, but the spirit is not. Therefore we have the atonement to make up for our shortcomings and receive personal revelation, or as the narrator put it “Connor’s personal revelation” …not that we should be followers of Connor.

  21. the narrator
    August 9, 2006 at 12:04 pm #

    I’m not trying to discount personal revelation. I was pointing out that Connor’s whole argument and his attempt to ridicule conservationists was merely his personal revelation buried in the guise of scriptural authority.

    Anyways, I’ve had personal revelation that Connor is wrong and that he’s an idiot for thinking the way he does.

  22. LaurenceB
    August 9, 2006 at 12:44 pm #

    Well, I guess I’m done.

    Connor,
    I’ve appreciated the grown-up way you’ve discussed this. Very pleasant.

    I continue to disagree strongly with this debate tactic. In my opinion, citing scripture to support one’s opinion on conservation is simply a cop-out, a way to avoid thinking the issue through. But I’ve already laid out my case, so I won’t bore everyone by repeating it again.

    Take care!

  23. Connor
    August 9, 2006 at 12:52 pm #

    Thank you for your comments, LaurenceB. While we disagree, I always welcome a civil discussion with people who have differing opinions… especially when, unlike “the narrator”, the person refrains from calling me an idiot, ignoramus, and other ad hominem-esque tactics to argue his point. Thanks again for the “grown-up” way you’ve discussed this as well.

  24. the narrator
    August 9, 2006 at 1:16 pm #

    Connor, your original post implied that I as a [weak] conservationist am an idiot and an ignoramous.

    Again and again you accuse me of ad hominem tactics, but you have failed to realize that they have not been ad hominems.

    I have been trying to address issues and problems in your arguments, but instead you avoid them and hold up your holier-than-thou personal revelations as a shield from criticism.

  25. Connor
    August 9, 2006 at 1:38 pm #

    1. Nowhere in my post did I imply that conservationists are weak. Nor have I ever implied that you are an idiot or an ignoramus for believing what you do. Your interpretation of my statements are your own, but do not put words in my mouth.

    2. As defined by the Oxford Dictionary ad hominem is: “attacking an opponent’s motives or character rather than the policy or position they maintain”. See here and here and here for examples of your use of ad hominem.

    Calling me ignorant or an idiot is clearly ad hominem, for you are attacking my motives (even in the last post, saying that I’m holding up my “holier-than-thou personal revelations as a shield from criticism”) and character. For somebody who seems to enjoy throwing around big words, I would assume you are aware of the definition of this term. Simply because you don’t want it to apply to you doesn’t mean it doesn’t.

    3. I have not avoided your addresses on the “issues and problems in [my] arguments” one iota. Nor have I once mentioned that I have received pesonal revelation on this matter. The only thing mentioned in this regard was my gratitude for the spirit of discernment and personal revelation in matters where scriptures can be interpreted several ways. Never did I say that this applied to me in this specific instance. Again, you are putting words in my mouth.

    Several people have suggested that I ban you from my blog. These people have commented to me that they see you as rude, disrespectful, and arrogant. I have told each of them that I don’t want to censor people with opposing views from expressing themselves. However, I am disappointed by your general attitude and approach to discussing the various issues you feel inclined to comment on my blog. Perhaps you really do feel that you are having fun here, since your banishment from Provopulse. I would hope that in the future, you take LaurenceB’s counsel to heart, and play nicer. If you choose not to, I will ban you from my blog as well.

    Thanks,
    Connor

  26. the narrator
    August 9, 2006 at 2:04 pm #

    1. You claimed conservationists were wrong using rhetoric implying idiocy, you claimed conservationists do not know how much resources the earth has implying ignorance. Same ideas. Same meaning. Just different words.

    2. Keep reading your Oxford definition over and over and over again. Eventually you’ll get it. An ad hominem means ““attacking an opponent’s motives or character rather than the policy or position they maintain.” It is only an ad hominem if I do the former instead of the latter. I have been directly criticizing your positions in my comments, to claim otherwise is just plain silly. As I have repeatedly told you, my claims about your intelligence, ignorance, and motives have all been conclusions derived from your arguments. They are descriptive of the discussions, not ad hominem fallacies against them.

    If you want an example of an ad hominem fallacy, check out the many anonymous attacks I receive on my blog. Like this for example.

    3a. Yes you have. Your latest appeal to personal revelation, of which your comment was directly implying for justification of your beliefs, did not address a single criticism. Instead your comment implies that you have personal revelation on the matter which justifies and invalidates anyone else’s argument. If you want to belief that, that’s fine. But when you try to formulate an argument using that as an underlying premise, then you are going to have problems when you start saying that everyone who beliefs differently than you is obviously wrong because of your epistemic priviledge of personal revelation to appropriately interpret a passage of scripture.

    I’m pretty sure that I have come across as arrogant and rude. My comments tend to sarcastically mimic the temper and rhetoric of those I am responding to. Unlike most of those who cowardly attack me on my blog under the guise of anonymity, I at least lay out my criticisms in the open.

  27. Connor
    August 9, 2006 at 2:23 pm #

    I’m pretty sure that I have come across as arrogant and rude. My comments tend to sarcastically mimic the temper and rhetoric of those I am responding to.

    I wonder what your goal is. I wonder what effect, if any, you hope to have. I love to learn, progress, and gain perspective and understanding. If you can help me in that quest, and refute some of my potentially erroneous opinion and belief, then please do. However, let the caveat be that we “both are edified and rejoice together.”

    Calling me ignorant and an idiot does no good, whether you feel your claims are founded in good argument or not. If anything, it makes me less prone to objectively listen to anything you might have to say. If you’d like to comment and refute some of my ideas, by all means, please do. But do stop being arrogant and rude. It doesn’t accomplish anything.

  28. the narrator
    August 9, 2006 at 2:53 pm #

    Point taken. Sorry if I have been too aggressive in my criticisms. Unforunately, you seem to be the incarnate paradigm of everything I despise of ultra-conservative Americanism and ultra-conservative Mormonism. I’ve seen too much evil, pain, suffering, and hurt caused by others who share your idealogy. And I’ve taken out that frustration on you.

    I’ll try to be a little kinder from now.

  29. OmnipotentDoubt
    August 9, 2006 at 4:20 pm #

    “I wonder what your goal is. I wonder what effect, if any, you hope to have. I love to learn, progress, and gain perspective and understanding. If you can help me in that quest, and refute some of my potentially erroneous opinion and belief, then please do.”

    Connor, the problem here is that you aren’t willing to learn, progress and gain perspective because you refuse to accept any other argument or perspective than your own blind faith in the scriptures. These serve as the only relevant ‘fact’ in your quests to justify your actions. When you refuse to even consider alternatives (such as charts and reports and studies) and are no longer willing to accept that your perspective may be wrong or flawed, then you because a zealot.

    Are you truely open minded and willing to progress and gain perspective? Or are you simply using this blog as a means to preach your beliefs, at which point the “debate” is hopeless and meaningless.

    OD

  30. Russell Page
    August 9, 2006 at 6:03 pm #

    I’m totally with you on this one Connor.

  31. Russell Page
    August 9, 2006 at 6:25 pm #

    This is all very interesting.

    I absolutely agree with the statement “for the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare,” yet I do not believe this implies that it is okay to waste either. For the mormons out there, if you read Brigham Young’s thoughts on “”The Use and Abuse of Blessings” he is definitely against waste, but in this very same speech he strongly advocates utilization.

    The earth is full. There is enough and to spare, yet we have a responsibility to utilize it wisely. Waste has no place in it. There may well be enough oil to support 50 billion people, but that does not mean it is okay to not utilize it the best that we can. Likewise, it does not mean that we should not touch it either.

    sidenote: “My comments tend to sarcastically mimic the temper and rhetoric of those I am responding to.” Take responsibilty here. Don’t blame your temper on someone else. Your sarcasm, temper and rhetoric mimic YOUR mindset.

  32. jtanium
    August 10, 2006 at 7:59 am #

    Since you’re LDS, you no doubt believe that God put us here to test us. What if using the earth’s resources responsibly is another aspect of that test?

    For instance, let’s say God calculated that we would need 1 trillion barrels of oil. So he put 1.25 trillion barrels in the earth, that would be enough and to spare. It seems reasonable that if he expects us to use only 1 trillion barrels of oil that he would give us the ability to determine how to use it properly (this would be where science and technology come in).

    This applies equally to the other aspects of the environment. This brings me to the question: are we doing a good job of meeting God’s expectations?

    I think the problem everyone has with your post is it seems like you are using scripture to justify raping the earth. Granted, there are people *cough* who don’t see a problem with this. IMO, if you ever have to use scripture to justify your actions, you should look deep down inside yourself to see if you really understand the scripture and are doing what God would have you do. Really think long and hard about it.

    Now, the hard question: why don’t you go to Africa and ask people there if they have ‘enough and to spare?’ Or China. Or India. Let alone Afghanistan. You think that because you were ‘born in the middle of the North American land mass’ you get to have enough and to spare. It is despicable that you would even think about making a statement like what you have said in your post.

    Get the silver spoon out of your mouth.

  33. Connor
    August 10, 2006 at 11:55 am #

    Since you’re LDS, you no doubt believe that God put us here to test us. What if using the earth’s resources responsibly is another aspect of that test?

    I think you’re exactly right. This is backed up by the following scriptures:

    For 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. (D&C 104:13)

    For of him unto whom much is given much is required; and he who sins against the greater light shall receive the greater condemnation. (D&C 82:3)

    We live in opulence. We have an abundant amount of resources at our disposal. As I have stated previously in this post and in my comments, we should not waste in excess that which we don’t need. So yes, I do agree with you that using the earth’s resources responsibly is another aspect of our test here on this earth. Does that mean we need to go to extreme measures to conserve and reduce our usage of these resources? No. Like the scripture says, there is an abundant amount of resources for all mankind. This takes us to one of your other questions:

    Why don’t you go to Africa and ask people there if they have ‘enough and to spare?’ Or China. Or India. Let alone Afghanistan. You think that because you were ‘born in the middle of the North American land mass’ you get to have enough and to spare. It is despicable that you would even think about making a statement like what you have said in your post. Get the silver spoon out of your mouth.

    Funny you should mention that. In case you didn’t notice one of my recent posts, I am organizing a service project in our ward to collect supplies (and money to purchase supplies) to put together hygiene and first aid kits for people in Zambia, Africa. Perhaps you’d like to help out?

    To directly answer your question, I think it makes sense to take a step back first. Since we in the “land of promise” have been given much, much is required. We are to carry others in our arms and upon our shoulders (Isaiah 49:22). We are to help others have easy access to the many resources we are able to obtain. So through charity and volunteer work, through organizations, companies, and individuals, we should all reach out and help others. Definitely.

    Just because there aren’t abundant resources in New Dehli doesn’t mean the Lord hasn’t made those resources available. He didn’t say that there was an even distribution of resources in every geographical location. Common sense indicates that different areas of the world have different climates and temperate zones which are more viable for a certain type of crop or resource. Am I “entitled” to “enough, and to spare” by being born in the USA? No. But I am blessed with it. And I see it as my responsibility to give back to others who might not have been born into such fortunate circumstances. I would hope that we all feel the same way. So rather than showing over buckets, or biking everywhere possible, let’s instead choose to use our resources to help others who don’t have such easy access to them.

  34. Russell Page
    August 10, 2006 at 2:43 pm #

    The commenters turned this post into “raping the earth.” It was taken way out of context. Scripture never justifies action. And just because you see people in certain situations doesn’t mean that there isn’t enough and to spare.

    Enough and to spare is a mindset, and it has nothing to do with waste or accumulation. It’s tied to utilization.

  35. Connor
    August 10, 2006 at 2:47 pm #

    Agreed: scripture does not justify action. Southerners in colonial times frequently used scripture to justify slavery. The crusades were justified with scripture. So was Christ’s persecution and crucifixion. Anybody can twist anything any way they want.

    Action is only justified by its fruits. If your fruit is “raping” the earth, well then you’re action isn’t justified. if your fruit is somebody’s enslavement or death, chances are your action never had any legitimate basis to begin with.

    “By their fruits shall ye know them”.

  36. jtanium
    August 10, 2006 at 3:09 pm #

    “Action is only justified by its fruits.”

    So how do you think we are doing?

  37. Connor
    August 10, 2006 at 3:35 pm #

    1. Thanks to Russell for pointing out Brigham Young’s discourse along these lines, “The Use and Abuse of Blessings“.

    2. Jtanium, you asked how “we” are doing. That depends on your definition of “we”. If you mean we as a society, I think we do good at times, bad at others. During events of trauma and crisis, people become much more generous and donate heartily to funds established for the aid of the poor and needy. When there is no crisis, the people that are starving around the world are forgotten, as we move about our lives as normal. So “we” as a society are not doing nearly well enough as we should.

    “We” as a church, for those that are LDS, are doing quite well, in my opinion. We pay fast offerings to help the sick, needy, and poor. We donate to a humanitarian aid fund that goes to administering to the sick, afflicted, and needy. We have an excellent organization established for this cause, and are known the world over for giving aid to all persons that are in dire need. In times of crisis, we are usually the first ones on the scene with cargo planes loaded with needed supplies.

    “We” as Americans closely correlates with #1. We’re not doing as well as we should. The poorest person in the U.S. is in a far better condition than somebody in a third world country (as I saw in Honduras, where I served my mission). We are very well to do, and should (as Brigham Young said in the above-linked discourse) give of our means and resources to those who need it.

    “Have this people been blessed too much? I will not positively say, but I think they have, inasmuch as their blessings in some instances have been to their injury. Why? Because they have not known what to do with their blessings.”
    —Brigham Young, The Use and Abuse of Blessings

  38. jtanium
    August 10, 2006 at 4:04 pm #

    Okay, that was pretty vague, specifically how are we as a society (Americans mostly) doing in terms of using and abusing the planet?

    And as a follow up question, is there some point (i.e. oil is $5000/barrel) where you would say we’ve overconsumed the earth’s resources?

  39. the narrator
    August 10, 2006 at 8:39 pm #

    As I have stated previously in this post and in my comments, we should not waste in excess that which we don’t need. So yes, I do agree with you that using the earth’s resources responsibly is another aspect of our test here on this earth. Does that mean we need to go to extreme measures to conserve and reduce our usage of these resources? No. Like the scripture says, there is an abundant amount of resources for all mankind.

    If there is no way that mankind can go beyond the resources available, then what point is there in conserving, or as you put it “using the earth’s resources responsibly”? What does that phrase even mean?

  40. Connor
    August 10, 2006 at 11:16 pm #

    Jtanium,

    The fact that I see so many hummers and huge trucks driving on the freeway makes me think we’re not doing so hot… That and the fact that very few people (I assume) do very little in the way of sharing their resources with others who need it as well.

    Based on my citation of the scripture, I don’t think we can “overconsume” the earth’s resources. If oil gets to an astronomically high price, that means that the reservoirs we’re drilling in are being depleted, and we need to look elsewhere, or with other means, to obtain the resource.

    Narrator,

    If you have time, read the talk by Brother Brigham posted in comment 37, he answers your question very well.

  41. jtanium
    August 11, 2006 at 8:52 am #

    …I don’t think we can “overconsume” the earth’s resources.

    There you have it. So:
    - spew whatever you want in the atmosphere, when we deplete the ozone layer and the air turns to carbon dioxide, we’ll just find a new atmosphere.
    - don’t recycle that stuff, dump it in the ocean, when it’s full, we’ll just find another.
    - print out me a hard copy of that. I like sand and the deserts aren’t growing fast enough, those darn rainforests and grasslands grow back too quickly.
    - don’t worry, global warming is a myth, and even if it is heating up, isn’t what air conditioning is for?
    - don’t buy that hybrid car, we’ll find more oil, be it sour crude, shale, or tar sands, because tearing up the land to get it only serves help the environment.

    If everybody recognized that there are finite resources on this planet, and lived accordingly, we probably would have ‘enough and to spare.’ But somewhere along the line people started rationalizing (using scriptures, among other things) their actions. The Bush administration, who has ties to the oil industry, has repeatedly struck down opportunities to improve environmental policy (Kyoto Treaty, increasing automobile gas mileage, increasing funding for alternative energy, e.g. hydrogen and ethanol), and perpetuates the belief that we don’t need to change the way we live.

    I realize now that you, Connor, probably feel attacked (there were some harsh words written, by myself included), and while I happen to know for a fact that you don’t live to excess, I think your post also perpetuates the belief that people don’t need to conserve. There are a lot of people actively searching out ways to keep from doing what they know they should.

  42. Russell Page
    August 12, 2006 at 1:46 am #

    here’s a question…

    When does it become excess? What’s the tipping point?

    What does “overconsume” mean, and when do we reach that point?

    The Bush card is old, and it’s rediculously trendy to point the problems in his direction. If you think that environmental issues have anything to do with him, you are sorely caught up in political banter. Bush, politicians, etc… don’t have responsibility to increase automobile gas mileage. We don’t live in a communist country where we force enterprise to do something, even though this country flirts with socialistic behavior at times. Car companies are the ones who make the cars, not Bush. Gas mileage is in their hands not the hands of politicians. Treaties don’t fix environmental problems, people do. Alternative energy won’t fix anything either. It’s political banter. Again, the Bush card is old, tiresome, and useless because there is nothing Bush or any other politican could do to fix this. You add no help to the situation thinking that politicians are going to do something about this.

    Swift environmental change will only take place when it becomes profitable for some industry to participate in it willingly.

    I just spent a day in S.F. consulting with a company that is very smart in realizing that this is the key to their success. Do not focus on responsibility. Focus on profitability. Environmental change is the byproduct. So many Americans hate this because they think it is evil or misguided, but it is exactly the way the United States functions, and that is what makes it great. Man is rewarded for his work. Force (even if it is force in environmental issues) is not virtuous. Government is almost always the guilty party in force, ie . . .
    - Making car companies develop environmentally friendly cars is force not freedom. It’s wrong. Force leads to more force, leads to more force, leads to socialism, which often degrades to communism. It isn’t how this country operates. This is a free society.

  43. Russell Page
    August 12, 2006 at 2:02 am #

    “If everybody recognized that there are finite resources on this planet, and lived accordingly, we probably would have ‘enough and to spare.’”

    you are comletely missing the point. “Enough and to spare” is not dependent upon the word finite. You’re whole statement is contradictory. You can not have finite and enough and to spare. What’s enough? It’s enough. That’s what it is. But there’s spare as well, not finite. It isn’t a probability of people living accordingly, whatever “accordingly” is.

    Accordingly is something that leads one man to think he knows “accordingly” better than another and he then tries to force is knowledge on others because he “knows” what it means to use resources in the “accordingly.” But I ask again, when do we reach “accordingly?” WE DON”T! EVER! If you try to tell me or others when, you are telling us you know and we don’t and that we don’t have the ability to find accordingly. And, we will never agree on what “accordingly” is.

    Don’t you see? Accordingly and “right amount” can never be reached because in order for this to happen, one person has to decide what is right for others, and this is inherently wrong. Others will not agree because they will believe they know what it means to live “accordingly” and disagreement ensues. Conservation is not an absolute. To believe this is to believe a lie. Each man will conserve as his knowledge instructs him to do. This is why I can’t stand it when people throw around rhetoic about politicians, and it is usually about Bush. HE DOES NOT HAVE THE ANSWERS OR THE SOLUTIONS and he DOES NOT CARRY THE BLAME. You do and I do. Blaming him or others is a scapegoat because when we do this we are also telling ourselves that it is not our responsibiltiy. You want to talk religion? This is exactly the kind of thinking that Satan, the Devil, bad karma wants us to participate in. When we don’t have responsibilty in our minds (in this case it has been shifted to Bush) we don’t use our greatest ability, and that is our ability to act.

  44. Mike Brown
    September 22, 2006 at 1:17 am #

    I’m a month late, but this was great! Yes, the eath is full and to spare. What does that mean? To me it means God is telling us that the earth can accomodate every child we will allow to be born up until the day He declares it finished. 50 billion? 100? Whatever.

    Can we get pretty tight on oil? Yes, but He will reveal other ways to take care of our needs in that event.

    If there is no problem, then why conserve? Conservation, or at least avoiding conspicuous consumption, is a healthy mindset and a righteous way to live. Among the commandments given to Adam and Eve was “Take care of the Garden”. Not that the Garden was in big trouble if he didn’t, but God wanted it done for their benefit more than for just a nice Garden.

    I’ve written pretty extensively on this subject, speculating on why God created dinosaurs, how one should react to global warming, etc.

    Mike Brown
    http://www.latterdaylogic.com

  45. fontor
    September 22, 2006 at 8:45 am #

    I prefer to believe ideas that are well-supported by empirical evidence. I understand that you feel good about the scriptures (or your interpretations of same), but that falls short of reliable evidence.

  46. lawrence
    October 30, 2006 at 6:44 pm #

    maybe he means we’ve got enough and to spare already, so we don’t need to keep trashing the place digging for more.

  47. Bryson
    June 10, 2009 at 8:53 pm #

    Connor,
    Thanks for posting this scripture and your comments related to it. I too feel it is of profound importance to understand that Heavenly Father is not an irresponsible God and that He can support all the life He desires to send to this earthly test. It is posited that during the millennium there will perhaps be more people living on the earth than during the entire first 7000 years combined.

    The reason why I feel it is so important to understand that there are enough resources to sustain all human life, is because the Devil is using the opposite argument in an attempt to bring about a New World Order and global human enslavement. One of the key deceptions the Devil is using seems to be that this earth cannot possibly sustain all life. There is a lot of pressure for us to give way to the fear of “Global Warming”, forfeit our liberties for global security (and our common sense) and even become accepting of a drastic reduction to the human population in order to save ourselves.

    I think it is a ridiculous assumption, made by some, that if a person doesn’t believe in the great global warming swindle and sees through phony environmental movements that it automatically means that person is opposed to taking care of the earth and replenishing it. I recognize that part of my responsibility on this earth is to take care of it…but I am not going to go to extremes based off of satanic deceptions.

  48. Kelly W.
    June 11, 2009 at 10:59 am #

    the Lord gave us resources, and he is glad to give them to us, “but not to excess nor extortion,” as it says in the D&C. We are definitely using resources of the earth to excess and extortion.

    As far as global warming is concerned, everyone needs to study up on Global Dimming.

  49. Aileen
    January 20, 2010 at 2:15 am #

    you’re a mormon! i found your blog because i searched for that verse. i believe what you’re saying. we need to change our scarcity mindset to a wealth mindset. i’ve seen it work ;)

  50. As a little child
    February 18, 2011 at 12:34 am #

    Contention is not of God.

    The secret to abundance, or enough and to spare is brought to light in the following:

    “For the power of God is only manifest by grace, and that grace cometh only by the willingness to bless and be blessed. And because of our traditions,. . .we were desirous of receiving but would not give forth the same in blessing;” -Author’s name withheld

  51. Rehse
    November 20, 2012 at 2:53 am #

    If one reads D&C 104 on also should reald an ponder (!) Moses 3:5,9,19 – D&C49:18-21 – D&C 59:18-20 (given right after a promise of this earth to us once we pray, fast and keep the sabbath day). Further, ask yourself: If we are to “rule” (Genesis) whose ruling should we portray? If everthing denotes that there is a God (Alma 30:44), can we misuse, misjudge, misplace it?
    Finally, I suggest you use both mind and heart (see O. Cowdery, D&C 8:2) to think about the environment before you say something as both so universal and meaningless as to the effect of “don’t worry”.

  52. Jimx
    November 20, 2012 at 8:00 am #

    The idea that there is enough and to spare just isn’t in accord with reality. If this where true, there shouldn’t be ANY conflict at all anywhere on the earth. If one should develop one would simply move to another location, food would be free, housing should be free, actually everything should be free.

    This statement also goes against the primary tenant of biology, evolution. The idea is that species develop from competition for limited resources. So, I at least learned that evolution and mormonism are not compatible. Any mormon that tries to force evolution into the faith doesn’t know what they are talking about. And yes, I have heard some mormons say that evolution fits or is at least not in conflict with LDS philosophy, because its sort of looks like eternal progression something like that. In any case it doesn’t appear to be compatible.

  53. jimx
    November 21, 2012 at 4:48 pm #

    I discovered something else, the belief that there is enough and to spare is ultimately a very self serving idea.

  54. david
    September 14, 2013 at 6:41 pm #

    You might appreciate this support:

    The New York Times

    ——————————————————————————–

    September 13, 2013

    Overpopulation Is Not the Problem

    By ERLE C. ELLIS

    BALTIMORE — MANY scientists believe that by transforming the earth’s natural landscapes, we are undermining the very life support systems that sustain us. Like bacteria in a petri dish, our exploding numbers are reaching the limits of a finite planet, with dire consequences. Disaster looms as humans exceed the earth’s natural carrying capacity. Clearly, this could not be sustainable.

    This is nonsense. Even today, I hear some of my scientific colleagues repeat these and similar claims — often unchallenged. And once, I too believed them. Yet these claims demonstrate a profound misunderstanding of the ecology of human systems. The conditions that sustain humanity are not natural and never have been. Since prehistory, human populations have used technologies and engineered ecosystems to sustain populations well beyond the capabilities of unaltered “natural” ecosystems.

    The evidence from archaeology is clear. Our predecessors in the genus Homo used social hunting strategies and tools of stone and fire to extract more sustenance from landscapes than would otherwise be possible. And, of course, Homo sapiens went much further, learning over generations, once their preferred big game became rare or extinct, to make use of a far broader spectrum of species. They did this by extracting more nutrients from these species by cooking and grinding them, by propagating the most useful species and by burning woodlands to enhance hunting and foraging success.

    Even before the last ice age had ended, thousands of years before agriculture, hunter-gatherer societies were well established across the earth and depended increasingly on sophisticated technological strategies to sustain growing populations in landscapes long ago transformed by their ancestors.

    The planet’s carrying capacity for prehistoric human hunter-gatherers was probably no more than 100 million. But without their Paleolithic technologies and ways of life, the number would be far less — perhaps a few tens of millions. The rise of agriculture enabled even greater population growth requiring ever more intensive land-use practices to gain more sustenance from the same old land. At their peak, those agricultural systems might have sustained as many as three billion people in poverty on near-vegetarian diets.

    The world population is now estimated at 7.2 billion. But with current industrial technologies, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has estimated that the more than nine billion people expected by 2050 as the population nears its peak could be supported as long as necessary investments in infrastructure and conducive trade, anti-poverty and food security policies are in place. Who knows what will be possible with the technologies of the future? The important message from these rough numbers should be clear. There really is no such thing as a human carrying capacity. We are nothing at all like bacteria in a petri dish.

    Why is it that highly trained natural scientists don’t understand this? My experience is likely to be illustrative. Trained as a biologist, I learned the classic mathematics of population growth — that populations must have their limits and must ultimately reach a balance with their environments. Not to think so would be to misunderstand physics: there is only one earth, of course!

    It was only after years of research into the ecology of agriculture in China that I reached the point where my observations forced me to see beyond my biologists’s blinders. Unable to explain how populations grew for millenniums while increasing the productivity of the same land, I discovered the agricultural economist Ester Boserup, the antidote to the demographer and economist Thomas Malthus and his theory that population growth tends to outrun the food supply. Her theories of population growth as a driver of land productivity explained the data I was gathering in ways that Malthus could never do. While remaining an ecologist, I became a fellow traveler with those who directly study long-term human-environment relationships — archaeologists, geographers, environmental historians and agricultural economists.

    The science of human sustenance is inherently a social science. Neither physics nor chemistry nor even biology is adequate to understand how it has been possible for one species to reshape both its own future and the destiny of an entire planet. This is the science of the Anthropocene. The idea that humans must live within the natural environmental limits of our planet denies the realities of our entire history, and most likely the future. Humans are niche creators. We transform ecosystems to sustain ourselves. This is what we do and have always done. Our planet’s human-carrying capacity emerges from the capabilities of our social systems and our technologies more than from any environmental limits.

    Two hundred thousand years ago we started down this path. The planet will never be the same. It is time for all of us to wake up to the limits we really face: the social and technological systems that sustain us need improvement.

    There is no environmental reason for people to go hungry now or in the future. There is no need to use any more land to sustain humanity — increasing land productivity using existing technologies can boost global supplies and even leave more land for nature — a goal that is both more popular and more possible than ever.

    The only limits to creating a planet that future generations will be proud of are our imaginations and our social systems. In moving toward a better Anthropocene, the environment will be what we make it.

    Erle C. Ellis is an associate professor of geography and environmental systems at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and a visiting associate professor at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.

  55. iimx
    September 15, 2013 at 5:23 pm #

    I hope this means there will be fewer cars on the turn pike, and the cost of food and rent will go down. Maybe competition for water will go down also. I don’t see any of that happening. Some have speculated that human population could go as high as 50 billion…what? I don’t see that happening. But then again they suggested that a really tall person will be 3 feet tall….

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Dayton « siamese connection - January 7, 2009

    [...] the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves. [...]

Leave a Reply

Leave your opinion here. Please be nice. Your Email address will be kept private.