In Section 49 of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord refutes several beliefs of a religious group called the Shakers—the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing. As the Lord corrects some of these traditions, we are able to gain some insight into the purpose of the earth and the nature of the creation.
The Shakers believed that a celibate life was considered higher than marriage. The Lord contradicts this belief in the revelation, saying, “whoso forbiddeth to marry is not ordained of God, for marriage is ordained of God unto man.” He goes on to teach us that a man should have one wife, and “they twain shall be one flesh, and all this that the earth might answer the end of its creation.” This verse raises the question of what exactly IS the end of the earth’s creation. In other words, what is the purpose of this earth God created for us? How are we to use the earth, and what is our purpose here? From what I understand, I believe God was teaching us that marriage is a sacred thing, meant to bring man and woman together so that they could multiply. In the next verse, it says “And that it might be filled with the measure of man.” God wants us to replenish the earth. From the days of Adam and Eve, he commanded us to join together, male and female, and continue to bring spirits to this earth to gain bodies and experience joy.
The Shakers also believed that the eating of pork was specifically forbidden, and many of them did not even eat meat. The Lord refutes this belief as well, saying, “And whoso forbiddeth to abstain from meats, that man should not eat the same, is not ordained of God; For, behold, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which cometh of the earth, is ordained for the use of man for food and raiment, and that he might have in abundance.” This part of the revelation again gives us insight into the purpose of the earth and its many creations. The Lord created animals for our use. He cautions that we use them wisely and sparingly, but ultimately, the earth and all its creations were made for the use of man.
It is interesting to see the earth cast in this light. It is very much viewed as a sort of ‘tool’ for us to use on our journey to exaltation.