Sermoncitos, a family tradition
A Time to Plant
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven... a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted” (Ecclesiastes 3: 1, 2). My mother planted every year as long as she was able, even though for most of her life she was far from the farm and the subsistence culture of her ancestors. Adam was commanded to till the earth (Genesis 3:23), and his descendants who have obeyed this commandment have been blessed in many ways. My mother and I followed the television exercises of Jack LaLanne. Now he is a healthy and strong 90 years old, and promoting his “Power Juicer”. His success story is that he quit sugar, started exercising and and drinking the juice of fresh fruits and vegetables. I think he follows principles given by all the prophets since the creation.
We know very little of the culture and commerce of the Nephites, but Mormon felt it important to let us know that they did plow and plant, because that gave them great advantage over the hunter/gatherer tribes (Jarom 1: 8; Mosiah 10: 4, 21). “And there were some who died with fevers, which at some seasons of the year were very frequent in the land - but not so much so with fevers because of the excellent qualities of the many plants and roots which God had prepared to remove the causes of diseases...” (Alma 46: 40).
The creators were careful to give us “every herb bearing seed... and every tree which shall have fruit upon it... for their meat” (Abraham 4: 29). Adam’s paradise of Eden was a garden planted by the Gods” (Abraham 5: 8). When he was driven out of the garden, his first work was to “till the earth... and to eat his bread by the sweat of his brow, as the Lord had commanded him” (Moses 5: 1). Abraham the shepherd also planted (Genesis 21: 33). When Israel inherited the promised land, their plantings were made sacred by the Lord (Leviticus 19: 23). Jared was commanded to stock his ships with “seed of the earth of every kind” (Ether 1: 41). “And they did make all manner of tools to till the earth, both to plow and to sow, to reap and to hoe, and also to thrash” (Ether 10: 25). When Lehi arrived in the promised land, his people “did begin to till the earth, and we began to plant seeds... and they did grow exceedingly; wherefore we were blessed in abundance” 1 Nephi 18: 24). King Mosiah reigned in peace while his people did “till the earth. And he also did till the earth, that thereby he might not become burdensome to his people” (Mosiah 6: 7).
Zeniff gained great economic, political, and military advantage over more populous enemies by following this commandment. “And we began to till the ground, yea, even with all manner of seeds, with seeds of corn, and of wheat, and of barley, and with neas, and with sheum, and with seeds of all manner of fruits; and we did begin to multiply and prosper in the land (Mosiah 9: 9).
The habit of gardening preserves in our families the skills and attitudes and values of our ancestors, all the way back to Adam. Cultures who continued planting also kept the faith. My mother did not not need to plant or bake in California, the bread basket of the world. The grocery stores and farmer’s markets were always full of plenty. However, the values she fostered with her gardens served her family well.
Don’t be like “the sluggard [who] will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore he beg in harvest, and have nothing” (Proverbs 20:4).“While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest... shall not cease” (Genesis 8:22). We should have good habits of growing things as preparation for the suffering of the end times, and to prepare our children for a new life in the Millenium. “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth... and the voice of weeping shall no more be heard in her, nor the voice of crying... and they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them” (Isaiah 65:17-21).