Reading through the standard works of the Church reveals some curious doctrines concerning the earth. The Pearl of Great Price, in particular, shows how the earth is more than a solid mass of dirt. In the Book of Moses, Enoch hears the earth groan because of the wickedness of the people thereon. The earth actually has an audible voice, or so it seems, that can be heard and understood by Enoch. This gives life to the planet and raises the question as to whether the planet has a soul. Does Earth live and breath, or at least have a soul?
Every once in a while, the phrase "and the earth groaned" appears in the Book of Mormon, speaking of the wickedness of mankind. The wording, "crying from the dust" is also scattered through the text. Does this mean that the earth is actually crying for the sins of the people? Or, does this mean that the spirits of the deceased are the ones crying for relief from sin? If we take a few steps back and look at the Plan of Salvation, we can learn a little more about the spirituality of our planet. This will aid us in answering the question, "Is the planet alive?"
Heavenly Father's Plan of Salvation contains three pillars: Creation, Fall, and Atonement. We know that each applies to mankind, but do they pertain to the planet as well? Adam and Eve were created and placed in the Garden of Eden and they dwelt with God. They were given commandments, and they transgressed. Partaking of the forbidden fruit, got them booted out of the garden. This was the Fall. Men were separated from God and needed to be reconciled with God. Jesus Christ came in the Meridian of Time to deliver the world from sin and death. His infinite Atonement made it possible for mankind to overcome the grave, and the plague of sin. Now let's relate all of this to the earth.
From the books of Genesis and Moses we learn that the earth started as a "void." By the time God created all things including Adam, He "breathed" life into Adam. It seems like this breath of life into Adam's nostrils is wind. Perhaps this breath, or wind, or even spirit, was blown into the earth as well. All other creations such as plants, animals, and people all lived in perfect harmony. Earth and its Garden of Eden was a paradisaical and glorious place on earth wherein The Father Himself dwelt. After the Fall of Man, the earth brought forth thorns, thistles, and "cursed [was] be the ground for [Adam's] sake" (Moses 4:23-4). This was also like a Fall for the earth; a fall that needed to be atoned for. The earth was cleansed, or "baptized" when the floods of Noah came. The earth will also be baptized with fire when the Second Coming of the Lord comes to pass. Fire will fall from heaven and incinerate all that is defiled. Furthermore the earth will be celestialized or resurrected and become a Urim and Thummim. It seems that the main ordinances that men are commanded to partake of, the earth too goes through.
If the earth does have life then it would seem good to take good care of it. Environmentalism is a little extreme for me, but I do believe that there is something super special about our planet and that we should take good care of it. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't chop down any trees or divert some riverways with dams and harness energy. It simply means to live within your means and respect nature. Even if earth does have a spirit, we as humans are still entitled to reap benefits from its surface. God himself told Adam and Eve that they were to work and till the ground and use things for their needs and growth. We shouldn't be outrageous and hug trees because there is potential that we are killing the tabernacle of God's creation. The earth was created (and maybe given a spirit) that man might have a mortal probation.