11 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand;

12 When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.

This is very powerful imagery that God evokes: the earth’s mouth having to receive the blood of an innocent, and thereafter refusing to yield its increase to the one who was responsible. God speaks of the earth as a sentient being, capable of taking offense and returning a consequence.

What we do to this earth matters. Our actions works their way into its soil and change its behavior. If nature seem chaotic and violent, might it not be because it is ruled by violent and evil stewards? How might the forces of nature change if all mankind suddenly gave up any violent disposition? Joseph Smith once counseled that ‘men must become harmless, before the brute creation.’ Perhaps if we achieved peace with all our fellowmen then the earth would be willing to have peace with us, too. Then, at last, the lion might lie down with the lamb.

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