Monday, October 13, 2014

Is hunting animals OK in a Gospel Sense?

                    Buffalo in Yellowstone National Park, where hunting is outlawed.

Is hunting animals in the modern age OK?

You can decide for yourself after reading material from LDS Church leaders below:

Is it a sin to kill animals wantonly?
That was a question President Joseph Fielding Smith answered in the August 1961 Improvement Era Magazine (forerunner to today's Ensign Magazine).

This was advice on hunting or killing animals 17 years before President Spencer W. Kimball did so in October 1978 General Conference.

President Smith told the story of the Prophet Joseph Smith advocating the brethren on a trip with him not to kill some rattlesnakes.

"I exhorted the brethren not to kill a serpent, bird, or an animal of any kind during my journey unless it became necessary in order to preserve ourselves from hunger," Joseph Smith said.

On another occasion the Prophet shot a squirrel some of the brethren were watching in a tree and then walked way, leaving the dead animal on the ground.

Brother Orson Hyde picked up the dead animal and said, 'We will cook it that nothing may be lost.'

"I perceived that the brethren understood what I did it for, and in their practice gave more heed to be precept than to my example which was right," the Prophet Joseph Smith wrote.

President Joseph Fielding Smith said there are times when killing animals is necessary when it is the survival of the fittest, or when animals may become a plague to mankind.

                  A water snake on a rock by the South Fork of the Ogden River.

(For example, during the construction of the Manti Temple, some 300 rattlesnakes had to be killed, since they infested the ground underneath the temple building site.)

President Joseph F. Smith stated: "I never could see why a man should be imbued with a blood-thirsty desire to kill and destroy animal life ... I do not believe any man should kill animals or birds unless he needs them for food."

President Joseph F. Smith then said it is wrong to hunt deer, antelope, elk, just for the fun of it, or just because a person likes to shoot and destroy life.

President Spencer W. Kimball's 1978 sermon was:
"Our Father in Heaven was gracious enough to give to us for our pleasure and convenience all life on earth. Let me read to you from his personal statement:
'And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
'And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
'And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
'And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.' (Gen. 1:20, 29–31.)
"I read at the priesthood meeting at the last conference the words to the verse of the song years ago, “Don’t Kill the Little Birds,” with which I was familiar when I was a child growing up in Arizona. I found many young boys around my age who, with their flippers and their slings, destroyed many birds.
"In Primary and Sunday School we sang the song:
Don’t kill the little birds
That sing on bush and tree,
All thro’ the summer days,
Their sweetest melody.
"As I was talking to the young men at that time all over the world, I felt that I should say something more along this line.
"I suppose in every country in the world there are beautiful little birds with their beautiful plumage and their attractive songs.
"I remember that my predecessor, President Joseph Fielding Smith, was a protector of these feathered and other wild life creatures.
"While President Smith at one time was in the Wasatch Mountain Area, he befriended the creatures from the hill and forest. He composed four little verses as follows, and opposite each he drew a little picture. Of the mountain squirrel first, he wrote:
This is little Chopper Squirrel
Up in the mountains high.
He begs us for some grains of corn,
With thanks he says goodbye.
And then the bat was next:
This is little Tommy Bat
Who flies around at night.
He eats the bugs and ‘skeeters’ too,
Which is a thing quite right.
Then he came to the deer:
This is little Bambi Deer
Who comes to the cabin homes.
She licks the salt we feed to her,
And on the mountain roams.
And then the birds:
This, our little feathered friend
Who sings for us all day.
When comes the winter and the cold,
He wisely flies away.
"Now, I also would like to add some of my feelings concerning the unnecessary shedding of blood and destruction of life. I think that every soul should be impressed by the sentiments that have been expressed here by the prophets.
"And not less with reference to the killing of innocent birds is the wildlife of our country that live upon the vermin that are indeed enemies to the farmer and to mankind. It is not only wicked to destroy them, it is a shame, in my opinion. I think that this principle should extend not only to the bird life but to the life of all animals. For that purpose I read the scripture where the Lord gave us all the animals. Seemingly, he thought it was important that all these animals be on the earth for our use and encouragement."
"President Joseph F. Smith said, 'When I visited, a few years ago, the Yellowstone National Park, and saw in the streams and the beautiful lakes, birds swimming quite fearless of man, allowing passers-by to approach them as closely almost as tame birds, and apprehending no fear of them, and when I saw droves of beautiful deer [feeding] along the side of the road, as fearless of the presence of men as any domestic animal, it filled my heart with a degree of peace and joy that seemed to be almost a foretaste of that period hoped for when there shall be none to hurt and none to molest in all the land, especially among all the inhabitants of Zion. These same birds, if they were to visit other regions, inhabited by man, would, on account of their tameness, doubtless become more easily a prey to the gunner. The same may be said of those beautiful creatures—the deer and the antelope. If they should wander out of the park, beyond the protection that is established there for these animals, they would become, of course, an easy prey to those who were seeking their lives. I never could see why a man should be imbued with a blood-thirsty desire to kill and destroy animal life. I have known men—and they still exist among us—who enjoy what is, to them, the ‘sport’ of hunting birds and slaying them by the hundreds, and who will come in after a day’s sport, boasting of how many harmless birds they have had the skill to slaughter, and day after day, during the season when it is lawful for men to hunt and kill (the birds having had a season of protection and not apprehending danger) go out by scores or hundreds, and you may hear their guns early in the morning on the day of the opening, as if great armies had met in battle; and the terrible work of slaughtering the innocent birds goes on.
'I do not believe any man should kill animals or birds unless he needs them for food, and then he should not kill innocent little birds that are not intended for food for man. I think it is wicked for men to thirst in their souls to kill almost everything which possesses animal life. It is wrong, and I have been surprised at prominent men whom I have seen whose very souls seemed to be athirst for the shedding of animal blood.'" (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed., Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1939, pp. 265–66.)
-"Is it not an excellent time for man to set the example as the Prophet has said?" President Joseph Fielding Smith asked in 1961.
-Every Fall I watch as thousands of men and women along the Wasatch Front of Northern Utah -- including many active church members -- go to the hills to hunt deer; or pheasants.
I'd say the "why" they do it is the key question.
"And surely, blood shall not be shed, only for meat, to save your lives; and the blood of every beast will I require at your hands," Genesis 9:11, in the Joseph Smith Biblical translation states.

-First and foremost, the meat hunters secure must be 
Secondly, I'd advise hunters to examine their hearts for 
their true motivations. 
Personally I regret killing a few birds and a rockchuck 
as a teenager -- and if I had to kill for my own meat, I 
likely couldn't even bring myself to kill cattle -- unless 

I was starving and so I might be a vegetarian under 

ideal circumstances.

My father used to love pheasant hunting and many of 

my uncles were avid deer hunters, but none of that 

ever appealed to me  ...

-There' s no evidence that meat was eaten before Noah's time -- that is after the Great Flood, so I'm certain there will be no meat eating in the Millennium, when the world returns to Garden of Eden conditions.

Only the Lord will judge us in this regard -- and that's wise as only he knows the intent of a hunter's heart -- and that seems to be the key factor here.

NOTE: This article and all of the NighUntoKolob blog are NOT an official website of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They are the author's conclusions and opinions only.

1 comment:

  1. Nice collection of quotes. Very moving! I’ve written about this subject also in a chapter in my book, Discovering the Word of Wisdom: Surprising Insights from a Whole Food, Plant-based Perspective. You can find this chapter on-line, “Stewards of Our Bodies, the Earth, and Its Creatures.” (