Hunting Season for the Saints
I wrote the below two and half years ago and have decided to post it here. What I wrote is my opinion on the spiritual legitimacy of recreational hunting. As big a supporter as I am of our right to bear arms, as I've recently posted here and here, I consider recreational hunting a sin against nature. I should warn you, what you will read below may be considered controversial for a true-believing Mormon, and it includes statements by a man we Mormons consider a prophet of God. Take them for what they are, and enjoy!
Hunting Season for the Saints – September 9th, 2005
"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 herding 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," (1913). But yet, there are many Saints who would disagree with the Prophet Joseph F. Smith, Saints who have a desire to "hurt" and "molest" the birds and the deer, among other beasts of the field, to "sheddeth blood" in the name of recreation. They ignore latter-day revelation that says, "wo be unto man that sheddeth blood or that wasteth flesh and hath no need," (Doctrine & Covenants 49:21). I would like to break that one down if I may.
I have heard the argument that it is okay as long as none of it goes to waste. This argument, I am sure, comes from misreading what the Lord said. The recreational hunter reads, "wo be unto man that sheddeth blood and that wasteth the flesh." It gives him a nice little justification that shedding blood is okay as long as he does not waste any of it. Unfortunately for him though, there's more to the revelation, "and hath no need." I think this is an appropriate clause to this little bit of instruction in regards to the shedding of blood. I won't entertain for a minute that there is a genuine need for anybody who can afford a big gun, a camo' suite, and that cute little orange jacket, to hunt for food. No, in fact, I think it is an absolute delight for them to at one minute recognize life, and the next, pat themselves on the back after placing an end to it. Both the Prophet and I "never could see why a man should be imbued with a blood-thirsty desire to kill and destroy animal life." We "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 [and deer] goes on."
I have actually had the justification proposed to me, well, actually, it was not justification, rather, an attempt to change the subject, that it is no different than when we hit a deer with our car while driving through the canyon. The difference is clear, hunting is intentional and premeditated, while being surprised by a deer in the road and unable to swerve around him safely, smashing into him causing life to dwell in that tabernacle of flesh no more, was an accident. It is a very sad thing to happen, but unfortunately accidents do happen. But to compare the two is dishonest and ignores the reality of the events. The Prophet and I believe "it is wicked for men to thirst in their souls to kill almost everything which possesses animal life." For there you have the difference, and the reality of the sport of hunting.
To really drive the nail in, I believe that when we regard life in such a careless way, we show our Heavenly Father how we plan on governing our own worlds. Imagine for a moment if you will, you have just finished forming a world like unto the world that you lived out your probation on, having that as our only example of what a world is. You have already separated the light from the darkness, calling one Day and the other Night. Then, you placed a firmament in the midst of the waters, preceding the gathering of the waters so as to bring forth dry land. Next, you commanded your Earth to bring forth grass, herbs, and trees, with instruction to grow seed after its own kind. The Sun, Moon, and seasons followed. Finally, you brought forth the fishes, the beasts, the fowls, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth, saying to them, "Be fruitful, and multiply!" You exclaim to yourself, "This is Good!" and proceed to your next step, only you pause for a moment to reflect back on your time of probation, and all the fun you had while there. You remember the times you spent getting ready for hunting season, which was just a week away. You remember setting up all your gear and cleaning up your rifle. You see, you were happy, you had it in your heart to kill, but that gave you joy. So now here you are above your earth, filled with every creature imaginable ready and waiting for the glorious advent of their Heavenly Father, to come down, and form Man in his own image, and in his own likeness. But instead, what do you decide to do before creating Man? You say to yourself, "Hunting Season is here!"
And therein lays the recreational hunter's dilemma. How can he enjoy his bloodshed, and still expect the blessings of exaltation? In my humble opinion…