Is The Church Sacrificing Principle for Profit With Hunting Preserves?

Faithful DissidentGeneral Authorities, missionary, missions, Money, prophets, reverence, sports, violence, Word of Wisdom 44 Comments

“To what degree should the principle of ‘respect for life” be extended to bird and animal creations? What do the scriptures, Joseph Smith, and other early Church leaders teach about the grand design and purposes of God’s non-human creations? Does having “dominion” over the kingdom of creatures mean we are their predators and exploiters or does it suggest a “stewardship” relationship in which we become their caretakers in order to help them “fulfill the full measure of their creation?” If the scriptures teach, “woe be unto man that sheddeth blood or wasteth flesh and have no need,” and “the blood of every beast will I require at your hands,” what rationale could be used to explain Church-owned, revenue-generating enterprises such as Deseret Land and Livestock and the Westlake Hunting Preserve? Do these operations constitute sacrificing principle for profit?”

– Sacrificing Principle for Profit: Church Wildlife Enterprises and Hunting Preserves, Sunstone Magazine

I recently learned about the two Church-owned and sanctioned hunting preserves mentioned above and was stunned by what amounts to be the killing of animals for profit by the LDS Church.

Perhaps unlike other Church business enterprises, however, is the fact that missionaries were sent to “serve God in a most unusual way,” according to this July, 2000 article on Deseret News about the LDS Church’s hunting preserves.

According to the information packet from Deseret Land and Livestock obtained by the Sunstone speaker on this podcast, a guided archery hunt to bag an elk can fetch $11,500 plus tax and license, as of the year 2001.  (A more detailed price list can be accessed at around the 28 minute mark of the podcast.) When asked in a letter by concerned members of the Church how the hunting preserves could be ethically justified, the Presiding Bishopric (who oversees the hunting preserves) offered no response or explanation.

Now, many Mormons own a gun and many go hunting.  Millions of Americans go hunting every year and it’s a big industry.  So what’s the problem with the Church getting in on the profits?  Well, when we consider LDS scripture and statements by General Authorities such as the following, it’s clear that we’re not “just another hunting enterprise:”

“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, JST)

“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 … 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.” (President Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, Vol. 1, pp. 371-372)

“Now, I would like to add some of my feelings concerning the unnecessary shedding of blood and destruction of life … 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 … because God gave it to them, and they were to be used only, as I understand, for food and to supply the needs of men.” (President Spencer W. Kimball, “Fundamental Principles to Ponder and Live,” The Ensign, November 1978, p. 45)

“Killing for sport is wrong…One day, to while away the slowly passing hours, I took my gun with the intention of indulging in a little amusement in hunting turkeys… From boyhood I had been particularly, and I may say strangely, attached to a gun. Hunting in the forests of Ohio was a pastime that to me possessed the most fascinating attractions. It never occurred to my mind that it was wrong-that indulging in “what was sport to me was death to them;” that in shooting turkeys, squirrels, etc., I was taking life that I could not give; therefore I indulged in the murderous sport without the least compunction of conscience.”  (Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p.188-189)

Something happened between the days that those statements were made and the present day where sport hunting for profit within the Church was suddenly considered to be a good idea — so much so that missionaries were initially sent to tend to the grounds.  How did we get from the days where the Church fostered such a high regard for animal life that Joseph Smith prevented the unnecessary killing of rattlesnakes; when the pioneers would lay their hands upon their oxen to bless them; when their animals were valued as they were the key to their survival, and hunting was done only because it was necessary to sustain their lives — to the days when they’re hunted down for recreation and profit?  What does that say about our culture and our religion? 

Did I miss a change in LDS teaching concerning reverence for the Lord’s animal creations?  Or is the only change that we’ve put a price on their heads?

George Q. Cannon, counselor in the First Presidency under Brigham Young and editor of the Juvenile Instructor, probably wrote more concerning the humane treatment of animals than any member of the Church.  In 1868 he began writing editorials advocating kindness to animals and in 1897 he founded a Sunday School-sponsored “Humane Day,” which became an annual event.  Most members of the Church know nothing about it, but this program continued in the Church for the next twenty years.

It is perhaps a bit ironic that leaders of the Church — in the days of when members were more dependent on animals for their food and clothing — were so frequently vocal about the humane treatment of animals, emphasizing that we should never take their lives unless it is to save our own, whereas today — when we are much less dependent on animals for our survival, and are supposedly much more enlightened on the subject of animal intelligence, emotion, and sensitivity to pain — the leaders of the Church are mostly silent on the issue of animal welfare and see fit to send missionaries to tend to sport hunting grounds. 

 In the Deseret News article, referring to Elder Huff, who tended to Westlake, it says:

“Instead of knocking on doors, he spends his time bush- whacking in the thick brush along the southwest shores of Utah Lake, looking for the perfect place to nurture his birds by planting numerous stands of corn, rye and other grains….

Large holding tanks that are no longer used for farming now provide high-profile watering holes throughout the game preserve, attracting not only birds but rabbits, coyotes, deer and even antelope.”

Interestingly enough, President Joseph F. Smith made a very specific statement referring directly to hunting elk, deer and antelope, among others:

“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. I have been surprised at prominent men whom I have seen whose very souls seemed to be athirst for the shedding of animal blood. They go off hunting deer, antelope, elk, anything they can find, and what for? “Just the fun of it!” Not that they are hungry and need the flesh of their prey, but just because they love to shoot and to destroy life. I am a firm believer, with reference to these things, in the simple words of one of the poets:

“Take not way the life you cannot give,
For all things have an equal right to live.”

Answers to Gospel Questions, Vol.4, p.48

President Smith seems to predict with amazing accuracy what is going on at places like Westlake, where “prominent men,” (perhaps the “doctors, dentists and attorneys from Payson north to Ogden, including Park City,” that Elder Huff refers to in the Deseret News article) seem to be so “athirst for the shedding of animal blood” that they will literally spend tens of thousands of dollars to “go off hunting deer, antelope, elk, anything they can find, and what for?  Just the fun of it!”

Indeed, a very elite, lucrative kind of “fun” that had (as of 2001) a six-year waiting list.

Information about these hunting preserves is very sparse, but according to Jim Catano, who contacted the Church’s public affairs department and was “told by the director that he would answer my questions, a second-tier media handler was assigned to inform me weeks later that they would not answer any of the questions I’d submitted in preparation for this article.”  (The article he was referring to can be accessed here.)  After deciding to drop into Westlake unannounced and being given a tour by manager Kevin Albrecht, he found out the following in 2001:

“Our efforts in bringing our opposition to the attention of the Church hierarchy have already had an impact. Not only do missionaries no longer staff the facility but “canned hunts” in which birds that have been raised in captivity are released just before the hunters go in are no longer sponsored. Kevin said he had had several meetings with upper management as a result of our activism, and canned hunts were one of the first things to be changed.

He told me that in a meeting he recently attended of commercial hunting facility managers, people from other parts of the country were surprised how low the daily bag limit is (2 per day as opposed to “as many as you can shoot for a price”) and that the facility no longer plants hatched birds but relies only on wild reproduction. He informed me how strict rule enforcement is and that members must report birds they think they’ve wounded but can’t find as part of their daily limit. He’s fairly confident that members do this although I have my doubts that all do.”

Since information about these preserves is limited, I decided to get in contact with Jim in order to ask him whether he had any new information since his update in 2001.  He said that he had contacted Farm Management Corporation (wholly owned by the LDS Church to run its farm properties) sometime prior to 2003, but they “refused to talk to me and give me any more information on the subject at a certain point.”

So, while there have been positive changes as the result of protest about the initial practice of canned hunting, Jim says that it “didn’t change (his) mind about the merits of the existence of this facility.”  The end result has remained unchanged: animals being hunted down for Church profit.

This isn’t about sustaining the lives of doctors and lawyers or meat going to waste.  Who eats coyote?  And $11,500 for a few elk steaks?  This is about the number of animals being purposely multiplied by creating the perfect conditions and attracting them to the preseve for the purpose of being killed “just for fun” — not because they need the flesh to live on, as President Smith stated above. 

Ironically, The Humane Society of the United States  has a webpage dedicated to praising the LDS Church for its teachings about animal life.  Do we deserve the praise?  Or have we given nothing but lip service to our supposed respect for God’s creations and their right to life?

Despite past teachings and statements by General Authorities on the subject of hunting and the taking of animal life, many of you have no personal problem with sport hunting.  Obviously, you have the legal right to hunt and I realize that I’m unlikely to change your personal views on the matter.  I ask you, however, whether you would be troubled by any of the following purely hypothetical situations:

  • The Church preaches against alcohol consumption, but purchases a vineyard in California and profits from the sale of the grapes being harvested to produce wine.
  • The Church teaches that pornography is wrong, but has a stake in a popular fashion magazine featuring scantily-clothed women in sexual poses.
  • The Church opposes abortion but owns property in Florida that an abortion clinic rents.

Would you be prepared to defend these hypothetical scenarios in the same way that you defend the Church’s hunting preserves?

Of all the good ways to make a buck, is this the best we can do?  Are we or are we not, as a Church, sacrificing principle for profit?

Gerald E. Jones stated the following in in an Ensign article from August, 1972 called “The Gospel And Animals:”

“The prophets have been consistent in reminding men of their duty to the animal world. As the Lord told Noah, “… the blood of every beast will I require at your hands.” (JST, Gen. 9:11.) It is our sacred stewardship to care for the earth and all the creatures on it.”

The prophets have been consistent.  What about the Church?

I’ll leave you with a quote from Joseph F. Smith from an editorial published in the Juvenile Instructor in April, 1927:

“… The unnecessary destruction of life is a distinct spiritual loss to the human family. Men cannot worship the Creator and look with careless indifference upon his creations. The love of all life helps man to the enjoyment of a better life. It exalts the spiritual nature of those in need of divine favor.”

Comments 44

  1. We are/were hunters and fishers growing up. We never hunted for or kept trophies. My dad always made it a point that we were to never waste animal life or to treat them with disrespect. This was obseved “religiously”. My brother once shot and killed a robin with our bb gun and my father made him cook and eat it.

  2. Incest in general is forbidden, right? In the beginning, Adam and Eve’s children went two by two in the land.
    With the flood, there were only 8 survivors. We all know how the earth got repopulated.
    But now there is so much genetic diversity there is no need to marry a close relative. Incest served its purpose.
    Don’t the animals that the people kill in these preserves get used for food?

  3. I respect your desire for consistency within the church, but I’d like to leave you with two thoughts to consider:

    1) While hunters enjoy many aspects of the hunt, that doesn’t mean they don’t eat what they kill, nor that they don’t respect what they kill. Most of us do. The morons who want to shoot everything that moves are the exception. You noted yourself that in the days when members of the church were more dependent on animals, they were more respectful of them. I find this is true with most hunters, as counterintuitive as it seems. Personally, my respect for ALL animals has grown exponentially since I began hunting a very few of them.

    2) I’m sure it’s true that no one who pays to hunt at a preserve is going to starve if he/she doesn’t kill an animal that day. But I urge you to consider the alternative, which for most people is buying meat at a grocery store – meat that was raised in crowded conditions, fed unnatural food and pumped with hormones and antibiotics. Even if you can get free-range meat, it still lived its entire life as a slave destined to die at the hands of man, with not a single chance of escape. Is that somehow a more moral meat to eat than an animal a hunter has taken the time to kill and dress him/herself? Even at a preserve, an animal has a chance to use its wits to escape becoming a human hunter’s prey.

  4. I think there was an article on the Deseret News web site under LDS newsline about this just last week. As they said in the “Godfather”, it’s just business.

  5. It seems that the point you’re driving at is the seeming hypocrisy of the church. As has been noted, this isn’t the first time. But I must confess I’m not willing to jump on board with you.

    When critics of the church find something they don’t like that has been said by past prophets, apologists come to the defense claiming these people speak as men. Yet, when it suits the needs of the critic, or apologist, they quote at will the prophets supporting their claim. It seems to be completely a function of whether or not we agree with the statement. If not, we condemn (or excuse in the case of an apologist), and if so we aggrandize (or condemn in the case of the critic).

    I figure that if I am going to, in one case, condemn the words of the prophets because I don’t agree with them, then I better not use their words to try to prove a point. Hence, for me, I would look at this and say, “Yep, all those prophets said stuff about not killing animals. But since I believe, by definition, everything that comes out of the mouth of a prophet is the philosophies of men mingled with scripture, I don’t feel justified in condemning the actions of the church in this instance.”

  6. It was interesting to me to hear Pres. Kimball’s “don’t shoot the birdies” talk in conference and then the next morning hear church PR “clarify” his comments. I don’t hunt and personally don’t see the point in it but If people enjoy it and it’s legal then that’s their concern. What I am uncomfortable with is taking church owned property, staffing it with unpaid church service missionaries and turning it into a commercial enterprise. It seems to me it’s just asking for criticism from people that have ethical concerns about hunting. The other issue is that in not responding to peoples concerns it sends a message that if the Church has made a decision there’s no reason or room for criticism.

  7. So if the preserve is shut down and the land is used for something else, how many elk will live there then? What about all the other wildlife that live there and aren’t even hunted by humans? You see, without hunting the land mostly likely won’t be maintained for wildlife. Instead it will be operated for maximum production of timber, or crops, or perhaps it will be developed into a suburb or shopping mall. Sport hunting encourages land owners to manage their land at least partly for the benefit of wildlife. Sport hunters contribute money through license fees and payments to landowners. Sport hunters are also the prime contributors to organizations such as Ducks Unlimited that work to support the real needs of wildlife. So I think we need to show our respect for wildlife by engaging in sport hunting, or least by appreciating those who do.

    1. Your dire predictions for reuse of the land currently devoted to canned hunts is all supposition… Why not turn it into an ecological preserve that attracts photographers and others who seek outdoor experiences without the blood lust to kill the sentient creatures that inhabit them? Shame of the church for supporting and promoting blood sports, especially given the earlier comments of their founders.

    2. Can’t you just call it what it is? THIS is Trophy Hunting. It’s not sports hunting. There’s no sport in having to pay enormous fees ot kill, a guide drive you to your kill, help you load your weapon and tell you which angle would be best suited to bring the animal down. That’s not what this is. I know lots on hunters and no one I know pays over $11,000.00 for a kill permit.

  8. I have a friend who participated in a hunt of this kind in Alaska. He had the meat from the moose, in his case, packed into a large freezer, off which they ate for some time.

    Of all the many hypocrisies that people like to post about the Church, everyone has their hobby horse. I can understand an animal enthusiast objecting to this practice, but I have a hard time getting worked up about it. To make the venture worthwhile, presumably the natural population would have to remain healthy enough to guarantee the hunter shoots his prey. Logically, I’d have to assume, then, that the numbers being killed are in accordance with natural rates of death (whatever you’d call that metric). Many hunters take their sport seriously (I know several, though I am not one myself), and they kill humanely and eat the resulting meat.

    I just don’t have much moral outrage on this one, and I’m sure the Lord will figure it out in the end.

  9. I am not a vegetarian. I am not a hunter. If people need to hunt in order to provide food for their families, I don’t have a problem with that. But, I think that the cost of that food should be the hard work of hunting, like my brothers do each year. These hunting preserve “hunts” hardly qualify as work. I assume the patrons are more interested in the kill than the food. Is it legal? Sure. Is it a venture worthy of a people who have taken upon themselves the name of Christ? Not so sure.

  10. The first and last time I went hunting was in 8th grade (and my friend and I did clean, cook and eat the birds we shot); I don’t own a gun, and I’m not a big fan of hunting per se, particularly trophy hunting. I’m too much of a softy; I’ve had animals all my life (and type this with one of our MinPins tucked underneath my shirt).

    That said, this strikes me as outrage for the sake of outrage. Are you as outraged over fishing as you are over hunting? Do fish matter less than birds or deer? Are you as outraged over the vast Church cattle holdings, since the D&C tells us to eat meat sparingly? Is that sacrificing “principle for profit” as well?

    One could just as readily argue that these hunting preserves help train members to provide for themselves in the last days, or in times of famine. 😉 I may not like to hunt, but my bishop does, and he has a freezer full of elk as part of his food storage. He’s also one of the best men I know. Are you going to judge him, too? ..bruce..

    1. Yes, Yes, Yes, and Yes. I guess this is just another case of listening to the prophets when it suits a persons lifestyle. I find it really, really hard reading through these nonchalant responses about killing a living creature. For me it’s more about how the animal is killed. It’s about the church knowing they can “build it and they will come”. It’s about a religious institution CREATING the place to do it in and charging enormous admission fees if you will to kill….. everything about this church owned business is contradictory. Members should at least have a say in where their tithes are being spent, cuz lets face it. The church would have nothing without its faithful tithe payers.

  11. Hunting isn’t the issue. The issue if should the church be in the business of providing rich people the chance to kill something for sport. As pinkpatient said, I’m not so sure.

  12. You asked:

    I ask you, however, whether you would be troubled by any of the following purely hypothetical situations:

    * The Church preaches against alcohol consumption, but purchases a vineyard in California and profits from the sale of the grapes being harvested to produce wine.
    * The Church teaches that pornography is wrong, but has a stake in a popular fashion magazine featuring scantily-clothed women in sexual poses.
    * The Church opposes abortion but owns property in Florida that an abortion clinic rents.

    Ironically, I’m aware of the first two of these hypotheticals already happening. Brigham Young owned a brewery, and instructed the Saints in SW Utah to plant vineyards to make wine (acknowledged in a document linked on the FAIR website). According to D. Michael Quinn, it was discovered the Church owned a property in SLC that was used as a brothel. I’m not aware of the abortion clinic example yet, but hey, all is well in Zion, yea, Zion prospereth, so why are you trying to bring us all down?

    Get off your high horse and let’s all just enjoy our Mormon Mammon together! We need less Mormons like you and more Mormons like Mitt $$$ Romney. And pretty soon you’ll be able to enjoy an evening shopping at high end department stores in the Church’s 1 Billion Dollar Mammon Mall renovation across the street from Temple Square, and then spend the rest of your evening doing a couple temple sessions!

    “Isn’t it wonderful?”

  13. I find this thread to be comical and typical. Someone posts a thoughtful and serious post wherein it is made abundantly clear that past prophets have condemned a behavior that is now going on in the church. Sure enough, within a few comments here comes the cavalry shouting down the original commenter and making brilliant statements like “I’m sure the lord will figure it out in the end.” I personally don’t have a position on this issue, as I don’t believe past prophets were prophets any more than modern prophets. However, men who the church acknowledges as prophets have clearly condemned this kind of activity. And for those of you excusing these activities because the hunters eat the food, you should read the quotes more carefully. They didn’t say hunting was ok as long as the hunters don’t waste the food. They said it was only ok when the hunters NEED the animals for food. I’d be very interested in hearing how people doling out five figures for these joy hunts are doing it because they need to food for sustenance. It’s absolutely comical to watch active members downplay or simply justify flat out ignoring every teaching, prophecy, counsel and instruction that they don’t like or that isn’t important to them personally. Jana (#10) I think if you want to be a diligent member of the church, then every issue that has come from the brethren should be a “hobby horse.” Which is worse, the person who gets focused on one particular teaching or those who constantly jeer at them and attempt to marginalize the issue? Like I said, I personally don’t care about what the church is doing now in relation to what was said 50 or 100 years ago. I find it astounding, though, that those claiming to be followers of these men seem to feel the same.

  14. I think that the problem with hunting is not the act per se, but what is in the heart. I am on the same side with Spencer W. Kimball and Joseph F. Smith. I believe that when the Lord gave us dominion over the earth that he meant for us to take care of it and manage it responsibly. We are to be like a righteous king. I think that anyone who kills for fun and is not bothered by that is somewhat hardened. I guess I don’t understand the attitude. Is there no simpathy for Gods creations?

    There are times when killing is the prudent thing to do. For example, getting rid of ants. When I find a cricket in my house, I do no kill it but put it outside. I think that God respects this attitude.

  15. The topic of “sensus fidellum” was discussed quite some time ago on another blog, and I apologize for not remember which one. Perhaps someone with more computer savvy than me can find it. I think the ideas presented in that blog and the subsequent comments are relevant to help understand how the church as a whole takes up certain issues and raises them up as being very important markers to “follow the prophet”, but rejects, as a whole body of Saints, other counsel and admonition when it just doesn’t suit the majority. I mentioned in a comment on that blog these “hunting” counsels given by various prophets and another commenter compared them to how the church entirely picked up on how important following Pres. Hinckley’s “no more than one earring” counsel has become almost a “doctrine”. It’s an interesting concept, and, no, I don’t know Latin, so I may have spelled “sensus fidellum” wrong.

  16. #14 – Please use examples that are relevant. I don’t like the idea of hunting preserves that are funded by those who are willing to pay large suns to do so, but using a brewery in Brigham Young’s time and a brothel that was run clandestinely on land owned by the Church to make a point about this post? *sigh*

  17. So if the preserve is shut down and the land is used for something else, how many elk will live there then? What about all the other wildlife that live there and aren’t even hunted by humans? You see, without hunting the land mostly likely won’t be maintained for wildlife.

    If you read the article, they are trying to engage in nature preservation, and part of making that alternative use financially stable is running a hunting preserve on it. That way they can create a multi-use zone.

    The side effect is that rich people get to do something.

    Since everyone knows rich people are bad, and being able to pay for something is evil, I’m sure that everyone that is critical of the preserve has looked at the fact they access high speed internet and has sworn off of it … 😉

    But seriously, in this particular case, the land management results in more animals, not fewer. The real question that comes up is whether or not people can tolerate a system that does so by means of a market economy basis. But there is no sacrificing of principle for profit in that no one is wasting animals and denuding the land of them.

    As for finding out that land that you own is misused, that happens all the time (e.g. finding out that someone was using land owned by the Church in a REIT as a brothel). That is kind of like saying you bought into a stock index fund and it turns out that someone in a Dow Jones listed company has an employee who did something wrong.

    Ray has the right of it.

  18. I am not so sure you can make a strong case that hunting has been strongly condemned by the bretheren. For example Pres Monson hunts pheasants. Joseph Smith hunted ducks on the mississippi.

  19. #22

    “Since everyone knows rich people are bad, and being able to pay for something is evil, I’m sure that everyone that is critical of the preserve has looked at the fact they access high speed internet and has sworn off of it … ”

    Say what?

    “But seriously, in this particular case, the land management results in more animals, not fewer.”

    Is that live or dead? I assume dead since that’s what they’re there for. And “no sacraficing princlpe for profit” since they’re ending up dead anyway? And the LDS church is making money off it. I don’t think this qualifies as one of your “wise posts” Stephen.

  20. Does this person realize that were it not for hunters, the bird population would virtually wipe out many farmers crops in Canada and elsewhere?  I personally eat every bird I kill.  Does this person eat at McDonnalds?  Are you a vegatarian?  If you eat a hamburger, do you even know where the meat comes from?  An animal died to provide it for you. Some people are so ignorant.  President Monson is a bird hunter.  In fact, one of his favorite things to do is go goose hunting.  Animals were put here on earth for man…to eat and use.  There are many scriptures supporting the killing of animals for use (food and raiment, ie Clothing)  Where do you think that down comforter on your bed comes from?…goose feathers and no, they don’t grow back, the goose is dead. The only hypocracy here is that every time you eat meat, and animal had to die to provide that meat for you.  At least some of us are man enough to kill our own animals and YES it can be very fun!

    1. actually their feathers are removed while they are alive and they do grow back. this happens several times during their life cycle before they are killed.

  21. Not sure what that means…but as a result of this article, I contacted the preserve and am very proud to say that I am buying a permit for the 2012-2013 hunting season.  The cost is only $300 per year which is very reasonable.  They only sell about 20 permits each year.  It is not a privelidge reserved for the wealthy as was stated above.  I paid more for a 3 day guided hunt in Wyoming.  I can hunt here all season for only $300.  I found that much of the information here in the above article was NOT accurate at all.  I am grateful to the person who wrote this as I have learned of a new place here in Utah where I can kill more geese!  Happy Hunting!!!

    1. It’s cute how you spent $300 to try and prove some kind of a point to the author, but maybe you should ask for a refund because you’ve missed the whole point of the article. The author cares less about the killing of animals (and actually is supportive of using animals for food), and more about the church profiting from a practice that contradicts its teachings. Nobody cares if you go kill a goose. The church isn’t practicing what it preaches.

    2. Hey, Scott, I was wondering what you found in the article that was incorrect. Everything that was told to me came directly from management and was accurate at the time. And did you find your experience hunting there to be worth it? Did you happen to avail yourself of the private landing strip to access the place, or do they no longer operate that?

    3. Well Scott, I think you are not telling the entire truth here!

      I ALSO know someone who hunted here before you and her permit was about 30 times higher than yours. There is a “menu” to choose from. Members are not allowed to take one off the reserve with them. They are allowed complete access to the place when there, however. I guess it all depends on what questions you ask and what kind of hunting permit you would like. When posting all of the information would be genuinely appreciated as not to mislead. I might also remind you, while you posted part truth……………. not all of your information was accurate either. I think they call it lieing by omission.

  22. I am totally disappointed that there are only 4 comments to this article…but I guess that would explain why the church went ahead and allowed a hunting ground. Man, have the members’ hearts waxed cold along with the rest of the world or what? We’ve come a long way from the Primary children’s Humane Day that celebrated kindness to animals years ago. The contentious man above that delights in killing has obviously reaped the cold hearted and cruel character that comes from such callousness. If he finds it “fun” to take the life out of something he would feel distinctly out of place in the millennium (not that he’s going to be there). “And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely.” (Hosea 2:18.) I can’t wait for the Lord to destroy His own church’s hunting ground and I can’t wait to see the men who created this hunting ground stand at the Judgment bar and answer for “… the blood of every beast will I require at your hands.” (JST, Gen. 9:11.) Is the church so desperate for money that they are willing to stoop to this? I promise you that if the Primary children throughout the world knew about this hunting ground they would gather their dimes and quarters to pay the money that this operation rakes in rather than see their church be a part of killing as a pay for sport. This is truly a sign of the times, as Mormon prophesied. “Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing.
     36 And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts,…and your churches, yea, even EVERY ONE, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts.
     37 For behold, ye do love money…. 38 O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted THE holy church of God?
    Mormon stands fulfilled.

  23. “… The unnecessary destruction of life is a distinct spiritual loss to the human family. Men cannot worship the Creator and look with careless indifference upon his creations. The love of all life helps man to the enjoyment of a better life. It exalts the spiritual nature of those in need of divine favor.”

    How I would love to hear such words from the pulpit today!

  24. Thank You for this. I have referenced it not multiple times, and have shared it on my blog. This (trophy hunting) is a HUGE issue to me. When I found out about the church’s hunting preserve, that was sort of a last straw. I am happy that they no longer employ the service of full-time missionaries there, but I’m very troubled that it ever happened.

  25. Great article, and I hope they shut those places down, but unfortunately I think you are only hitting on the tip of the iceberg. Eating meat outside of times of famine, or strictly for survival is not in line with the word of wisdom. By all standards previously set by the prophets, modern day Mormons should be nearly Vegan, earth loving, tree hugging, diet soda avoiding hippies who love one another. But what happens when you justify something on one had, while condoning it on the other? Confusion, hypocrisy, and self justification due to lack of understanding.

    You can get all of the protein you need from beans, nuts, grains, and vegetables. You can plant these things, or cheaply purchase them at the store. Killing and eating animals under the previously stated guidelines no longer applies to our society. Its mans lust for power and dominance that fuels their need to kill. Take “Scott” below for example. That man has aggression and hatred in his heart, saying that killing helpless Birds is fun. However, he sleeps soundly at night knowing his prophet does it too. A man who can take innocent life so easily should never be able to preach compassion. The double standard appears again and again – no wonder everyone is so lost.

  26. Thanks for this article. Blood money is filthy lucre and the church should in no way be involved in the slaughter for pay of God’s innocent creations. It is disheartening and disgusting for me to see my church involved in this abomination and the blood of these innocents will be upon the heads of these perpetrators. Christ ran the money changers out of the temple….and this abomination run by His church I believe would make Him angry today. Growing up in the church we were always told, “What will Christ do” when faced with a decision. The leaders today should ask themselves the same question and if they truthfully reflected upon what the answer would be they would shut these abominations of blood for profit slaughterhouses down. They are ignoring the teachings of the founding leaders of the church taught (let alone what the Lord taught) and that is a tragic state of affairs. I have a testimony in the Gospel, but as my great grandfather Thomas Twiggs told his friend, President Heber J. Grant, when asked if he had a testimony, he said “I have a testimony of the gospel but the church has a bunch of dam fools in it.”

  27. Hey, Faithful Dissident, what happened to this blog? Are you no longer actively posting? Contact me via FaceBook if you prefer. Jim Catano.

  28. That is a wonderful suggestion! Killing animals for sport and eating them just because you “like it” when it is not an emergency is just plain wrong!

    We need to be freeing ourselves of the blood and sins of this generation and either hiring families in need or calling missionaries like they are to maintain such preserves.

    There would be nothing wrong whatsoever then, with charging preserve fees to maintain the beauty, splendor, sanctity of such preserves and to pay the maintenance workers!

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