Mormonism and Animal Ethics
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Mormonism and Animal Ethics

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This is a powerpoint outlining basic arguments , scriptures, and prophetic quotes from LDS church leaders in favor animal rights/vegetarianism.

This is a powerpoint outlining basic arguments , scriptures, and prophetic quotes from LDS church leaders in favor animal rights/vegetarianism.

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Mormonism and Animal Ethics Mormonism and Animal Ethics Presentation Transcript

  • Mormonism and Animal Rights - Harmony or Contradiction?
  • A Simple Logical Argument:
    • 1. Raising animals to eat them causes them harm.
        • a) It causes them a tremendous amount of suffering and then death.
        • b) Suffering and death are harm.
    • The Principle of Non-Harming :
    • 2. It is wrong to do something that causes harm unless it has benefits that outweigh the harm caused.
    • 3. Raising animals for food does not have benefits that outweigh the harm caused.
        • a) Given that one can live healthfully without eating animals, it would seem that the only benefit of eating animals is taste.
        • b) The benefit of tasting good does not outweigh the harm of suffering and death to animals.
    • Therefore: it is wrong to raise animals for food.
  • A Logical Argument for Vegetarianism:
    • Furthermore, if we add the premises:
    • 4. If something is wrong then one ought not support it, and
    • 5. Eating meat supports the raising of animals for food, we get:
    • Conclusion: One ought not eat meat.
  • Difference 1: Reason/Intelligence:
    • There are two problems with ascribing the rights to life and non-harming based on reason or intelligence:
    • The first is that it would exclude some humans from the sphere of moral considerability.
    • The second is that it is an irrelevant distinction when it comes to suffering.
    • Thomas Jefferson wrote about slaves: “…But whatever be their degree of talent it is no measure of their rights. Because Sir Isaac Newton was superior to others in understanding, he was not therefore lord of the property or persons of others.”
    • At a convention for women’s rights, a black feminist activist, Sojourner Truth stated:
    • “ They talk about this thing in the head; what do they call it? [“Intellect,” whispered someone nearby.] That’s it. What’s that got to do with women’s rights or Negroes’ rights? If my cup won’t hold but a pint and yours holds a quart, wouldn’t you be mean no to let me have my little half-measure full?”
    • The great moral philosopher Jeremy Bentham, wrote:
    • “ The day may come when the rest of the animal creation may acquire those rights which never could have been withholden from them but by the hand of tyranny. The French have already discovered that the blackness of the skin is no reason why a human being should be abandoned without redress to the caprice of a tormentor. It may one day become to be recognized that [species differences] are reasons equally insufficient for abandoning a sensitive being to the same fate. What else is it that should trace the insuperable line? Is it the faculty of reason, or perhaps the faculty of discourse? But a full-grown horse or dog is beyond comparison a more rational, as well as a more conversable animal, than an infant of a day or a week or even a month, old. But suppose it were otherwise, what would it avail? The question is not, Can they reason ? Nor Can they talk ? But, Can they suffer ? ”
  • Difference 2: Animals are not spirit children of our heavenly Father.
    • I therefore now turn to what the prophets have had to say on this topic …
  • From the Bible:
    • “ A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.” (Proverbs 12:10.)
  • Animals Have Souls:
    • “ And out of the ground I, the Lord God, formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; … and they were also living souls; for I, God, breathed into them the breath of life …” (Moses 3:19)
    • Joseph Fielding Smith and others affirmed that animals have reason, intelligence, language and love. ( Man: His Origin and Destiny , pp. 194-195)
  • Animals Will Be Resurrected:
    • Brigham Young:
    • “ Always keep in view that the animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms - the earth and its fulness - will all, except the children of men, abide their creation--the law by which they were made, and will receive their exaltation.” (JD 8:191. See also JD 9:246)
  • Animals In Heaven:
    • Joseph Smith revealed:
    • Q: Are the four beasts limited to individual beasts, or do they represent classes or orders?
    • A: They are limited to four individual beasts, which were shown to John, to represent the glory of the classes of beings in their destined order or sphere of creation, in the enjoyment of their eternal felicity .
    • Q: What are we to understand by the eyes and wings, which the beasts had?
    • A: Their eyes are a representation of light and knowledge, that is, they are full of knowledge; and their wings are a representation of power, to move, to act, etc. (D&C 77:2-4.)
    • Animals have their own purposes.
  • Dominion:
    • True, we are given dominion over animals (Genesis 1:28) , but this does not mean domination, but stewardship as parents over children and as God over us.
    • Furthermore, there is such a thing as unrighteous dominion: “We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.” (D&C 121:39)
    • Which kind of dominion do we exercise over animals?
  • Unrighteous Dominion:
    • Joseph F. Smith: “The dominion the Lord gave man over the brute creation has been, to a very large extent, used selfishly, thoughtlessly, cruelly.” (JI 47 [February 1912]: 78)
    • George Q. Cannon: “He has made us lords over them [animals], and he is a coward and a tyrant who would abuse or inflict pain upon them. And remember this, God will call us to judgment for all our acts. If we have made a bad use of our power while here, he will take it from us hereafter; but if we have made a proper use of it, he will give us more power; for we shall have proved that we can be trusted.” (JI 6 [May 13, 1871]: 76)
    • “ No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; by kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge thy soul without hypocrisy and without guile.” (D&C 121: 41-42)
  • Kindness to Animals:
    • Many prophets and apostles have taught kindness to animals.
    • Here are a few examples:
  • Joseph Smith, Jr.:
    • “ M en must become harmless, before the brute creation; and when men lose their vicious dispositions and cease to destroy the animal race, the lion and the lamb can dwell together, and the sucking child can play with the serpent in safety.”
    • “ 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.” (DHC 2:71)
    • Joseph F. Smith said about this story: “Such is the humane teaching of the Latter-day Prophet, and such should be the instruction given throughout the Church.” (JI 47 [February 1912]: 74)
  • Brigham Young:
    • “ The more purity that exists, the less is the strife: the more kind we are to our animals, the more will peace increase, and the savage nature of the brute creation vanish away.” (JD 1:203)
    • “ But when man becomes their true friend, they will learn to love and not to fear him. The Spirit of the Lord which will rest upon man will also be given to the animal creation--man will not hurt nor destroy, not even tigers and lions and wolves and snakes, and they will not harm him--and universal peace will prevail.” (JI 24 [December 1, 1889]: 548-549.)
  • Brigham Young, continued:
    • “ And I recommend to all the good citizens of Utah, that they abstain from everything that is calculated to mar or grieve the Spirit of their heavenly Father ...that all men attend to their flocks and herds with carefulness; and see that no creature in their charge is hungry, thirsty, or cold.” ( Ensign , November 1971, p. 40)
    • “… and take care of them well; then we can enjoy ourselves, and we are not the authors of misery to any part of creation.” (JD 11:150)
    • “ If we maltreat our animals, or each other, the spirit within us, our traditions, and the Bible, all agree in declaring it is wrong.” (JD 1:336-337)
    • “ Were it not for the ignorance of the people, the Lord would curse them for such things.” (JD 15:227)
  • Lorenzo Snow:
    • “ 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.”
    • “ But at this time a change came over me. While moving slowly forward in pursuit of something to kill, my mind was arrested with the reflection on the nature of my pursuit--that of amusing myself by giving pain and death to harmless, innocent creatures that perhaps had as much right to life and enjoyment as myself . I realized that such indulgence was without any justification, and feeling condemned, I laid my gun on my shoulder, returned home, and from that time to this have felt no inclination for that murderous amusement .” ( The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow , pp. 188-189)
  • Lorenzo Snow, continued:
    • Will the Latter-day Saints cease eating meat before the Millennium comes?
    • In 1897, President Lorenzo Snow said he “thought the time was near at hand when the Latter-day Saints should be taught to refrain from meat eating and the shedding of animal blood.” ( Journal History , November 3, 1897)
    • Brigham Young said, analogously, “When man lives to the age of a tree, their food will be fruit. If the people were willing to receive the true knowledge from heaven in regard to their diet they would cease eating swine’s flesh. I know this as well as Moses knew it.” (JD; v. 2; pp. 269-271)
  • Joseph F. Smith:
    • “ In relation to shedding blood and to the destruction of life … It is not only wicked to destroy them, it is abominable, in my opinion. I think that this principle should extend, not only to the bird life but to the life of all animals.”
    • “ I never could see why a man should be imbued with a bloodthirsty desire to kill, and destroy animal life.” (JI 48 [May 1913]: 308-309)
  • Joseph F. Smith, continued:
    • “ I do not believe any man should kill animals or birds unless he needs them for food.”
    • “ I am a firm believer, with reference to these things, in the simple words of one of the poets: ‘Take not away the life you cannot give, For all things have an equal right to live.’” (JI 48 [May 1913]: 308-309)
  • Joseph F. Smith, part 3:
    • “ What is it to be humane to the beasts of the fields and birds of the air? It is more than to be considerate of the animal life entrusted to our care. It is a grateful appreciation of God's creations. It is the lesson of divine love. To Him all life is a sacred creation for the use of His children. Do we stand beside Him in our tender regard for life?”
    • “ The unnecessary destruction of life begets a spirit of destruction which grows within the soul. It lives by what it feeds upon and robs man of the love that he should have for the works of God. It hardens the heart of man... The unnecessary destruction of life is a distinct spiritual loss to the human family. Men can not 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.”
    • “ Love of nature is akin to the love of God; the two are inseparable.” (JI 53 [April 1918]: 182-183)
  • Joseph F. Smith, part 4:
    • “ Kindness to the whole animal creation and especially to all domestic animals, is not only a virtue that should be developed, but is the absolute duty of mankind.” (JI 47 [February 1912]: 79)
    • “ Kindness to animals and to all living things is one good way of expressing true religion. Cruelty to the dumb creation always shows an absence of the true religious spirit; and in most cases, is simply barbarous.” (JI 50 [June 1915]: 375)
    • “ He who treats in a brutal manner a poor, dumb animal at that moment disqualifies himself for the companionship of the Holy Spirit; for the Lord will not sanction an unrighteous act, and it is an unrighteous thing to treat any creature cruelly.” (JI 47 [February 1912]: 79)
  • Joseph F. Smith, part 5:
    • “ No man or woman, no boy or girl, who has any kind feelings will inflict unnecessary pain upon any creature. Such persons will not hurt a worm. Animals feel pain very acutely. They know when they are treated kindly and when they are abused. God has given them this feeling, and if men or boys abuse them, He will condemn and punish them for so doing. They prove themselves unworthy of the power they have , and, by their cruelty, they sink beneath the brute.”
    • “ Children, remember these words. Do not hurt anything unnecessarily. Do not throw stones at animals; do not worry them with dogs. We have seen boys take hold of cows' tails and beat them with sticks every jump they took until they were tired. When ever we see such an action we feel that it would serve the boy perfectly right if some man were to give him a sound thrashing. He might then know how to sympathize with the poor brute whom he had mistreated.” (JI 3 [September 1, 1868]: 132)
  • Joseph Fielding Smith:
    • “ There is no inference in the scriptures that it is the privilege of men to slay birds or beasts or to catch fish wantonly. The Lord gave life to every creature, both the birds in the heavens, beasts on the earth, and the fishes in the streams or seas. They also were commanded to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. It was intended that all creatures should be happy in their several elements. Therefore to take the life of these creatures wantonly is a sin before the Lord.”
    • “ It is easy to destroy life, but who can restore it when it is taken?”
    • “ Man should be more the friend and never an enemy to any living creature. The Lord placed them here.” ( Answers to Gospel Questions 4: 43-44)
  • David O. McKay:
    • “… What fun can there be in treating dumb animals in that cruel way!” ( Conference Report , Oct 1951, p. 181)
    • “ The first line in what is now known as the ‘Psalm of Love’ is this: ‘Love suffereth long and is kind.’ A true Latter-day Saint is kind to animals, is kind to every created thing, for God has created all.”
    • “ He is right, the author of the ‘Ancient Mariner’ when he deplores the killing of the albatross, when he wrote these lines: ‘He prayeth best who loveth best all things both great and small, For the dear God who loveth us, he made and loveth all.’” ( Conference Report , October 1951, pp. 180-181)
  • Spencer W. Kimball:
    • “ One of the songs that has disappeared was number 163, "Don't Kill the Little Birds," and I remember many times singing with a loud voice:
        • Don't kill the little birds,
        • That sing on bush and tree.
        • All thro' the summer days,
        • Their sweetest melody.
        • Don't shoot the little birds!
        • The earth is God's estate,
        • And he provideth food
        • For small as well a great.
        • ( Deseret Songs , 1909, no. 163.)
    • This made a real impression on me, so I could see no great fun in having a beautiful little bird fall at my feet.” ( Ensign , May 1978, pp. 47-48)
  • Spencer W. Kimball, continued:
    • [At the next general conference] “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 .” ( Ensign , November 1978, pp. 44-45)
  • George Q. Cannon:
    • “ But it is not only the shedding of human blood which children should be taught to avoid; they should be impressed with the value of animal life. No animal should be killed except to supply food for the sustenance of human beings.” (JI 26 [July 15, 1891]: 442)
    • “ The question, therefore which every sportsman should ask himself is, Have I need? Am I or my family hungry? If so, of course man is justified in killing animals or birds to satisfy his or his family's hunger. But if he has not any want of meat he ‘sheddeth blood,’ and he exposes himself to this wo which the Lord has pronounced . It is not only wasting flesh that is pronounced against, but the shedding of blood.”
  • George Q. Cannon, continued:
    • “ There can be no doubt in the mind of any person who believes in the God of heaven that He will hold man accountable for any ill treatment of the creatures He has placed under his control, and those who misuse or treat them with cruelty will be called to an account for such acts. It is not our acts to our fellow man alone that we shall be called to an account for, but our acts to the creations of our Father in heaven. These animals are His, He created them, and they are not outside of the reach of His love and care, and they cannot be badly treated with impunity.”
    • “ This is a lesson that should be impressed deeply upon the minds of the young, and when they are awakened to realize this they will be more humane to the animals they have in their keeping and be more likely to treat them with consideration and kindness.”
  • George Q. Cannon, part 3:
    • “ How marked is the difference between man's cruelty and thoughtlessness to the mute creation, and God's care for all the works of His hands.”
    • “ Be kind, therefore, to all the creatures around. Do not hurt them without a just cause. Ask yourself how you would like a person who had you in his power to treat you, and then treat animals which you have in charge accordingly.” (JI 6 [May 13, 1871]: 76)
  • Heber C. Kimball:
    • “ They are as good as we are in their sphere of action; they honour their calling, and we do not, when we abuse them: they have the same life in them that you have, and we should not hurt them. It hurts them to whip them, as bad as it does you; and when they are drawing as though their daylights would fly out of them, you must whip, whip, whip. Is there religion in that? No; it is an abuse of God's creation that he has created for us....Let us be merciful to the brute creation.” (JD 5: 137-138)
    • “ Our religion and the spirit of Christ would teach us to be kind to them, to encourage them by bating and nourishing them..... act more like wise men and Saints of God.” (JD 9:336)
  • Heber C. Kimball, continued:
    • “ Is this the spirit of Christ and of our holy religion to be cruel to animals and beat them in this way? I say no.”
    • “ Will a man or boy who has the Spirit of God be cruel or unkind to dumb creatures because they are in his power? No, for the Spirit of God fills men and boys with love and compassion, and they would as soon think of abusing their companions as they would of abusing a horse, ox or any other animal.”
    • “ There is nothing in the spirit of love that will kill or destroy unnecessarily.” (JD 6:128)
  • Other Apostles:
    • Jedediah M. Grant: “I never misuse a beast … Do right, be kind and gentle.” (JD 2:73)
    • Hyrum M. Smith, of the Council of the Twelve Apostles, and Elder Janne M. Sjodahl: “To kill, when not necessary, is a sin akin to murder.” ( Doctrine and Covenants Commentary , p. 286.)
  • The Scriptures:
    • It appears that Adam and Eve were vegetarian: “The earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.” (Genesis 1:29-30)
    • The first time in scripture that humans are given permission to eat animals is after the flood, when God says to Noah: “And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.” (Genesis 9:2-3)
  • The Scriptures:
    • But God’s permission to eat meat is followed with a stern warning: “But, the blood of all flesh which I have given you for meat, shall be shed upon the ground, which taketh life thereof, and the blood ye shall not eat. 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 .” (JST Genesis 9:10-11)
    • This scripture seems to be saying that the only time we should kill animals is if we would starve otherwise.
  • The Scriptures: Pro-Meat?
    • D&C 49 teaches: “And whoso forbiddeth to abstain from meats, that man should not eat the same, is not ordained of God; For, behold, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which cometh of the earth, is ordained for the use of man for food and for raiment, and that he might have in abundance.” (D&C 49:15, 18-19)
    • The next two verses: “But it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin. And wo be unto that man that sheddeth blood or that wasteth flesh and hath no need .” (D&C 49: 20-21).
  • The Scriptures: Pro-Meat?
    • D&C 59 states: “All things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man …”
    • But the next verse clarifies: “For unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion. ” (D&C 59: 18-19)
    • The mistreatment of animals on today’s factory farms could easily be referred to as ‘extortion.’ [Definition: obtaining something by means of threats, force, fraud, or wrong use of authority] .
  • The Word of Wisdom:
    • “ Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly ; And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine .”
    • “ All grain is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life, not only for man but for the beasts of the field, and the fowls of heaven, and all wild animals that run or creep on the earth; And these hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger .” (D&C 89:12-15.)
  • The Word of Wisdom, continued:
    • ‘ Sparingly’ can mean “in great moderation,” or “in a sparing or saving manner.” The word of wisdom therefore may be expressing a concern for animal life as well as for our health. An article in the Times and Seasons (while Joseph Smith was prophet) addressed this issue: “Let men attend to these instructions; let them use the things ordained of God; let them be sparing of the life of animals.” ( Times and Seasons III [June 1, 1842]: 801)
    • Again, it is remarkable how clear and consistent the scriptures are on this topic: we are given permission to eat meat, but repeatedly admonished to do so only when necessary. Winter, cold, famine, and excess of hunger are times when non-animal foods was not available. Today, we have ample vegetarian food available all year around.
  • Scriptural Justifications for Eating Meat:
    • “ 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.” (JST Genesis 9:10-11)
    • “ And wo be unto that man that sheddeth blood or that wasteth flesh and hath no need.” (D&C 49: 20-21)
    • “ For unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion. ” (D&C 59: 18-19)
    • “ Nevertheless they are to be used sparingly ; And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine .” (D&C 89:12-13)
    • “ And these hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger.” (D&C 89:15)
  • Prophetic Justifications for Eating Meat:
    • Joseph Smith : “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.” (DHC 2:71.)
    • George Q. Cannon (1 st counselor in the 1 st presidency): “Am I or my family hungry? If so, of course man is justified in killing animals or birds to satisfy his or his family's hunger. But if he has not any want of meat he ‘sheddeth blood,’ and he exposes himself to this wo which the Lord has pronounced.” ( JI 34 [Oct 1,1899]: 592.)
    • Joseph F. Smith : “I do not believe any man should kill animals or birds unless he needs them for food. …” (JI 48 [May 1913]: 308-309.)
    • Hyrum M. Smith : “To kill, when not necessary, is a sin akin to murder.” ( D&C Commentary , p. 286.)
    • Heber C. Kimball : “There is nothing in the spirit of love that will kill or destroy unnecessarily.…” (JD 6:128.)
  • How Animals are ‘Harvested’:
  • Now, Meet Your Meat
    • Warning: The contents of this video are highly disturbing but true.
    • You are about to witness are the very real consequences of humanity’s choice to eat animals.
  • Remember :
    • “ Men must become harmless, before the brute creation” (JS)
    • “ [see that] we are not the authors of misery to any part of creation.” (BY)
    • “ If we maltreat our animals, or each other, the spirit within us, our traditions, and the Bible, all agree in declaring it is wrong.” (BY)
    • Cruelty to the dumb creation always shows an absence of the true religious spirit; and in most cases, is simply barbarous. (JFS)
  • Joseph F. Smith:
    • “ He who treats in a brutal manner a poor, dumb animal at that moment disqualifies himself for the companionship of the Holy Spirit; for the Lord will not sanction an unrighteous act, and it is an unrighteous thing to treat any creature cruelly.” (JI 47 [February 1912]: 79)
    • “ Kindness to the whole animal creation and especially to all domestic animals, is not only a virtue that should be developed, but is the absolute duty of mankind.” (JI 47 [February 1912]: 79)
  • Daniel’s Experiment and The Effects on our Health
  • The Vision for the Future:
    • Let us, then as latter-day saints, seek to refrain from supporting anything that harms our fellow beings, and our own health, so that we can be part of bringing forth that beautiful day when:
    • “ The enmity of man, and the enmity of beasts, yea, the enmity of all flesh, shall cease from before my face” (D&C 101:24-26) and the lion and the lamb can finally lie down together “And they shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain.”
    • (Isaiah 11:6-9)
  • Brigham Young:
    • “ But when man becomes their true friend, they will learn to love and not to fear him. The Spirit of the Lord which will rest upon man will also be given to the animal creation--man will not hurt nor destroy, not even tigers and lions and wolves and snakes, and they will not harm him--and universal peace will prevail.” (JI 24 [December 1, 1889]: 548-549.)
  • In the Service of our Fellow Beings (Mosiah 2:17)