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Dear Gramps,

I have been struggling with some information that I have recently received. I have been an avid fly fisherman for several years now. I practice catch and release fishing and I know that even then, some of these fish will die later on. I have recently read that it is sinful to use animals for our own pleasure and that the wanton killing of them is a sin. Knowing this, I don’t know if I can continue to participate in something that I know will result in fatalities. I have read though of one of our prophets that enjoyed fishing as his pastime, and also in Mormon Doctrine it states that a healthy family activity is to go fishing. I don’t know what end is up at this point. Thanks for any light you can shed. I will do what is right. I will give up this activity without hesitation but I just need to know what is the right way or if there is a middle ground. HELP!

Curtis

 

Answer

 

Dear Curtis,

Some things are a matter of conscience. Perhaps, in cases like these, the right thing to do would be to follow your own inclinations. If you feel badly about doing something, you’re probably better off not doing it. If you want to know whether to feel badly or not, that is another question. The one scripture that may bear on the point is found in D&C 49:21,

And wo be unto man that sheddeth blood or that wasteth flesh and hath no need.

Fish are used for food and are harvested all over the world. The resurrected Lord prepared some fish over a fire to give breakfast to the seven disciples who had been fishing all night without success until the Lord showed them where to cast their nets (John 21:1-13).

After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself.

There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples.

Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.

But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.

Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No.

And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.

Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea.

And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes.

As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread.

10 Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught.

11 Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken.

12 Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord.

13 Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise.

So the question is, is it better to catch and release or to catch and save only what you would want to bring home and eat? That is perhaps something that you can decide best for yourself.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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