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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, from West Valley City, Utah


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).

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.


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