Monday, October 28, 2013

Discord, the Animals, and the Restored Gospel

Best to just let these two work things out on their own.
As a part of the forces of darkness invading earth, Milton talks about Discord causing the animals to be at conflict with one another, which for obvious reasons causes Adam distress. There are several scriptural passages that talk about the restoration of peace among the animal kingdom during the Millenial reign.

I had always assumed that it was the restoration of the earth to its celestial state that would cause the animals to return to their pre-Fall behavior. I came across an interesting article in the August 1972 Ensign, a section of which reads:

"During the Zion’s Camp expedition in the summer of 1834, an incident occurred that allowed a practical application of concern for animal life. As related by the Prophet Joseph Smith in his history:
 “In pitching my tent we found three massasaugas or prairie rattlesnakes, which the brethren were about to kill, but I said, ‘Let them alone—don’t hurt them! How will the serpent ever lose his venom, while the servants of God possess the same disposition, and continue to make war upon it? Men 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.’ The brethren took the serpents carefully on sticks and carried them across the creek. I exhorted the brethren not to kill a serpent, bird, or an animal of any kind during our journey unless it became necessary in order to preserve ourselves from hunger.” (Documentary History of the Church, vol. 2, pp. 71–72.)"

The notion that it is mankind's responsibility to teach the animals how to return to peaceful behavior seems at odds with Milton's representation. Joseph Smith's teachings seem to place a lot more responsibility on the individual, and less on the grace and power of God. It also opens up the possibility that the evils of mankind taught animals how to be ferocious in the first place.

For the ultimate example of discord between both man and beast, I present the always popular "Guy on a Buffalo" for your viewing pleasure. Feel free to watch all 4 episodes. 

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