Miracles saved Mormon missionary mauled by lions, father says


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  • awsomeron1 Oahu, HI
    Sept. 2, 2011 2:28 p.m.

    You folks are just to Judgemental.

    Its not the Lions fault to them he is food.

    Of course we want to Credit Quick Action and Prayers and thne perhaps dumb luck for saving him.

    Perhap he should have stayed with his group, perhaps he has always been a little bit that way more adventureous.

    If Hamilton can over come her Shark then he can over come his Lion.

    A least nothing really vital was bitten off.

  • Rainman Syracuse, UT
    July 18, 2011 7:04 p.m.

    Sometimes good people make bad decisions. God bless...

  • davidroy Flagstaff, AZ
    July 17, 2011 3:18 p.m.

    I have to wonder how many of those critical of this young Elders judgment have texted while
    driving the interstate at high speed in traffic? Point is we ALL commit errors of judgment from
    time to time. Fortunately nothing bad happens.....most of the time...so we don't even acknowledge
    that we have use bad judgment. But every so often that lapse in judgement results in an
    unwanted incident....like it did with this young man. Most of us learn from this and move on,
    hopefully a little bit wiser.

  • The Bishop CHINQUAPIN, NC
    July 16, 2011 7:26 a.m.

    Jeeze, I thought eating Okra as a Missionary in SC was tough! I will be praying for the recovery of this young man.

  • MormonDem Provo, UT
    July 16, 2011 1:36 a.m.

    Yes, I hope the boy recovers fully, but it really bothers me that the DN wants to make this a faith-promoting story, complete with anecdotal reports of quick prayers that produce instant, miraculous results.

    I have four sons who, I hope, will serve missions. If they read this article, I don't want the moral of the story to be "emergency prayers will save you in a pinch," I want the moral to be "Don't do stupid stuff on your mission"!

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    July 15, 2011 7:57 a.m.

    If some one is not smart enough to follow laws and rules and respect staying out of reach of lions, then how smart can they be in telling others what to believe.

  • BirdmanKen Fishers, IN
    July 14, 2011 8:06 p.m.

    This articles lists the several miracles the family sees in this young guy's survival, but those miracles don't seem so impressive in light of the glaring foolishness of having gotten too close to the lion's cage.

  • charlie91342 Sylmar, CA
    July 14, 2011 12:24 p.m.

    mauled by a lion? sounds biblical... I guess mormons really are christians.

  • RR_Xing San Diego, CA
    July 14, 2011 9:24 a.m.

    Makes me glad I got that "preach the gospel to every creature" picture with some cows.

  • 2centsworth RICHMOND, VA
    July 14, 2011 9:13 a.m.

    Article title forms picture of missionary walking in jungle and getting jumped by lions.

    Elder made a bad choice,got hurt,lived.

    Hope something good comes out of it.

    The only one who truly knows all and every detail of it is God.

    What we have is opinions and bits and pieces of the facts.

  • redsweater HUMMELSTOWN, PA
    July 14, 2011 8:23 a.m.

    It's wonderful how even when we make unwise choices Heavenly Father will send aid. I'm thankful for a loving forgiving Heavenly Father and for the power of prayer.

    Get well Elder Oakey.

  • nick humphrey kent, WA
    July 14, 2011 7:34 a.m.

    @munk "What impresses me is that fact that Elder Oakley kept on fighting the lions. I am not going into the religious aspects of this and that or standing too close or what.. but that he fought two lions, granted for his life, still. Talk about some inner strength there."

    you cant have your cake and eat it too =) he can't get props if it was the god of the old testament that saved him ;) i think though most people "fight like lions" to save their own "hide". this kid just got lucky (not to mention the lions were behind bars). others in similar situations haven't been so lucky.

  • NightTrader Colonia, Yap, FSM
    July 14, 2011 6:04 a.m.

    @Barack: You commented "Pretty soon we had a new mission rule, Missionaries are not to play with lions. Yeah, pretty sure we were the only mission in the world that had that rule."

    I had to chuckle. I am sure all missions have their "unique" rules. My wife and I served in Micronesia where we had a few goodies. "Missionaries are not to climb coconut trees", and another -- "Missionaries are not allowed to eat dog". The unfortunate thing is that these, and several other unique rules were imposed because someone got badly hurt, sick, or sent home because of silly pranks.

  • nick humphrey kent, WA
    July 14, 2011 5:15 a.m.

    and yet someone else somewhere in the world prays to the god of the old testament for help and that person *doesn't* get help. this is a textbook example of the logical fallacy called Post hoc ergo propter hoc: "Since that event followed this one, that event must have been caused by this one."

    if you don't subscribe to that, then what kind of message would this incident teach? you can break the rules, pray and still get helped out.

    no matter what, it's good that the young man wasn't more seriously hurt.

  • Lyle Springville, UT
    July 13, 2011 10:50 p.m.

    I hope Elder Oakey recovers 100%. Then, when sitting around with others who've been on missions, talking about the worst things that happened on their missions, and it's his turn, he can say, "Well, now..."

  • Munk Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 13, 2011 7:47 p.m.

    What impresses me is that fact that Elder Oakley kept on fighting the lions. I am not going into the religious aspects of this and that or standing too close or what.. but that he fought two lions, granted for his life, still. Talk about some inner strength there.

    Get well soon Elder.

  • JohnJacobJingleHeimerSchmidt Beverly Hills, CA
    July 13, 2011 6:53 p.m.

    "davidroy | 3:46 p.m. July 13, 2011
    Flagstaff, AZ
    It doesn't take long for the blame game to start.....the very first post. And one has to wonder if these same
    people have "ever" put themselves into a potentially dangerous situation without giving it much thought. Like
    this Elder I'm sure they have, especially when they were around his age."

    I can honestly say I have never climbed closer to a lion cage to give them free samples.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    July 13, 2011 5:23 p.m.

    Doctor, Doctor, the lion bites when I do this!!
    Then don't DO that!!

  • BYU Track Star Los Angeles, CA
    July 13, 2011 5:10 p.m.

    The article quoted the Father of the Mauled Elder that "He (also) credits a higher power for saving his son's life." This quote gives me paws(sic). What power does the Father attribute for putting his Missionary son in harm's way in the first place? Surely, Satan was busy elsewhere. and the Lions were afterall doing what lions do. I.e. lying around around for a pray (sic) opportunity to come along. I hope they teach a survival seminar at the MTC so our Elders won't get an honorable mention in the ongoing "Darwin Awards" series.

  • davidroy Flagstaff, AZ
    July 13, 2011 3:46 p.m.

    It doesn't take long for the blame game to start.....the very first post. And one has to wonder if these same
    people have "ever" put themselves into a potentially dangerous situation without giving it much thought. Like
    this Elder I'm sure they have, especially when they were around his age. I'm sure if he had thought there was
    a high risk he wouldn't have done it. Probably thought the risk was minimal, if indeed there was even a risk.

    Easy to look from the outside and make judgement calls, especially if you are not at the scene to fully assess
    the circumstances and surroundings. Heck, I'm 70 and I still do some crazy stuff...some might even consider
    potentially dangerous...to get that special picture. With risk comes reward or failure. Those that avoid risk
    will know neither. And that's ok. But lets not demean people that do take "reasonable" risks. I'm not going to
    judge whether he knowingly, with utter disregard regard for his well being, put himself into a high risk situation before I know the details. I rather doubt that that was the case.

  • CougarBlue Heber City, UT
    July 13, 2011 3:26 p.m.

    Sadly from my experience missionaries are young men and do not make the best choices in the world. They seem to think they are not vulnerable because they are serving the Lord. I do feel sorry for this young man.

    By the way Woods Cross. It is High Councilors. A counselor serves with a President. High Councilors are part of a council. At least you did not call them High Councilmen like so many members do. A Councilmen is part of a city council.

  • beuhman Sandy, UT
    July 13, 2011 2:33 p.m.

    Stupid move by a young kid. Hope he gets well.

  • AZJazzFan Gold Canyon, az
    July 13, 2011 1:54 p.m.

    So, he climbed the wall to get a better picture, did he get a better picture then? Then he got a close up with the lion. Did he get a picture of that too?

    Ok, the tongue and cheek aside, as indicated in many comments young men do stupid things sometimes. I saw it often as a missionary. Missionaries need to remember at all times who they represent. That said, the great majority I believe are doing that. I hope these issues can be addressed in their training at the MTC. Silly decisions can present poor impressions and as indicated can result in injury.

    Best wishes to the elder in his recovery. I hope he is humble about his story and does not address it in a boastful way. He is fortunate to be alive.

  • hump100 West Jordan, UT
    July 13, 2011 12:49 p.m.

    Would this have been a miracle if he wasn't mormon?

  • OnlyInUtah Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 13, 2011 11:59 a.m.

    I feel sorry for what happened to this Elder but if he'd obeyed the rules of the zoo he wouldn't have needed a miracle.

  • Neanderthal knoxville, TN
    July 13, 2011 11:16 a.m.

    Please stop climbing tall walls by lions' cage to get a pictures. It just doesn't pay.

  • washcomom Beaverton, OR
    July 13, 2011 11:07 a.m.

    Rule number one: Follow all rules. Rule number two: Follow all rules.

  • MoJules Florissant, MO
    July 13, 2011 11:05 a.m.

    Boy, I am so glad that when I was a young missionary, I didn't do stupid things, oppps, I did. Now there are two good reasons at my age around 35 years older now, I would not, first, my old arthritic body could not climb the wall, and second, I have a tad more wisdom and have made my share of silly mistakes to have learned from. Now, in comparison of my knowledge as to my Father in Heavens, he has more then 35 years on me and more understanding and less judgement. I am happy that this young man was blessed with the prayers, blood and Doctors on hand to safe his life and limbs. Just because he did something that I am too old and less daring to do, we call that wisdom, this doesn't mean that he was not entitled to blessings from on high. I wish him the best in his recovery.

  • TheAtheist slc, u
    July 13, 2011 10:40 a.m.

    I wish Paul all the best in his recovery. However I think the article is not new worth the way its presented. God put forth a miracle to save Paul from the lion attack? I guess God also must of sent Paul into the lion pit to be mauled.

  • SpanishImmersed Mesa, AZ
    July 13, 2011 10:14 a.m.

    The word miracle is better stated as fortunate, or perhaps, a tender mercy. Many within and outside the LDS faith hold the word miracle to higher criteria.

    I agree with those above who said, the word miracle is being used as a coping mechanism for the family to acknowledge gratitude, because this tragedy could have been worse.

  • Eliot Santaquin, UT
    July 13, 2011 9:56 a.m.

    The Deseret News is reporting on the incident using comments made by the missionary's father. It is the father who states repeatedly that the sparing of his son's life was a miracle. Even the title of the article indicates that. Nowhere in the article does the writer offer his own validation of the father's statements. He only reports that the father believes it was a miracle. That is relevant to the story. It is probably interesting to many newspaper readers even though, oddly, it appears to offend others.

  • stat1 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 13, 2011 9:56 a.m.

    Mormon missionaries should not enter lions dens.

  • OLD-GUY Central, Utah
    July 13, 2011 9:54 a.m.

    I believe the Lord follows the natural laws in most cases. If a person gets too close to lions, they will react. Some will react with "play" and others may react with violence. If I stand in front of a speeding truck and get hit, natural law says I will get hurt. If I don't pay my taxes, there will likely be consequences.

    We should always think (and even pray for wisdom & inspiration) about what we plan to do and what the consequences might be. Yes, experience and maturity can help, but sometimes old guys do unwise things too.

    Yesterday I climbed up on a chair, it was a MIRACLE that chair didn't tip causing me to fall and injure myself. I'm not to sure that the hand of the Lord was steadying that chair just so I wouldn't have a broken arm so I could type comments in the Deseret News today and admit I wasn't so smart.

    In the case of the missionary who I wish a speedy recovery. If it had been a middle-aged zoo-keeper would the headlines still be in the Deseret News of a miracle, maybe so. Learn from mistakes of others.

  • DonO Draper, UT
    July 13, 2011 9:43 a.m.

    If the missionary's father can comfort himself by attributing his son's survival to a miracle, so be it. But the D News shouldn't buy into it. I was always taught that the Lord expects us to use our God-given common sense, and that when we don't we have to pay the consequences. The missionary showed extemely poor judgment by scaling the wall. A comment from someone at the zoo about the sheer folly of such an action would have helped the D News story...a lot.

  • momofbron Brooklyn, NY
    July 13, 2011 9:12 a.m.

    I hope that Elder Oakley is recovering well. The missionaries are young, and most being teenagers, tend to do silly things. Climbing on that wall was definitely not a wise thing to do. It's unfortunate that this terrible accident happened. You have to be careful when around wild animals. We cannot change their instincts. Good luck to Elder Oakley.

  • gmak Spanish Fork, UT
    July 13, 2011 9:09 a.m.

    I really hope and pray that he recovers completely.
    At first, when I read about this I thought he had climbed a concrete wall where there was nothing between him and the lions but the wall. But there was a cage/fence between him and the lions. He likely didn't believe that the lions could reach him from inside the cage.
    The young are lacking in experience and maturity by definition.

    Nevertheless, I would wish anyone a good recovery from the injuries, no matter who they were. And definitely, he's gained some experience...hopefully, some maturity too.

  • Vince the boonies, mexico
    July 13, 2011 9:00 a.m.

    This is just another in the long list of ridiculous mistakes taken by today's "instant gratification" generation. It's fantasy young-uns if you think wild animals think and react like you, reality is that they should be trated as wild and dangerous. I hope this unfortunate accident serves as a wake up call to this generation mentioned above and that they live life more on the reality side. This young man was very lucky to survive an attack by two lions let alone one and prayers had nothing to do with his survival. It's more like "pure" luck!

  • donn layton, UT
    July 13, 2011 8:37 a.m.

    Elder Oakey climbed up a tall concrete wall to have his picture taken in front of the zoo's lion exhibit. Sometimes maturity is helpful.

    Elder(presbyteros,4245)Presbyterian. Among the Jews members of the great council or Sanhedrin because in early times the rulers of the people, judges, etc., were selected from elderly men. Among the Christians, those who presided over the assemblies (or churches) The NT uses the term bishop, Elders, and presbyters interchangeably. Strongs concordance.
    For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain Elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: If any be blameless, the husband of ONE wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. Titus 1:5-6

  • Essence of the Eagle Provo, Utah
    July 13, 2011 8:30 a.m.

    There are natural consequences for every action that we perform. The consequence that he received is enough. This young man's pain does not need to be compounded by further criticism. It really bothers me when people feel the need to say, "You shouldn't have done that". I think as he lies in bed at the hospital he already knows he shouldn't have done it.

    I am just glad that further damage was not done. I wish him well and hope he fully recovers.

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    July 13, 2011 8:14 a.m.

    First off, I'm glad the incident had a positive outcome and I wish the fellow a speedy recovery.
    Second, I know that this paper has ecclesiastical roots and has a readership primarily sharing those roots. However, I know that this paper wants to be taken seriously as a newspaper of record and tries to some degree to keep its most blatant churchiness separate from its straight news reporting (hence the Mormon Times).
    Third, I know that the word "miracle" can be used in a broad, casual sense for any bit of extreme good luck and also in a more restricted sense (let's call it "Miracle") of divine intervention in events.

    The problem that I have with the story is that it credulously and uncritically assumes the latter case, that a Miracle was involved. It breathlessly reports the correlation of prayer with the lion's mouth opening as presumed causality with no evidence. The reporter should have simply stuck to the verifiable facts, that a young man made a poor choice, was mauled, rescued, and is recovering, and left the talk of miracles to another story in tomorrow's Mormon Times.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    July 13, 2011 7:58 a.m.

    Miracles? What about missionaries who have died?
    How did the attack occur in the first place if it took a so-called miracle to save him?

  • ClarkKent Bountiful, Utah
    July 13, 2011 7:53 a.m.

    I do believe in miracles. But I don't believe in finding a miracle everytime something "good" happens. I can't argue whether or not this was a miracle as I wasn't there. But I'm very comfortable going thru life believing that sometimes stuff happens due to miracles and sometimes stuff happens due to the circumstances.

  • Arm of Orion Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 13, 2011 7:51 a.m.

    Julip, Don, and others like them relax a little bit. For heaven's sakes no one is saying stupid behavior is rewarded. Yes this is a miracle a young man did something stupid and came out of it alive after having lost a lot of blood.

  • Ms Molli Bountiful, Utah
    July 13, 2011 7:49 a.m.

    "Two sister missionaries with the group at the zoo said a quick prayer, Alan Oakey said.

    "As soon as they said, 'amen,' the lion's mouth opened, and (Elder Oakey) fell back down in a safe area," he said.

    Elder Oakey's companion eventually made it into the fray and used a bar to help pry open the mouth of the lion whose jaws were locked on the missionary's biceps."


  • rightascension Provo, UT
    July 13, 2011 7:38 a.m.

    This article so aggravates me. For starters, it makes the incident somehow sound like the lion's fault. Yet another example of how Mormon culture excuses or glosses or justifies immature behavior with a manifestation of a faith promoting "miracle."

  • Anti Bush-Obama Washington, DC
    July 13, 2011 6:33 a.m.

    Climbing over a wall into a lion enclosure is one of the top 10 stupidest things I've heard of anybody ever doing.

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    July 13, 2011 4:43 a.m.

    Glad the missionary is OK.

    That said, isn't it just possible that things happen? Good things and bad things? And to good and bad people. And they happen whether you pray or not.

    If faith brings you comfort in hard times, good for you. I seriously mean that.

    However, it is my observation that we all have close calls in life. Some times those close calls end badly, sometimes they don't. The religious call good outcomes, miracles. The non religious call them luck.

    When the drunk falls from a balcony and lives, he is lucky. When it happens to a child, its a miracle.

    Do the religious and those who pray have a higher percentage of "good" outcomes than the non religious? My gut tells me no.

    I am happy the missionary had a positive outcome in this instance, but miracle? Not in my book.

    Water to wine? Now THAT'S a miracle.

  • JohnJacobJingleHeimerSchmidt Beverly Hills, CA
    July 13, 2011 3:16 a.m.

    I pray every night for the missionaries and their safety. I also pray that they chose to make good decisions about their well being.

    That being said, what he climbed was there for a reason. The young man is not there to be a tourist, he is there to be a representative of the LDS Church. Now he cannot continue his missionary work and has distracted from the work of many others that will need to take care of him.

    I hope for the best for this young man but this wasn't a freak accident, it was a wrong choice.

  • sports fan Provo, UT
    July 12, 2011 11:58 p.m.

    Oh the stupid things missionaries do. I'm guilty of some dumb things myself so I won't judge to harshly.

  • just-a-fan Bountiful, UT
    July 12, 2011 11:28 p.m.

    I'm glad this kid is OK. Not too bright but I could never stand in judgement. I did stupid things when I was on my mission and my son thought it would be interesting to see how fast he and comp could get their car going during and ice story because they were in the middle of nowhere. The car flipper four times and landed in a ditch. Yep, not too smart, and this dad was ready to go to the mission and crack him across the head. So no speeding ot climbing the walls at zoos.

  • Big Rock Salt Lake City, UT
    July 12, 2011 10:45 p.m.

    So why is this a miracle? It seems like a kid makes a bad decision, gets hurts, and is fortunate to be alive. A real miracle might be higher power talking him out of it to begin with.

  • Listenup1 Vancouver, WA
    July 12, 2011 10:26 p.m.

    Man, I can't believe how many people are so quick to scold an injured man. Let he who has never exercised poor judgment cast the first stone. I am sorry to hear about this, but happy that it looks like he will survive the mauling.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    July 12, 2011 9:53 p.m.

    They said amen and he miraculously fell into a safe place.

    Well, no, not really, another guy had to pry the lions mouth open.

    So he fell into a safe place, but the lion still had a hold of him. Thank goodness for this missionary that there was someone there that wasn't just sitting and praying, but actually doing something.

    Amd imagine that, there was a surgeon at a hospital! What are the odds.

  • mediabiases Orem, UT
    July 12, 2011 9:39 p.m.

    Missionaries are supposed to leave stupid home and pack common sense.

  • Mint Julip KAYSVILLE, UT
    July 12, 2011 9:23 p.m.

    This article is a perfect example of confirmation bias.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    July 12, 2011 8:25 p.m.

    I'm sorry, but this was a stupid action on his part, and making it a religious experience detracts from the lessons of that stupidity.

  • MapleDon Springville, UT
    July 12, 2011 7:52 p.m.

    This has to be one of the most bizarre stories I've ever read. Of course it's sad that the missionary was mauled. However, the slant taken by the Deseret News was indeed hilarious.

    Regarding the "miracles", is that really what you want your young and teachable readers to walk away with? Don't you think it would be more wise to point out that zoo cages and walls are there for a reason--your safety? The fact that he's a missionary is really irrelevant. He foolishly disregarded those safeguards and was nearly killed. There is a lesson here. I got it. Personal injury often follows risky behavior.

    Simply put, the young man is lucky to be alive. I don't think he'll make the same mistake again.

    And regarding the "miracles", obviously, the sister missionaries' prayer had a very brief efficacy, as one of the lions continued his missionary luncheon. The best miracle, though, was that the surgeon just happened to be at work. Wow! Think of that.

    I suggest simply reporting the facts and leaving the opinion out.

  • azgal Buckeye, AZ
    July 12, 2011 7:30 p.m.

    I'm pretty sure that wall has (or definitely will have!) signs saying "please keep off walls" like I've seen in pretty much every zoo. They don't tell you that for no reason (or for the reason that some young invincible hero has shown us this is necessary after all.) Glad it all turned out okay though!!!! Prayer works!!!

  • BobP Port Alice, B.C.
    July 12, 2011 7:28 p.m.

    When I think of what I survived as a young missionary, I can sympathize with this lad. The missionaries do some silly things, as do all young men. God was looking after him.

  • weedeater Murray, UT
    July 12, 2011 7:03 p.m.

    I wonder if the pique hear is the association of miracles with a foolhardy decision by a young man. Self control and personal responsibility, it is taught in church, is what God rewards, not irresponsibility. However the guy was a missionary, which says he's made a lot of positive decisions in his life so is eligible for a Helping Hand I guess.
    Notwithstanding ascribing miracles is best and most comfortably left to well after a non-documented event.

  • Mr. One Two Layton, UT
    July 12, 2011 6:55 p.m.

    Sorry to hear what happened to Elder Oakley... However, a true miracle would have been for the lions not to attack him at all.

  • wattsde Sandy, UT
    July 12, 2011 6:29 p.m.

    I think the miracle is that there was a vascular surgeon at the small hospital when Elder Oakey needed one. It sounds as if it were unusual for such a specialist to be available at this hospital. This saved his limbs, if not his life. Best wishes to the elder and his family!

  • Oatmeal Woods Cross, UT
    July 12, 2011 6:25 p.m.

    You have to admit, that is going to be one homecoming talk that will keep the high counselors awake!

  • Moracle Blackshear, GA
    July 12, 2011 6:12 p.m.

    Why rub salt in an already open wound?

    Surely Elder Oakley and his parents are suffering enough already, and can access the placement of responsibility for the accident without our help.

    Remember when the rest of us were that age? How often did we throw caution to the wind, and throw ourselves into the moment, without care?

    Perhaps a more welcome response might be: "I am so sorry that he has to suffer loss of part of his body and possibly, a great handicap throughout the remainder of his life -- for a moment of forgetfulness. My prayers and compassion go out for him and his family, at this time. May God bless."

  • Barack Obama Phoenix, AZ
    July 12, 2011 6:09 p.m.

    I served in Guatemala and there was a member family in the mission that had a male lion as a pet. One of the slightly unhinged elders started playing with it and as lions do, it started 'playing' with the elder. Photos taken by his comp showed that the elder was starting to get a tad nervous with the lions 'play'. Pretty soon we had a new mission rule, "Missionaries are not to play with lions."
    Yeah, pretty sure we were the only mission in the world that had that rule.

  • mightymite DRAPER, UT
    July 12, 2011 6:00 p.m.

    When I first read the headline I it said "miracle saved mormon missionary mauled by aliens;" now that would have been newsworthy. Sounds like he was careless and very lucky. End of story!

  • byu rugby Crystal Lake, IL
    July 12, 2011 5:52 p.m.

    Come ON! If you are so close they can grab you, you are to close. We should pray as much for increased common sense as for complete recovery!!!!!!!

  • PGVikingDad Pleasant Grove, UT
    July 12, 2011 5:46 p.m.

    I never really understood the emotional need to publicly berate someone for suffering from what was obviously a poor choice. I think Elder Oakey - and any poor, innocent three-year-old who might read this article and miss the lesson unless you blog about it - knows what he did is stupid: The lion pointed it out to him with perfect eloquence.

  • Independent Henderson, NV
    July 12, 2011 5:44 p.m.

    Sounds like something I would have done when I was 20. It just so happens I was serving in the very same mission when I was that age. Never knew there was a zoo there though.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    July 12, 2011 4:39 p.m.

    New Mission rule #253 -

    Do NOT climb tall concrete walls surrounding fully grown lions just to get a better picture.

  • owlmaster2 Kaysville, UT
    July 12, 2011 4:37 p.m.

    I'd never wish anything bad to happen to anyone but this young man made an extremely poor choice.
    He climbed a wall to protect the patrons of the zoo. He chose to go near the lions. Elder Oakley paid the price.

    Facts are facts. Sorry if some of you don't like that.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    July 12, 2011 4:21 p.m.

    In a California zoo, I forget which city, a two tigers were being taunted and jumped up out of their enclosures, which were below ground and began biting the taunter and other people.

    In a Korean zoo, a 30 year old man looking at a Chinese panda bear, thought he wanted to hug one. So he climbed over the enclosure and got close to the bear, which promptly mauled him. Pandas look nice and cuddly and loveable, but they aren't.

  • BYU Track Star Los Angeles, CA
    July 12, 2011 3:46 p.m.

    Im sorry for Elder Oakley's accident. Sometimes commonsense escapes these 20 Year old Missionaries. My favorite knuckle story happened in the 70s in the Santiago Chile. The Elders had an apartment across the main plaza from Presidential Plaza in Santiago. The 1973 there was a coup. Chilean Air force Jets were making strafing runs on the Presidential Place. Well a rational person would have headed for the basement and hoped for the best but these Elders sat on the tile roof watching the drama unfold like it were a Football game. One of would think 38 years later the younger generation of Elders would have wised up some. Yep its hard being 20. I was 20 for a whole year once...

  • I M LDS 2 Provo, UT
    July 12, 2011 3:42 p.m.

    From the SL Tribune:

    "Lions at a Guatemalan zoo maimed a missionary from St. George after the man climbed a concrete wall to take photographs of the animals.

    The St. George News, who received email updates from the missionarys family, said Paul Oakey, 20, climbed a concrete wall at the zoo to have a better photograph taken of himself in front of the lion cage."

    "One lion reached through the fence and grabbed Oakeys right leg and a second lion grabbed his left upper arm, The News reported. It was two minutes before Oakey broke free."

  • Ellie Marie Herriman, UT
    July 12, 2011 3:39 p.m.

    Based on the description in his mother's blog, I can sort of picture what happened and understand (though not condone) what he did. There was a cage the lions were in and a wall. It's not like it was "just" the wall between him and the lions. I wonder how many other people have done the exact same thing at that zoo without anything happening to them.

    Prayers to the missionary and his family. My heart aches as I have a 20 year old missionary as well.

  • So. Cal Reader Escondido, CA
    July 12, 2011 3:31 p.m.

    Re: LaMarLaBobLaTomLaFrankLaBill. Get a life, my friend! What media sources are you referring to? According to the "civility" of anoter media outlet, this young man "climbed a concrete wall at the zoo to have a better photograph taken of himself in front of the lion cage."

    Regardless, I certainly hope and pray for a full recovery of this young man and his family.

  • Herbal Tea Partier Kearns, UT
    July 12, 2011 3:30 p.m.

    That's really terrible. LaMar...interesting additional info. If it's true, yikes. Well, these young kids think they're indestructible. Whether it was poor judgement on the missionary's part, or a poorly built zoo confinement by the poor country of Guatemala that has been front page news this week (being helped by the LDS Church, of course), what matters is that this young man will be all right.


  • Lux et Veritas Draper, UT
    July 12, 2011 3:27 p.m.

    He climbed a concrete wall at the zoo to have a better photograph taken of himself in front of the lion cage.

    Hardly "standing too close" as reported by in this article.

  • MoJules Florissant, MO
    July 12, 2011 3:08 p.m.

    I am so sorry to hear about that, I hope that all will go well with him and best to his family also.

  • sky2k1 Saint George, UT
    July 12, 2011 3:06 p.m.

    Get better Paul.

  • LaMarLaBobLaTomLaFrankLaBill Layton, UT
    July 12, 2011 3:06 p.m.

    Media outlets, are reporting that Elder Oakley, climbed over the protective barriers to "get a better picture" of himself with the lions, and was then grabbed by the residents of the enclosure. Hardly "standing too close", but, in keeping with the civility of the DesNews though. Perhaps, he should have understood that rules are there for a reason and not just to make "a bad choice", which had very real consequences.