Comments about ‘Miracles saved Mormon missionary mauled by lions, father says’

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Published: Tuesday, July 12 2011 2:00 p.m. MDT

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Layton, UT

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.

Saint George, UT

Get better Paul.

Florissant, MO

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

Lux et Veritas
Draper, UT

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.

Herbal Tea Partier
Kearns, UT

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.


So. Cal Reader
Escondido, CA

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.

Ellie Marie
Herriman, UT

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.

Provo, UT

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."

BYU Track Star
Los Angeles, CA

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...

Bountiful, UT

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.

Kaysville, UT

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.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

New Mission rule #253 -

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

Henderson, NV

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.

Pleasant Grove, UT

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.

byu rugby
Crystal Lake, IL

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!!!!!!!


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!

Barack Obama
Phoenix, AZ

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.

Blackshear, GA

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."

Woods Cross, UT

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

Sandy, UT

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!

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