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.
Sometimes good people make bad decisions. God bless...
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 fromtime to time. Fortunately nothing bad
happens.....most of the time...so we don't even acknowledgethat 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.
Jeeze, I thought eating Okra as a Missionary in SC was tough! I will be praying
for the recovery of this young man.
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"!
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.
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.
mauled by a lion? sounds biblical... I guess mormons really are christians.
Makes me glad I got that "preach the gospel to every creature" picture
with some cows.
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.
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.
@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.
@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.
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
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..."
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.
"davidroy | 3:46 p.m. July 13, 2011 Flagstaff, AZIt
doesn't take long for the blame game to start.....the very first post. And one
has to wonder if these samepeople have "ever" put themselves
into a potentially dangerous situation without giving it much thought. Likethis 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.
Doctor, Doctor, the lion bites when I do this!!Then don't DO that!!
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
It doesn't take long for the blame game to start.....the very first post. And
one has to wonder if these samepeople have "ever" put themselves
into a potentially dangerous situation without giving it much thought. Likethis Elder I'm sure they have, especially when they were around his age. I'm
sure if he had thought there wasa 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 assessthe circumstances and surroundings. Heck,
I'm 70 and I still do some crazy stuff...some might even considerpotentially dangerous...to get that special picture. With risk comes reward or
failure. Those that avoid riskwill 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.
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.
Stupid move by a young kid. Hope he gets well.
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.
Would this have been a miracle if he wasn't mormon?
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.
Please stop climbing tall walls by lions' cage to get a pictures. It just
Rule number one: Follow all rules. Rule number two: Follow all rules.
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
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.
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.
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.
Mormon missionaries should not enter lions dens.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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?
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
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.
"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
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
Climbing over a wall into a lion enclosure is one of the top 10 stupidest things
I've heard of anybody ever doing.
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.
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.
Oh the stupid things missionaries do. I'm guilty of some dumb things myself so I
won't judge to harshly.
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
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.
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.
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.
Missionaries are supposed to leave stupid home and pack common sense.
This article is a perfect example of confirmation bias.
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.
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.
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!!!
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.
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.
Sorry to hear what happened to Elder Oakley... However, a true miracle would
have been for the lions not to attack him at all.
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!
You have to admit, that is going to be one homecoming talk that will keep the
high counselors awake!
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."
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.
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!
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!!!!!!!
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.
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
New Mission rule #253 - Do NOT climb tall concrete walls surrounding
fully grown lions just to get a better picture.
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.
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.
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...
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."
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.
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.
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.Prayers.
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.
I am so sorry to hear about that, I hope that all will go well with him and best
to his family also.
Get better Paul.
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.