'Snake Salvation' co-star dies after snakebite in church service

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  • Here Sandy, UT
    Feb. 20, 2014 8:25 p.m.

    I think the point for me is that we would be wise to not tempt God. That's it in a nutshell.

    However, regarding Christianity "flying in the face of science", please remember that science hasn't always been right on. Scientists two-three hundred years ago who contributed a lot of truth were also making lots of mistakes (i.e. blood-letting, the make-up of the atom), and the process continues today.

    Reconciling science and faith can be one of the most crucial and interesting endeavors of life. But don't attribute to science infallibility over faith. There is so much we still DON'T know scientifically about the human body, the ocean, the universe, etc. We're making strides, but the more we see, the more we see we have still yet to learn.

    I believe faith makes us wake up in the morning and moves us along during the day. It has a lot to do with our feelings when we see a newborn baby. Sure, science has something to say about those things too, but so does faith. I believe we'll someday come to understand and reconcile the benefits of both faith and science.

  • football43 Morgan, UT
    Feb. 20, 2014 11:37 a.m.

    My 2 cents.....

    32 years ago in a Health class at Weber State university I answered a test question about how much water we should drink on a daily basis. Not sure what I answered, but the correct answer was "slightly beyond excess". Our memories are weird......

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Feb. 20, 2014 10:00 a.m.


    Reference science. Your concept would not fly with some of the fathers of science - including Newton.

  • CBAX Provo, UT
    Feb. 19, 2014 11:52 p.m.

    Chris B,

    Could you please prove that Jesus came down from the heaven to save man from sin?

    While you're at it, I want to know that when the pope speaks Ex Cathedra that it REALLY is from God.

    I just don't know, some people vote for the pope (most), others vote for ellen G White, others for joseph Smith... Please prove to me who is right.

    perhaps we can start with cletus clement and Linus... idk, then prove to me jesus

  • CBAX Provo, UT
    Feb. 19, 2014 11:04 p.m.

    Chris B,

    Christianity flies in the face of science.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Feb. 19, 2014 10:54 p.m.

    Area 52

    There are also studies that prove that drinking a moderate amount of alcohol can have health benefits... But I doubt you will follow those studies because alcohol is against the word of wisdom and god knows better then the studies, right?

  • Christopher B Ogden, UT
    Feb. 19, 2014 4:51 p.m.


    Your study from the Mayo clinic says that the reason fasting may be linked to better health is that people who fast on occasion tend to make better eating choices when they are not fasting. It also mentions something about regulating blood sugar levels, but that relates to food, not abstaining from water.

    You still have yet to prove that not drinking water for 24 hours regularly has any health benefits.

    Want to try again?

    As for your spiritual benefits - this guy probably felt the same.

  • Area 52 Tooele, UT
    Feb. 19, 2014 2:31 p.m.

    Chris B.,

    You got to be kidding yourself... there are so many medical articles/studies/journals on the benefits of fasting. Let's change this around a little, why don't you prove to me that fasting is not healthy or there is no benefit from it. Have you ever fasted? I certainly have, and it definitely works both spiritually and physically, Can't wait to read what you provide.

  • Christopher B Ogden, UT
    Feb. 19, 2014 1:13 p.m.


    "God doesn't change"? You mean, except when he does? Prohibitions on pork? Wine usage? Polygamy? Not sure what point you're trying to make by saying God doesn't change, but showing that people in Biblical times fasted hardly proves anything. It certainly doesn't prove whether fasting is healthy or not. More to follow...

  • Area 52 Tooele, UT
    Feb. 19, 2014 12:39 p.m.

    Chris B.,

    Keep in mind this is about what "Fasting" is and not. I’m not suggesting that a person should go without water for 24 hours after they ran a marathon, as an example. Fasting should be a planned event not some random thing. Below are a few medical studies or research about the benefits of fasting which does include abstaining from drinking water or liquids as well.

    Mayo Clinic- Healthy Heart for Life!; Routine periodic fasting is good for your health, and your heart, study suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 May 2011; Fasting and Eating for Health: Dr. Joel Fuhrman; Muliar LA, Mishchenko VP, Loban GA, Goncharenko LL, Bobyrev VN. Effect of complete fasting on the coagulative and antioxidative properties of blood. Voprosy Pitaniya 1984;4:20–23.

    I just think it’s hypocritical for non-believers that do only things on the evidence of science only. Fasting has been around for thousands of years and not just Christians fast. Muslims, Jews, and other eastern religions have practiced fasting before modern science says it’s a good practice. Science will always change but God does not.

    I just think you like to argue for the sake of arguing against anything with Utah religions.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Feb. 19, 2014 12:29 p.m.

    Chris B,

    Actually, the 8 glasses a day thing is widely reputed to be false. Slate has a few articles on this. Snopes as well.

    As to fasting - a quick search comes up with several options (though not specific to water fasting). Scientific American had an article in 2012 that might help. Note that these are health not dieting benefits (just to be clear).

  • Christopher B Ogden, UT
    Feb. 19, 2014 11:31 a.m.

    Area 52,

    Please point me to specific medical research that says not drinking water for 24 hours straight on a regular basis every so often is good for health.

    You said it, now back it up.

    You will also note I never said every person has to drink 8 glasses of water a day. I said that is the general recommendation from all medical information I can find.

    Next time you want to lecture me on my comments, read(and understand) my comments.

    I'll look forward to your evidence on not drinking water for 24 hours straight being recommended.

  • Baccus0902 Leesburg, VA
    Feb. 19, 2014 10:59 a.m.

    @ Bifftacular Thank you for the laughter.

    @ Mountanman

    A miracle came out of all this. For the first time I am in agreement with you.

  • Area 52 Tooele, UT
    Feb. 19, 2014 9:03 a.m.

    Chris B,

    Actually, there is "medical research" that fasting is good for the body (which includes not drinking water). Also, fasting is not an everyday occurrence because of course you would die without consuming water. You have to remember, those guidelines of drinking 8 glasses of water are "guidelines" and not everybody needs 8 glasses of water a day. We can get most of our water intake from foods like fruit and vegies. I've eaten strictly vegan before and I never had to drink water. The best indicator is the color of your urine.

    Next time, before you lecture us on how much water we should drink a day please do your homework.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Feb. 19, 2014 8:55 a.m.

    The Economist,

    "If I'm not mistaken, I think I read where the scriptural passage in Matthew 16:17-18 wasn't in the early manuscripts of the Bible, but were added later...."

    The cited passage is from Mark but you're right that it was probably not part of the original text. Later scribes played a key role in development of the Gospels which show the influences of cultures in early Christianity's non-Jewish convert communities. Snake charming in Biblical times dates back into ancient Egypt and was practiced by magicians of the gods. The Old Testament treats it as a practice of idolatrous worship.

  • LadyMoon Crestucky, FL
    Feb. 19, 2014 7:27 a.m.

    I expect Coots... knew what it was before he picked it up~

  • Demosthenes Rexburg, ID
    Feb. 18, 2014 7:17 p.m.

    The preacher must not have been faithful. Right?

  • Neanderthal Phoenix, AZ
    Feb. 18, 2014 6:52 p.m.

    "... therefore, we cannot fast for 40 days and 40 nights as Christ did and expect to live."

    If Jesus can fast for 40 days and nights without dying, He could do it for 140 days and nights as well... In fact, He could live and never take a bite of food, ever. No mortal or even semi-mortal can live for 40 days and nights without food and water. Sorry.

  • Bifftacular Spanish Fork, Ut
    Feb. 18, 2014 6:44 p.m.

    I too have done dangerous things in the name of religion. Why just last night I had to tell the Relief Society that the gym was reserved for Deacon's basketball. Talk about dangerous!

  • Idaho_Boy Aberdeen, ID
    Feb. 18, 2014 6:45 p.m.

    We need God's help plenty enough without intentionally putting ourselves in harms way. The advice from Joseph Smith is how I have tried to live my life.

    "Martin Harris having boasted to the brethren that he could handle snakes with perfect safety, while fooling with a black snake with his bare feet, he received a bite on his left foot. The fact was communicated to me, and I took occasion to reprove him, and exhort the brethren never to trifle with the promises of God. I told them it was presumption for any one to provoke a serpent to bite him, but if a man of God was accidentally bitten by a poisonous serpent, he might have faith, or his brethren might have faith for him, so that the Lord would hear his prayer and he might be healed; but when a man designedly provokes a serpent to bite him, the principle is the same as when a man drinks deadly poison knowing it to be such. In that case no man has any claim on the promises of God to be healed." (June 16, 1834.) D.H.C. 2:95-96.

  • Ed Grady Idaho Falls, ID
    Feb. 18, 2014 5:11 p.m.

    I'm fasting for 12 hours today for a blood test tomorrow. Am I 1/2 tempting God?

  • MrPlate Lindon, UT
    Feb. 18, 2014 4:03 p.m.

    Sure, rejecting water for 24 hours is just so comparable to handling snakes. Is it even possible to have a rational debate with someone who thinks these two choices are in the same ballpark? I'll bet not one in 10 people drink 8 glasses of water every day, so I guess we're all at the same risk of death as the snake handler.

    I think its insanely absurd for non-believers to make any comparison of an occasional simple fast, which does no short-term or long term harm whatsoever, and which has been proven to be of medical benefit, to venomous snake handling. And to call it hypocritical only exposes the ridiculous lengths some people will go to disparage those with whom they disagree.

  • Cleetorn Fuaamotu, Tonga
    Feb. 18, 2014 3:27 p.m.

    Neanderthal, while you are correct regarding the rest of the population, Jesus was no ordinary "person." Nevertheless, even He did not just skate through it. It was an extraordinary ordeal for Him. It would have killed you or me. But we are not a god. At the time, He was all but.

  • wjutjck Taylorsville, UT
    Feb. 18, 2014 2:36 p.m.

    The Bible in Matthew chapter 4 verse 2,says Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. If you believe the Bible is the Word of God, then you believe Matthew. One thing many are leaving out is that Jesus wasn't entirely Mortal - since his mother was of this Planet and his Father was God the Father. So what would work for Jesus Christ, won't work for you and I since we are entirely mortal and subject to death. Jesus Christ had the power to lay down his life and to take it back up again. We don't have that power, therefore, we cannot fast for 40 days and 40 nights as Christ did and expect to live. I also believe that in some instances faithful believers can handle venomous snakes and live, however, we shouldn't tempt God by intentionally handling them.

  • Neanderthal Phoenix, AZ
    Feb. 18, 2014 1:52 p.m.

    Chris B
    "How does saying that Jesus fasted for 40 days PROVE anything?"

    Mayhaps Jesus fasted like the Muslims during Ramadan... from sun-up to sun-down. I doubt a person could fast forty days without dying halfway through.

  • Mainly Me Werribee, 00
    Feb. 18, 2014 1:42 p.m.

    Don't you hate it when that happens?

  • MoJules Florissant, MO
    Feb. 18, 2014 1:38 p.m.

    My first thought was, this guy had to know that one day this would not work and he could die. But then I do not eat healthy, my numbers are fine, but I am overweight and I know that one day this will not work and I could die. But then I could go on for a long time. Many people take risks, driving a car, smoking, booze, excess eating, under eating, going to a mall, going to a store. Life has dangers and we should avoid them, but we should not hide in our home for fear of life ending. I am sure he had 99.9999% success with the snakes, can't give him 100% anymore. I have had at this point 100% success in not being killed in a car accident or a plane or a mall or store, I don't do malls anymore, but I will drive, fly and shop again. Got to run to the store in my car.

  • casual observer Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 18, 2014 12:56 p.m.

    To each his own. RIP

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Feb. 18, 2014 12:46 p.m.

    Bill Shakespeare

    Why do you admire his faith? He is dead due to it, so don't you think his faith cost him his life? I doubt it was worth it. When your faith in god trumps your common sense then you are in real danger. This is the same as leaping from a 100 story building and saying that if god wants you alive then he will save you. You wouldn't survive a building jump because god wanted you to. So this guy refused treatment so then it was god's will that he die? Unlikely.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 18, 2014 12:11 p.m.


    And yet why would every bit of data on water consumption from health care professionals say we should drink about 8 glasses of water a day unless failure to do so was harmful. If we aren't doing what is right for our bodies, by definition its "harmful"

    Now, I'm not suggesting its the same level of harm, but in all likelihood if you had fasted as a young kid you would NOT have been permanently harmed either, and yet your parents told you not to do so.

    I just think its hypocritical for believers of a faith that do many things in the name of God(including not drinking water for 24 hours even though that flies in the face of modern science) are criticizing a guy for doing something that doesn't seem very smart, in the name of God.

    Is this the attitude Jesus would want you people to have?

  • freedomingood provo, Utah
    Feb. 18, 2014 12:01 p.m.

    Fasting for 24 hours in the Mormon church is only done when it's NOT considered harmful to you. If you are sick, weak or otherwise not able to fast 24 hours safely, the LDS church recommends that you do NOT do it. That's the difference. When I was a young kid my parents didn't want me to fast either. It's the opposite attitude of snake handling.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Feb. 18, 2014 11:49 a.m.

    Fanatic believe that shuts down common sense reason is just plain stupid. People need to learn to think for themselves and retire unreasonable believes and fanatic teachings by want to be prophets.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 18, 2014 11:28 a.m.


    Every scientific information I can find suggests drinking around 8 glasses of water every day.

    You could argue that snake venom is more dangerous than not drinking 8 glasses of water a day, and I would agree. But the issue we're debating isn't which is more dangerous. Mountainman is the one who is suggesting that doing something that we know isn't recommended from a health standpoint is tempting God. Both letting a snake bite you and not drinking water for 24 hours would fall into the "not recommended by health care professionals" category."

    Mountainman - How does saying that Jesus fasted for 40 days PROVE anything? If you're suggesting that because Jesus fasted for 40 days that somehow invalidates any current recommendations from health care professional on food and water, my response is "Ok(said very sarcastically)"

  • The Economist Newport, PA
    Feb. 18, 2014 11:07 a.m.

    If I'm not mistaken, I think I read where the scriptural passage in Matthew 16:17-18 wasn't in the early manuscripts of the Bible, but were added later. Perhaps that's why these pastors die from snakebites.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Feb. 18, 2014 11:05 a.m.

    Chris. With all due respect, Jesus fasted for 40 days as an act of obedience and spiritual cleansing. When Satan tempted Jesus to PROVE He was the Christ by jumping off the spire of the temple (kind of like playing with venomous shakes to prove a person's faith), Jesus answered with the words, "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God."

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    Feb. 18, 2014 10:58 a.m.

    @Chris B

    Because abstaining from water for 24 hours isn't likely to be harmful. Snake venom coursing through your veins likely is.

    When deciding what is "tempting God" and what isn't, you have to consider the risk.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 18, 2014 10:54 a.m.


    How is this tempting God any more than someone who doesn't drink water for 24 hours straight is tempting God?

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Feb. 18, 2014 10:49 a.m.

    "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord, thy God".

  • Bill Shakespeare Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 18, 2014 10:41 a.m.

    I admire this man's faith.