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December 18, 2012

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Doctrinal statements, plus historical and contemporary references on animals

  • A young girl shows love for her horse. The HSUS

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) was founded by Joseph Smith, Jr., in 1830.

LDS members are often referred to as Mormons, a nickname taken from the title of The Book of Mormon, one of the Church's four sacred texts. Today, there are more than 7 million members in the United States, and 13.8 million worldwide.

Throughout its history, LDS leaders have extolled the need for kindness toward animals.

"A true Latter-day Saint is kind to animals, is kind to every created thing, for God created all." —from David O. McKay, "Conference Reports (Oct. 1951), 180 as reprinted in Richard D. Stratton, Kindness to Animals and Caring for the Earth: Selections from the Sermons and Writings of Latter-day Saint Church Leaders (Inkwater Press, 2004), viii.

President Joseph Fielding Smith (1970-72) said cruelty to animals leads to cruelty to humans, is a sign of the absence of true religion, and will be punished by God. “...doing wrong to animals is but a stepping stone to the doing of wrong to our fellow men." —from Joseph F. Smith, in Stratton, Kindness to Animals, 66.

Read more of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' religious statements on animals (PDF)

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