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On February 24, 1834, Joseph Smith received the revelation to organize a group of Saints to go to Missouri and regain the stolen possessions of the victims. Today, we refer to this journey as “Zion’s Camp.” The revelation can be found in Doctrine and Covenants 103:29–40. Zion’s Camp was the attempt to regain the land, arms, and possessions of the Missouri Saints. At the time, Zion’s Camp was called the “Army of Israel” or the “Camp of Israel.”
Throughout the journey, Joseph frequently taught against harming or killing animals. He said God only allowed it when it is necessary for food. Joseph declared it God’s will for peace between animals and humans. When they pitched their tents one day, they found three snakes. The men wanted to kill the snakes but Joseph forbade them. The brethren carried the snakes safely away from the camp on sticks.
After several speeches to the brethren about protecting animals and leaving them unharmed, Joseph saw some of the brethren watching a squirrel in a tree. Joseph shot and killed the squirrel, and then he walked away. It may sound crazy, but the Prophet was testing the brethren. Orson Hyde picked up the squirrel and said they would cook it for food so it was not wasted. Joseph Smith was thrilled to know the brethren had listened to his teachings. The squirrel was actually given to James Foster—the man who fell ill earlier in the trip and needed to lay in bed in a wagon—to eat.
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The following was taken from the book, 1001 Facts About the Prophet Joseph Smith, currently available at cedarfort.com.