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RIGHTEOUS DANIEL HAD NO FEAR

The lion, mentioned numerous times in the Bible, symbolized royalty, courage and power. Hunting lions was a favorite sport of biblical kings. It was not unusual, therefore, for Darius of Persia to have kept a den of lions. To terrorize enemies and provide sport for themselves, rulers sometimes ordered people to be thrown into a den of lions. The practice continued at least until the time that Christians were thrown to lions by the Romans.

One of the great stories in the Bible is about Daniel in a den of lions, facing certain death because he chose to worship the Lord. Darius, the king of Persia, who had overcome Babylon, signed a decree that anyone who should "make a petition" or pray for a period of 30 days would be cast into a den of lions. (Dan. 6:7.)Being a righteous man, Daniel had no fear. Because his main desire was to serve and honor God, he chose not to abide by the decree and prayed to the true God. He was cast into the den of lions, but his life was preserved.

In a 1964 address at BYU, Elder Spencer W. Kimball, then of the Council of the Twelve, said the decree "would have been terrifying to any man, but the faithful Daniel did not flinch."

In his address during the October 1986 general conference, President Thomas S. Monson, second counselor in the First Presidency, spoke of the courage of Daniel to pray in defiance of that decree:

"Life's journey is not traveled on a freeway devoid of obstacles, pitfalls, and snares. Rather, it is a pathway marked by forks and turnings. Decisions are constantly before us. To make them wisely, courage is needed: the courage to say no, the courage to say yes. Decisions to determine destiny.

"The call for courage comes constantly to each of us. It has ever been so, and so shall it ever be. . . .

"The prophet Daniel demonstrated supreme courage by standing up for what he knew to be right and by demonstrating the courage to pray, though threatened by death were he to do so."