In chapter 2 of Ether in The Book of Mormon, the brother of Jared builds barges as the Lord commands. They were tight “like unto a dish” and presented two problems – not enough air and no light. The Lord instructs him on how to solve the problem of the air but asks the brother of Jared what he would like Him to do about light. He also reminds him that he won’t be able to put windows in the barges because they would be “dashed in pieces” as they cross the “great water.” He tells the brother of Jared that there WILL be mountain waves, wind, rain and floods and that they won’t be able to complete their journey unless the Lord prepares them to withstand the great difficulties ahead. He said “I prepare you against these things” so that you can make the journey. (Ether 2:25)
The Savior has warned us in scripture that there will be difficult times in the last days. “Behold I speak for mine elect’s sake; for nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.”(JS-Matthew 1:29) “And there shall be a great hailstorm sent forth to destroy the crops of the earth.” (D&C 29:16) “And also cometh the testimony of the voice of thunderings, and the voice of lightnings, and the voice of tempests, and the voice of the waves of the sea heaving themselves beyond their bounds. And all things shall be in commotion; and surely, men’s hearts shall fail them; for fear shall come upon all people.” (D&C 88:90-91)
In general conference, Elder Packer stated, “…in troubled times the Lord has always prepared a safe way ahead. We live in those “perilous times” which the Apostle Paul prophesied would come in the last days. If we are to be safe individually, as families, and secure as a church, it will be through “obedience…” (Boyd K Packer, Oct 2008)
Latter-day Saints have received counsel to store food and to prepare since at least 1845 when they were instructed to prepare an 18-month supply of food and supplies for the journey west from Nauvoo. In 1937, with the formation of the Church’s welfare program, J. Rueben Clark spoke for the First Presidency when he said “Let every head of every household see to it that he has on hand enough food and clothing, and, where possible, fuel also, for at least a year ahead.” The First Presidency has since issued five letters and statements on food storage and preparedness.
In April 2007, the pamphlet Prepare Every Needful Thing: Family Home Storage was released under the direction of The First Presidency. The Message from The First Presidency in the pamphlet states:
“Our Heavenly Father…has lovingly commanded us to ‘prepare every needful thing’…so that, should adversity come, we may care for ourselves and our neighbors and support bishops as they care for others…We encourage you to store as much as circumstances allow.”
We have been counseled in the pamphlet to have a 3-month supply of food that is part of our normal, daily diet; to store water for times it may not otherwise be available; and to establish a financial reserve that is to be used for emergencies only. The pamphlet also includes instruction concerning a longer term food supply.
There are many who are concerned about storing a 3-month supply of canned food thinking that they are storing a nutritionally inadequate supply of food. Several respected universities have studied this issue. “A study conducted by the University of California - Davis found that fresh, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables each contain important nutrients and contribute to a healthy diet and exclusively recommending one form of fruits or vegetables over another ignores the benefits that each form provides. Results of the study also showed that by the time food is consumed, fresh, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables may be nutritionally similar.” (www.mealtime.org)
Just because a 3-month supply is being
emphasized now does not eliminate the obligation to store basic food storage
foods or long term food storage. These include whole grains, dry beans, fats,
sugars, dry milk and salt. The First Presidency, in the pamphlet, stated “We
encourage you to store as much as circumstances allow.” If you have the
resources, you have an obligation to store as much as you can and long term
foods are the best way to do it. These foods:
Water storage is actually quite easy. It has been recommended that we store 14 gallons of water per person as a minimum amount. It is not necessary to have 55 gallon barrels in order to store water. PETE bottles, the bottles that juice comes in, stored in a dark place are very acceptable.
In 1 Timothy 5:8 we read, “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” From this, we learn that the faithful provide for their own.
We live in an uncertain economy both nationally and globally. It has been made more difficult by government entities that cannot agree. Governments around the world are unstable.
We live under uncertain weather conditions. Recent years have brought us hurricanes, floods, wildfires, earthquakes, tsunamis and drought. These conditions have not only immediate consequences, but also long term consequences and effect many different aspects of our society and economy.
The wake up call is sounding. Sisters, are you prepared to care for your family under any conditions?
Elder Mark E. Peterson said, “There are
many very good people who keep most of the Lord’s commandments with respect to
the virtuous side of life, but who overlook His commandments in temporal things.
They do not heed His warning to prepare for a possible future emergency,
apparently feeling that in the midst of all this trouble ‘it won’t happen to
2 Nephi 25:23 teaches “…we know it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” both spiritually and temporally.
Ezra Taft Benson said, “For years we have
been counseled to have on hand a year’s supply of food. Yet there are some today
who would not start storing until the Church comes out with a detailed monthly
home storage program. Now suppose that never happens? We still cannot say we
have not been told.
In Alma 60:21 we read, “…do ye suppose that the Lord will still deliver us, while we sit upon our thrones and do not make use of the means which the Lord has provided for us?”
Repeatedly and consistently, counsel and instruction are given. If we heed it and take action, we will be prepared for whatever comes and whenever it comes. We will be able to take care of ourselves and assist our neighbors.
Most of these quotes from scripture and the prophets seem to indicate that being prepared and having food storage is only for disasters and difficult times. Those are very good reasons and very important reasons to be prepared in these latter days but to think of preparedness and self-reliance only as principles of emergency preparedness is like leaving the higher law on top of Mount Sinai. In actuality, food storage and preparedness contribute to a better way of life and help us be more celestial in nature. They are principles of provident living and self-reliance, part of a way of life.
Victor L. Brown of the Presiding Bishopric taught about the place that preparedness should have in our daily lives. He said “Some people have reacted to the theme of preparedness as if it were a doomsday matter…Our emphasis on this subject is not grounds for crisis thinking or panic. Quite the contrary, personal and family preparedness should be a way of provident living, an orderly approach to using the resources, gifts, and talents the Lord shares with us.”
President Spencer W. Kimball, said “Preparedness, when properly pursued, is a way of life, not a sudden spectacular program.”
Food storage contributes to a better way of life in many ways.
Having food storage saves time. Having your own “storehouse” or “grocery store” saves time by eliminating extra trips to the grocery store or, at least, making them shorter trips. Learning to use powdered milk and to make your own bread and other staple foods helps avoid grocery store trips for necessities. Food storage can also save time in planning and preparing meals when food storage is built around a list of tested recipes or menus, when home canned “convenience” foods are stored, and when time saving cooking methods are used.
Having food storage saves money. Shopping less usually means spending less. The more often you shop, the more likely you are to buy things you don’t really need. When basic foods are the foundation and core of your food storage, money will be saved. Basic foods are generally less expensive because they are not highly processed. Buying in bulk is almost always less expensive as is stocking up during sales. Eating at “yesterday’s” prices is then possible. Home canning and dehydrating seasonal and home grown foods is often less than buying commercially canned and prepared foods. The exceptions to the principle that food storage saves money are commercially dehydrated and freeze dried foods.
Food storage, especially long term storage and home canned and dehydrated foods, provides a healthy way of eating. Included in long term storage are whole grains, legumes and non-fat dry milk which are all part of a heart healthy diet. Home canned and dehydrated foods provide meats, fruits and vegetables that can be prepared with minimal salt and sugar, and no other preservatives, and are a good source of many nutrients.
Food storage and preparedness teaches our children the importance of self-reliance. When it is a way of life, they will be more likely to make it part of their lives when they form their own homes and families. Please consider this because they are more likely than even we are to need it for emergencies and disasters.
Food storage contributes to more freedom in our life. When we have the means to act, we have more freedom to act. Marion G. Romney stated “Whenever we get into a situation which threatens our self-reliance, we will find our freedom threatened as well. If we increase our dependence, we will find an immediate decrease in our freedom to act.”
Food storage allows us to serve and to serve better. Elder Robert D. Hales stated “When we live providently, we can provide for ourselves and our families and also follow the Savior’s example to serve and bless others.” Marion G. Romney stated “Without self-reliance one cannot exercise … innate desires to serve. How can we give if there is nothing there? Food for the hungry cannot come from empty shelves. Money to assist the needy cannot come from an empty purse.”
Food storage and self-reliance help contribute to the development of our celestial natures. Pres. Romney taught “Service is the very fiber of which an exalted life in the celestial kingdom is made… Can we see how critical self-reliance becomes when looked upon as the prerequisite to service, when we also know service is what godhood is all about?”
There is more to preparedness and food storage than just being ready for emergencies. They contribute to better every day living and help us perfect ourselves as the children of God that we are. It is provident living both temporally and spiritually. Marion G. Romney taught, “This is not a doomsday program, but a program for our lives here and now, because now is the time for us to perfect our lives.”
Sisters, a more convenient time for following the commandments will never come. We must adjust whatever our circumstances are to make room for obedience.
Elder Featherstone in his classic conference address on food storage stated, “The Lord will make it possible, if we make a firm commitment, for every Latter-day Saint family to have a …. supply of food reserves...All we have to do is to decide, commit to do it, and then keep the commitment. Miracles will take place: the way will be opened, and... we will have our storage areas filled. We will prove through our actions our willingness to follow our beloved prophet and the Brethren, which will bring security to us and our families." (Vaughn Featherstone 1976)
As I was sitting in the temple pondering this talk and the central theme of this meeting, I felt impressed to reorder the words in my mind. The title of this talk became “Temporal Preparedness ‘For Such a Time as This.’” That puts us right in the middle of the need for food storage and temporal preparedness instead of at a future time. If you still choose to be complacent and make excuses, please realize that you have your agency but all choices have their consequences which you can not choose.
Remember 1 Nephi 3:7 - “…I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” I urge you to find the way to accomplish the commandment to be prepared for such a time as this.
Send mail to
questions or comments about this web site.