January 3rd, 2007

Food Storage Folly

Empty Fridge

Our ward had a combined EQ and RS meeting this past Sunday, where the newly called emergency preparedness specialist gave an overview of the importance of food storage along with some pointers on how to get started.

Having food storage as a “single adult” has been somewhat interesting. A couple weeks ago, during a lesson on the Second Coming, the EQ instructor asked for a raise of hands for all those who had a year’s supply of food. I believe that I was the only one to raise my hand.

During Sunday’s lesson, it was suggested that as single adults we only need to store a month worth of food. Uhh.. what? Do we then get to obey 1/12 of all the other commandments, too? With all due respect to the instructor (who did a great job!), I find this statement to be contradictory to everything we’ve been told by our prophets. Being single adults does not justify partial obedience.

While not verified, I’ve heard from various sources that informal surveys have shown that between 4 and 6 percent of Church members have a year’s supply of food and water. If anybody knows of a source for such a survey, I’d love to get my hands on it.

The subject of preparation is an interesting one. I think it’s a great sifter for showing who is willing and ready to obey the Prophet’s call. Whether it be storing supplies, paying off debt, or preparing ourselves spiritually, our obedience to such preparedness principles invariably shows what path we’re on.

I received the following excerpt from a friend which relates quite well to the discussion of our willingness to heed the counsel on storage and similar preparedness. Please note that the following excerpt is satirical. The events described therein have not literally taken place, though the message conveyed isn’t all that far-fetched from reality, in my opinion…

Stake members vote to reject words of Prophet and Apostles. Massive Protests held.

85+% of local Stake members tell their Stake leaders that they will refuse to follow the counsel of the Prophet and the Apostles on certain commandments anymore.

In a recent vote of non-confidence, 85% of __________ stake members, including many ward and stake officers, told their local Stake President that not only are they refusing to follow the counsel of the Prophets and Apostles that has been given repeatedly for almost 100 years, but they emphatically told him that they do not want to even hear any more concerning it.

The issue came up concerning preparing for the last days, specifically obtaining a minimum of a years supply of food, and other commodities as outlined by President Hinckley, the Apostles and the general Church leadership in the various leadership and training manuals.

Massive passive protests were joined by at least 95% (some estimate as high as 85%) of the stake membership as they refused to participate in the Stake sponsored preparation meetings. As one of the protest participants said; “Enough is enough. I am just sick and tired of hearing about food storage and I simply don’t want to hear about it anymore. I have too many other things to think about besides such a doom and gloom subject. ” Another protest participant chimed in saying; “The Church leadership is asking too much of us when they tell us to get out of debt and get food storage. They have told us for years to get ready for hard times and a big famine. Well, it hasn’t happened in over 60 years. We simply refuse to believe it any more. It appears to most of us that they just don’t know what they are talking about and if it ever does happen, it will happen to my great, great grand children.”

The whole mood of the group was put forth by one of their local Ward leaders who had joined in the protest; “We only want our leaders to tell us good news. We want them to be upbeat and positive. No more of this bad news stuff anymore. Besides, most of us believe that we don’t have to do anything because if something bad ever does happens, the Lord will miraculously provide us with all the food and materials we need anyway. We would much rather have our big houses now, and spend our money on the playthings of the world than waste it on such a foolish notion as food storage.”

Stake leaders are perplexed about what to do about this overwhelming rejection by the majority of the members of their stake. When they counseled with the General Church leadership, they were told that this same problem was happening throughout the Church, but was a particularly large problem in the United States with massive passive protests happening all over.

Again, this excerpt is satirical. However, I think the gist of it accurately describes the sentiments of some members. We must obey this counsel!

I’ve saved a few quotes on this topic in Quoty. Here are a couple relevant ones:

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.

Should the Lord decide at this time to cleanse the Church…a famine in this land of one year’s duration could wipe out a large percentage of slothful members, including some ward and stake officers. Yet we cannot say we have not been warned. (Harold B. Lee, Welfare Meeting, October Conference, 1966)

Fathers, another vital aspect of providing for the material needs of your family is the provision you should be making for your family in case of an emergency. Family preparedness has been a long-established welfare principle. It is even more urgent today. I ask you earnestly, have you provided for your family a year’s supply of food, clothing, and, where possible, fuel? The revelation to produce and store food may be as essential to our temporal welfare today as boarding the ark was to the people in the days of Noah.

…Yes, brethren, as fathers in Israel you have a great responsibility to provide for the material needs of your family and to have the necessary provisions in case of emergency. (Ezra Taft Benson, General Conference, April 1988)

A man with a surplus can control circumstances, but a man without a surplus is controlled by them, and often has no opportunity to exercise judgment. (Harvey S. Firestone)

It is folly to not procure food storage and other preparedness items. When disaster strikes we cannot say that we were not warned. Those found wanting will be like the unwise virgins, unprepared and unable to fulfill their desires. I hope that we all can take this counsel more seriously, and shun the sentiments found in the satirical excerpt. If we truly sustain and follow the prophet, we will actively work on this facet of doctrine along with the rest.

6 Responses to “Food Storage Folly”

  1. Kelly Winterton
    January 3, 2007 at 12:46 pm #

    I attended a gathering where two BYU professors spoke last Thursday. The professors were Jack Monnett PhD, and Steven E. Jones (retired). Much of the gathering they both addressed preparedness and food storage. Jack Monnett especially talked about the # of LDS who had food storage. He spoke with some authority by saying GAs had told him that the Church’s estimates are that anywhere from about 5% to 15% have some food storage. The range is big, because the statistics cover Saints who have SOME food storage, or a storage program, but not necissarily a full year’s-worth. I don’t believe you can just go somewhere on the net to get the stats of that Church study, though. But, Connor, your 4 to 6 percent figures are certainly in line with what those BYU professors were telling us.

    Connor’s post is very insightful, in that he suggests our obedience to this principle is indicative of what track we’re on. The scripture tells us that in the last days, even the very elect will be deceived. It appears the scripture is correct – – 85% of us are currently being deceived about the need to store food and prepare.

    There is a misperception among LDS about what it means to store a year’s-worth of food. If you acquire the Church booklet “Home Food Production and Storage,” you will find numerous quotes there stating the commandment to store food is NOT to prepare for emergencies only, but is instead a WAY OF PROVIDENT LIVING. It is further stated in the booklet, the command is not given to promote “crisis thinking.”

    So how does provident living relate to food storage? It works like this:

    Suppose you run out of toothpaste. You stop at the gas station on your way home from work, and in the convenience store you pick up a tube of toothpaste for $3.50, so that you can brush your teeth when you get home. If you normally use one tube of toothpaste per month, you need 12 tubes for a year. So, $3.50 times 12 equals $42. So, now suppose you provide a place in your bathroom to store 12 tubes of toothpaste. You then find yourself in WalMart one day, and run across a sale on your brand of toothpaste for $1 per tube. You buy 12 tubes and store them in your bathroom. You have just saved yourself $30 dollars in your toothpaste bill over the next year. THAT IS PROVIDENT LIVING.

    Why the figure of 1 year? Because if you’re living providently, you understand that every commodity is best obtained on a yearly basis. Example: Your apple tree is ready to harvest once per year. You pick your apples and sauce them and bottle them. (My one little apple tree gave me more than 50 quarts of applesauce one year.) You now have enough applesauce, obtained for way cheap, while the apples were at the freshest and most healthy state. By the time one year is past, your applesauce supply will need replenished, but your tree is again about ready to harvest. But, even if you don’t have your own trees, it is provident to go to an orchard to buy or pick your own year’s supply while the crop is the cheapest and healthiest. But even if you don’t have the facilities to bottle your own, the grocery store has a yearly case lot sale to get your case of applesauce for cheap. If you obtain your supplies on that yearly cycle of when it is the most provident, you have saved yourself tons of money. If you look at food storage this way, you quickly see that having a food storage plan is the cheapest and most provident way to live.

    The prophets have encouraged us to obtain a supply of essential items. They caution against obtaining a detailed supply of things that are difficult and cumbersome to store. It’s OK by the prophets if we don’t have a year’s supply of ice cream or frozen pizza.

    The Lord wants us to be resourceful and frugal. He does not condone waste. I have fed literally thousands of pounds of weevily wheat to my chickens, courtesy of obedient LDS who bought storage wheat but never used it. Their obedience was in vain, because they obeyed the letter, not the spirit of the commandment, which means Provident Living. If they had lived providently, the wheat would have been eaten before it went weevily. In other words, they did not cycle their year’s-worth of wheat and obtained more fresh wheat the following year! If you’re living providently, you are consuming what you’re storing.

    If you’re obeying the spirit, not just the letter, you will see why the prophets have counseled us to plant gardens and the like. I there were a crisis, it would sure be wise to know how and be able to produce some of our food on our own.

    It should now be plain to you about Connor’s concern about single adults. Everybody’s situation is different. Some don’t have storage space, some don’t have garden space, some don’t have families, etc. But if we live providently, we will look at our own situation and apply the principles of food production and storage and provident living to our own situation, and thereby become more self-reliant, just as is the end goal of the commandment.

  2. John Anderson
    January 3, 2007 at 2:28 pm #

    Food storage, like genealogy has a steep learning curve to overcome before you get involved. The think with family history work is that it is very intriguing and immediately gratifying, whereas food storage is just plain hard.

    You can end up wasting hundreds of dollars on a poorly implemented strategy. Ever helped someone move who has “food storage” that has gone bad?

    I wonder if the Church needs to focus a little more on training and tools to help people get started. Sure, there’s never an excuse, but more training might help people get moving easier and more quickly.

  3. Connor
    January 3, 2007 at 2:30 pm #

    I wonder if the Church needs to focus a little more on training and tools to help people get started.

    Et voila!

    I’d also recommend Emergency Essentials in Orem/SLC. Friendly, knowledgeable folks, and some great deals.

  4. Naiah Earhart
    January 5, 2007 at 10:24 am #

    I wonder if the one month’s worth is from the idea that if you’re single, you’re still living in apartments, and therefore need it to be more mobile? Ok, so maybe the instructor was just off track.

    Why rob those brothers/sisters of the rewards of obedience? Why deny them that blessing, that assurance?

    Kudos to you, Connor for having it together.

  5. February 20, 2010 at 1:02 pm #

    Many can answer properly the questions for a temple recomend, but the higher law is to obey the living prophet.
    Can we be saved without our ancestors? Are we asked to have a year supply by the Prophets? Did the Lord say to Noah ” It might be a good idea to build the arch”? Do we sustain our leaders if we do not follow there council?
    Safety is to have our family on the narrow course. See HE 3:29

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Top of the Mountains » Blog Archive » Food storage - January 4, 2007

    […] Yesterday Connor blogged about food storage, particularly how many of us single adults are told we don’t need to do it. And this morning I read a rather insightful comment on the post by Kelly Winterton. […]

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