“It’s About Prudence, Not Paranoia”
As President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Marion G. Romney said: “Food for the hungry cannot come from empty shelves. Money to assist the needy cannot come from an empty purse. Support and understanding cannot come from the emotionally starved. Teaching cannot come from the unlearned. And most important of all, spiritual guidance cannot come from the spiritually weak” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1982, 135; or Ensign, Nov. 1982, 93).
Areas of concerns and focus:
Physical – Eat Health and remain physically active
Mental – Strive for a higher education and continued learning
Financial – Pay your Tithe and Fast Offerings, Save for the future and live within your means
Spiritual – Pray often, read the scriptures, live the commandments and participate in church
Physical – Participate in outdoor activities together often
Mental – Encourage personal and family study and discussion of religious and temporal topics
Financial – Be honest in with your fellow man living in the day and preparing for tomorrow
Spiritual – Provide a home of peace and safety where the Spirit of the Lord resides
- Be prepared for such things as:
- Sort Term setbacks, under or un-employment, sickness
- Long Term Un-Employment, Disability, House Fire, and Death in the family
In the event of a disaster or situation that is beyond individual families things need to escalate beyond single households.After securing your personal situation and families needs send a representative to the church or civic center. This is where neighborhood needs will be addressed. Things to be considered will be:
1. Group leadership and coordination with other church and civic organizations
2. Providing for a general accounting of the neighborhood state of being, shelter and security while assisting with the Food and Water needs.
3. Food and Water preparation and administration while attending to the health needs of the neighborhood.
Physical – Shelter, Water and Food are essential for survival and are priority #1
Mental – Have a positive Mental Attitude with a desire to serve those in need: do not go into a state of shock – stay busy serving.
Security – Provide a secure and safe area for refuge and peace amongst the chaos
Spiritual – Testimony Meetings with songs and prayer will be often
Be prepared for such things as:
- Temporary Chaos and/or Destruction
- Weather, Earthquake, Hazardous Material
- 1 – 14 days expected, 30 days possible
- 6 to 12 months recovery or return to normal
- Economic and or Civil Unrest, War
In an effort to prepare for such events I used these agenda’s to present various topics at a neighborhood (ward) workshop to train and education those interested:
- Generic Preparedness Workshop
- Family & the Home Preparedness
- Basic Preparedness
- Earthquake Preparedness
- Today & the Tribulations
I feel it is important we review the principles of “When I have been given much I too must give”.
I’ll start first with the parable of the grasshopper.
The Ant worked hard in the withering heat of the summer, building its house and storing supplies for the winter.
The Grasshopper thought that the Ant was a fool and laughed, danced and played and frittered away the summer.
Winter blew in with chilled winds, frost and snow. The Ant kept warm and well fed in his anthill. The Grasshopper had no food or shelter and he either had to starve to death or ask for alms from the wise ant.
In the words of the Savior we have the wise and foolish men:
26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Personal and Family Preparedness Manual reads:
As our freedom is diminished by debt, increasing hopelessness depletes us physically, depresses us mentally, and burdens us spiritually. Whenever we practice the principles of welfare, we are living “pure religion” as it is defined in scripture (James 1:27). The Savior taught, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40). He also taught that we not only seek out and “visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction” but we also “keep [ourselves] unspotted from the world” (James 1:27). In other words, we not only do good; we strive to be good. This, then, is the gospel vision of welfare: to put our faith in Jesus Christ into action. We serve others as the Spirit directs. As we live gospel welfare principles, we apply the Savior’s teachings here in mortality. It is important to understand that self-reliance is a means to an end. Our ultimate goal is to become like the Savior, and that goal is enhanced by our unselfish service to others. Our ability to serve is increased or diminished by the level of our self-reliance. – Elder Robert D. Hales
As President Marion G. Romney said: “Food for the hungry cannot come from empty shelves. Money to assist the needy cannot come from an empty purse. Support and understanding cannot come from the emotionally starved. Teaching cannot come from the unlearned. And most important of all, spiritual guidance cannot come from the spiritually weak” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1982, 135; or Ensign, Nov. 1982, 93).
As true disciples of Christ, we also give as did the Good Samaritan, who boldly rescued his unknown brother on the highway side (see Luke 10:25–37). – Elder Robert D. Hales
“Self-reliance means using all of our blessings from Heavenly Father to care for ourselves and our families and to find solutions for our own problems.” Each of us has a responsibility to try to avoid problems before they happen and to learn to overcome challenges when they occur. – Instructional Resources for Welfare Trainers, Lesson 2: Self-Reliance, 3; PDF available online at www.providentliving.org.
How do we become self-reliant? We become self-reliant through obtaining sufficient knowledge, education, and literacy; by managing money and resources wisely, being spiritually strong, preparing for emergencies and eventualities; and by having physical health and social and emotional well-being. – Julie B. Beck Relief Society General President
We need to do more than just believe in the old adage “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.”
This brings me now to the role of Bishop and why it is so important for us to sustain him like Moses:
But Moses’ hands awere heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur bstayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. – Exodus 17:12
President J. Reuben Clark Jr., while giving a very powerful address, said:
“By the word of the Lord the sole mandate to care for and the sole discretion in caring for, the poor of the Church is lodged [with] the bishops. . . . It is his duty and his only to determine to whom, when, how, and how much shall be given to any member of his ward from Church funds. . . . “This is his high and solemn obligation imposed by the Lord Himself. The bishop cannot escape his duty; he cannot shirk it; he cannot pass it on to someone else, and so relieve himself. Whatever help he calls in, he is still responsible” (quoted in Thomas S. Monson, in Conference Report, Oct. 1980, 132; or Ensign, Nov. 1980, 90).
This brings us again to the 5 phases that we may discuss them in detail.
This is a time of plenty when the Lord has blessed us with abundance. It is here that we have ability to help those in need. This is why we have hope. “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear.” (D&C 38:30).
“We encourage members world-wide to prepare for adversity in life by having a basic supply of food and water and some money in savings. ”We ask that you be wise as you store food and water and build your savings. Do not go to extremes; it is not prudent, for example, to go into debt to establish your food storage all at once. With careful planning, you can, over time, establish a home storage supply and a financial reserve.” —The First Presidency, All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Home Storage, Feb. 2007, 1
Church members are encouraged to prepare a simple emergency plan. Items to consider may include:
- Three-month supply of food that is part of your normal daily diet.
- Drinking water.
- Financial reserves.
- Longer-term supply of basic food items.
- Medication and first aid supplies.
- Clothing and bedding.
- Important documents.
- Ways to communicate with family following a disaster.
President Gordon B. Hinckley has taught: “Set your houses in order. If you have paid your debts, if you have a reserve, even though it be small, then should storms howl about your head, you will have shelter for your wives and children and peace in your hearts” (“To the Boys and to the Men,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 54).
This brings us from the time of preparing to the time of need. The may appear as the following:
Under or Un-Employment, Sickness, Unforeseen setbacks
Long Term Un-Employment, Disability, a House Fire or perhaps a Death
First and foremost it is here that we are to demonstrate our self-reliance. If and when this situation is such that you need help it is clear that the instruction is:
3. Immediate Family – When individuals are not capable of providing for themselves, immediate family, as well as extended family, have an obligation and opportunity to assist. – Bishop H. David Burton, Presiding Bishop
4. The Lords House, The Church – When Church members are doing all they can to provide for themselves but still cannot meet their basic needs, they should first turn to their families for help. When this is not sufficient, the Church stands ready to assist.
5. Government – Members may choose to use resources in the community, including government resources, to meet their basic needs. The bishop should become familiar with these resources. They may include:
• Hospitals, physicians, or other sources of medical care.
• Job training and placement services.
• Help for people with disabilities.
• Professional counselors or social workers.
• Addiction treatment services.
Temporary Chaos and/or Destruction
* Weather, Earthquake, Hazardous Material
1 – 14 days expected
* Most disasters receive external relief within 14 days
* It is not unheard of assistance arriving 30 days later
* The state of crisis may last for 6 to 12 months
We may be fortunate enough to never experience such chaos and wide spread tragedy but we must prepare. I continue now in my plainness. Just as we should have for each of our families a gathering place outside of our homes, perhaps in the case of a fire, we have as a ward family this ward house to gather to.
Imagine with me something tragic that is beyond our single families. Once we are individually accounted for then what.
This brings me to the fifth phase. Yes, there is one more.
Economic and or Civil Unrest, War
“Fear shall come upon all people, but you and I know that the Lord has prepared places of safety to which He is eager to guide us.” – President Henry B. Eyring
“This preparation must consist of more than just casual membership in the church. You must learn to be guided by personal revelation and the counsel of the living prophet so you will not be deceived. You stand close to the day of the Lord, in his words of modern revelation we say to you “seek the face of the Lord, always”. You live in the midst of economic, political and spiritual instability. When you see these signs, unmistakable evidences that His coming is nigh, be not troubled, but stand in holy places and be not moved until the day of the Lord comes. – President Ezra Taft Benson
President Ezra Taft Benson said, “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” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1987, 61; or Ensign, Nov. 1987, 49).
Elder W. Don Ladd taught: “When it starts raining, it is too late to begin building the ark. … We … need to listen to the Lord’s spokesmen. We need to calmly continue to move ahead and prepare for what will surely come. We need not panic or fear, for if we are prepared, spiritually and temporally, we and our families will survive any flood. Our arks will float on a sea of faith if our works have been steadily and surely preparing for the future” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1994, 37; or Ensign, Nov. 1994, 29).
President Spencer W. Kimball explained that when Noah built the ark, “there was no evidence of rain and flood. … His warnings were considered irrational. … How foolish to build an ark on dry ground with the sun shining and life moving forward as usual! But time ran out. The ark was finished. The floods came. The disobedient and rebellious were drowned. The miracle of the ark followed the faith manifested in its building” (Faith Precedes the Miracle , 5–6).
The giant earthquake and tsunami that went crashing into the coasts around the Indian Ocean are just the beginning and a part of what is to come terrible as it was. – President Henry B Eying, January 2005
The Lord has warned and forewarned us against a day of great tribulation. Too often we bask in our comfortable complacency and rationalize that the ravages of war, economic disaster, famine,, and earthquake cannot happen here. Those who believe this are either not acquainted with the revelations of the Lord, or they do not believe them. Those who smugly think these calamities will not happen that they somehow will be set aside because of the righteousness of the saints, are deceived and will rue the day they harbored such a delusion. – President Ezra Taft Benson, October 1980
Change is also accelerating in the world around us. Much of the acceleration in the world is in trouble long prophesied for The Last Days. – President Henry B Eying
Great trials lie ahead, all of the sorrows and perils of the past are but a foretaste of what is yet to be. And we must prepare ourselves temporally and spiritually. Our spiritual preparation consists in keeping the commandments of God and taking the Holy Spirit for our guide. – Elder Bruce R, McConkie
The Lord is anxious to lead us to the safety of higher ground away from the path of physical and spiritual danger and as the world becomes darker and more dangerous we must keep climbing. It will be our choice to whether or not to move up or to stay where we are but the Lord will invite and guide us upward by the direction of the Holy Ghost. – President Henry B. Eyring
I stand before the Church this day and raise the warning voice. It is a prophetic voice, for I shall say only what the apostles and prophets have spoken concerning our day.
It is the voice of Jesus on the Mount of Olives, of John on the Isle of Patmos, of Joseph Smith during the mobbings and murders of Missouri. It is a voice calling upon the Lord’s people to prepare for the troubles and desolations which are about to be poured out upon the world without measure.
For the moment we live in a day of peace and prosperity but it shall not ever be thus. Great trials lie ahead. All of the sorrows and perils of the past are but a foretaste of what is yet to be. And we must prepare ourselves temporally and spiritually.
Our spiritual preparation consists in keeping the commandments of God, and taking the Holy Spirit for our guide, so that when this life is over we shall find rest and peace in paradise and an ultimate inheritance of glory and honor in the celestial kingdom.
Our temporal preparation consists in using the good earth in the way the Lord designed and intended so as to supply all our just wants and needs. It is his purpose to provide for his Saints for all things are his, but, he says, it must needs be done in his own way. (See D&C 104:14–18.)
There is a common axiom among us which states: A religion that cannot save a man temporally does not have power to save him spiritually. If we cannot care for our temporal needs in this world, how can we ever succeed in spiritual things in the world to come?
Thus, speaking of temporal things—of lands and houses and crops, of work and sweat and toil, of the man Adam eating his bread in the sweat of his face (see Gen. 3:19)—the Lord says: “If you will that I give unto you a place in the celestial world, you must prepare yourselves by doing the things which I have commanded you and required of you” (D&C 78:7).
Then he commands both the Church and its members “to prepare and organize” their temporal affairs according to the law of his gospel, “that through my providence,” saith the Lord, “notwithstanding the tribulation which shall descend upon you, that the church may stand independent above all other creatures beneath the celestial world;
“That you may come up unto the crown prepared for you, and be made rulers over many kingdoms, saith the Lord God” (D&C 78:11, 14–15).
The Church, which administers the gospel, and the Saints who have received the gospel, must be independent of all the powers of earth, as they work out their salvation—temporally and spiritually—with fear and trembling before the Lord!
Be it remembered that tribulations lie ahead. There will be wars in one nation and kingdom after another until war is poured out upon all nations and two hundred million men of war mass their armaments at Armageddon.
Peace has been taken from the earth, the angels of destruction have begun their work, and their swords shall not be sheathed until the Prince of Peace comes to destroy the wicked and usher in the great Millennium.
There will be earthquakes and floods and famines. The waves of the sea shall heave themselves beyond their bounds, the clouds shall withhold their rain, and the crops of the earth shall wither and die.
There will be plagues and pestilence and disease and death. An overflowing scourge shall cover the earth and a desolating sickness shall sweep the land. Flies shall take hold of the inhabitants of the earth, and maggots shall come in upon them. (See D&C 29:14–20.) “Their flesh shall fall from off their bones, and their eyes from their sockets” (D&C 29:19).
Bands of Gadianton robbers will infest every nation, immorality and murder and crime will increase, and it will seem as though every man’s hand is against his brother.
We need not dwell more upon these things. We are commanded to search the scriptures where they are recounted with force and fervor, and they shall surely come to pass.
It is one of the sad heresies of our time that peace will be gained by weary diplomats as they prepare treaties of compromise, or that the Millennium will be ushered in because men will learn to live in peace and to keep the commandments, or that the predicted plagues and promised desolations of latter days can in some way be avoided.
We must do all we can to proclaim peace, to avoid war, to heal disease, to prepare for natural disasters—but with it all, that which is to be shall be.
Knowing what we know, and having the light and understanding that has come to us, we must—as individuals and as a Church—use our talents, strengths, energies, abilities, and means to prepare for whatever may befall us and our children.
We know that the world will go on in wickedness until the end of the world, which is the destruction of the wicked. We shall continue to live in the world, but with the Lord’s help we shall not be of the world. We shall strive to overcome carnality and worldliness of every sort and shall invite all men to flee from Babylon, join with us, and live as becometh Saints.
As the Saints of the Most High we shall strive to “stand independent above all other creatures beneath the celestial world” (D&C 78:14). Our only hope is to free ourselves from the bondage of sin, to rid ourselves from the chains of darkness, to rise above the world, to live godly and upright lives.
Relying always on the Lord, we must become independent of the world. We must be self-reliant. Using the agency God has given us, we must work out our own economic and temporal problems.
We are here on earth to work—to work long, hard, arduous hours, to work until our backs ache and our tired muscles knot, to work all our days. This mortal probation is one in which we are to eat our bread in the sweat of our faces until we return to the dust from whence we came.
Work is the law of life; it is the ruling principle in the lives of the Saints. We cannot, while physically able, voluntarily shift the burden of our own support to others. Doles abound in evils. Industry, thrift, and self-respect are essential to salvation.
We must maintain our own health, sow our own gardens, store our own food, educate and train ourselves to handle the daily affairs of life. No one else can work out our salvation for us, either temporally or spiritually.
We are here on earth to care for the needs of our family members. Wives have claim on their husbands for their support, children upon their parents, parents upon their children, brothers upon each other, and relatives upon their kin.
It is the aim of the Church to help the Saints to care for themselves and, where need be, to make food and clothing and other necessities available, lest the Saints turn to the doles and evils of Babylon. To help care for the poor among them the Church must operate farms, grow vineyards, run dairies, manage factories, and ten thousand other things—all in such a way as to be independent of the powers of evil in the world.
We do not know when the calamities and troubles of the last days will fall upon any of us as individuals or upon bodies of the Saints. The Lord deliberately withholds from us the day and hour of his coming and of the tribulations which shall precede it—all as part of the testing and probationary experiences of mortality. He simply tells us to watch and be ready.
We can rest assured that if we have done all in our power to prepare for whatever lies ahead, he will then help us with whatever else we need.
He rained manna from heaven upon all Israel, six days each week for forty years, lest they perish for want of bread, but the manna ceased on the morrow after they ate of the parched corn of Canaan. Then they were required to supply their own food. (See Ex. 16:3–4, 35.)
During forty years in the wilderness the clothes worn by all Israel waxed not old and their shoes wore not out, but when they entered their promised land, then the Lord required them to provide their own wearing apparel. (See Deut. 29:5.)
When there was a famine in the land, at Elijah’s word, a certain barrel of meal did not waste, and a certain cruse of oil did not fail, until the Lord sent again rain on the earth. And it is worthy of note, as Jesus said, that though there were many widows in Israel, unto one only was Elijah sent. (See 1 Kgs. 17:10–16.)
We do not say that all of the Saints will be spared and saved from the coming day of desolation. But we do say there is no promise of safety and no promise of security except for those who love the Lord and who are seeking to do all that he commands.
It may be, for instance, that nothing except the power of faith and the authority of the priesthood can save individuals and congregations from the atomic holocausts that surely shall be.
And so we raise the warning voice and say: Take heed; prepare; watch and be ready. There is no security in any course except the course of obedience and conformity and righteousness.
For thus saith the Lord: “The Lord’s scourge shall pass over by night and by day, and the report thereof shall vex all people; yea, it shall not be stayed until the Lord come; … “Nevertheless, Zion shall escape if she observe to do all things whatsoever I have commanded her,” saith the Lord.
“But if she observe not to do whatsoever I have commanded her, I will visit her according to all her works, with sore affliction, with pestilence, with plague, with sword, with vengeance, with devouring fire.” (D&C 97:23, 25–26.)
O God, our Father, wilt thou grant us peace and security and safety in the days of tribulation that shall come like a whirlwind upon all the earth.
Wilt thou hedge up the evil powers, and open up the way before us, thy people, that as individuals and as a Church we may stand independent of every creature beneath the celestial world.
And wilt thou enfold us everlastingly in the arms of thy love; and finally, wilt thou save us with an everlasting salvation in thy kingdom—for all of which we pray.
Stand Independent above All Other Creatures – Elder Bruce R. McConkie Of the Council of the Twelve
Hope sustains us through despair if only we could glimpse for a moment what the Lord has in store for us, not only in the next life but in this one as well, our hope would be unshakable and despair could never overcome us. Hope teaches that there is a reason to rejoice even when all seems dark around us. To all who suffer, to all that feel discouraged worried or lonely I say with love and deep concern for you, never give in, never surrender, never allow despair to overcome your spirit. – President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, October 2008
With this I echo the words of President Monson:
I assure you that our Heavenly Father is mindful of the challenges we face in the world today, he loves each of us and will bless us as we strive to keep his commandments and seek him through prayer.
All who participated in this moving drama of real life had discovered a new and personal appreciation of the Master’s teaching, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). To all within the sound of my voice I declare that the welfare plan of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is inspired of Almighty God. Indeed, the Lord Jesus Christ is its architect. He beckons to you and to me, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him” (Revelation 3:20). May we hear His voice, may we open to His presence the doorways of our hearts, and may He be our constant companion as we strive to serve His children, I pray humbly in His holy name, even Jesus Christ our Lord, amen. – President Thomas S. Monson, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Guidelines for Ward and Stake Emergency Plans
Wards and stakes should have a plan in the event of an emergency. Plans are prepared by ward and stake welfare committees under the direction of the bishop or stake president.
Guidelines for Use of Meetinghouses as Emergency Shelters
Following a disaster, the use of a Church meetinghouse as a community emergency shelter is occasionally needed. Permission to use a meetinghouse is granted by the stake president.
General Conditions and Guidelines
• While the use of a meetinghouse as a temporary community shelter may occasionally be needed, a Church building generally should not be the first choice. Other community facilities are better suited to accommodate the lodging of large numbers of people.
• If wards or stakes are approached by a local organization desiring to enter into a pre-disaster agreement, the stake president should seek area approval. Following approval, the insurance section of the Risk Management Division should be contacted for needed documents.
• When a meetinghouse is used by a community agency, Word of Wisdom standards should be observed in the building and on surrounding Church property. The chapel and offices are not to be used except for Church purposes. Cooking equipment and heaters that are not part of the meetinghouse furnishings may not be used in the building. Pets, other than service animals, are not allowed in the building.
• The stake president or bishop should assign a priesthood holder to be present any time the building is being used.
1. Church Handbook of Instructions, Book 1, pages 10 and 182.
2. Facilities Management Guidelines for Meetinghouses and Other Church Property (United States and Canada), page 2.
Note: The following links are not to official Church publications, but are provided as additional resource material.
Safety and health checklist for organizations engaged in disaster response.
Presidential Disaster Declarations 2000 – 2007
Disaster Cleanup and Church Volunteer Safety
Wards and stakes may organize volunteers to assist in the community following a disaster. Church volunteers should focus on cleanup rather than reconstruction. All volunteers should adhere to Church safety guidelines for disaster cleanup.
Safety and Health Checklist for Voluntary and Community-Based Organizations Engaged in Disaster Recovery Demolition and Construction Activities