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Dear Gramps,

My husband is serving as a Bishop.  We continue to have disagreements over emergency preparedness.  He says all we need to do is to follow what the church website says and the living Prophet and Apostles.  I have shown him quotes from Pres. Benson and other non living apostles and prophets that gives much more detail and counsel.  He seems to be content with the bare minimum. I feel the need to be more prepared.  Any suggestion on how to solve this difference of opinion?





Dear Worried,

While I can’t solve the problem of the difference of opinion in your marriage, nor do I know what your husband considers to be “bare minimum,” I can show and share some resources on the topic of emergency preparedness.

At one point in our church history we were counseled to have a years supply of food.  The counsel on that has changed somewhat. Or perhaps I should say has been added to.

Per, an article titled Emergency Preparedness and Response gives the following counsel on a simple plan in case of an emergency:

  • 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.

You’ll notice that it states a three month supply and also longer-term supply of basic food items.  The emphasis for so many years was to have a year supply of longer term basic food items.  That hasn’t changed really.  What has been added is to have a three month supply of food that you would eat on a daily basis.  Basic longer term food items would be wheat, rice, potatoes, pasta, oats and beans.

There appears to be at times a complacency in the subject of food storage and preparedness.  There is the attitude among many members that the Church will come to their aid.

President Ezra Taft Benson once said:

“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.”  Prepare for the Days of Tribulation

Elder L. Tom Perry has said:

“…..we must remind ourselves that the Church welfare system was never designed or intended to care for the healthy member who, as a result of his poor management or lack of preparation, has found himself in difficulty. It was designed to assist the membership in case of a large, physical disaster, such as an earthquake or a flood. It was designed to assist the ill, the injured, the incapacitated, and to rehabilitate them to a productive life. In far too many cases, members who should be making use of their own preparedness provisions are finding that there is nothing there and that they have to turn to the Church.


It is time to ask ourselves, What has created the problem of placing such a heavy burden on the Church to supply our welfare needs? My analysis of this problem would lead me to believe that, as leaders, we have spent far too much time in administering relief and far too little in prevention by having our families prepared to administer to their own needs. It is time to teach the basics—again. It is time to make the number one priority of our welfare efforts personal and family preparedness. We must prepare now so that in time of need more of our members will be able to draw upon their own preparedness and not have to seek assistance from the Church.”   The Need to Teach Personal and Family Preparedness

So what do these quotes have to do with your question?  We live in challenging times.  We live in the last days. We’ve been promised that times will get bad.  Yet we’ve also been promised that if we follow the counsel of our current leaders, we will be blessed.  If we adhere to the counsel given above regarding an emergency plan, we will be blessed. That doesn’t mean that hard times will not come to us.  We all have a responsibility to make sure that we can be self-sufficient during the hard times.  We can’t be complacent in this or think the Church will bail us out.

If “bare minimum” is considered what was described earlier from, we are following the counsel of our current leaders.  Yet there is much wisdom in following what some of our past leaders have advised as well.  I also follow the thought that “we can’t be too prepared.”  Put together the basics as counseled and add from there.  There are certainly many things that I would add to my emergency items that aren’t on the list provided.

This is something that you and your husband will need to work out.  Prayerfully take it to the Lord for guidance in this matter for your family.




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