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Dear Gramps,
The Mormon Church is asking us to store one year’s supply of food etc. I read today that the general authorities initially asked us to store food for a period of seven years:

—Heber C. Kimball: “Brethren, go and build your storehouses before your grain is harvested, and lay it up, and let us never cease until we have got a seven year’s supply…we will lay up the grain for seven years.” (JD 4:336-339. June 7, 1857:)

—George A. Smith: “I wish to call the attention of the Conference to the text of President Brigham Young in relation to storing our wheat. This is a question of vast importance. A few years ago President Young gave counsel to the people of the Territory–most of whom agreed to it–to lay by seven years provisions.” (JD 12:106. November 3, 1867)

I have never heard that before. Aren’t we supposed to store one year of supplies, and cf. above is one year a minimum?
John, from Randers, Denmark

Dear John,
Such counsel by the Brethren is not to be considered in the same light as announcing a principle of the gospel. Both temporal needs and abilities to respond to them vary from time to time. When the Church was first organized the instruction to lay up a seven year’s supply was the word of the Lord to them. Today the Lord has given us the word on food storage through today’s prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley—

“We have a great welfare program with facilities for such things as grain storage in various areas. It is important that we do this. But the best place to have some food set aside is within our homes, together with a little money in savings. The best welfare program is our own welfare program. Five or six cans of wheat in the home are better than a bushel in the welfare granary….

“We can begin ever so modestly. We can begin with a one week’s food supply and gradually build it to a month, and then to three months. I am speaking now of food to cover basic needs. As all of you recognize, this counsel is not new. But I fear that so many feel that a long-term food supply is so far beyond their reach that they make no effort at all.

“Begin in a small way, my brethren, and gradually build toward a reasonable objective. Save a little money regularly, and you will be surprised how it accumulates.” (Ensign, Nov. 2002, p 57)

The above quotation is President Hinckley’s urging the members who have not done so to get started on this vital program. As you mentioned above, the Welfare Program of the Church today is to have on hand at least one year’s supply of food, plus reasonable supplies of other necessities.

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