My husband and I have been activity working our food storage for over 10 years. A few days ago I reading thoughts of an LDS group on line, where I thought we might get ideas from other LDS members doing the same thing. I spent a couple hours reading several post from this site. Some sounded like they were in a panic. Some posted about personal dreams/visions, and parts of patriarchal blessings. Aren’t these things to be kept private? I plan to drop from this group. Have the General Authorities ever addressed this issue?
In the 2004 April General Conference, Elder Boyd K. Packer, delivered a sermon titled, “Do Not Fear.” He introduced his remarks by recounting a visit of his grandson and feeling anxiety about the future and the world that this little boy faces as he grows up. As he pondered this concern, he received inspired reassurance from the Spirit of the Lord.
“That guiding, comforting Spirit, with which we in the Church are so familiar, brought to my remembrance what I already knew. The fear of the future was gone. That bright-eyed, little two-year-old can have a good life—a very good life—and so can his children and his grandchildren, even though they will live in a world where there is much of wickedness.” (Do Not Fear)
Elder Packer spoke of his own life experience, growing up in an age where children routinely were exposed to diseases like measles, smallpox, and polio. He himself contracted polio and could not walk for a time. He also spoke of losing loved ones in his life and the sorrow that accompanied those losses. Nevertheless, he also spoke of the tempering and sustaining power of the gospel to comfort and aid us through life’s trials.
President Hinckley was famous for his optimism. Indeed, he warned members to avoid many pitfalls like excess debt, worldliness, etc. Yet he also encouraged members to be positive and not be overcome with anxiety for the future. In a New Era article from July 2001, he cited an even earlier statement of encouragement.
I have little doubt that many of us are troubled with fears concerning ourselves. We are in a period of stress across the world. There are occasionally hard days for each of us. Do not despair. Do not give up. Look for the sunlight through the clouds. Opportunities will eventually open to you. Do not let the prophets of gloom endanger your possibilities (from Ensign,Apr. 1986, 4–5).
Under the leadership of the prophets and apostles who have led the Church over the past several decades, members of the Church have been counseled to prepare themselves in various ways. Among those instructions include having some stored food. One of the tools to help us plan for and acquire food security for our families is the pamphlet All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Home Storage, which is available on the Church web site. The guidelines in this pamphlet include these steps:
- Gradually build a small supply of food that is part of your normal, daily diet until it is sufficient for three months.
- Store drinking water.
- Establish a financial reserve by setting aside a little money each week, and gradually increase it to a reasonable amount.
- Once families have achieved the first three objectives, they are counseled to expand their efforts, as circumstances allow, into a supply of long-term basic foods such as grains, legumes, and other staples.
There’s nothing alarmist or frightening in any of the Church publications that teach members how to prepare for times of need. Indeed, it’s far more likely that a Mormon family will use their food storage to ride out a period of unemployment than Armageddon.
When we surf the Internet or participate in social media, there is often much beneficial knowledge to be shared. We should use prudence and follow the influence of the Holy Ghost. If we feel troubled by what we read on web, we should trust our feelings and take it to the Lord in prayer. In particular, be wary of web sites where people share their own personal revelations about dire judgments and tribulations. Elder Packer, speaking to an audience of new mission presidents in 1982, related:
I have come to believe also that it is not wise to continually talk of unusual spiritual experiences. They are to be guarded with care and shared only when the Spirit itself prompts you to use them to the blessing of others. I am ever mindful of Alma’s words:
“It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him.” (Alma 12:9.)
I heard President Marion G. Romney once counsel mission presidents and their wives in Geneva, “I do not tell all I know; I have never told my wife all I know, for I found out that if I talked too lightly of sacred things, thereafter the Lord would not trust me.”
We are, I believe, to keep these things and ponder them in our hearts, as Luke said Mary did of the supernal events that surrounded the birth of Jesus. (See Luke 2:19.)
I love that Elder Packer mentioned the example of Mary, the Lord’s mother. How many wonderful, sacred things did she experience watching Jesus grow up in her care? Yet the gospels are largely silent on them. What a model of spiritual self-restraint!
If you encounter web sites where you feel that members are sharing things that are inappropriate or are announcing inspired dreams that trouble you, just keep in mind that the Holy Ghost testifies of truth and that one of the fruits of the Spirit is peace (Galatians 5:22). If you don’t feel right about what you read, trust your feelings and take it to the Lord in prayer. You can be prompted and motivated to work towards preparedness and do so without undue anxiety. Don’t let food storage become a bone of contention between you, family members, or cause divisiveness in your ward family. As with all other things, do your best and leave the rest in the Lord’s hands to bless your efforts.