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Author’s note: September Is National Preparedness month. What a great time to review goals and get family and friends on board.
Do you lack faith to prepare for emergencies and become self-reliant?
Several years ago a friend who was suffering with bipolar disorder decided that if she had enough faith, she should be able to live without medications. After a rough relapse, she understood real faith was manifest in believing that Heavenly Father inspired those who created her medications, and that it was up to her to take them.
Have you ever thought this way about preparing? That if you had enough faith, you could rely on Heavenly Father to provide in an emergency?
Your real question should be – do I have enough faith to prepare and become self-reliant? Self-reliance is not a new concept.
Brigham Young said: “We should be self-reliant as families and as a people. We want you henceforth to be a self-sustaining people [see D&C 78:14]. Hear it, O Israel! hear it, neighbors, friends and enemies, this is what the Lord requires of this people (DBY, 293). Instead of searching after what the Lord is going to do for us, let us inquire what we can do for ourselves (DBY, 293).
“My faith does not lead me to think the Lord will provide us with roast pigs, bread already buttered, etc.; he will give us the ability to raise the grain, to obtain the fruits of the earth, to make habitations, to procure a few boards to make a box, and when harvest comes, giving us the grain, it is for us to preserve it—to save the wheat until we have one, two, five, or seven years’ provisions on hand, until there is enough of the staff of life saved by the people to [provide] bread [for] themselves and those who will come here seeking.”
We can grow closer to the Savior and live the gospel more fully as we become self-reliant.
Heber J Grant taught, “Nothing destroys the individuality of a man, a woman, or a child as much as the failure to be self-reliant.” (Relief Society Magazine, Oct. 1937
Marion G. Romney counseled: “Doctrine and Covenants 29:34–35 tells us there is no such thing as a temporal commandment, that all commandments are spiritual. It also tells us that man is to be ‘an agent unto himself.’ Man cannot be an agent unto himself if he is not self-reliant. Herein we see that independence and self-reliance are critical keys to our spiritual growth. Whenever we get into a situation, which threatens our self-reliance, we will find our freedom threatened as well. If we increase our dependence, we will find an immediate decrease in our freedom to act.
“The purpose of becoming spiritually and temporally self-reliant is to become better able to serve the Lord and care for others (see John 15:8). The Savior invites us all to act, to stand independent, and to become as He is. He will help us. He has promised: ‘It is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine. But it must needs be done in mine own way’ (D&C 104:15–16). His way includes learning and living the principles of self-reliance—‘the ability, commitment, and effort to provide the necessities of life for self and family’” (Providing in the Lord’s Way: Summary of a Leader’s Guide to Welfare ).
The Lord has commanded us to care for the poor.
“Remember the poor. … Inasmuch as ye impart of your substance unto the poor, ye will do it unto me.” (D&C 42:30–31.)
A little later, he again declared, “Visit the poor and the needy and administer to their relief.” (D&C 44:6.)
Later the same year, he warned: “Wo unto you rich men, that will not give your substance to the poor, for your riches will canker your souls.” (D&C 56:16.
President Russell M. Nelson taught, referring to the scriptures above: “With these teachings throbbing in our ears, stated and restated in accounts to all people in all days of recorded scripture, let our thoughts return to the homeless, beggars in boats, human beasts of burden, and to multitudes stricken with poverty. Is it possible to be faithful to our solemn obligation to care for the poor and needy, to lift them and to love them—worldwide? An important part of the Lord’s storehouse is maintained as a year’s supply, stored, where possible, in the homes of faithful families of the Church.” (April 1986)
Our food storage and other preparations can truly help us to serve the poor, hungry, those who mourn, and those poor in spirit. Have you ever had to say no when asked to provide a meal for a family or a funeral? Are you able to provide items to a family who has been evacuated or lost their home? Could you provide clean up supplies when the stores are out after a weather disaster? A food storage and emergency preparedness plan could solve these problems and allow us to do as the Lord asks, love and serve.
The Lord has warned us in every dispensation of calamities to come before the return of the Savior.
President Ezra Taft Benson reminded: “For over forty years, in the spirit of love, members of the Church have been counseled to be thrifty and self-reliant; to avoid debt; pay tithes and a generous fast offering; be industrious; and have sufficient food, clothing, and fuel on hand to last at least one year. Today there are compelling reason to reemphasize this counsel… the Lord has decreed global calamities for the future and has warned and forewarned us to be prepared. For this reason the brethren have repeatedly stressed a ‘back-to-basics’ program for temporal and spiritual welfare.”
Said Brigham Young: “If you are without bread, how much wisdom can you boast, and of what real utility are your talents, if you cannot produce for yourselves and save against a day of scarcity those substances designed to sustain your natural lives?” (Brigham Young J.D. 8:68)
And again, President Marion G. Romney: “Now I would like to repeat what you have heard a thousand times, more or less, about taking care of yourselves. You ought to now, more than at any time since we have been in this welfare work, make sure that you are prepared to go through a period of stress on the resources you have provided for yourselves. The necessity to do this may come any day. I hope it doesn’t come too soon, in fact, I hope it doesn’t come in my lifetime. But it will come sooner or later.
“Never forget, this matter of providing for yourselves, even though you don’t hear as much about it now as you did a few years ago. Remember that it is still a fundamental principle, one that has been taught the Saints ever since they came to these valleys of the mountains. We have always been urged to provide ourselves with enough supplies in the day of harvest to last us until the next harvest. Be sure that you do so. Do it in your own way but be prepared to take care of yourselves through a period of need.”
President Gordon B. Hinckley said poignantly after 9/11/2001: “Occasions of this kind pull us up sharply to a realization that life is fragile, peace is fragile, civilization itself is fragile. The economy is particularly vulnerable. We have been counseled again and again concerning self-reliance, concerning debt, concerning thrift. So many of our people are heavily in debt for things that are not entirely necessary…..I urge you as members of this Church to get free of debt where possible and to have a little laid aside against a rainy day.
“We cannot provide against every contingency. But we can provide against many contingencies. Let the present situation remind us that this we should do.
As we have been continuously counseled for more than 60 years, let us have some food set aside that would sustain us for a time in case of need. But let us not panic nor go to extremes. Let us be prudent in every respect. And, above all, my brothers and sisters, let us move forward with faith in the Living God and His Beloved Son.
“I do not know what the future holds. I do not wish to sound negative, but I wish to remind you of the warnings of scripture and the teachings of the prophets which we have had constantly before us.
“I am familiar, as are you, with the declarations of modern revelation that the time will come when the earth will be cleansed and there will be indescribable distress, with weeping and mourning and lamentation.”” (October General Conference 2001)
It can be difficult to move forward with faith when our ward, stake, friends and family do not have the faith to prepare. Brigham Young taught: “Implied faith and confidence in God is for you and me to do everything we can to sustain and preserve ourselves; and the community that works together, heart and hand, to accomplish this, their efforts will be like the efforts of one man (DBY, 293).”
Yes, it is easier if we have a support group around. Many, many have joined the church and been abandoned by family and friends for doing so. Let us look to them as an example. The pioneers crossing the plains may have been abandoned by family and friends in their homelands, but they joined together to support each other. Create a self-reliance community as Brigham Young suggested. We can do hard things.
“And Jesus looking upon them saith, with men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.” Mark 10:27
Ezra Taft Benson counseled: “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 will somehow be set aside because of the righteousness of the saints, are deceived and will rue the day they harbored such a delusion.” (Ensign, Nov. 1980)
The question really is, do you and I have enough faith to prepare and become self-reliant?
Please join Carolyn on her facebook page. If you have not already asked for a copy of her Evacuation Checklist, do it today and place it in your preparedness binder. More than 90,000 have viewed the checklist, or shared it – and many have already used it. Don’t miss it!