Saturday, June 25, 2011

Why Don't We Prepare?

The following article appeared at Meridian Magazine several years ago by Carolyn Nicholayson

Recently, we took our grandchildren to see the movie Horton Hears a Who. Truthfully, I was not looking forward to it because so many of the Dr. Seuss books have been ruined by the Big Screen. However, I have not stopped thinking about it since.

Horton is happily playing in his own world when all of a sudden he thinks he hears a call for help. Then again, he hears someone calling out. It is a faint, small voice. Those in his world always say to him, "If you can't see it or hear it or touch it, it doesn't exist.” Over and over again he is told, "If you can't see it or hear it or touch it, it doesn't exist. So don’t talk about it, or people will think you are crazy." 

But Horton is not deterred. Even when his best friend fails to believe him, he stands by what he heard, and won't — no, he can’t deny it. 

Horton finally makes contact with the small voice, who is the mayor of the tiny town of Whoville, a small world of people who live on a small speck of dust in Horton’s world, that has been tossed into the atmosphere and is now unprotected. Horton must help them! 

The mayor also realizes they are in grave danger, and warns the people of Whoville to prepare and seek shelter. The city council, like the citizens of Whoville, cannot see the danger, and tell the people, "Nothing bad has ever happened in Whoville, and nothing bad ever will." 

It reminded me of the quote from president Ezra Taft Benson:

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.

The Lord has warned and forewarned us against a day of great tribulation and given us counsel, through His servants, on how we can be prepared for these difficult times. Have we heeded His counsel?
This quote has always haunted me: "Those who believe this are either not acquainted with the revelations of the Lord, or they do not believe them." We cannot claim to be unacquainted with the revelations of the Lord, so does that mean we just simply don't believe them? 

I worry about the twenty- and thirty-somethings who live in nice homes and drive nice cars and dress their children in new clothes, but who claim they just don't have the money to prepare or who think they will just run to the store and buy what they need because they have a savings account. 
Cash is not food, it is not clothing, it is not coal, it is not shelter; and we will get to the place where no matter how much cash we have, we cannot secure those things in the quantities which we may need … All that you can be certain you will have is that which you produce. We must purge our hearts of the love of ease; we must put out from our lives the curse of idleness. God declared that mortal man should earn his bread by the sweat of his brow. That is the law of this world (In Conference Report, Apr. 1937, p. 26, quoted by A. Theodore Tuttle, Ensign, May 1978)
Should we worry about the single adults in the Church who feel that because they are not yet married they do not need to prepare? Should we worry for those who are more seasoned in age who have heard the Lord's warning for so long and now consider it outdated? 

Several months ago I received a note from a reader who told me the quotes I used were all a few years old or older and therefore outdated. He went on to say that when he heard the prophet tell him at conference to get a 72-hour kit or prepare in other ways he would do it. 

My question: How is that different than needing to be commanded in all things? 
Why prepare? My question is why not? 

Here are some excuses people use for not preparing for tomorrow. If you have found yourself using these excuses, maybe the time has come to sing a different tune.
  • “I just don't have the money.”

    Who does? Have you purchased new clothes for the kids? New jewelry or clothing for yourselves? A new sofa? Taken a vacation? Gone to the movies or eaten out in the past month? Then you have the money. 

    It was hearing this excuse over and over that prompted me to begin the Seven Steps program on my blog and also to discuss moneysaving tips each week. We do have the money. It is desire we lack. 

    We can always borrow a movie from a friend and watch at home. We can eat a breakfast menu for dinner one night a week and take the money we save to purchase food storage and become prepared. I am not suggesting we incur debt to purchase food storage and generators — only that we re-prioritize what we are already spending.

    And why not prepare? Do you realize that once you have a three-month supply of the foods you normally eat, you never have to purchase food at full price again! Everything goes on sale. Think about how much money you could save and how it could help you become totally self-reliant or debt free. 

    Let’s read what President Spencer W. Kimball had to say on the subject:

    Let’s do these things because they are right, because they are satisfying, and because we are obedient to the counsels of the Lord. In this spirit we will be prepared for most eventualities, and the Lord will prosper and comfort us. (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, Chapter 11: Provident Living: Applying Principles of Self-Reliance and Preparedness, From The Life of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 115).
  • “I don't know how to cook with stored food.”

    If that’s your excuse, then it's time to learn a new skill. If you store a three-month supply of foods you normally eat and supplement with other storage foods to reach your one-year supply, you should have no trouble rotating your storage.
  • I have had some people tell me they only eat fresh fruits and vegetables. If that is the case, maybe it is time to expand your menu, because in most places it is difficult to get enough fresh fruits and veggies year round to maintain your 4-5 servings a day. Be creative and ask a great cook you know to help you develop some recipes your family will enjoy.
  • And why not include stored foods? Incorporating stored foods in your diet now will enable your body to get used to processing these foods. During an emergency you will have to eat stored foods, either your own or others. Wouldn't you rather have the foods you like? I for one really enjoy knowing I have brownie mix in my food storage, as well as beans and rice.
  • You will also be eating a much more balanced diet now that your food storage is well rounded and you are making it a part of everyday cooking. No more preprocessed foods — and, it really doesn't take that much longer to cook from scratch. With childhood obesity at an alarmingly high rate, doesn't it make sense to eat more balanced meals? Just think of the savings in medical costs. And think of the gift you are giving your children — a healthy lifestyle.
  • Another benefit of learning to use stored foods is less waste! No more throwing away foods that have spoiled while waiting to be consumed. I can't begin to imagine how much wheat, rice and dehydrated foods have been tossed in dumpsters.

  • Even worse than throwing away food, is the risk of serving foods that may be unsafe because you have stored them too long. 
    Of course, if we consume stored foods, they can spoil as well. If you have canned fruits and jams that have turned brown, throw them away! I recently heard of a friend's mom who has fruit that was canned before her oldest child was born — and that child now has a child.
  • What could possibly be wrong with having good foods stored, so when the missionaries or friends of your kids show up right at dinner time, all you have to do is run to the pantry and open a few more cans or packages and stretch that meal?

  • “The Church will take care of me.”

    Think so? I remember a few years ago when my husband was serving as a bishop and he received word that the Church was dangerously low on supplies in the storehouse. It had been a year full of natural disasters, famine and drought.

  • If your rationale is that the Church will take care of you, you may want to read this quote:
What does it really mean when we say the church will take care of us? Consider the following: My brothers and sisters, throughout the history of the world, the Lord has been concerned for the eternal welfare of the souls of his children. Over the past fifty years, inspired leaders have taught welfare principles to help us plan ahead for difficult times that may come in our lives. The Church has grown and is now spread over many countries throughout the world. But the strength of the Church and the Lord’s real storehouse is in the homes and hearts of his people (Robert D. Hales, “Welfare Principles to Guide Our Lives: An Eternal Plan for the Welfare of Men’s Souls,” Ensign, May 1986, p. 28.
Will the church take care of us? Yes. Through the storehouse — the Lord's most effective storehouse — the homes of the members of the Church. When family and friends need our help, the bishop can call on the members to help one another, or the community. It may be a disaster in our own neighborhood, or those who evacuate to our community to seek refuge from a nearby calamity. 

Will we be ready when the bishop or stake president asks us to bring our 72-hour kits or food storage to the chapel to care for those in distress?

And why not share what we prepared? After all, aren't we eventually going to have to replace or update a lot of that stuff anyway? Ever run out of something in your diaper bag at church because you forgot to restock? Aren't you glad someone was prepared to help?
For I was an hungered and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? Or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? Or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren ye have done it unto me (Matthew 25:40).

Note from Beth.....we all know that only 3 to 4% of the members of the church have any food stored.  Recently my son was in a priesthood meeting where this was illustrated.  The Bishop asked how many of them had their three month supply.  Only my son and one other brother raised their hands!  So if relying on "the church" (and that's your neighbors, in all actuality) is your survival strategy you might want to reconsider.  If no one is storing food, no one will have any to share.  I heard that the average home has over $25,000 worth of things they never use that could be sold to retire debt or in this case used to store food.  We all might not have
that much around but possibly a few hundred dollars would be realistic.  Consignment stores are a great option right now.  Find one in your area, go through your things and cash them in!  I am hearing so often people telling me that they are paring down, simplifying their lives and only keeping things they really need. 
Perfect time to prioritize and to be obedient!

Read on....

Nothing ever happens here and nothing ever will.

Did you know there have been major earthquakes in Missouri? Major hurricanes in New York and New England? Droughts and dust storms in the Midwest? Tsunamis in Oregon and Washington? Of course you did. Have you forgotten about the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, or Flight 93? We did not want to believe that could happen either, but such events are fresh in our memory.
During the last week of our Lord’s mortal life, He was privately approached on the Mount of Olives by His disciples. They asked Him two questions, the first of which was: “Tell us, when shall these things be which thou hast said concerning the destruction of the temple, and the Jews?” (JST, Matt. 24:4).
The basis for their earnest inquiry was a prophecy by Jesus that had left even the disciples stunned. While standing in the temple precincts, Jesus had declared: “There shall not be left here upon this temple, one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down” (JST, Matt. 24:2). 

The temple in Jerusalem was a magnificent structure. It rested on the same site as the temple of Solomon. Can you imagine how improbable it must have seemed to Jesus’ disciples that one stone would not be left on another? 

The Savior also prophesied concerning the fate of the Jewish nation: “This people shall be destroyed and scattered among all nations." That desolation came as predicted — in just four decades following the crucifixion — the nation, the city, and the temple were all destroyed!
My word shall not pass away; but shall all be fulfilled (JST, Matt. 24:36).
The second question asked by the disciples on the Mount of Olives, and the one pertinent to our time, was: “What is the sign of thy coming; and of the end of the world?” 

The Lord has designated these days in which we live as the Times of the Gentiles. “And when the times of the Gentiles is come in, a light shall break forth among them that sit in darkness, and it shall be the fullness of my gospel; But they receive it not; for they perceive not the light, and they turn their hearts from me because of the precepts of men. And in that generation shall the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” (D&C 45:28-30; italics added.) 

We will know when the times of the Gentiles are approaching fulfillment by these signs: 

And in that day shall be heard of wars and rumors of wars, and the whole earth shall be in commotion, and men’s hearts shall fail them, and they shall say that Christ delayeth his coming until the end of the earth.

And the love of men shall wax cold, and iniquity shall abound (D&C 45:26-27).

And again, this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world, for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come, or the destruction of the wicked (JST, Matt. 24:32).
Are we not witnessing the fulfillment of these signs today? Truly we live in the times of which the Savior spoke, when “the love of men shall wax cold, and iniquity shall abound.” 

The rejection of the testimony of the servants of God by the nations of the world will bring the consequence of greater calamities, for the Lord himself declared: 
For after your testimony cometh the testimony of earthquakes, that shall cause groanings in the midst of her, and men shall fall upon the ground and shall not be able to stand. And also cometh the testimony of the voice of thunderings, and the voice of lightnings, and the voice of tempests, and the voice of the waves of the sea heaving themselves beyond their bounds. And all things shall be in commotion; and surely, men’s hearts shall fail them, for fear shall come upon all people (D&C 88:89-91). 

And there shall be men standing in that generation, that shall not pass until they shall see an overflowing scourge; for a desolating sickness shall cover the land. But my disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved; but among the wicked, men shall lift up their voices and curse God and die. And there shall be earthquakes also in divers places, and many desolations; yet men will harden their hearts against me, and they will take up the sword, one against another, and they will kill one another (D&C 45:31-33). 

Even greater signs shall then be given to manifest the approaching great day of the Lord (Ezra Taft Benson, New Era, May 1982).
The Lord himself told us the signs to watch for. They are not difficult to recognize.
  • A desolating sickness over the land — have we not seen AIDS orphan an entire generation in Africa?
  • The seas heaving beyond their bounds — such as the Southeast Asian tsunami that killed more than 288,000 people just several years ago.
  • The world shall be in commotion and men's hearts shall fail them — such as on 9/11?
According to the Savior himself, we can expect even greater signs. The Lord himself has told modern day prophets we should be preparing.
The time has come to get our houses in order … There is a portent of stormy weather ahead to which we had better give heed (Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, Nov. 1998, p. 53).
And why not prepare? 

With the state of today’s economy, is it impossible for you to lose your job?  

Could you or a family member become ill and deplete all your resources? 

Could there be a natural disaster, terrorist attack, or even a house fire in your future? 

Could you be stranded on the road, or the victim of a power outage? 

You probably already have had some of these experiences. 

So why not prepare? Why not be ready?

Will we be like Horton's friends in the Dr. Seuss story, and fail to heed what we cannot hear, see, or touch? Or will we be like the people of Whoville, who did not believe the warnings until disaster struck their world? 

We could instead be like our scriptural hero Nephi: “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” (1 Nephi 3:6). 
Why not prepare? Why not, indeed!

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