CHURCH RELIEF: Should we wait for a program by the church to begin preparing? Should we rely upon the church for relief in an emergency?

Prophetic Statements

Brigham Young

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 for safety.  1

We will have to go to work and get the gold out of the mountains to lay down, if we ever walk in streets paved with gold. The angels that now walk in their golden streets, and they have the tree of life within their paradise, had to obtain that gold and put it there. When we have streets paved with gold, we will have placed it there ourselves. When we enjoy a Zion in its beauty and glory, it will be when we have built it. If we enjoy the Zion that we now anticipate, it will be after we redeem and prepare it. If we live in the city of the New Jerusalem, it will be because we lay the foundation and build it. If we do not as individuals complete that work, we shall lay the foundation for our children and our children’s children, as Adam has. If we are to be saved in an ark, as Noah and his family were, it will be because we build it. If the Gospel is preached to the nations, it is because the Elders of Israel … preach the Gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth. 2

Harold B. Lee

We expect the individual to do all he can to help himself, whether it be an emergency for a single family or for a whole community, that the relatives will do all they can to help, then the Church steps in with commodities from the storehouse, with fast offerings to meet their needs that commodities from the storehouse will not supply, and finally the Relief Society and the priesthood quorums will assist with rehabilitation. 3

Spencer W. Kimball

No true Latter-Day Saint, while physically or emotionally able will voluntarily shift the burden of his own or his family’s well-being to someone else. So long as he can, under the inspiration of the Lord and with his own labors, he will supply himself and his family with the spiritual and temporal necessities of life (1 Tim. 5:8) (Spencer W. Kimball, CR Oct. 1977.)

Ezra Taft Benson

For years we have been counseled to have on hand a year’s supply of food. Yet there are some today who will not start storing until the Church comes out with a detailed monthly home storage program. Now, suppose that never happens. We still cannot say we have not been warned.

Should the Lord decide at this time to cleanse the Church-and the need for that cleansing seems to be increasing-a famine in this land of one year’s duration could wipe out a large percentage of slothful members, including some ward and stake officers. Yet we cannot say we have not been warned. 4

Now is the time to prepare. I am not talking only of physical commodities, important though those are. I am talking about faith, devotion, dedication, love of God, the willingness to heed the counsel of the leadership of this Church; men and women who are willing to put their all on the altar, who are doing their duty as fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, who have the strength to live in the world and not partake of the sins of the world. Sometimes there are emergencies, but there is no emergency that will take a mother away from little children if they are faithful members of this Church, because the Church stands back of every faithful mother and father and will come to their aid in time of need if they are living the gospel and participating in the great welfare program of the Church. The Lord does not give commandments except He prepares a way that we can keep those commandments (see 1 Nephi 3:7). 5

Our bishops storehouses are not intended to stock enough commodities to care for all the members of the Church. Storehouses are only established to care for the poor and the needy. For this reason, members of the Church have been instructed to personally store a year’s supply of food, clothing, and, where possible, fuel. By following this counsel, most members will be prepared and able to care for themselves and their family members, and be able to share with others as may be needed. 6

For the righteous, the gospel provides a warning before calamity, a program for the crises, refuge for each disaster…. The Lord has warned us of famines, but the righteous will have listened to the prophets and stored at least one year’s supply of survival food… 7

Gordon B. Hinckley

We have built grain storage and storehouses and stocked them with the necessities of life in the event of a disaster. But the real storehouse is the family storeroom. In words of revelation the Lord has said, ‘Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing’ (D&C 109:8.) 8

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 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. 9


Luke 6:46

And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? 10

D&C 1:12

Prepare ye, prepare ye for that which is to come, for the Lord is nigh;

D&C 38:30

I tell you these things because of your prayers; wherefore, treasure up wisdom in your bosoms, lest the wickedness of men reveal these things unto you by their wickedness, in a manner which shall speak in your ears with a voice louder than that which shall shake the earth; but if ye are prepared ye shall not fear.

  1. Discourses of Brigham Young, 291–92
  2. Discourses of Brigham Young, 291
  3. “Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee”, 2000, 171.
  4. Ezra Taft Benson, God, Family, Country, p. 383.
  5. Ezra Taft Benson, Grantsville Utah Stake Conference, 1 September 1974.
  6. Ezra Taft Benson, CR April 1977, Ensign 7 [May 1977]: 82.
  7. Ezra Taft Benson (General Conference, October 1973)
  8. President Gordon B. Hinckley
  9. Gordon B. Hinkley, “To Men of the Priesthood,” Ensign, Nov. 2002, 5.
  10. Luke 6: 46
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