We continue to encourage members to store sufficient food, clothing, and, where possible, fuel for at least one year. We have not laid down an exact formula for what should be stored. However, we suggest that members concentrate on essential foods that sustain life, such as grains, legumes, cooking oil, powdered milk, salt, sugar or honey, and water. Most families can achieve and maintain this basic level of preparedness. The decision to do more than this rests with the individual. We encourage you to follow this counsel with the assurance that a people prepared through obedience to the commandments of God need not fear. 1
Church members can begin their home storage by storing the basic foods that would be required to keep them alive if they did not have anything else to eat. Depending on where members live, those basics might include water, wheat or other grains, legumes, salt, honey or sugar, powdered milk, and cooking oil.” … “When members have stored enough of these essentials to meet the needs of their family for one year, they may decide to add other items that they are accustomed to using day to day.” … “Families who do not have the resources to acquire a year’s supply can begin their storage by obtaining supplies to last for a few months. Members should be prudent and not panic or go to extremes in this effort.” 2
If you are without bread, how much wisdom can you boast and of what real utility are your talents, if you cannot procure for yourselves and save against a day of scarcity those substances designed to sustain your natural lives? 3
The Lord is not going to disappoint either Babylon or Zion, with regard to famine, pestilence, earthquakes or storms…lay up your wheat and other provision against a day of need, for the day will come when they will be wanted, and no mistake about it…. We shall want bread, and the Gentiles will want bread, and if we are wise we shall have something to feed them and ourselves when famine comes. 4
Ezra Taft Benson
For over one hundred years we have been admonished to store up grain. “Remember the counsel that is given,” said Elder Orson Hyde, ” `. . . Store up all your grain.’ and take care of it! . . . And I tell you it is almost as necessary to have bread to sustain the body as it is to have food for the spirit; for the one is as necessary as the other to enable us to carry on the work of God upon the earth.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, p. 17.) He also said: “There is more salvation and security in wheat, than in all the political schemes of the world. . . .” (JD, vol. 2, p. 207.)
As to the foodstuffs which should be stored, the Church has left that decision primarily to the individual members. Some excellent suggestions are available from the Church Welfare Committee. “All grain is good for the food of man” (D&C 89:16), the Lord states, but He particularly singles out wheat. Dry, whole, hard grains, when stored properly, can last indefinitely, and their nutritional value can be enhanced through sprouting, if desired. 5
Wood, coal, gas, oil, kerosene, and even candles are among those items which could be reserved as fuel for warmth, cooking, and light or power. Some may be used for all of these purposes and certain ones would have to be stored and handled cautiously. It would also be well to have on hand some basic medical supplies to last for at least a year. 6
It would be well if every family had on hand grain for at least a year. And may I remind you that it generally takes several times as much land to produce a given amount of food when grains are fed to livestock and we consume the meat. Let us be careful not to overdo beef cattle and other livestock projects on our welfare farms.
From the standpoint of food production, storage, handling, and the Lord’s counsel, wheat should have high priority. Water, of course, is essential. Other basics could include honey or sugar, legumes, milk products or substitutes, and salt or its equivalent. The revelation to store food may be as essential to our temporal salvation today as boarding the ark was to the people in the days of Noah. 7
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. 8
Vivid in my memory are the people who got on trains each morning with all kinds of bric-a-brac in their arms to go out to the countryside to trade their possessions for food. At evening time, the train station was filled with people with arms full of vegetables and fruits, and a menagerie of squealing pigs and chickens. You never heard such a commotion. These people were, of course, willing to barter practically anything for that commodity which sustains life—food. 9
Healthful foods, proper rest, adequate exercise, and a clean conscience can prepare us to tackle the trials that lie ahead.
Concerning clothing, we should anticipate future needs, such as extra work clothes and clothes that would supply warmth during winter months when there may be shortages or lack of heating fuel. Leather and bolts of cloth could be stored, particularly for families with younger children who will outgrow and perhaps outwear their present clothes. 10
Harold B. Lee
Perhaps if we think not in terms of a year’s supply of what we ordinarily would use, and think more in terms of what it would take to keep us alive in case we didn’t have anything else to eat, that last would be very easy to put in storage for a year … just enough to keep us alive if we didn’t have anything else to eat. We wouldn’t get fat on it, but we would live; and if you think in terms of that kind of annual storage rather than a whole year’s supply of everything that you are accustomed to eat which, in most cases, is utterly impossible for the average family, I think we will come nearer to what President Clark advised us way back in 1937. 11
Gordon B. Hinckley
In words of revelation the Lord has said, “Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing” (D&C 109:8). Our people for three-quarters of a century have been counseled and encouraged to make such preparations as will assure survival should a calamity come. We can set aside some water, basic food, medicine, and clothing to keep us warm. We ought to have a little money laid aside in case of a rainy day. 12
James E. Faust
Every father and mother are the family’s store keepers. They should store whatever their family would like to have in case of an emergency…(and) God will sustain us through our trials. 13
Heber C. Kimball
“Will you be slack, brethren, and let the evil come upon us, when we forewarn you of the future events that are coming;… We are telling of what the prophets have said-of what the Lord has said to Joseph. Wake up now, wake up, O Israel, and lay up your grain and your stores. I tell you that there is trouble coming upon the world…” 14
“Lay up your stores, and take your silks and fine things and exchange them for grain and such things as you need and the time will come when we will be obliged to depend upon our own resources.; for the time is not far distant when the curtain will be dropped between us and the United States. When that time comes, brethren and sisters, you will wish you had commenced sooner to make your own clothing. I tell you God requires us to go into home manufacture; and prolong it as much as you like, you have got to do it.” 15
You have been warned beforehand, and that by revelation from God through Joseph Smith, and afterward through brother Brigham who is our Prophet, you have been warned, time and time again, to take care of your grain. In future build yourselves good storehouses and save your grain for a time of famine, and sickness, and death upon the nations of the wicked, to get rid of the evildoers. I have noticed those predictions, I have reflected upon them ever since they were told us. . . .
Take this people as a people, throughout the valleys of the mountains, and I presume that they are the best people upon the face of the earth, and even here there is hardly a person but what takes a course to live from hand to mouth, that is, they will never lay up anything. This course will not answer for us, we must lay up grain against the famines that will prevail upon the earth. What shall we lay up that grain for? Shall we lay it up to feed the wicked? No, we shall lay it up to feed the Saints who gather here from all the nations of the earth, and for the millions of lovers of good and wholesome laws who will come from the old countries and from the United States, fleeing to this place for their bread, and I know it . . . .
Let us all take such a course, and in future raise an abundance of grain, and save ourselves from the dilemma which we will otherwise fall into. It is necessary for you to understand and comprehend these things, and I wish you to understand them for yourselves; I can only act for one. When I lay up grain and others do not, I cannot let them starve to death, it is not in me to do that, but it is a pretty difficult position to be placed in. When we attempt to draw the line of distinction between right and wrong, it is unpleasant to have individuals among us who will lie for a pound of flour. When we know such individuals is it right for me to give flour to them? No, it is not right for me to give it to anyone, only in exchange for something else, except under certain circumstances. . . .
There are many who will feed the ungodly sooner than the Saints, but I tell you I will feed the Saints first and the poor devils afterwards, if there is any to spare. But none of them should have food unless they worked for it. I am expressing some of my feelings, and speaking of some of my actual knowledge of things, temporal and spiritual. 16
- The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints [Ezra Taft Benson, Gordon B. Hinckley, and Thomas S. Monson] June 24, 1988 in a letter to General Authorities and the following Priesthood leaders in the United States and Canada: Area Authorities [formerly Regional Reps.]; Stake, Mission, and District Presidents; Bishops and Branch Presidents.
- The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in a letter to General Authorities; Area Authority Seventies; Stake, Mission, and District Presidents; Bishops and Branch Presidents January 20, 2002
- Brigham Young Deseret News, July 18, 1860, 153.
- Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses, 18:121
- Ezra Taft Benson, “God, Family, Country” p. 268.
- Ezra Taft Benson, “God, Family, Country” p. 270.
- Ezra Taft Benson, “God, Family, Country” p. 269.
- Ezra Taft Benson, CR April 1977, Ensign 7 [May 1977]: 82.
- Ezra Taft Benson, “Prepare for the Days of Tribulation,” Ensign, Nov. 1980, 32
- Ezra Taft Benson, God, Family, Country: Our Three Great Loyalties [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1974], 270.
- Harold B. Lee, Welfare conference address, October 1, 1966.
- Gordon B. Hinckley, Conference Report, Oct. 2005, “If Ye Are Prepared Ye Shall Not Fear.”
- President James E. Faust, Conference Report, April 1986, “The Responsibility for Welfare Rests with Me and My Family.”
- Journal of Discourses, vol. 4, p. 336-9
- Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, p. 10
- Heber C. Kimball, “Elders Called to Go on Missions, Etc.“, Journal of Discourses, vol. 3, pp. 227-232, March 2, 1856.