Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are taught principles of self-reliance as a way of life so they are prepared to withstand difficulties and challenges such as natural disasters, illness, job loss and other unplanned events. Self-reliance incorporates education, health, employment, family home production and food storage, family finances and spiritual strength.

In short, Mormons are taught from scripture, “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear” (D&C 38:30).

"The Church has created a strong culture of preparedness among its members," said Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross. "I believe it can be a model for others throughout the country."

In 2007 the Church issued a pamphlet to its members in which the First Presidency stated, “We encourage Church members worldwide to prepare for adversity in life by having a basic supply of food and water and some money in savings.” The First Presidency also encouraged Church members to “not go to extremes” in this regard.

The Church’s handbook states, “To help care for themselves and their families, members should build a three-month supply of food that is part of their normal diet. Where local laws and circumstances permit, they should gradually build a longer-term supply of basic foods that will sustain life. They should also store drinking water in case the water supply becomes polluted or disrupted.”

It’s recommended that food storage be acquired at a gradual pace so no debt is incurred. For long-term needs where circumstances allow, staples such as wheat, rice and beans may keep for up to 30 years when properly stored and rotated.  

Occasionally this storage guideline is publicly misconstrued and emphasis is placed on gathering an abundant cache of foodstuffs to stave off unexpected disasters. Such a response is unusual in Mormon culture, where a simple guideline suggesting the accumulation of this three-month food and water supply falls into the overall Church welfare philosophy of preparedness in every aspect of life.

In a 2014 message, President Thomas S. Monson said, “We urge all Latter-day Saints to be prudent in their planning, to be conservative in their living, and to avoid excessive or unnecessary debt. Many more people could ride out the storm-tossed waves in their economic lives if they had a supply of food and clothing and were debt-free.”

 Read more on the Church’s Provident Living website.

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