Are You Prepared?

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At one time or another, nearly every family will face accidents, illness, unemployment, or other emergencies that will require them to depend on the resources they have stored.

“When a tornado struck near our house and caused significant damage in our neighborhood,” wrote Becky E. Ludlow, of Wichita, Kansas, “I soon learned a lot about what help is needed in a disaster. … As my husband and I rushed to be of service, we found that some of the things people needed almost immediately were drinking water and cups, diapers, [baby] formula, shoes, blankets, changes of clothes, … pet carriers and leashes, … and a place to stay.” 1

A natural disaster is only one of many challenges that can cause us to rely on our home storage. Loss of income is another, whether it comes from the loss of the job, health, or life of the wage earner.

The Young family of Denver, Colorado, found themselves without income when Jeff Young lost his job.

“I felt sure that Jeff’s law degree meant that he would always have a good job,” wrote Joy Young of her husband’s unemployment. “But such thinking was naive. People at every educational and economic level can lose their source of income.

“How did we survive? … Throughout the years of our marriage, we had tried to follow the prophets’ counsel to be prepared for the unexpected. We had built a basic food supply: wheat, rice, beans, dried milk, flour, and sugar, as well as numerous cases of canned goods and a freezer full of vegetables and meat. It was a relief to know I could continue feeding my family even if no money was coming in.” 2

These are only two testimonies from among the many Latter-day Saints who have learned firsthand of the blessings of being prepared. Our prophets have counseled and encouraged us since the days of President Brigham Young to “lay the foundation to feed and clothe and shelter ourselves.” 3 This encouragement has continued and become more explicit. It is still firmly in place.

Provident Living

One great resource that helps Latter-day Saints in their effort to become prepared is This repository includes extensive information on employment, family home storage, education and literacy, family finances, social and emotional strength, and physical health, as well as other topics. Here you can also learn more about welfare services and employment assistance.

Let Us Prepare

Though we never know when we will face a challenge that will require us to depend on the resources we have stored, we know that the Lord has said, “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear” (D&C 38:30).

President Gordon B. Hinckley reminded us in October 2005 general conference of our need to be prepared: “We can so live that we can call upon the Lord for His protection and guidance. This is a first priority. We cannot expect His help if we are unwilling to keep His commandments. … I have faith … that the Lord will bless us, and watch over us, and assist us if we walk in obedience to His light, His gospel, and His commandments.” 4

Let us do all in our power to “walk in obedience” and be prepared.

Past Random Sampler Ideas

Random Sampler articles in the Ensign are another helpful resource. Following are a few previously published Random Sampler articles on topics from “How to Begin” to “Emergency Savings.” To read the article, go to and click on “Gospel Library.” Select “Magazines,” “Ensign,” and “Past Issues.” Then choose the desired year and month. Click on “Random Sampler” near the bottom of the list and locate the article.

  • “Home Storage—How to Begin,” Ensign, Apr. 1986, 64–65.

  • “Emergency Water Storage,” Ensign, Aug. 2006, 71.

  • “Storing Fats and Oils,” Ensign, June 1999, 71–73.

  • “Food Storage: Where and How,” Ensign, Aug. 1981, 54–55.

  • “Food Storage for One Year,” Ensign, Mar. 2006, 70.

  • “Protecting Your Food Storage,” Ensign, Jan. 2006, 70.

  • “Spicing Up Your Food Storage,” Ensign, June 1990, 72.

  • “Mmmmm! This Couldn’t Be Food Storage!” Ensign, Mar. 1990, 71.

  • “Prepared for Today: Medical Supplies,” Ensign, July 1981, 54–55.

  • “How Will Your Garden Grow?” Ensign, Mar. 1979, 66.

  • “When Disaster Strikes,” Ensign, Aug. 1994, 71.

  • “What’s in the Safe?” Ensign, Aug. 1988, 72–73.

  • “Tips for Becoming Self-Reliant,” Ensign, Mar. 2000, 68–69.

  • “Out of a Job?” Ensign, Feb. 2004, 73.

  • “Emergency Savings the ‘Centsible’ Way,” Ensign, Feb. 1992, 65.

Additional Helps

The Church has produced many helpful materials to assist with understanding and teaching important welfare principles. They include videos, pamphlets, books, and handbooks. A sample of available materials follows:

  • All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Finances (04007), pamphlet (4 pages)

  • All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Home Storage (04008), pamphlet (4 pages)

  • Basic Self-Reliance (32293), handbook (152 pages)

  • Essentials of Welfare (53045), video (six segments, 93 minutes)

  • One for the Money (33293), pamphlet (12 pages)

  • Providing in the Lord’s Way (32296), pamphlet in 16 languages (27 pages)

A complete list of available materials is posted on the Internet at On the home page, bottom left, select “Helps for Church Leaders,” then “Find a Tool or Resource,” and then “Books, Videos, Pamphlets, and Forms” to access the listing of available materials. Copies of most of these materials can be ordered through the Church’s online distribution center at

[photos] Photographs by Craig Dimond

Latter-day Prophets Speak on Preparedness

Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–)

Fifteenth President of the Church

“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” (“To Men of the Priesthood,” Ensign, Nov. 2002, 58).

Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994)

Thirteenth President of the Church

“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” (“Prepare Ye,” Ensign, Jan. 1974, 69).

Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985)

Twelfth President of the Church

“We encourage you to grow all the food that you feasibly can on your own property. Berry bushes, grapevines, fruit trees—plant them if your climate is right for their growth. Grow vegetables and eat them from your own yard. Even those residing in apartments or condominiums can generally grow a little food in pots and planters. … Make your garden as neat and attractive as well as productive. If there are children in your home, involve them in the process with assigned responsibilities” (“Family Preparedness,” Ensign, May 1976, 124).

Harold B. Lee (1899–1973)

Eleventh President of the Church

“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” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee [2000], 171).

Joseph Fielding Smith (1876–1972)

Tenth President of the Church

“[The pioneers] were taught by their leaders to produce, as far as possible, all that they consumed, and to be frugal and not wasteful of their substance. This is still excellent counsel” (“The Pioneer Spirit,” Improvement Era, July 1970, 3).

Wilford Woodruff (1807–98)

Fourth President of the Church

“We feel led to caution the Latter-day Saints against forming the bad habit of incurring debt and taking upon themselves obligations which frequently burden them heavier than they can bear, and lead to the loss of their homes and other possessions. … Our business should be done, as much as possible, on the principle of paying for that which we purchase, and our needs should be brought within the limit of our resources” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Wilford Woodruff [2004], 232–33).

George Albert Smith (1870–1951)

Eighth President of the Church

“How on the face of the earth could a man enjoy his religion when he had been told by the Lord how to prepare for a day of famine, when instead of doing so he had fooled away that which would have sustained him and his family” (Deseret News, Mar. 4, 1868, 26).

Brigham Young (1801–77)

Second President of the Church

“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?” (Deseret News, July 18, 1860, 153).

[photos] Photographs © Merrett Smith

[illustration] Illustration © Kenneth Corbett

Show References


  1.   1.

    “When Disaster Strikes,” Ensign, Aug. 1994, 71.

  2.   2.

    “Surviving Unemployment,” Ensign, Feb. 1991, 42.

  3.   3.

    Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe (1954), 16.

  4.   4.

    “If Ye Are Prepared Ye Shall Not Fear,” Ensign, Nov. 2005, 62.