Provident Living Prepares Us for the Future10410_000_010
Latter-day Saints believe in being prepared and self-reliant. We believe in preparing educationally for employment, in preparing financially for a rainy day, and in preparing temporally for natural disasters or other challenges. Most important, we believe in preparing spiritually for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and for living with our Father in Heaven again. This approach to preparedness is called provident living.
Living providently reflects our true eternal nature: we are “to act for [ourselves] and not to be acted upon” (2 Nephi 2:26). The Lord wants us to be responsible and independent (see D&C 78:14). He wants us to live providently because of who we become in the process: responsible, generous, mature, kind. For the more self-reliant we are, the better we can help our families and others. How can we feed the hungry if we ourselves are hungry? How can we impart knowledge if we ourselves lack knowledge? How can we build others’ faith if we ourselves lack faith?
Principles of provident living include the following:
Preparation. “Prepare ye for that which is to come, for the Lord is nigh” (D&C 1:12).
Industry. “Thou shalt not be idle” (D&C 42:42).
“Learning, even by study and also by faith” (D&C 88:118).
When Church members do all they can to provide for themselves but still cannot meet their basic needs, they turn first to their families for help. If this is insufficient, the Church can help. Bishops and branch presidents can use resources from “the Lord’s storehouse” to help members (see D&C 82:18–19). Any assistance from the Church aims to help members help themselves and to encourage work in their lives.
Spiritual strength: Trust in the Lord; obey the commandments; pray and study the scriptures daily; serve others.
Physical health: Obey the Word of Wisdom; exercise; get adequate sleep; practice good sanitation and hygiene.
Education: Become literate; obtain job skills; study “the best books” (D&C 88:118).
Employment: Work to provide for your own and your family’s needs.
Home storage: Store clean drinking water and gradually build a supply of foods you eat on a regular basis and a longer-lasting supply of foods, such as grains and beans.
Finances: Pay tithes and offerings; avoid unnecessary debt; gradually build a financial reserve.
“All of us are responsible to provide for ourselves and our families in both temporal and spiritual ways. To provide providently, we must practice the principles of provident living: joyfully living within our means, being content with what we have, avoiding excessive debt, and diligently saving and preparing for rainy-day emergencies.”
Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Becoming Provident Providers Temporally and Spiritually,” Ensign, May 2009, 8.
Some may wonder if Latter-day Saints hoard food. In truth, we store food and water to prepare for times when food and clean water may be scarce or inaccessible or when family finances are tight. In emergencies, those who have stored food will feel more secure and will be better able to help their families and neighbors through the crisis.