Q&A: Questions and Answers


Answers are intended for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine.

“We are often told to start a food storage program. The prophets have counseled us about this for a long time. What can I as a teenager do to prepare myself and to help my family prepare?”

Answer/ James B. Holm

Our prophets have warned and rewarned that each family should maintain a minimum one-year supply of food. In addition, the gospel of Jesus Christ teaches independence, industry, and thrift. Latter-day Saints have been counseled to be prepared to care for themselves and their families in times of need. In times of plenty we should prepare for times of scarcity.

President J. Reuben Clark, Jr. said: “Let every head of every household see to it that he has on hand enough food and clothing, and, where possible, fuel also, for at least a year ahead. You of small means put your money in foodstuffs and wearing apparel, not in stocks and bonds” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1937, p. 26).

Elder Orson Hyde said: “Remember the counsel that is given, ‘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” (in Journal of Discourses, 5:17).

A teenager can play an important part in a family food storage program. Consider these ideas:

  1. 1.

    Understand your family food storage program, its goals and time frame. If you do not understand it well, request a family home evening on food storage. Offer to prepare the lesson and request that your parents share their food storage goals, or as a family set goals and methods to reach those goals. Encourage family members to work towards family food storage goals.

  2. 2.

    Be willing to try new foods that have been prepared using key ingredients found in your food storage. Learn to like a variety of foods. Try using wheat, powdered milk, or other food storage ingredients in new recipes, such as those recipes found in the Church publication Essentials of Home Production and Storage (PGWE 1125).

  3. 3.

    Help with a family garden. Offer to take over part of it. Do more than your share of weeding without being asked. Help in the planning, preparation of soil, planting, weeding, and watering, and in the joy of harvesting and eating.

  4. 4.

    Help prepare food for storage. Help pick the fruits and vegetables. Help with the canning, freezing, drying, or pickling of the produce.

  5. 5.

    Take classes in high school on nutrition and preparation of food. Learn how to comparison shop, the times of year when particular produce is cheaper and more available, and alternative methods of storing and preserving.

  6. 6.

    Realize the purpose of a food storage program. Yes, we are preparing for the great disasters that have been foretold for the last days. However, each family meets financial crises at one time or another. Perhaps the breadwinner becomes unemployed or disabled. A physical illness or tragedy may strike. A parent may decide to return to school, or an unexpected demand on the family budget may use the funds allotted for food for a period of time. Having food on hand for these emergencies can enable a family to handle the situation easier. It is reassuring and comforting to have the food insurance that a storage program provides. It may give us opportunities to change employment or meet new demands and live partially or wholly off the food which has been stored. We need to be grateful that we have the food and use it when needed, realizing that we will replenish the supply when the emergency is over.

  7. 7.

    At some point begin your own food storage program. As you plan to marry or to live on your own, it would be wise to begin storing food. It does not need to be complicated nor require a lot of money. Simply begin to store what you eat and eat what you store. Plan your menus for a week and double the food purchased for one day, placing it in your storage. In two months you will have food stored for at least a week. Buy staples in larger quantities. Preserve food when it is cheaper, stock up on sales, and ask Heavenly Father to help you. Obtain the booklet Essentials of Home Production and Storage. Study it and follow the inspired guidelines contained therein. Begin storing basic, life-sustaining foods that will store over long periods of time. Expand your storage to include a variety of goods that you and your family enjoy and are used to eating, as your situation will allow. Keep nutritional needs in mind as you expand your storage and plan for any particular dietary needs due to diabetes or allergies, etc.

As you practice the principles you learn, you will see your food storage program grow, you will save money, you will learn new methods of storage, you will enjoy your food insurance against the day of need, and you will feel the approval of your Father in Heaven as you follow this law.

It is my testimony that our Heavenly Father wants us to be happy. All of his commandments are given to show us the way to happiness. As Nephi said: “I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them” (1 Ne. 3:7). Heavenly Father will help us fulfill this law.

May He bless you choice young people all over the world in your desires to “stand independent above all other creatures beneath the celestial world” (D&C 78:14).

Idaho Area Welfare Services Director

“How can I let my nonmember friends know that I’m really a Christian?”

Answer/ Charles D. Tate

It would seem impossible that anyone who reads or listens to the radio or TV would question whether Mormons are Christians. Yet, day after day, unknowing people say that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are not Christians.

One day a few years ago when my wife and I were riding a train in Holland, a lovely lady some 85 years young shared our six-seat compartment. I greeted her in Dutch, and we spoke for a few minutes when she said, “You’re an American. I can tell from your accent, but where did you learn to speak Dutch?” I told her that I had been a Mormon missionary to Holland some 25 years earlier. Then I asked the golden question, whether she knew anything about the Mormon church.

She had been a missionary with her husband for the Dutch Reformed Church in Indonesia for 25 years, and she said yes, she had heard of the Church. But then she said, “The Mormons are foolish people.” To my question of why she thought we were a foolish people, she said, “They don’t believe in Christ.” I was stunned for a minute. I wondered how someone who knew enough to be a missionary for another church would think Mormons do not believe in Jesus Christ. When I overcame my shock, I asked her if she had read the Book of Mormon. She said she had seen it and read in it a little, but she thought that it was just further evidence that we believed in Lehi and Nephi, and Mormon and Moroni, but not in Jesus Christ.

I asked her if she believed in Abraham and Moses, in Enoch and Isaiah, and Jeremiah and Ezekiel; and she said she certainly did. I wondered how she could believe in those men and still believe in Christ. She answered immediately that those men were Old Testament prophets, and some of them had prophesied that the Messiah would come. I then told her that Lehi and Nephi, and Mormon and Moroni, and even Joseph Smith were also prophets of the Lord Jesus Christ, that they were called to teach other of the Lord’s children than the Jews. And had she read more carefully in the Book of Mormon, she would have seen that its prophets taught of Jesus Christ.

Just as I was warming up to my discussion of how the Book of Mormon teaches of Christ, the train pulled into her stop, and she had to leave. But I sat musing in my mind how someone could even look at the Book of Mormon and not see it is a Christian book. Doesn’t the title page declare that “Jesus is the Christ, the ETERNAL GOD”? But then, that statement appears almost at the end of the second paragraph, and maybe she didn’t read that far.

Then I thought of how each prophet who wrote in the Book of Mormon testified of Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the Savior of the world. One study I know of has identified over 5,000 references to Jesus Christ in that scripture! I know that there are fewer than 50 pages of the 531 in the Book of Mormon that don’t make some reference to Christ. I even played a game with my Book of Mormon students at BYU in which we randomly open the Book of Mormon to any page to see how many times we have to open it before we turn to a page that doesn’t refer to the Savior. It often takes many openings. And I wondered, sitting there in that Dutch train, how anyone could even leaf through the book and not see at least one testimony that Jesus is the Christ, and consequently, that those who believe in it are Christians.

As I continued to think about what I could have said to my Dutch acquaintance, I thought of the vision of Lehi, in which he saw the Savior and the Twelve Apostles (1 Ne. 1:8–11). I remembered that Nephi had had a similar vision (1 Ne. 11:27–33) and had also been told by an angel that the Messiah would come some 600 years after they had left Jerusalem (2 Ne. 25:19).

Then I remembered that in 2 Nephi 11:2, Nephi said one of the reasons his soul delighted in the words of Isaiah was that the prophet Isaiah had seen the Redeemer even as he had. In the next verse, Nephi said, “And my brother, Jacob, also has seen him as I have seen him.” [2 Ne. 11:3] And I wondered how anyone reading only a hundred pages could miss Nephi’s great teachings of Jesus Christ in his farewell address as he was preparing to die.

“We believe in Christ, we keep the law of Moses, and look forward with steadfastness unto Christ, until the law shall be fulfilled.

“For, for this end was the law given; wherefore the law hath become dead unto us, and we are made alive in Christ because of our faith; yet we keep the law because of the commandments.

“And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins” (2 Ne. 25:24–26).

Then I remembered that Nephi had also said,

“And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God” (2 Ne. 31:21).

I also knew that Nephi’s brother Jacob taught that all the holy prophets before them had “believed in Christ and worshiped the Father in his name” as did the Nephites (Jacob 4:4–5).

I thought of the eloquent sermon King Benjamin gave to his people just before he was to die. He had received the words he was to tell them from an angel.

“For behold, the time cometh and is not far distant, that with power, the Lord Omnipotent who reigneth, who was, and is from all eternity to all eternity, shall come down from heaven among the children of men, and shall dwell in a tabernacle of clay, and shall go forth amongst men, working mighty miracles, such as healing the sick, raising the dead, causing the lame to walk, the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and curing all manner of diseases.

“And he shall cast out devils, or the evil spirits which dwell in the hearts of the children of men.

“And lo, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people.

“And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary” (Mosiah 3:5–8).

He also said, “that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent” (Mosiah 3:17).

I remembered those great verses in Alma in which he taught that to be saved we all need to humble ourselves and put our “trust in the true and living God … [to be] spiritually … born of God … [and] exercise faith in the redemption of him who created [us]” (Alma 5:13–15).

Then I reflected on Alma 36, the great chapter in which he tells his son Helaman that when he was in the depths of his anguish and repentance he cried out “O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me,” (Alma 36:18), and he could remember his sins no longer, for he had been born of God.

One of the next prophets writing in the Book of Mormon was Samuel, the Lamanite. He went among the people who had lost their faith in Jesus Christ and taught that they needed to repent and believe on the Son of God, who would shortly come to earth with great signs in the heavens.

Then 3 Nephi records that Jesus was born in the land of Jerusalem in fulfillment of that prophecy. Beginning with chapter 11, 3 Nephi becomes what some in the Church have called the Fifth Gospel as it records the visit of the resurrected Jesus Christ to the more righteous of the Nephites and Lamanites after the land had been cleansed of the wicked. This scripture records both the testimony of the Father and of the Savior, himself:

“Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name—hear ye him” (3 Ne. 11:7).

“Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world.

“And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning” (3 Ne. 11:10–11).

Then we read of Christ’s teachings to the Nephites and of their testimonies of him. Mormon, abridging the Nephite record, interposes, “Hearken, O ye Gentiles, and hear the words of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God” (3 Ne. 30:1).

Then the Book of Mormon concludes with the testimonies of Mormon; the Brother of Jared; and, Moroni: “Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ” (Moro. 10:32).

Yes, had that train trip in Holland kept us together for a few more hours, there would have been time to tell my Dutch friend about the many teachings of and references to Jesus Christ in the Book of Mormon.

One of the reasons some people who don’t know us think we don’t believe in Jesus Christ is that they know us only by a nickname originally given us by our enemies—Mormons. I even asked my Dutch friend if she knew anything about the Mormon church rather than about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Had I identified the Church by its correct and rightful name, she would have heard the name of our Savior in it. How could we not be Christians when the Savior’s name is in the name of our church? Then I remembered that our leaders have often asked us to use the right name of the Church in our references to it rather than to continue to call it the Mormon church.

Another thing that will help us let the world know we are Christians was announced in the October 1982 general conference by Elder Boyd K. Packer. He told us that from now on the Book of Mormon will have a subtitle—“Another Testament of Jesus Christ.” Now people will not even have to open the title page to see that it testifies of Jesus Christ. They will see it on the cover!

Another thing we as members of the Church can do to help others become aware that we believe in Jesus Christ and are Christians is to express our faith in the Savior of the world. We all need to talk more of our faith in the Savior. We need to let our friends know, and those who don’t know much about us, that we do believe in Jesus Christ. And perhaps most important of all, we need to live the kind of life that exemplifies his teachings. We are Christians with a wider and more inclusive faith in and testimony of Jesus Christ than any other church on earth.

President, Missouri St. Louis Mission