Quotes on Preparedness

See also: D&C 1:12; 78:14

Too often we bask in our comfortable complacency and rationalize that the ravages of war, economic disaster, famine, and earthquake cannot happen here.  Those who believe this are either not acquainted with the revelations of the Lord, or they do not believe them.  Those who smugly think these calamities will not happen, that they somehow will be set aside because of the righteousness of the Saints, are deceived and will rue the day they harbored such a delusion. — President Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, November 1980, p. 34

No true Latter-day Saint while physically or emotionally able will voluntarily shift the burden of his own or his family’s well-being to someone else. — President Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, November 1977, p. 77

In the parable [of the Ten Virgins], oil can be purchased at the market.  In our lives the oil of preparedness is accumulated drop by drop in righteous living.  Attendance at sacrament  meetings adds oil to our lamps, drop by drop over the years.  Fasting, family prayer, home teaching, control of bodily appetites, preaching the gospel, studying the scriptures – each act of dedication and obedience is a drop added to our store.  Deeds of kindness, payment of offerings and tithes, chaste thoughts and actions, marriage in the covenant for eternity – these, too, contribute importantly to the oil with which we can at midnight refuel our exhausted lamps. — President Spencer W. Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle, p. 256

I have concluded that if we meet today’s problems with adequate preparation, there will be no need for panic preparation tomorrow. . . .

Many think the Church’s Welfare Services program was designed primarily for doomsday.  This is not true.  The principles of the Welfare Services program are designed to help us live providently each day and to cope successfully with serious problems as they come into our lives.  Just as the [ten] virgins did not know that the bridegroom would come in the night when their lamps would be needed, we do not know when serious problems such as illness or unemployment will come into our lives. — Presiding Bishop Victor L. Brown, General Conference, October. 2, 1982; Church News, May 29, 1999, p. 14

There is more to preparing for an emergency than storing food, clothing and other materials.  In a “First Presidency Message” in April 1981, President Marion G. Romney, then second counselor in the First Presidency, wrote:

“Someone proposed a serious question to me a few years ago by asking, ‘What is the most important item to have stored in your year’s supply?’  My response was seriously given – personal righteousness.  It is important for us to have, as we have been counseled, a year’s supply of food and clothing and, where possible, fuel.  We have also been counseled that we should have a reserve of cash to meet emergencies and to carry adequate health, home and life insurance.  Personal and family preparedness, however, is much broader than these tangibles.  It must include proper attitudes, a willingness to forego luxuries, prayerful consideration of all major purchases, and learning to live within our means.” — President Marion G. Romney, Ensign, April 7, 1981, p. 6; Church News, June 5, 1999, p. 5

“Church teachings regarding personal and family preparedness do not stem from any specific event, including Y2K concerns,” states a recent news release issued by the Church Public Affairs Department.  “Predictions of disaster, famine, flood, and earthquake have come and gone and will continue to do so, but the common-sense admonitions of Church leaders to prepare for times of adversity and to be self-reliant remain unchanged.  The words of Brigham Young, ‘Learn to sustain yourselves, lay up grain and flour, and save it for a day of scarcity,’ are as applicable today as they were more than 130 years ago.”  (See Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 291.)

In 1937, President J. Reuben Clark Jr. counseled Church members: “Live within your means.  Get out of debt.  Keep out of debt.  Lay by for a rainy day which has always come and will come again.  Practice and increase your habits of thrift, industry, economy, frugality.”  (Conference Report, October 1937, p. 107) — Church News, June 5, 1999, p. 5

We need to make both temporal and spiritual preparation for the events prophesied at the time of the Second Coming.  And the preparation most likely to be neglected is the one less visible and more difficult – the spiritual.  A 72-hour kit of temporal supplies may prove valuable for earthly challenges, but, as the foolish virgins learned to their sorrow, a 24-hour kit of spiritual preparation is of greater and more enduring value. — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Ensign, May 2004, p. 9

There was a period when we, with Jesus and others, basked in the light of the presence of God and enjoyed His smiles.  We are the children of God, and as His children there is no attribute we ascribe to Him that we do not possess, though they may be dormant or in embryo.   The mission of the Gospel is to develop these powers and make us like our Heavenly Parent.  (Gospel Truth: Discourses and Writings of George Q. Cannon, p. 3) — Elder Glenn L. Pace, “Confidence and Self-Worth,” Ensign, January 2005, p. 34

We’re living in the latter days.  We’re living in the days the prophets have told about from the time of Enoch to the present day.  We are living in the era just preceding the second advent of the Lord Jesus Christ.  We are told to so prepare and live that we can be . . . independent of every other creature beneath the celestial kingdom.  That is what we are to do. — President Marion G. Romney, Conference Report, April 1975, pp. 165-66; see D&C 78:14

The Lord said that it is important for the Church to “stand independent above all other creatures beneath the celestial world” (D&C 78:14).  Members of the Church are also counseled to be independent.  Independence means many things.  It means being free of drugs that addict, habits that bind, and diseases that curse.  It also means being free of personal debt and of the interest and carrying charges required by debt the world over. — Elder James E. Faust, Ensign, May 1986, p. 21

Unrestricted by programs and projects, bricks and mortar, the Lord’s real storehouse is needed in the homes and hearts of His people.  As the members of the church follow the counsel to become self-reliant, they represent an immense pool of resources, knowledge, skills, and charity available to help one another.  (See D&C 78:3) — Elder Robert D. Hales, Ensign, May 1986, p. 29

As long as I can remember we have been taught to prepare for the future and obtain a year’s supply of necessities.  I would guess that the years of plenty have almost universally caused us to set aside this council.  I believe the time to disregard this council is over.  With events in the world today, it must be considered with all seriousness.  — Elder L. Tom Perry, General Conference, October 1995

We have a great welfare program with facilities for such things as grain storage. . . . But 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. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “To Men of the Priesthood,” Ensign, November 2002, p. 58

We have been instructed for years to follow at least four requirements in preparing for that which is to come.  First, gain an adequate education. . . . Second, live strictly within your income and save something for a rainy day. . . . Third, avoid excessive debt. . . . Fourth, acquire and store a reserve of food and supplies that will sustain life. — Elder L. Tom Perry, “If Ye Are Prepared Ye Shall Not Fear,” Ensign, November 1995, p. 36; Visiting Teaching Message, Ensign, January 2003, p. 67

Each one of us who is a member of the Church has had hands laid upon his head and has been given, as far as an ordinance can give it, the gift of the Holy Ghost. . . . If I receive the Holy Ghost and follow his guidance, I will be among those who are protected and carried through these troubled times.  And so will you, and so will every other soul who lives under his direction. — President Marion G. Romney, “If Ye Are Prepared Ye Shall Not Fear,” Ensign, July 1981, pp. 3, 5

Now, let’s not be foolish and suppose that because the sun is shining today that there won’t be clouds tomorrow.  The Lord has told us by revelation some of the things that are ahead of us, and we are living in the day when the fulfillment of those prophecies is now at hand.  We are startled, and yet there is nothing happening today that the prophets didn’t foresee. . . .

God help us to keep our own houses in order and to keep our eyes fixed upon those who preside in this Church and to follow their direction, and we wont’ be led astray. Teachings of the Presidents of the Church, Harold B. Lee, p. 172

You show me a people who “have a mind to work,” to keep out of the bondage of indebtedness, and to work unitedly together in an unselfish service to attain a great objective, and I’ll show you a people who have achieved the greatest possible security in the world of men and material things. Teachings of the Presidents of the Church, Harold B. Lee, p. 172

To every man [and woman] there comes . . . that special moment when he is figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a special thing unique to him and fitted to his talent.  What a tragedy if that moment finds him unprepared or unqualified for the work which would be his finest hour.  Be ready when that day comes.  Be strong.  Always be clean. . . . I testify that the call in every age – and especially our age –  is Joshua’s call: “Sanctify yourselves:  for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” (Winston Churchill) — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Ensign, November 2000, p. 40

Right now, this very moment, is part of our eternal progression towards returning with our families to the presence of our Father in Heaven. . . .

That understanding helps us to make wise decisions in the many choices of our daily lives.  Seeing life from an eternal perspective helps us focus our limited mortal energies on the things that matter most.  We can avoid wasting our lives laying “up for [ourselves] treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt” (Matt. 6:19).  We can lay up treasures in heaven and not trade our eternal spiritual birthright.

This is the day of our mortal probation.  We might compare our eternal journey to a race of three laps around the track.  We have completed the first lap successfully and have made wonderful progress.  We have started on the second lap.  Can you imagine a world-class runner stopping along the track at this point to pick flowers or chase a rabbit that crossed his path?  Yet this is what we are doing when we occupy our time with worldly pursuits that do not move us closer to the third lap toward eternal life, the greatest of all the gifts of God.  (See D&C 14:7) — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “The Time to Prepare,” Ensign, May 1998, p. 14

While it is sincerely hoped that members do not get caught up in any hysteria or obsessive preparations for disasters, the Church continues its long-standing practice of encouraging members to be self-reliant and reasonably prepared. — Bishop H. David Burton, “Conversation,” Ensign, September 1999, p. 78

It is just as consistent to expect that the Lord will supply us with fruit when we do not plant the trees; or that when we do not plow and sow and are saved the labor of harvesting, we should cry to the Lord to save us from want, as to ask him to save us from the consequences of our own folly, disobedience and waste. Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 293

I ask you earnestly, have you provided for your family a year’s supply of food, clothing, and where possible, fuel?  The revelation to produce and store food may be as essential to our temporal welfare today as boarding the ark was to the people in the days of Noah. — President Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, November 1980, p. 33

You do not need to go into debt to obtain a year’s supply.  Plan to build up your food supply just as you would a savings account.  Save a little for storage each paycheck.  Can or bottle fruit and vegetables from your gardens and orchards.  Learn how to preserve food through drying and possibly freezing.  Make your storage a part of your budget.  Store seeds and have sufficient tools on hand to do the job.  We urge you to do this prayerfully and do it now.  I speak with a feeling of great urgency. — President Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, November 1980, p. 33

If you have paid your debts, if you have a reserve, even though it be small, then should storms howl about your head, you will have shelter for your wives and children and peace in your hearts. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, October 1998 General Conference Priesthood Session

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. — Letter from the First Presidency, “Preparing for Emergencies,” June 24, 1988

But there is another even more important preparation we must make for tests that are certain to come to each of us.  That preparation must be started far in advance because it takes time.  What we will need then can’t be bought.  It can’t be borrowed. It doesn’t store well.  And it has to have been used regularly and recently.

What we will need in our day of testing is a spiritual preparation.  It is to have developed faith in Jesus Christ so powerful that we can pass the test of life upon which everything for us in eternity depends.  That test is part of the purpose God had for us in the Creation. — President Henry B. Eyring, “Spiritual Preparedness: Start Early and Be Steady,” Ensign, November 2005, p. 37

It will take unshakable faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to choose the way to eternal life. It is by using that faith we can know the will of God.  It is by acting on that faith we build the strength to do the will of God.  And it is by exercising that faith in Jesus Christ that we can resist temptation and gain forgiveness through the Atonement.

We will need to have developed and nurtured faith in Jesus Christ long before Satan hits us, as he will, with doubts and appeals to our carnal desires and with lying voices saying that good is bad and that there is no sin.  Those spiritual storms are already raging. We can expect that they will worsen until the Savior returns.

However much faith to obey God we now have, we will need to strengthen it continually and keep it refreshed constantly.  We can do that by deciding now to be more quick to obey and more determined to endure.  Learning to start early and to be steady are the keys to spiritual preparation.  Procrastination and inconsistency are its mortal enemies. — President Henry B. Eyring, “Spiritual Preparedness: Start Early and Be Steady,” Ensign, November 2005, p. 38

The same principle self-reliance – has application to the spiritual and to the emotional.  We have been taught to store a year’s supply of food, clothing, and, if possible, fuel – at home.  There has been no attempt to set up storerooms in every chapel.  We know that in the crunch our members may not be able to get to the chapel for supplies.  Can we not see that the same principle applies to inspiration and revelation, the solving of problems, to counsel, and to guidance?  We need to have a source of it stored in every home, not just in the bishop’s office.  If we do not do that, we are quite as threatened spiritually as we should be were we to assume that the Church should supply all material needs. — Elder Boyd K. Packer, “Solving Emotional Problems in the Lord’s Own Way,” Ensign, May 1978, p. 91

Keep your eye on the Prophet.  Being self-reliant has always been part of the Church.  Statistics show that no matter what the Church does, no higher percentage than 15% have storage.  We are not going to say any more, but our people are going to need to be prepared.  For example, what if somebody released a virus?  What if it caused a pandemic?  What if that led to quarantine?  What if the quarantine was enforced?  The office of the Presiding Bishopric has tried to come up with a plan, but we don’t know what we could do.  The responsibility lies with the head of each family. — Presiding Bishop H. David Burton

1.            Store water

2.            Store 1 month supply of “comfort food”

3.            Store at least one year’s supply of food

4.            Have emergency cash on hand (2-4 weeks’ salary)

DO IT NOW!

— Richard C. Edgley of the Presiding Bishopric, Mapleton, UT, Stake Conference, January 2007

“We are living in the prophesied time when peace shall be taken from the earth, when all things shall be in commotion and men’s hearts shall fail them.  These signs of the Second Coming are all around us and seem to be increasing in frequency and intensity . . . . the accelerating pattern of natural disasters in the last few decades is ominous.  While we are powerless to alter the fact of the Second Coming and unable to know its exact time, we can accelerate our own preparation and try to influence the preparation of those around us . . . . Are we preparing?  We need to make both temporal and spiritual preparation for the events prophesied at the time of the Second Coming.” — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, General Conference, April 2004

“And the arm of the Lord shall be revealed; and the day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people. (D&C 1:14)

“The only safety and security there is in this church is in listening to the words that come from the Prophets of the Lord, as if from the mouth of the Lord himself.  And they have spoken.  They have told us to prepare, and it is not for us to argue whether we should or should not.  We have the Prophets today telling us what our responsibility is here and now.” — President Harold B. Lee

Our task is to react and to notice without overreacting, to let life go forward without slipping into the heedlessness of those in the days of Noah.  It has been asked, and well it might be, how many of us would have jeered, or at least been privately amused, by the sight of Noah building his ark.  Presumably, the laughter and the heedlessness continued until it began to rain – and kept raining.  How wet some people must have been before Noah’s ark suddenly seemed the only sane act in an insane, bewildering situation. . . . — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, New Era, January 1971

The time will come that gold will hold no comparison in value to a bushel of wheat. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 1, p. 250

“Every father and mother are the family’s storekeepers.  They should store whatever their own family would like to have in the case of an emergency . . . and God will sustain us through our trials.”  “If any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”  (1 Timothy 5:8) — Ensign, May 1986, p. 22

We call upon priesthood bearers to store sufficient so that you and your family can weather the vicissitudes of life. . . . Prepare now for rainy days ahead. — Bishop Keith B. McMullin, 2nd Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric

It may be, for instance, that nothing except the power and faith and the authority of the priesthood can save individuals and congregations from the atomic holocausts that surely shall be. — Elder Bruce R. McConkie, General Conference, April 1979

Let us go to work and lay up our grain, lay up wheat, and everything that will and can be preserved; and in so doing, we will save ourselves from sorrow, pain, and anguish. . . .  This is a part of our religion – to lay up stores and provide for ourselves and for the surrounding country; for the day is near when they will come by thousands and by millions, with their fineries, to get a little bread.  That time is right by our door. . . . Wake up, ye Saints of Zion, while it is called today, lest trouble and sorrow come upon you, as a thief in the night.

Suppose it is not coming, will it hurt you to lay up the products of the earth for seven years?  Will it hurt you, if you have your guns, swords, and spears in good condition, according to the law of the United States?  But wake up, ye Saints of the Most High, and prepare for any emergency that the Lord our God may have pleasure in bringing forth.  We never shall leave these valleys – till we get ready; no, never; no, never.  We will live here till we go back to Jackson County, Missouri.  I prophesy that, in the name of Israel’s God. — President Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses 5:164-65, 1857

I would advise you to take everything that is unnecessary, and buy wheat and barley, and such things as you need with it, and lay up your stores for the time that is to come, that you can feed your own kindred and friends, who will actually come to you. — President Heber C. Kimball, JD 5:174,175, 1857

Nations shall be cut off when they are ripe in iniquity. . . . A desolating sickness shall cover the land. . . . Famine shall sorely oppress them – confusion and war shall make their hearts to faint, and their knees to tremble.  Would to God that our nation had never given cause for the distress which they now only begin to suffer! . . . When these poor starving thousands flock here for food, will it not be glory enough for you to begin with, to feed them, to give them shelter, and administer to their sick? . . . If you will do as you are told, your eyes shall witness just such scenes! — Elder Orson Hyde, JD 2:206, 1855

“In reviewing the Lord’s counsel to us on the importance of preparedness, I am impressed with the plainness of the message. The Savior made it clear that we cannot place sufficient oil in our preparedness lamps by simply avoiding evil.  We must also be anxiously engaged in a positive program of preparation. . . . The Lord will not translate one’s good hopes and desires and intentions into works. Each of us must do that for himself.”  (The Miracle of Forgiveness, 1969, p. 8) — Elder L. Tom Perry, “If Ye Are Prepared Ye Shall Not Fear,” Ensign, November 1995

Our spiritual preparation consists in keeping the commandments of God, and taking the Holy Spirit for our guide, so that when this life is over we shall find rest and peace in paradise and an ultimate inheritance of glory and honor in the celestial kingdom.

Our temporal preparation consists in using the good earth in the way the Lord designed and intended so as to supply all our just wants and needs.  It is his purpose to provide for his Saints for all things are his, but, he says, it must needs be done in his own way.  (See D&C 104:14-18.) — Elder Bruce R. McConkie, “Stand Independent Above All Other Creatures,”Ensign, May 1979

It is one of the sad heresies of our time that peace will be gained by weary diplomats as they prepare treaties of compromise, or that the Millennium will be ushered in because men will learn to live in peace and to keep the commandments, or that the predicted plagues and promised desolations of latter days can in some way be avoided.

We must do all we can to proclaim peace, to avoid war, to heal disease, to prepare for natural disasters – but with it all, that which is to be shall be.

Knowing what we know, and having the light and understanding that has come to us, we must – as individuals and as a Church – use our talents, strengths, energies, abilities, and means to prepare for whatever may befall us and our children— Elder Bruce R. McConkie, “Stand Independent Above All Other Creatures,”Ensign, May 1979

I remembered that President Joseph F. Smith had said that leaders in the Church should be men not easily discouraged, not without hope, and not given to foreboding of all sorts of evils to come,” that if they sometimes feel the weight and anxiety of momentous times, they should be all the firmer and all the more resolute in those convictions which come from a God-fearing conscience and pure lives. It is a matter of the greatest importance,” he concluded, that the people be educated to appreciate and cultivate the bright side of life rather than to permit its darkness and shadows to hover over them.”  (Gospel Doctrine, p. 193) — Elder Marion G. Romney, “Be Strong and of Good Courage,” General Conference, April 1951

I . . . cannot extend to you much hope and courage based upon an expectation that we are about to enter upon a period of world peace and security.  I do not expect any such happy circumstances to prevail in the immediate future.  As I read the signs of the times, in light of the revealed word of God, we are in line for something quite different.

A long time ago the Lord raised the curtain on the scene of destruction awaiting the inhabitants of the earth if they followed to the end the course they were then pursuing.  More than a hundred years ago, he said that a desolating scourge should go forth among the inhabitants of the earth, and if they repented not, it should continue from time to time until the earth was empty and the inhabitants thereof utterly destroyed. . . .

I am convinced that the overwhelming majority of men have chosen to continue down the path they were then following.  I can discern no change in their course sufficiently to justify in me a hope that the calamities which the Lord said he knew would come upon the inhabitants of the earth will be turned aside.

But we Latter-day Saints must not let ourselves be so engulfed with forebodings that we fail to obtain and enjoy such hope and courage as is within our reach – the hope and courage born of faith in the power of righteousness to ultimately triumph.   Have boundless confidence in that power.  I am persuaded beyond all doubt that the destiny of men and nations is in the hands of the Almighty, who has respect for righteousness, and not in the hands of conniving politicians whose wisdom has perished, whose understanding has come to naught, and who have no respect for righteousness.  If it were not so, I should be in utter despair.  I believe that the record and the word of God justify us in so placing our hope. — Elder Marion G. Romney, “Be Strong and of Good Courage,” General Conference, April 1951

During the last years of President Woodruff’s life, his mind dwelt much upon the calamities which were coming upon the earth, and he gave many warnings of them.  But he did not leave his hearers in despair.  Always he held out to them hope and courage, conditioned on their righteousness.  Here is a sample of his teachings:

Over the millions of people on this earth, there hangs a cloud of darkness almost entirely upon their shoulders.  Can you tell me where the people are who will be shielded and protected from these great calamities and judgments which are even now at our doors?  I’ll tell you.  The priesthood of God who honor their priesthood, and who are worthy of their blessings, are the only ones who shall have their safety and protection.  They are the only mortal beings.  No other people have a right to be shielded from these judgments.  They are at our very doors; not even this people will escape them entirely.  They will come down like the judgments of Sodom and Gomorrah.  And none but the priesthood will be safe from their fury.

But he concluded with this note of assurance:

If you do your duty, and I do my duty, we shall have protection, and shall pass through the afflictions in peace and in safety.  (Wilford Woodruff, The Improvement Era, Vol 17, pp. 1164-1165) — Elder Marion G. Romney, “Be Strong and of Good Courage,” General Conference, April 1951

The world is sick.  It is not the first time it has been sick.  It has had a good many different experiences of that kind.  Sometimes nations have had to be wiped out because of the wickedness of the people who live in them.  The Lord, all down through the ages, has spoken to his leaders and teachers who are inspired, but when the world refuses to heed after it has been properly taught, it places itself in a position of saying to our Heavenly Father who owns this world – he is our landlord – ‘We do not need you.  We will do just as we please.’  Unfortunately, people who think that way do not realize how they are shortening their own experiences in life, and setting the stage for the sorrows that may follow — President George Albert Smith, Conference Report, September – October 1949, 167

There is [an] important preparation we must make for tests that are certain to come to each of us.  That preparation must be started far in advance because it takes time.  What we will need then can’t be bought.  It can’t be borrowed.  It doesn’t store well.  And it has to have been used regularly and recently.

What we will need in our day of testing is a spiritual preparation. It is to have developed faith in Jesus Christ so powerful that we can pass the test of life upon which everything for us in eternity depends. — President Henry B. Eyring, “Spiritual Preparedness: Start Early and Be Steady,” Ensign, November 2005, p. 37

Well, if counsel has been given unto us to store up our grain, I should not wonder if there were temptations placed before us, to induce us to non-compliance.  High prices in silver and gold may be offered as an inducement.  Men may come and say, “I will give you a high price for your wheat: here are goods of every kind we will give for your grain.” There, you perceive, is the temptation and the counsel before us. We should like the comforts of life, and would no doubt like to purchase them; but the counsel of the servants of the Lord would lead us to do differently.— Elder Orson Hyde, Journal of Discourses,” 26 vols., 5:16

We want also to be alive in the cause of education.  We are commanded of the Lord to obtain knowledge, both by study and by faith, seeking it out of the best books.  And it becomes us to teach our children, and afford them instruction in every branch of education calculated to promote their welfare, leaving those false acquirements which tend to . . . lead away the mind and affection from the things of God. We want to compile the intelligence and literacy of this people in book-form, as well as in teaching and preaching; adopting all the good and useful books we can obtain; . . . instead of doing as many of the world do, take the works of God, to try to prove that there is no God; we want to prove by God’s works that he does exist, that he lives and rules and holds us, as it were, in the hollow of his hand. — President John Taylor, Deseret News Weekly, 5 June 1878, p. 275

Those who possess absolute truths need fear no ancillary truth but should pursue learning vigorously, since learning is good so long as we “hearken unto the counsels of God.” (2 Ne. 9:29)  When education is thus pursued by our young today, they should be assured by all of us that they are “about” their “Father’s business,” (Luke 2:49) and be witnessed to; that when man has reached the small “periphery of the spider web of his own reason and logic,” he will find the ropes of revelation on which he can climb upward, forever! — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Conference Report, October 1970, pp. 94-98

Cash is not food, it is not clothing, it is not coal, it is not shelter; and we have got to the place where no matter how much cash we have, we cannot secure those things in the quantities which we may need. . . . All that you can be certain you will have is that which you produce. — President Spencer W. Kimball, General Conference, April 1978

We live in a most exciting and challenging period in human history.  As technology sweeps through every facet of our lives, changes are occurring so rapidly that it can be difficult for us to keep our lives in balance.  To maintain some semblance of stability in our lives, it is essential that we plan for our future.  I believe it is time, and perhaps with some urgency, to review the counsel we have received in dealing with our personal and family preparedness.  We want to be found with oil in our lamps sufficient to endure to the end. President Spencer W. Kimball admonished us:

“In reviewing the Lord’s counsel to us on the importance of preparedness, I am impressed with the plainness of the message.  The Savior made it clear that we cannot place sufficient oil in our preparedness lamps by simply avoiding evil.  We must also be anxiously engaged in a positive program of preparation.”

He also said: “The Lord will not translate one’s good hopes and desires and intentions into works.  Each of us must do that for himself.” (The Miracle of Forgiveness, 1969, p. 8) — Elder L. Tom Perry, “If Ye Are Prepared Ye Shall Not Fear,” October 1995

I should like to address a few remarks to those who ask, “Do I share with my neighbors who have not followed the counsel?  And what about the nonmembers who do not have a year’s supply?  Do we have to share with them?”  No, we don’t have to share – we get to share!  Let us not be concerned about silly thoughts of whether we would share or not.  Of course we would share!  What would Jesus do?  I could not possibly eat food and see my neighbors starving.  And if you starve to death after sharing, “greater love hath no man than this. . . .”  (John 15:13)

Now what about those who would plunder and break in and take that which we have stored for our families’ needs?  Don’t give this one more idle thought.  There is a God in heaven whom we have obeyed.  Do you suppose he would abandon those who have kept his commandments?  He said, “If ye are prepared, ye need not fear.” — Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone, “Food Storage,” Ensign, May 1976, p. 116

Members of the Church are feeling the economic pinch of higher taxes and inflation coupled with conditions of continuing recession.  Some have come to their bishops seeking assistance to pay for house payments, car loans, and utilities.

Unfortunately, there has been fostered in the minds of some an expectation that when we experience hard times, when we have been unwise and extravagant with our resources and have lived beyond our means, we should look to either the Church or government to bail us out.  Forgotten by some of our members is an underlying principle of the Church welfare plan that “no true Latter-day Saint will, while physically able, voluntarily shift from himself the burden of his own support.” — President Marion G. Romney, Conference Report, October 1973, p. 106

Many areas of the world have experienced difficult economic times.  Businesses have failed, jobs have been lost, and investments have been jeopardized.  We must make certain that those for whom we share responsibility do not go hungry or unclothed or unsheltered.  When the priesthood of this Church works together as one in meeting these vexing conditions, near miracles take place. — President Thomas S. Monson, “To Learn, to Do, to Be,” General Conference, October 2008

The practice of coveting and receiving unearned benefits has now become so fixed in our society that even men of wealth, possessing the means to produce more wealth, are expecting the government to guarantee them a profit.

Elections often turn on what the candidates promise to do for voters from government funds.  This practice, if universally accepted and implemented in any society, will make slaves of its citizens.

We cannot afford to become wards of the government, even if we have a legal right to do so.

It requires too great a sacrifice of self-respect and in political, temporal, and spiritual independence. — President Marion G. Romney, “The Celestial Nature of Self-Reliance,” Ensign, November 1982, p. 91

We are carrying a message of self-reliance throughout the Church.  Self-reliance cannot be obtained when there is serious debt hanging over a household.  One has neither independence nor freedom from bondage when he is obligated to others.

In managing the affairs of the Church, we have tried to set an example.  We have, as a matter of policy, stringently followed the practice of setting aside each year a percentage of the income of the Church against a possible day of need.

I am grateful to be able to say that the Church in all its operations, in all its undertakings, in all of its departments, is able to function without borrowed money.  If we cannot get along, we will curtail our programs.  We will shrink expenditures to fit the income.  We will not borrow. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “To the Boys and to the Men,” Ensign, November 1998

Modern-day prophets have pled in plainness for us to avoid “get-rich-quick” schemes if we would avoid the heartaches of financial bondage.  Perhaps we have not said enough about the fact that too many of us, in our moments of dreaming of grandeur, plant the seeds of economic disaster.  Then at a later date when much is lost, we blame those who participated with us.  It is difficult to be of good cheer when self-deceit is our companion.  When we willingly expose ourselves to the winds and storms of fraud and scam, we should not be surprised when we come down with deficit disease.  Over the years of listening to those who have suffered heavy money losses, I have heard many in desperation declare, “I was taken.”  Often my heart, mind, and the Spirit have prompted me to share, “Yes, you were taken by yourself.”  We all need to be encouraged to lift up our heads and see where our thoughts and undeclared priorities are taking us.  Self-deceit permits us to blame others for our failures. — Elder Marvin J. Ashton

We are experiencing a serious economic downturn.  You read of thousands of layoffs.  This may be a difficult season for you.  You worry much about your personal affairs.  You worry about money.  You worry about marriage.  You worry about the future.

There may be some lean days ahead for some of you.  There may be troubles. None of us can avoid them all.  Do not despair.  Do not give up.  Look for the sunlight through the clouds.  Opportunities will eventually open to you.  I finished the University of Utah in 1932.  It was the very bottom of the most serious depression of modern times.  The unemployment rate in Utah was then more than 30 percent.  There was much of cynicism. It was a time when men stood in soup lines, and some committed suicide in despair.  But somehow we managed to eat and keep going.  Opportunities gradually opened, first here and then there.  In 1982, I spoke at the fiftieth anniversary of my graduating class.  I met there men and women who had become prominent in many undertakings.  They had begun almost in poverty.  But they kept climbing upward.  They had become leaders.  They had looked for the positive in life, praying with faith and working with diligence. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, lds.org/broadcast

The counsel from other inspired prophets in our time on this subject is clear, and what was true 50 or 150 years ago is also true today.

President Heber J. Grant said, “From my earliest recollections, from the days of Brigham Young until now, I have listened to men standing in the pulpit . . . urging the people not to run into debt; and I believe that the great majority of all our troubles today is caused through the failure to carry out that counsel.”

President Ezra Taft Benson said, “Do not leave yourself or your family unprotected against financial storms. . . . Build up savings.”

President Harold B. Lee taught, “Not only should we teach men to get out of debt but we should teach them likewise to stay out of debt.”

President Gordon B. Hinckley declared: “Many of our people are living on the very edge of their incomes.  In fact, some are living on borrowings. . . .

” . . . I urge you to be modest in your expenditures; discipline yourselves in your purchases to avoid debt to the extent possible.  Pay off debt as quickly as you can, and free yourselves from bondage.”

My brothers and sisters, many have heeded this prophetic counsel.  They live within their means, they honor the debts they have incurred, and they strive to reduce the burden they owe to others.  We congratulate those who are doing so, for the day will come when they will reap the blessings of their efforts and understand the value of this inspired counsel. — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, General Conference, April 2004

Can we see how critical self-reliance becomes when looked upon as the prerequisite to service, when we all know service is what Godhood is all about?  Without self-reliance one cannot exercise these inane desires to serve.  How can we give if there is nothing there?  Food for the hungry cannot come from empty shelves.  Money to assist the needy cannot come from an empty purse.  Support and understanding cannot come from the emotionally starved.  Teaching cannot come from the unlearned.  And most important of all, spiritual guidance cannot come from the spiritually weak. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, July 1984

We control the disposition of our means and resources, but we account to God for this stewardship over earthly things.  It is gratifying to witness your generosity as you contribute to fast offerings and humanitarian projects.  Over the years, the suffering of millions has been alleviated, and countless others have been enabled to help themselves through the generosity of the Saints.  Nevertheless, as we pursue the cause of Zion, each of us should prayerfully consider whether we are doing what we should and all that we should in the Lord’s eyes with respect to the poor and the needy.

We might ask ourselves, living as many of us do in societies that worship possessions and pleasures, whether we are remaining aloof from covetousness and the lust to acquire more and more of this world’s goods. Materialism is just one more manifestation of the idolatry and pride that characterize Babylon.  Perhaps we can learn to be content with what is sufficient for our needs. — Elder D. Todd Christofferson, “Come to Zion,” Ensign, October 2008

Fathers, another vital aspect of providing for the material needs of your family is the provision you should be making for your family in case of an emergency. Family preparedness has been a long-established welfare principle.  It is even more urgent today. I ask you earnestly, have you provided for your family a year’s supply of food, clothing, and, where possible, fuel?  The revelation to produce and store food may be as essential to our temporal welfare today as boarding the ark was to the people in the days of Noah.

. . . . Yes, brethren, as fathers in Israel you have a great responsibility to provide for the material needs of your family and to have the necessary provisions in case of emergency. — President Ezra Taft Benson, General Conference, April 1988

I have thought much lately of the other prophet Joseph, who interpreted the dream of the pharaoh.  I have thought of the seven years of plenty and a time to prepare before the years of famine.

I have thought of a pharaoh humble enough to heed the counsel of a prophet and of a people who were saved because of it.  I have thought of a family that was united – the family of Israel. — Elder Boyd K. Packer, “Teach Them Correct Principles,” Ensign, May 1990, p. 89

As I see the picture, three great desires govern the thinking of most people: (1) to love and be loved; (2) to have appreciative and good friends; (3) to succeed – to secure and enjoy a measure of prosperity.

President Stephen L Richards of the First Presidency told me once of a talk given by President Joseph F. Smith, he who was born in the dark days of Far West, who lost his father in the tragic days of Nauvoo, and who knew from firsthand experience the meaning of poverty.  President Smith said, as I understand it, that the Lord did not intend that his people should live in poverty and misery and insecurity forever, that the Lord intended that they should appropriately enjoy the good things of the earth.

May I suggest that in my judgment, no person who is a member of this church and has taken upon himself the covenants incident to membership can reasonably expect the blessings of the Lord upon his efforts unless being willing to bear his share of the burden of the Lord’s kingdom. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Pillars of Truth,” Ensign, January 1994, p. 2

The Lord has said the Church should “stand independent above all other creatures beneath the celestial world” (D &C 78:14).  To bring the Church and the families of Church members to this state, we have been counseled to –

*         eliminate unnecessary debt;
*         maintain a home storage program of a year’s supply that would maintain life and health;
*         grow food in our own gardens;
*         increase fast offerings substantially;
*         know how to make our own clothing (D&C 42:40);
*         obtain training for adequate employment;
*         live on a budget so that income and expenses can be monitored and controlled.
— Elder Boyd K. Packer, “Self-Reliance,” Ensign, August 1975, pp. 85-89

The First Presidency would like to urge every member of the Church to follow the example set by the Church and to live within his income.

Anyone who lives beyond his income is inviting disaster.  Borrowed money is not income.  Borrowing on capital account, within your reasonable capacity to pay, may be sound, depending upon circumstances.  But borrowing to live on is unsound, whether it be an outright loan or installment buying.  We urge the members to be frugal, thrifty, industrious, temperate, saving, and to live righteously. — President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., General Conference, April 1940

If there is one thing that will bring peace and contentment into the human heart, and into the family, it is to live within our means.  And if there is any one thing that is grinding and discouraging and disheartening, it is to have debts and obligations that one cannot meet. — President Heber J. Grant, Gospel Standards, comp. G. Homer Durham [1941], p. 111

The principle of work is also fundamental to spiritual ecology.  We shall come to know that work is a spiritual necessity, even if the time comes when it is not an economic necessity. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell

If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people. — Chinese proverb

If God our Heavenly Father has given us temporal blessings in the due course and order of nature, we ought to hold them sacred, and be as prudent and economical of them as we are of a precious truth revealed from heaven by the agency of an holy angel from the presence of God.  I know not which to prize the most, the blessings of the earth which pertain to the sustenance of these bodies, or the blessings of heaven that give food to the mind; for they are all the blessings of heaven to me and to you. — Elder Orson Hyde, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 1, p. 71

There is [an] important preparation we must make for tests that are certain to come to each of us.  That preparation must be started far in advance because it takes time.  What we will need then can’t be bought.  It can’t be borrowed.  It doesn’t store well.  And it has to have been used regularly and recently.

What we will need in our day of testing is a spiritual preparation. It is to have developed faith in Jesus Christ so powerful that we can pass the test of life upon which everything for us in eternity depends. — Elder Henry B. Eyring, “Spiritual Preparedness: Start Early and Be Steady,” Ensign, November 2005, p. 37

Let us remember, too, that greatness is not always a matter of the scale of one’s life, but of the quality of one’s life.  True greatness is not always tied to the scope of our tasks, but to the quality of how we carry out our tasks whatever they are.  In that attitude, let us give our time, ourselves, and our talents to the things that really matter now, things which will still matter a thousand years from now. — President Spencer W. Kimball, “A Gift of Gratitude,” Tambuli, December 1977, p. 1

My policy is to keep every man, woman, and child busily employed, that they may have no idle time for hatching mischief in the night, and for making plans to accomplish their own ruin. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 2:44

Let every man and woman be industrious, prudent, and economical in their acts and feelings, and while gathering to themselves, let each one strive to identify his or her interests with the interests of this community, with those of their neighbor and neighborhood, let them seek their happiness and welfare in that of all, and we will be blessed and prospered. Discourses of Brigham Young, 303

When it starts raining, it is too late to begin building the ark.  We need to listen to the Lord’s spokesman.  We need to calmly continue to move ahead and prepare for what will surely come. We need not panic or fear, for if we are prepared, spiritually and temporally, we and our families will survive any flood.  Our arks will float on a sea of faith if our works have been steadily and surely preparing for the future. — Elder W. Don Ladd, Conference Report, October 1994, p. 37

The responsibility for having oil in our personal lamps is an individual requirement and opportunity.  The oil of spiritual preparedness cannot be shared.  The wise were not unkind or selfish when they refused oil to the foolish in the moment of truth.  The kind of oil needed by all of us to light up the darkness and illuminate the way is not shareable.  The oil could have been purchased at the market in the parable, but in our lives it is accumulated by righteous living, a drop at a time. — Elder Marvin J. Ashton, General Conference, April 1974