First Presidency message for September urges preparedness

I have heard people say that the Church is not emphasizing preparedness as much these days as it has in the past. The September First Presidency message says being prepared and out of debt is urgent.

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. Today we find that many have followed this counsel in reverse: they have a supply of debt and are food-free.

I repeat what the First Presidency declared a few years ago:

“Latter-day Saints have been counseled for many years to prepare for adversity by having a little money set aside. Doing so adds immeasurably to security and well-being. Every family has a responsibility to provide for its own needs to the extent possible.

“We encourage you wherever you may live in the world to prepare for adversity by looking to the condition of your finances. We urge you to be modest in your expenditures; discipline yourselves in your purchases to avoid debt. Pay off debt as quickly as you can, and free yourselves from this bondage. Save a little money regularly to gradually build a financial reserve.”1

Are we prepared for the emergencies in our lives? Are our skills perfected? Do we live providently? Do we have our reserve supply on hand? Are we obedient to the commandments of God? Are we responsive to the teachings of prophets? Are we prepared to give of our substance to the poor, the needy? Are we square with the Lord?

We live in turbulent times. Often the future is unknown; therefore, it behooves us to prepare for uncertainties. When the time for decision arrives, the time for preparation is past.

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

12 thoughts on “First Presidency message for September urges preparedness

  1. I would like to suggest a Certified Emergency Response Training course which usually takes a few weekends. Food, water, and some extra funds are always wise but I learned how to help out my family and my community by learning various procedures including first-aid, triage for what few medical personnel might be available, how to deal with chemical and nuclear dangers (yes, there is a need to seal windows with plastic and duct tape) and how to lever up a structure to remove victims after an earthquake or tornado. I came away from the course with a certificate, some tools such as a gadget to shut off my gas supply, and a certain measure of peace of mind.

  2. I have always thought the guidance for provident living was good, common sense for provident living, not preparation for doomsday. I hope others won’t interpret the article as a doomsday prophecy, but I fear my hope will be in vain.

  3. Ji, I guess it depends on your definition of “doomsday.” If you are a family with one working parent and six kids, the working parent losing his/her job is definitely doomsday — unless that family has prepared by staying out of debt and keeping food storage, etc. If your definition of “doomsday” is heading out — today — to your fallout shelter to await the coming apocalypse, then yes, that is a bit of an overreaction. I think the vast majority of Latter-day Saints will continue to have prudent reactions to these types of warnings from the First Presidency. A prudent reaction would be: how can I get rid of some of my debt? How can I store more food, clothing, and other essentials? How can I make sure I am helping the poor around me? How can I make sure I am following the commandments and the prophets? Can I learn a new skill that could help me during difficult times? I think this is what the First Presidency is calling for.

  4. It’s always a good thing to be prepared.

    I was struck by the messages a few years ago about preparedness. It was unmistakable, if one was paying any attention, that this was serious and on the minds of many of the leaders who spoke in conference.

    A couple of years after that set of messages, we saw the economic downturn of 2008.

    So I plan to use the reminder of this preparedness focus as a prompt to re-evaluate our current status and plans.

    FYI – a few years ago our bishop challenged each of us to spend a week “pretending” there had been an ice storm that disrupted services. I think the least severe option (for those wishing to participate) was to pretend there was no electricity. Next was no electricity and no running water. Finally was no electricity, no running water, and no access to functional monetary networks (having to use cash instead of relying on electronic transactions).

    My husband wasn’t as enthusiastic as I was about participating. He likes his internet and comforts. But I suggested we use some four-sided dice and “roll” each day for our fate on the next day. He loves games, so I was able to get him to agree.

    I actually really enjoyed the days without electricity. It was so quiet and peaceful. And without electric lights, there was no challenge getting to bed and getting enough sleep.

    It’s a “game” I think we could all stand to play for a week each year (perhaps the week leading up to earth day).

    As for actual disaster preparedness, I endorse the CERT training Pat Chiu talked about.

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