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It's been many years since I attended LDS Churches, but I seem to recall quite a bit of discussion about emergency preparedness, which goes by the term "prepping" today. I've never seen this in other denominations. What is the official statement on the LDS Church for the reason for an emphasis on this?

  • @PaulDraper which is exactly why I specifically said "emergency preparedness, which goes by the term "prepping" today." – David Stratton Oct 17 '14 at 4:32
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    "Prepping" might be a little different than the "Emergency Preparedness" encouraged by the LDS church. "Prepping" in my mind is more doomsday type scenario oriented, with bugging out, defending your turf, etc. "Emergency Preparedness" as I have seen it in the LDS church is about being out of debt, having a supply of food and essentials, and living within your means. Every time the subject is taught, they emphasize things like losing your job, sickness or other long term disability, etc in addition to the natural disaster type needs. There is not much talk about doomsday type scenarios. – chadbag Oct 17 '14 at 4:41
  • To continue, I push it to the more modern "prepping" style as I realize that lots of the scenarios like natural disasters, and things like doomsday, which is not really discussed, lead to situations where a "prepper" might want to have been prepared. But that is me personally. But losing a job, or local disasters [say flooding] can happen at any time and not having debt, besides the "unavoidable" like a reasonable mortgage, and having a food supply, can be a godsend to you when these situations arise. And that seems to be the emphasis when I hear emergency preparedness discussed. – chadbag Oct 17 '14 at 4:45
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There are a number of reasons you could name.

  • Historically, you could point to the experience of the Latter-day Saints in the 1800s which was one mass exodus after another. Emergency prepardness was life or death.

  • Culturally, there is a strong emphasis on hard work and temporal self-reliance (probably carried over from those early pioneer days).

  • Pragmatically, it makes good sense.

  • Doctrinally, they believe they live in the last times (latter days), which are promised to be so tough that even the righteous barely survive.

And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.

Matthew 24:22


Many times, "emergency preparedness" is interpreted as "prepare for the nuclear/end-of-days/zombie apocalypse" by stockpiling food and weapons in bomb shelters.

In reality, emergency preparedness is much less dramatic. For all the decades Mormons have stressed preparedness, there's still no apocalypse.

But loss of employment, local natural disasters, illness, death of a family member, etc. are common. Mormons prepare for the proverbial rainy day.

Last month, the president of the Church said (and similar quotes can be found many places):

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.

In addition to individual preparation, the LDS Church itself has orchards, farms, canneries, storehouses, and the largest cow-calf ranch in the US. It puts these to use in its welfare program, charities, and humanitarian aid services.

For individuals, the Church emphasizes:

Employment The LDS church runs employments centers, open to members and the public to help people get job skills and find employment. Members are taught to get as much education as possible, and the Church has the Perpetual Education Fund.

Avoid debt Education and a house have been listed as reasonable exceptions, but other debt, particularly consumer debt, is strongly discouraged.

Food storage The LDS Church used to recommend two years. Now, they recommend three months plus "extended" food storage, when feasible.

Health Follow the Word of Wisdom (LDS health code: grains, fruits, no alcohol, no tobacco).

The Provident Living website is a good official LDS source.

Of course, there's always that guy with his bomb shelter, 200 gallons of canned food, and private armory, but the LDS Church isn't suggesting that.

Being from Florida, I've been through a number of hurricanes, and it continues to amaze how many people will wait until the last possible second to prepare. Katrina was probably the most extreme recent example of this. Preparing to take care of your needs, rather than waiting for FEMA to do it for you, is the right approach.

  • Under "doctrinally," I would add what I think is the number one reason: The LDS Church emphasizes emergency preparedness because presidents of the Church have emphasized it in General Conference. The Church president, as an apostle, is believed to be a "prophet, seer, and revelator" and therefore one of his responsibilities is to help us prepare for things to come. From a Latter-day Saint's point of view, the things the prophet emphasizes in official settings like General Conference are the things that Jesus Christ would say if He were here (and He, of course, knows what we need). – Samuel Bradshaw Jul 5 '16 at 5:48

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