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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Individual Responsibility to Prepare

I've been in an organizing mood lately. I've been organizing drawers, closets and shelves - every nook and cranny in my house and garage. I've been donating and throwing away lots of things - it's a great feeling!

While I was going through important paperwork I've been saving, I found this letter from our Stake Presidency we received a few years ago. I thought I'd share it.
Dear Brothers and Sisters of the Meridian Stake:

We have an individual responsibility to prepare. Proverbs 22:3 says, "A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it."

Our Prophets have been telling us to prepare since the Church was organized. Preparation does not negate trust, and likewise does not justify procrastination. Faith in God's providence is never a good pretense for failing to use our heads. We should trust God to give us the resources we need to live in this world, but we must remember that among those resources is the ability to see what is coming and to prepare accordingly. Common sense is a good thing, and if "all good things come down from the Father of Light," then even commons sense is of divine origin. If we truly trust in God, we will use well the resources He has given us, which means putting common sense into practice to the fullest possible extent. Common sense tells us that the only way you and I can be ready for any crisis is through advanced preparation.

Doctrine and Covenants 38: 30 tells us: "If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear."

President Hinckley has recently told us to get our house in order. That has been interpreted to apply specifically in three areas:

1. Build a personal relationship with God.
2. Get out of debt and have a cash reserve.
3. Have on hand a supply of food and other supplies.

1. To build a personal relationship with God requires us to do the things he has asked us to do. Attend church, pray often, study the scriptures, teach our family the gospel principles, and otherwise be obedient to what we are taught to do. We need to do the things that will strengthen our personal testimony.

2. To get out of debt requires discipline. A wise man once said that "It is not the high cost of living that hurt us, it is the cost of high living." We need to begin immediately to live within our means, get out of debt and to accumulate enough cash reserves to help us get by for a while in the event that we lose our main source of income. You cannot rely on the church to satisfy your debts.

3. We need to accumulate a reserve of food and other supplies to sustain us for a time in the event of disaster. This has been interpreted to mean grains, milk, solids, oils, water, and other supplies, such as soap, toilet paper, first aid supplies, and other things necessary to sustain life in the event disaster interrupts your personal supply of goods. This might include fuel to cook with and a way to sustain heat in the event that problems occur in winter. The brethren have recommended a years supply, where possible.

In addition, we recommend that you have a family disaster plan. Teach your children where to go and what to do in the event of fire, earthquake, or other natural disaster. It is important not only that your family knows how to get out of your house in the event of fire or severe weather, but where to meet up if conditions prevent you from returning to your home.

In January 1999, President Faust said:
"It is my testimony that we are facing difficult times. We must be courageously obedient. My witness is that we will be called upon to prove our spiritual stamina, for the days ahead will be filled with affliction and difficulty. But with the assuring comfort of a personal relationship with God, we will be given a calming courage. From the Divine so near we will receive the quiet assurance:
"My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; .... and then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes" (D&C 121: 7-8)."

The Lord loves us. For this reason he has given us prophets to guide us. It is our responsibility to listen. It is our prayer that each of you will give this prayerful thought and comply with what our prophets have told us to do.

The Meridian Stake Presidency

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