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Why Do Mormons Keep Food Storage?

By Mormon.org

If you know any Mormons or if you’ve read a bit about them, you may have heard of their practice of storing food. From rice to flour to beans to carrots, it seems that Mormons store just about everything they might need right in their homes.

So why do Mormons do it? Here are some basic facts about Mormon food storage. 

God has counseled all His children to be prepared

A former prophet and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Spencer W. Kimball taught that “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 Miracle of Forgiveness [1969], 8).

President Kimball’s words echo this counsel found in the Doctrine and Covenants, a book of latter-day scripture:

“Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing, and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God” (D&C 109:8).

Food storage is not just a doomsday preparation

Many people mistake food storage—especially on a large scale—to be a lifestyle choice unique to “preppers,” or people who go to extreme measures to prepare for large-scale disasters or emergencies.

Mormons also believe in being prepared for the challenges of life. But they believe in doing so wisely and moderately, over time. The First Presidency of the Mormon Church gave this counsel: “We ask that you be wise as you store food and water and build your savings. Do not go to extremes; it is not prudent, for example, to go into debt to establish your food storage all at once. With careful planning, you can, over time, establish a home storage supply” (All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Home Storage, LDS.org).

Career changes, political instability, natural disasters, serious illness, and other unforeseen obstacles can lead to lack of income or the inability to access sufficient food. In situations like these, food storage can ease worries and even save lives. As one Mormon Apostle explained, “I know of no other way to prepare for these times of adjustment than to be certain that during times of employment, preparations are made for less prosperous times, should they occur” (L. Tom Perry, “If Ye Are Prepared Ye Shall Not Fear,” Oct. 1995 general conference).

The goal of food storage is to prepare for inevitable hard times during the periods of prosperity when you have the means to do so. Mormons who store food aren’t just building bunkers and learning to use ham radios in preparation for huge disasters. They’re primarily preparing for lean times, so they can help themselves or others in need.

How do I start my own food storage?

If you want to start your own food storage, an initial goal is to acquire a supply of food that will last you and your family for at least three months. You don’t have to build your food storage all at once. Doing so over time is often easier financially and it allows you to learn as you go.