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  #1  
Old 11-09-2008, 12:41 AM
NinjaChick NinjaChick is offline
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What's the deal with Mormons and stockpiling food?

Apparently, according to a friend-of-a-friend, Mormons have a religious obligation to stockpile several year's worth of food, and I'm assured that if I walk into any basement or pantry in Utah I will find it chock-full of all sorts of canned goods and such.

There is no explanation, but the FOAF from who this story came from is apparently the self-professed Worst Mormon Ever, who apparently by that point was too drunk to provide any coherent explanation, so I'm not sure how true this may or not be.

If it is...why?
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  #2  
Old 11-09-2008, 01:03 AM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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As I understand it, it's not so much a religious thing per se, but a practical measure which is encouraged in the religion. Sure, it's good to have a stockpile if some unanticipated disaster should fall, but it also lets you do things like take advantage of sales to buy particular foods when they're cheap.
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  #3  
Old 11-09-2008, 01:18 AM
BMax BMax is offline
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Back in the 70's it was recomended by the church leadership that every family have one year's supply of food, etc stored in their home in case of another depression, world war, breakdown of civilization or the apocalypse. Many Utah families took this very seriously and kept not only food (commonly 100-lb tubs of wheat) but blankets, clothing, medical supplies, water, water purification supplies, hunting rifles and ammunition, generators and all kinds of other stuff.

A one year's supply was more than most families could muster, so some time in the 80's it was scaled back to a 72-hour emergency survival kit. Sale of these kits rose in anticipation of the Y2k crash, which fortunately was averted by diligent coders.











I'm waiting for an active mormon to come in and say "no, it was never for the apocalypse. That's folk doctrine". Apparently much of what the church taught in the 70's and earlier is now officially 'folk doctrine'.
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  #4  
Old 11-09-2008, 02:38 AM
Voyager Voyager is offline
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We bought our house from Mormons, and I am typing this just feet away from their old storage room, which had a door to the outside but no connection to the inside. Almost the first improvement we made to the house was to seal the door, knock down the wall, and carpet the room.
I don't know if they all do it, but some do.
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  #5  
Old 11-09-2008, 03:01 AM
Rolken Rolken is offline
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Originally Posted by BMax View Post
Back in the 70's it was recomended by the church leadership that every family have one year's supply of food, etc stored in their home in case of another depression, world war, breakdown of civilization or the apocalypse. Many Utah families took this very seriously and kept not only food (commonly 100-lb tubs of wheat) but blankets, clothing, medical supplies, water, water purification supplies, hunting rifles and ammunition, generators and all kinds of other stuff.

A one year's supply was more than most families could muster, so some time in the 80's it was scaled back to a 72-hour emergency survival kit. Sale of these kits rose in anticipation of the Y2k crash, which fortunately was averted by diligent coders.

I'm waiting for an active mormon to come in and say "no, it was never for the apocalypse. That's folk doctrine". Apparently much of what the church taught in the 70's and earlier is now officially 'folk doctrine'.
As is common, the misinformation in your post is in proportion to its level of sarcasm.

Yes, Mormons are urged to keep a food supply on hand, which is part of a broader emphasis on preparedness and self-reliance. Chronos pretty much hit it on the head. In practice, there are three tiers of preparation: the 72-hour emergency kits, a medium-term supply of typical food that you basically treat as a large pantry and eat through regularly, and a long-term supply of stuff like grain or rice that will keep indefinitely. Members are encouraged to put whatever resources into their food storage that they can reasonably afford.

Another (less prominent) example of that same emphasis is how the Mormon leadership has been focusing on making the church buildings in Utah earthquake-resistant, most notably with the renovation of the Tabernacle. Of course, Salt Lake is no San Francisco, but the general perspective is that you're better safe than sorry.

For the curious, what appears to be the church information hub on food storage can be found here.
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  #6  
Old 11-09-2008, 09:35 AM
dangermom dangermom is offline
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Yep, what he said. It's a six-month supply now that's recommended for most people, since few have the space for a whole year.

Food storage serves a whole bunch of purposes, the apocalypse being one of the less prominent ones. 72-hour kits are just for emergencies in general--if there's a wildfire, an earthquake, a flood, or what-have-you, you can take your kit with you and not have to worry about what you're going to eat, drink, or wear in the immediate future--thus lessening the burden on whatever relief is available (if any) and being in a better position to help others.

A large, long-term pantry is practical for lots of things--huge storms that make it difficult to leave the house, long power outages, employment woes, spikes in food prices, food panics, that sort of thing. When you lose your job, it's nice to know that at least you won't starve any time soon. It saves a lot of money to have food storage, since you can buy everything in bulk on sale and just have it on hand, skipping purchases when they're not on sale. When a storm hits and everyone is buying all the bottled water, you don't even have to go to the store. And you can share with your neighbors.

And, should things get really difficult someday, you've got a lot of wheat and rice and beans to eat. The LDS Church maintains its own store of such things as well, and is frequently the first to show up with emergency food relief, because it's all ready to go. (If you're ever in Salt Lake City, a tour of Welfare Square is truly fascinating, I recommend it.)

We're also big on gardens, producing your own food, and self-sufficiency in general, as much as possible. Even if you live in an urban apartment, you can grow tomatoes on the balcony and keep extra food under the bed.

Of course, actual Mormons vary in how well they manage food storage. I need a lot of improvement! But I also have a friend whose husband is a real estate agent in an area that has tanked--she's been feeding her family on food storage and fresh food from garden/friends for months now, nearly a year. Every once in a while she gets a little money and spends it on meat or something, but she almost never goes to the store and is living on almost no income at all.
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  #7  
Old 11-09-2008, 10:44 AM
NinjaChick NinjaChick is offline
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Interesting - my initial reaction was to assume that it was some 'hoarde food and don't touch it unless the apocalypse happens and you're stuck here on earth,' which didn't make much sense, because I imagine that the assumption would be that all the good little religious folk would be heaven-bound by that point.

But I must admit it does make a bit of sense. I know Utah's pretty safe from natural disasters, but from an economic perspective, it's not a bad idea.
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  #8  
Old 11-09-2008, 11:11 AM
pepperlandgirl pepperlandgirl is offline
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Originally Posted by NinjaChick View Post
Interesting - my initial reaction was to assume that it was some 'hoarde food and don't touch it unless the apocalypse happens and you're stuck here on earth,' which didn't make much sense, because I imagine that the assumption would be that all the good little religious folk would be heaven-bound by that point.

But I must admit it does make a bit of sense. I know Utah's pretty safe from natural disasters, but from an economic perspective, it's not a bad idea.
What natural disasters are you referring to? True, we don't have hurricanes and tornadoes (well, there's been a few tornadoes), but Salt Lake is sitting on an active fault (we're waiting for the big one!) and there are plenty of areas in Utah that get hit with snow--not polite snow. Big, serious storms that can block roads and kill power for days in rural places. Hell, my grandparents are basically inaccessible from like November until May...
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  #9  
Old 11-09-2008, 11:15 AM
chorpler chorpler is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NinjaChick View Post
Interesting - my initial reaction was to assume that it was some 'hoarde food and don't touch it unless the apocalypse happens and you're stuck here on earth,' which didn't make much sense, because I imagine that the assumption would be that all the good little religious folk would be heaven-bound by that point.
Mormons don't believe in a rapture -- in Mormonism, everybody, good, bad, and ugly, will be stuck here going through the bad stuff predicted in Revelation until the second coming of Jesus. Except those who are, you know, actually killed by the bad stuff.
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  #10  
Old 11-09-2008, 12:00 PM
BMax BMax is offline
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Originally Posted by Rolken View Post
As is common, the misinformation in your post is in proportion to its level of sarcasm.

Yes, Mormons are urged to keep a food supply on hand, which is part of a broader emphasis on preparedness and self-reliance. Chronos pretty much hit it on the head. In practice, there are three tiers of preparation: the 72-hour emergency kits, a medium-term supply of typical food that you basically treat as a large pantry and eat through regularly, and a long-term supply of stuff like grain or rice that will keep indefinitely. Members are encouraged to put whatever resources into their food storage that they can reasonably afford.

Another (less prominent) example of that same emphasis is how the Mormon leadership has been focusing on making the church buildings in Utah earthquake-resistant, most notably with the renovation of the Tabernacle. Of course, Salt Lake is no San Francisco, but the general perspective is that you're better safe than sorry.

For the curious, what appears to be the church information hub on food storage can be found here.
Where's the misinformation? You proved my sarcasm correct with your snide little insult before you added more detail to what I posted. Thank you and dangermom for adding details to the solid information I gave.

FYI, I live in Utah, half my neighbors are active mormons and I was raised mormon in the 70's, so I have a little insight into what the church was like in the 70's and what it's like now. In the 70's, many Utah families were serious about having enough food and other supplies to last their whole family a year. And it was in the 80's that the church leadership started talking about broader emergency preparedness than just a year's supply of food, ie 72-hour kits in case of earthquake, flood, power outage, snow storms, etc. There are stores here in Salt Lake City that specialize in 72-hour emergency survival kits.

I spent the last weekend with my parents in Provo, Utah. My dad, a Mormon, former bishop and stake president who is very active in the community and charity was talking about food storage, how the scriptures (Old Testament, New Testament and writings by Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and John Taylor) foretell of a coming famine, that we are approaching the 'end times', and how he would laugh at the neighbors when they're living off their rice and beans and he has cans of ravioli in his pantry. He calls me after every General Conference to make sure that I have a 72-hour emergency kit (sleeping bags, candles, camp stove, tarps, flashlight and spare batteries, drinking water, some kind of prepared food, first-aid kit).

Add to that the fact that I've been unemployed for four months and my 5-gallon buckets of rice and beans (mormon upbringing coming through) got me through this jobless period. I think I know a little bit about Mormon food storage.
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  #11  
Old 11-09-2008, 03:46 PM
dangermom dangermom is offline
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Originally Posted by chorpler View Post
Mormons don't believe in a rapture -- in Mormonism, everybody, good, bad, and ugly, will be stuck here going through the bad stuff predicted in Revelation until the second coming of Jesus. Except those who are, you know, actually killed by the bad stuff.
Yes indeedy. You're mixing us up with evangelicals, NinjaChick--who pretty much think we're the devil. We haven't got a Rapture theology at all.
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  #12  
Old 11-09-2008, 03:57 PM
dangermom dangermom is offline
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I should probably add that ideally, a family would be prepared in every way, with stocks of water, food, fuel, equipment, clothing/fabric, and of course money. Of course most people can't manage to keep generators and tanks of fuel in the garage, but we do what we can manage, and the ward emergency prep person often keeps lists of what each family has so that resources can be shared when necessary. (For example, after a major storm last January that downed trees and structures and had a lot of people living without power for as long as a week, people called each household to check on immediate needs. Crews formed to take care of problems like hauling felled trees away from roofs or driveways, food, showers, and shelter were shared, etc.)

Mormons are quite likely to be interested in things like owning acres of land, keeping goats, doing minor farming, etc. in the name of self-sufficiency and preparedness.

Hope that gives you a more complete picture of the general idea.
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  #13  
Old 11-09-2008, 05:46 PM
Zsofia Zsofia is online now
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I have been told that part of the "Mormons stockpile food" thing is that they're also supposed to be ready to help others and have an obligation to do so; I've heard elsewhere that they're only obligated to help other Mormons. Either one true?
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  #14  
Old 11-09-2008, 05:57 PM
BMax BMax is offline
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Originally Posted by Zsofia View Post
I have been told that part of the "Mormons stockpile food" thing is that they're also supposed to be ready to help others and have an obligation to do so; I've heard elsewhere that they're only obligated to help other Mormons. Either one true?
They are definitely encouraged to help other people when they can, but at the same time they aren't expected to store enough food for the whole neighborhood.
I haven't heard anything about "only obligated to help other Mormons", but with a decent understanding of human nature and tribalism, I wouldn't be surprised if that is how it works out sometimes. The Mormon church does a lot of disaster relief. I understand that they donated much money and supplies to aid after the Indian Ocean tsunami.
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  #15  
Old 11-09-2008, 05:57 PM
MadPansy64 MadPansy64 is offline
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Originally Posted by Zsofia View Post
I have been told that part of the "Mormons stockpile food" thing is that they're also supposed to be ready to help others and have an obligation to do so; I've heard elsewhere that they're only obligated to help other Mormons. Either one true?
[anecdote warning]
Our down-the-road neighbors (in Montana, not Utah) were very concerned with making sure all of the neighbors had food, water and enough wood and/or propane during power outages and bad snowstorms. There are other Mormons in town, but not out where we were.

We were always fine, but they always made sure.

(All of the neighbors meant 4 families)

Last edited by MadPansy64; 11-09-2008 at 05:59 PM.. Reason: MT definition of neighbor
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  #16  
Old 11-09-2008, 06:25 PM
dangermom dangermom is offline
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We would definitely feel obligated to help others. Current LDS welfare systems are set up to assist a lot of people in various ways.
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  #17  
Old 11-09-2008, 06:41 PM
Deereman Deereman is offline
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Yet another anecdote, but the LDS I know definitely stockpile (I helped move quite a few 50 pound bags of wheat when they moved!)

Even singles that are in college are encouraged to stockpile a certain amount.

It is mostly just preparedness for "Whatever" might happen. The talk of the Second coming is mentioned sometimes, but it's not specifically for that.

Stockpiling is for the family, but they are probably very willing to share with anyone else who needs it, and I doubt that it matters if they are LDS or not. That part is not directed by the church in any way that I know, but probably just depends on the opinions of the family...and those can vary, of course. Most/all that I know are very giving, I have no doubts they would share if it came to it.

Stockpiling is not just a religious thing...it just plain makes sense.

Last edited by Deereman; 11-09-2008 at 06:41 PM.. Reason: Can't spell
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  #18  
Old 11-09-2008, 06:45 PM
Green Bean Green Bean is online now
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Here are two recent related threads:

2 years=a mountain of food?

Are there foods that don't go bad?

I feel that I could really learn a lot from Mormon disaster-preparedness practices! Anybody have a link to some basic guidelines or suggestions? It would be especially useful if the guidelines accounted for those of us who live in apartments. Thanks.
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  #19  
Old 11-09-2008, 06:52 PM
Hostile Dialect Hostile Dialect is offline
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This is probably the only area in which I wish the Mormon church had more influence over daily life in California.
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  #20  
Old 11-09-2008, 07:59 PM
AuntiePam AuntiePam is offline
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Can you clear up something else? I worked with a Mormon gentleman in Seattle. He had two kitchens in his house and said that this wasn't uncommon for Mormons. Why would you need (or use) two kitchens?
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  #21  
Old 11-09-2008, 08:24 PM
Deereman Deereman is offline
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Can you clear up something else? I worked with a Mormon gentleman in Seattle. He had two kitchens in his house and said that this wasn't uncommon for Mormons. Why would you need (or use) two kitchens?
Never seen that, nor have I heard of that, but I'm in Ohio, which isn't known for it's massive LDS population.
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  #22  
Old 11-09-2008, 08:41 PM
dangermom dangermom is offline
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AuntiePam, I've been a Mormon all my life. I've been in a lot of Mormon homes, and I've even been to Utah a few times, but I've never seen a home with two kitchens in it unless it had a MIL unit or something. I have no idea what your co-worker was talking about; you'll have to ask him.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Green Bean View Post
I feel that I could really learn a lot from Mormon disaster-preparedness practices! Anybody have a link to some basic guidelines or suggestions? It would be especially useful if the guidelines accounted for those of us who live in apartments. Thanks.
Well, here are a few links, though most of them are either very very general or for doing the whole year's supply. What I think would be best is if you got my favorite food storage book, Food Storage for the Clueless, out of the library (you should be able to get it through ILL) and read it for a lot of good information and inspiration for beginners and people who don't know where to start. They're especially good at recipes and methods for things like homemade yogurt, sprouting various grains, and planning for special needs (like, say, a wheat allergy). The book is written for a general audience that will probably have a lot of Mormons in it, but not necessarily.

The LDS Church's Family Home Storage is so basic that it's hard to get a lot of information out of it, because it's aimed at the whole world, from apartment dwellers to day laborers to Utahns with basements. But it's worth looking around the site; there are some pdf files with basic information, a FAQ, etc. You will want to pay attention to the 3-month supply, water storage, and financial planning.

This is a well-known, and now out-of-date, list for getting a lot of food storage for $5 per week. Food prices have gone up a lot, and you won't want to stock 700 lbs. of wheat anyway, but it's still a good principle. The way you build up food storage is by buying a little extra every week, preferably of something that's on a loss leader sale.

Here's some basic information and a food storage calculator.

Here's a site designed by someone who's been living largely off food storage for well over a year. She's now very, very good at cooking and planning. Some good information and recipes, though aimed more at families with small children and gardens. Also some links and resources.

In an apartment, a big issue is where to put all this food. Under the bed, in the back of the closet, in the less-used bathroom, and even "as a support for a side tabletop" are all popular places to stash #10 cans of rice, sugar, beans, and potato pearls. (Mormons frequently store dry goods in #10 cans, which we can ourselves at a local cannery if one is nearby. Canneries are in fact open to anyone who wants to show up, buy the goods (cheap), and do the canning just like the Mormons do, so go ahead and see if you have one in the area. I have taken friends to ours, and they seem to like it.)

Hope this helps you get started. There's tons all over the web, so look around. Here's a blog post just for you.
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  #23  
Old 11-09-2008, 09:03 PM
Hostile Dialect Hostile Dialect is offline
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Doesn't home canning increase the risk of botulism? I heard from a Bio teacher a couple years back that the decline in botulism infection was largely due to the advent of the canned food industry (ie, canning being done mechanically without the risk of human error).
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  #24  
Old 11-09-2008, 09:23 PM
dangermom dangermom is offline
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Botulism and home canning

Canning basics From the site:
Quote:
Methods for canning foods at home have changed greatly since the procedure was first introduced almost two centuries ago. Since then, research has enabled home canners to simplify and safely preserve higher quality foods. Knowing why canning works and what causes food to spoil underscores the importance of following directions carefully.
We've learned a lot about canning, and modern home canning methods are safe. My mom has always canned, and I do as well; it's not uncommon. I've never known anyone to get sick from home-canned food, but of course you should be careful--I've also thrown out old food that no longer looked good. (And I've thrown out old store-bought cans, too.) But it comes down to that we know a lot more now and have better methods. Don't use your granny's canning book.


I was thinking a bit about the difference between modern food storage philosophies and previous attitudes from the 60's, which were more 'end-of-the-world disaster' type of thing. Well, it strikes me that of course they were--the people doing food storage in the 60's had fought in WWII and were living through the Cold War. They were thinking about nuclear disaster and world wars. In addition, they were remembering that their grandparents had left their homes, starved through winters, and established a new city after walking a thousand miles or so. They were very, very interested in food--especially wheat, which was the big staple crop--and stability. Nowadays everything is different; the LDS Church is worldwide and more urban, and we no longer worry about mutual assured destruction--so the philosophy has changed to fit the times.
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  #25  
Old 11-10-2008, 12:18 PM
Green Bean Green Bean is online now
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Thanks for the info, dangermom!
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