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A Vivid Memory when I was Clearly (Un)Prepared

A Vivid Memory when I was Clearly (Un)Prepared


I have a vivid and not altogether pleasant memory of a moment when I was clearly not prepared. I was a brand-new missionary in Arizona, sitting with my senior companion as we prepared to teach a first discussion to a man named George. I’d been told he was a “golden investigator.” We weren’t five minutes into the meeting when it was very apparent that he knew far more about the things we were teaching him than I did. I dreaded the moment when I would be asked to “teach” him my portion of the lesson. Although he was kind, it was very apparent in his eyes that he wondered if I had any idea what I was talking about. A painful but instructive life lesson was the blessing of that day.


The classic scripture that is often used whenever the topic of preparedness is discussed is the one from the 38th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, verse 30: “And if ye are prepared ye shall not fear.” The danger we face could perhaps be the same that occurs when the subject of family history work is discussed., namely: “I’ll get around to that someday.” The First Presidency, in wise anticipation of our tendency to procrastinate critical actions that overwhelm us, has given a simple way to begin. In a letter dated February 2007, they counseled Latter-day Saints as follows: “We encourage members world-wide to prepare for adversity in life by having a basic supply of food and water and some money in savings…With careful planning, you can, over time, establish a home storage supply and a financial reserve.”


With their four-point focus on first, starting with a three-month supply, second, storing water where possible, third, developing a financial reserve, and fourth, working to build up a longer-term supply of staples, none of us should feel overwhelmed. As with most gospel actions, the critical step is to start where we are. In addition to the obvious benefits that will come from doing so is something we could term the “peace dividend.” Acting in obedience to counsel, especially as it relates to becoming more prepared for life’s inevitable surprises, yields a palpable and immediate feeling of peace. And as all of us know, when peace prevails, fear departs.


We are also blessed to live in a day in which we have easy access to an abundance of information about emergency preparedness. That in and of itself can also be overwhelming. Again, the key behavior is to start. Simply determine your next step in each of the four areas, and then make a plan as to what you will do and when. Of the many blessings that will result from wisely working towards being prepared, none is greater than the promised “ye shall not fear.” “The revelation to store food may be as essential to our temporal salvation today as boarding the ark was to the people in the days of Noah.” (Ezra Taft Benson, “Prepare Ye,” Ensign, January 1974, p.68)

University of Arizona located in Tucson, AZ
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