Simple & Easy – Emergency Preparedness
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While the Sun Still Shines

It hardly rains in Los Angeles.

When it does, L.A. drivers can’t—or won’t—compensate.  I know this because I drive an ‘82 Caddy: it goes from zero to sixty in about twelve days, and most people don’t want to get stuck behind me when the open road beckons.  So they choose to cut me off, even when a torrential downpour makes the maneuver exponentially more dangerous.  I can’t blame them; they simply haven’t logged enough hours in the rain to know that they’re putting their life in danger.

It’s no different for us as LDS members and emergency preparedness, specifically the admonition from church leaders to store a year’s supply of food.  Agriculturally speaking, it hasn’t “rained” in the United States for quite some time.  For that reason,  we have never bothered to learn how to feed ourselves.  Experts are quick to say the economy is enduring a recession, but snack foods are still rolling off conveyor belts by the ton.  The U.S. spends a fraction of its income to feed itself, though the rising rate of American obesity would suggest that even this trivial amount is excessive.

So why do church leaders urge us to maintain a year’s supply of the cheapest, most accessible commodity in America?  “Behold,” declared Joseph of Egypt, “there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt: and there shall arise after them seven years of famine; and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt… for [the famine] shall be very grievous” (Genesis 41: 29-30, 31).

Word of famine in the Nile Valley was nothing new to Pharaoh or his people.  But it took a prophet to prepare the Egyptians for this coming calamity by taxing a fifth of their harvest in the plentiful years and storing it against the years of want “that the land perish not through the famine” (Genesis 41: 36).

Without Joseph’s divine gift, would anything have convinced the Egyptians of a coming famine after seven consecutive years of abundant harvests?  Would anything short of a royal decree have compelled them to allocate one-fifth of their agricultural income to government officials?

It hardly rains in Los Angeles, but it does rain.  And when that proverbial rain begins to fall in America, we should also brace ourselves for the social and cultural fallout that follows, for those who are willing to risk life and limb to beat us to the next streetlight.  It will be our responsibility to assist them in such a time.  After all, Joseph’s divine foresight saved more than Egypt: “… all countries came into Egypt to Joseph” for sustenance.  These events echo the exhortation of Joseph Smith: “A man filled with the love of God, is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 174).

We are instructed to prepare for a rainy day while the sun still shines.  Even if the people who are cutting us off in the rain are the same people saying “thank you” when we’re lending a helping hand.

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