Friday, May 16, 2008
Family Home Storage: Official Church Answers to questions about Family Home Storage
Get started! If you have already begun, faithfully continue your efforts. As President Hinckley taught: “We can begin ever so modestly. We can begin with one week’s food supply and gradually build it to a month and then to three months. I am speaking now of food to cover basic needs. As all of you recognize, this counsel is not new. But I fear that so many feel that a long-term food supply is so far beyond their reach that they make no effort at all. Begin in a small way, my brethren, and gradually build toward a reasonable objective” (In Conference Report, Oct. 2002, 65; or Ensign, Nov. 2002, 58).
What’s new or different in the new pamphlet All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Home Storage?
The pamphlet emphasizes the need to build a small supply of food that is part of your normal daily diet, store some water, and save some money. Over time establish a supply of basic foods such as wheat, white rice, and beans for longer-term needs.
What’s the difference between the three-month and “longer-term” supply items?
Three-month supply items are non-perishable foods that you normally eat, such as canned and commercially packaged foods that have a stable shelf life. “Longer-term” supply items are basic food items like grains and beans that have very low moisture content (about 10% or less), can be stored for long periods of time (20–30 years), and would sustain life if nothing else were available to eat. A portion of longer-term supply items may be rotated into the three-month supply.
The Web site and the family home storage pamphlet state that longer-term storage items can last 30 years or longer. Isn’t that a much longer period of time than previously thought?
Yes. Properly packaged, low-moisture foods stored at room temperature or cooler (75°F/24°C or lower) remain nutritious and edible much longer than previously thought according to recent scientific studies. The studies, which are the first of their kind, increase the estimated shelf life for many products to 30 years or more (see chart for new estimates of shelf life). Previous estimates of longevity were based on “best-if-used-by” recommendations and experience. Though not studied, sugar, salt, baking soda (essential for soaking beans) and Vitamin C in tablet form also store well long-term. Some basic foods do need more frequent rotation, such as vegetable oil every 1 to 2 years.
While there is a decline in nutritional quality and taste over time, depending on the original quality of food and how it was processed, packaged and stored, the studies show that even after being stored long-term, the food will help sustain life in an emergency.
New "Life Sustaining" Shelf-LifeEstimates (In Years)
White rice 30+
Pinto beans 30
Apple slices 30
Rolled oats 30
Potato flakes 30
Powdered milk 20
Why was the pamphlet produced at this time?
To teach the simple principles of home storage and encourage participation. It offers hope by showing that it is possible for most Church members to prepare for adversity, starting modestly by storing a few items of food, filling a few leak-proof containers with water, and saving a few coins each week. The pamphlet helps eliminate the perceived complexity of home storage.
Does the information outlined in the pamphlet supersede all previous counsel?
Where do I start?
Start by adding a few storable items that you typically eat, storing some water that is safe to drink, and saving some money, if only a few coins each week. Then over time, expand these initial efforts—as individual circumstances allow and where permitted—by storing a longer-term supply of basics such as grains, beans, and other staples.
How quickly should I obtain my food storage?
It is not prudent to go to extremes or go into debt to establish your home storage all at once. Gradually build reserves over time as financial resources and space permit.
How often should I rotate stored products?
Continually use and replenish the food in your three-month supply to avoid spoilage. You may wish to rotate into your regular meals elements of your longer-term food supply. Such items can, however, if properly packaged and stored in a cool, dry place, last 30 or more years. See the Home and Family section of the Church’s Web site, LDS.org, for more information about home storage rotation and packaging.
Where can I get more information on family home storage?
Go to the Church’s Web site, LDS.org, and look under "Home and Family." You can also get information at Church home storage centers.
Will more information on home storage be forthcoming?
The pamphlet was included in the August 2007 issue of the Ensign and Liahona magazines. Additional magazine articles on various principles of home storage and family finances will regularly appear through 2009. The Church’s Web site will also have periodic featured articles on home storage and finances.
Will Church home storage centers offer fewer products?
Home storage centers continue to offer the same products. However, the product list is being reviewed and may be reduced in the future.
What about 72-hour kits?
Church members are encouraged to prepare for adversity by building a basic supply of food, water, money, and, over time, longer-term supply items. Beyond this, Church members may choose to store additional items that could be of use during times of distress.
"Many areas of the world have experienced difficult economic times. Businesses have failed, jobs have been lost, and investments have been jeopardized. We must make certain that those for whom we share responsibility do not go hungry or unclothed or unsheltered. When the priesthood of this Church works together as one in meeting these vexing conditions, near miracles take place.
"We urge all Latter-day Saints to be prudent in their planning, to be conservative in their living, and to avoid excessive or unnecessary debt."
- President Thomas S. Monson, October 2008 Priesthood Session, General Conference
"Avoid the philosophy that yesterday's luxuries have become today's necessities. They aren't necessities until we make them so. Many enter into long-term debt only to find that changes occur; people become ill or incapacitated, companies fail or downsize, jobs are lost, natural disasters befall us. For many reasons, payments on large amounts of debt can no longer be made. Our debt becomes as a Damocles sword hanging over our heads and threatening to destroy us."
- President Thomas S. Monson, April 2006 General Conference
“We have built grain storage and storehouses and stocked them with the necessities of life in the event of a disaster. But the real storehouse is the family storeroom. In words of revelation the Lord has said, ‘Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing’ (D&C 109:8.)”
President Gordon B. Hinckley
"We need to make both temporal and spiritual preparation for the events prophesied at the time of the Second Coming. And the preparation most likely to be neglected is the one less visible and more difficult--the spiritual. A 72-hour kit of temporal supplies may prove valuable for earthly challenges, but, as the foolish virgins learned to their sorrow, a 24-hour kit of spiritual preparation is of greater and more enduring value.
"We are living in the prophesied time 'when peace shall be taken from the earth' (D&C 1:35,) when 'all things shall be in commotion' and 'men's hearts shall fail them' (D&C 88:91.) There are many temporal causes of commotion, including wars and natural disasters, but an even greater cause of current 'commotion' is spiritual." Elder Dallin H. Oaks
“Every father and mother are the family’s store keepers. They should store whatever their family would like to have in case of an emergency…(and) God will sustain us through our trials.” President James E. Faust
“We live in a most exciting and challenging period in human history. As technology sweeps through every facet of our lives, changes are occurring so rapidly that it can be difficult for us to keep our lives in balance. To maintain some semblance of stability in our lives, it is essential that we plan for our future. I believe it is time, and perhaps with some urgency, to review the counsel we have received in dealing with our personal and family preparedness. We want to be found with oil in our lamps sufficient to endure to the end.”- Elder L. Tom Perry, Ensign, Nov. 1995
"Many more people could ride out the storm-tossed waves in their economic lives if they had their year's supply of food. . . and were debt-free. Today we find that many have followed this counsel in reverse: they have at least a year's supply of debt and are food free." President Thomas S. Monson
"Just as it is important to prepare ourselves spiritually, we must also prepare ourselves for our temporal needs. … We have been instructed for years to follow at least four requirements in preparing for that which is to come.
“First, gain an adequate education. Learn a trade or a profession to enable you to obtain steady employment that will provide remuneration sufficient to care for yourself and your family. …
“Second, live strictly within your income and save something for a rainy day. Incorporate in your lives the discipline of budgeting that which the Lord has blessed you with. As regularly as you pay your tithing, set aside an amount needed for future family requirements. …
“Third, avoid excessive debt. Necessary debt should be incurred only after careful, thoughtful prayer and after obtaining the best possible advice. We need the discipline to stay well within our ability to pay. …
“Fourth, acquire and store a reserve of food and supplies that will sustain life [if local laws permit such storage]. Obtain clothing and build a savings account on a sensible, well-planned basis that can serve well in times of emergency. As long as I can remember, we have been taught to prepare for the future and to obtain a year’s supply of necessities. I would guess that the years of plenty have almost universally caused us to set aside this counsel. I believe the time to disregard this counsel is over. With events in the world today, it must be considered with all seriousness.” - Elder L. Tom Perry, October 1995 General Conference
“Maintain a year's supply. The Lord has urged that his people save for the rainy days, prepare for the difficult times, and put away for emergencies, a year's supply or more of bare necessities so that when comes the flood, the earthquake, the famine, the hurricane, the storms of life, our families can be sustained through the dark days. How many of us have complied with this? We strive with the Lord, finding many excuses: We do not have room for storage. The food spoils. We do not have the funds to do it. We do not like these common foods. It is not needed -- there will always be someone to help in trouble. The government will come to the rescue. And some intend to obey but procrastinate.” - The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.375
“All too often a family's spending is governed more by their yearning than by their earning. They somehow believe that their life will be better if they surround themselves with an abundance of things. All too often all they are left with is avoidable anxiety and distress” - Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin
"Be prepared in all things against the day when tribulations and desolations are sent forth upon the wicked." D&C 29:8
"Too often we bask in our comfortable complacency and rationalize that the ravages of war, economic disaster, famine, and earthquake cannot happen here. Those who believe this are either not aquainted with the revelations of the Lord, or they do not believe them." President Ezra Taft Benson
"Fear not little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail. . .Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not." D&C 6:34, 36
"I believe that the Ten Virgins represent the people of the Church of Jesus Christ. . . They (five foolish) had the saving, exalting gospel, but it had not been made the center of their lives. They knew the way but gave only a small measure of loyalty and devotion.
"The foolish asked the others to share their oil, but spiritual preparedness cannot be shared in an instant. . . . This was not selfishness or unkindness. The kind of oil that is needed to illuminate the way and light up the darkness is not shareable. . . . In our lives the oil of preparedness is accumulated drop by drop in righteous living." - President Spencer W. Kimball
“We encourage families to have on hand this year’s supply; we say it over and over and over and repeat over and over the scripture of the Lord where he says, “Why call ye me, Lord, Lord and do not the things which I say?” How empty it is as they put their spirituality, so-called, into action and call him by his important names, but fail to do the things which he says." - President Spencer W. Kimball