March 31st, 2011

How Prepared is the Average Latter-day Saint Ward?

A few weeks ago, I was called by my Bishop to be the new emergency preparedness coordinator for our ward. I was released from my stake calling of ~3.5 years, and eagerly got to work with this new assignment. It was a fairly easy transition, since I had been unofficially involved in preparedness-related activities for our ward over the previous couple of years, serving by invitation of the previous Bishop on the ward’s preparedness committee.

In order to better serve those in the ward and help them prepare, I thought it important to begin my efforts with a survey to gauge where our ward stood. I had a fairly good idea due to previous surveys conducted over the past couple of years in our stake (see here and here), but wanted a bit more detail, and with the high turnover in our ward, needed updated information.

With the Bishop’s consent, I circulated a brief, anonymous survey through the ward and got responses from over 50 families. Our ward is a fairly average ward in terms of income, being squarely “middle class,” thus the results are probably pretty indicative of the average (American) Latter-day Saint household. I don’t consider any of this statistically accurate, but it’s close enough to be reliable and representative of the average family, in my opinion.

Below are the results of this anonymous survey.

My impressions? This is about what I expected. It’s not encouraging, of course, when a few families skew the results upward with their year supply of food; far too many families responded that they only had a few days or a couple weeks worth of food in their home.

Time to roll up my sleeves.

12 Responses to “How Prepared is the Average Latter-day Saint Ward?”

  1. Jacqueline Smith
    March 31, 2011 at 5:17 pm #

    Connor — Great work. I think the thing to realize is it does look like about 1/2 are prepared, and 1/2 are not. Let’s see ….. there is a story about 10 virgins I read once ….

  2. wonderdog
    April 1, 2011 at 4:54 am #

    IN HP group, we were talking about preparedness. Someone said they would just go over to another brother’s house because they knew he had enough. He referenced the parable of the virgins, recommended that the brother prepare for himself and his family, and reminded the brother that he had guns as part of his preparedness plan. I gotta get aome guns and ammo.

  3. rachel
    April 1, 2011 at 9:31 am #

    If I’m reading the graph right, you’re saying that only 5 families could survive 41-50+ weeks on their food storage? That’s not good. But several have their three-month supply, I see.

    I feel fairly prepared, but I admit we store extra to feed our extended family and neighbors. We grow a 1-acre vegetable garden and give 2/3 of it away. This year will be the third year, and my husband says he did it to see if it could be done. He figures that we may end up feeding a lot of people one of these days, and if so, they can come work in the garden along with us.

  4. Clayton Holbrook
    April 1, 2011 at 3:36 pm #

    Interesting questions.
    I think Rachel and her husband have a great thing going with the one acre garden. Marion G. Romney stated in a conference address that the time would come when we will eat what we produce. Preparing the soil now makes sense. Let us hope we don’t have to bug out. Here is a website with some great info.
    If you are prepared, ye shall not fear.

  5. Jacqueline Smith
    April 2, 2011 at 4:37 pm #

    This link downloads an excel file that I think you will all like. This is a recalculatable food storage report. 3 months supply of water is all it will calculate however. Food for as many months as you want. It’s from my website If you send people to it, it’s on the right hand side in the FREE STAR FILES area.

  6. mormonconsecrationist
    April 4, 2011 at 1:43 pm #

    I only know what I have been ‘told’, and that is that not very many people take food storage seriously in our ward–

    we were visiting in a member home when we first moved into the ward 10 years ago, and when asked where good sources of food storage could be found, the host said, “food storage! what is THAT?!” and then laughed (oh, so funny, you know!)–

    our former bishop was very enthusiastic; we are quite well prepared; we have a tremendous amount of grains and legumes, and we do use it all the time–

    we store raw sugars, etc.–and a lot of extra virgin olive oil–

    but no powdered milk; we personalize it, and we don’t do milk–

    but we are considered a bit ‘loony’–

    so it’s hard to say; I would say that there are several ‘prominent’ families in the ward who maybe have 2 weeks supply of food, if that much–

    and who refuse to put in alternative heating systems when they could easily afford them–

    one prominent member of our ward gets very angry about people being ‘fanatic’ and refuses to prepare–

  7. Liz
    April 6, 2011 at 10:04 am #

    Well, 18 months ago we ranked great in all this stuff. Two layoffs in as many years later, food storage and savings is down to scratch. So….I thought the disaster came and went. And came again. I would call this a rebuilding year for most people.

  8. Liz
    April 6, 2011 at 10:05 am #

    You mean, the disaster hasn’t come for most people? Everyone I know is right in the middle of it.

    Interesting. Maybe things are just better, or delayed in some parts of Utah.

  9. mormonconsecrationist
    April 7, 2011 at 9:40 am #

    Liz, we’ve BTDT . . .

    several times over the past decade; actually we had 3 layoffs–

    we’ll never get back to the level of ‘prosperity’ that we had, but we have learned a lot; we now garden much more seriously, and, though it has taken months to build our basics and some of our non-essentials food storage items back up, and we are “almost there”, it has been hard; what I think matters here is that we did it, and we have felt blessed for doing it–

    Yes, things are hard in many parts of the country–

    until you are ‘hit’ with unemployment, you really can’t know–

    but there are those who have not been ‘hit’, and they are curiously blind to those around them who have been ‘hit’–

    which is why I have found it so remarkable (in a negative, shocked way) that people with abundance, people with highly remunerative professions and mid six-digit incomes in our ward . . .

    won’t store food, won’t put in alternative energy systems, won’t grow gardens–

    and mock those of *us* who do–

    on bitter days I imagine myself handing out slices of homemade bread to these people–

    and letting them warm themselves by my fire–

    I don’t live anywhere near Utah, so I can’t say what it is like there, but I live in a ‘moderately’ affected area (no heavy unemployment, but not having any sort of boom either)–

    and jobs are continuing to be lost, almost daily–

    in our case, we are working–but we make less than we did when we were hit with our first downsize(s) 10 years ago–

    Since you have been obedient . . . you will find that you will be very blessed as you begin to rebuild–

    I believe in the story of Elijah and the widow; it’s a very real principle–

  10. Terry
    June 25, 2011 at 10:18 am #

    I did a survery in my ward in South Africa which showed the ward could survive for 3 weeks – and I didn’t ask about money etc, only food and medical supplies. We also tend not to have extremes of cold (except today it’s about 5 degrees C…) I like what you have done and will add your ideas to mine!

    We need an “official” focused church forum so we can call all gain from each other, worldwide. Some other lists I subscribe to often go off track…

    Good on you!

  11. Sean McLaughlin
    March 6, 2012 at 7:44 pm #

    I have never read or responded to posts in blogs to this extent! Conner, you are an impressive young man. I don’t mean to say “young” condescendingly. The scriptures are replete with the “younger” being a lot more on top of things than the “older” in not a few instances. At any rate, I have been snooping around your site here, with great interest. Your preparedness survey approach is so succinct and such a good inventory of a ward to assess overall preparedness. Well done, hope you don’t mind my borrowing for my own efforts in this area.

  12. Melissa Rhodes
    December 31, 2014 at 8:54 am #

    Do you have a the survey you gave to your ward available to print?

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