October 20th, 2009

Procrastinating the Day of Preparedness

photo credit: Michelle Cordes

Fancy televisions. 4-wheelers. Boats. Video game systems. Fancy clothing and jewelry. These and a slew of other material objects are some of the distractions by which people refuse to prepare themselves and their families for the storms on the horizon. In our culture of consumerism, instant gratification is a given; rarely do people acquire an adequate supply of goods to see them through troubled times.

This perpetual mode of procrastination has ill effects felt not only by those making such choices, but by those around them as well. Of course, those in this narrow state of mind do not even consider the consequences of their choices, let alone how they might affect others. Their focus on the here and now blinds them of any need to reflect on the future. A constant stream of entertainment pacifies them into a brain-numbing trance where, like the drug addict looking for the next fix, their cares take no thought of distant events.

Imagine: tomorrow, the coordinated rejection of the dollar by OPEC countries sparks a precipitous decline in its value. Runs on banks happen both in the traditional sense, and facilitated by the internet, in mere seconds at the computer. The bank’s servers crash, ATMs run out of the worthless paper, and the government responds by declaring a banking holiday. Stores stop accepting dollars, and, unable to use their credit/debit cards, impatient shoppers grow violent and simply loot the stores in sheer frustration and unsympathetic greed. Commerce grinds to a halt, store shelves are emptied, gasoline quickly disappears, and for the near and uncertain future, people are left to their own devices for survival.

In light of this example—one of any number of possibilities—consider your neighbor. He has a nice home, a couple of new cars, beautiful furniture, and the best home theater on the block. He and his family go on regular vacations and seem to always be out having fun. But he only has about a week of food in the pantry, no stored water, and no fuel reserve to speak of. In a split second, his many toys and possessions have become completely worthless. What will he do when his meager supply of food is exhausted?

While this neighbor spent years vacationing abroad and partying at home, you spent what little extra money you had working on your food storage. You bought the cheap line of clothing, rarely ate at restaurants, and didn’t even have cable TV. You spent your extra funds on the basic elements of a well-rounded preparedness supply, so that come what may, you’d be ready. After several years of dedicated effort and wise fiscal management, you were able to build up a year supply of food, water, fuel, medicine, and other needed items.

Your neighbor squandered away his income, choosing to entertain himself with baseless frivolity. Now, the law of harvest demands that he reaps what he sowed. And yet this justice—needful though it may be—is tempered by the mercy of those who have lived wisely and now can act, rather then be acted upon, to help those in need.

This presents a quandary, however. This fictitious neighbor of yours is likely representative to some degree of the majority of those in your neighborhood. If general statistics hold true where you live, then very few of your neighbors will have anything close to an adequate supply of important basics. Thus, your year supply would, if shared, quickly diminish to a supply of only a few weeks.

Those who choose to procrastinate their preparedness are not only poor spouses and parents, but they will one day become a heavy burden on those around them who refused to live this way. There are many who half-jokingly suggest that in times of crisis, they will go to a certain friend’s house who has a large supply of goods. An effective response to such stupidity is: “which of my children do you want to starve so that I can feed you?” Our neighbors must be made to understand that though I am their figurative keeper, I am not their supplier, nor am I their mother.

So, neighbor: sell your fancy television, your 4-wheelers, your boat, your video game system, and your fancy clothing and jewelry. Unencumber your life by ridding yourself of such wasteful tools of instant gratification, and be a provident provider for those entrusted to your care. Be an asset to your community, rather than a potential burden.

With apologies to Alma, I end with a twist to his plea:

…as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your preparedness until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for TEOTWAWKI, behold, if we do not lay up in store while in this period of bounty, then cometh the times of famine wherein there can be no new purchases.

10 Responses to “Procrastinating the Day of Preparedness”

  1. David
    October 20, 2009 at 9:27 am #


    You are welcome to come move into my neighborhood. I think we are below average in neighborhood materilaism, but I would never shun another well-prepared neighbor 😉

  2. Yin
    October 20, 2009 at 11:39 am #

    Great post. I will always remember a gal I met once, whom upon investigating the church and learning about emergency preparedness, sold her $20,000 diamond engagement ring in exchange for a $1500 one. She used some of the money to fully supply herself and her family with a year’s worth of goods. How inspiring!

  3. Allan
    October 20, 2009 at 2:12 pm #

    I would like to add a little more to your scenario; your usually friendly neighbor has been out desperately trying to find food for his family to no avail; violent gangs are out in the streets taking anything they can; his wife is saying to him “our children are starving to death what are you going to do?” The one thing he has stored is a gun and some bullets and he knows you have stuff to eat. He knows it is wrong but his children are close to dying from starvation. What do you think he will do? I also know several single family moms that do not have the means to store much food, since they are barely able to meet the needs of their children as it is.
    My wife thinks I am crazy because I keep wanting to buy more bulk storage items since we do not have a lot of storage space. I have thought about this for a long time; Personally I’m going to open my house up to as many people as I can, and share what I can with those that are struggling, all while praying that the cruise of oil and barrel of meal not fail. Seriously I’m not going to let people I care about starve while I eat. We may all die together, but don’t you think Joseph Smith would do the same if he were in that situation? (Christ would just multiply the food).

  4. Kelly W.
    October 20, 2009 at 3:41 pm #

    Thanks Allan, your thoughts are much like mine. Now I don’t have to type it all out, I can just Amen your comments.

    I was talking last week to a fellow who is very much into providing for himself and family. He is super-knowledgeable on many subjects related to nutrition, gardening, storing and preparing. He has been interested in LDS doctrine of food storage, and has asked me if all Mormons store food. I told him the sad truth.

    But this fellow recognizes the need to prepare because of the sorry situation our world finds itself in economically, politically and socially. He believes like I do that 9/11 was an inside job, but says that the myth of 9/11 doesn’t matter anymore because we are past that, and have entered into an even greater crisis of social collapse that will require preparation.

    But I countered to him that the knowledge of 9/11 is one of the greatest keys to get people to realize that what we see on TV and read in the papers is only just a cover-up to keep us from entering into the scenario that Connor described in the introduction to his post.

    I think that the percentage of people who know about the myth of 9/11 AND are seriously making preparations for the future is far greater than the the percentage of people who DON’T know about the myth of 9/11 and therefore don’t prepare, because they believe what’s on TV and in the papers which tell us “all is well in Zion.”

  5. Cameron
    October 21, 2009 at 11:01 am #

    Very interesting. There is so much peer pressure to keep up with the Joneses these days, though the recession has been good for everyone in the sense that it’s become more fashionable to be prudent. I took a drive with some friends the other day and passed through some atv areas. We all wondered at how people can afford not only the atv’s, but the trucks, trailers and time it takes to use them. Upon later reflection, it strikes me that I could afford it. But only in the sense that I would forgo savings, and perhaps even adjust downward the fast offerings I donate. But even then I would have to finance much of those activities.

  6. Kelly W.
    October 22, 2009 at 8:53 am #

    Cameron brings up a very meaningful observation of the TIME it takes to use all those atvs, trailers, etc.

    I have certainly seen people who are, on the surface, devoted latter-day Saints but who have invested so much money into the atvs, boats, trailers, etc. that they justify the investment by just “quietly camping” on the Sabbath because they have pulled that trailer so far to camp on Saturday.

    We can certainly judge someone’s true character and commitment by where they spend their money and TIME.

  7. JBTalcott
    October 22, 2009 at 10:53 pm #

    So Connor, do you actually believe all of this “doomsday” nonsense? If so, my observations about your views on the ethics initiative were spot on.

  8. Connor
    October 22, 2009 at 11:27 pm #


    Shoo, fly. Don’t bother me.

  9. Marc
    November 2, 2009 at 12:00 am #

    Talcott obviously doesnt understand the scriptures or know anything about history. What an utterly ignorant thing to say (speaking of “doomsday nonsense”). Perhaps you should go hang out with the folks that mocked Noah. Then when the water starts to rise you can fight over who gets the high ground.

  10. Carb'swife
    November 2, 2009 at 11:11 pm #

    Hey Connor, I feel Like I know you from listening to Carb talk about your posts.
    This article is perfect, What do we, the even Semi-prepared do when our family and friends are starving? In our home, we have an over abundance of food storage, for that reason. We ALSO have a supply of ammo to defend our family from the raiders that will surely come.
    The neighbor who ignored our warnings? I hope I could be charitable enough to help them in some way without jeopardizing my own family. But when TEOTWAWKI truly comes, who knows how we will react?

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