February 5th, 2007

Seven Years of Plenty and Famine

Joseph’s interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream tells of seven years of plenty and seven years of famine.

As far as I have been able to find, President Hinckley has made reference to this dream twice in a general conference. The first was in the October 1998 session.

Prefacing his citation of Joseph’s dream, President Hinckley said “I wish to speak to you about temporal matters.” After paraphrasing Joseph’s dream of the seven years of plenty and seven of famine, he goes on to say:

Now, brethren, I want to make it very clear that I am not prophesying, that I am not predicting years of famine in the future. But I am suggesting that the time has come to get our houses in order. (Gordon B. Hinckley, “To the Boys and to the Men”, October 1998)

Exactly seven years later, in the October 2005 General Conference, the Prophet said:

Let us never lose sight of the dream of Pharaoh concerning the fat cattle and the lean, the full ears of corn, and the blasted ears; the meaning of which was interpreted by Joseph to indicate years of plenty and years of scarcity. (Gordon B. Hinckley, If Ye Are Prepared Ye Shall Not Fear, October 2005)

Can this be written off as a coincidence? Might one interpret these two references, given seven years apart, to mean something significant? This Gospel Library search seems to indicate that the mentions of Joseph’s dream of seven years of plenty and seven of famine shown above are the only two times President Hinckley has mentioned them in official Church publications.

Have we as children of God on the Earth passed our seven years of plenty, only to face upcoming years of famine and other related privations? Following the math, seven years after 2005’s mention would point us to 2012. Several situations point to 2012 as an eventful year, and a cursory google search yields several interesting results.

Predicting foretold calamities can be a tricky thing, however the Saints have been told that we may know the signs of His coming. No man knows the day or hour of the Savior’s coming, but a lot of death and destruction will precede that event. Perhaps we can know when such things will occur?

2012. 5 more years. This should get interesting…

23 Responses to “Seven Years of Plenty and Famine”

  1. David
    February 5, 2007 at 11:09 am #

    So I follow your link to Wikipedia and it states that the date December 21, 2012 has some significance. On that date I turn 50. Interestingly, my great-great grandfather had a dream in the early 1800s that in his 50th year he’d learn of a great destruction on the American continent. When he did turn 50 in 1837, he met up with Parley P. Pratt and was baptized into the LDS Church (and incidentally, read of the destruction of the Nephite civilization in the Book of Mormon). I had heard of the 2012 date in the past. Interesting coincidences… Or not?

  2. Michael L. Mc Kee
    February 5, 2007 at 2:17 pm #

    The year 2012 may, in fact, turn out to be an eventful year. It may or may not be eventful in the positive, or the negative. It may also be a combination of good, and evil as what is generally the case.

    Preparation is a meaningless word the day after a catastrophic event in the life of any individual, or an organized society, in general, for that matter. In either case all would do well to let the future take care of itself providing, of course, you or the society considered the word prepare in advance of the catastrophe sufficiently to abide the day in question.

    We, in the Church, have been instructed repeatedly over many years to be prepared for any possibility which may occur unexpectedly. These instructions have been uttered long before a Google search was possible. They have been uttered by Prophets, Seers, and Revelators, and they did not need to search anywhere other than through the Holy Ghost. We are also able to receive inspiration, and impressions the same way.

    The adversary would have us put-off, and postpone everything until it is “everlastingly too late.” He would especially have us ignore the words of the Lord concerning what we should do to prepare for the things which will be inflicted upon this earth, and the inhabitants thereof.

    The statistics indicating preparedness levels of members in the Church portend grave consequences for the Church leadership due to the potential burden which may come upon us due to our lack of adequate preparations. Many of us may fall away from activity during these times of uncertainty.

    I have been impressed quite frequently lately to do things to lighten my load of personal possessions which are not really necessary to see me through a period of scarcity of funds, and I have been doing so. My food, water, and other important necesseties are more than adequate to last me over a year, but my business has been struggling, and it may continue to do so. We could all do with a lot fewer of the more luxurious items we have, and most of us could eliminate much of our debt if we were really serious about being better prepared.

    All things being considered, I personally feel that we here in the United States are going to experience many uncomfortable situations much sooner than 2012. In fact, I believe we may see greater inclinations toward war in Iran in the very near future. We may also be facing poor growing conditions this year due to drastic weather fluctuations throughout the country.

    It may be just coincidental, but President Bush began the SPP initiative in 2005, and now that he has much of the new Congress in his camp, I believe we are going to experience a mass influx of immigration in the near future. The year 2010 has been bandied about as the year they want to be going full steam ahead with this New World Order project to eliminate the borders, language, and culture of the United States.

    Everything I have touched upon here is purely speculative on my part, but I have always held that if I am wrong it won’t matter because I am prepared anyway. I guess I’ll just try to follow the Prophet, and continue to prepare to go, and do whatever Heavenly Father would have me do.

  3. Chris
    February 5, 2007 at 2:47 pm #

    All I know is that I have a basement full of food and I feel pretty darn good because of it.

  4. Connor
    February 5, 2007 at 2:54 pm #

    All I know is that I have a basement full of food and I feel pretty darn good because of it.

    Amen, brother.

  5. Kelly Winterton
    February 5, 2007 at 4:48 pm #

    Having all that food in the basement is called “trusting in the arm of flesh.” You better be keeping the other commandments too. The food won’t save you, but the obedience will.

  6. Chris
    February 5, 2007 at 6:48 pm #


    What are you talking about? We are commanded to keep a years supply so on top of being self righteous I hope you have your food storage figured out. Faith without works is dead, brother.

  7. Connor
    February 5, 2007 at 7:05 pm #

    I think what Kelly is trying to say is that having a year’s of supply is great, but the more important element is securing that supply is your obedience to the Prophet instead of simply obtaining some food.

    Much like weaing one pair of earrings, we are blessed by obedience to the command. Girls wearing one pair of earrings are most likely blessed spiritually more than they are temporally.

    Either way, I’m glad I have a stockpile myself. I’m sure I’ll be blessed (or am currently being blessed) for my effort to obey, but being prepared, I don’t fear future events, and will better be able “to act, and not be acted upon”.

  8. Jason
    February 5, 2007 at 9:38 pm #

    Add this to the list of things not likely to happen in 2012:

    Bush Claims Budget Surplus by 2012

    Did you just read over the part where President Hinckley said he wasn’t predicting years of famine? But instead he is saying that we are to get our “houses in order.”

  9. Connor
    February 5, 2007 at 10:57 pm #

    Did you just read over the part where President Hinckley said he wasn’t predicting years of famine?

    No, I didn’t read over it.. I included it in this post, for cryin’ out loud! 🙂 Despite the fact that he added the disclaimer, I still find the correlation/coincidence (or lack thereof) interesting. Perhaps the Lord inspired him to mention it without him explicitly knowing and predicting a future famine. Who knows?

  10. Kelly Winterton
    February 6, 2007 at 1:59 pm #


    You won’t survive a famine by eating the food in your basement IF the Lord decides to let your house be flooded or burned, or if you have to relocate. BUT, you will survive the famine by asking the Lord to bless you because you deserve his help because you already kept the commandment to store food but have it no more from circumstances beyond your control. Works the same way with all the commandments, there is a corresponding blessing to each commandment. So yep, I agree whole-heartedly with you – faith without works is dead.

    As a matter of fact, I do have a working food storage, more of a system than you know. In fact, my “works” right now include the sprouted transplants that just started under my growlights, the actively growing spinach and radishes in my passive solar greenhouse, and the 20 laying hens I gather eggs from every day. (And this is the first week in February!) Besides the food that is in constant rotation from my basement, I possess some self-reliance from food I produce and preserve myself.

    But the Spirit taught me long ago I would not be able to feed myself with my own abilities if there were some circumstance that would seperate me from my home and garden. The Spirit taught me that the true strength of self-reliance came from God and His mercy to me from keeping the commandments.

  11. Kelly Winterton
    February 6, 2007 at 4:09 pm #

    I just got done reading an article on Peak Oil. This article suggests that the Peak was reached in 2005. When I read that, I thought of Connor’s post on the years of famine starting………

  12. Dustin
    February 14, 2007 at 7:37 am #

    2012 – I’ve had this number on my mind many years, but never have known why… It’s interesting for sure.

    It also lines up closely with some observations I made in the Book of Mormon while on my mission.

    In essence, from the time that Alma “restored” the church to the time of Christ’s appearance to the Nephites was approximately 181 years.

    If the Lord gave us the same approximate amount of time to prepare for his coming after restoring the church, that would put us right around 2011 – give or take a year 🙂

    It’s all interesting, but I still try to live as if it will be tomorrow! 🙂 It’s not so much where you’ve been, but where you are going that really matters.

  13. Kelly Winterton
    February 21, 2007 at 4:04 pm #

    I’ve had some interesting thoughts just lately, concerning this post about Pres. Hinckley and the seven years of famine. Perhaps Connor is really onto something here – – something I haven’t given enough heed to.

    Prophets of old, especially in the OT like Isaiah, often spoke in ways that were hard to understand or interpret. But those who were inspired by the HG understood. Perhaps the Prophets of today, especially since the more outspoken Presidents McKay and Benson, have been speaking in ways similar to Isaiah of old. It seems there has been less talk about Secret Combinations in government and preparing for future catastrophes. But perhaps the prophets of today are speaking more in subdued tones to avoid the ire of U.S. hegemonic and corrupt government. Perhaps this is why we are admonished to read the BofM wherein it tells us, especially in Ether 8, that the Jaredite Nation was brought down by Secret Combos taking over their government, and that the Nephite Nation was brought down by Secret Combos taking over government, and that Moroni spoke prophetically about the same Secret Combos taking over our government today if we do not awaken to our awful situation.

  14. Eric Nielson
    February 22, 2007 at 7:44 am #

    2012 is a year I am interested in.

  15. Connor
    March 2, 2007 at 3:18 pm #

    Check out this video clip about 2012. It features a highlight of the Web Bot project.

  16. Glynda Lomax
    April 21, 2009 at 2:19 pm #

    In December 2008, the Lord began giving me visions of the upcoming famine – it is REAL. Everyone should prepare, this is godly wisdom in any event, but this one is going to be bad. The visions are detailed on my website, http://visionsandwordsfromonhigh.weebly.com.

  17. Carborendum
    April 22, 2009 at 9:01 am #

    Hey, does anyone know of a good (read inexpensive & secure) way to store a WHOLE bunch of water? I’m digging a well on my property, but it doesn’t do any good without electricity to run the pump. I’m getting a wind turbine and solar panels, but they could easily be destroyed. I’m doing the best I can. But I’m coming up with nothing.

    Re: Glynda

    My first reaction was: “Cookoo.” But out of curiosity I read her website anyway.

    I don’t see anything unbelievable there. I’ve come to similar conclusions just by listening to the news. I don’t see why you would need visions from God to see this stuff coming. Of course there are the naysayers that call us Chicken Little even as they admit the sky is falling all around them. Whatever.

    At the same time, I think that we must separate the feeling urgency from the feeling of panic. We need to get prepared as fast as we have strength. But we can’t let this feeling cause us to do things that would otherwise be unwise.

  18. Kellene
    May 4, 2009 at 9:14 am #

    This is truly fascinating. I have heard these incidents tied together before — coincidence? I have prepared and feel secure in our preparations. But I certainly agree — faith and works together is what we need. About storing water, I have two blog posts on water storage http://tinyurl.com/cnzxc8
    / http://tinyurl.com/cesg3u which may of value. Catching rainwater is a great way to catch water for cleaning, hygiene, etc.

  19. Connor
    June 8, 2009 at 7:52 pm #

    I was just informed of a reference I overlooked by President Hinckley in the October 2001 General Conference, where he states:

    I cannot forget the great lesson of Pharaoh’s dream of the fat and lean kine and of the full and withered stalks of corn.

    So, this is the third reference I’ve come across. The person who pointed me to this quote suggested that seven years after this quote, we entered the thick of the economic storm we’re in. Hmm.

  20. Kelly W.
    March 20, 2010 at 6:24 pm #

    As I prepare my Gospel Doctrine lesson on Pharoah’s dream to be given tomorrow, I had to look up Connor’s post about President Hinckley’s talk. Interesting food for thought. I think I’ll use Connor’s comments in tomorrow’s lesson.

    Hmmmmmm. A couple more years til 2012. I’ll be back to revisit Connor’s post in a couple years. Adios.

  21. Joe
    March 6, 2012 at 6:45 am #

    1998 seven years of plenty
    2005 seven years of famine
    That means 2012 is the last year right ?
    I can tell the crises has been going on since 2005 and we need to get thru this year

  22. outside the corridor
    March 6, 2012 at 9:04 am #


    this is all very interesting. I don’t know how literally President Hinckley meant ‘7 years’, though I remember that my husband and I both thought that when we heard the talk.

    Our ‘famine’ began in 2001 and was severe ’til 2005-2006 at which point we had two or three years of plenty and have had about 2-4 years of moderate ‘leanness’ since–

    pretty crazy.

    We had food storage when we hit bottom, and we never had to ask for ‘help’ (government or church), but we lost a lot; we gained a unique perspective–

    we learned that when a person is vulnerable they will understand things that those who are not vulnerable will not understand.

    2012. I am holding my ‘breath’–

  23. outside the corridor
    March 6, 2012 at 9:07 am #


    those who are poor understand things those who are not poor will not (usually) understand–

    I wonder how many LDS will admit to praying for Jesus to come–

    most of the people *I* know won’t admit to it or will change the subject or will tell me “things aren’t THAT bad”–

    and yet *we* are told to pray for Him to come.

    What does it mean when a person who believes in Christ can’t talk to other Christians about Jesus’ coming, without hearing, “oh, no, we don’t want to do that; it’s not time yet”–

    2012; I used to hope that it would be the BIG ‘year’–

    but I am not so sure anymore; probably, mostly, because *I* want it too badly! LOL!

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