- It's a commandment from God.
- Emergencies happen.
- It brings Peace
- From the beginning of the recording dealings of God with his people, he has encouraged us to be self-reliant, and then call upon him for what we can't accomplish. As my grandmother put it, "God helps those who help themselves."
In more recent times, Joseph Smith recorded in Doctrine & Covenants 78:13-14, ""The Church and its members are commanded by the Lord to be self-reliant and independent."
In still more recent times, L. Tom Perry advised us, "Acquire and store a reserve of food and supplies that will sustain life. 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." ("'If Ye Are Prepared Ye Shall Not Fear'" Ensign, Nov 1995, 35.)
Whether you believe in God or not, are Christian or Jewish, Muslim or Pagan, the counsel is good, and it's consistent over time. So, if for no other reason, I'd do it as a matter of obedience.
- It's sad, but true, things happen that we didn't expect. Many times, we can't do a thing about it. A job is lost, an accident occurs, the 'breadwinner' dies, floods come, earthquakes happen, the storms of life occur. We hope they pass us by, but none of us is guaranteed a safe life. We are only guaranteed that God will be with us if we ask him to, and that we will get through, if we trust him.
We can't plan what exact disaster might strike us or our family, but we can prepare in many ways. Then whatever happens, we are not completely lost on a sea of devastation and heartbreak.
Food storage is one of those things we can do. Another friend said to me, "If one of those natural disasters occurs, your food storage will be gone and then what good did it do?" My answer is simply this. It may not be for me that I'm storing the food.
When the spring and summer storms swept away much of Tuscaloosa, AL, and large portions of Joplin, MO, and Chattanooga, TN, the people who had homes destroyed did lose their food storage. However, those who didn't, and those in surrounding stakes, had food storage to share, keeping hungry families fed. Many churches, not just LDS, rushed in with food and water, entire truckloads were delivered, starting in hours.
In 1974, Prophet Ezra Taft Benson said, in part, "In Matthew, chapter 24, we learn of 'famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes....' (Matt. 24:7) The Lord declared that these and other calamities shall occur. These particular prophecies seem not to be conditional. The Lord, with his foreknowledge, knows that they will happen. Some will come about through man’s manipulations; others through the forces of nature and nature’s God, but that they will come seems certain. Prophecy is but history in reverse—a divine disclosure of future events" ("Prepare Ye," Ensign, Jan. 1974, 68).
- The Lord said: "If ye are prepared ye shall not fear" (D&C 38:30).
Whether you believe in scripture or not, anyone can look around the last few years and see the disasters that have struck - natural ones and economic ones, as well. If we are prepared, there is no reason to fear. Our families will not starve, and if we prepare in other ways, we will survive what comes. The essentials for life are shelter (including clothing), food, water, and air. We can prepare those things against disaster.
- Being prepared means more than storing food. We store it, we use it, we learn ways of preparing delicious and healthy meals for our families from that food. In addition to that, we can store knowledge.
It might be wise to learn herbs which have medicinal qualities, for example, and which can be used in various cases. If a family member is on medication, we can store what we can, but in a true disaster, it might not be available for some time. So it's important to know what else would be helpful to their condition.
It's good to know how to cleanse water. Even rain collecting in a barrel would need to be cleaned to be safe, considering what's in the air, or what might be after certain disasters, such as volcanic explosions. Know several ways to do it, from the simplest to perhaps buying a filter and supplies to keep the filter going for months. Actually use the equipment, if you buy some, or build a water purifier system and try it out before it's needed.
What other skills could be handy? Carpentry comes to mind. You think about what you know and what would be helpful to know for your family, and begin to store that knowledge, and store books with information. We've come to depend on electronic means to access knowledge. If you want to save CDs full of knowledge, make sure you have a solar battery charger for you computer. And solar lanterns. Or propane, but in an extended emergency, I want something that isn't likely to run out - the sun.
Don't forget the tool box! Most men have a nicely equipped one, but do women? Does your family? What about tools you don't use now, but might be helpful in a disaster? Don't think about power tools as much as the old-fashioned person-powered hand tools.
I think you get the drift. Be Prepared, Scouts!