At the beginning of the shutdown, my Stake President sent to the High Council and others a talk given by President Ezra Taft Benson in October 1980. The talk was titled “Prepare for the Days of Tribulation”
For us who are old enough to remember, this talk was given during a time of “high-taxes and inflation coupled with conditions of continuing recession.” Those were not fun times. In fact, my wife and I bought our home in 1982. Because we had no debt, we got the best interest rate available. Our rate was 11.75%.
Maybe we our living through one of those “Days of Tribulation” and it would be wise to review some of his counsel. I have included comments from the talk that impressed me and offer them to you to consider.
“Unfortunately, there has been fostered in the minds of some an expectation that when we experience hard times when we have been unwise and extravagant with our resources and have lived beyond our means, we should look to either the Church or government to bail us out. Forgotten by some of our members is an underlying principle of the Church welfare plan that “no true Latter-day Saint will, while physically able, voluntarily shift from himself the burden of his own support”(Marion G. Romney, in Conference Report, Oct. 1973, p. 106).”
“Work alone produces life’s necessities.”
“We do know that the Lord has decreed global calamities for the future and has warned and forewarned us to be prepared. For this reason, the Brethren have repeatedly stressed a “back to basics” program for temporal and spiritual welfare.”
In speaking about people in Europe after WWII, President Benson said, “These people were, of course, willing to barter practically anything for that commodity which sustains life —food.”
“An almost forgotten means of economic self-reliance is the home production of food. We are too accustomed to going to stores and purchasing what we need. By producing some of our food we reduce, to a great extent, the impact of inflation on our money. More importantly, we learn how to produce our own food and involve all family members in a beneficial project. No more timely counsel, I feel, has been given by President Kimball than his repeated emphasis to grow our own gardens.”
“We encourage you to be more self-reliant so that, as the Lord has declared, “notwithstanding the tribulation which shall descend upon you, … the church may stand independent above all other creatures beneath the celestial world” (D&C 78:14). The Lord wants us to be independent and self-reliant because these will be days of tribulation. He has warned and forewarned us of the eventuality.”
“Elder Harold B. Lee counseled, “Perhaps if we think not in terms of a year’s supply of what we ordinarily would use, and think more in terms of what it would take to keep us alive in case we didn’t have anything else to eat, that last would be very easy to put in storage for a year … just enough to keep us alive if we didn’t have anything else to eat. We wouldn’t get fat on it, but we would live; and if you think in terms of that kind of annual storage rather than a whole year’s supply of everything that you are accustomed to eat which, in most cases, is utterly impossible for the average family, I think we will come nearer to what President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., advised us way back in 1937.” (In Welfare Conference, 1 October 1966.)
“Store seeds and have sufficient tools on hand to do the job. If you are saving and planning for a second car or a TV set or some item which merely adds to your comfort or pleasure, you may need to change your priorities. We urge you to do this prayerfully and do it now.”
“I cannot forget the French Saints who, unable to obtain bread, used potato peelings for the emblems of the sacrament. Nor will I ever forget the faith of the Dutch Saints who accepted our suggestion to grow potatoes to alleviate their own starving conditions, and then sent a portion of their first harvest to the German people who had been their bitter enemies. The following year they sent them the entire harvest. The annals of Church history have seldom recorded a more Christlike act of love and compassion.”
In my opinion, this the most important paragraph of the entire talk.
“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 acquainted with the revelations of the Lord, or they do not believe them. Those who smugly think these calamities will not happen, that they somehow will be set aside because of the righteousness of the Saints, are deceived and will rue the day they harbored such a delusion.”
What are your impressions?