Mormon Lack of Faith

American Fork man is food storage fanatic

By JENNIFER DOBNER

December 25, 2008
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

AMERICAN FORK, Utah -- The long, narrow room in Kenneth Moravec's basement looks like a food bank.

Floor-to-ceiling shelves are lined with canned fruits and vegetables, dried or powdered herbs, spices and drinks, along with drums of rice, pasta, wheat and other grains. Each is labeled with its contents and the date of purchase or when it was home-canned, usually right out of Moravec's garden.

"Right now I have about a six-year supply of food," said Moravec, whose e-mail tag line reads, "If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail."

Moravec has taken to heart a decades-old directive from leaders of his Mormon faith that members should prepare for hard times or natural disasters by stockpiling up to a year's worth of food. A church Web site, providentliving.org, provides a guide for members.

Moravec's own preparedness philosophy has been cultivated through church teachings and hard personal experiences, including job losses and natural disasters. As a child, he said his family weathered an East Coast hurricane and then temporarily lived off their cache of stored food. And in 1989, Moravec said, he was stranded for three days on a section of the Oakland, Calif., Bay Bridge after a 7.0 earthquake. He ate from a 72-hour emergency kit stashed inside his pickup truck.

"I've been in and out of work a lot in my life, but I've always been able to feed my family because of food storage," he said.

Concern for others propelled Moravec to share what he knows. For two decades, he's taught preparedness classes nationwide to everyone from Boy Scouts to business executives and church women.

Once a year Moravec drops in on neighbors, regardless of faith, for a preparedness check-up.

"The question is: If you had to live on your food storage and couldn't go to Albertsons every day, how long could you live," he said. "Some people look at me like I'm nuts, but most people understand where I'm coming from."

Since 1985, Moravec has also placed group orders for bulk quantities of grains, dried herbs, potato flakes and other staples. Once or twice a year, a semitrailer pulls onto Moravec's street and unloads enough food to fill his garage.

Moravec's fellow Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints congregants seem to have been converted. By his own accounting, Moravec said about 11 percent of families have socked away a year's worth of food. Another 10 percent have about six months of food saved and another 15 percent have a three-month supply, he said.

Moravec's neighbor, Cheri Christensen, said her family recently used a small, unexpected windfall to increase their food storage to a one-year supply. Christensen buys grains and pasta in bulk and cans fruits, vegetables and even butter.

"After we saw what happened in Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana ... those people were in dire straights. Take one look at that and you know you have to take care of yourself," Christensen said.

In the event a real disaster, Moravec doubts his six-year stash will last more than a few months. He expects to feed not only his family, but the friends and neighbors who didn't or couldn't prepare.

"I've been blessed very well to have this kind of food storage," said Moravec. "But I don't think I've been blessed for me, it's for me to share. It's for the single mom over there, or the widow around the corner. I see that as part of my responsibility."

 

Mormon couple well-supplied for crisis

Global food, fuel shortages bolster storage incentive

By Lawn Griffiths

East Valley Tribune

Tucson, Arizona

Published: 06.05.2008

MESA — Come what may, Donna and Aaron Bradshaw expect their spacious food pantry and emergency plan will carry them through.

Shelves and shelves of home-canned vegetables and meats, dried grains, an electric generator and stored water promise reasonable sustainability for the Mormon family in Gilbert in a world where food riots, starvation and disaster-related food shortages are becoming a kind of norm. There are threats of a U.S. trucking shutdown over high fuel costs that could lead to empty grocery-store shelves.

But the sharp spike in prices of staples such as bread, eggs, flour and milk at supermarkets has folks looking for options in food purchases and storage.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has historically impressed on its members to build at least a three-month storehouse of food, store ample water and set aside money for a crisis.

"We have had some relatively new instructions from Salt Lake (City)," the church headquarters, Aaron Bradshaw said. "It used to be we saved a year's supply in an emergency kind of fashion where you would have a bunch of wheat, beans and rice, and maybe you knew how to use it." But because no emergencies came along, people got lax, he said.

But now with so many forces fighting for the global food supplies, church members are being asked to take food storage more seriously, he said.

"The first stage is to have a three-month supply of stuff you are really going to eat," said Bradshaw, a counselor in the Gilbert-Higley Stake. "Some of us are more comfortable with a year's supply, rotating things in and out. We have always saved stuff we are going to eat."

The church lays out detailed storage instructions (online at www.providentliving.org) and presents new Brigham Young University scientific research that "properly packaged, low-moisture foods, stored at room temperature or cooler (75 degrees or lower), remain nutritious and edible much longer than previously thought."

"We are kind of specialists," said Bradshaw, noting that he and Donna came from families that had big gardens. "We raised pigs and chickens all the time we were growing up. So we are comfortable with canning and picking your own stuff."

Only one of their five children is still home, and, on Sundays, their offspring and 10 grandchildren are on hand to share in the bounty.

"They have all got their gardens in the backyard, and some of them are doing better than us because they have a little more time to fiddle with it," he said.

Don Evans, the church's Arizona spokesman, said church members "hopefully are being smart and stocking up."

Mike Cooley is a stake president responsible for the bishop's storehouse in Mesa where church families can purchase foods and the members in economic need can get food assistance. The center includes a cannery that packs vegetables, grains and other foods dry and in water to prolong their storage life.

Cooley said that in a major emergency, the Mormon Church's 138 storehouses and 24 processing facilities are not equipped to feed the church's 13 million members worldwide.

"If there was complete chaos and a falling out of grocery stores, there would be few supplies here," he said. "That is why the church has asked that each home do the best they can to meet those needs, instead of relying on the church as a whole."

The Bradshaws' 8-by-10-foot pantry is a veritable food warehouse, and their freezer is full.

At least 1,000 pounds of wheat are on hand, some canned, some in buckets.

"It just depends on when we got it and when we intend to use it," Aaron Bradshaw said.

The Bradshaws keep a tank filled with 125 gallons of water, and periodically drain and refill it.

Preparedness is a constant matter of discussion by the church, Bradshaw said.

"We talk about trucker strikes. If they go nuts on this trucker thing and quit bringing us food, then what do we do? If you don't have vehicle gas, you hunker down at home and eat on your year's supply until they resolve the strike. You don't run into the hills."

With a propane tank, an electric generator and other emergency equipment, Bradshaw said he could keep his freezer going, use his microwave three times a day and hold out until trouble passed.

 

Stockpiling for tough times

By Krista J. Kapralos

July 9, 2008
Herald Writer

MUKILTEO -- Food storage warehouses owned and operated around the country by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are stocked with nonperishables sealed to withstand natural disasters, virus pandemics and even the Great Tribulation, that biblical era of suffering said to precede the end of the earth.

In recent months, the warehouses have become more popular with Mormons who worry about a threat more subtle than the drama of Armageddon: high food prices.

"When food prices rise, the cost of my food doesn't," said Jenny Webb, a Mormon mother who feeds her husband and three children meals based on her pantry's rotating stock of spaghetti, wheat, beans and other goods intended to stay edible for 30 years.

Webb, 37, said she has enough food in her pantry to feed her family for at least three months if her husband loses his job, an earthquake turns grocery stores to rubble, or market prices swell too much for the family to afford.

She buys many of her pantry staples at a church-owned warehouse in Mukilteo, where food sales have increased to staggering rates over the past two months.

A year ago, church members bought and canned about 18,000 pounds of food for themselves and their families at the warehouse each month, said Al Cripe, a church elder who, with his wife, Opal, runs the Mukilteo warehouse.

Last month, church members bought and canned about 62,000 pounds of food, Cripe said. The warehouse bought a second can sealer three weeks ago to help expedite work for Mormons lined up at the warehouse's canning station.

"This is going on throughout the country," he said.

Webb said she's not sure how much money she saves by using the church warehouse. Like many Mormon women, she was raised on food storage and doesn't know any other way.

Church leaders since the time of Brigham Young have commanded their followers to store up food for three months, a year, even seven years. The end could be nigh, they said, and Mormons should be prepared.

"Natural disasters are going to happen right before the second coming," said Alissa Howell, 50, referring to the Mormon belief that Jesus Christ will one day return triumphantly to the earth. "But even people who don't believe in the second coming talk about earthquakes, and that the 'big one' is coming."

When it comes, whether an earthquake or a natural disaster signaling the end times, Howell said she'll be prepared not only to feed her family, but also to feed her neighbors.

That's a sense of pride shared by many Mormons who stockpile food from the warehouse.

"If you're not a Mormon and there's an earthquake, the next best thing is to have a Mormon neighbor," said James Amis, who runs the Bishop's Storehouse, a small grocery in the warehouse that offers free food and toiletries to families in need.

Today, the church owns nearly 100 warehouses throughout the country. Church-owned farms and factories produce wheat, dehydrated fruit and vegetables, beans, and other long-term pantry items. Short-term storage items, such as canned chili, cocoa mix and pancake mix, are produced under the Deseret brand, based in Salt Lake City.

The food is sold to church members at cost, Amis said.

"The church isn't making any money off this," he said.

Trucks based at a large church-owned facility in Hermiston, Ore., deliver with increasing frequency giant bags of food, as well as cans and pouches for long-term storage, to the Mukilteo warehouse.

The warehouse is open to people who are not Mormons, Amis said. More people who are not church members have come to the warehouse in recent months than ever before, he said.

The women who gathered Tuesday morning at the warehouse to can sugar, beans and cocoa mix shared cautionary tales of families who lived off their long-term storage pantries for months when a husband lost his job.

"You never know when a family is going to have hard times," said Laree Ricks, 49, of Redmond. "It may be a loss of a job for a short time, or it may just be that gas is so expensive that you want to conserve in other ways."

Ricks said she's never lived without a deep store of food tucked away. Her cans are stored in her garage, but many families slide boxes beneath beds, behind shelves, in clothes closets.

"When it's a priority, you find room," she said.

Most families rotate the food in their long-term storage so that nothing is more than a few years old, but others find themselves with stockpiles of wheat or rice that could feed a small army.

"I'm eating rice we've had at home for 20 years," Amis said.

Faced with cooking from bags of hard red wheat and dry pinto beans, Mormon families get creative. Stacks of recipes are set up near the warehouse's checkout table: 15-minute barbecued beans. Eggless chocolate cake. Nutritional Soup from Bean Flour.

"I bought a wheat grinder so I can make flour from my wheat," Webb said. "The wheat stores longer than regular white flour."

Most young Mormon couples are overwhelmed at the prospect of creating long-term storage, said Opal Cripes. Church leaders encourage them to start small with a church-sanctioned "Starter Kit," which includes hard red winter wheat, white rice, pinto beans and quick oats, for $34.25.

"It's eye-opening for people who realize that we have a religion that not only cares about our souls, but also cares about our basic needs," Webb said.

 

Mormon food-storage warehouse sees business jump

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

By Krista J. Kapralos
The Herald

MUKILTEO, Wash. — Food storage warehouses owned and operated around the country by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are stocked with nonperishables sealed to withstand natural disasters, virus pandemics and even the Great Tribulation, that biblical era of suffering said to precede the end of the earth.

In recent months, the warehouses have become more popular with Mormons who worry (lack of faith) about a threat more subtle than the drama of Armageddon: high food prices.

“When food prices rise, the cost of my food doesn’t,” said Jenny Webb, a Mormon mother who feeds her husband and three children meals based on her pantry’s rotating stock of spaghetti, wheat, beans and other goods intended to stay edible for 30 years.

Webb, 37, said she has enough food in her pantry to feed her family for at least three months if her husband loses his job, an earthquake turns grocery stores to rubble, or market prices swell too much for the family to afford.

She buys many of her pantry staples at a church-owned warehouse in Mukilteo, where food sales have increased to staggering rates over the past two months.

A year ago, church members bought and canned about 18,000 pounds of food for themselves and their families at the warehouse each month, said Al Cripe, a church elder who, with his wife, Opal, runs the Mukilteo warehouse.

Last month, church members bought and canned about 62,000 pounds of food, Cripe said. The warehouse bought a second can sealer three weeks ago to help expedite work for Mormons lined up at the warehouse’s canning station.

“This is going on throughout the country,” he said.

Webb said she’s not sure how much money she saves by using the church warehouse. Like many Mormon women, she was raised on food storage and doesn’t know any other way.

Church leaders since the time of Brigham Young have commanded their followers to store up food for three months, a year, even seven years. The end could be nigh, they said, and Mormons should be prepared.

“Natural disasters are going to happen right before the second coming,” said Alissa Howell, 50, referring to the Mormon belief that Jesus Christ will one day return triumphantly to Earth. “But even people who don’t believe in the second coming talk about earthquakes, and that the ’big one’ is coming.”

When it comes, whether an earthquake or a natural disaster signaling the end times, Howell said she’ll be prepared not only to feed her family, but also to feed her neighbors.

That’s a sense of pride shared by many Mormons who stockpile food from the warehouse.

“If you’re not a Mormon and there’s an earthquake, the next best thing is to have a Mormon neighbor,” said James Amis, who runs the Bishop’s Storehouse, a small grocery in the warehouse that offers free food and toiletries to families in need.

Today, the church owns nearly 100 warehouses throughout the country. Church-owned farms and factories produce wheat, dehydrated fruit and vegetables, beans, and other long-term pantry items. Short-term storage items, such as canned chili, cocoa mix and pancake mix, are produced under the Deseret brand, based in Salt Lake City.

The food is sold to church members at cost, Amis said.

“The church isn’t making any money off this,” he said.

Trucks based at a large church-owned facility in Hermiston, Ore., deliver with increasing frequency giant bags of food, as well as cans and pouches for long-term storage, to the Mukilteo warehouse.

The warehouse is open to people who are not Mormons, Amis said. More people who are not church members have come to the warehouse in recent months than ever before, he said.

The women who gathered Tuesday morning at the warehouse to can sugar, beans and cocoa mix shared cautionary tales of families who lived off their long-term storage pantries for months when a husband lost his job.

“You never know when a family is going to have hard times,” said Laree Ricks, 49, of Redmond. “It may be a loss of a job for a short time, or it may just be that gas is so expensive that you want to conserve in other ways.”

Ricks said she’s never lived without a deep store of food tucked away. Her cans are stored in her garage, but many families slide boxes beneath beds, behind shelves, in clothes closets.

“When it’s a priority, you find room,” she said.

Most families rotate the food in their long-term storage so that nothing is more than a few years old, but others find themselves with stockpiles of wheat or rice that could feed a small army.

“I’m eating rice we’ve had at home for 20 years,” Amis said.

Faced with cooking from bags of hard red wheat and dry pinto beans, Mormon families get creative. Stacks of recipes are set up near the warehouse’s checkout table: 15-minute barbecued beans. Eggless chocolate cake. Nutritional Soup from Bean Flour.

“I bought a wheat grinder so I can make flour from my wheat,” Webb said. “The wheat stores longer than regular white flour.”

Most young Mormon couples are overwhelmed at the prospect of creating long-term storage, said Opal Cripes. Church leaders encourage them to start small with a church-sanctioned “Starter Kit,” which includes hard red winter wheat, white rice, pinto beans and quick oats, for $34.25.

“It’s eye-opening for people who realize that we have a religion that not only cares about our souls, but also cares about our basic needs,” Webb said.

Rebuttal to Mormon stockpiling of food

"In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen." Matthew 6:9-13.

"Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? "So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? "Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." Matthew 6:25-34.

 

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