Can you explain what might be a discrepancy between counsel to store a year’s supply and 3 Nephi 13:26?
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“Can you explain what might be a discrepancy between counsel to store a year’s supply and 3 Nephi 13:26?” Ensign, July 1982, 32–33

We have been counseled to store a year’s supply of food, clothing, and, where possible, fuel. Can you explain what might be regarded as a discrepancy between this counsel and 3 Nephi 13:26?

Kenneth H. Beesley, director of Transportation and International Services, Church Materials Management Department; former director of General and Administrative Services, Church Welfare Services Department. There is no discrepancy when the counsel from 3 Nephi 13:26 (“Behold the fowls of the air, for they sow not, neither do they reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them”) or Luke 12:22–34 are considered in context. These references, which include a portion of the Sermon on the Mount (see Matt. 6:25–34), were not directed at the general membership of the Church but to the Apostles and some of the disciples who had been called as missionaries. These particular individuals were counseled to leave their daily business matters and spend their full time preaching the gospel. We expect the same today of those called as General Authorities of the Church or as full-time missionaries.

“There is not now and never has been a call to the saints generally to ‘sell that ye have’ (Luke 12:33) … and then to take no thought for the temporal needs of the present or future. Rather, as part of their mortal probation, the true followers of the Master are expected by him to provide for themselves and their families. (D&C 75.)” (Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965–73, 1:243.)

There is no need to question the counsel of our leaders concerning preparedness over the past four decades. Such counsel is rehearsed at nearly every general conference. For example, Bishop Victor L. Brown, Presiding Bishop of the Church, said in the April 1980 general conference:

“The fundamental principle of welfare services is that you and I provide for our own needs. If serious economic disruption were to occur, the Church would do all in its power to alleviate suffering by supplementing member efforts. But it would not be able to do for the Saints what we have been taught to do for ourselves for over forty years—that is, to have a year’s supply of food, clothing, and, where possible, fuel; to have savings in reserve; and to possess basic production skills. This counsel has been given at least twice a year for all these years. Some have followed the counsel of the Brethren and are prepared, as were the five wise virgins. Some, like the foolish virgins, do not have enough oil in their lamps. (See Matt. 25:1–13.)” (Ensign, May 1980, p. 89.)

As Latter-day Saints we are advised to maintain gardens, to sew, and to make household items. We would be wise also to learn to can, freeze, and dry foods. And, as outlined above, where legally permitted and physically and economically possible, we should store a year’s supply of food, clothing, and fuel. In our present economy it is increasingly important to also have some reserve of cash. The rent or mortgage must be paid by most of us. In the event of unemployment, illness, or death, there is almost always an immediate and continuing need for cash to meet monthly bills and often unplanned medical, legal, funeral, or other expenses.

President Spencer W. Kimball has said: “I like the way the Relief Society teaches personal and family preparedness as ‘provident living.’ This implies the husbanding of our resources, the wise planning of financial matters, full provision for personal health, and adequate preparation for education and career development, giving appropriate attention to home production and storage as well as development of emotional resiliency.” (Ensign, Nov. 1977, p. 78.)

We are also advised to prepare ourselves for the time when we can serve as missionaries. When such a call comes, we will be asked to set aside our normal activities for a period and to commit all of our time, talent, and means to our mission assignment.