For many preppers out there, religion is one of the founding steps of emergency preparedness as visions of world cataclysms and end-of-days prophecies are often the trigger elements that encourage people to prepare.
Many references in scripture suggest being prepared for a disaster, and it’s seen as an act of faith and a certain level of obedience to God’s judgment. In fact, as the bible tells us, Noah was commanded by God to build the Ark to save humanity, but also the animal kingdom. This is one instance and perhaps the earliest account of prepping many people have learned about.
Faith-based emergency preparedness is a major component in our country today, but also in many nations throughout the world. One such religion with faith-based preparedness connections is the Mormons.
Preparedness as a principle of life
For many years, members of the Mormon Church have been taught and counseled how to be prepared for adversity as a means to scatter fear in both the spiritual and historical realm. They see preparedness as a way to gain freedom from fear and live life in harmony.
Their teachings are highly structured, and they seek to help each family in their congregations to obtain a level of self-reliance that would help them survive in times of adversity. In fact, this is something unknown by the general public, and I found out more about their preparedness ways after reading the book “Lights Out” by Ted Koppel.
Ted states in his book: “No group of comparable size comes close to matching the scale and organizational discipline of the Mormons’ efforts to prepare for whatever catastrophe may come.” And after reading the book, I decided to write this article because there are many in the preparedness world that can learn from them.
In fact, after researching this topic further, I believe there are ten key lessons derived from their faith-based preparedness that everyone should learn.
1. The wise man prepares, while the fool suffers
The Mormons believe their spiritual duty is to provide for themselves and their family. They say a wise many will prepare for the future, while the fool will go blindly through life, suffering the consequences of his procrastinations.
“Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them” (Ezekiel 38:7)
They believe that everyone should be prepared for whatever challenges the future may bring, and they say it’s not enough to hope for the best. They must prepare for it since God won’t transform good intentions and hopes into works. Each of them is responsible for their future.
The Mormon Church has various emergency-response plans for each of its congregations, and they are established and maintained so that no one is left without help. In their respective regions, each ward is responsible for preparations for both natural and man-made disasters. The head bishop draws the direction for these plans and also puts in place a military-style chain of command. This enables him and his subordinate bishops to access a vast number of resources but also life-saving skills.
Church members are encouraged to develop their own, personalized emergency-response plan and update it regularly to support the mission of the Mormon Church.
2. Do not go beyond your financial means
Besides the help it provides its members to become prepared for disasters, the Church also seeks the betterment of its members. They believe that being financially responsible is mandatory for being prepared, and it should follow their teachings.
Church leaders will oftentimes ask the individuals in their congregation to discipline themselves and not go being their financial means. Going into debt is seen as a deplorable practice because it will affect not only those going into debt but also those around them. They aim for their members to be in a better financial position so that everyone is able to help others within the congregation during times of personal distress or a widespread emergency.
3. A wise man will always store food
Food storage is one area in which the Mormons are experts, and every one of them takes food storage seriously. This topic is so important that the Church often encourages its members to prepare a basic supply of food and water and use common sense when doing so.
Experienced members are tasked to help others, and it’s encouraged not to go to the extremes. They seek carefully planning to avoid making financial sacrifices, and they believe anyone could build a home storage supply and maintain a financial reserve.
In fact, their food storage plan includes three components, a three-month supply of food (which is seen as the minimum for most) and a long-term supply, a suitable water supply and plans to access water when needed, and a financial reserve that would help not only them purchase additional resources but also those in their congregation.
4. Gain adequate education
Education is key in their emergency response plans, and besides the work and effort they put into becoming prepared, they also encourage people to fill their minds with survival knowledge. Their disaster doctrine states that in an ever-changing world, the members of the Mormon church should learn new skills and build a survival knowledge base. This depends, of course, of the time available for learning such skills, but it’s encouraged to organize one’s time to develop marketable skills.
Education becomes mandatory to one’s personal security, and in a disaster scenario, you will use your knowledge for your own well-being but also for your community. Your expertise will help your community survive, and everyone is required to contribute to the camp.
5. Disaster threat analysis becomes a must for every region
I’ve oftentimes discussed the need to pinpoint as accurately as possible likely disasters that could occur in your area. I’ve also written an article covering the topic of disaster threat analysis. The Mormons believe that identifying local disaster probabilities is just being sensitive to the ever-changing world.
Wards are tasked to identify likely disasters, and they will draw plans and organize planning efforts so that anyone can find short- and long-term survival solutions. They are forced to do so to prevent resources from being wasted on disaster preparation for events that are less likely to affect their region. Emotional anguish and working efforts are employed only on solutions that would come to a positive outcome.
6. Gather critical information
Information is the key to success in any task you undertake in this world, and the same goes for emergency preparedness. Gaining information is a critical step of the survival component, and you should gather critical information about your environment.
Members of the Mormon Church believe that only after gathering critical information you can enhance your assessment and response effort for a specific event. They will not only gather information about the members of their Church and help them assess and improve their safety needs for an emergency situation, but they also do so with their neighbors.
The average Joe will not develop a database of information to establish a crisis-response plan for their region and surrounding environment. Their assessment of needs and knowledge is rather limited, and they fail to realize how such information is a critical component to their survival.
There’s no room for individuality in a congregation when it comes to self-sufficiency and survival, and the Mormon church knows that humans are not creatures that could live in isolation, and even more, they capitalize on this knowledge.
The Mormon church values the strength, abilities, and resources of its membership, and each ward is tasked with organizing and assigning responsibilities among its members. Those who specialize in certain skills are assigned roles that use such skills to their full extent.
The Church ward is responsible for identifying and accounting for human resources and establishing relationships within the community to increase their chances of surviving a disaster together. They report to the hierarchy of Church priesthood so that everyone is accounted for and has assignments outlined matching their skills and strengths.
8. Encourage member participation
The Mormon Church has the ability to encourage all its members to participate, and it moves as one body. It’s the most efficient organization in terms of disaster preparedness, and they build upon each other’s abilities and strengths.
Compared to local governments, they organize their congregations from the bottom up so that even if there’s a hierarchy to be respected, each ward works regionally to function as a single body. Each member is encouraged to participate in local, community-preparedness events, and they will often share their expertise with others. Members are invited to receive training and develop their skills so that each ward is prepared to aid in community-relief planning and efforts.
9. Communication is mandatory
Communication is essential not only to maintain close relationships between the members but also to gather information. It is an important key component of their philosophy and disaster preparedness doctrine. Compared to other preppers out there, the members of the Mormon Church are taking it to a higher level.
They use their communication means to maintain open lines with the hierarchy and local community leaders during emergency disasters, and they are able to mobilize entire communities if needed. They also work to identify and plan for alternative means of communication in case the phone system or the cell phone service is down. They have things figured out even for when the power grid is down or when vehicle transportation routes become disrupted during a disaster.
Their communication preparations not only help them gather information and stay updated regarding disasters development, but it also helps them reach out to their members and share valuable information when one mode of communication goes down.
10. Have faith
I think the following quote helps at summarizing the preparedness essence of the Mormon Church:
Therefore, let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober” (1 Thessalonians 5:6).
They believe that disaster preparedness is not only common sense but also a command from God to maintain the well-being of his followers. It offers them a chance to demonstrate the love they have for each other and use their teachings to help those in need.
Ted Koppel magnificently states in his book that the Mormon philosophy, enveloping both emotional, spiritual, and physical efforts, is not an easy example to follow, but it should be used as a model for anyone looking into emergency preparedness.
The Mormon Church, without a doubt, demonstrates that emergency preparedness should not be feared by people but rather understood, and everyone should find a way to ready themselves and build relationships within their community to survive the uncertain future.
Hopefully, the lessons in this article will reach as many people as possible and will become part of their daily lives. Not only will it help them get ready, but it will also help them grow into people that are prepared for anything while showing empathy and support to those around them in times of adversity.