“They Might Subsist for the Space of Seven Years”

Bryan Richards

Nowhere in the Book of Mormon does it explicitly say that the Nephites had a regular practice of storing up food for times of emergencies. Famines occurred amongst them, but their land was productive and the famines were relatively rare (Alma 53:7, 62:35,39, Hel 11:4). Therefore, their ability to gather together provisions on which they could survive for seven years is rather amazing. They must have learned the value of food storage and developed a sophisticated system large enough to supply their needs and starve out the Gadianton robbers. If the Nephites could subsist on their food supply for seven years, you would think that we could gather enough food storage to last us one year.

"Bishop Vaughn J. Featherstone, second counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, spoke on food storage, and the concern the General Authorities have concerning those Church members who won’t heed the counsel of the leaders on this subject.
"Bishop Featherstone first chided members for not following counsel to have a year’s reserve of food to sustain life. He told the leaders attending the meeting to ‘not only keep teaching the principle but let’s also teach our people how.’
"He suggested a few things everyone can do. First, he said, take an inventory—a physical count of all reserves.
"‘This would be a great family home evening project if you’re prepared, if not, it may be terribly embarrassing to you in front of your family. Imagine how the powerful testimony you bear concerning a living prophet must sound to your children who know that as a family head, you have been counseled by the Brethren for 38 years to have a year’s supply reserve of food on hand. We need to know where we are.
"’Second, decide what is needed to bring your present reserve levels to a year’s supply Then make a list and prepare a plan. Consider first the basics. What are the basics—wheat or grain from your locale, sugar or honey, dried milk, salt and water. Most of us can afford such basics. Buy them from your monthly food budget allowance. The Church discourages going into debt to buy food storage.
“’Now that you know where you are and where you need to be, the third step is to work out a time schedule when you will reach your goal. I suggest one year from today we ought to have a year‘s supply of food in every active and many inactive member’s homes in the Church,’ said Bishop [Featherstone].” (Church News, 04/03/76)

Ezra Taft Benson

"For years we have been counseled to have on hand a year’s supply of food. Yet there are some today who will not start storing until the Church comes out with a detailed monthly home storage program. Now, suppose that never happens. We still cannot say we have not been warned.
"Should the Lord decide at this time to cleanse the Church-and the need for that cleansing seems to be increasing-a famine in this land of one year’s duration could wipe out a large percentage of slothful members, including some ward and stake officers. Yet we cannot say we have not been warned.
“You do not need to go into debt to obtain a year’s supply. Plan to build up your food supply just as you would a savings account. Save a little for storage each paycheck…I speak with a feeling of great urgency…The revelation to produce and store food may be as essential to our temporal welfare today as boarding the ark was to the people in the days of Noah.” (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 265-6 as taken from Latter-day Commentary on the Book of Mormon compiled by K. Douglas Bassett, p. 398-9)