I was reading in the Book of Mormon yesterday. It was one of those busy days where I hadn’t been able to do my scripture study before the kids woke up and it didn’t look like I was going to get a chance. I said a silent prayer to help me find a scripture to help me through my day, and flipped open the book. It opened to 3 Nephi chapter 4. In this chapter the Nephites are being bothered (like robbed, murdered, that kind of bothered) by the Gadianton robbers. In the previous chapter (3 Nephi 3) the Nephites had assembled themselves all together into one place. The robbers began to come down out of the mountains to pillage the lands that the Nephites had left, in order to gather to one location. But, the robbers were disappointed, because the Nephites had “left their lands desolate, and had gathered their flocks, and their herds and all their substance, and they were in one body” (Chapter 4:3).
Now listen to verses 4 through 6 in chapter 4:
“4 Therefore, there was no chance for the robbers to plunder and to obtain food, save it were to come up in open battle against the Nephites; and the Nephites being in one body, and having so great a number, and having reserved for themselves provisions, and horses and cattle, and flocks of every kind, that they might subsist for the space of seven years, in the which time they did hope to destroy the robbers from off the face of the land; and thus the eighteenth year did pass away.
5 And it came to pass that in the nineteenth year Giddianhi found that it was expedient that he should go up to battle against the Nephites, for there was no way that they could subsist save it were to plunder and rob and murder.
6 And they durst not spread themselves upon the face of the land insomuch that they could raise grain, lest the Nephites should come upon them and slay them; therefore Giddianhi gave commandment unto his armies that in this year they should go up to battle against the Nephites.” (emphasis added).
In verse 16 we learn that the Giddianhi and the robbers thought that if they cut the Nephites off from any outside support, the Nephites would surrender. But, let’s read verses 18 through 22, about the Nephites’ preparation, and the robbers’ lack of.
“18 But behold, this was an advantage to the Nephites; for it was impossible for the robbers to lay siege sufficiently long to have any effect upon the Nephites, because of their much provision which they had laid up in store,
19 And because of the scantiness of provisions among the robbers; for behold, they had nothing save it were meat for their subsistence, which meat they did obtain in the wilderness;
20 And it came to pass that the wild game became scarce in the wilderness insomuch that the robbers were about to perish with hunger.
21 And the Nephites were continually marching out by day and by night, and falling upon their armies, and cutting them off by thousands and by tens of thousands.
22 And thus it became the desire of the people of Zemnarihah to withdraw from their design, because of the great destruction which came upon them by night and by day.” (https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/3-ne/4?lang=eng)
The robbers decided to march far away to the “furthermost parts of the land northward” to avoid the destruction that was falling upon them. But, the Nephites were able to cut them off in their desires and were able to defeat the robbers.
The Nephites had provisions and supplies to last them for up to seven years! In the chapter heading of chapter four, it estimates the time frame for all of this happening as four years or less. This preparation is what saved their lives and allowed them to conquer the Gadianton robbers and restore peace and safety.
We have heard so many times that “If we are prepared we shall not fear” (D&C 38:30). Are we prepared? Are we heeding the words of the prophets to be prepared? Go to LDS.org and search the terms ‘food storage’ or ‘prepare’ or ‘self reliance’ or ‘debt.’ These principles have been taught for a very long time. Much longer than I have been alive. And then, here we see this story in the Book of Mormon about being prepared. That was a really long time ago, about 19 A.D. in fact!
In 2005 President Hinckley spoke in Priesthood session and said:
“We can so live that we can call upon the Lord for His protection and guidance. This is a first priority. We cannot expect His help if we are unwilling to keep His commandments.
“We can heed warnings.
“We [the church] have built grain storage and storehouses and stocked them with the necessities of life in the event of a disaster. But the best storehouse is the family storeroom. In words of revelation the Lord has said, “Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing” (D&C 109:8).
“Our people for three-quarters of a century have been counseled and encouraged to make such preparation as will assure survival should a calamity come.
“We can set aside some water, basic food, medicine, and clothing to keep us warm. We ought to have a little money laid aside in case of a rainy day.
“Now what I have said should not occasion a run on the grocery store or anything of that kind. I am saying nothing that has not been said for a very long time.
“Let us never lose sight of the dream of Pharaoh concerning the fat cattle and the lean, the full ears of corn, and the blasted ears; the meaning of which was interpreted by Joseph to indicate years of plenty and years of scarcity (see Gen. 41:1–36).” (If Ye Are Prepared, Ye Shall Not Fear,” October 2005 General Conference)
There’s much more that can be said about preparing. Being prepared is an essential part of your financial plan, and we will talk more about it in detail in upcoming posts and in my new financial freedom course (excited for that to be ready!).
But, here’s one resource worth looking at, to help you jump start your food storage. I
have been using Deals to Meals for years to help me keep my grocery budget low (we spend less than $600/month on groceries (this includes all toiletries, except diapers) for a family of 6! Deals to Meals has also helped me know how to keep my food storage growing (and practical!). Deals to Meals has compared purchasing and stocking up on food when it is at it’s rock bottom price, vs. coupon clipping, and the savings has been comparable, if not a bit lower than using coupons. Plus, you don’t have to spend all that time cutting and organizing coupons. Imagine if you used coupons WITH Deals to Meals. I haven’t done this, as I use my time differently (I tried the coupon thing and didn’t love it. But if you do, GREAT! See what would happen if you use them WITH the Deals to Meals rock bottom price alerts!) The best part is that Deals to Meals is less than $5/month, or you can sign up for six months or a year, making it even less per month! Definitely worth it! The website has a section about food storage, recipes that coincide with the best deals that week, and how to actually use your food storage. Check it out here: http://www.dealstomeals.com/hits/incoming/59b9b1df-8b64-40f2-bac1-255cac1f29ac
Start thinking about small changes you can make to be more prepared for whatever may come your way. Maybe use Deals to Meals for a month and try to cut your grocery bill by 10%, or stock up on ingredients for three of your family’s favorite recipes. Or set up automatic deposits from your paycheck into a savings account. Or, increase the amount you’re saving by 1%. Just something small to get started. Do something today. Because, if you are prepared you will not fear. And it just might save your life. Ask the Nephites.