Reader voices: My family has received many blessings by following the prophet's counsel to store food

By Ellen Thompson

For the Deseret News

Published: Sunday, Dec. 2 2012 5:00 a.m. MST

Ellen Thompson has seen the blessings of storing food throughout her life.

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When I was a child, I learned that the prophets of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints asked us to hold family home evening. With my two brothers and two sisters, our parents did just that. As a result of our weekly home evenings, we became very close and developed our talents. Members of our family were our best friends.

Later, my husband and I did the same with our eight children, who now also follow the practice themselves. They love and support each other and their children. Although distances separate many of us, our favorite times are when we get together. We have been blessed by following the prophets.

When my own family was getting started, council from our prophets suggested we acquire a year’s worth of food. So when we bought our first home in California, we began storing large cans of wheat in our garage. When we moved to Ohio, the wheat went with us. One of the movers said, “You must be Mormons. Who else would pay to move wheat across the country?”

In Cleveland, my husband acquired a good job. When we had a surplus of money, we decided to invest in food storage. I was reminded that we couldn’t eat what was in the bank. We formed a co-op with our friends and when we had enough people to put in an order, a truck from Michigan would deliver our assorted foodstuffs to our driveway.

We bought a wheat grinder, a bread mixer, an extra refrigerator, a freezer, spices, herbs and such things so we could practice using our stored commodities. The family learned that if the things in our storage were well seasoned, they were quite acceptable.

We wrote and performed a song about food storage at a ward activity:

"Oh, we must have our year’s supply. Where we will keep it all.

"We’ve stored it in the attic, in the basement, in the hall.

"The prophet said we should prepare, so father says we must.

"We don’t know how we’ll do it, but it’s year’s supply or bust.

"First, we’ll store the basics, wheat, beans, dry milk and water,

"Some honey, salt and spice to help it taste like it oughter.

"We’ll need some good warm clothing and fuel we need for heat.

"'But Mom,' replied the children, 'Can’t we store some things to eat?

"The wheat is very hard to chew, the powdered milk tastes funny

"The salt, well salt is salty, so we think we’ll eat the honey.'

"We missed our little sister; we searched and called her name.

"‘Til we saw bubbles pouring through the bathroom window pane.

"Martha had decided to take a bath in some stored away shampoo.

"Our teens were very secretive. They left house at 10.

"It was whispers, grins and giggles when they came back in again.

"Where do you suppose they were? What could the mystery be?

"It seems the bishop’s trees were draped in a large supply of stored TP."

There were other adventures and memories — including the time 4-year-old Martha, seeing brown eggs, exclaimed, "Oh no! Not whole wheat eggs!" — but when their dad was out of work during a recession, we were all grateful we had followed the prophet’s advice. I baked a variety of breads for two health food stores, earning enough to buy fresh food. Our teens found jobs of various sorts. Members of our ward were a great network, recommending possibilities. Barry and sons painted houses and other buildings, dismantled a warehouse, picked fruit and did other things to pay bills. Though we were justly anxious, I felt calm. We continued to pay tithing on all we earned and submitted monthly fast offerings. Though earnest prayer, we survived until another job was found.

Through the continuing practice of storing and using our storage, we’ve been healthier. We are still very much blessed by our obedience.

As we follow the Prophets, we follow our Savior Jesus Christ. He wants us to succeed in our righteous pursuits, that we may return to him, having learned obedience to his laws. He said in Luke 18:22, "Come, follow me."

Ellen Thompson lives in Orem.

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