Mormons Prepare for Y2K Worst : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread 000.htm

Mormons Prepare for Y2K Worst

By C.G. Wallace
Associated Press Writer
Saturday, Dec. 18, 1999; 3:16 p.m. EST

SALT LAKE CITY  As the countdown dwindles, people across the country are scrambling to stock their larders ahead of Jan. 1, preparing, sometimes frantically, for potential Y2K disasters that range from a harsh winter storm to societal breakdown.

But not at Salt Lake City's Temple Square, home of the Mormon Church, where the calm of knowing you're prepared is the dominant sentiment.

For decades, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been encouraged to store a year's worth of food in their homes, not just for Y2K, but for any hard times.

Seventy percent of Utah's residents are Mormon. Church officials don't know exactly how many families stockpile food, but it's clearly a popular practice to judge by the advertisements in Utah newspapers for bulk food sales.

The church has a significant food reserve, one it showcases in a section of downtown Salt Lake City called Welfare Square.

A dairy, cannery, thrift shop and bakery operate under the shadow of a 100-foot tall grain silo filled with 300,000 bushels of wheat  just in case.

It's one of 60 such silos the church has throughout the country, along with church-owned farms, ranches and factories that produce everything from canned peaches to peanut butter to beef. The church even makes its own soap.

Every year, Deseret Dairy in Welfare Square produces 900,000 pounds of powered milk and 850,000 pounds of cheddar cheese.

Some of the products are given away to the Mormon needy through the church's 105 Bishop's Storehouses, essentially grocery stores without the cash registers. Some of it goes overseas to help in times of crisis. But there's always extra socked away should anything go awry  from massive power outages to the Second Coming.

Mormons believe that after a period of turmoil, Jesus will return to Earth to reign for 1,000 years. Church leaders make no claims that this will start with the year 2000 and say their emphasis on preparedness doesn't stem from any specific event.

But if things go haywire, "you're going to be living in a good place  that is, if you've been good to your neighbors," said Kathryn Kidd, a Mormon who, along with her husband, co-authored the new book, "Food Storage for the Clueless."

"The prophets have told us to be prepared. We just want to be ready for any event  some people think it's the Second Coming, some think it's flood and drought, most are just following orders," Kidd said from her home in Sterling, Va., a Washington suburb.

Mormon emergency preparations don't stop at food. Thousands of tons of surplus clothing donated to the church's Deseret Industries thrift stores are sorted, baled and kept in a downtown warehouse in case of fire or flood.

The second floor of the same building is lined with shelves overloaded with medical equipment, from wheelchairs to first aid kits to donated dialysis machines.

There is even a supply of ropes, tarps and tents  so many that when a tornado roared through downtown Salt Lake City in August, the city turned to the church for help.

"Utah is probably one of the best prepared states in the nation when it comes to personal preparedness," said Chris Kramer, public information officer for the Utah Department of Public Safety. "You don't see that in other parts of the country. There's an emphasis on self-reliance in the culture here."

Soon after the tornado hit, members of Mormon congregations armed with chain saws, work gloves and hard hats were the first to come to the aid of neighborhoods littered with uprooted trees and debris. They followed emergency plans designed by the church, procedures that are well rehearsed by local congregations.

"The community has a long history of pulling together in times of disaster, and of course the church is definitely a factor," said Jim Chesnutt, public affairs specialist with the Federal Emergency Management Agency region that includes Utah and five other states.

Chesnutt said he wasn't the only one at FEMA surprised by the speed with which communities in the tornado's path were patched up.

"We had to hustle our inspectors out there before everything was cleaned up," he said.

The emphasis on preparedness comes from the early days of the faith. To escape persecution, Mormons kept moving farther west, from New York to Ohio, then to Missouri and Illinois. They eventually made the trek to the then-unsettled frontier of Utah, where they set up headquarters.

"One of the reasons we store food is so we can always help our neighbors. It is not a matter of selfishly hoarding," said Mormon church spokesman Dale Bills. "You can't stand around and watch people go without."

-- Mormons (are@smart.prepped), December 18, 1999


Bennet will be in Utah for Rollover? And Jim Lord? Who else?

-- community spirit (they'll@be.ok), December 18, 1999.

Guess if things get bad here, I could put on my white, shortsleeved shirt and black tie, get on my bike and peddle my way to Utah. Just call me Brother Bubba.

-- Bubba Smith (duck&, December 18, 1999.

Pretty Funny Bubba, but wouldn't you be called Elder Bubba instead? BTW, didja hear the Salt Lake city just got bumped off it's first place status in the consumption of Jello?

BTW, you can always tell a Mormon's food storage. Jello is a separate category..............

hahahahahhahahahahahahhah (sorry, I guess that was an inside joke.....)

-- Sister shy (im just shy@nonotthis, December 18, 1999.

Oh yeah, thanks. Elder Bubba, got a nice ring to it.

-- Bubba Smith (duck&, December 18, 1999.

Not ALL Mormons, apparently. (FYI, they like to be called LDS, but I call them Mormons.) I have an aunt and an uncle that are Mormon, live in a small town in TX, they have four grown children, out of which one son is NOT Mormon at all anymore, divorced, lost all visitation rights to his two children b/c of drug use and lives w/my aunt and uncle and has been unemployed for almost 3 yrs, the second child, a daughter, went to BYU, married a Mormom, lives in Provo, and has two little Mormon children, the next child, a boy, lives with his girlfriend and his girlfriend's daughter and is NOT Mormon anymore, and the fourth child, a daughter, is about 22 years old and living with her scary boyfriend. I just got the wedding announcement for her: she is getting married, GET THIS: JANUARY 1!!!! Well, I called my grandmother b/c I couldn't believe my eyes and it turns out no one in that entire Mormon family is a GI. I figured at least my cousin in Utah, the good little Mormon, would be a MAJOR GI, but nope. They are flying down here for the wedding on December 28!!!!!!

Egads. Still probably as a population, they are pretty well prepared. I still say the Amish are the best prepared!

-- preparing (, December 18, 1999.

Preparing, Thanks for that wonderful expose' on your disfunctional extended LDS family, but what does that have to do with the original post? I guess LDS, or Jews, or Baptists, or Catholics or Muslims have no business having problems like the great unwashed everywhere else?

I _think_ the bottom line of your 'comment' was that there are 'mormons'who DGI. And it took you a full paragraph of unconcealed angst for some religion before you could get to the point?

-- I don't (understand@all.nope), December 19, 1999.

Hey I don't, take a deep breath there. My point was that I had ASSUMED that almost ALL Mormons were GI. Was wrong in that assumption and was quite SHOCKED to find out the ones in my family most certainly were not getting it! Did you read the last sentence?

Lemme guess, you are a Mormon, right?

-- preparing (, December 19, 1999.

I'm a Mormon. They may be prepared with a year supply of food, but most are DGI's. Only 5% are stocking up for Y2K. The rest have stocked up because they were told to. Most think Y2K will be a bump in the road. I myself have enough food to last 8 to 10 years. My parents had to scrounge for food when I lived in Europe during WW II. I don't ever want to go through that again and that is why I'm over prepared!

-- Marie (, December 19, 1999.

BTW, I NEVER said or implied that b/c they are Mormon ,they have no business having problems. We ALL have problems. The post was intended to have sort of a light tone to it, that doesn't come through very well over the Internet, does it? BTW, did you post the original thread?

-- preparing (, December 19, 1999.


Not Mormon, but know someone who is (so do Ashton & Leska), and not all Mormons are prepared.

Who'da thunk it?

Procrastinators know no boundaries. (i.e. ants and grasshoppers are everywhere).


-- Diane J. Squire (, December 19, 1999.

I work for a Mormon, and they are the, I forget the term... "the head of all the food buying for the local church." They are "kindda GI's". but don't really understand what may be, come the roll-over. But it is nice to be able to order bulk food from "the church" thru them :-)... cheeper than dirt, literally !!!!

-- CT (ct@no.yr), December 19, 1999.

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