I came across this article from Pres. Ezra Taft Benson on preparation written in 1974. Some highlights:
In section 1 of the great Doctrine and Covenants, a volume of modern scripture, we read these words: “Prepare ye, prepare ye for that which is to come. …” (D&C 1:12.) Further in this same revelation are these warning words: “… I the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth . …” (D&C 1:17.)
What are some of the calamities for which we are to prepare? In section 29 the Lord warns us of “a great hailstorm sent forth to destroy the crops of the earth.” (D&C 29:16.) In section 45 we read of “an overflowing scourge; for a desolating sickness shall cover the land.” (D&C 45:31.) In section 63 the Lord declares he has “decreed wars upon the face of the earth. …” (D&C 63:33.)
In Matthew, chapter 24, we learn of “famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes. …” (Matt. 24:7.) The Lord declared that these and other calamities shall occur. These particular prophecies seem not to be conditional. The Lord, with his foreknowledge, knows that they will happen. Some will come about through man’s manipulations; others through the forces of nature and nature’s God, but that they will come seems certain. Prophecy is but history in reverse—a divine disclosure of future events.
Yet, through all of this, the Lord Jesus Christ has said: “… if ye are prepared ye shall not fear.” (D&C 38:30.)
What, then, is the Lord’s way to help us prepare for these calamities? The answer is also found in section 1 of the Doctrine and Covenants, wherein he says:
“Wherefore, I the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and spake unto him from heaven, and gave him commandments;
“And also gave commandments to others. …” (D&C 1:17–18.) He has also said: “Search these commandments, for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled.” (D&C 1:37.)
Here then is the key—look to the prophets for the words of God, that will show us how to prepare for the calamities which are to come. For the Lord, in that same section, states: “What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.” (D&C 1:38.)
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At the April 1937 general conference of the Church, President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., of the First Presidency, asked: “What may we as a people and as individuals do for ourselves to prepare to meet this oncoming disaster, which God in his wisdom may not turn aside from us?” President Clark then set forth these inspired basic principles of the Church welfare program:
“First, and above and beyond everything else, let us live righteously. …
“Let us avoid debt as we would avoid a plague; where we are now in debt, let us get out of debt; if not today, then tomorrow.
“Let us straitly and strictly live within our incomes, and save a little.
“Let every head of every household see to it that he has on hand enough food and clothing, and, where possible, fuel also, for at least a year ahead. You of small means put your money in foodstuffs and wearing apparel, not in stocks and bonds; you of large means will think you know how to care for yourselves, but I may venture to suggest that you do not speculate. Let every head of every household aim to own his own home, free from mortgage. Let every man who has a garden spot, garden it; every man who owns a farm, farm it.” (Conference Report, April 1937, p. 26.)
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Concerning clothing, we should anticipate future needs, such as extra work clothes and clothes that would supply warmth during winter months when there may be shortages or lack of heating fuel. Leather and bolts of cloth could be stored, particularly for families with younger children who will outgrow and perhaps outwear their present clothes.
“The day will come,” said President Wilford Woodruff, “when, as we have been told, we shall all see the necessity of making our own shoes and clothing and raising our own food. …” (Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, p. 166.)
In a message to the Saints in July of 1970, President Joseph Fielding Smith stated that the pioneers “were taught by their leaders to produce, as far as possible, all that they consumed … This is still excellent counsel.” (Improvement Era, vol. 73 , p. 3.)
Wood, coal, gas, oil, kerosene, and even candles are among those items which could be reserved as fuel for warmth, cooking, and light or power. Some may be used for all of these purposes and certain ones would have to be stored and handled cautiously. It would also be well to have on hand some basic medical supplies to last for at least a year.
Men should seek honorable employment and do their work well in order to provide for their own. Men who can perform useful skills with their hands will be in increasing demand. Handymen, farmers, builders, tailors, gardeners, and mechanics can and will prove a real blessing to their families and their fellowmen.
The Saints have been advised to pay their own way and maintain a cash reserve. Recent history has demonstrated that in difficult days it is reserves with intrinsic value that are of most worth, rather than reserves, the value of which may be destroyed through inflation. It is well to remember that continued government deficits cause inflation; inflation is used as an excuse for ineffective price controls; price controls lead to shortages; artificial shortages inevitably are used as an excuse to implement rationing.
When will we learn these basic economic principles? However, “… when we really get into hard times,” said President Clark, “where food is scarce or there is none at all, and so with clothing and shelter, money may be no good for there may be nothing to buy, and you cannot eat money, you cannot get enough of it together to burn to keep warm, and you cannot wear it.” (Church News, November 21, 1953, p. 4.)
Read the whole thing.