Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Surviving the Plagues of the Last Days...

Recently I have heard of some latter-day saints who have said things to the effect of "I believe that the plagues of the last days aren't going to be sickness related...but like the plague of pornography". Another woman I was speaking with regarding plagues in the last days made a comment lightheartedly belittling how severe the plagues of the last days would be. In her mind it was as if the sickness would just be a passing flu. I mentioned the words of the prophets regarding the severity of the plagues to come and she stopped laughing and we shared an awkward moment of silence.

While I could agree that pornography is a "plague" and has been referred by the prophets as being such...and I can also agree that there will be passing sicknesses without substantial severity...it is a doctrinal fallacy to believe that there will not be physical plagues to come and in a severity not yet experienced by man. A casual study of the topic reveals that this is the truth.

An easy place to point to where this doctrine is made plain is in the Doctrine and Covenants 45:31 where the words of the Lord tell us speaking of last days events to come...

31 And there shall be men standing in that generation, that shall not pass until they shall see an overflowing scourge; for a desolating sickness shall cover the land.

So there will be a sickness or sicknesses...that make desolate. We don't often use that word...desolate. In this context it means uninhabited...deserted. Some would point to AIDS as being fulfillment of the prophecy...but I would ask..."Has AIDs made geographic areas without inhabitants?!!" The answer is of course a resounding NO.

Bruce R. McConkie stated...

“We can rest assured that if we have done all in our power to prepare for whatever lies ahead, he will then help us with whatever else we need.”
We do not say that all of the Saints will be spared and saved from the coming day of desolation. But we do say there is no promise of safety and no promise of security except for those who love the Lord and who are seeking to do all that he commands.” (Bruce R. McConkie “Stand Independent above All Other Creatures,” Ensign, May 1979, 92)

So what has the Lord commanded that we need to be obedient to...so that we can be worthy of his safety with regards to the coming plagues?

While I do not know for certain all of the answers...here are a few to consider.

Get Prepared

The Lord commands us to "prepare every needful thing" (D&C 109:8). A great place to start your education on what things you need to be prepared can be found by visiting the churches information on pandemic preparedness. There you can learn the basics on the "stuff" to have on hand...and the knowledge on what to do. We must prepare as if it all depends on us. We must not fall into the trap of expecting the Lord to save us from illness if we aren't doing all in our power to avoid it. For example...allowing someone with swine flu to sneeze into your face and saying "The Lord will protect me" is not a good idea. The Lord may dispatch you home early to give you a lesson on how we must make use of the means He has provided and that we "reap what we sow".

Stand in Holy Places

In the Doctrine and Covenants 45:31 the Lord first tells us of a sickness that makes desolate and then in verse 32 let's us know where his disciples will be while the wicked are dying...

32 But my disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved; but among the wicked, men shall lift up their voices and curse God and die.

Holy places may mean temple worship...it may mean your home...it could mean a place consecrated for safety...or something else.

Sabbath Observance

James E. Faust said...

"In this day of increasing access to and preoccupation with materialism, there is a sure protection for ourselves and our children against the plagues of our day. The key to that sure protection surprisingly can be found in Sabbath observance: “And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day.” (D&C 59:9.)(James E. Faust, “The Lord’s Day,” Ensign, Nov 1991, 33)

While one could make the case that he was referring to only materialism as a plague...it is of interest that he used the word plague. This could have multiple meanings in this instance.
True sabbath observance could be a key...a commandment that if kept faithfully could serve as a protection from physical plague.

The Word of Wisdom

If you were to sit in a gospel doctrine class and discuss the word of wisdom. It is inevitably a can of worms...as the saints have all kinds of ideas with regards to what it's true observance means. Without getting into it...I will say that I believe that there is a big difference between how what I will call the "Mormon culture" practices the word of wisdom and how it is written and has been taught by the prophets.

In the final 4 verses of section 89 are some wonderful blessings for those that keep the law of health. I think many of us could rattle some of them off..."Run and not be weary...walk and not faint"..."wisdom and great treasures of knowledge"...etc. Then there is this final line...

21 "And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them. Amen."

I don't think that I have ever...in my life...had someone try to explain what that means! It is usually breezed over in our classes for a lack of knowledge.

Roger K. Young in a book called "Behold the Fig Tree" (pg. 116) states...

"The destroying angel is a reference to the angel that was sent by the Lord to kill the first born of the Egyptians and all of their beasts and even Israelites, who were not obedient to the counsel of the current living prophet, Moses."

That is merely a summary of Exodus of major points from chapters 11 and 12.

In Exodus 12:13 those that are obedient are promised that if they put the lambs blood over their doorway...that the destroying angel will pass them by...that the plague will not destroy them.

13 "And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt."

Brigham Young corroborated this doctrine that the observance of the law of health would serve as an antidote to last days plagues when he said...

"Every son and daughter in Israel should say, we will keep the "Word of Wisdom" independent of father, mother, or any elder of the church; we know what is right and we will do it. By so doing this people will increase in health in their systems, and the destroying angel, when he comes along, will pass them by. Will you take this course?" (JD, Vol.13, p. 2-3, April 7, 1869)

and this one...

"The Word of Wisdom...shadows to me that a time will come in the midst of this people when a desolating scourge will pass through through our ranks, and the destroying angel will be in our midst as he was in Egypt when he slew all the firstborn of the Egyptians. God says "The destroying angel shall pass by" and shall not harm you if you observe to do these things." (Brigham Young, Jr., JD Vol. 15, p. 193-195)

Cleansed from Iniquity Every Whit

3 Nephi 8:1 states...

1 "And now it came to pass that according to our record, and we know our record to be true, for behold, it was a just man who did keep the record—for he truly did many miracles in the name of Jesus; and there was not any man who could do a miracle in the name of Jesus save he were cleansed every whit from his iniquity—"

If one is to expect great miracles to happen...healings...deliverance...etc...we must be cleansed from iniquity every whit. Priesthood holders should ensure that their priesthood is in "good working order".

Lines of Communication Open

There has been a great stress these last few conferences on the importance of being able to receive revelation to get through the last days. Are you in tune enough with the spirit to be told "Don't go into that crowd of people without a face mask and eye shield"...and obey...even if people think you are a nut?! Will you listen if told to not let your child go to school? We need to turn off the noise of Babylon to listen to the Lord and receive His voice of safety. We need to study the words of the prophets to hear His words as well.

Now...while I do not know if this Swine flu will be one that will be one to turn out severe or not...I will say that it should serve as a wake up call to do all within our power to be prepared in the methods that the Lord has commanded. Do we really know how to protect ourselves from disease and are we ready to do so? Are we really standing in holy places?...Are we really observing the Sabbath? Are we really observing the Word of Wisdom as the Lord has commanded and not as our culture would persuade us to? Truthful answers to those questions will help you to know how prepared you are for the coming plagues.

Now...don't feel bad for too long if you aren't doing well in those areas...repent! Get to work to be prepared in these matters. Oh...and one more thing...I would really hesitate before I went out and got a flu shot of any kind. Make sure you know what is being injected into you and why!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Swine Flu Escalates...

Right now the news is a-buzz with the talk of the swine flu that is currently spreading in Mexico. Every day the death count has risen...and every day the measures taken to control it have become more severe. Currently, forced government quarantines are taking place.

The nations are no longer islands to themselves. International travel of people and products takes place daily that could carry such pestilence and spread it to unsuspecting victims. It is a danger that although not seen with the naked eye...is all too real. Mexico having such an outbreak is especially of alarm to the US who shares a common border and whose government does not enforce illegal immigration effectively.

Now may be a good time to review the churches information regarding pandemic preparedness and to gain the knowledge and supplies that may one day keep you and those you love from getting seriously ill or perhaps dying.

Since I typed this this morning
...it apparently has spread to the US. Be prepared to baton down the hatches...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Schnitzer Flaker

Here is a product that you may not have heard of. It's called a "Schnitzer Flaker".

It is a durable little contraption made of wood and metal that pretty effortlessly "flakes" your whole grains into a width that you determine.

My family buys the whole oat groats in the bulk from various suppliers and then I put the groats into a bucket I buy for a dollar from a donut shop. A lid goes on the top until we are ready for our morning oatmeal or to add oats to our bread...I scoop a cup into the hopper on top of the flaker and we turn the crank and magically rolled oats drop out into our bowl. I say "magically" because many or most people have never seen the oat groat grain...and put together the fact that a rolled oat is merely a squished grain. I rarely have to roll my own as the kids love to do it. In fact...I have 3-5 year olds that will stay entertained rolling oats for as long as I will let them! If a child that young can do it...you certainly can and not break a sweat.

The value of having such a tool is that you can store a whole grain...that flaked fresh is healthier than eating stored rolled grains that have been processed. I believe that the flavor will be retained better as well over the long term.

Oatmeal flaked fresh has almost a milky quality to it and doesn't seem so dry and stale. Once you have supped on fresh oatmeal you may turn into an oatmeal snob...as there is no comparison between store bought rolled oats and homemade!

Schnitzer flakers are pricey. I got lucky and put "craigslist schnitzer" into a search engine and found a guy in New York willing to ship it to me! I was able to buy one for less than $100...I think he sold it to me for $70.

There are other products I know on the market (even made by Schnitzer) that combine both a grain mill and a flaker into one tool. Perhaps the one you currently have can flake?! There are also less expensive options out there if you look. The others I can't vouch for...but...if you go with the Schnitzer flaker...I expect it will outlast your mortal probation and increase the quality of your flaked grains experience!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

New Food Crisis Looms...

Here is an article that I cut and pasted below. It is not some abstract speculative piece that points to potential events that could cause worldwide food shortages...but instead shows how economic, weather, and other conditions have already set in motion what could truly be a "food crisis" in the worlds near future. Such reports can serve to aid to motivate us to work harder with regards to our home storage and home production!

By MARTIN WALKER UPI Editor Emeritus WASHINGTON, April 6 (UPI) --

We tend to forget that the worldwide plunge into recession last year was the result of three separate phenomena that combined to breed disaster. The financial crisis was joined by a food crisis and a fuel crisis as the prices of food and energy soared, triggering food riots across the world.

And now there are ominous signs of another food crisis in the making this year, spurred in part by the ongoing credit crunch that has made it difficult for farmers to get loans.

"I think the world would like to focus on one crisis at a time, but we really can't afford to," warned Josette Sheeran, executive director of the U.N. World Food Program. Food supplies are tight and prices still high, she said, and more people in poor countries are unable to afford what they need because of the recession.

"These are not separate crises. The food crisis and the financial one are linking and compounding," she noted, adding that food shortages often trigger political instability. "I'm really putting out the warning that we're in an era now where supplies are still very tight, very low and very expensive."

Alarm bells are starting to ring about another food crisis this summer. Last week's acreage report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that 7 million fewer acres were being planted for all crops. This came after the USDA's January report that noted that winter wheat acreage was down 7 percent.

This means lower output from the United States, the world's top food producer, at a time when world stocks are already low, and farmers are blaming the difficulty in getting credit and the high costs of key inputs like fertilizer.

Mother Nature is making things worse, with the worst drought in almost 70 years hitting northern China and devastating the winter wheat crop. More than 200 million acres in China's top six grain-producing provinces have been hit, and yields are down by as much as 40 percent.

The problem is not just hitting grains. With world soybean stocks 9 percent lower than they were this time last year, a further drought in Latin America is a new concern. Yields in southern Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina are also running at 40 percent of last year's levels. All this is triggering concern in the markets, where analysts are warning that price hikes are looming, and the speculators coming into the market could drive prices even higher.

"It's my opinion that producers feeding livestock need to protect against a possible sharp rise in corn prices," said Dennis Smith, a food-price specialist at Archer Financial Services. "This trade idea would also apply to a speculator looking to profit from a sharp move upward in the corn prices as well."

Smith also factors in the prospect of biofuels distorting the markets again, as they did last year when high oil prices triggered a demand for biofuels like ethanol, which sent crop prices higher. "What happens if crude oil prices continue to move higher and ethanol margins expand?" Smith asked.

Sheeran, whose World Food Program stands between the world's poor and starvation, said she will need about $6 billion this year for food aid, which feeds about 100 million of the world's poorest people in 77 countries. That is slightly more than she raised last year, when food riots erupted across Asia and the Middle East. As of March, donor countries had pledged less than 10 percent of the sums required, or $453 million, mostly thanks to $172 million from the United States and $129 million from Japan.

The one relatively bright spot is in rice, where stocks are relatively high. But concern is rising across Asia. Arthur Yap, agriculture secretary for the Philippines, has warned the United Nations that he fears his country will not be able to secure enough food this year. And Ralph Hautman, the Asia Pacific marketing and global finance officer for the Food and Agriculture Organization, warned last week that the credit crunch is pressuring farmers to reduce the amount of land they cultivate.

"If farmers or agriculture producers have less access to credit, they are less likely to buy a lot of new seeds and fertilizers, and they're also less likely to expand their production areas," Hautman said. "Then there would be less agriculture production. This is the concern. The lower production of food crops caused by the lower availability of credit may lead to lower food stocks and shortages."

This is precisely what has happened in Brazil, where farmers encouraged by last year's high food prices borrowed money to put more acreage under cultivation and buy new farming equipment, only to face bankruptcy when the squeezed banks called in the loans and foreclosed on their farms and tractors.

Part of the problem is underproduction in some parts of the world, where for various reasons of national planning and priorities, farmers are not free to respond to market signals. This is particularly acute in Russia; analysts at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development noted that 16 percent of the world's arable land is in Russia, but it produces only 6 percent of the world's food because of a shortage of both public and private investment.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Cheese Wax Will Save Us All...

As I have put together my families food storage I have wondered how to fill what would be a HUGE gap in our everyday diet. That product that if lost that would greatly be mourned is...CHEESE!! We consume a lot of cheese. Grilled cheese, cheese cubes on chili, cheese and crackers, burritoes...etc...etc... The thought of cheesy enchiladas...steaming warm...and dripping with cheddar cheese...ahhhh...heaven on earth! I would go through withdrawals like a drug addict...if cheese were no longer available to me.

I have looked into the cheese powder...but...it just isn't the same. Who wants to put a slobber of macaroni and cheese powder on a piece of bread?!! I have investigated canned cheese...but it is expensive...and I have heard some really bad reviews...saying it can taste like fish. Spray cheese is hardly cheese at all in my opinion...and could probably embalm a dead person with all of the weird chemicals that are in it. Having a milk cow or a goat requires work, room, money, and time. So what then!!?

I was just introduced to a blog called preparedness pro. I share many beliefs with the person who puts that blog together. On that blog there is an article called "Cheese Wax Will Save Us All". The article outlines how you can take most any cheese...and put wax on it to store it for years...or even decades!!!! I am sooo excited to try this!! Preparedness minded real cheese lovers can sleep easy tonight.

Know that if your supply of stored cheese runs out...you can also make cheese from powdered milk.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

5 Methods of Heat Loss...

When I say my prayers at night...I often say "I am thankful for this warm...dry bed". It is never a vain repetition because I say it with complete sincerity every time. All it takes to get my mind to that place of gratitude is a moment of thinking back to a snow campout I went on as a Boy Scout in my youth.

The short story is...I went on a snow campout with the only camping gear I had...which was rated for the summer. We played in the snow until we were cold and wet and then made our snow shelter when it got dark. I slept in a summer sleeping bag directly on the snow...in the entrance to the shelter where the cold air spilled in. I didn't sleep all night...I just shook...and prayed for the morning. Now...if half conscious delirium counts for sleep...I did do that.

When morning finally came...my hands were so frozen that I couldn't grab the tab on a cup-a-soup to open it. I'm sure that I was on the cusp of hypothermia. When we left...I found some relief in the comfort of the cab of a van with the heater on.

Then when I arrived at my home...I had never been so grateful for a warm shower (that was painful)...and then a warm...dry bed.

Looking back at that experience...knowing what I know now...I didn't have to be that miserable. I was losing body heat through all 5 methods that one can!! By limiting the ways that I was losing the heat...I could have had a much more bearable night.

Ron Hood is a survival educator that I follow. I have watched many of his videos and have learned much. In this video he educates on the 5 methods of heat loss. One might say..."But I don't really go camping much so it doesn't apply to me"...but this isn't just for camping...it's for staying warm anytime. This is a great thing to know if you are driven from your home because of a disaster. People in crisis situations often think that the first thing to do is to look for food....but you can die a whole lot faster from exposure (hot or cold) than going without food.

I sometimes quiz my children on these 5 methods while they eat their breakfast in the morning! That may sound nuts...but hey...maybe it will one day save their lives...or lessen their suffering...or the suffering of someone they teach it to. Heck...I sure would have appreciated this info from a Scout leader...or someone!! Take the time to learn the 5 heat loss methods...it may save your life. (The next step is to learn how to make an emergency shelter)

Friday, April 3, 2009

The 5000 Year Leap

Recently I saw where political talk show host Glenn Beck had been recommending the book "The 5,000 Year Leap" by Cleon Skousen. I can't begin to tell you how pleased I am to hear that at least in part...his recommendation has made that book a bestseller on Amazon.

I consider that book a must read for every American. It is a book that in very easy to understand language...paints a picture of what constitutional government is supposed to look like. It takes volumes of constitutional law...and the often easily misunderstood language of our founders and breaks it down to the understanding of the common man. One really comes to catch a glimpse of the greatness of those founders as you read their words and see how timeless their wisdom can be.

The 5,000 Year Leap is a book that if studied, understood, and remembered will serve as a tool to help the possessor of that knowledge to see through the sophistry of the scheming leaders of our day. When a sharp dressed and well spoken politician stands at a podium and delivers a deceitful speech that tears at every ones heart strings...and they cheer in excitement....you will stand like an alien in their midst...mourning that Americans are destroying America...because you know something that most don't...what the principles of government are that are required to retain the freedoms we still enjoy and to reclaim the many we have lost...and that they with enthusiasm...are applauding the the ruin of our country.

As Marion G. Romney said in General Conference, October 1960...

"It is not enough for us to be sincere in what we support. We must be right"

In the book you will come to understand to some degree why the founders supported a non-interventionist foreign policy, why a new world order is a really bad idea, how the US is supposed to be a Republic and not a Democracy...and so on. All topics of education that are sorely needed by our public.

If you really want an in depth education...above and beyond just reading the book...you may want to do as I did years back. I purchased part one and two of a constitutional study course from the from the National Center for Constitutional Studies years ago...and I think it was like $400 for the course!!! It is now $150 for the two courses!! (DVD's don't cost as much now?!) Those courses are superb. It covers "the 5,000 Year Leap" and "The Making of America; The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution". The latter title breaks down just as the title suggests...the "subtance and meaning of the constitution"...and is a great next step after studying the 5,000 year leap.

Now...let me tell you...it is a lecture in a classroom...with a workbook. If you require lots of singing and dancing to keep you awake...this is not for you. Let me tell you though...he BRINGS IT TO LIFE!...and gives a lot of ancillary information that fleshes out more of the history surrounding the topics covered in the books. Actually I take that back. Even if you require singing and dancing...understand that the DVD's are broken up into a series of classes that cover sections at a time. You can watch what you can handle in a sitting and then come back later for more...after you watch your singing show.

That great and wise American, Thomas Jefferson, warned us of the danger of conferring unwarranted power upon our government administrators in these sobering words:

". . . Our Constitution has accordingly fixed the limits to which, and no further, our confidence may go. . . . In questions of power, then, let not more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution." ("A Race Against Time" 5; also in TL 65)

Let's be wise and be PREPARED to do bind our political officers down by "the chains of the constitution".