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Friday, June 24, 2011

Church History teaches lessons Part 10

From "Sturdy Shoes and a Waterproof Tent" by William G. Hartley, Ensign Oct. 2001

Church history teaches many lessons about personal preparedness.

Lessons from the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire, continued

Lesson 7: Be prepared to leave cherished belongings.
Fleeing the fires, many families grabbed belongings and tried to haul them on foot. One trunk “weighed a ton,” as Harold Jenson described it in his diary. 13 One family member pushed a wheeled sewing machine. Harold strapped family belongings to his bicycle. Too burdened, the family eventually left some of their belongings on the roadside.
Lesson 8: Ignore wild rumors that spread in panics and don’t pass them on.
The earthquake severed the city’s communications with the outside world, so rumors spread that Los Angeles was destroyed, New York was no more, and that the Great Salt Lake had inundated Salt Lake City!

One Final Lesson
Along with all of the practical lessons history teaches, one more lesson comes through: maintain good attitudes during troubled times. A sense of humor is like salve on a wound.
On 6 April 1846 about 2,000 Saints with about 400 covered wagons were bogging down in Iowa rains and mud, trying to reach campsites beside Locust Creek. “I was in the rain all day,” President Young noted in his diary, “arranging the wagons, pitching tents, chopping wood until all were comfortable.” That dreary day most members had good excuses to feel miserable. However, Patty Sessions noted in her diary that “[Brother] Brigham came up with his company driving his team in the rain and mud up to his kne[e]s as happy as a king.” 14
We would do well to follow Brother Brigham’s example, as well as that set by other Latter-day Saints who have had to deal with disasters and crises. By learning from the lessons of the past, we better prepare ourselves for the future.

“The responsibility for each person’s social, emotional, spiritual, physical, or economic well-being rests first upon himself, second upon his family, and third upon the Church if he is a faithful member thereof. No true Latter-day Saint, while physically or emotionally able, will voluntarily shift the burden of his own or his family’s well-being to someone else.” President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985), Ensign, Nov. 1977, 77.
Be Prepared
“While it is sincerely hoped that members do not get caught up in any hysteria or obsessive preparations for disasters, the Church continues its long-standing practice of encouraging members to be self-reliant and reasonably prepared.” Bishop H. David Burton, Presiding Bishop, “Conversation,” Ensign, Sept. 1999, 78.

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