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Monday, June 20, 2011

Church History teaches lessons Part 6

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 "Saluda" Disaster, continued

Lesson 2: Up-to-date rosters of people are important, and parents need wills that specify who should have their children.
To this day, no one knows for certain how many members were aboard the Saluda, how many were lost, or how many reached Utah. Lexington townspeople, with charitable instincts but who also wanted to save children from Mormonism, took a number of Latter-day Saint orphans into their homes and raised them. Leaders had no list to check off to see how many children they needed to locate and claim.
Lessons from the Pioneer Famine of 1856
Members in Utah suffered through a harsh famine in early 1856 caused by a drought, grasshopper plague, and severe winter. From April to October 1855 no rains fell. Grasshoppers cleaned county after county of grain and fruit. Dry forests burned that fall. Deep winter snows and cold killed thousands of cattle. By January 1856 the pioneers faced starvation. Their efforts to survive suggest lessons about food storage, food shortages, and food rationing.
Lesson 1: In times of dire food shortages, we should be willing to share our personal food storage with others.
By mid-March 1856, wards were taking inventories to determine how much food was left in the community. It became clear that everyone would need to share what they had. Presidents Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball of the First Presidency, as well as many others who had supplies, reduced rations in their own families and helped those who were suffering. “I sell none for money,” President Kimball wrote, “but let it go where people are truly destitute. Dollars and cents do not count now.” 5
By July 1856 the Church’s tithing office and the people were running short of supplies. One city bishop “found 5 lbs of flour on three blocks and no meat.” 6
One sister recalled that during the famine she gave away flour. As her supply dwindled, she gave away a loaf of bread. Finally, with little flour left, she gave away slices of bread. People picked up crumbs when she cut the slices. “Women would offer me their jewelry, fine clothing, anything they had for bread,” she remembered. 7 Some people paid speculators $24 per hundred pounds of flour, when the normal price was $6. Bishop Aaron Johnson of Springville, Utah, sold flour at the going price of $6 and refused to raise his rates, even though people would pay four times that price. 8

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