Look, we belong to the one true church of Jesus Christ. He is leading it by the prophet and the twelve. He holds them in the palm of his hand. They are leading it just the way he wants it to be led.
But that doesn’t mean that all we think or do is right, particularly at the level of wards and trends among the members.
Take a case study. The prophets have been telling members to get a years supply of food, or more than a years supply of food, since the days of Brigham Young.
But then somebody came up with 72 hour kits. It wasn’t the prophet. I have watched carefully over the course of my lifetime and not a single prophet has so much as used the words 72 hour kit in general conference, except once the words were used in a passing context by President Hinckley.
Now they have consistently reminded us to get a years supply. President Hinckley gave a fairly strong warning about getting a years supply.
But what happens at the ward level? Do they listen to the prophet?
Not at all on this issue.
72 hour kits are flashy compared to a years supply. They are easy compared to a years supply. And they quickly overwhelm the teaching to have a years supply.
It reminds me of the way desktop calendar quotes and trendy phrases and ideas quickly seem to overwhelm our interest in the actual scriptures. The momentary that is worth nothing quickly seems to overwhelm that which is eternal and worth everything.
The teaching of a years supply is grounded in our doctrine. It is grounded in Joseph Smith’s teaching that the Lord would not come in a year in which a rainbow was seen upon the earth. A full year in which no rainbow is seen on the earth would be simply devastating for food. Food needs water. Joseph Smith said that there would be great distress among the nations.
Now Joseph Smith didn’t promise that it would be limited to a year. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if, when this is fulfilled, there will be circumstances in which a year without a rainbow will happen more than once. And in fact, Brigham Young asked the saints to get 7 years of food if they could manage it.
But the years supply of food is (1) founded in our doctrine, and (2) taught consistently by our prophets.
But nevertheless, whenever a stake or ward makes a preparedness effort, seventy two hour kits become all the rage, but very little change is made on years supplies.
The prophet and the twelve lead right, but we follow so poorly.