Inside the huge warehouses used to store food as Mormon faith fuels state's insatiable desire for disaster preparation
Snippit:Mormons have long taught disaster preparedness and now the trend is catching on nationwide
Survivalist terms like '72-hour kit' once used predominantly by Mormons and largely in Utah are now mainstream
The church has historically ginned up its disaster hoarding during slimmer and more paranoid times from the Cold War to the recent Great Recession
Towering grain silos overlook the main highway in Salt Lake City at the Mormon church's Welfare Square. At grocery stores, there's a whole section with large plastic tubs with labels that read, "Deluxe survivor 700." Radio ads hawk long-term supplies of food with 25-year shelf lives.
And houses are equipped with special shelving for cans of beans, rice and wheat.
Storing away enough food and water in case of disaster, job loss or something worse is not just part of the fundamental teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it's an idea that is increasingly catching on nationwide.
Mormon warehouses stocked with packaged and canned foods.
The Mormon emphasis on self-reliance dates back to the mid-1800s when food storage began as a pragmatic way to ensure survival as church members trekked across the country to Salt Lake City, said Matthew Bowman, assistant professor of religion at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia.
‘A lot of times we are thinking in terms of food storage that we are preparing for this major calamity or major disaster or for Armageddon,’ said Rick Foster, manager of North America Humanitarian Services with the LDS church. ‘It's not about that.
‘It's about helping all of us individually to get through these bumps that occur in our lives,’ he said.
If members are prepared, they can help themselves and others in times of need, Foster said. When a water main broke in his neighborhood, Foster's family was able to provide drinking water from their supply to a neighbor who needed water to make formula for her baby.
The church has a massive warehouse near the airport in Salt Lake City where shelves are stacked tall with boxes of food it uses to stock 143 grocery store-like storehouses it runs across the Americas to provide food to members in need.
Much of the food the church stores is homemade. The church owns farms, ranches and dairies and operates canneries. The peanut butter is made from a peanut farm the church owns in Texas. The apple sauce is made from apples at a church orchard in Idaho.
Hoarding for survival? At Utah grocery stores, there's a whole section with large plastic tubs with labels that read, Deluxe survivor 700. Radio ads hawk long-term supplies of food with 25-year shelf lives
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Black Blade: My Mormon friends have some impressive food storage. Would be cool if I could get some photos of those as well. They helped me get a few items when they allowed canning at their Idaho cannery a few years ago. I have about a 7-10 year storage of mixed items (mostly freeze-dried but also cases of canned goods and bulk grains. Picking up a few more things over the holidays (including a couple cases of honey from a local bee keeper).