"In my defense... I saw 'Bring It On'..." -Anonymous Board Writer
Question #90011 posted on 07/05/2017 8:02 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

How do you feel about prepping/homesteading/survival skills? I'm not exactly looking out for the 4 horsemen or whatever, but I don't think that an emergency situation (from individual "stranded in the wilderness" scale to local disasters to "End of the World" scale) is all that unlikely. I want to learn the skills that are out there and be ready for anything (just in case), but it's hard not to feel like I should be wearing a tin foil hat while I'm doing it.

-Zombie-Free Apocalypse


Dear Apocalypse,

I agree that emergency situations aren't rare at all; even super experienced adventurers occasionally run into situations that leave them in dire circumstances where they're stranded in the wild without their normal resources. I think that learning rudimentary skills in hunting, fishing, orientation, and other outdoors-y skills is an excellent thing to do and very useful. So, if you're interested in all of that stuff, by all means, learn about it! I think there's a lot of very valuable information to be gained by doing so. And, it is certainly a wise idea to make and maintain 72-hour kits and food storage. 

But, in all of this, don't let yourself get carried away. I can't tell you how happy it made me when Quentin L. Cook offered this piece of wisdom in his October 2016 General Conference address, "Valiant in the Testimony of Jesus Christ:"

While there are many examples of looking beyond the mark, a significant one in our day is extremism. Gospel extremism is when one elevates any gospel principle above other equally important principles and takes a position that is beyond or contrary to the teachings of Church leaders. One example is when one advocates for additions, changes, or primary emphasis to one part of the Word of Wisdom. Another is expensive preparation for end-of-days scenarios. In both examples, others are encouraged to accept private interpretations. “If we turn a health law or any other principle into a form of religious fanaticism, we are looking beyond the mark.” [Emphasis mine]

For further clarification on what the Church's stance is on this, let's look at David A. Bednar's October 2013 talk, "The Windows of Heaven:"

In the financial operations of the Church, two basic and fixed principles are observed. First, the Church lives within its means and does not spend more than it receives. Second, a portion of the annual income is set aside as a reserve for contingencies and unanticipated needs. For decades the Church has taught its membership the principle of setting aside additional food, fuel, and money to take care of emergencies that might arise. The Church as an institution simply follows the same principles that are taught repeatedly to the members. [Emphasis mine]

What the Church teaches is that we should prepare for unexpected emergencies; with Elder Cook's words in mind, I take this to mean that we are not supposed to be worrying about extended end-of-the-world scenarios. Like I said, I think that developing skills in outdoorsmanship is perfectly fine and fits within what the Church teaches: especially if you like hiking and/or camping, you very could find yourself in a situation where you would need to survive on your own in the wild. Just be careful about sinking too much time/energy/resources into preparing for a vision of the end of the world. As I see it, just as God's thoughts aren't our thoughts, I don't think the end of the world is going to pan out the way any of us is expecting.

-Frère Rubik has other thoughts about the "prepper" movement and some of its proponents but when he tried to include them in this post he just ended up really frustrated and thus thought it was better to leave them unsaid.