Some Thoughts on Culture and Doctrine

This post is part of the General Conference Odyssey.

One of the most distinctive elements of Mormonism is food storage. It’s not going to be at the very tip-top of anyone’s list of “What do you think about when you think about Mormons?” but it’s still up there. If we were playing Family Feud, it wouldn’t be the #1 survey response, but it would be on the board.
This is kind of funny when you contrast it with what the Church actually teaches about welfare. Here’s a quote from Elder Brown’s talk:

May I remind you of the six elements of personal and family preparedness, all of which should be taught.

They are: first, literacy and education; second, career development; third, financial and resource management; fourth, home production and storage; fifth, physical health; and sixth, social-emotional strength.

It’s so interesting to me that the stuff everyone thinks about first–food storage and practical self-reliance–is actually fourth on this list, and only one item out of six.
This is one of the reasons it’s so important to pay attention to General Conference every spring and fall, and why it’s beneficial to go back and read through these old ones: because what we think the message is and what the message really turns out to be are not always the same. The messages, priorities, and narratives we absorb from our social network have all been through many, many rounds of telephone.

If we want to get the information from the source, we need to listen to what the General Authorities tell us themselves, and we need to come to that with a willingness to revisit our preconceptions, assumptions, and paradigms to actually really hear that they’re trying to tell us.

Check out the other posts from the General Conference Odyssey this week and join our Facebook group to follow along!