Dec 24, 2013 12:30 PM by Joe Bevans
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Storing away food and water in case of disaster, job loss or something worse is part of the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but non-Mormons also are increasingly buying survival kits of packaged foods. Matthew Bowman, assistant professor of religion at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, says 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. Bowman says by the mid-1900s, church leaders worried about nuclear war and encouraged members to have a two-year supply of food. In the last two decades, the focus on food storage has shifted back to practicality. Rick Foster, manager of North America Humanitarian Services with the LDS church, says storing away food is now "about helping all of us individually to get through these bumps that occur in our lives." He says if Mormons are prepared, they can help themselves and others in times of need.