And we see that these promises have been verified to the people of Nephi; for it has been their quarrelings and their contentions, yea, their murderings, and their plunderings, their idolatry, their whoredoms, and their abominations, which were among themselves, which brought upon them their wars and their destructions.
A few years ago, Jerry Falwell made waves with his assertion that it was “The pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle [who]… helped this happen.” People were justifiably upset at his biting remarks.
And yet, with respect to the Nephites, there is a kernel of truth in this statement. Mormon is clear that the cause of the Nephite destruction was spiritual decay and wickedness.
Contrast this with President Hinckley’s assertion made in the General Priesthood Session in October 2005 shortly after Hurricane Katrina struck:
Now, I do not say, and I repeat emphatically that I do not say or infer, that what has happened is the punishment of the Lord.
President Hinckley went on to discuss that in every age and dispensation, disasters and catastrophic events occur. “What do we do?” he posits.
The answer is to prepare, for if we are prepared, we shall not fear. He cites D&C 38:30, D&C 87:8, and D&C 109:8, all with the instruction to prepare now.
Three years ago, President Hinckley was no alarmist. But he went on to encourage us to lay a little aside and prepare for the future. These are prophetic words we would be well to heed. Let me quote from the last few paragraphs of this masterful talk:
We can so live that we can call upon the Lord for His protection and guidance. This is a first priority. We cannot expect His help if we are unwilling to keep His commandments…
We have built grain storage and storehouses and stocked them with the necessities of life in the event of a disaster. But the best storehouse is the family storeroom. In words of revelation the Lord has said, “Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing” (D&C 109:8).
Our people for three-quarters of a century have been counseled and encouraged to make such preparation as will assure survival should a calamity come.
We can set aside some water, basic food, medicine, and clothing to keep us warm. We ought to have a little money laid aside in case of a rainy day.
Now what I have said should not occasion a run on the grocery store or anything of that kind. I am saying nothing that has not been said for a very long time.
Let us never lose sight of the dream of Pharaoh concerning the fat cattle and the lean, the full ears of corn, and the blasted ears; the meaning of which was interpreted by Joseph to indicate years of plenty and years of scarcity (see Genesis 41:1–36).
I have faith, my dear brethren, that the Lord will bless us, and watch over us, and assist us if we walk in obedience to His light, His gospel, and His commandments. He is our Father and our God, and we are His children, and we must be in every way deserving of His love and concern. That we may do so is my humble prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.