There has been a “rest of the story” kind of story brewing for several weeks since I first wrote and published the article about the LDS Canneries on May 4th of this year. So when the LDS Church finally provided a formal press release today with detailed information on that very topic, I decided that today was just as good of a time as any to write “the rest of the story.” Why in the world did I write the story in the first place and why did I have to add all of the “government conspiracy stuff?” We’ll get to that because I believe that it’s an important facet of this story, but first let’s get to the other important facet of the story.
Today the LDS Church provided a detailed press release that FINALLY substantiates one aspect of the story which I published in May—the part in which I stated that the canneries east of the Mississippi were going to stop all on-site canning activities. The press release stated that in fact, there’s a great deal more locations going through this transition than what I had researched stating that all but 12 of their 101 canneries, aka Home Storage Centers, which are located all over the U.S. and parts of Canada, will halt all on site canning activity. (see a complete the list of all of the U.S. and Canada canneries here: For details on which will be changing, please refer to the press release from the LDS Church)
This means that there will no longer be any volunteers signing up for shifts to come and provide service work. (Typically, that’s how people are able to purchase their food items at such excellent deals—they come and perform 4 hours of service (typically helping to can items) and then at the end of their shift they’re given the opportunity to purchase some of the very same items they’ve canned or other items. It’s changed a little bit here and there over the years, so don't take this as absolute authority on how it's done everywhere.) However, according to the press release, no more canning will take place at any of these facilities. (patrons CAN check out a canner for 4 hours and can their own bulk goods in #10 cans.) To make sure that there’s no misunderstanding, may I redirect our readers to the words “halt canning,” which means something completely different than the words “closing the canneries.” The “closing of the canneries” isn’t something that we’ve ever reported and the LDS Church has clearly confirmed today that these facilities are not going to be closed. However, it’s clear that the LDS Church, understandably so, is NOT connecting their changes to the canneries with any reports of targeting by U.S. Government entities. While they do admit that “food and safety regulations” “are a factor” in these changes, they stress that such concern over such information is “overstated.”
Clear enough, I believe, but now, I’ll share “the rest of the story.”
When I first decided to write about the changes to the canneries, it was back in the beginning of February. Since the information I had received had only come from two sources and it was what I considered to be a significant change, I chose to confirm the details by contacting several canneries in the Eastern area of the U.S. When I made my primary contact, I wasn’t given the info I needed to write the story and was actually asked not to write it until it could officially be announced to all of the patrons of the cannery. I was given the month of April as an expected time, but that then got pushed back to May. In the early part of May I was told by the cannery directors that they were allowed to announce the changes to their patrons and that I could go ahead with dispensing my information. In fact, I was even able to get my hands on one of the official flyers that one cannery in the Carolinas was passing out to their patrons.
Understand that I considered this change to the LDS owned canneries to be significant to our readers—not just to LDS members but to many of our readers in two different countries who have also benefited from the rock bottom prices for quality canned goods. (Most of the canneries permit LDS members and non-members to participate.) Understand that I considered these changes to be rather significant. I mean really…these facilities are known as “canneries”; they’re all paid for—free and clear—including all of their canning equipment inside. Many of them have been operating ever since I could remember. Volunteers operate them and perform much of the upkeep and cleaning, so the only regular costs to run them are the standard utilities and the appropriate non-profit business taxes and permits. So the fact that the majority of the space in these facilities was going to be altered dramatically was a BIG DEAL kind of story to me. I started following the story because I was hoping to get a leg up on the “why” for the change. When I found out that I could officially publish the story and even publish a copy of the notice (see insert on left) that would go out to all of the patrons of one particular facility, I was focused on the “why”. But when I made my first phone call to try and get some of that information, the phone call took me in a very, very different direction than I had expected.
During my first real conversation on this matter, I was a bit taken aback when one elderly couple started sharing unexpected information with me. Whether I wholeheartedly believed everything they were saying to me, I still recognized that they were giving me a great deal of trust that I would not betray their confidences by divulging their identities to anyone else. Nor would I disrespect them by jeering or mocking the accounts that they shared with me and their beliefs that the inspections made on their facilities were very much out of the ordinary and definitely not what I expected. They made it perfectly clear to me that they believed that “the unofficial reason for the changes was that the LDS Church was being harassed at the canneries.” I focused on the word “canneries”, not cannery. When I asked why they spoke in plural terms, they encouraged me to contact another cannery and see what they had to say. And so I did.
Ultimately I communicated with 25 people that were connected with 14 different canneries. Persons connected with 10 of the 14 canneries all had very similar stories. The instances were different; the players may have come from different entities, and the focus on the events that occurred were emphasized differently but each person I spoke with had a similar tune to the point that I really couldn’t just chalk it up to an affection for the dramatic. Each person I contacted came across as well-spoken, intelligent, and with an interest to talk and be heard. While I KNEW that writing about their feelings on the matter would most certainly put me in the crosshairs of jeers and downright mean communications from people who have nothing better to do with their time or who have no desire to see anything other than what they want to see, I felt that I would have a tougher time NOT writing about it. (By the way, the other four canneries just gave me the very basic of information just as they would be communicating to their patrons and no elaboration or explanations for the changes were proffered.)
Those who know me well know that I don’t back down from a challenge. I’m anything but subtle, meek, or timid. A jury would have a hard time to convict me as being a wimp or un-American. And while I very much want my fellowmen to wake up and see the evil that surrounds them so that they will get more serious in their preparations to live peacefully in spite of those evils, that doesn’t drive me. I consider it a huge blessing if someone’s life is blessed for the better because of what I share, but I knew when I started this that the only way I was going to stay sane is if I wrote with NO expectations of the approval, gratitude, or applause. And so that’s the agreement I made with myself when I started this journey several years ago. I write because I have a voice of thoughts and my heart that I want to express, and if someone else finds value in that, then so be it. Great. So when I found myself mulling over the negative consequences that I knew I’d endure from people if I wrote about the belief that I had developed after talking to these people, then I knew I HAD to write it if I wanted to stay true to my agreement with myself. I simply couldn’t NOT write about the not-so-wonderful aspect of all of these cannery changes being connected to what I believe are most definitely in part because of unfair and unjust harassment by the FDA/USDA et al, If I avoided writing about it, then I would be completely changing my position and I would be swayed based on something that had no eternal significance to me—the approval of others. Once I realized that then the decision became very clear. I was going to write about what I found out.
There will be many who will judge me harshly for this decision, particularly those with whom I join in the LDS faith, sadly. But I doubt that any such persons who possess a mere ounce of decency in them could hear what I heard, or read what I read, and just keep quiet about it. One conversation disturbed me greatly after we spoke. The elderly woman described how much of a failure she felt like as she blamed herself for the constant inspections and reports that she worked so hard to do perfectly and with precision. Her voice quivered as she spoke of feeling like no matter what she did “they always found something else wrong” and something else to fine her for. “I didn’t leave my grandkids and great grandkids to cause the LDS church this kind of trouble. I wanted to HELP the Lord with my service, not make things harder for everyone.”
Could you seriously be unaffected by such an account? Could you speak to 25 people all over the U.S. who all had similar stories and simply chalk them up to a bunch of hooey?!! Well, I couldn’t. And I wouldn’t. So I wrote the story the way that I did. Isn’t it illogical that so many can believe that the IRS and the EPA can be used by the U.S. government to bully and manipulate folks into the submission of their agenda, but that it’s absurd to think that the FDA, USDA, FBI, OSHA could do the same??
You might be interested to see the follow-up article I wrote in which I share several examples and concerns from others that were sent to me after the first story broke. In fact, since that first article broke I’ve received no less than 100 e-mails that have shared very similar stories to the ones of those I interviewed, and since I didn’t share the specific details of those stories, I can’t believe that it’s just a coincidence that the stories are so alike, can I?
I think it’s important to understand that no one I spoke with wanted to cause any grief for the LDS Church, themselves, or anyone else. But it was clear that I was speaking to folks who definitely thought something was very wrong and that their fellow Americans needed to wake up and realize that this kind of behavior is really happening.
If I try and stand back and be completely rational about all of this I realize that it’s quite possible that the LDS Church leaders don’t know about all of the instances that were shared with me. Perhaps they know of some, but not all. As such, it’s very likely that they don’t play any role in the changes that are being made. It’s also possible that while they might know of all of these instances, they had already planned to make these changes long before this kind of action started. I don’t have to be right about the “why” this is going on, but I would be absolutely WRONG in my opinion to not have addressed it and gave it plausibility after talking to all of these people. Frankly, if I were the LDS Church, I suspect that even IF this were the reason they were making all of these changes, nothing good could possibly come from them making such a declaration. All it would do if provided from that kind of venue is panic, anger, and contention between faithful members of the LDS Church as well as others who would see themselves as the next likely targets or simply those who are friends of to the LDS Church. I wouldn’t want to say “OK, you big, bad, unconstitutional bully, you got us!” As such I have no problem with them taking the high road on this issue and preaching “peace” and not panic. Panic never does anyone any good. I’ll take the hit from the naysayers. Bring it.
All that being said, if the pure, unadulterated truth be told, neither I, nor any of the persons I spoke to can say with any authority or perfect knowledge that the reason for all of these changes is as a result of the harassment of the Federal Government, but regardless of what the reasons “really are” the perceptions of these and many others who have read my articles that this sure did play a role in causing these changes and that’s enough to be very upsetting and an indicator that all is not well in the world. Our food is being poisoned and degraded with nods from the FDA and USDA in the form of approved sprays, dyes, “cleaning agents” and GMOs. The nutritional content has depleted into nearly nothing in our fruits and vegetables while the meats and grains are polluted with agents that make our body sick in at least a 101 different ways. There are back room deals being made left and right to manipulate the cost of the food we purchase while the quality of the food is getting worse and worse. (Remember the days when a head of lettuce actually lasted in our refrigerator for more than a week?) This whole LDS Cannery incident isn’t THE thing to focus on; it’s merely a part of the whole landscape. At the very least though this whole incident is one more reason why we cannot be lackadaisical in our efforts to learn how to make our own food.