By Kellene Bishop
Deseret News article actually substantiates the Preparedness Pro story regarding the changes to LDS Church Canneries
This evening I was e-mailed links to an article posted by the Deseret News. While it seems to be written to “debunk” the story which I published over the weekend that the LDS Church owned canneries East of the Mississippi would be halting the canning of goods in their facilities, anyone with any reasonable reading comprehension skills will see that instead of debunking anything I've written, the quotes from LDS Church spokesperson, Ruth Todd, actually substantiate key points of my article.
Todd is quoted within the article as saying: “Over time, we will be reducing the number of facilities where the packaging of dry goods occurs," …”the church's "home storage centers will offer the same or additional commodities in pre-packaged form, at no additional cost.”
The article is quite confusing though—not at all indicative of the standard of clarity and truth that I have come to expect when an LDS Church spokesperson is clarifying a stance on any particular topic; it was confusing because when the author of the article, Joseph Walker, specifically referenced this blog and asks for a comment as to my headline of “"LDS canneries east of the Mississippi will no longer be canning any food at their facilities beginning June 27, 2013", the response he publishes is as follows:
“That, Todd said, is not accurate.
‘The church is not closing canneries and is not limiting the variety of goods available to church members,’ she said. The only thing being reduced over time is the number of locations at which members can purchase bulk foods and can them themselves.”
No, the LDS Canneries Will NOT Be Closed--yet.
Since my original article said nothing about the LDS Church closing any of their canning facilities, merely that the canning would “halt” on cannery locations and that there would be pre-packaged foods offered now as the only purchase option offered at such facilities, it appears that Todd and Walker’s intended “debunking” of my article only lends to support my claims. But I gotta say, in reading this piece, I’ve not been that confused in interpreting the meaning of a statement since listening to the Clinton Impeachment Trial in 1999. While there may have been other sites that chose to post the assertion that the LDS Church cannery facilities would be CLOSED, this site was not one of those. However, since the publishing of my original article there have been a myriad of substantiating messages, posts, phone calls and e-mails come to me in an effort to lend credence to the facts of my original article.
Confirmations Regarding LDS Church Cannery Changes Abound
On Sunday, May 5, 2013, Nancy M. from Illinois confirmed, just as I predicted, that some wards were informed of these changes at their church meetings: “It was announced today in our Sacrament Meeting. Our cannery specialist told us in RS (Relief Society—one of the Sunday church meetings in which many of the adult females of the LDS Church attend) that it was because of too many government regulations to deal with. Our last ward cannery date is Friday. Very unsettling!”
On Monday, May 6, 2013, Tony K. from MO also confirmed that wards were informed of these changes: “We were told Sunday that the end of canning would go in to effect in June. Supplies would still be available and we would still be able to order food items in #10 cans. But no longer would we be able to can on site or buy the large 25 and 50 pound bags of items.
But as I stated before its (sic) not just canneries in the Eastern states. I am west of the Mississippi. We were told the current plan may be to stop canning at all but about ten nationwide, those may all be left in Utah. The change is due the government wanting to change procedures.”
On May 3, 2013 at 6:06 p.m. Erick J had this to contribute to regarding this “tweaking” already taking place elsewhere in the U.S., “I live in WA State and the state will not allow people to "can" the items at the warehouse...some sort of new law...so we have to get the canner and take it home. More and more regulation!”
An active thread of conversation yesterday and today held in the forum of AR15.com, there was an abundant supply of others who confirmed the information contained in our original article, with several of its members chiming in with their personal experiences such as “Bladerunner” in NC who had this to say in response to the article:
“The LDS cannery in Richmond, Virginia (in June) will cease letting individuals can foods themselves. My understanding, they will still sell dry bulk foods (i.e 50 pounds bags) and will accept orders for #10 can orders packed by LDS cannery staff. I don't know what the costs will be for the latter"
Followed by “Ender875 from Ohio who posted: “Canned in Ohio last week. First time there. Awsome people, not pushy or anything. Said a prayer before hand and canned up a whole lot of goods. The workers there said that it will not be a cannery sometime around June or July. They will still let members buy from them, but it will be the precanned stuff. Have to head back a few more times before hand.”
And with “Stan Winston80” from SC adding this to the confirming statements, “A friend of mine is in charge of a LDS cannery in the southeast and he has just confirmed to me that as of July 1 2013, there will be no more canning, just sales of the pre-canned items. I do not have any further information, but fwiw, they have seen a LOT of nonmembers canning a LOT of product (as in >$1k) in the last year or so. (my friend believes this to be a good thing and is always (rightly imo) bragging about the service he provides to the community- "everyone that is prepared is one less to take care of in a crisis")”
As well as “ThePatriot556” claiming “The cannery here USED to be a heavily used facility. The usage has dropped off so much the last few months, there is talk of closing it. The wet pack was closed due to heavy govt interference resulting in HUGE amounts of canned food being thrown away. Unfortunately, we are being regulated out of the "service based" canneries and the Church is setting up large industrial canning operations to replace them and comply with all the new USDA crap.”
Another commenter on my Facebook page, who wished to remain anonymous said this in response to my article on May 3rd, 2013: “Yes, after June we, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and non-members, will no longer be able to can food items at the cannery. It is due to government regulations and the liability issues. However, people can still purchase pre-canned food items as well as bulk. We can also check out the canner so we will be able to can our personal food items in our homes. I am planning on informing the Provident Living and Self-Reliance group once it is officially announced this coming Sunday. I was asked to wait until then so I am complying."
(During the course of my personal interviews in confirming this story, any time that anyone had anything to say as to the what they felt was the “WHY” behind these changes i.e. government regulations, they always wanted to make sure that they remained anonymous. And frankly I can’t blame them.)
Janice E., also of MO, offered this helpful insight to offer on the matter in an effort to look at the positive side of things in light of these changes: “We can't even cook at church any more not OSHA approved. We will still be able to buy food though. It will be prepared in other places that are all ready (sic) up to code. They said it wasn't cost effect to bring ours up to code, but this will be church wide. It's all about control. Isn't it?”
Lastly, a dear, trusted friend of mine, Jason Charles, who serves as one of New York’s finest firefighters who is NOT a member of the LDS faith but does take advantage of the perks of an LDS Cannery in his area had this to say over the weekend in response to the article: “We were notified last week of this. The New Jersey cannery told (us) the government (Obama) is stepping in & stopping self canning (sic) process. This is a minor hiccup in our food storage process as we can still buy some canned goods from them, we just can't can anymore.”
There’s a litany of other first-hand reports all over the nation which support the conclusions I came to in my article after conducting personal interviews, not the least of which was the photo of the actual, official announcement that was handed out to patrons of the Greensboro, NC LDS Cannery location which clearly states “We will no longer be canning at this facility after June 26th, 2013.” In the center of the handout, in bold, you can clearly see the authors of this notice, “Elder and Sister Lockett”, who are the supervisors of the Greensboro location which will obviously be impacted by these changes. This handout goes on to list a great many standard essential “bulk items” which will “no longer be available after July 1, 2013 but which will be replaced by “prepackaged items” on July 1, 2013. I don’t know how we can state it any clearer…the facilities will not be closed, but will be functioning in a very different capacity offering primarily pre-packaged items. Nothing that the LDS Church spokesperson or the author says succeeds in refuting that physical evidence, and in fact, only supports it, all while claiming to deny it.
Seems to me that there’s plenty of confirmation to go around to substantiate my initial story, but there still seems to be plenty of confusion as to what exactly the Deseret News article “debunked” or “refuted.” Perhaps someone else, somewhere, attempted to report that the facilities were being closed but it was not PreparednessPro.com. Ironically, as I tried to find such news on the internet, I kept coming across MY original story, but with the headline changed, using the word “Closed” instead of “halting canning.” *sigh* (See why I try to protect my copyrights?) Anyway, it looks to me that all that this spokesperson and author may have done is confuse people a little bit more on the issue rather than “debunk” anything.
Apparently, I’m not the only one confused by this non-debunking story. Connor Boyack, President of Libertas Institute and author of “LDS Liberty” had this to say about the Deseret News article:
“I'm confused. This article, and the Church's response, seems to validate rather than refute Kellene Bishop's article at Preparedness Pro.
The claim, as I understand it, is that no new canning will occur -- not that the canneries will be completely shut down or that no goods will be available. The Church's statement supports rather than debunks the article because they say that pre-packaged food will be available, meaning no newly canned stuff.
Talk about spin...”
Again, I will confirm that I was never made aware that any of the facilities would be closed, and as such, I didn't report that, but I do suspect that that will always be an option for the LDS Church, depending upon the volume of people each of the facilities benefits. If there is a lackluster of individuals taking advantage of the bulk and pre-packaged products available, it doesn’t make sense for the LDS Church to keep such facilities open. However, they have, no doubt, eliminated a great deal of vulnerabilities, costly fines and legal exposure by making these changes and essentially turning each of these canneries into nothing more than a retail outlet of sorts. (Though there is still the benefit of persons being able to check out the actual canners and use them at home to can their items.)
All of that being said there are a few corrections or clarifications I think should be made to the work of the Deseret News article that the author was mistaken. The statement is made that “Latter-day Saints are encouraged by church leaders to keep a three-month supply of food on hand in case of physical, natural and economic emergencies as part of the LDS practice of self-reliance.” In actuality, this is incorrect. LDS church members have been counseled to have a year’s supply of essentials where possible (i.e. legal) but that they should at least look towards having a three month supply of more “normal, daily diet” foods and progress towards “longer-term needs, and where permitted, gradually build a supply of food that will last a long time and that you can use to stay alive, such as wheat, white rice, and beans.” (See https://www.lds.org/bc/content/shared/content/english/pdf/language-materials/04008_eng.pdf?lang=eng )
The admonition for a one year supply of essentials has NEVER been rescinded by LDS Church authorities. (LDS Church authorities are the ecclesiastical leaders of the Church and are not the same as those who are entitled as “spokespersons” for the LDS Church, who operate on the more temporal matters for the Church.)
Official church doctrine can easily be found spoken in many of the General Conference talks given twice a year to the Church as a whole. In 2007, in a talk given by the 2nd Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric for the LDS Church, Keith B. McMullin had this to say:
“From President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor, we hear: “Many more people could ride out the storm-tossed waves in their economic lives if they had their year’s supply of food … and were debt-free. Today we find that many have followed this counsel in reverse: they have at least a year’s supply of debt and are food-free.”
From President Gordon B. Hinckley, the Lord’s prophet, we hear:
“The best place to have some food set aside is within our homes. …
“We can begin ever so modestly. We can begin with a one week’s food supply and gradually build it to a month, and then to three months. … I fear that so many feel that a long-term food supply is so far beyond their reach that they make no effort at all.
“Begin in a small way, … and gradually build toward a reasonable objective.”
Inspired preparation rests on the foundation of faith in Jesus Christ, obedience, and a provident lifestyle. Members should not go to extremes, but they should begin.”
The second point that I feel should be clarified appears in a statement at the top of the article in the photo caption section of this Deseret News article which states, “There are currently more than 100 LDS home storage centers across the United States and Canada at which church members can obtain food items for personal and family use. Kristin Murphy, Deseret News”
Such a statement is incomplete in that members of the LDS Church as well as NON-members of the LDS faith are served by these wonderful facilities. There are no restrictions based on one’s faith at any of the LDS Church Cannery locations. So come one and come all and take advantage of the savings, which will reportedly NOT go up as I had supposed, due to transportation costs—so consider that a temporary reprieve and get to work on your preparedness efforts before things tighten down even more.
There you have it. Hope I’ve straightened all of THAT out. *breathe*
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