News from the Comstock
|In The Spirit of Mark Twain|
Virginia City, Nevada
Local Mormons Outraged by Newly Released Publication
For years it has been widely known that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints have stored a year's supply of dried, canned and preserved foods in their homes. This practice may prove to be less effective in staving off potential disaster than previously thought. A recent booklet released by J. John Chisom of Trees by the River Publishers of Carson City entitled: Know your Mormon Neighbors has local church members alarmed and angry.
Chisom, a former church member, has compiled a list of all Mormon households within a fifty mile radius of Carson City. The booklet, which retails for $4.95, simply states that if the Y2K computer bug indeed bites, and causes world-wide food shortages, the only people equipped to survive a prolonged deprivation will be our LDS neighbors.
Experts disagree whether or not food supplies from around the world will be effected by possible computer crashes which could disrupt or even deplete reserves. However,LDS church members have long held that a severe economic and agricultural crisis could become a reality before anyone else could react.
"Any hurricane survivor can tell you how quickly a population can strip store shelves clean at the local Safeway or Albertson's," says Elder Fredrick Meyer of Reno's First Ward. "Our history has taught us to be prepared."
However, if as Mr.Chisom's booklet implies in its preface, a crisis should really develop, even the most optimistic predictions indicate that the average US household would be completely without food within two weeks.
"Paying a mere $4.95 for a list of places where food might be had in a crisis is cheap insurance", says Chisom from his well equipped survivalist-style home in the Virginia Highlands. "I'm not advocating people rob their Mormon neighbors... but in a crunch they (the neighbors) might be persuaded to sell some powdered milk or cereal to their neighbors in need."
"After all, when you've got little ones and no milk... well, you have to think or your family first!", continues Chisom. "I, for one, have enough for well over a year, and state in my book that my suggestion is to follow my example."
However, church elders are not optimistic. Elder Meyer has warned his fellow members to think not only of being prepared with full storehouses of non-perishable foods, but to be ready to protect them against possible mobs of hungry or starving gentiles.
"It's not so much our friends and neighbors we worry about", Meyer explains. "It's the weirdoes and wackos with guns who may feel justified in just taking by force what they were too careless and thoughtless to anticipate losing."
"It's the old ant and the grasshopper story", Meyer goes on. " All our lives, church members have been educated to be frugal and to plan ahead. All around us we see folks who have no concern for tomorrow and what tomorrow may bring!"
The controversy continues as church leaders warn paritioners to take this threat seriously. Meanwhile, Chisom plans a second printing in February 1999 and intends to expand the new edition to include Churchill County as well as Sierra, Nevada, and Calavaras Counties in California.
An unconfirmed report of a similar list being sold in Las Vegas has church members in southern Nevada worried as well.
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