Unless you are a hermit living in a cave in the wilderness, you probably have heard that there is a financial and economic crisis going on around the world. During the past few months, the media's comparisons beginning with recent recessions, have now escalated to comparisons with the Great Depression beginning with the stock market crash of 1929. The statistics on the present "economic downturn," as it is called, are overwhelming. If you have been relying on the standard news broadcasts, including National Public Radio, you probably still believe that the problems stem from the U.S. housing decline. What you may not realize, is that there have been many days in the past few weeks when virtually every single stock exchange in the world has been down at the same time. The problem is far from just a U.S. problem.
Perhaps, you have missed the news that there are significant job losses, plummeting stock prices and rapidly eroding real property values. You may also have missed the news that several countries, including Iceland, the Ukraine, Belarus and soon, Argentina are in collapse or default of their international obligations. The Nasdaq has retreated 78 percent from 2000 to 2002. The S&P index of homebuilder shares has dropped 82 percent from its 2005 peak. The news goes on and on.
In talking to local businessmen, as I do on a daily basis, I find many are seeing significant declines in their business, in areas as diverse as sales, real estate, contracting, and insurance. Many of my older friends are alarmed at the dramatic decline in their retirement accounts. A number of people, I have talked to, are delaying plans for retirement.
In all this chaos and confusion, we need to listen to the voice of President Gordon B. Hinkley, a Prophet of God who said in 2005:
"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 in this Church have evidence enough of the penalties of disobedience in the examples of both the Jaredite and the Nephite nations. Each went from glory to utter destruction because of wickedness. ...We know, of course, that the rain falls on the just as well as the unjust (Matthew 5:45). But even though the just die they are not lost, but are saved through the Atonement of the Redeemer. Paul wrote to the Romans, "For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord" (Romans 14:8)... 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."
Let us head the counsel of this great man and make preparations for worse times ahead.