The Essential Elements

By David Armstrong

Jackson’s survival kit was woefully inadequate for the challenge he faced. Caught unexpectedly on the face of a mountain at night in a rainstorm, he wished desperately for the basic essentials of survival: water, food, tools to make a fire, and materials to make a shelter. Without these crucial items, his experience on the mountain, recounted in the Parable of the Survival Kit, turned into a frightening ordeal. More than a few casual day hikers had become lost in those mountains and were not rescued in time.

Russell M. Nelson, prophet and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has warned us repeatedly and regularly that those who are not prepared will not survive spiritually the storms and calamities that are coming. Many of the General Authorities have echoed his warning.

President Nelson is not the first to prophesy troubled times ahead for the Saints. The Lord revealed these words to the Prophet Joseph Smith in the early days of the Restoration:

“And the arm of the Lord shall be revealed; and the day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people;

“For they have strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken mine everlasting covenant;

“They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol, which waxeth old and shall perish in Babylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall.

“Wherefore, I the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and spake unto him from heaven, and gave him commandments;

“And also gave commandments to others, that they should proclaim these things unto the world; and all this that it might be fulfilled, which was written by the prophets” (Doctrine and Covenants 1:14–18).

To survive the coming evils that will come crashing down around us like torrential downpour, we need spiritual survival kits, and those kits must be outfitted with the essential elements.

In the October 2020 general conference, President Nelson outlined what he called “our spiritual survival guide.” These are the items we absolutely must have in our survival kits:

  1. Regular, daily immersion in the scriptures.
  2. Meaningful, sincere prayer every day.
  3. Daily repentance.
  4. Faithful covenant keeping.
  5. Following the prophet.

These habits are the water, food, fire, and shelter of a spiritual survival kit. You can add lots of other things to your kit—good books, inspiring talks, strong family ties, healthy friendships, Sunday school lessons, uplifting music, and on and on. But if your kit lacks the basics, your experience in the days to come may be as miserable and frightening as being lost on a mountain in the dark in a rainstorm with a dead flashlight, a bottle of sunscreen, and a can of insect repellant.

Photo by Aman Jakhar on

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