A Sense of Fear & Panic

That hidden and insidious enemy who lurks within and limits our capacity, destroys our initiative, and strangles our effectiveness. This enemy of whom I speak is fear: a fear to wholeheartedly accept a calling; a fear to provide direction to others; a fear to lead, to motivate, to inspire. In His wisdom, the Lord provided a formula whereby we might overcome the arch villain of fear. He instructed: "If ye are prepared ye shall not fear." - President Thomas S. Monson (Building Bridges, New Era, Nov 1985)

Over the years that this forum has existed, there have been thousands of Saints that have passed through its doors as part of their quest for further light and knowledge on preparedness and End Times. Most have come, visited for a short while, and then chosen to move on for any number of reasons. A few have found a home here and remained to help others along their quest. When a new member enters the site for the first time they are often overwhelmed with the material that is contained here. The dreams and visions of other saints come as a moment of awakening, while the depth of temporal preparedness information leaves many in awe of the sheer magnitude of the possibilities.

"Fear, which 'shall come upon every man', is the natural consequence of a sense of weakness, also of sin. Fear is a chief weapon of Satan in making mankind unhappy. He who fears loses strength for the combat of life, for the fight against evil. Therefore, the power of evil ever seeks to engender fear in human hearts." - John A. Widstoe, Conference Report, April 1942

The unending news reports of local and world events carry profound implications, which are freely discussed. Couple all of that with the natural propensity to discuss the possibility that we really are in the end times, and many are left with a sense of fear and panic that fills them with dread and uneasiness.

It is my personal belief that this fear, or sense of sudden panic, is a very natural outgrowth of the awakening to our awful situation. As members come to more fully understand the true nature of the world we live in, and how fragile it actually is, the urge to prepare grows strong and hot. As they first begin to see their nakedness, they are overcome with their vulnerability and may panic in their attempts to get ready as quickly as possible.

Consider one of Roger K. Young's favorite stories: The Farm Hand Who Could Sleep Through Anything

There once was a farmer looking for a young man to help out at the farm. There were several young men who interviewed for the job and as far as the farmer could tell, they were about equally well qualified. He then asked them each one final question, "Tell me," he would say, "why should I hire you above the others?"

Of all of the applicants and their replies, there was one that was really different. One young man said, "Because I can sleep through anything." At first the farmer thought it was just strange. The more he thought, the more he was intrigued and mystified by the response. So he figured, well I will give this young man a chance, and hired him.

Weeks went by and the farmer was pretty happy with the young man's work. He still wondered sometimes what the young man had meant by his strange reply, but he never got around to asking about it. Then one night the farmer was awakened in the middle of the night with a phone call from a neighbor. "There's a big storm coming in with lots of wind, maybe a tornado. Better get ready for it." was the quick message.

Indeed as the farmer went to the door and looked out, he found that the wind was strong and rising, and rain had started. He quickly ran and tried to awaken the young man to help him get everything ready for the blow. Try as he might, the young man couldn't be stirred. Muttering to himself about what a stupid thing he had done in hiring a lazy boy who wouldn't wake up when he really needed him, the farmer went out to the farm.

He went out to tie down the hay, but discovered that the hay was already tied down securely. Next he went to the barn and the corrals. Everywhere he looked, everything had already been prepared. After a time of just wandering around the farm, learning that there was nothing that needed to be done at the last minute, because it had all been done (prepared) before, the farmer returned to his house, but instead of muttering, he actually found himself singing the praises of this young man. He had realized, to his great joy, that the reason the young man could sleep through anything was because before he went to bed each and every night he had already prepared for the very worst. And so the farmer followed the example of the young man, since everything was already prepared, he undressed and was soon fast asleep, with a huge smile of peace on his face.

This young man had nothing to fear and was not stricken with panic at the onset of the storm because he was fully prepared. He had put forth the necessary time and effort to secure everything well in advance so he could rest the night through with little concern for the howling winds outside.

For those who are feeling overwhelmed with the task of becoming prepared, or for those who are concerned that they simply cannot accomplish the tasks laid out before them to become prepared for the events to come, please remember the words of the great prophet Nephi when he taught us that "the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." (1Ne 3:7). No matter what our level of preparedness, fear and panic are not necessary if we are striving to be obedient, for we have this promise from the Lord.

We are all familiar with that statement "If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear" (D&C 38:30). But we must also bear in mind that this most powerful statement in the preparedness community has an equally powerful but completely opposite meaning - "If ye are not prepared, ye shall fear."

To take this a step further, it saddens me that we have so many members who struggle

"We do not live in an unexplainable world either. We need neither be drenched in despair nor resignedly 'eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.' (2 Ne 28:7-8)." - Neal A. Maxwell, Meek and Lowly to enjoy their lives after having awakened to our awful situation. When the events of the last days seem closer than we imagined, it's difficult not to become pre-occupied with the future. While it's easy to not fear for ourselves if we are prepared, we can still feel saddened for our loved ones who are not prepared. Such emotional preoccupation can quickly become overwhelming if we're not careful. I encourage each and every one of us to prepare like the world will end tomorrow, but plan and live our lives as though the time is yet far away. If we can successfully find balance between these two activities, it is my opinion that we will each find comfort and peace in the days to come, regardless of what happens around us.

President Woodruff was known for doing today what needed to be done, without undue concern for what might occur in the future. On one occasion he was asked when the world was coming to an end. He replied, "Well, I don't know, but I am still planting cherry trees."