Here we go again. The western United States is in a drought; does that mean that God is punishing us? According to two Mormon prophets recently quoted in “No Death Before the Fall,” that would be a big “Yes.”
Quoting President Spencer W. Kimball:
Perhaps we may have been unworthy in asking for this great blessings (rain or snow), but we do not wish to frantically approach the matter but merely call it to the attention of our Lord and then spend our energy to put our lives in harmony.
The Lord uses weather sometimes to discipline his people for the violation of his laws.
Quoting President Gordon B. Hinkley concerning drought: “I think the Lord is trying us a little.”
They both quote Leviticus 26:3-5:
If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;
Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.
And your threshing shall reach into the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time; and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely.
Both quote Leviticus to encourage members to keep the Sabbath Day holy (whatever that means).
We also have the example of the 1963 LDS-produced film titled: “The Windows of Heaven” which encouraged members to pay their tithing. It told the historic story of a drought in St. George and a prophetic promise of rain if members anted up. They paid up and it rained. This film comes dangerously close to preaching the Prosperity Gospel.
All this makes me very uncomfortable. As I have mentioned in other blog entries, I don’t view God up in heaven “stirring the pot.” My personal God is very hands offish. I don’t believe in the God of the Old Testament. In fact, I would like to see the OT retired as a LDS scripture.
If you want to be prepared for a drought, prayer is good if it puts you in a introspective mood. The best way to accommodate drought is through short-term and long-term planning (at all levels, including the home). For example, every home along the Wasatch Front (Utah, USA) uses twice as much water as is reasonably needed. Get a better toilet, get a better shower head, improve your lawn watering, rainwater harvest off your roof, etc.
Keep the Sabbath Day holy because you believe it is the right thing to do. Not because you are worried about a drought and want rain. The same thing goes for paying your tithing.