SALT LAKE CITY — Some changes are coming for Latter-day Saints who rely on the LDS Church’s home storage centers as a place to purchase foods in bulk and can it themselves onsite.
"Over time, we will be reducing the number of facilities where the packaging of dry goods occurs," LDS spokeswoman Ruth Todd said Monday. However, she added, the church's "home storage centers will offer the same or additional commodities in pre-packaged form, at no additional cost."
Todd’s statement comes as a result of questions from a number of different media sources following a blog post asserting that "LDS canneries east of the Mississippi will no longer be canning any food at their facilities beginning June 27, 2013."
Todd could not speak specifically to that claim, indicating only that “the change from self-service canning to pre-packaged commodities occurs over time and depends on what goods are available at each individual facility.”
“So there is a chance that self-service canning will extend beyond June 27th,” she said.
The key point, according to Todd, is that once the change occurs, people will be able to get the same variety of supplies and goods, and at the same price.
"The church is not closing canneries and is not limiting the variety of goods available to church members," she said. The only thing being reduced over time is the number of locations at which members can purchase bulk food and can it themselves onsite.
There are currently more than 100 LDS home storage centers across the United States and Canada at which church members can obtain food items for personal and family use. The home storage centers are part of the church's massive welfare program that includes canneries, meat-packing facilities, thrift stores, farms, ranches and storage facilities for food. Latter-day Saints are encouraged by church leaders to keep a three-month supply of food on hand in case of physical, natural and economic emergencies as part of the LDS practice of self-reliance.
“Self-reliance is a product of our work and undergirds all other welfare practices," LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson said. "It is an essential element in our spiritual as well as our temporal well-being.”
The Preparedness Pro blog site reported Saturday that self-service canning would cease at LDS canneries east of the Mississippi at the end of June. A story in Tuesday's Deseret News misrepresented the report. The Deseret News regrets the error. This story has been changed to more accurately reflect the blog post and the LDS Church’s response to it.