As the Japanese tsunami disaster and nuclear crisis continue to make news, some Mormon-dominated communities in America are saying that these disasters should remind us all about preparing for the worst.

Emergency planning and the storage of food, water and medical supplies have long been practiced by majority of the 14 million worldwide members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“It’s not a sudden, spectacular program,” says Craig Rasmussen, a spokesman for the church in Idaho. The tradition stems from doctrine (“If ye are prepared ye shall not fear”) established by Joseph Smith when he founded the church in 1830. This doctrine served the church well, as persecution drove the early followers into the Rocky Mountains in 1847.

Food storage, preparedness and self-reliance are just a way of life to many LDS members, and not a knee-jerk response to recent disasters.

So for those who are stocking up, what are the hot products right now?
Many companies selling dehydrated, freeze-dried or canned foods in bulk are reporting rising sales. Don Pectol, of Emergency Essentials Inc., an emergency supply business based near Salt Lake City, recently said that top sellers are powdered milk, water purifiers and meat processed to extend its shelf life.

None of this seems too radical to me. Growing up in the country, we always had a large chest freezer full of meat, and many shelves of canned homegrown tomatoes and other goods. It had nothing to do with the Cold War, the End of the World, or any religion, it was just our day-to-day life.

But in today’s society, I truly doubt that most people could survive a month without a paycheck, electricity or a Wal-Mart within driving distance. Is this as disturbing to any of you, as it is to me? What are some of the ways you are ensuring that you and your family are prepared should disaster strike?