Alternative Energy

Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover



While I am not a Mormon and I don't always see the world in quite the same way that they do, over many years I've known quite a few LDS members, in anywhere from personal relationships to serving with them in the Navy.

I even once had a hard-core Mormon business partner for a few years, which provided some serious insight into the “mainstream” of that society.

In my experience, they've generally been some of the most decent, hard-working and ethical folks whom I've ever known, far higher than the general population.

Certainly, they want everyone to succeed and they're more than happy to share their knowledge.

If we ever reach TEOTWAWKI, I'd like to be right in the middle of it, working alongside them.

To me, one of the high points of the LDS community, though they might
not all see it quite the same way, is that they are the original
Preppers and that they're *really* serious about it. Individually and
especially as a community, they invest a great deal of time, energy
and thought into preparing for long term off-grid family survival,
mostly for the same reasons that we do. If there's a critical subject
in this wide-ranging topic that they haven't already encountered and
found good answers for, and usually written up into an article, I
haven't discovered it.

For the past 16 years, their unofficial (though large) AVOW group has
been compiling 100+ public domain articles on every major aspect of
family-oriented prepping into the “LDS Preparedness Manual.” The
latest edition of this eclectic compendium is the 15th Anniversary
Edition, released in June 2012. With 479 pages and scores of articles,
just the table of contents is too long to list here. But, if you're
looking for in-depth practical prepping answers on the most important
basic issues, written for the rank beginner, you'll probably find it
here. There is a bit of “infomercial,” as would be expected, but that
seems to be confined to the beginning of the book.

It's good useful advice: For instance, there's a great article on “The
Normalcy Bias,” that discusses why it's so hard for folks to change
their mindsets and what to do about it. This is just one of seven
articles in the lead-off “Expert Counsel” section. If you like your
wisdom a little simpler to digest, the parable about “The farmhand who
could sleep through anything” shares a valuable lesson.

In “Emergency Lighting,” they cover the many options from Coleman
lamps and on down to the raw basics, as well as letting you know how
long the fuel for each lighting source will last, so that you can
build an appropriate stockpile. For instance, I discovered that a
two-burner Coleman gas lantern, burning for five hours, will consume a
pint of fuel. So, for a year of 5-hour-per-day use, there's a
convenient chart that tells you that you'll need 50 gallons of lantern
fuel, which is a bunch, nearly the size of a large steel drum.

But, right after that, the article also mentions that an old-fashioned
kerosene lantern only uses 1/4 the fuel per hour, which cuts the
stockpile for a year, and its cost, down to just 12.5 gallons.
(Kerosene lanterns are also a lot cheaper to buy.) The author readily
admits that a kerosene lamp doesn't put out as much light as a Coleman
lantern. But, then you learn that it still puts out as much light as a
40-60 watt light bulb, which is the kind of useful information
that is hard to come by in daily conversation.

Then, I learned, from another chart, that a 9″ tall X 2″ diameter
tallow candle will burn for 48 hours. And that, in a pinch, you can
get many hours of lighting from just a plastic dish, a paper wick and
ordinary vegetable oil. The article even reminds you to stock up on
wooden matches.

The same “Emergency Lighting” section then goes on to cover the many
types of flashlights, how many of each that you need for a family,
along with quick descriptions on every type of battery and what you
need to know about it. It then moves on to an overview on electric
generators that will go far in helping to make the best purchase
decision for your situation and budget. This is certainly a lot of
excellent practical information to learn from just one of the many

Right after this is a section on clothing considerations, with five
articles on this subject alone. Other topics include an exhaustive
section on food storage considerations, personal finances and
medicine, to name just a few. (I particularly liked “Seven Antibiotics
to Stockpile and Why,” written by an MD.) The list goes on and on…

I'll admit that I have not yet read every single article in the
Manual, which is what the editors recommend doing in advance, rather
than considering it as a turn-to resource after the TSHTF.  This is all
about planning your preparedness strategy in advance through a better
understanding and the Manual, which I just recently acquired, is my
winter reading list.

But, much of this advice is also proving valuable in refining my life
and clarifying my thinking for the here and now. Certainly, a
well-read copy of the “LDS Preparedness Manual” belongs in every
prepper's library.

I obtained my copy directly from the site. One thing that
I did not at all care for, however, is that I had to register and
provide my email address in order to download it, which took a few
extra steps. Also, I value my anonymity with strangers, and even more
so as the details of current government surveillance programs become
disclosed. And, I wasn't particularly happy that I started receiving
regular emails urging me to join the AVOW site and forums, for a fee.
From what I can tell, it's a valuable resource and community, and
no-doubt a good value. But, I already have a full plate of information
resources that I can't keep up with now.

In any event, right in the Manual, it says that it may be freely
distributed, as long as it's not for a profit. So, I have reposted
this 10 MB .pdf file on my website and it's freely available for all
to download immediately, without any sort of registration nor
identification, and certainly no follow-up emails. My site is a simple
one that doesn't use cookies or any type of tracking software. I can't
guarantee what the Government is doing, but I've done all that I can
to respect my visitor's privacy. The only information that I will get
is learning how many downloads have happened and that's all I need.
You'll find the page with the no-hassle download link at

In full disclosure, I'm offering this free anonymous download as a
clever ploy, I hope,  to get folks to check out the new gardening
system of Cubic Foot Gardening and, hopefully, order some of the
inexpensive InstaBed high performance raised bed garden kits that I
manufacture in my farm workshop, right here in the USA. If you're serious about food security
gardening, these are definitely worth checking out. But you don't have
register or buy anything or jump through any hoops in order to score
this invaluable treasury of prepping information. The direct link to
the file is on the first page and all you have to do to download it is
to click on it.

If you have any thoughts, recommendations or tips on either the Manual
or the individual articles, please be sure to share them in the
Comments section below.

Read more with these related articles from our site:

Prepper Survival Plan for Beginners and Advanced

How to Be a Prepper with the Prepper’s Playbook from Survival Life

Prepper’s Guidebook Found in Survival Life’s Newest Special Report

Continue Reading


  1. The Concrete Fairy

    August 12, 2013 at 9:32 AM

    Downloading the manual, THANK YOU!! And will look at your website 🙂

  2. Juanita Robinson

    August 12, 2013 at 10:21 AM

    I would like to have the manual but cannot download anything. Are there any printed copies that I can order. I am old school. I will pay for the printing and shipping cost. Can I get a reply to my question?

    • 'Above Average' Joe

      August 12, 2013 at 10:36 AM

      Hi Jaunita, unfortunately I don’t have the ability to print them and mail them to you.

      The one thing I would suggest is to email the .pdf to an office max or kinko’s and they should be able to print it off for you.

    • Éowyn

      August 12, 2013 at 11:05 AM

      Another idea is to buy a small usb thumb drive, go to your local library and download it to the thumb drive. Take the thumb drive to kinko’s, etc., and they can print it for you. As a bonus, you still have it saved on the thumb drive if you want, or you can delete it.

    • Eric

      August 12, 2013 at 3:34 PM

      Yes, you can buy a hardbound copy from AVOW; it looks to be about $20.

    • Mark Smith

      August 12, 2013 at 4:38 PM

      They sell a bound copy on their AVOW store site and on Amazon ($25).

    • rambuff

      September 4, 2013 at 6:08 PM

      Juanita – just do a google search for “Avow”….goto the website and look at “resources”. There is a spot there that should enable you to order a hard copy of the book.

      Good Luck!!

  3. Nick

    August 12, 2013 at 2:49 PM

    Thank you for sharing this resource with us! I’m downloading it now and will be printing it to add to my “paper” library for future reference as well. The most important preps are knowledge and resources!

  4. Lindsay

    August 12, 2013 at 8:37 PM

    I downloaded the previous manual dated from 2011(this one looks like an update from the cover) and took the time to burn it to 20 CDs. I attended a Thrive foods party last October and the CDs went like hot cakes. I have never read a manual that dives so deeply into various aspects of prepping. It is definitely worth the read. One interesting example: there is forty degrees of heat in a charcoal briquet. If you put ten of then in a covered charcoal grill, you have a four hundred degree oven to bake in using your pans. Sun ovens are worth their weight in gold also. Pick a good one or you can make one by researching on the web. The manual explains foods in detail and how much you should store for the amount of people you are prepping for. It covers so much, you could sit for hours and be amazed about how little we know about our food.

  5. Hipockets

    August 14, 2013 at 1:01 AM

    Our local L.D.S. church (very small town)’ Held a survial day community’day’ I went,and was amazed’ THey had rooms with instructions on canning,gear you need in your B.O Bag,etc. Very informative. If it’s ever offered in your area,be sure to go’

  6. Chris

    August 15, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    I think it’s of note, that although AVOW is made up of primarily LDS people, it is in no way officially affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The church’s official website in regards to self-reliance and “prepping” is It is a free website with basic information on how to prepare for everything from TEOTWAWKI, to losing a job and having to live off of savings,food storage and gardening for a few months. I recommend it to everybody from the casual prepper to the complete self-sufficiency homesteader.

    • 'Above Average' Joe

      August 15, 2013 at 1:18 PM

      Thanks for the Info Chris!

  7. Sonny Calta

    August 17, 2013 at 1:11 AM

    In the video about the “get back home bag, he sure left out one of theeee most important things: THE PRICES !!!!

  8. Sonny Calta

    August 17, 2013 at 1:17 AM

    Since I seem to have two boxes to comment in, I damned sure want to cut
    loose with this one. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m sooooo
    frigging sick of videos, good or bad. I don’t think I’ve seen one, be
    it from Frank, Bob, or any other leader, that could not cut-out at least 80%. I get soooo sick of their diarrhea ramblings, that by the time they get to the end, I’m ready to smash my LPTP!! For me, that has
    cost many of them a sale simply because of their stupid-ass ramblings.
    testimonials from the same person 2-3 times is pure BS!!!

  9. Margarita

    August 18, 2013 at 9:16 AM

    I am looking for the link to download but dont see it. Can someone help please.

  10. Christopher parrett

    August 24, 2013 at 11:51 PM

    As the author of the LDS PREPAREDNESS MANUAL I thought I would take this opportunity to comment on WHY we ask for an e-mail address from everyone who downloads our FREE prep Manual. Its much simpler and less sinister than the reviewer suggests. I am HOUNDED by requests from people who download the free manual for a PRINTED COPY. So the moment you download it we now send out a followup e-mail containing the information on how to get a printed hard bound edition either directly from us or through

  11. JCBParodi

    December 6, 2013 at 9:11 PM

    Thank you for the free download link 🙂

  12. david

    March 5, 2014 at 7:46 PM

    Mark Smith is correct. Mine came yesterday by mail. Total cost under 25.00

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