Living Up to Our Privileges
Barbara Morgan Gardner
I am a firm believer that some of the most important lessons in life, especially those associated with the gospel of Jesus Christ, are “caught and not taught.” I strongly encourage, plead, and admonish you if possible, to have a prayer in your heart that I not only will be able to convey those things that I believe the Spirit would have me share with you but more importantly, that you will be receptive to those things the Spirit is trying to convey to you. I know that God is in the details, and I know that however many women there are, there are at least that many details. I know that God will speak to you through the holy Ghost those things you need to know, study, and act upon at this time in your life.
in preparation for this talk, I found and will paraphrase a story shared by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf that seemed to encapsulate one of the principles I felt to emphasize regarding women and the priesthood. although I remembered the story itself, I was surprised and frankly a bit humbled to recognize that he used the same story to teach the brethren the same principle. I have taken literary license and changed the man in the story to a woman in order to drive home the point to the target audience.
The story concerns a woman who worked most of her life to afford a cruise through the Mediterranean. She had dreamed about sailing on the open sea and touring the great cities around the Mediterranean coast. She saved up all her money until she had just enough for a ticket. Planning ahead, she filled one suitcase with cheap food—lemonade, beans, and crackers, which she ate each day she was on her cruise.
Walking around the ship, she was tempted at every turn by the many activities that were available and the tables full of food in the dining areas. She realized her dream of walking in the cities she had always wanted to see, but she kept to her cabin while on board and ate her rationed food from her extra suitcase.
as the ship approached its final port, a crew member asked her which of the many farewell parties she’d go to. and then she discovered something important she’d missed: everything on board—the activities, the shows, the buffets—had been included in the price of her ticket. as President Uchtdorf tells it, “too late the [woman] realized that [she] had been living far beneath [her] privileges.”1
as I have been preparing, fasting, praying, and wrestling over this topic, the question that seems to keep coming is simply: are we as sisters, especially those endowed in the holy temple of the lord—and therefore blessed with priesthood power, gifts, and blessings—living beneath our privileges? i would add: are we, like the woman on the cruise, missing joy, strength,