farewell talk

There once was a man whose lifelong dream was to board a cruise ship and sail the Mediterranean Sea. He dreamed of walking the streets of Rome, Athens, and Istanbul. He saved every penny until he had enough for his passage. Since money was tight, he brought an extra suitcase filled with cans of beans, boxes of crackers, and bags of powdered lemonade, and that is what he lived on every day.
He would have loved to take part in the many activities offered on the ship—working out in the gym, playing miniature golf, and swimming in the pool. He envied those who went to movies, shows, and cultural presentations. And, oh, how he yearned for only a taste of the amazing food he saw on the ship—every meal appeared to be a feast! But the man wanted to spend so very little money that he didn’t participate in any of these. He was able to see the cities he had longed to visit, but for the most part of the journey, he stayed in his cabin and ate only his humble food.
On the last day of the cruise, a crew member asked him which of the farewell parties he would be attending. It was then that the man learned that not only the farewell party but almost everything on board the cruise ship—the food, the entertainment, all the activities—had been included in the price of his ticket. Too late the man realized that he had been living far beneath his privileges.
President Uchtdorf told this parable in this April’s Priesthood Session.  The man on the  cruise ship can be compared to us. The wonderful food, entertainment and activities on the cruise ship can be compared to the sacred power, gifts and blessings of the Priesthood and the gospel. The man didn’t know until the end of his cruise that by paying for the ticket and being a member of the ship’s passengers, he could have enjoyed everything onboard. As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, restored under the Priesthood Power of God, we often live far below our privileges.
As I was pondering this parable, I thought of three distinct ways in which I have often lived beneath my privileges when it comes to the Gospel. These have to do with, the Temple, Honoring the Basics and Living by the Spirit
I love the Temple. When I was younger, I would participate in the young womens and young mens trips to do baptisms for the dead every few months. While I enjoyed the experience, I never thought of going on my own. However, my first year up at BYU-Idaho, while going to college, I just happened to have two newly returned sister missionaries for roommates. They, along with my other roommates had established a habit of going to the Temple weekly. Soon, my sister and I were joining them and doing baptisms. What started at first as a rote activity soon became a treasured experience. I found myself looking  forward to visiting the Temple each week, and feeling glad when the line was long and I had the opportunity to wait and ponder the scriptures for a little bit longer before my turn to be baptized. I noticed a sadness on the weeks I would miss going and I found that I was generally more happy and productive on the weeks that I was able to go. I found upon returning home that all I needed to do to be able to do baptisms here in the Logan Temple was to call the baptistry the day of and put my name down for a time.
Because I am going on a mission, a few months ago, I was blessed with the opportunity to receive my Endowments. I decided that I wanted to try and go every week to help prepare me for my mission. The habit of doing baptisms has greatly helped me in accomplishing this goal. There is a consistency of peace and a clarity from visiting the Temple that I might not have noticed if I hadn’t tried so hard to make it a part of my routine. I’ve found that it’s not so much about how often you go, but about establishing a pattern and routine for when you can go, whether it’s weekly, or monthly and then sticking to it. The pure truths of the Temple are nourishing to our Spirit. If we prayerfully establish a routine of going to the Temple, I have a testimony that we will begin to look forward to and count on the Spiritual blessings it brings.
In our Prophet, President Monson’s latest word to us, he said: “The all-important and crowning blessings of membership in the Church are those blessings which we receive in the temples of God. I express my undying gratitude to my Heavenly Father for the temple now being built in Rome and for all of our temples, wherever they are. Each one stands as a beacon to the world, an expression of our testimony that God, our Eternal Father, lives, that He desires to bless us and, indeed, to bless His sons and daughters of all generations. Each of our temples is an expression of our testimony that life beyond the grave is as real and as certain as is our life here on earth. I so testify.
My beloved brothers and sisters, may we make whatever sacrifices are necessary to attend the temple and to have the spirit of the temple in our hearts and in our homes. May we follow in the footsteps of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who made the ultimate sacrifice for us, that we might have eternal life and exaltation in our Heavenly Father’s kingdom.”
When I received my Endowments, one of the Key things that stood out to me about the Temple experience was the beautiful simplicity of the Temple ordinances. They are all about the family. The Lord Created the World. He has infinite wisdom and knowledge and yet, the most important and sacred thing to him, the thing he honors and desires to accomplish in His Temples is simply keeping his family together. We are God’s family. He cares about each one of us. Our Heavenly father is a God of order and of all the things he organizes, the Temples are so sacred because they are where he organizes families.
In speaking of Honoring the basics, I’d like to start off by saying, I am thankful for the Priesthood. The priesthood is the power and authority of God. It is conferred upon worthy male members of the Church. Those who hold priesthood keys direct the administration of the ordinances of the gospel, the preaching of the gospel, and the government of the kingdom of God on the earth.
Vaughn J. Featherstone said, “The restoration of this great priesthood gives those who hold it more authority to perform ordinances in the kingdom of God than all the leaders of other religious or secular groups. Imagine young men having authority and power to exceed that of kings, presidents, and rulers of nations. And every young man who has been ordained has that authority and the potential blessing of the ministering of angels.”
President Gordon B. Hinckley has added his testimony when he said: “[The priesthood] is a delegation of divine authority, different from all other powers and authorities on the face of the earth. … It is the only power on the earth that reaches beyond the veil of death. … Without it there could be a church in name only, [a church] lacking authority to administer in the things of God.” 2

And from Pres. Monson, “The gift of the priesthood is priceless. It carries with it the authority to act as God’s servants, to administer to the sick, to bless our families, and to bless others as well. Its authority can reach beyond the veil of death, on into the eternities. There is nothing else to compare with it in all this world. Safeguard it, treasure it, live worthy of it.”

It was by the Priesthood power, that the Lord created the worlds. Part of our journey to becoming our best selves and becoming like God depends on our honoring the Priesthood. Being a woman, as  I was preparing for this talk I was particularly curious to discover my role on this subject. I came across a talk by elder Boyd K. Packer that I’d like to share part of.

He spoke of the the process of motherhood and said:
The well-being of the mother, the child, the family, the Church, indeed of all humanity depends upon protecting that process. The obligations of motherhood are never-ending. The addition of such duties as those which attend ordination to the priesthood would constitute an intrusion into, an interruption to, perhaps the avoidance of, that crucial contribution which only a mother can provide.
The limitation of priesthood responsibilities to men is a tribute to the incomparable place of women in the plan of salvation.
Men and women have complementary, not competing, responsibilities. There is difference but not inequity. Intelligence and talent favor both of them. And blessings bestowed impartially upon man and woman alike include:
•    —Baptism; The gift of the Holy Ghost; The testimony of Jesus; Personal revelation; The ministry of angels; The responsibility to teach, to testify, to exhort, to edify and to comfort; The faith to be healed; And many other spiritual gifts.
All under a uniform standard for worthiness.
And the highest ordinances in the House of the Lord Men and Women receive together and equally or not at all!
I have come to understand that one of the best ways I can honor the Priesthood is by honoring my divine nature and being my best self. I should nurture those around me and strive to compliment the Priesthood responsibilities of young men by encouraging them to be their best. One of a woman’s divine gifts is the power of influence. As I have begun to realize this, I have become more sensitive to my responsibility to use that gift to uplift those around me and be a better example and friend.
And to the men out there. If only you knew how much it means to women when you honor your priesthood and fulfill your priesthood callings and responsibilities. The best way to magnify a calling is simply to do the work that pertains to it. Coming to church, volunteering to prepare and bless the Sacrament, home teaching, being worthy to give Priesthood blessings. Sometimes, one might wonder if those basic things are really making a difference. I would like to bear my testimony that they do, and every effort counts. With varied responsibilities and activities going on when I was growing up, it was often hard to find a chance to gather together. Having a home teacher to come and pray and teach brought the Spirit and was a great blessing.
We build a life filled with spiritual experiences and blessings by working to create those experiences for those around us.  Pray for specific help with the little troubles that come up each day and your eyes will be opened to how the Lord is sending people, opportunities and experiences into your life to help you cope. Send thank you cards. Show your gratitude and your eyes will be opened to how much you mean to those around you and to the Lord.
-Life doesn’t mean anything without other people. Man are that they might have joy.
-Principle of sacrifice. Everything is a trade. If you give up the grey things in life, you make room for more light.  Pray twice a day, it will help you to use the Atonement in the little things and feel more peace and joy. When life is weighing you down and the load is too heavy, pray. Prayer and Scripture study really do work.
-Principle of consecration. Pray your way to balance. The power comes from the consecration. Find joy in spontaneity by doing the important things first.
– Love people how they need to be loved. Be prepared to make time for them when they need it.
I feel incredibly blessed to be surrounded by family and friends who love me and are exited for me. I want to honor that by doing my very best and giving the Lord my best when I enter the MTC this wednesday.  I’m exited to share the joy of this gospel with the people of Brazil. Our gospel is all about families, and it’s all about honoring those things that will bring us the greatest happiness and fulfillment in life. I know this church is true. I have a testimony of prayer. I have a testimony of the standard works. They build on each other and all testify of Christ.

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