President Dieter F. Uchtdorf: 'Your Potential, Your Privilege'
It's easy. Send a link to the story you were just reading to a friend. Just fill out the form on this page and we'll send it along.
Are priesthood holders living below their privileges when it comes to the sacred power, gifts and blessings that are their opportunity and right? President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency asked that question in his priesthood session address after giving this parable:
A man fulfilled a lifelong dream to sail the Mediterranean Sea in a cruise ship, but in order to afford it, he brought an extra suitcase with beans, crackers and powdered lemonade on which he lived every day. At the end of the cruise, he learned that almost everything he missed — food, entertainment, activities — had been included in the price of the ticket. Too late, the man realized he had been living far beneath his privileges.
"The blessings of the priesthood transcend our ability to comprehend," President Uchtdorf remarked.
"The fact that our Heavenly Father would entrust this power and responsibility to man is evidence of His great love for us and a foreshadowing of our potential as sons of God in the hereafter," he said.
"Nevertheless, too often our actions suggest that we live far beneath this potential. When asked about the priesthood, many of us can recite a correct definition, but in our daily lives, there may be little evidence that our understanding goes beyond the level of a rehearsed script.
"Brethren, we are faced with a choice. We can be satisfied with a diminished experience as priesthood bearers and settle for experiences far below our privileges. Or we can partake of an abundant feast of spiritual opportunity and universal priesthood blessings."
President Uchtdorf said that too often, attendees at Church meetings nod their heads in agreement at what is said and perhaps jot down some action points. "But somewhere between the hearing, the writing of a reminder on our smart phone, and the actual doing, our 'do it' switch gets rotated to the 'later' position. Brethren, let's make sure to set our 'do it' switch to the 'now' position!"
He admonished listeners not to let a day go by without doing something to act on the promptings of the Spirit.
Like an advanced and expensive computer, the holy priesthood has an owner's manual, President Uchtdorf said. "Let us commit to reading the scriptures and handbooks with more purpose and focus. Let us begin by re-reading sections 20, 84, 107 and 121 of the Doctrine and Covenants. The more we study the purpose, potential and practical use of the priesthood, the more we will be amazed by its power, and the Spirit will teach us how to access and use that power to bless our families, communities and the Church."
By not seeking to use the channel of revelation, priesthood holders are living beneath their priesthood privileges, President Uchtdorf said. "For example, there are those who believe but don't know what they believe. They have received various answers by the still, small voice over an extended period of time, but because this inspiration seems so small and insignificant, they do not recognize it for what it really is. As a result, they allow doubts to keep them from fulfilling their potential as priesthood holders."
He said revelation does not always come with overwhelming force; for many, it comes slowly, "a piece at a time."
"Sometimes it comes so gradually that it is hard to recall the exact moment we actually knew the gospel was true. The Lord gives us 'line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little.'"
He compared a testimony to a snowball that grows larger with every turn. Using phrasing from Doctrine and Covenants passages, he said, "We start out with a small amount of light — even if it is only a desire to believer. Gradually, 'light cleaveth unto light,' and 'he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day,' when in due time [we] receive of his fulness.'"
Drawing on his experience as an airline pilot, President Uchtdorf contrasted pilots who never lost their enthusiasm for flying with those who seemed merely to be going through the motions. "You may want to ask yourself if you are merely going through the motions as a priesthood bearer — doing what is expected but not experiencing the joy that should be yours," he said.
"Brethren, our religion is a joyful one! We are most blessed to bear the priesthood of God!"
He remarked, "Too often we fail to experience the bliss that comes from daily practical priesthood service. At times, assignments can feel like burdens. Brethren, let us not pass through life immersed in the three Ws: wearied, worrying and whining."
He invited young men to think about what the sacred ordinance of the sacrament might mean to a ward member who perhaps has had a challenging week. "Brethren, if your home teaching efforts don't seem to be effective to you, I invite you to see with the eye of faith what a visit from a servant of the Lord will do for a family who has many unseen problems."
He admonished, "As bearers of the priesthood, let us never become hardened to the wonder and awe of what the Lord has entrusted to us."