The 'fine dining' of the gospel of Jesus Christ

By Becky Thomas

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, March 22 2014 5:00 a.m. MDT

A fine dining place setting at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City.

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I don't think I will ever hear the word "privileges" again without thinking of the story by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf about the man who signed up for a cruise, and in an effort to save his money for the various ports the ship would be stopping at, he packed in his suitcase some beans and crackers and powdered lemonade so that he would not have to spend his money on food while he was on board. When the ship was at sea, he stayed in his cabin nibbling on beans and crackers and drinking his powdered lemonade. On the final night he learned that ALL the food, amenities, entertainment, pool, etc., was included in the price of the cruise!

The point being that he was "living far beneath his privileges," as said by President Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Many years ago, when I was just a little girl, friends of my parents invited them to leave the "cabin," the world, and come to the "dining hall" and enjoy the amenities of the gospel of Jesus Christ. They actually enjoyed the "cabin," they had made it home, they were happily married and doing the best they could raising their three little kids; they were enjoying their beans and crackers — that was all they knew.

However, after venturing out into the gospel and expanding their appetite and enjoying some vegetables, steak, lobster and hot fudge sundaes, they began to feel a contentment, joy and happiness that was beyond anything they had ever experienced in the cabin. They realized that raising their kids on beans and crackers would never give them the nutrients they would need to reach their potential. They wanted the best for their family, plus they knew they would never be content with beans and crackers now that they had tasted fine dining.

I have to admit that there were times in my youth when I wished we were in the cabin eating beans and crackers. That is where most of my friends were, and it seemed to be good enough for them. I really couldn't understand why our family couldn't just stay in the cabin with the rest of the world. Why did my parents have to haul us off to the dining hall for church on Sundays, early morning seminary, Sunday evening firesides, a weeknight for Young Women, to the welfare farm for grape picking, church volleyball, basketball and musicals, and all those other things they do in the dining hall. Why couldn't I just go to the cabin and enjoy my beans and crackers? After all, if we dressed up, served the beans on fancy dishes, surrounded ourselves with a lot of important people and nice things, then certainly it would equal the experience they were having in the dining hall, right?

I have to admit, my parents are seriously the happiest people I have ever known. They loved the dining hall! They would never love or treat anyone less for choosing to stay in the cabin, but they took every opportunity they could to invite people to the dining hall, and many of them came. It wasn't long before I not only saw how these people changed but also came to appreciate the spiritual diet that my parents raised me on. Just like there are privileges to eating right, exercising, being fiscally responsible, getting an education, etc., I saw with my own eyes the privileges that came to those who chose to leave the world and come unto Christ.

I was reminded of this principle a couple of months ago when I went in for knee surgery. I was told I would be down for about a week, so my mom flew in to help, and with my crutches and friends, I was ready to tackle anything. To my surprise, I came home from surgery feeling pretty good. I woke up the next morning and hopped out of bed like any other morning. It was amazing. My mom was questioning why she flew all the way from California to help me out. My friends were sneaking in my front door so as not to wake me, and there I stood going about my day. We were all in awe at how this knee surgery was so easy. I even mentioned to my friends, "If this is knee surgery, I'll do it every day of the week."

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