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Question

 

Dear Gramps,

In the scriptures it says man should be happy, but in my life (no matter how hard I try) I cannot seem to find any happiness for an extended amount of time. How can I become happy?

Nathaniel

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Answer

 

Dear Nathaniel,

The first clue is found in the Book of Mormon in Alma 41:10

Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness.

Therefore, our happiness is limited to the degree that our lives are consistent with the will of God. Secondly, we sometimes become unhappy when anticipated events do not materialize according to our expectation. This is evidence that we are set on a particular agendum of our own making. No problem with that, unless we demand that the Lord accede to our wishes. A related scripture would be—

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding (Prov 3:5).

Third, we are sometimes unhappy because we don’t feel that we can accomplish all that is expected of us, and thus do not measure up to the expectations of others. Elder Richard L. Evans is quoted in the Improvement Era, 1941, as saying

“To Joseph Smith, at a time when he seemed impatient to move faster than circumstances permitted, the Lord said: “Do not run faster or labor more than you have strength and means provided … but be diligent unto the end.” (Doctrine and Covenants 10:4) That we shall go quickly or that we shall perform spectacularly is not important, but that we shall safely and surely move from hour to hour and day to day, and that we shall not lose the way, are things vital to all men who would realize their highest possibilities.”

And finally, if we are put on by others and treated badly by them, we might heed the counsel of Elder Harold B. Lee, who said in a Branch Conference in Wichita Falls, Texas, in November, 1942,

“Be kind, forgiving and overlook the faults of others.”

Thus, if we can avoid taking offense when others treat us badly, and readily forgive them as the Savior forgives us for our many faults, we would not let such improprieties bother us.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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