I joined the church at 28 and want my kids to live the standards. I struggle with how they are taught in YW/YM. They tell my kids that their friends aren’t really having fun hanging out and breaking the Law of Chastity etc. They know I wasn’t a member at that age and ask if I did those things, They want to know if it was really not fun as they are taught. I don’t want to lie. I don’t want to contradict the lie taught at YM/YW that their friends aren’t having fun.
Those days were the best of my life and I had a lot of fun. How can I tell my kids that living that life wasn’t fun when it was the time of my life? How can I tell them that having girlfriends and that is not fun? Or that it doesn’t bring happiness (because it did I married my last girlfriend). I’m supposed to tell them it’s not fun but how can I without lying? I believe in being honest with my kids and if they ask me a question like this, How can I encourage them to live the standards and believe what the church teaches about it not being fun while being honest with my kids?
This is one of the most important lessons for our youth today, and I seriously feel that it cannot be taught often enough.
There is a very basic difference between having fun, and true happiness. What the lesson ought to be about is the difference between them.
For instance, there can be a great deal of fun, or joy, to be had from sinning. That’s part of why it’s so tempting, whatever sin you choose to illustrate. But that joy only lasts so long. The happiness that came from family time, or memories associated with serving others has lasted far longer than any ‘fun’ I might have had in sin.
The Difference Between Fun and Happiness
The basic difference, then, is that sin is indeed instantly gratifying, but then it’s over and gone, leaving us empty, as we were before, only now with the burden of the sin upon us. True happiness fills us and leaves us joyful for years, stronger and brighter in the face of temptation. The happy memories can be reflected on over and over and we’ll still smile, regardless of the time that has passed.
The goal is to seek and obtain the true lasting happiness that Heavenly Father wants us to have. So how do we know the difference? Moroni gave us one very simple way as stated in Moroni 7:14-18:
14 Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil.
15 For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.
16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.
17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.
18 And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged.
Another difference is that most joy or fun to be had from sin is very selfish, or greedy, in nature. Sin does not take the time to make others happy, or improve their lives in any meaningful way.
Another short reminder is also found in Alma 41:10,
10 Do not suppose, because it has been spoken concerning restoration, that ye shall be restored from sin to happiness. Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness.
Sin Does Not Make us Happy
So yes, in the short term, breaking the commandments can be great fun, but those feelings pass away quickly. More to the point, and especially with the Law of Chastity, the consequences of sin are as unavoidable as gravity or burning your bare hand on a hot stove. Some may not be realized immediately, but one only needs to look at society, and the degradation of morality, chastity, and the wholeness of family to understand what those consequences can be. Then there’s the issue of STD’s, social impact at home, school, friends.
We are bombarded on all sides about the acceptability of sex any time, anywhere, for any reason. That message is in direct conflict with the will and word of Heavenly Father from the very beginning. The standards of the Church are in line with the will of Heavenly Father, and now the youth must decide which is more important, ‘having fun’ or true happiness. Another way to say it is; living in sin, or being obedient to Heavenly Father.
It’s not an easy choice, but it really is that simple.