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In pursuit of eternal joy

A popular song of the day affirms: "Don't worry, be happy!"

How easy this makes it seem. If you don't worry you can be happy, and if you're happy you won't worry.Would that happiness were so simple, but unfortunately it is one of the most elusive things in life.

Just when we think we are approaching happiness, something happens that robs us of our expected feelings. Even Nephi of old must have experienced such feelings, for he wrote in the Book of Mormon:

"And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins. . . ." (2 Ne. 4:19)

But as elusive as it sometimes seems, happiness is still possible and it is still important for us to work for it. Achieving happiness is so important that the Prophet Joseph Smith said it is one of our most important goals.

"Happiness," the Prophet wrote, "is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God." (HC 5:134-135.)

Here, then, is a working plan for our quest:

Mission statement: Achieve true happiness by earning eternal life in the celestial kingdom.

Goal: Pursue the path that leads to true happiness.

Objectives:

  • Be Virtuous. Chastity and purity are under constant attack in today's world. The victims of immorality are unhappy, for it is an eternal truth that you cannot commit sin and feel happy about it. Alma affirmed this to his son Corianton when he said, "Wickedness never was happiness." (Alma 41:10.) We must, as the Lord has admonished, let virtue garnish our thoughts unceasingly. (See D&C 121:45.)
  • Be Upright. Webster defines upright, in this sense, as strict regard for the right, and resolute thoughtful adherence to high moral principles. Synonyms include such words as honest, just, conscientious, scrupulous, and honorable. How needed are the qualities suggested by these noble words if we are to be happy.
  • Be Holy. Holiness suggests being spiritually whole. It implies purity of heart. It means that one who is holy is dedicated to sacred things more than worldly things. It indicates being selfless in service and purpose. In the beautiful hymn, "More Holiness Give Me," the writer suggests various aspects of holiness, and then concludes that as we strive for these qualities we will be "More fit for the Kingdom," and "More, Savior, like thee." (See Hymns, #131.)
  • Be Obedient. Obedience means keeping all the commandments that God has given for our welfare and our progress here in mortality. We cannot expect to be happy here, or to be exalted hereafter, unless we keep the laws that result in such rewards. Obedience to divine instruction is the only effective way known to be happy. The Prophet Joseph was well known for this maxim: "I made this my rule: When the Lord commands, do it." (History of the Church 2:170.) There could be no better advice if we are to be truly happy.

Implied in the Prophet's outline of a pathway to happiness are such essential elements as faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, love of fellowmen, service to others , true gratitude for the blessings we have, and a sincere interest in the well-being of others.

Also important is another perspective as expressed so well by the late President Harold B. Lee:

"The man who is ambitious for personal gain and personal advantage is never a happy man, for before him always are the receding horizons of life that will ever mock his attempts at acquisition and conquest. The man who serves unselfishly is the man who is the happy man." (Conference Report, April, 1947, pp.49-50.)

Don't worry about worldliness. Be happy in your pursuit of eternal joy!

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