- Do what we ought to do
- Develop talents- Be grateful
"Joy comes when we have the Spirit in our lives," Elder Quentin L. Cook said Saturday afternoon. "When we have the Spirit, we rejoice in what the Savior has done for us."
Elder Cook, who was called to the Seventy during general conference last April, explained, "The source of the kind of joy which causes us to rejoice is an understanding of the plan of salvation." He then recounted how the Savior foretold the sorrow the early apostles would feel at His leaving ". . . but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you." (John 16:22).
"The Resurrection and Atonement wrought by the Savior and the promise of eternal life with our loved ones are of such overwhelming significance that to not rejoice would demonstrate a lack of understanding of the Savior's gift."
This kind of joy, continued Elder Cook, is the result of living in accordance with fundamental spiritual principles such as prayer, scripture study, righteous living and service to others.
In addition, he suggested three other areas or "distractions we need to avoid in order to maintain joy" - avoiding distractions which keep us from doing what we ought to do; avoiding the magnification of small imperfections; and avoiding unfavorable comparisons with others.
"Our family has labeled a distraction from a worthwhile goal as a Saturday Morning Cartoon," he said, explaining how a son coined the phrase as a child after deciding he wanted a career that didn't conflict with Saturday morning cartoons.
"The greatest gift to all mankind is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. To rejoice in this gift, we need to avoid the Saturday Morning Cartoons of life which distract our focus from the Savior and the celestial goal for which we strive."
A second group who do not find joy are "distracted by magnifying small areas of imperfections so as to drive out happiness."
These people "are unduly critical of themselves and of others. They have become accustomed to exaggerating small imperfections and underestimating great blessings and have lost the capacity to rejoice," he said.
A third area of distraction destroys joy by "comparing our talents and blessings with others."
"The growth in our own talents is the best measure of personal progress.
"If we truly want to have the Spirit of the Lord and experience joy and happiness, we should rejoice in our blessings and be grateful," he said.