The Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ is the heart and core and center of revealed religion.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie Christ and the Creation

December 19, 2017

General Authorities, Gratitude, Happiness, Wirthlin

Comments Off on Can you imagine how your life would improve if you lived in thanksgiving daily?

Gratitude is a mark of a noble soul and a refined character. We like to be around those who are grateful. They tend to brighten all around them. They make others feel better about themselves. They tend to be more humble, more joyful, more likable.

You might be surprised to know that gratitude is a commandment of the Father. “Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things” (D&C 59:7), the Lord has commanded in these latter days. Even further, He has admonished that “in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments” (D&C 59:21).

In the Book of Mormon we learn that we should “live in thanksgiving daily” (Alma 34:38). Isn’t that a wonderful thought to live in thanksgiving daily? Can you imagine how your life would improve if you lived in thanksgiving daily? Can you imagine how your life would improve if others did the same? Do you think the world would be a happier place? less stressful? less angry? more spiritual?

. . . .

One thing I can tell you with certainty is this: You cannot predict happiness by the amount of money, fame, or power a person has. External conditions do not necessarily make a person happy. The Brethren who have had assignments in poorer countries report that despite the abject poverty, the people are very happy. The fact is that the external things so valued by the world are often the cause of a great deal of misery in the world.

Those who live in thanksgiving daily, however, are usually among the world’s happiest people. And they make others happy as well.

Years ago Elder J. Golden Kimball (1853–1938) of the Seventy was traveling with one of the presiding Brethren in southern Utah. In those days meetings often didn’t have a time limit; they went on as long as the speaker wanted to speak. For those of you looking for something to be grateful for, perhaps I’ve just given you one idea.

One fast Sunday they had been preaching nearly all day. Everyone was hungry, especially Elder Kimball, who felt that he “was pretty nearly dead.”

Finally, at about four o’clock in the afternoon, the presiding Apostle turned and said, “Now, Brother Kimball, get up and tell them about the Era.”

The Improvement Era magazine had just been launched, and the Brethren wanted to encourage subscriptions. Elder Kimball approached the pulpit and then, after a short pause, said, “All you men that will take the Era if we will let you go home, raise your right hand.” There was not a single man who did not raise his hand that day to subscribe to the Era (see J. Golden Kimball, in Conference Report, Apr. 1932, 78).

You see, the power of gratitude is immense.

. . . .

Be grateful. Every day is a new canvas—a new opportunity. Our beloved President Gordon B. Hinckley has said: “My plea is that we stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight. I am suggesting that as we go through life, we ‘accentuate the positive.’ I am asking that we look a little deeper for the good, that we still our voices of insult and sarcasm, that we more generously compliment and endorse virtue and effort” (Standing for Something [2000], 101).

Choice blessings await those who live in thanksgiving daily. “He who receiveth all things with thankfulness,” the Lord has promised, “shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more” (D&C 78:19).

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin
“‘Live in Thanksgiving Daily’,” Ensign, Sep 2001, 6
From a devotional address given at Brigham Young University on 31 October 2000.

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May 4, 2017

Fall, General Authorities, General Conference, Happiness, Joy, Mickelsen

Comments Off on There is Nothing More Fundamental to Religious Living than Joy

While teaching at BYU in 1978, Brother Dennis Rasmussen applied and was selected to study at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. In the opening session, as he gave his name and university, Rabbi Muffs boomed, “You’re the Mormon! … Do you pay your tithing?”

“Yes,” he answered.

“Do you pay it with a joyful heart?” “I believe,” the rabbi said, “that joy is the essence of religion. There is nothing more fundamental to religious living than joy. … I am working on a book about joy.”

Brother Rasmussen responded, “There’s a passage in the Book of Mormon … , ‘Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.’ ” (2 Ne. 2:25; compare Moses 5:10; Moses 6:48)

Rabbi Muffs was profoundly touched and exclaimed, “I’ve found the text I’ve searched for all my life … in the Book of Mormon.” Turning to Brother Rasmussen he said, “Say it again, but not so fast.” As he repeated the familiar words, the rabbi’s eyes glowed in appreciation of this great truth he understood but had not heard so succinctly expressed.

How important it is to know the purpose of our existence. Man is that he might have joy, and that joy will come to us as we keep God’s commandments!

Elder Lynn A. Mickelsen
Eternal Laws of Happiness“, Ensign, Nov. 1995, 78, quoting Dennis Rasmussen, “An Elder among the Rabbis,” Brigham Young University Studies 21 (summer 1981): 344–45
(paragraph breaks inserted to enhance online readibility)

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April 8, 2017

General Authorities, General Conference, Gratitude, Happiness, Monson

Comments Off on Gratitude – Among the Noblest of Virtues

This is a wonderful time to be on earth. While there is much that is wrong in the world today, there are many things that are right and good. There are marriages that make it, parents who love their children and sacrifice for them, friends who care about us and help us, teachers who teach. Our lives are blessed in countless ways.

We can lift ourselves, and others as well, when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues. Someone has said that gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues but the parent of all others.

How can we cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude? President Joseph F. Smith, sixth President of the Church, provided an answer. Said he, “The grateful man sees so much in the world to be thankful for, and with him the good outweighs the evil. Love overpowers jealousy, and light drives darkness out of his life.” He continued, “Pride destroys our gratitude and sets up selfishness in its place. How much happier we are in the presence of a grateful and loving soul, and how careful we should be to cultivate, through the medium of a prayer life, a thankful attitude toward God and man!”

President Thomas S. Monson
Sunday Morning Session, General Conference, October, 2010

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March 23, 2017

C.S. Lewis, Happiness

Comments Off on When We are Such as He can Love Without Impediment

What we would here and now call our “happiness” is not the end God chiefly has in view: but when we are such as He can love without impediment, we shall in fact be happy.

C.S. Lewis
The Problem of Pain, page 41

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March 14, 2017

Adversity, General Authorities, General Conference, Happiness, Joy, Scott, Tests, Trust

Comments Off on Sadness, disappointment and challenge are events in life, not life itself

Sadness, disappointment, and severe challenge are events in life, not life itself. I do not minimize how hard some of these events are. They can extend over a long period of time, but they should not be allowed to become the confining center of everything you do. The Lord inspired Lehi to declare the fundamental truth, “Men are, that they might have joy.” ( 2 Nephi 2:25) That is a conditional statement: “they might have joy.” It is not conditional for the Lord. His intent is that each of us finds joy. It will not be conditional for you as you obey the commandments, have faith in the Master, and do the things that are necessary to have joy here on earth.

Your joy in life depends upon your trust in Heavenly Father and His holy Son, your conviction that their plan of happiness truly can bring you joy. Pondering their doctrine will let you enjoy the beauties of this earth and enrich your relationships with others. It will lead you to the comforting, strengthening experiences that flow from prayer to Father in Heaven and the answers He gives in return.

Elder Richard G. Scott
Finding Joy in Life, April, 1996 General Conference

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December 11, 2016

General Authorities, Happiness, Maxwell, Tests

Comments Off on I don’t think God’s too interested in real estate

I don’t think God’s too interested in real estate. He owns it all anyway. He does seem to be incredibly interested in what happens to us individually and will place us in those circumstances where we have the most opportune chances to grow and to carry out our purposes.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell
“But for a Small Moment,” fireside address at Brigham Young University, 1 Sept. 1974

Why do ye set your hearts upon riches?
Mosiah 12:29

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November 11, 2016

C.S. Lewis, Happiness

Comments Off on God, Himself is the Fuel Our Spirits were Designed to Burn

God designed the human machine to run on Himself.  He, Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on.  There is no other.

That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about religion.  God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is no there.  There is no such thing.

C.S. Lewis
Mere Christianity, book II, chapter 3, paragraph 7, page 54

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October 26, 2016

General Authorities, Happiness, Scott

Comments Off on How easy it is to take for granted our relationship with our Father in Heaven and his Beloved Son

Recently I awoke from a most disturbing dream. I ached physically, was saturated with perspiration, and my heart was pounding. Every sense was sharpened. The transition from sleep to wakefulness was imperceptible. I have come to recognize that as an indication of a significant spiritual experience in a dream. I had been taught lessons that would change my life. Although the actual dream was extensive, the key lessons communicated can be summarized by reference to a few specific experiences in the dream.

In it I found myself in a very different and unknown environment. Everything was strange to me. I could not recognize where I was or any of the individuals who surrounded me. I was anxiously seeking my wife, Jeanene. We had been separated, and I wanted very much to find her. Each individual I encountered said that I would not be able to do that. Repeatedly as I sought in different directions to find her, I was emphatically told to forget her for she would not be found. I was frustrated at every turn. One said, “She is no longer the same individual. There isn’t a Jeanene like you knew.”

I thought, that is impossible. I know her, and I know she will never change.

Then I was told, “You are not the same. There is no individual by the name of Richard Scott, and soon all of the memories you’ve had of Jeanene, your children, and other loved ones will be eradicated.”

Fear entered my heart, accompanied by a horrifying feeling. Then came the thought: “No, that is impossible. Those relationships are enduring and unchanging. As long as we live righteously, they cannot be eliminated. They are eternally fixed.”

As more encounters came I realized that I was surrounded with evil individuals who were completely unhappy, with no purpose save that of frustrating the happiness of others so that they too would become miserable. These wicked ones were striving to manipulate those persons over whom they sought to exercise control. I somehow was conscious that those who believed their lies were being led through treachery and deceit from what they wanted most. They soon began to believe that their individuality, their experience, and their relationships as families and friends were being altered and lost. They became angry, aggressive, and engulfed by feelings of hopelessness.

The pressure became more intense to accept as reality that what I had been no longer existed and that my cherished wife was no longer the same. Should I encounter her she wouldn’t recognize me nor want me. I resisted those thoughts with every capacity that I could find. I was determined to find her. I knew that there must be a way and was resolute in searching no matter what the cost in time or effort.

It was then that I broke out of that oppressive surrounding and could see that it was an ugly, artificial, contrived environment. So intense were the feelings generated by what I had been told by those bent on destroying my hope to take me captive that I had not realized the forces of opposition that made my efforts appear fruitless could have no power over me unless I yielded through fear or abandonment of my principles. The environment appeared real, yet it had been generated from fear and threat. Although it was simulated, to those who let themselves believe the falsehoods thrust upon them it became reality.

. . . .

Our Father’s love, his perfections, and his perfect righteousness are absolute guarantees that we will ever exist as an individual entity, an intelligence clothed with spirit and body with latent divine capacities that mature and flower through obedience to his plan and his commandments. We have in his Son a perfect example of willing obedience and perfect love. How hopeless life would be without the absolute assurance of justice centered in fixed laws that are the bedrock foundation of the Father’s plan. What is true one day cannot be manipulated to be something else by the whim or command of another personage. Your happiness is absolutely guaranteed as you willingly obey his commandments, receive all of the necessary ordinances, and are obedient to them, for he is a perfect, loving Father who will never change.

Somehow during that horrifying experience, I glimpsed how except for the Atonement of Jesus Christ, which lets us rectify mistakes through his plan of redemption, justice would demand a recompense for every error committed in life that we could not fulfill. Thus we could not return to Father in Heaven’s presence. We would be left under the dominion of Lucifer, whose intent is to capture us and to destroy everything that is good and righteous in our beings. Over time we would become like Satan because we would lose all hope of returning to Father in Heaven and of benefiting from his righteousness, his mercy, and his perfect love.

Although I would not welcome another like experience, this dream has taught me how easy it is to take for granted our relationship with our Father in Heaven and his Beloved Son, our Master and Savior. Oh, how blessed are we that they are as they say they are, perfect in every possible capacity and attribute. Fundamental to their purpose is that you “might have joy” (2 Nephi 2:25).

Elder Richard G. Scott
Finding Happiness, a devotional address given at Brigham Young University on 19 August 1997

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July 16, 2016

General Authorities, Hafen, Happiness

Comments Off on The Gospel of Belonging – Hafen

On some days, our dealings with other people might prompt us to think that the greatest reward in the life after death should be that God, and everyone else, will just leave us alone, unencumbered by the needs and demands of others.

However, Jesus Christ came to accomplish the great at-one-ment, not the great alone-ment. He came to overcome our separation from God and from one another. He seeks to bring us to his Father, to himself, and to each other, at one, through the gift and power of his Atonement. Even though we do need some space for ourselves, something deep inside each of us instinctively responds to this gospel of belonging, drawing us to certain other people and to God.

. . . .

The good news is that the gospel of Jesus Christ answers the heart’s longing for fulness. The Father of our spirits knows where we belong-where our core being can say, “I was made for this.” To that end, God would have us fulfill our deepest eternal yearnings and know the meaning of our very existence.

We do not live by bread alone, and we were not made to be alone. “Happiness is the object and design of our existence,” wrote Joseph Smith. But the life of alienation and distance from God and from other people leads away from that object and design. The life of faith, hope, and charity-the life of the belonging heart-brings us to and keeps us within the arms of the Holy One of Israel. When in his presence, we will embrace not only him but also those we loved and served on earth. And in all these bonds of belonging is the fulness of our joy.

Elder Bruce C. Hafen and Marie K. Hafen
The Belonging Heart: The Atonement and Relationships with God and Family
Deseret Books (March 1994)

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June 20, 2016

Alma, Happiness, Wesley

Comments Off on Wisdom, Holiness, and Happiness are One

Wisdom, holiness, and happiness are one; are inseparably united; and are, indeed, the beginning of that eternal life which God hath given us in his Son.

John Wesley
Sermon 70, “Case of Reason Impartially Considered”


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

Alma 41:10

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