There’s a lot of junk in this world. Pornography, abuse, kidnappings, not to mention each person’s individual trials, including depression and other challenges. And that’s just close to home. Further away, there are wars, government upheavals, famines, outbreaks of various diseases, civil unrest, discrimination; the list could go on. For the most part, though, I am relatively happy.

A girl playing her guitar and smiling very big with a quote about happiness from Elaine Marshall.But why? How can I be happy when I turn on the nightly news and hear about kidnapping victims in Ohio or a tragic building collapse in Bangledesh? Or when I call my family and hear about the cousin whose marriage has failed, just the latest in a long line of family tragedies? The answer is twofold: knowledge and action.

Knowledge of the Truth

The number one reason I am happy is because of what I know. As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes inadvertently called the Mormon Church, the things I believe give me the greatest opportunity for peace and happiness. Some pieces of knowledge that bring me the most peace and happiness are as follows

  • God, our Heavenly Father, lives and loves us all. Because I know that Heavenly Father lives, I know He is in control, both of what happens on the earth as a whole and for me individually. Knowing that God is in control, always has been, and always will be, brings me great peace.
  • Jesus Christ is the Savior of us all, and redeemed us from sin and death. Because I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, there is hope that I can overcome my weaknesses. When I make mistakes, and fall short, I know I can repent because of Jesus Christ. Knowing that I am not perfect, but that through the Savior I can become perfect, brings me peace.
  • My family can be together forever, through the ordinances of the temple. Because I know that my family can live together forever, death is not as sad. I will see the people I love again, and can be with them for eternity, so long as we are faithful to God and His commandments. Knowing that my family is forever brings me peace, because no matter what happens in this life, it will all be all right in the next life.

Acting upon Knowledge of the Truth

Knowing all of these things is amazing. But just knowing isn’t enough; I need to act. I am happier when I am doing the things that God has commanded us to do. Some things I do that make me happy include the following:

  • Reading the scriptures every day. This reminds me of what I know, and helps me to feel the Holy Ghost, or Spirit, more in my life.
  • Praying to Heavenly Father every day. Expressing gratitude to God for His blessings reminds me how much I really have. Praying also helps me feel the Holy Ghost more in my life, and helps me to be happier.
  • Serving others. Thinking about other people instead of myself always makes me happier. Whether I am serving my family, my friends, or people I don’t even know, the effect is the same.
  • Going to the temple on a regular basis. The temple is one of the best places to feel peace. It helps me remember what’s important in my life. Even going to the temple grounds brings me peace and happiness.
  • Working hard every day. I’m happier when I’m productive. Sitting around doing nothing doesn’t make me happy; getting up and doing good brings the best kind of satisfaction.

Doing these things brings me satisfaction because I know that I am doing what Heavenly Father wants me to do. When I am active, I feel like I am doing something, even if it’s small, to make my life and the lives of other people better. In the Doctrine and Covenants, a book of revelations from the Lord given in modern times, the Lord commanded the Latter-day Saints to “be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness” (D&C 58:27). I can’t just sit around and despair because of the horrible state the world is in; I need to get up and do something.

One of the Church’s hymns, “Have I Done Any Good,” asks, “Have I done any good in the world today? Have I helped anyone in need?” Then it directs: “Then wake up and do something more than dream of your mansion above” (Hymns, “Have I Done Any Good”). Even dreaming about heaven isn’t enough; I need to get up and do something more. And getting up, doing good things, that makes me happy. We can be happy, even in an ever-darkening world, because of the knowledge we have and the actions we take.

What Mormons Believe

 

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