Basing the truthfulness of the Gospel—or the necessity of missionary
work—on the behavior and perceived happiness of others is completely
irrational. Just because people seem happy on the outside doesn't mean that
there isn't something fundamentally lacking in their lives. It also means
that the Lord may very well have prepared them to the point where missionary
work would be extremely easy, if one would just take a chance and try. No, not
everyone who is not a member of the Church is miserable. But there's no
denying that the Gospel, when understood and practiced correctly, can bring an
immeasurable amount of joy and fulfillment to one's life, in addition to
whatever one might have now.
@ skeptic - Phoenix, AZ - "@Bleedcougarblue, If one is Mormon and unhappy
could that be an indicator that they need to change their religion and pray that
maybe a JW or sme other kind soul sent by Jesus may come knocking at their door
with the good news of change. Just wondering."skeptic - A visit from members of a non-LDS faith to boost one's spirits?
VERY possible; when 2 or more are gathered in his (Christ's) name and
worship Christ together, then the Holy Spirit touches everyone's hearts,
and ALL are uplifted.Permanently leaving the LDS faith for something
else and still finding 'happiness'? Not possible in the eternal
sense.Like I said, if we have the true gospel of Jesus Christ and we
are not happy, then WE are failing the gospel and not the other way around.
Every time I am unhappy (of which in my imperfections, occurs often) it is I who
needs changing.True to your name, you are indeed a skeptic.
That's OK, I never said you had to take only my word for it. As a matter
of fact, I encourage you to NOT 'just take my word'. Ask God for
I had a friend who appeared to "have it all." He was, by his own
admission, "not a player" when it came to activity in the church. We
talked frankly. I told him that while the church might have little or nothing
to give him, he had many many things he could give the members. Less
than a year later, his life was in ruins. Drinking a little led to recreational
drug use. He entered into a relationship with another woman. His wife left
him. His kids turned against him.He was a good man who would have
been benefited by not letting go of the iron rod.We do have
something to offer.
What?? Do you mean to say that people can be happy, fulfilled,
Christ-centered families and individuals and not be Mormon??Blasphemy!Many people in my ward would not agree.
Christ associated himself with those considered lowly or unpleasant. Gentile and
Roman and Samartian. Prostitute and fisherman and tax collector. Not the
beautiful people with everything all together from the perspective of the world.
He has holes in hands, feet and side. He is not impeccably groomed. Life is messy. No shame in that. Mother Theresa says we are not expected to be
successful, just faithful.
I thinkbthis shows the difference between happiness and joy. Having a new 911
would make me happy. It would be easier to buy if I had fewer kids. But I have
never felt joy except thay it involved my children. I have traded some
temporary happiness for joy.
Other spiritual traditions have developed methods that have been proved to
promote well-being and peace of mind....regardless of circumstances, to a degree
that the average Mormon will never attain. The Monks who have attained this
level of peace and well-being have probably never heard of the plan of happiness
and they certainly don't believe in it. The "sacrifices" Mormons
are required to make do quite often detract from well-being and peace of mind
and quality family relationships, and can fan the flames of mood disorders like
depression. If you believe in the plan of happiness, you're taking a major
gamble. What you wager is a more peaceful, satisfying, loving mortal existence
in hopes of attaining a non-existent payoff in the afterlife. That's a
tragedy in my eyes, and I would suggest it is a tragedy in God's eyes as
well. Ask yourself....what other motives could leaders of a church have for
preaching something like the plan of happiness?
Everyone has burdens. The gospel gives us a way to carry those burdens. While
we see happy people in other faiths, we may not see them handling a crisis. A
friend of ours had been an active member of another faith for 60 years. Then is
wife died. The missionaries came. They taught him the fullness of the gospel,
and he automatically gained the devotion and loyalty of the ward. Organizations
of the church brought him meals, helped him clean out his house and yard,
checked on him every single day. Took him to doctor's appointments. Helped
him prepare to go to the temple, where he was Sealed to his wife for time and
all eternity, one of the happiest days of his life. The gift of an
eternal perspective and knowledge of our true relationship with God, is a gift
that we don't often know we are missing, until we find it. it's that
category of unknown- uknowns; things you don;t know that you don't know.The LDS life may be more challenging, but for me and the converts I
know, it is more meaningful.
Great article, timely, and true! As my wife said, "now all we need to do is
"de-hectify" our lives".
A good talk on this subject was “They’re Not Really Happy” by
GLENN L. PACE, when he was Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric in
OCTOBER 1987 conference.Also, "Skeptic" thanks for prodding
us to think from other points of view without being caustic about it. Maybe a
visit from a good JW might be what a good soul might need that that time in
their life, especially if their home teacher is AWOL.Keep up the
good analysis Stacie. I wish more saints had your capacity for self examination.
Too many of us are in ruts with blinders on.
Nice to finally read/hear someone say it. Thanks
I attended the church of a friend once, (I had made her a promise before I
joined the LDS church, and kept it after I joined the LDS church). Sometimes, it
seems to me like some of these churches are like being on drugs. People come for
their "Jesus fix".
I too, have been impressed with others, on occasion, who seem to be doing so
VERY well in their spiritual lives...and without the Gospel. My VERY next
thought is how MUCH more progressed they could be in this life with SO much
truth at their disposal. I have little doubt they would quickly surpass me in
their spiritual standing in this life. I have been a nonmember. I
can EMPHATICALLY say that there is enormously more truth/light with the Gospel
than without. Embracing it requires great changes and, as has been mentioned,
realization that salvation is NOT just an automatic gift, but something we must
work diligently toward each day. In my opinion, that is why we have been
informed that straight is the way and narrow the gate(or something to that
effect)and few there be that find it!
Our natural man inside us doesn't want to do anything of a religious
nature. Freedom of religion means being free of all guilt. If there is any
guilt.. all you need to believe is you are saved by grace.. not by works. The
occasional Sunday romp to church meets that obligation. Or just confessing your
sins every week, receive a little penitence by saying a few prayers and are
"forgiven" even though you keep doing the same thing over and over.
Just think how hard it was for the young man Christ spoke with when he wanted
eternal life and asked Jesus what did he need to do to get it. Guess what? He
didn't want it that bad. No sacrificing there. And hey.. it is even easier
if you deny that God even exists at all because certainly then neither would the
devil. We could all be like the skeptic and suggest all kinds of things that
take one away from getting eternal life.. because it doesn't exist
either.For those of us who do believe.. remember this.. It is called
the plan of Happiness.. not the plan of Happiness right now.
@Bleedcougarblue, If one is Mormon and unhappy could that be an indicator
that they need to change their religion and pray that maybe a JW or sme other
kind soul sent by Jesus may come knocking at their door with the good news of
change. Just wondering.
Article quote: "So how do you initiate a missionary moment with those who
already seem to be fulfilling much of their spiritual potential? Do you say,
“I know things are going really well for you, but how about taking a
detour down the religious road less traveled where the journey is harder, more
demanding and sometimes chaotic but the eternal reward is
infinite?”"Yes, that is exactly what you say.If we are 'living' the Gospel of Jesus Christ but not happy, then we
need to ask if our unhappiness is temporary or more permanent in nature.If it is temporary then we need to remember that God never promised us
that we would be happy every moment of every day in mortality. Think Jesus was
'happy' as He suffered in the Garden of Gethsemanee?However, if our sadness is more permanent in nature, we need to be honest; in
those situations we are N-O-T actually 'living the Gospel'. We may be
going through the motions but our heart is not really in it.I say
this as one who sometimes does go through the motions.WE fail the
Gospel, not the other way around.
Stacie, You need to stop starching those shirts. That will give you 30 more
minutes a week. ;) I find that when I go out to serve someone, I am usually not
really excited about it until I'm actually "on the job." I have
wonderful friends who are not members of our church and my friendship does not
depend on whether they become Mormons. We have lots of chats and some are about
religion. I really treasure their friendship.
Perhaps happiness is no more related to religion than are hundreds of other of
live's factors, and perhaps membership in a church is no more rewarding
than membership in a social or fraternal organizations; and perhaps Duces can
explain what the correlation of happiness is.
I recently listened to an LDS member who spent several years away from the
Church. They said as soon as they made the decision to 'leave', life
immediately became easier and 'happier'. Gone were the struggles
of trying to get the teenager to go to Church or stick to standards. Gone were
the disagreements with the non-member spouse and family members. Gone was the
stress of fulfilling callings, or the guilt of not measuring up in regularity of
scripture study or prayer or temple attendance. But you guessed it,
now these many years later, there are regrets and consequences for all that was
lost by leaving.Sure, we may on the surface be 'happier'
if we gave up and took an easier path. It can be part of the pay-off provided
by Satan to make us think we have chosen the better way--the easier and
"happier" way. But the negative consequences of capitulating later will
wreak havoc on that happiness.Pres Eyring in his book 'Choose
Higher Ground' says when he would complain to his mother that things were
hard she would advise him, “If you are on the right path, it will always
I have the privilege of a very close association with a number of Christian
families. I'm intimately aware of their day to day family and home lives
and find much to learn from them. While I've entered into cherished
covenants through priesthood ordinances, they're faithful in living most of
the same precepts simply because of their loving relationship with God. Their
devotion is central to who they are. Their homes are peaceful, happy, and
filled with love. Their children are respectful, self disciplined and helpful.
Their faith is simple and pure. They are fruitful branches of the Vine who is
Christ. We've shared many conversations discussing our common love for
The righteous are promised peace of mind and happiness although, in the case of
the latter, not fully in mortality. There are scriptures that show
that a society which is Christ-like can be very happy but, for individuals, it
is not quite as simple as that.Luke's account of the Sermon on
the Mount promises this to the righteous: that you will be hated and cast out
but "your reward is great in heaven" and "woe to you that laugh now!
for ye shall mourn and weep". "Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye
shall laugh." (Luke, Chapter Six)A life of righteousness can be
an amalgam of joy and sorrow, but always there is peace of mind. The lives of
the prophets seem to contain both elements (joy and sorrow) to an extraordinary
degree. If in this life only we have hope we are of all men the most miserable.
IT is the false prophet that all men speak well of, and who have, and enjoy,
their portion in this life: the rich man and Lazarus can be the pattern. We are counseled to be cheerful, however, in adversity, and to comfort
Maybe happiness isn't the best or only criteria with which to determine
Great insights, as usual. Love the way you write and give us food for thought. I
Thank you for this article. I have often observed the same relative to other
families and people who shine their light and attend their various religious
church services. In so called 'Happy Valley' where religious diversity
is there but sometimes ignored, it's important to recognize the strength of
others outside our ward experiences as being good and enlightened as well. My oldest boy gets involved in activities that aren't mainstream in
regards to popularity in Utah. Many parents of the boys he interacts with are
transplants here in our state and their traditions and family units are
impressive and strong. I love the friendships I have developed from this circle.
They are a strength and positive influence on our family.
Great column. We too often think we have a corner on happiness. I have read
several books lately by members of other religions who could have been writing
as Mormons including one who used the term "the plan of salvation".
Insightful and condemning at the same time. I overload myself too much, and
become so miserable because of it, that I shy away from inviting others to have
what I have because I'm not happy. I recently read Clayton
Christensen's book "The Power of Everyday Missionaries" and it has
completely changed my perspective on these issues ... for the better.
Then again, happiness can be quite subjective and relative for the most part.
I don't know why any faithful LDS member should feel befuddled by seeing
people as happy as they are. The Gospel message shouldn't be: "I'm
happier than you are, so envy me and I'll explain." Any contrast in the
peace we feel shouldn't be very evident during happy, peaceful times--it is
usually exposed when things are anything but peaceful.Hang in there,
Stacie. Enjoy the fact that your neighbors enjoy life. Just like your friend,
if/when they are ready to find out about what makes us tick, you'll know.
Oh, how true.
And don't forget the others who had to leave their comfort zone ... like
the religious pious pharisees. Love this article by Sis. Duce. It's a
homerun ... as always.
I love this article! It is SO true. I know many awesome people who don't
feel any need for religion or a 'different religion'. What can make
it worse is that some of us have family situations that are very much less than
perfect, not a light to anyone. However, without the fullness of the gospel, I
don't know how us VERY imperfect people could survive this life. I thank
God every day for the knowledge I have and hope that I will be in the right
place at the right time if my testimony is ever wanted or needed.
We have had the same discussions in our family and I believe I know our failings
in the matter. The answer at least in part is found here: President Boyd K.
Packer "Concluding Remarks", 2010 Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting,
Great article. I think it presents an interesting scenario that may not be all