Duce's Wild: When Mormons aren't the happiest family on the block

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  • antodav TAMPA, FL
    Oct. 3, 2013 9:29 p.m.

    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.

  • BleedCougarBlue Enid, OK
    Sept. 2, 2013 10:02 p.m.

    @ 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 yourself.

  • terra nova Park City, UT
    Sept. 2, 2013 3:52 p.m.

    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.

  • LCinLaguna Laguna Beach, CA
    Sept. 2, 2013 3:07 p.m.


    Do you mean to say that people can be happy, fulfilled, Christ-centered families and individuals and not be Mormon??

    Many people in my ward would not agree.

  • K Mchenry, IL
    Sept. 2, 2013 6:41 a.m.

    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.

  • RBB Sandy, UT
    Sept. 1, 2013 5:15 p.m.

    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.

  • oragami St. George, UT
    Sept. 1, 2013 1:38 p.m.

    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?

  • DistantThunder Vincentown, NJ
    Sept. 1, 2013 12:13 p.m.

    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.

  • E. Guerry Pleasant Grove, UT
    Sept. 1, 2013 10:22 a.m.

    Great article, timely, and true! As my wife said, "now all we need to do is "de-hectify" our lives".

  • Heart and Mind BUENA VISTA, VA
    Sept. 1, 2013 5:11 a.m.

    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.

  • tigger AMERICAN FORK, UT
    Aug. 31, 2013 8:41 p.m.

    Nice to finally read/hear someone say it. Thanks

  • lindasdf Columbus, OH
    Aug. 31, 2013 5:55 p.m.

    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".

  • Christmas Carole LAS CRUCES, NM
    Aug. 31, 2013 4:46 p.m.

    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!

  • MrNirom1 Oregon City, OR
    Aug. 31, 2013 4:00 p.m.

    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.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Aug. 31, 2013 2:11 p.m.

    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.

  • BleedCougarBlue Enid, OK
    Aug. 31, 2013 1:44 p.m.

    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.

  • Commonman HENDERSON, NV
    Aug. 31, 2013 12:43 p.m.

    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.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Aug. 31, 2013 9:39 a.m.

    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.

  • Yorkshire City, Ut
    Aug. 31, 2013 9:33 a.m.

    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 be uphill.”

  • Raeann Peck Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 31, 2013 7:37 a.m.

    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 Him.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Aug. 31, 2013 6:17 a.m.

    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 one another.

  • Bernard GUi Puyallup, WA
    Aug. 31, 2013 1:27 a.m.

    Maybe happiness isn't the best or only criteria with which to determine truth.

  • nanateach Sandy, UT
    Aug. 30, 2013 11:37 p.m.

    Great insights, as usual. Love the way you write and give us food for thought. I am feasting!

  • gdog3finally West Jordan, Utah
    Aug. 30, 2013 11:25 p.m.

    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.

  • Spenders Sandy, UT
    Aug. 30, 2013 1:16 p.m.

    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".

  • ScottKB Gilbert, AZ
    Aug. 30, 2013 1:05 p.m.

    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.

  • Kouger Lehi, UT
    Aug. 30, 2013 12:40 p.m.

    Then again, happiness can be quite subjective and relative for the most part.

  • JohnInSLC Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 30, 2013 12:28 p.m.

    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.

  • wiseoldwoman West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 30, 2013 10:30 a.m.

    Oh, how true.

  • DenMom Corvallis, MT
    Aug. 30, 2013 9:39 a.m.

    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.

  • caf Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 30, 2013 9:29 a.m.

    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.

  • Jeremy Parker Petersburg, Alaska
    Aug. 30, 2013 8:44 a.m.

    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, 2010

  • sjames AMERICAN FORK, UT
    Aug. 30, 2013 8:24 a.m.

    Great article. I think it presents an interesting scenario that may not be all that uncommon.