Wednesday, October 13

The Manner of Happiness


Years ago, when I struggled with depression, I wondered if I would ever be happy. If I would ever feel content or at peace with my decisions and choices in life. I’ve always had everything the world could ever want – influence, intelligence, talent, money, honor, and fun – and yet none of those, when weighed in the balance, were worth anything at all.

And then I realized that I was looking in the wrong place.

In 2 Nephi 5:27, Nephi summarizes ten years of life, including wars with his brothers, thus:

“And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness.”

In Alma 50:23, in the midst of more wars between Nephites and Lamanites, there is a similar statement:

But behold there never was a happier time among the people of Nephi, since the days of Nephi, than in the days of Moroni.”

And finally, in 4 Nephi 1:16, after the people lost everything they had ever known:

“…surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.”

The people in these scriptures had nothing. Some had lost their families, others their friends; most lived in abject poverty. They had seen gruesome wars that changed their lives forever. And yet, somehow, they had unlocked the greatest treasure of eternity. They had found true happiness.

When I was struggling to see the good things in life, I often listed the good things that God had done for me. I counted my blessings, outlined the talents and gifts He had given me, and named the people who loved me and supported me. I tried to see difficult things in life with an optimistic spin.

But, as time has progressed, I’ve realized that true happiness in life doesn’t come from blessings, talents, gifts, or even people. I could have all those things and feel awful. True happiness is linked to my knowledge of God and my actions in life.

“And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it” (Mosiah 2:41).

Today, my life is amazing. I’ve learned the truth about happiness – that it’s based on making good decisions in life. Today I’m truly, sincerely, and completely happy.

My life is not amazing due to the things I am given by circumstance or others. Life is amazing because of what I do with what I get. Because of how I think and see the world. Because of the changes I have made. Because of who I am.

28 comments:

  1. You surprise me with each post.

    You are 100% right: WE choose happiness. People can say mean things about us or even wrong us but it is how we react to these things that matters!

    You're a dear son of God.You'll be in my prayers!

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  2. I'm a new reader of your blog...I found it through a comment someone posted on CJane. Pretty much I think your views are uplifting and insightful. You just get it. Thank you for sharing. I believe that anyone struggling with anything in their mortal body can relate to so much of what you post. I will be reading for a long time to come.

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  3. I have been reading your blog for much of the afternoon and I don't know that there is a way for me to express the tremendous amount of respect I have for you. Our trials may be different... but we are not so different, you and I. Through my trials, and one in particular, I have had to CHOOSE faith in the face of sometimes overwhelming temptation to choose disbelief -- and then make it a point to live that faith steadfastly. It has also made me want to shout my testimony from the rooftops with others because I long to share the happiness that such a choice brings.

    Your faith, your courage, your discipline and your testimony are all profoundly inspiring -- and to far more than those who may share your particular trial. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts!

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  4. I just finished reading all of your posts, and I think it's clear that Heavenly Father prompted you to start this blog for many reasons, one of which is to be a voice in this current tumult. I have wanted to know how someone dealing with SSA and wanting to stay faithful to the gospel truly feels in his or her heart, but obviously, most people who have this struggle are not sharing their feelings with everyone they know. Thank you for your faithfulness and your willingness to share your hardships and your blessings. Your voice of reason and faith is inspiring.

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  5. thank you.
    i needed to hear that today.

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  6. I am just so impressed with you. Thank you for being a good example. It's good to read from a perspective that doesn't victimise themselves for their temptations. Momma always said "what doesn't kill ya makes you stronger!" I appreciate you sharing your strength with the world. It is a gift that you have and I wish you all the happiness in the world.

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  7. I appreciate your blog and admire your stance on things.

    I especially appreciated this post because when I have hard times I often count my blessings and talents, but I think you are on the right track.

    This is what I really needed to read, thanks for sharing yourself and thoughts.
    -Autumn

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  8. Thank you so much for your inspiration. I love reading your blog. Your farther along the path of happiness than I am and I stumble and fight against losing hope. Its such a testament to read your words and know that the path is there.

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  9. Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing this. I am a new visitor to your blog due to your post about President Packer's talk being linked on facebook. I loved what I found here... I love WHO I found here. Just want you to know that. :) I couldn't agree with you more, that our happiness is linked directly to our choice to be obedient. I too experience great happiness right along with all of my challenges because of my obedience and trust in the Lord and His promises. People like you are shining examples of the power of obedience and the world needs as many of those examples as possible. Keep it up.

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  10. Stumbled across your blog thru a link of FB and I have enjoyed reading your posts.

    Thanks!

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  11. Thank you for your wonderful, inspiring messages. I hope the Lord is blessing you greatly for your faith and courage.

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  12. Thank you so much for your amazing testimony. I think this is a wonderful thing you are doing. I don't suffer from the same things, however that is the wonderful thing about the atonetment of Jesus Christ. It applies to us all in our own unique ways. Keep up the good work. I have shared this on FB and I know that I have some friends who it will help, if they want it. (I also have some friends who it will probably infuriate, but they can "unfriend" me if they have a problem with it)
    -Brigitte

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  13. I am in aw at everything you have shared! Thank you!

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  14. I read your blog every morning now as a way to start my day. It seems a little more than fortuitous that you began this blog just a few months before President Packer's talk and all the attendent commotion. The impact of your journey is both far reaching and lasting. I hope that our prayers for you can offer even half the support that you already have given so many of us.

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  15. I was directed to your blog through facebook. I have to tell you that finding you and your blog is an answer to prayer! Your insights are amazing for ALL. Thank you.

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  16. I appreciate your blog because I appreciate that you are YOU...you aren't trying to hide behind a facade, you aren't trying to be someone you aren't. That is refreshing!

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  17. Thank you "gay mormon guy" for writing about your struggle and your insight. Your writing is well thought out and written. I believe you are tremendous example to all. Kepp doing what you are doing! Alan

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  18. Amen, Brother.
    Your Friend, m.

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  19. Beautifully said. Thank you.

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  20. Whew, I needed that today, too. Helps me to remember that I am a work in progress, and where the *true* source of happiness is. Thank you!

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  21. You have such an incredible insight to the Gospel! I love to read your Blog! I try to share it with everyone because I know it can help those that have a hard time understand the Gospel. You explain things so simply. I have already had many friends thank me for sharing your Blog because they feel that your message just might touch someone who has been deeply offended. Your Posts are inspirational to me and give me great insight. I keep pondering the "But If Not..." Keep up the great work!
    Thank You
    Ryan

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  22. Your writing and your insights and your strength are blessings to me. My struggles are different from yours, yet I relate to what you say in my own struggles and am strengthened by your words. I appreciate you. Thank you! You are an example of being made strong in your weakness (Ether 12:27), and I pray for you, that God's grace will continue to be with you.

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  23. Why do you hide behind anonymity? Is it so you can only post comments from LDS people praising you? No name? No picture? You are doing more to hurt this situation than either side could possibly do.

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  24. Paul:
    Because it doesn’t matter who I am. It doesn’t matter what my name is or what I look like. My story is just that – my story – and there are thousands of bloggers who write in the same way.

    As far as my comment policy, I try to post at least a portion of every comment that comes in – regardless of who it is from or its intent. Most comments are really fast to publish – I read them, feel that they don’t have anything that needs to be changed or addressed, and I push “publish.” But I don’t have a lot of time right now in my life to dedicate to anything but posting, and it takes a lot longer to edit out statements or generalizations that I feel don’t fit my message… so there’s a backlog of 80 comments (mostly praise that went astray) that need individual attention. Comparatively, there aren’t many comments submitted by people who disagree.

    And as far as helping the situation, I’m already seeing the success I wanted to see. Comments tell the story of hundreds of people who have changed their viewpoints on the situation and learned to love their fellow men. Men and women regained the faith they needed to live their lives. And it’s changing at least part of the world. That’s good enough for me.

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  25. Full posting will provide the full context that my original post intended. Why edit? It manipulates the situation and allows ignorance to continue.

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  26. Paul:
    I edit for the same reason that other bloggers don’t – because we feel that our actions develop and nurture the environment we want to create on our blogs. Either way is a conscious decision and influences the situation.

    I posted everything I felt met the requirements from your post. The rest, while it may have been heartfelt, was comprised of statements and accusations in direct opposition to what I write without a spiritual substantiation for those statements and accusations. This is a spiritual blog. And without a valid substantiation on your part when you make statements, the discussion degenerates into exactly that – unsubstantiated statements and accusations.

    You are welcome to try again. If you follow the outline given in the comments section, I’ll be happy to re-read your post, post it and make a response.

    Thanks for being willing to be part of the discussion, even though you don’t agree with most of us here.

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