Happiness is the state that all people quest for. Some people spend their whole lives searching for ways to be happy. Some people think that it is something so grand that it is not reachable, while some find it as they apply gospel principles in their lives. In an article written by Professor Hank R. Smith, instructor of Religious Freedom Education at Brigham Young University, he shares seven principles that two specific chapters of the Book of Mormon teach us about happiness.
In this chapter we read that Nephi and those who followed him fled into the wilderness because Laman and Lemuel wanted to take his life. They became a people who observed the laws and statutes of the Lord. Nephi wrote, “It came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness.” We can follow the pattern of happiness that he sets in this chapter.
- Maintaining Uplifting Associations
In verse 6 we learn that those who followed Nephi were those who “believed in the warning and revelations of God.” The influence of the people we associate with has a significant impact on our happiness. Let us surround ourselves with people who have uplifting spirits and whose actions will lead us to do good and follow Christ.
- Aligning Actions with Beliefs
Nephi writes, “And we did observe to keep the judgments, and the statutes, and the commandments of the Lord in all things, according to the law of Moses.” Obedience to the commandments of the Lord brings happiness. Believing is not enough. We have to live a life according to the laws of the Lord. Because of obedience, the people of Nephi lived in a state of happiness and prosperity.
- Accomplishing Hard Work
Verses 11 and 15 recount the toil of the Nephites. Prosperity was not showered on them without effort. They had to sow hard so they could reap their blessings. They were given fertile lands to till, strong timbers to build, and seeds to sow. They were industrious people. Thomas S. Monson, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said, “God left the world unfinished for man to work his skill upon. He left the electricity in the cloud, the oil in the earth. He left the rivers unbridged and the forests unfelled and the cities unbuilt. God gives to man the challenge of raw materials, not the ease of finished things. He leaves the pictures unpainted and the music unsung and the problems unsolved, that man might know the joys and glories of creation.” Accomplishing things through hard work brings happiness.
- Focusing On The Temple
Among the buildings that the Nephites built is a temple (verse 16). Happiness and temple blessings are tightly intertwined. The temple teaches us where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going. Knowing these truths gives more meaning to the choices we make. The temple gives a glimpse of eternal happiness.
Verse 16 describes the people of Nephi, “There could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.” Let us find out what made it so.
- Sharing What We Have
One father said to his child, “You should not look at your neighbor’s bowl to see if they have more. The only moment you need to look is to make sure they have enough.” We learn in verse 3 that the Nephites were happy because they had “all things common among them” and “there were not rich and poor.” The need for temporal and spiritual assistance is ever present among us but when we share what we have, we will be blessed with increased happiness and we will not envy what our neighbors have.
- Belonging To A Family
Family relationships bring happiness. This happiness can be found in marriage, parenthood and being part of a family (verse 10). Feelings of security and love from family members can contribute immensely to our happiness.
- Being A Peacemaker
Peace and contention cannot exist in one’s heart at the same time. The people of Nephi were happy because they had “no contention” among them (verse 2, 13, 15, 18). We must be aware of our intentions, words and actions in order to maintain peace in our hearts. Gordon B. Hinckley counseled, “Cultivate the art of the soft answer. It will bless your homes, it will bless your lives.” Peace brings happiness.
The Book of Mormon is full of gospel principles that we can use to help us in our quest for happiness. This has been given to us by the Lord as a compass so we can become happy like the Nephites while we are in this mortal probation.
Read the full article here.