Sunday, October 18, 2015

Quentin L. Cook on happiness now and eternally

Elder Quentin L. Cook (b. September 8, 1940) was called as a Seventy in 1996, then as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 2007.
"The adversary has been successful in planting a great myth in the minds of many people. He and his emissaries declare that the real choice we have is between happiness and pleasure now in this life and happiness in a life to come (which the adversary asserts may not exist). This myth is a false choice, but it is very seductive. (See 2 Nephi 28.)
"The ultimate noble purpose of God's plan of happiness is for righteous disciples and covenant families to be united in love, harmony, and peace in this life (see 4 Nephi 1:15–17) and attain celestial glory in the eternities with God the Father, our Creator; and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior. (See D&C 59:23.)...
"At the commencement of the Savior’s earthly ministry in Israel and later among the Nephites, the Savior addressed the issue of happiness both in this life and in eternity. He stressed ordinances, but He also placed great emphasis on moral behavior. For example, disciples would be blessed if they would hunger and thirst after righteousness, be merciful, be pure in heart, be peacemakers, and follow other basic moral principles. Clearly, our Lord Jesus Christ emphasized, as a foundational doctrinal message, both righteous attitudes and conduct in day-to-day living....
"I recognize that, despite the overwhelming happiness embodied in God’s divine plan, sometimes it can feel far away and disconnected from our current circumstances. It may feel beyond our reach as struggling disciples. From our limited perspective, current temptations and distractions can seem attractive. The rewards for resisting those temptations, on the other hand, can feel distant and unattainable. But a true understanding of the Father’s plan reveals that the rewards of righteousness are available right now. Wickedness, such as immoral conduct, is never part of the answer."
- Quentin L. Cook, "Shipshape and Bristol Fashion: Be Temple Worthy--in Good Times and Bad Times," General Conference, October 2015, Saturday morning session
Click here to read the full talk

I've often heard the complaint described in the first paragraph of this excerpt. Religion may promise a great reward, but it takes away all the happiness of life now. Elder Cook's message argues against this idea, proposing that true religion is the only source of true happiness in this life as well as the worlds to come. It truly is a "plan of happiness."

When the struggles of mortality make that happiness seem "far away and disconnected from our current circumstances," we need to re-focus our sights on the immediate blessings the Gospel plan offers and make sure we are doing all we can to claim their promises in our current lives.  Elder Cook goes on to focus on some ways we can do that:
  1. Righteous self-control and conduct
  2. Honoring the Sabbath
  3. Remembering that divine protection follows righteousness
There truly is happiness available, now and eternally, for those who are willing to follow the Savior's plan!

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