Wednesday, February 25, 2015

James E. Faust on finding and sharing happiness

President James E. Faust (1920-2007) was called as a Seventy in 1976, then as a member of the Quorum of Twelve in 1978. He served as a counselor to President Hinckley until his death in 2007 at age 87.
"The most fundamental of all human searches is for happiness. We each choose our own happiness. As President Harold B. Lee once said: 'Happiness does not depend on what happens outside of you but on what happens inside of you. It is measured by the spirit with which you meet the problems of life' ("A Sure Trumpet Sound: Quotations from President Lee," Ensign, Feb. 1974, 78). It will often be necessary for all of us to choose between having a good time and leading a good life.
"Each of us is born with natural 'happiness' hormones. When stimulated, they secrete powerful chemical substances into our bodies. There are many kinds. Some are called endorphins. Generally when we are in pain or distress, endorphins give us a sense of well-being. Medical science has long known that our mental outlook and well-being affect our physical health. A sign in a large hospital says, 'Laughter is the best medicine.' Smiling is good for the soul.
"Smiling brings a glow to our countenances that radiates to others. Being friendly to our neighbors, to people at school, at church, or at work is a great way to show the Lord that we want to keep the covenant we made at baptism 'to bear one another's burdens, that they may be light' (Mosiah 18:8). I recommend friendliness because so many people are shy or lonely and need a kind word or smile. Lifting others expands our inner selves. It is also the way of the Master. (See Luke 6:31.)"
- James E. Faust, "Who Do You Think You Are?", Ensign, Mar. 2001, pp. 2-7
Click here to read the full talk

One of the lines from this quote jumped out at me: "It will often be necessary for all of us to choose between having a good time and leading a good life." That's an interesting statement to find in the middle of a talk about happiness. Pres. Faust didn't discuss it or clarify in any way. Some view "having a good time" as a definition of happiness, and in the world's view it may conflict with "leading a good life" — hence the need to choose between the two. But in a very real sense, the only true and lasting way to have a good time is to lead a good life. That's the path to happiness.

Happiness is magnified as we share it with others.We never know whom we bless just with a smile or encouraging word. And the promise is that our own souls expand as we do so; what a great thing to work on more diligently!

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