Wednesday, September 7, 2016

David O. McKay on facing life with happiness

President David O. McKay (1873-1970) was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1906.  He served as a counselor in the First Presidency to Heber J. Grant and George Albert Smith beginning in 1945, then then as the president of the Church from 1951 to his death in 1970 at age 96.
"I feel like pleading with my brethren and sisters to set their faces firmly to the front and decide to enjoy the blessings with which our Father has blessed us.
"There are seeds of happiness planted in every human soul. Our mental attitude and disposition constitute the environment in which these seeds may germinate. There is as much need for sunshine in the heart as for sunshine in the world. Today as perhaps never before mankind needs encouragement and cheer. One writer says: 'Not having enough sunshine is what ailed the world. Make people happy and there will not be half the quarreling nor a tenth part of the wickedness there is.'
"It is a duty to seek to acquire the art of being cheerful....
"And so, brethren and sisters, what if we do have economic distress, universal almost? Let us ever keep in mind that life is largely what we make it, and that the Savior of men has marked clearly and plainly just how joy and peace may be obtained. It is in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and adherence thereto. Do your duties no matter how humbly, and resolve even in the face of difficulties and discouragements to be:
"Like the man who faces what he must
"With step triumphant and a heart of cheer;
"Who fights the daily battle without fear;
"Sees his hopes fail, yet keeps unfaltering trust
"That God is God."
- David O. McKay, General Conference, October 7, 1934, CR pp. 89-96
Click here to read the full talk

This is great counsel from then a young Elder McKay: we can choose to be happy. We can "decide to enjoy the blessings with which our Father has blessed us." The careful and conscious recognition of God's hand in our lives is one of the great keys to happiness and peace.

Elder McKay shared these thoughts in 1934, when the US and much of the world was in the midst of the Great Depression. He mentions the almost universal "economic distress" faced by so many. But he clarifies that true joy comes as we adhere to the principles of the gospel, faithfully fulfill our duties, and keep "unfaltering trust" in God.

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