Saturday, August 26, 2017

Elder Dallin H. Oaks on finding true happiness

Elder Dallin H. Oaks (b. August 12, 1932) served as president of BYU from 1971-1980.  He was then appointed as a justice of the Utah Supreme Court, and resigned when he was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1984.
"Do not seek happiness in the glittering but shallow things of the world. We cannot achieve lasting happiness by pursuing the wrong things. Someone once said, 'You can never get enough of what you don’t need, because what you don’t need won’t satisfy you.'
"Young and old, turn your eyes and your hearts away from the deceptive messages of the media. There is no happiness in alcohol or drugs, only enslavement. There is no happiness in violence, only pain and sorrow. There is no happiness in sexual relations and physical familiarities outside the bonds of marriage, only degradation and increased momentum along the way to spiritual death.
"There is no lasting happiness in what we possess. Happiness and joy come from what a person is, not from what he or she possesses or appears to be. Youth, hold fast to your standards. Study and use that saving pamphlet, For the Strength of Youth.
"Righteousness fosters righteousness. The effects of righteous examples are felt for generations to come. Good parenting produces youth who make good parents. Just as many of us have been strengthened by the noble examples of our pioneering ancestors in many lands, so the righteous choices and sacrifices of our day can bless our families and our friends and our nations for all the years to come."
- Dallin H. Oaks, "Joy and Mercy," General Conference, October 1991; see also Ensign, Nov. 1991, p. 73
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

The quest for happiness is one of the great challenges of the world. There are many places that claim to offer that result for us; but as Elder Oaks warns, often the sources of happiness in the world offer false promises of providing it for us.

In addition to warning us about the temptations of the world to stray from the path of truth and obedience, Elder Oaks warns about the desire for physical possessions that can also distract from the proper focus. Happiness comes not from what we possess, but from who we are and who we are becoming. The world would have us believe that possessions are far more important than the Lord teaches.

I think we often forget how "the righteous choices and sacrifices of our day can bless our families and our friends and our nations for all the years to come." The impact of one person on his family and neighbors as he strives to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ is much more profound than we realize.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2017)

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