Monday, February 5, 2018

President Thomas S. Monson on finding happiness at home

President Thomas S. Monson (1927–2018) was sustained to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1963. He served as a counselor in the First Presidency with Presidents Benson, Hunter, and Hinckley and then became Church president in 2008. He led the Church for almost a decade until his passing in January 2018.
"'Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God.' (Joseph Smith, TPJS 255-6)
"This description of such a universal goal was provided by the Prophet Joseph Smith. It was relevant then. It is relevant now. With such a clear road map to follow, why then are there so many unhappy people? Frequently, frowns outnumber smiles and despair dampens joy. We live so far below the level of our divine possibilities. Some become confused by materialism, entangled by sin, and lost among the passing parade of humanity. Others cry out in the words of the convert of Philip of old: 'How can I [find my way], except some man should guide me?' (Acts 8:31)
"Happiness does not consist of a glut of luxury, the world's idea of a 'good time.' Nor must we search for it in faraway places with strange-sounding names. Happiness is found at home....
"Happy homes come in a variety of appearances. Some feature large families with father, mother, brothers, and sisters living together in a spirit of love. Others consist of a single parent with one or two children, while other homes have but one occupant. There are, however, identifying features which are to be found in a happy home, whatever the number or description of its family members. I refer to these as 'Hallmarks of a Happy Home.' They consist of:
"1. A pattern of prayer.
"2. A library of learning.
"3. A legacy of love.
"4. A treasury of testimony."
- Thomas S. Monson, "Hallmarks of a Happy Home," Ensign, Oct 2001, pp. 2-8
Click here to read the full article

President Monson asks a very interesting question: Why are there so many unhappy people? We are all seeking happiness in life, but most of us "live so far below the level of our divine possibilities." President Monson comments on some of the causes:

  • some become confused by materialism
  • entangled by sin
  • lost among the passing parade of humanity

I've certainly seen examples of each of these around me, and to some extent, have felt their impact in my own life. It's a challenging world! But happiness is available to us, if we look in the right place and in the right way. And President Monson suggests that the home is the place to look for happiness.

President Monson then goes on to expand upon those "Hallmarks of a Happy Home" in his discourse, giving further insights into how they can be implemented to help increase our level of happiness in our families and our personal lives. Very worthwhile counsel! Another prophet taught that "wickedness never was happiness' (Alma 41:10); truly, happiness follows righteous choices and actions in life.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2018)

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