Saturday, March 23, 2019

Elder Richard L. Evans on our search for happiness

Elder Richard L. Evans (1906-1971) served as a Seventy from 1938-1953, when he was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles.  He died in 1971 at age 65.  He was known as "the voice of the Tabernacle Choir" from the beginning of its broadcasts in 1929 until his passing.
"Life offers you two precious gifts—one is time, the other freedom of choice, the freedom to buy with your time what you will. You are free to exchange your allotment of time for thrills. You may trade it for base desires. You may invest it in greed....
"Yours is the freedom to choose. But these are no bargains, for in them you find no lasting satisfaction.
"Every day, every hour, every minute of your span of mortal years must sometime be accounted for. And it is in this life that you walk by faith and prove yourself able to choose good over evil, right over wrong, enduring happiness over mere amusement. And your eternal reward will be according to your choosing.
"A prophet of God has said: 'Men are that they might have joy'—a joy that includes a fullness of life, a life dedicated to service, to love and harmony in the home, and the fruits of honest toil—an acceptance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ—of its requirements and commandments.
"Only in these will you find true happiness, the happiness which doesn't fade with the lights and the music and the crowds."
- Richard L. Evans, Man's Search for Happiness (pamphlet, 1969), pp. 4–5

These lines are very familiar to anyone of my generation. The short film "Man's Search for Happiness" was produced for the Mormon Pavilion at the 1964 World's Fair in New York City, and was viewed by over five million people at that event. For years it was a standard Church film used in visitors' centers, viewed in meetings and classes, and shown by missionaries to investigators. With the beautiful, familiar voice of Elder Evans narrating, the message of the film was moving and powerful to many.

The concepts shared by Elder Evans in these lines are critical to us. We are granted freedom of choice in this life, and time in which to exercise that gift. But how crucial it is to our eternal progress that our choices are made carefully and lead to the right destinations!

It is interesting to ponder the statement "Every day, every hour, every minute of your span of mortal years must sometime be accounted for." If that is true, it is vital to learn to choose the life of joy, now and eternally, through the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

An interesting article about the history of the Mormon Pavilion, at which these words were premiered, is found in "Legacy of the Mormon Pavilion" by Brent L. Top, Ensign Oct. 1989.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2019)

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