Saturday, June 1, 2019

President Brigham Young on overcoming sorrow in life

President Brigham Young (1801-1877) was part of the first Quorum of Twelve Apostles of this dispensation, called and ordained in 1835. He served as the second Church president, succeeding Joseph Smith, from 1847 until his death in 1877.
"You need never expect to see sorrow, unless your own conduct, conversation, and acts bring it to your hearts. Do you not know that sorrow to you can exist only in your own hearts? Though men or women were in the mountains perishing—though they be in overwhelming depths of snow, freezing to death, or be on a desolate island starving to death for want of food—though they perish by the sword or in any other way, yet, if the heart is cheerful, all is light and glory within: there is no sorrow within them.
"You never saw a true Saint in the world that had sorrow, neither can you find one. If persons are destitute of the fountain of living water, or the principles of eternal life, then they are sorrowful. If the words of life dwell within us, and we have the hope of eternal life and glory, and let that spark within us kindle to a flame, to the consuming of the least and last remains of selfishness, we never can walk in darkness and are strangers to doubt and fear.
"Yet we see people among us who are still selfish, and that principle we must abandon: we must strip off selfishness, and put covetousness far from us. We must become of one heart and mind, in order to fully enjoy the blessings we anticipate."
- Brigham Young, "Source of True Happiness," November 15, 1857; see JD 6:41
Click here to read the full talk

This is an interesting perspective. The people of the pioneer era experienced many trials and hardships. But President Young teaches an important principle: how we react to the experiences of life is up to us. Sorrow and sadness are not required in a life filled with hope and faith. "[I]f the heart is cheerful, all is light and glory within: there is no sorrow within them."

Sorrow comes when we are "destitute of the fountain of living water." But on the contrary, if we are filled with the spark of "the hope of eternal life and glory," we will never walk in darkness. It is up to each of us to fill our lives with that light and hope.

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

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