Happiness in Life

August 7, 2011    By: Jacob J @ 12:55 pm   Category: Happiness

Which of these scriptures resonates more with you (and why)?

And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual (Mosiah 2:14)

In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)


  1. I’m unsure where this is going, but the second resonates more. It is because it is shorter and uses easier English for me to follow. Thus it is more axiom like. Resonance for me has more to do with how well I can remember something.

    I’m fairly certain this is not the answer you were looking for. I think setting these two scriptures up in any sort of dichotomy against each other is a mistake. I think that the first is true enough, speaking of averages, and the second is as well.

    Comment by Matt W. — August 7, 2011 @ 1:48 pm

  2. The former resonates with the idealist Riley, while the latter resonates with the realist Riley.

    Comment by Riley — August 7, 2011 @ 2:52 pm

  3. Very good Riley :)

    Matt, I don’t think these scriptures are against each other, just that they seem to speak from different expectations about happiness in this life. I hope everyone here can agree they are both true. Still, one of them resonates more with me and I wondered if others felt the same. But I like your answer, I’m not looking for something in particular.

    Comment by Jacob J — August 7, 2011 @ 5:06 pm

  4. The first one at least is a roundabout call to action: “Follow the instructions and you’ll be happy”. The second one is more passive and basically says: “Sure your life will suck. But if it is any consolation I’m in your corner.”

    I prefer to focus on happiness before I die.

    Comment by Geoff J — August 7, 2011 @ 6:56 pm

  5. When I was in the MTC, I started a series in my notebook under the title “Today in the MTC I learned…” where I jotted down things people taught me that I found ironic or objectionable. One entry reads, “Today in the MTC I learned… if you are not happy, repent.” I think that sentiment grows easily out of Mosiah 2:14 but would never occur to a person after reading John 16:33.

    Comment by Jacob J — August 7, 2011 @ 7:08 pm

  6. Yes! I win!

    One of the many things that tethers me intellectually to mormonism is its emphasis on the freedom of the will and the very real possibility of continually “becoming”.

    So much of me actually agrees with the statement “if you are not happy, repent.” But that’s because I view repentance in the broad sense as a change from my self-centered life to a life open to others (i.e. God, fellow man, and animals I’m not eating) as opposed to what I perceive is the all to common view of repentance merely stop breaking rule a, b, or c.

    Either scripture seems to emphasize the the responsibility of us as individuals doing something whether it be to get rich temporally and spiritually or whether we are allowing God to comfort us.

    Comment by Riley — August 7, 2011 @ 8:27 pm

  7. What I think these two scriptures show is that there are often tensions in truth. Happiness is more likely when founded on the gospel (paraphrasing the Proclamation) but that doesn’t mean life will be easy (quite the contrary), and as such there is great comfort in the Savior’s words.

    Another thought I had was that this can be a little of works vs. grace. The Mosiah scripture focuses more on our part, and the NT scripture focuses on the Savior’s part.

    That scripture in John 16:33 is one of my favorites, especially when I’m struggling. But when I’m feeling the power of obedience in my life (when life feels more in control, maybe?) I love that Mosiah scripture, too.

    Comment by Michelle — August 7, 2011 @ 9:59 pm

  8. Another thought:

    These two scriptures put together like this make me think of the opening statement in 1 Ne. 1:1-

    “having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days”

    the “blessed and happy state” or “highly favored” state is not the opposite of “tribulation” or “many afflictions”.

    It also makes me think of that cheesy self-help book “happiness is an inside job” I had to read my senior year of high school. Basic premise- no one can make you ad but you, no one can make you sad but you, no one can make you happy but you. It’s your choice.

    On the other hand, that made me think of Ardis’ sunstone talk, and Col. Hess “So many choices”, so maybe there is something to all of that.

    Now I’m rambling.

    Comment by Matt W. — August 8, 2011 @ 9:23 am

  9. Don’t forget this cheerful one: Jacob 7:26

    I conclude this record, declaring that I have written according to the best of my knowledge, by saying that the time passed away with us, and also our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream, we being a lonesome and a solemn people, wanderers, cast out from Jerusalem, born in tribulation, in a wilderness, and hated of our brethren, which caused wars and contentions; wherefore, we did mourn out our days.

    Quick. Get that man some Prozac. Stat!

    Comment by Clark — August 9, 2011 @ 12:28 pm

  10. If you are not living in harmony with the gospel, you will have dissonance in your soul. And it doesn’t matter how many things are “going right for you” you will not be enjoying the peaceful rest of the Lord.

    If you are living in harmony with the gospel, you will have inner peace. And it doesn’t matter how many things are “going wrong” you will have good cheer because you will see blessings from the Lord all around you.

    Comment by Britain — August 10, 2011 @ 11:31 am

  11. Definitely John: “I have overcome the world”. Because the world really is a freakin bitch.

    Comment by Brad — August 13, 2011 @ 11:04 am

  12. Britain,

    I try to live the Gospel (or in harmony with it) and there is dissonance in my soul. Without it I believe there would be little motivation to learn and progress. I know that wasn’t your point but just sayin’.

    Statements like, ” If you are unhappy, repent”, cause more problems than they solve in my opinion.

    Comment by head of shiz — August 16, 2011 @ 12:45 pm

  13. Jacob 1:8

    Therefore, we would to God that . . . that all men would believe in Christ, and view his death, and suffer his cross and bear the shame of the world;

    Comment by Adam G. — August 23, 2011 @ 4:26 pm

  14. Coming from a place of severe clinical depression, I’d vote for John. John always comforts me.

    Comment by annegb — September 11, 2011 @ 5:23 pm

  15. I love both of them but my favorite is the second one because I never trust anything that is all warm fuzzies and doesn’t include an even balance of the positive and negative. Reality is both light and shadow. Postive only is a product of our secular culture that for years has been reading so-called self-help books instead of the scriptures. By self-help books I mean such titles as The Power of Positive Thinking, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, How To Win Friends and Influence People, etc. What they teach is not good religion or reality. It is delusion and fantasy.

    Comment by John W. Redelfs — September 25, 2011 @ 8:42 am