All of us want happiness for those we love, and we want as little pain for them as possible. As we read the accounts of happiness—and of pain—in the Book of Mormon, our hearts are stirred as we think of our loved ones. Here is a true account of a time of happiness:
“And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people.
“And there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness; and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.”
Then we read:
“And how blessed were they! For the Lord did bless them in all their doings; yea, even they were blessed and prospered until an hundred and ten years had passed away; and the first generation from Christ had passed away, and there was no contention in all the land” (4 Nephi 1:15–16, 18).
Loving disciples of Christ pray and work for such a blessing for others and for themselves. From accounts in the Book of Mormon and, for many of us, from our own experience, we know that the gift of happiness is attainable. We know that the path to happiness is well marked. We also know that maintaining happiness is not easy unless, as with the Nephites after the Savior’s visit, “the love of God” dwells in our hearts.
That love was in the hearts of the Nephites because they kept the law that made it possible. A summary of that law is found in the sacramental prayers, which begin with a heartfelt plea to our loving Heavenly Father. We pray with a heart full of faith in, and with a deep love for, our personal Savior. We commit with real intent to take upon us His name, to remember Him, and to keep all His commandments. Finally, we exercise faith that the Holy Ghost, the third member of the Godhead, may always be with us, testifying to our hearts of the Father and of His Beloved Son. (See D&C 20:77, 79.)
With the companionship of the Holy Ghost, our hearts can change so that we want and welcome the love of our Heavenly Father and of the Lord Jesus Christ. The way to get the love of God into our hearts is simple, as is the way to lose the feeling of that love in our hearts. For instance, someone may choose to pray less often to Heavenly Father or not to pay a full tithing or to stop feasting on the word of God or to ignore the poor and the needy.
Any choice not to keep the Lord’s commandments can cause the Spirit to withdraw from our hearts. With that loss, happiness diminishes.
The happiness we want for our loved ones depends on their choices. As much as we love a child, an investigator, or our friends, we cannot force them to keep the commandments so that they qualify for the Holy Ghost to touch and change their hearts.
So the best help we can give is whatever leads those we love to watch over their own choices. Alma did it with an invitation you might offer:
“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus be led by the Holy Spirit, becoming humble, meek, submissive, patient, full of love and all long-suffering;
“Having faith on the Lord; having a hope that ye shall receive eternal life; having the love of God always in your hearts, that ye may be lifted up at the last day and enter into his rest” (Alma 13:28–29).
I pray that those you love may accept an inspired invitation to choose the path to lasting happiness.