Steps to Happiness

Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

From an address given to youth in Salta, Argentina, in November 2011.

Listen Download Print Share

Commandments are not given to restrict but rather to make possible what we truly desire and what our Heavenly Father, who loves us, wants for us.

people on stairs

Illustration by David Habben

At times, some people get confused, thinking that the commandments are restrictions or limitations that complicate life, that take away opportunities or happiness or the pleasures of life. In reality, the commandments protect us and guide us to happiness. They are not to restrict but rather to make possible—to allow us to achieve in this life and in the next—what we truly desire and what our Heavenly Father, who loves us, wants for us.

They are like a flight of stairs. Each step may represent one commandment, and with each commandment that we obey, we can move upward. Then, if we understand the essence of the commandments, we want more. We don’t feel resentment regarding the commandments; we want more in order to be able to progress more. And a Heavenly Father who loves us gives unto us according to our desires. If we desire it, He is going to give us more commandments in order to facilitate our progress.

So, young people, please don’t complain about the commandments. Don’t say, “I don’t want any more,” but rather say, “Yes, more, more. I want to progress. I want to be happy. I want to be like my Heavenly Father. And the commandments show me how to do so. They open up the pathway before me and also protect me from evil and the things that destroy happiness—and sometimes they even protect life itself.”

I hope that you’re convinced. We have to do all things necessary to keep the commandments, even if it seems we are all alone as we do so.

For more information on this topic, see President Thomas S. Monson, “Obedience Brings Blessings,” Ensign, May 2013, 89; and Elder L. Tom Perry, “Obedience to Law Is Liberty,” Ensign, May 2013, 86. You can also read or watch these addresses at

Join the Conversation

Throughout September you’ll be studying about the commandments in your priesthood quorums and Young Women and Sunday School classes. You may want to think about some commandments that your peers often struggle with. What blessings have you or others received by following those commandments? Brainstorm ways you could testify of those blessings to people around you, and follow the Spirit to know what to say and when to say it. You could role-play some examples during a family home evening or share your testimony during a Sunday School lesson.

Consider sharing your experiences at You can even send your story to the New Era at (click “Submit Your Work”) or by emailing