Q&A: Questions and Answers


Answers are intended for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine

People tell me the gospel will make you happy. I’m doing what I’m supposed to. Why don’t I feel happy?

New Era

To help you answer your question, try doing a little research. Look around you for people who seem to be happy. Ask them if they would mind telling you what they have discovered that helps them be happy. You will probably hear some statements you’ve heard before such as, “Your attitude makes all the difference,” or “You’re only as happy as you make up your mind to be.” There is a lot of truth in these sayings.

The gospel is not only a guide for the eternities; it is also a guide for our day-to-day lives. When we begin to consider the well-being of those around us, we learn to give of ourselves. This Christlike service helps us draw closer to our Savior, the source of all joy and happiness.

Also by following the commandments and living the gospel, we are saved from some of the self-inflicted problems that beset the world (see Hel. 13:38). For example, the Word of Wisdom advises against drinking and smoking, two habits that often cause serious health problems and result in much pain and suffering in people’s lives. We are also encouraged to treat each other with honesty and respect. This helps maintain good relationships. We are also advised not to place great value on things money can buy. Many people make themselves unhappy working to gain material things, only to find that it was at the expense of more important things. Always wanting something you don’t have creates an atmosphere where you fail to see the good things happening in your life.

If something is making you unhappy that you have the power to change, then set about making a plan to change. Don’t be deceived. You may want to become more popular and are tempted to give up gospel standards to reach that goal. You need to understand the things that will make you truly and eternally happy. You can find that guidance in the gospel.

If something is causing you unhappiness that is beyond your power to change, then see if you can talk to your parents or adult leaders about it. They may be able to help.

Having a testimony of the gospel doesn’t mean you won’t feel the pain of certain situations. But it is only when you have lived through them and can look back with perfect hindsight that you will see how much strength you gained and how much you learned by staying close to the gospel, even during difficult times. Having faith, as the gospel encourages us to do, means that you put your trust in Jesus Christ, even though at the time you can’t see all the reasons (see Prov. 3:5).

Learning how to be happy often means letting some time pass. You may have heard adults talk about how things that seemed so important to them as teenagers turned out not to be significant to them as adults. They are not trying to pass over your concerns lightly. They are just trying to say that most of the time things will get better. Learn to look for the good things in situations and in people around you. For example, it’s more fun to see the humor in things that go wrong instead of getting angry. It’s much more positive to see the good in people rather than get hung up on their weaknesses.

God has not left us alone to struggle without guidance. He created us to be joyful (see 2 Ne. 2:25). If we continue to follow the commandments of the gospel we can experience joy in this life as well as in the hereafter.

Readers

Living the gospel is essential to happiness, but it doesn’t guarantee that you won’t experience some unhappiness in life. You will largely decide if you’re happy by the attitude you choose to have. When you wake up in the morning and tell yourself “Today is going to be a great day!” it can be if you are living the gospel principles.

Wendy Archibald, 16 Rexburg, Idaho

When I was in high school, I struggled to find real happiness. I was obeying the commandments, but I think football and my social life were my priorities. Now I realize that only through the gospel can I have lasting happiness. Don’t give up. Scripture study and prayer were crucial in strengthening my testimony.

Elder Andre Noble, 19 Trinidad and Tobago Mission

Be patient and wait. If you are doing what you are supposed to, you will be blessed, and that leads to eternal happiness.

Carrie Brown, 12 Perry, Oklahoma

The gospel will make you happy, but first ask yourself: “Am I really doing what I’m supposed to do, or am I only doing it when I’m asked?” Try to do the right thing without being reminded. I think this will bring you happiness in the gospel.

Chris Porter, 17 Johnson City, Tennessee

When I first joined the Church, I wasn’t happy, but I didn’t give up. I kept praying for happiness and I finally found it. Believe and all things are possible.

Triinu Roop, 17 Kuusiku, Estonia

Happiness is like any other gospel principle. To obtain it we must have faith. Living the gospel is more than just doing it. It is important to know why the gospel makes us happy. To me happiness is knowing I am living in a way that makes Heavenly Father happy, too.

Cody Ray Erickson, 21 Beaver, Utah

Don’t give up, even if you don’t feel happy right now. If you keep the commandments throughout your life, you will have eternal happiness. “And if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness” (Mosiah 2:41).

Kristen Erekson, 13 Prospect, Kentucky

[photo] Photography by Matt Reier

[illustration] In the Book of Mormon, Lehi saw in a vision that holding to the rod, or the word of God, leading to the tree of life was the only way to eternal happiness. In describing the tree, Lehi said, “And it came to pass that I beheld a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy. … And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy” (1 Ne. 8:10, 12). (Painting by Jerry Thompson.)