“Speaking Today,” Liahona, Dec. 2005, N9–N10
Elder Wirthlin Shares Five Keys to Happiness
In an address to graduates of LDS Business College on May 5, 2005, Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shared five keys to happiness that have blessed his life.
Elder Wirthlin learned the first important key to happiness from a dog his family owned when Elder Wirthlin was a child. The dog, named Ruff, would run away at the sound of any loud noise. Elder Wirthlin said that, like his former dog, people run away from worthwhile goals and relationships because of fear.
“Fear can be a thick fog that smothers our dreams. It can be a cage that restrains us from reaching our destiny,” he said. “It can be a weight that restrains our every step.”
Elder Wirthlin said that our Heavenly Father gave His children the power to help overcome fear. “We each have a spark of divine courage within us. We may not be immune to being afraid, but we do not have to succumb to it,” he said.
Gaining courage to overcome fear comes from having faith, and developing faith is the second key to happiness, Elder Wirthlin said. He recounted the story of Gideon’s army of Israelite soldiers facing a numerous host of Midianites despite being outnumbered as an illustration of the power of faith (see Judg. 7:1–8). Elder Wirthlin suggested spending time in prayer, communicating with Heavenly Father, as one way to develop faith.
Elder Wirthlin said work is the third key to happiness. “Some of the most fulfilling moments of our lives are when we establish worthwhile goals and work to achieve them,” said Elder Wirthlin.
He encouraged the graduates to set goals. Elder Wirthlin said accomplishing a goal doesn’t take an expensive system. It is as simple as writing down the work that needs to be done to achieve the goal and then working each day a little at a time.
Fourth, Elder Wirthlin said, doing what is right will lead to happiness. “It is not enough to do things,” he said. “We must do the right things—the things our Heavenly Father would want us to do.”
Elder Wirthlin instructed the graduates to follow the commandments recorded in scripture and given by latter-day prophets. He called these commandments the handbook to happiness.
In describing the last key to happiness, Elder Wirthlin told the story of one student in the graduating class, Emily Jensen. When Emily was 16, she was involved in a serious accident and lapsed into a coma. The accident and resulting coma changed her life. Emily, he said, had to relearn how to do everything—including how to eat, walk, and sit up.
By accomplishing her goal to graduate from college, Emily, Elder Wirthlin said, had demonstrated the fifth key to happiness: perseverance to the end. He said heroes are remembered because they persevere.
“Some of the most memorable characters from literature as well as life have this in common: they never give up,” said Elder Wirthlin. “Those who do are often forgotten. But those who fight on, sometimes despite tremendous odds, these we respect, revere, and remember.”
Elder Wirthlin concluded by blessing the 352 graduates to include the five keys to happiness in their lives.
Elder Oaks Urges Members to Stand in Holy Places
During a devotional at Brigham Young University–Idaho’s Education Week in June, Elder Robert C. Oaks of the Presidency of the Seventy said homes, chapels, and temples are three places where members can “stand in holy places” (D&C 45:32).
Elder Oaks said that members should strive to make their homes feel different than the outside world.
He said: “Walking in the front door of our home should provide an immediate contrast to the rest of the natural-man world. This sounds utopian, but it is possible, if there is concerted effort on the part of all family members to make the home environment different from the outside world environment.”
Smiles, compliments, good music, and love can make a home a holy place, he said.
Elder Oaks described why the Church builds and dedicates chapels. These buildings, he said, help members grow spiritually. “When we gather together in worship services we draw strength from one another,” he said. “This strength flows from shared testimonies as well as from gospel knowledge gained through shared lessons. We grow spiritually as we accept and magnify callings, and we strengthen our Christian character as we provide charitable service to one another.”
Elder Oaks related an experience he had while visiting southeast Africa. During a crowded fireside in a Church building with only a dirt floor and tin roof, children sat quietly for the entire meeting. These children knew reverence, he said. During a three-year period as he traveled in 21 African nations, Elder Oaks said he never witnessed irreverent behavior.
Elder Oaks emphasized that members should do everything they can to invite reverence and spiritual warmth into their chapels. For those unable to enter the temple, a chapel will be the best holy place to enjoy shelter and sanctuary. “Our chapels and those who come into them deserve our reverence,” he said.
Temples are at the top of the list of holy places to stand in, said Elder Oaks. He told of how he felt after taking a tour of the Kirtland Temple in Ohio.
He said: “Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith in that beautiful temple, along with Moses, Elijah, and Elias. Grand, dispensational keys were restored: keys for the gathering of Israel and keys for the redemption of the dead. On that spot and on that day, Christ gave great impetus to the restoration process. That is what happens in the Lord’s holy places.”
Elder Oaks said that temples are sanctified by the sacrifice required to build them, a prayer of dedication, and by the sacred, eternal ordinances performed within them. “We stand in these places to bless those who have gone before through the vicarious ordinances we perform, but we also bless ourselves in dramatic fashion,” he said.
In conclusion, Elder Oaks said although members cannot always stand in a holy place, they can take their “holy places” with them by their standards of language, entertainment, and general behavior.
Elder Oaks said, “By standing in holy places, thinking virtuous thoughts, and doing our utmost to abide by the eternal laws of the gospel, we can prepare ourselves to ‘not be moved’ by the tumults of the world.”