I remember when I first joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (otherwise known as the Mormons,) my sister was very concerned for me.
“You have so many restrictions on you now. I don’t see how you can be happy with all those rules,” she said.
I tried to explain it, but my knowledge was purely based in feeling at that time—I didn’t have adequate words to express what I knew in my heart to be true. Now I would like to answer my sisters’ questions and I can do so with confidence. I know now what I once only believed, that being obedient to the laws of the gospel is precisely what sets me free and that freedom brings me daily peace and happiness beyond measure.
When you do what God tells you to do, you have His promise: “I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise” (Doctrine and Covenants 82:10.)
Mormons believe that God is the same today as He was yesterday and that He speaks to His apostles today just as He did in days long past. Many modern day revelations are recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants. How grateful to know that He remembers us still and provides guidance for us in these latter days.
The Doctrine and Covenants go on to say: “There is a law, irrevocably decreed in Heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated” (Doctrine and Covenants 130:20-21.)
Our Father in Heaven created us and He loves us. Just as any good and loving father, He desires for His children to be successful and above all, to be happy. The Book of Mormon tells us clearly: “Men are, that they might have joy” (2 Nephi 2:25.)
The prophet of the restoration, Joseph Smith said, “Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1976, p. 255.)
I desire to be happy as much as my Heavenly Father desires to grant it. All He has asked me to do, is to be obedient to the things He has asked me to do and He will see to it that I have my reward, both on earth and in heaven.
As in all things, I have a choice. I can choose to go my own way, to not follow any of the guidelines the leaders of my Church have given me—but I’ve lived that life and I know that for me, it did not bring me any kind of lasting happiness.
Choosing each day to follow the Lord, to read my scriptures, say my prayers, refrain from consuming substances that have been deemed to be harmful to my body or to my mind, strive to remember God in all that I do and keep the Sabbath day holy, sets my feet firmly on the path to happiness and peace–this is true happiness.