We are so often confused. Differing political opinions pull us to and fro. The lifestyles of the rich and famous seem to emulate a way to happiness we long to follow, and yet their behavior often leads to what looks like misery and despair. How can we find happiness if those who seem to have it all can’t even obtain it? How can we discern the truth when opposing forces constantly fight for our loyalty?
My grandfather Charles Allan was a Scot through and through. He often quoted from Robert Burns, the great Scottish poet. One of his favorites helps us define mere pleasure:
But pleasures are like poppies spread:
You seize the flow’r, its bloom is shed;
Or like the snow falls in the river,
A moment white—then melts for ever;
Or like the borealis race,
That flit ere you can point their place;
Or like the rainbow’s lovely form
Evanishing amid the storm.
(“Tam o’ Shanter,” lines 59–66)
Only true happiness has the potential to last, to truly lift our spirits, our hearts and minds. No riches are needed; you don’t even need to have your name on all the A-list parties. Passing pleasure does not make lasting happiness. As Elder David O. McKay, then of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, once said, “You may get that transitory pleasure, yes, but you cannot find joy, you cannot find happiness. Happiness is found only along that well beaten track, narrow as it is, though straight, which leads to life eternal” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1919, 180).
In the book of James in the New Testament, we read, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (James 1:5.) Here is the solution for your confusion: ask of God and He will show you the better part.
The Prophet Joseph Smith told us, “Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith , 255–56).
Virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping the commandments of God are the only true way to obtain true and lasting happiness. Pray, and God, your Heavenly Father, will tell you how to live these worthy values so that you may obtain your righteous desire and be happy.
This post was originally published on December 5, 2007. Minor changes have been made.