Nowadays, most of us are like Philip of New Testament, who cried “How can I [find my way], except some man should guide me?” (Acts 8:31) Though according to Joseph Smith, “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, selected by Joseph Fielding Smith (1976), 255–56.)
How can we begin find that path that leads to happiness? Thomas S. Monson, then First Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (or the Mormon church,) spoke on “The Hallmarks of a Happy Home” (Liahona, Oct 2001, 3,) and taught how it is the family that can lead and guide us to the path that leads to happiness in this life and in the life to come.
Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, former prime minister of Great Britain, expressed the profound philosophy: “The family is the building block of society. It is a nursery, a school, a hospital, a leisure center, a place of refuge and a place of rest. It encompasses the whole of the society. It fashions our beliefs; it is the preparation for the rest of our life” (Nicholas Wood, “Thatcher Champions the Family,” London Times, 26 May 1988.)
President Monson taught that the building blocks for a happy home include:
1. A pattern of prayer.
2. A library of learning.
3. A legacy of love.
4. A treasury of testimony.
Prayer is the single most important block upon which the other blocks must stand. President Monson said, “Family prayer is the greatest deterrent to sin, and hence the most beneficent provider of joy and happiness. The old saying is yet true: “The family that prays together stays together”.”
Where there is a love of good books, there are children who learn to love the world, and all that is in it. John Howard Payne wrote:
Books are keys to wisdom’s treasure;
Books are gates to lands of pleasure;
Books are paths that upward lead;
Books are friends. Come, let us read.
(“‘Mid Pleasures and Palaces,” Hymns (1948), number 185.)
Give your children a legacy of love, by letting them see you serve one another, neighbors and friends. Don’t be worthy of Jacob’s chastisement to the people of Nephi who forgot the importance of such a loving legacy: “Ye have broken the hearts of your tender wives, and lost the confidence of your children, because of your bad examples before them; and the sobbings of their hearts ascend up to God against you” (Jacob 2:35.)
And finally, let your homes be a treasure of testimony. President David O. McKay said “The first and foremost opportunity for teaching in the Church lies in the home” (Priesthood Home Teaching Handbook, revised edition (1967), ii–iii,) and “A true Mormon home is one in which if Christ should chance to enter, he would be pleased to linger and to rest” (In Conference Report, October 1947, 120; or Gospel Ideals: Selections from the Discourses of David O. McKay (1953), 169.)
It’s not just enough that you believe in God and in His son Jesus Christ, you must be sure to teach your children. Let them hear you bearing your testimony—sharing it with them every opportunity you get. President Monson said: “A love for the Savior, a reverence for His name, and genuine respect one for another will provide a fertile seedbed for a testimony to grow.”
I testify to you that if you follow those ‘hallmarks for a happy home,’ namely, a pattern of prayer, a library of learning, a legacy of love, and a treasury of testimony, your home and the hearts of your family members will be filled with happiness and you will have found the path that leads to happiness and joy ever after.