In Elder’s Quorum today the teacher testified that keeping the commandments makes you happy. He then asked the class what we would say to someone who doesn’t keep the commandments who claimed to be happy. I raised my hand and said, “We could acknowledge their happiness as legitimate. Mormons aren’t the only happy people out there. Others are happy and cheerful even if they don’t live the same way we do, and that doesn’t negate the decisions we may make.” The teacher paused, said, “well,” paused again, “No.” Someone else then explained that if they weren’t keeping the commandments, their happiness couldn’t be real and was only a temporary pleasure. A few others reiterated that and then the lesson quickly moved on to how wickedness never was happiness. Afterwards a member of the Bishopric thanked me for my comment and then used an economic equation (something to do with the cartel collusion principle) to prove that I was wrong. And you wonder why normally I just sit in the back silently reading fmylife.com on my iphone gritting my teeth.
Honestly parents, and future parents, if you want your kids to live by LDS teachings, then this principle is shooting you in the foot. What will you do when your kids meet a nonmember of another lifestyle who is happier than they’ve ever been? Will you tell them that that person’s “I’m happy living this way” testimony is somehow less honest than your “I’m happy living this way” testimony? What will you do when after living every commandment, your son or daughter is depressed? What will you do when your kid drinks a cup of coffee or breaks some other commandment and is still happy? Or is happier? I mean honestly, lastingly, legitimately happy. Your kid, if taught as I was just taught, will then proceed to abandon all commandments and even all Mormonism.
If you want your kids to keep LDS standards, don’t tell them that it is the only way to be happy, because that is a lie and they will eventually figure it out. Instead, tell them you live that way to express your love for God and to keep the promises you made to him. Tell them you live the way you live because you believe that it’s right. Say how you’ve been blessed for doing so, but for God’s sake, acknowledge that Jews, Catholics, Baptists, and even Atheists can be happy (and that Mormons, righteous Mormons, can be depressed) or your child will wake up and find that Santa isn’t the one putting presents under the tree.