Is happiness a good indicator of genuine faith?

(All images in this post are from LDS media)

This past year my attention has been drawn to the quick glimpses we catch during conferences of our prophets and apostles. Not necessarily the images we are meant to see, but those that are semi-private moments between genuine brothers.

As seers, prophets, and revelators, I can’t even begin to know the depths of what they know.

Or see what they see.

But I see them.

And they are happy.

first presidencyI can’t get the images of President Eyring laughing with President Monson, or President Uchtdorf’s eyes sparkling at something he witnesses.

Our new apostles literally have had the weight of the world placed on their shoulders.

They must realize that there is more to be done than they can ever do; they are overwhelmed, to say the least.

And still they laugh and are happy.

christmas2

Not just in the public moments as they stand as witnesses, but also in the relaxed and private ones.

I think it’s actually in these unscripted, unprepared moments of happiness that their greatest witness is borne.

Those with the greatest capacity to see, to know, and to understand just exactly how frightening things really are out there – aren’t afraid.

Instead, they smile and laugh.

And love.

We’ve been told that laughter is the best medicine for what ails us.

It’s true.

But it only works if it is real.

Forced, sarcastic, and bitter imitations have no healing power.

christmas3How do we find the strength, and even the courage, to laugh when things are – frankly – incredibly hard?

We believe.

It sounds simplistic, I know.

There are so many things out there that can make us afraid.

But only if that is all we see.

Believing in those things we cannot see brings light to illuminate what we need to see – what we must see if we no longer want to be afraid.

If we want to be happy.

I’ve watched a lot of people through the years. I think I’m getting pretty good at discerning those of deep and abiding faith in our Savior Jesus Christ.

They are burdened, they are tired, they are in pain.

Christmas4And they are happy.

Just look at the Special Witnesses we have been given.

This season of remembrance is a special opportunity for us to also stand up and witness to others what we believe.

Even if they can’t see it.

Yet.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

ChristmasIs it really possible to be unafraid in terror-filled surroundings, to be peaceful in the midst of turmoil and uncertainty, to be happy while in pain and suffering?

And not the forced, bitter, or sarcastic imitations of happiness, but the real thing?

It is, if we will but just believe.

Be happy this season dear friends.

Be happy.

 

Do we think that radical Christianity is the best solution to radical Islam?

Many years ago my mother discovered through her genealogy work that she had close relatives living in the Great Lakes region which she had never heard of, nor they her.

Contact was made, airline tickets purchased, and Mom set off to meet her “new” family.airplane3

When she arrived, they were warm and inviting, yet she found them staring at her oddly when they thought she wasn’t looking.

Finally it came out.

“You’re a Mormon, aren’t you?”

“Why, yes I am.”

“Can we see your horns?”

My mother laughed out loud and bent her head forward for a hands-on inspection. When no horns were found, they asked their next question.

“How many wives does your husband have?”

I would imagine that many of you have similar stories you could share. We laugh now about how silly people are to believe such nonsense about an entire group of people they know nothing about.

Continue reading Do we think that radical Christianity is the best solution to radical Islam?

Is exercising faith a matter of being “all in”?

For almost two years now I’ve been sharing bits of our journey with you. I would imagine that some parts have made you roll your eyes and others have produced a spontaneous chuckle here and there.

My hope is that some of them have made you stop and think, even if for just a moment, and then ask yourself pertinent questions.

I like to refer to it as ponder and wonder.

One of my favorite ponder and wonder topics is faith. I know that it is the first principle of the gospel and that by 48 I should probably have it down by now, but we all know that I’m just a bit simplistic.

It takes me a while for it all to sink in.

Hence, the pondering and wondering.

jesus christ 4I have a firm testimony that whatever my Heavenly Father’s will and direction is for my life is ALWAYS better than what I could scrape together on my own. It always has been, and always will be.

Our Savior’s example in the Garden of Eden of submission to the will of His Father at a point when He would have the bitter cup pass has been one I have spent a lot of time trying to emulate.

At least in my own silly, mortal way.

Continue reading Is exercising faith a matter of being “all in”?

Have we asked what comes AFTER the anger?

There is a lot of anger out there.

Global, national, political, social, economic, sectarian.

Through years of hiding our heads in the sand and putting off for tomorrow that which we should sacrifice today, we’ve made a mess of a lot of things.

And, to coin a phrase, everyone’s mad as hell.

Understandable.

gunshotIt feels like we have at last arrived at that final straw that will break the camel’s back.

And the resultant wounded roar is much like the shot heard around the world.

So, now that the igniting shot has been fired, what comes next?

To me, it looks like we have two choices: scream more oxygen into the flames and let the inferno burn everyone it touches; or, build a forge.

Continue reading Have we asked what comes AFTER the anger?