Sunday, April 27, 2014

True Happiness

Patsy Hewlett Goates
A voice hath spoken from the dust,
Its message pure, without alloy,
Of treasured hope and sacred trust:
Oh, "men are that they might have joy."

Should sorrow come, we'll not despair,
For He would not that men should pine.
The grief that comes we'll learn to bear
Until again the sun doth shine.

Before the Lord, then, humbly go.
His message will our spirits buoy.
On us his blessings he'll bestow,
For "men are that they might have joy." (Hymns, no. 275)

"Adam fell that man might be; and men are, that they might have joy.
"And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.
"Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. "And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.
"And now, my sons, I would that ye should look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit." (2 Nephi 2:25-28, emphasis mine).

Two years ago I was writing near this same day in the calendar, and I thought I was happy then. There is nothing to compare with the joy of a righteous posterity, which gives me the title for today's post. Two years ago our youngest daughter, Merilee, was preparing to leave to serve as a missionary in the Washington DC South Mission. Little did we know then what we know today about the impact that decision to serve a mission would have upon her life and ours.

While serving there, she met and worked with many, many missionaries. She was the first Sister Trainer Leader called when that new position was implemented, putting sister missionaries for the first time in the zone leader council meetings in missions throughout the world. She had the opportunity to serve many missionaries as the age limit was lowered to encourage more to serve.

President Ronald A. Rasband
We are informed by President Ronald A. Rasband, Senior President of the Seventy who now resides in our ward, that the number of full-time missionaries is expected to top out around 91,000 this fall sometime. As a result of that surge of missionaries, Merilee's mission was split and the southern boundary of their mission was swallowed up in a new mission.

Out of the Washington DC South Mission and into that new mission was transferred one of the Assistants to President Matt Riggs, Elder Michael Litchfield. They would not see each other again until after their missions. Returning within a week of each other, he to Washington state and Merilee to Utah, they began to commiserate through e-mails about how difficult their adjustment back to "normal life" seemed to each of them. Merilee suggested he come to Utah to seek employment and continue his education. You know, that's what friends do for each other.

Merilee and Michael
Within days (not weeks), he came to Utah, found a job in the same company where she was working, and by Christmas Eve it was apparent this relationship had flourished and prospered beyond their fleeting friendship as missionaries who had "locked their hearts" from any and all thoughts of anything but missionary work. Their relationship had been forged initially based upon their shared respect and admiration for each other as missionaries. Imagine his delight when they called President Riggs to inform him they had officially "unlocked their hearts" and planned to be married! Because of their missions, both Michael and Merilee have now "sealed their hearts" for each other and each chose an eternal companion for themselves neither may have considered without that mission experience.

True happiness in this life consists of one thing - obtaining a body. That was Joseph Smith's simplest answer when asked. Said he: "The great principle of happiness consists in having a body." (TPJS, 181.) In another place, he continued: "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." (Ibid., 255). Further, the Lord revealed, "This is my work and my glory - to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." (Moses 1:39).We are spirit creations of God, and the mortal parents of children are partners with God in the creation process.

All the bodies that have been born on this planet and myriads of others like it have one thing in common: Physical bodies are the result of a man and a woman who procreate to open the door to mortality. A married couple must bring to pass the mortality of man and woman first before there can be any thoughts of immortality and eternal life. The single state is impotent and devoid of the power to procreate. The patriarchal order of the priesthood is meaningless without matriarchs. Kings cannot be kings without a Queen. Priests cannot be priests without a Priestess. There is no other way children are born except where medical science has been enabled to offer an "assist".

President Ezra Taft Benson
I think then-Elder Ezra Taft Benson sums up my feelings. His words are my words:

"When the God of heaven said it was our responsibility to multiply and replenish the earth, that marriage was primarily for that purpose, he didn't insert any provisos.

"So, my brothers and sisters, think seriously about these things. Pray about them. Fast about them. The Lord will give you the answer because he wants you to succeed. He wants you to be happy. He wants you to have the blessings of righteous posterity. Sometimes marriage may be postponed to the point where for physical and other reasons parenthood is denied. Oh, what a loss when the time comes! Children are jewels. Blessed is the man or the woman who has a family of children. The deepest joys and blessings in life are associated with family — parenthood — sacrifice. It's worth any sacrifice, practically, in order to have those sweet spirits come into your home and to come early, that you might enjoy them for a longer period; that they might enjoy their parents for a longer period; and that their children might enjoy their grandparents for a longer period.

"May I again assure you that the Lord wants you to be happy. He wants you to be successful. He wants you to be good citizens of this great country. But above all, he wants you to live so that you will be exalted in the celestial kingdom of God. The door is open. The plan is here. The authority and the power is here. It's up to you. If we live according to that plan, we'll be happy; we'll be successful; we'll love this country and be good citizens of it; and we will be exalted in the celestial kingdom." (Delivered at Washington Stake M Men and Gleaner Fireside, March 28, 1954, reprinted in So Shall Ye Reap, Reed A. Benson, Ezra Taft Benson, 1960, 190-91,emphasis mine).

Let us therefore rejoice and be happy in the eternal marriage covenant. We find joy in the eternal family unit. All other forms of happiness are transitory and fleeting. True happiness is found in the family, and I am so thankful for each who contributes in my life to that fullness of joy.

Family Reunion 2013 (several missing)

No comments:

Post a Comment