Posted by: 1of10boyz | March 31, 2013

He is Risen!

I was given the opportunity today at “Church” here in China to speak a little bit about Easter along with about a half dozen others. I was told to keep my comments to 5 minutes or less. My question statement was this: Easter is the celebration of the foundations for our spiritual happiness. What does Easter have to do with happiness? Since I found a lot of information on this and really didn’t get a chance to share all of that it makes for a good blog post and I have been a little remiss in posting my stuff of late. Easter is a good opportunity to start again with how I am feeling here in China.

So what is happiness? Sounds simple enough doesn’t it? Is there difference between spiritual happiness and temporal happiness? For LDS missionaries in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s it strangely sounds a lot like our favorite filmstrip. Filmstrip, what is a filmstrip? You know (at some of the older folks out there do) it is a roll of 35mm(ish) film with an associated audio tape that you played along with it (think, beep – turn the slide). Sure those were on their way out of during my mission and VHS was on its way in but I admit to using both of them. Even though it was decades old by my mission in 1983-1984 it was and is a good presentation. See the 2 part Youtube clip for part of it here and here.

Much has been written about happiness and how to find it. We know that there are gurus and life coaches that spend hours trying to help others understand how to find happiness. The key to finding happiness is realizing that temporal or physical happiness is fleeting and very tough to capture. There are many secular answers to that question but as a Latter-day Saint I will express my opinion that real happiness is spiritual happiness. When we have spiritual happiness we understand that those moments when we are temporal unhappy are eternally unimportant. Sure, it doesn’t make them any less unhappy but for me it makes them a lot more bearable.

The nice thing about being LDS is we believe that the heavens are not sealed. We believe that there are men on the earth today that can still receive revelations just like what we read about in the Old and New Testaments. Today, there are 15 men on the earth that we believe are Prophets, Seers, and Revelators. One of those is President Dieter F. Uchtdorf who said the following in April 2009 when he spoke about happiness. He said:

“We live in a time when many worry about their livelihood. They are concerned about the future and doubt their ability to resolve the challenges that confront them. Many have experienced personal misfortune and sadness. They hunger for meaning and purpose in life.

Because there is such great interest in these issues, the world is not bashful in offering numerous new answers to every problem we face. People run from one new idea to the next, hoping to find something that will answer the burning questions of their souls. They attend seminars and buy books, CDs, and other products. They get caught up in the excitement of looking for something new. But inevitably, the flame of each new theory fades, only to be replaced by another “new and improved” solution that promises to do what the others before could not.

It’s not that these worldly options don’t contain elements of truth—many of them do. Nevertheless, they all fall short of the lasting change we seek in our lives. After the excitement wears off, the hollowness remains as we look for the next new idea to unlock the secrets of happiness.

In contrast, the gospel of Jesus Christ has the answers to all of our problems. The gospel is not a secret. It is not complicated or hidden. It can unlock the door to true happiness. It is not someone’s theory or proposition. It does not come from man at all. It springs from the pure and everlasting waters of the Creator of the universe, who knows truths we cannot even begin to comprehend. And with that knowledge, He has given us the gospel—a divine gift, the ultimate formula for happiness and success.

There are some who believe that because they have made mistakes, they can no longer fully partake of the blessings of the gospel. How little they understand the purposes of the Lord. One of the great blessings of living the gospel is that it refines us and helps us learn from our mistakes. We “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,”11yet the Atonement of Jesus Christ has the power to make us whole when we repent.

Our beloved friend Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin taught us this principle with clarity when he said:

“Oh, it is wonderful to know that our Heavenly Father loves us—even with all our flaws! His love is such that even should we give up on ourselves, He never will.

“We [might] see ourselves in terms of yesterday and today. Our Heavenly Father sees us in terms of forever. …

“The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of transformation. It takes us as men and women of the earth and refines us into men and women for the eternities.”12

To those who have left the path of discipleship for whatever reason, I invite you to start where you are and come to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Walk again in the way of the Lord. I testify that the Lord will bless your life, endow you with knowledge and joy beyond comprehension, and distill upon you the supernal gifts of the Spirit. It is always the right time to walk in His way. It is never too late.

The point of happiness, at least spiritual happiness, is understanding what the sacrifice of Jesus Christ really means. I terms that my friends in the South will understand, Are You Saved? When you know what the sacrifice means and how it helps you have or attain eternal salvation. For a Mormon, we get another primer on how understanding those aspects of the Savior’s gifts from one our current Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, Elder Richard G. Scott. He said:

This Easter, as you remember the Resurrection and the price paid and the gift given through the Atonement, ponder what the scriptures teach of those sacred events. Your personal witness of their reality will be strengthened. They must be more than principles you memorize. They must be woven into the very fiber of your being as a powerful bulwark against the rising tide of abomination that infects our world.

Without the Atonement, Father in Heaven’s plan of happiness could not have been placed fully into effect. The Atonement gives all the opportunity to overcome the consequences of mistakes made in life. When we obey a law, we receive a blessing. When we break a law, there is nothing left over from prior obedience to satisfy the demands of justice for that broken law. The Savior’s Atonement permits us to repent of any disobedience and thereby avoid the penalties that justice would have imposed.

My reverence and gratitude for the Atonement of the Holy One of Israel, the Prince of Peace and our Redeemer, continually expand as I strive to understand more about it. I realize that no mortal mind can adequately conceive, nor can human tongue appropriately express, the full significance of all that Jesus Christ has done for our Heavenly Father’s children through His Atonement. Yet it is vital that we each learn what we can about it. The Atonement is that essential ingredient of our Father in Heaven’s plan of happiness without which that plan could not have been activated. Your understanding of the Atonement and the insight it provides for your life will greatly enhance your productive use of all of the knowledge, experience, and skills you acquire in mortal life.

So, friends, as you celebrate your Easter I would ask are you happier because of what you know about Jesus Christ? I am telling you that you should be happier because of what you know. If you aren’t as happy as you think should be, maybe I know something about the Atonement, the Resurrection, and Happiness that you should ask me about. I promise I will tell you enough to make you spiritually happy for eternity.

He is Risen


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