17- If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.
1. If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands. (clap, clap)
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands. (clap, clap)
If you’re happy and you know it,
Then your face will surely show it.
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands. (clap, clap).
1. There is sunshine in my soul today,
More glorious and bright
Than glows in any earthly sky,
For Jesus is my light.
When the peaceful happy moments roll.
When Jesus shows his smiling face,
There is sunshine in the soul.
2. There is music in my soul today,
A carol to my King,
And Jesus listening can hear
The songs I cannot sing.
3. There is springtime in my soul today,
For when the Lord is near,
The dove of peace sings in my heart,
The flow’rs of grace appear.
4. There is gladness in my soul today,
And hope and praise and love,
For blessings which he gives me now,
For joys “laid up” above.
*For Younger Children* Read / tell the following story “The Do-Gooders Club” (March 2005 Friend). Testify that happiness can be found when serving others.
“Do you think we’ll ever finish?” I asked Lacey as we stared at my messy bedroom. “Mom says it looks like a tornado hit it.”
“My room’s been worse,” Lacey replied with a giggle.
I was glad Lacey was willing to help me. Not every friend would help clean up a room that looked like a disaster zone. But luckily Lacey thought that cleaning bedrooms was fun—as long as it wasn’t her own.
I grabbed a CD and stuck it in my pink CD player. Usually I played popular music while I did my chores, but this time I put in a CD of Primary music that my Primary teacher had given me.
In an instant, my bedroom was filled with a chorus of children singing songs like “I Am a Child of God,” “I Lived in Heaven,” and “The Church of Jesus Christ.”
As we placed stuffed animals in the closet, hung up my clothes, and listened to the music, a sweet, spiritual feeling filled the room. Lacey wasn’t a member of the Church, but I could tell that she felt it, too. I’d never felt the Holy Ghost this strongly before.
“What does your church believe in?” she asked.
It would have been impossible to tell her everything that I’d ever learned at home and in Primary, so I just explained that we believed in Jesus Christ, the Bible, and the Book of Mormon. Then I recited the first and second articles of faith that I’d memorized for my Faith in God Award.
“I go to church, too,” Lacey said. “See?” She showed me her necklace, which had a gold cross on it.
I lifted the necklace up from my shirt. “We both have gold necklaces,” I said. “except mine says ‘CTR.’ That stands for ‘Choose the Right.’”
We smiled at each other. Suddenly I felt that we both needed to do something more important than just clean a room. We had to do something special.
“Come on,” I said. “Let’s finish up quick so we can do something really good!”
“Maybe we could start a do-gooders club or something,” said Lacey excitedly.
“I know!” I said. “Let’s make a bunch of sugar cookies and give them to our neighbors.”
We raced downstairs and told my mom about our idea. “Can we do it?” we asked.
“Sure,” she said.
Mom helped us find a recipe and get out all the ingredients. Then Lacey and I mixed, rolled, and baked until we had six heaping plates of cookies. We decorated them with squiggly lines of green frosting.
“They smell wonderful!” Mom said.
And they tasted good, too! Lacey and I snatched a couple of cookies, then delivered the rest to the neighbors who lived on our street. It was fun to see the surprised looks on their faces when we handed them their own big plate of warm cookies.
Lacey and I practically skipped all the way back to my house.
“Well, I’ve got to go,” she said. “It’s getting late.”
“OK, I’ll see you later!” I replied.
It had been a great afternoon. Maybe Lacey could visit my church one day and sing the songs with me in Primary. But in the meantime, I was glad to know that we could have fun together doing nice things for people and that we could both feel close to Heavenly Father.
Discuss the following questions as a family:
1- What were the girls doing in the bedroom?
2- What CD was put in the CD player?
3- What does CTR mean?
4- What did the girls make in the kitchen?
5- What did they do with the cookies?
6- How did the girls feel? Why?
Testify that Heavenly Father wants us to be happy. We can find happiness when we serve others.
*For Teenagers or Adults* Read and discuss parts from Elder Marlin K Jensen’s BYU devotional talk given Sept 1995. Testify of the importance of finding true happiness.
How to Be Happy:
Several years ago a Book of Mormon passage caught my attention. It’s in the first part of the Book of Mormon—the part our family specializes in—and concerns the period of time just after Nephi has separated from Laman and Lemuel and departed into the wilderness. There Nephi established a society founded on gospel truths. Of that society in 2 Nephi 5:27 [2 Ne. 5:27], he says, “And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness.”
I pondered what it could mean to live “after the manner of happiness.” I knew it had to be related to the gospel and God’s plan for our lives. I wondered what the individual elements of a truly happy society and life might be, and I began to search Nephi’s writings for clues.
I begin in 2 Nephi 5:6 [2 Ne. 5:6] with Nephi’s observation that as he journeyed into the wilderness, “I … did take my family … and Sam, mine elder brother and his family, and Jacob and Joseph, my younger brethren, and also my sisters.” Here is a significant key to happiness—one’s family.
There was good reason that Nephi took his more righteous siblings with him into the wilderness. He belonged to them and they belonged to him. There is no other organization that can so completely satisfy our need for belonging and provide the resulting happiness that a family can.
Sometimes after an enjoyable family home evening, or during a fervent family prayer, or when our entire family is at the dinner table on Sunday evening eating waffles and engaging in a session of lively, good-natured conversation, I quietly say to myself, “If heaven is nothing more than this, it will be good enough for me.”
2- Keeping the Commandments
In 2 Nephi 5:10 [2 Ne. 5:10] Nephi says, “And we did observe to keep the judgments, and the statutes, and the commandments of the Lord in all things.”
Here is a simple but powerful truth: living righteously and keeping God’s commandments makes us happy. The very quotable Alma gave us the all-time best one-liner on this topic when he said, “Wickedness never washappiness” (Alma 41:10). That’s a sound bite worthy of the six o’clock news. Alma’s is as categorical a statement as can be made on the subject, and our chances of proving Alma wrong are about zero.
From the depths of my soul I testify that Satan wants us to believe we are an exception to God’s rules, that somehow our transgressions are more noble and justifiable than anyone’s have ever been. But that is a lie. And not only do we offend God by breaking His laws; we also offend ourselves and others, and thereby experience heartache, suffering, and misery—the exact opposites of happiness.
In 2 Nephi 5:12 [2 Ne. 5:12], Nephi mentions that he “had also brought the records which were engraven upon the plates of brass.”
Why would having access to the scriptures be a consideration in a happy lifestyle? Anyone who reads scripture regularly develops a clearer perspective, purer thoughts, and has more sincere and thoughtful prayers. Our lives are bound to be happier when we use the scriptures to answer our very personal questions and needs.
The scriptures can cleanse us from evil thoughts and fortify our resolve to resist temptation. They can give comfort in times of need such as the death of a loved one or other personal tragedy. Reading them can put us in tune with the Spirit of the Lord, and I testify that there is great constancy and happiness to be had from a daily study of the Bible and the restoration scriptures.
Verse 17 of the fifth chapter of 2 Nephi says, “And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did cause my people to be industrious, and to labor with their hands.”
No matter what our life’s work turns out to be, I know we’ll be happier if we regularly labor with our hands. This can take many forms: yard work, sewing, quilting, cooking, baking, auto repair, home repair—the list is endless and so is the happiness and sense of accomplishment such activities produce.
5- The Temple
Nephi made another observation about his society that is most interesting. In 2 Nephi 5:16 [2 Ne. 5:16] it says, “And I, Nephi, did build a temple.” Nephi’s temple may have differed in some ways from our latter-day temples, but its central purpose was likely the same—to continually teach and orient God’s children concerning His plan for their happiness, and to provide the ordinances and covenants essential to the attainment of that happiness.
I can honestly say that the most spiritually mature and happy people I know are ardent temple attenders. There is good reason for that. It is in the temple that God’s program for us is told and retold, each telling bringing greater understanding and commitment to living life His way.
6- Church Service
The final element of Nephi’s society recorded in 2 Nephi 5 [2 Ne. 5] concerns the role our Church callings and service play in a happy life. Nephi notes in verse 26 that he “did consecrate Jacob and Joseph, that they should be priests and teachers over the land of my people.”
Of course, true Christian service can’t be provided exclusively through institutional means. Random acts of personal service motivated by our feelings of charity are necessary for our salvation.
But the organized Church as established by God, in which we look after and serve others and are looked after and served by others, provides a wonderful source of happiness for all of us. Nephi himself epitomizes this ethic of caring and service. It is not by accident that in God’s plan for us we have been given a church that “hath need of every member” (D&C 84:110). Because we are needed and encouraged and enabled to serve, we are much happier.
If we go beyond the fifth chapter of 2 Nephi, we discover even more about the patterns of life that allowed Nephi and his people to live so happily. We know he looked forward “with steadfastness unto Christ” (2 Ne. 25:24). The Savior and His teachings were the focus of Nephi’s energies. He knew and taught, as have all the prophets, that true peace and happiness can ultimately come only through a remission of our sins. The Savior’s teachings—in large doses—are the only sure antidote for unhappiness.
It is interesting to discover that the principles of happiness Nephi shares are found in all of the scriptures, old and modern. I often wonder why we wrestle over the meaning of obscure passages of scripture when what is really important for our happiness and salvation is stated by the Lord over and over in very plain terms.
Now I doubt that Nephi intended his list of ingredients in a happy society to be exhaustive. In fact, he probably didn’t intend to give us a list at all. I want to make it clear that I’m not a believer in “check-list happiness” either. There is no fool-proof formula for guaranteeing a consistently happy life, and there is evidence that God did not intend for every day to be entirely happy. There is eternal design and purpose to be seen in some suffering, sadness, and adversity.
But I invite you to look around and observe people you feel are genuinely happy. I think you will invariably see the principles discussed here at work in their lives. It is my prayer that we may all find this same happiness.
Testify of the importance of obtaining happiness through living righteously.
Cupples or Fruit Gobbler
FOR THE CUPPLE
melon baller or spoon
FOR THE DRINK
1- Cupple: To make a cupple, slice off the top of an apple. Hollow it with a melon baller or spoon, leaving 1/4-inch-thick walls all around. To prevent browning, brush the cup’s edge with lemon juice.
2- Thanksgiving Thirst-Quencher: Combine 1 part cranberry juice, 1 part apple cider, and 1 part seltzer water. Garnish each drink with a cinnamon stick.
Bosc pear (head)
Cheese (beak and tail feathers)
Red pepper (snood, feet and side feathers)
Grapes (tail feathers)
1- Stabilize the melon body by cutting a shallow slice off the rind to form a flat base. Using a section of bamboo skewer, attach a Bosc pear head to the melon, as shown.
2- Cut a cheese triangle beak and red pepper snood. Attach both, along with raisin eyes, to the head with sections of toothpick.
3- Cut red pepper feet and set them in place. For tail feathers, skewer cheese cubes and red grapes, then insert the skewers as shown. Pin pepper side feathers in place with toothpicks.
(Recipes taken from Familyfun.go.com)
1- Bake Cookies.
2- Do a service project as a family.
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.