Desires of Happiness

Alma 41:5 “The one raised to ahappiness according to his desires of happiness, or good according to his desires of good; and the other to evil according to his desires of evil; for as he has desired to do evil all the day long even so shall he have his reward of evil when the night cometh.”

This morning I went to the temple, which was a welcome respite from all of the moving and adventures of my recent life. I was reading the Book of Mormon while I waited and came across the scripture above. It struck me as interesting. What exactly does it mean by being “raised to happiness according to his desires of happiness”? Clearly the righteous do not always achieve their righteous desires. For instance, someone may have a righteous desire to serve a mission, but they are not able to go for a variety of reasons. I suppose the Lord could be referring to longterm happiness but I think it is more complicated. One of the most difficult things in life is turning over our desires/our willpower to the Lord. Perhaps this scripture is saying that once we finally make that step we will be perfectly happy and to whatever degree we achieve such full devotion determines the degree of happiness we will experience.

One of my favorite parts of D&C 4 on my mission was the line “if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work”. This phrase makes even more sense when coupled with the scripture above. For every step that we take in His direction the Lord is not only saying that we will be happy but that He will use us to further the work. In a way it is kind of a circle because in building the kingdom we experience happiness which causes our desire to serve to grow, which will give us more opportunities to serve…

It is such an empowering thing to know that we have a say in our happiness. We are not just lifeless blobs that respond to stimuli. We can decide to follow the Lord, sacrificing our egos and desires; thereby, creating happiness both currently as we serve and in the eternities. It reminds me of a quote I have from President Kimball (I had it on my wall when I had a wall!)

“Happiness does not come by pressing a button, as does the electric light; happiness is a state of mind and comes from within. It must be earned. It cannot be purchased with money; it cannot be taken for nothing”

In my life I felt a prompting to make a variety of changes and following those promptings has given me great peace and happiness- and that’s saying something because my life is pretty chaotic.

I look forward to seeing what all of you think on this topic of happiness and the desires of life. Please share.