Sunday, August 18, 2013

I Choose Joy

I love the Harry Potter books. All growing up my family and friends called me by the name of Harry Potter, so it was natural that when I a friend introduced me to the series by J.K. Rowling; I immediately fell in love with them.

There is a quote from the 2nd Harry Potter Book, the Chamber of Secrets that helps us understand what we need to do to find this lasting happiness. Harry is talking to Dumbledore. Harry said that Voldemort told Harry that he was really like him (Voldemort). Harry asked Dumbledore if that was true. Dumbledore replied:

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” (Dumbledore to Harry, Chamber of Secrets, page 333)

So it is in the choices that we make everyday that determines who we are and our happiness. We must choose joy and not give into temptation of hate, anger, or jealousy. These only lead to misery and the captivity of the devil.

Christopher Moore, the Director of LDS Philanthropies of BYU-Idaho, spoke to the students at BYU-Idaho about an experience he had as he visited a potential donor. When he arrived at the home of the couple he was met at the door by the husband and he gave him a coat and asked him to follow him. He spent the day working with him on his farm. They moved his washer and dryer; they worked in his garden and pruned trees. They talked about his life. He and his wife never were able to have children, but they did have 25 foster children some of them they adopted. At the end of the day he wrote out a check for a donation to BYU-Idaho and as he was writing out the check Brother Moore said he could not help but think of the hard life he had, but they seemed so happy and so willing to serve. Chris asked him how he and his wife were able to stay so positive. The man smiled and simply said: “Brother Chris, I choose joy”. (“I Choose Joy”, BYU-Idaho Devotional Address, February 26, 2013)

Choosing joy over other negative emotions will help us be worthy of the Holy Ghost to dwell with us and bring us closer to the Savior Jesus Christ.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks, of the Council of 12 Apostles, said of joy:

“One of the greatest of all God’s revelations is Father Lehi’s teaching that “men are, that they might have joy.” (2 Ne. 2:25.) Joy is more than happiness. Joy is the ultimate sensation of well-being. It comes from being complete and in harmony with our Creator and his eternal laws. The opposite of joy is misery. Misery is more than unhappiness, sorrow, or suffering. Misery is the ultimate state of disharmony with God and his laws.

Joy and misery are eternal emotions whose ultimate extent we are not likely to experience in mortality. In this life we have some mortal simulations, which we call happiness or pleasure and unhappiness or pain. In the midst of these emotions is suffering. Some suffering comes from our own sins or those of others, but much suffering is simply an inevitable part of the mortal condition, like an accidental injury.” (“Joy and Mercy”, General Conference Address, October 1991)
In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Lehi tells of a vision he had of the Tree of Life. He says:

10 And it came to pass that I beheld a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one chappy.

 11 And it came to pass that I did go forth and partake of the fruit thereof; and I beheld that it was most sweet, above all that I ever before tasted. Yea, and I beheld that the fruit thereof was white, to exceed all the whiteness that I had ever seen.

 12 And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirableabove all other fruit. (The Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 8:10-12)

Later Nephi, Lehi’s son, tells us that the fruit of the Tree of Life represents the love of God, his son Jesus Christ. (1 Nephi 11:21-22) It is only through the Son of God, the Savior of mankind that we can find true joy. Through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the voice of gladness to all we can experience the joy of redemption and forgiveness.

Another experience Brother Moore talked about to the students of BYU-Idaho was when he was called to be the stake president of the Rexburg, Idaho Stake. He said he tried to go to sleep the night before he was to be sustained but he could not sleep. He got up and started pondering why the Lord would call him to this position. As he was sitting there pondering and trying to think of what to say to the members the next day, his four-year-old daughter came out of her room and sat on his lap. Wiping her eyes he looked up at him with a look that said: “here I am, now what are we going to do?” He told her of his problem and that he was going to have to speak tomorrow to the people. He asked her what he should say. Brother Moore said:

“She thought for a moment, she scratched her head, she thought hard and then it came to her. She said: ‘I know, tell them about Jesus’. She then took his face in her hands and said: ‘you know dad, he lived, he died and he lived again’. As she fell asleep she said again: ‘tell them about Jesus’. (“I Choose Joy”, BYU-Idaho Devotional Address, February 26, 2013)

It is my testimony that true Joy can only be found in and through our Savior, Jesus Christ. As we accept him as our Savior and follow his example of service to those who need us, we find the joy of those who become his sons and daughters.

Only then can we live after the manner of happiness that Nephi described. (2 Nephi 5:27).

Joshua 24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lordchoose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

In choosing to serve the Lord, I choose Joy.

Your thoughts and comments are welcome

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