Humor Has It!


I have always believed that Jesus Christ was a person with a pleasant disposition and an ability to be cheerful in times of great trial. I also believe that a sense of humor is important in balancing our lives. I thought I would pass along a few humorous statements from church leaders over the years. These were given during a recent BYU education week by Lawrence Flake.

“God is a cheerful, pleasant, lively and good-natured Being,” Elder Heber C. Kimball said in a quote shared by Flake. “Why? Because I am cheerful, pleasant, lively and good-natured when I have His Spirit.”

When the new Gordon B. Hinckley Alumni & Visitors Center opened, the prophet mentioned BYU buildings are generally named after those who have died. President Hinckley said maybe President Cecil O. Samuelson would settle for naming the center after someone who was “half dead.”

On a different occasion, President Hinckley saw a sign at the temple saying sealing ordinances should last no more than 30 minutes.

“Shouldn’t a sealing last forever?” President Hinckley said.

In the mid-1850s, U.S. president Zachary Taylor died. According to Flake, the prophet Brigham Young said at a general conference, “Zachary Taylor has died and gone to hell.”

Later, when government officials warned the prophet to apologize publicly or he would find himself in trouble, President Young addressed the issue in the next conference session.

“Zachary Taylor has died and gone to hell,” he said. “And I am sorry.”

Flake shared the story of the father of presidential candidate Gov. Mitt Romney, former Michigan governor George Romney, who was asked by a heckler how many wives Brigham Young had. When George Romney said he didn’t know, the heckler wasn’t satisfied.

Romney answered he would ask Brigham Young the question upon dying and going to heaven.

“But what if Brigham Young didn’t make it to heaven?” the heckler said.

“Well, I guess you can ask him then,” Romney said.

Many years ago I was sitting in a meeting next to the Bishop.  During the meeting a troubled brother stood up and stated that our teenagers were being “osterized” (he meant ostracized).  Oster is the name of a famous maker of blenders. The Bishop leaned over to me and said, “No wonder our kids are so mixed up!”

Humor can be helpful in many ways, Flake said. President James E. Faust gave children’s blessings in which he blessed babies to have a sense of humor to be able to handle their problems and not be too rigid in the future.

I always remember a small part of the baby blessing I gave to one of my sons in which I blessed him with “a smiley” personality. Too often, I believe, we take life and the church so seriously, that we lose out on the enjoyment that comes with laughter. May we all continue through life with a bit of humor as it can at times be the only way to survive the trials of this life.


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