Our Search For Happiness


I listened intently to the opening remarks of D. Todd Christofferson a few conferences ago. He spoke of his visit as a youth to the World’s Fair in New York City, where he visited the church’s pavilion. It was there that he first saw a most impressive film that was narrated by  Richard L. Evans. As he mentioned its name, my mind raced back to my days as a missionary in Argentina. There, my companions and I often carried around a projector and filmstrips, the most popular of which was called “El hombre y su búsqueda de la felicidad”, or in English, “Man’s Search for Happiness”. It was this film that had made such an impression on a youthful Elder Christofferson. As a youth, it also made a deep impression on me. Christoferson then recounted some of the dialogue from that film.

“Life offers you two precious gifts—one is time, the other freedom of choice, the freedom to buy with your time what you will. You are free to exchange your allotment of time for thrills. You may trade it for base desires. You may invest it in greed. . . .

“Yours is the freedom to choose. But these are no bargains, for in them you find no lasting satisfaction.

“Every day, every hour, every minute of your span of mortal years must sometime be accounted for. And it is in this life that you walk by faith and prove yourself able to choose good over evil, right over wrong, enduring happiness over mere amusement. And your eternal reward will be according to your choosing.

“A prophet of God has said: ‘Men are that they might have joy’—a joy that includes a fullness of life, a life dedicated to service, to love and harmony in the home, and the fruits of honest toil—an acceptance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ—of its requirements and commandments.

“Only in these will you find true happiness, the happiness which doesn’t fade with the lights and the music and the crowds.” (Man’s Search for Happiness (pamphlet, 1969), 4–5).

I don’t know when I first saw this film, but I know it was at church as a youth. The title impressed me- “Man’s Search For Happiness.” Even as a youth, it seemed to me to be a relevant question. A question that most of us have, and also a question most want to be answered. For me, listening to the words of Christofferson confirmed my thoughts on the subject of finding happiness. He spoke about using time and living a “consecrated” life. In doing so, he listed five elements of living such a life. To me, all of these elements would not only lead to a “consecrated” life but a “happy” life. One of the elements he pointed out, which I believe will fill our life with happiness, is service. Service will best lead us to find true happiness in this life. Quoting Elder Christofferson-

“Jesus demonstrated that a consecrated life is a life of service. Hours before the agony of His Atonement began, the Lord humbly washed His disciples’ feet, saying to them:

“If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.

“For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him”(John 13:14-16). Those who quietly and thoughtfully go about doing good offer a model of consecration.” (“Reflections on a Consecrated Life”, Oct. 2010).

I don’t know how the Lord implanted in us the natural joy that comes from service. It must be a godly attribute that we inherited from Him. We can feel happiness swell up inside our souls, even when we do the smallest of services to others. Opening a door, picking up a dropped package, or giving the person in front of us a quarter when they are short. So little given, so much gained! Both parties are blessed! Once I received a phone call, out of the blue, from a member of my church. This sister called to give me a compliment. I said “Thank You!” She couldn’t have been with me on the phone for more than thirty seconds. After I said thank you, she said, “I have been meaning to tell you. That’s all I have to say. Bye!” After I hung up the phone, I sat for a moment and reflected. It felt good to hear that compliment. It made my day, maybe my week. I hope it made her day or week. She will probably soon forget today’s phone call, but I won’t. It is a reminder to me that service to others can be accomplished in so many ways.

I hope we all find happiness in this life. It can be elusive at times. But our search need not be any further than helping the man or woman next to us in the grocery line or the person sitting next to us on a train. We need look no further than service in our own homes, and to our own families to find the happiness that we all so diligently seek. So whenever we are feeling blue, or down, or sad, let us look around and say or do something nice for someone, anyone, and we will feel the godly attribute of joy that God gives to all those who choose to be like Him.

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