The Savior Is Not A Grouch!


Marjorie Pay Hinckley, wife of  Gordon B. Hinckley, once said, “The only way to get through life is to laugh your way through it. You either have to laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache.”( Glimpses into the Life of Marjorie Pay Hinckley, edited by Virginia H. Pearce, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1999, p. 107.).

This life is full of many trails and challenges. Like Sister Hinckley I prefer to laugh my way through it, rather than cry. In my readings about the prophet Joseph Smith, it appears he was a man who I would have enjoyed spending time with. Former Church Historian Leonard J. Arrington had this to say of the prophet in a talk he gave at a BYU in 1974. Prefacing this statement was the explanation that the mores of the day were very strict, perhaps over restrictive;

“…the Prophet recognized as unhealthy the mind that lacked balance, perspective, and humor. In the society of his day there were many earnest people who habitually looked on the serious side of things that had no serious side, who regarded humor as incompatible with religion. It was common for these descendants of the Puritans to see displays of humor as a mark of insincerity. For humor suggested that nothing really mattered and that life was basically comic. To be overly humorous, they thought, was to be cynical toward life. But Joseph Smith saw humor and religion as quite reconcilable. As he saw it, once one acknowledges that there is something beyond laughter—a core of life that is solemn, serious, and tender—there is still plenty of room for jesting. At least, that is the way he was—“a jolly good fellow” as one contemporary described him.

“Because of this spontaneity, joviality, and combination of seriousness of purpose and good humor, everybody was quickly attracted to Joseph Smith. His religion, revelations, and spirituality attracted them, of course, but so did his person, and converts did not fail to mention this in their diaries and letters. (Joseph Smith and the Lighter View”, Arrington, November 19, 1974, BYU).

I have often thought that the Savior himself must be a man of great optimism with a touch of humor. I have long pictured Him as a man of warmth that the disciples of his day could feel and bask in. I don’t image him to be a “grouch” as he is often depicted in paintings. I believe when that glorious day comes and I meet the Savior, I will not only find a Being of great kindness and mercy,  but also a man who knows how to smile and laugh. To me it couldn’t be otherwise because  “no one likes a frowny face”, to quote an old primary song.

So let us keep our chins up. Let us make time for laughter in our lives! Let’s enjoy the sunshine and the rain! Often it is just healthier to smile through the pain! I know our Savior would have us be that way. To be spiritual doesn’t mean we abandon the physical, we just need to keep it in perspective!


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