Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Lesson Recap: Love Life and Learning

Taught by Ellen King
Living After the Manner of Happiness, by Marlin K. Jensen

Love learning

What do learning to paint, swim, and sew, have in common with taking up birdwatching or trying our Twitter to see what it's all about? They are all things I have learned in the past or recently that have blessed my life and my family's life and that make me happy.

The Relief Society declaration says... We are women of faith, virtue, vision, and charity who...Love life and learning. It’s a beautiful alliteration but do we live it? Do we let our family, friends, coworkers, and neighbor see that we love life?!

It took 3 years for the declaration to be written, so every word was considered carefully.

Why is it part of our declaration that we love life? Why is learning included? Why are love life and learning paired up? Can you love life if you don’t love learning?

Think about it, life is about learning. And if we are not learning and moving forward we aren't going to love life.

The August Visiting Teaching message encouraged us to be lifelong learners...

Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said,
A few of the basic attributes needed to become a lifelong learner are courage, faithful desire, humility, patience, curiosity, and a willingness to communicate and share the knowledge that we gain.

Lifelong learning is essential to the vitality of the human mind, body, and soul. It enhances self-worth and self-actuation. Lifelong learning is invigorating mentally and is a great defense against aging, depression, and self-doubt”
Wow, did you see that, it's invigorating and it defends against depression! Lifelong learning and loving life are inseparable. They equate to being happier.

The manner of happiness

Nephi taught us about being happy. In 2 Nephi 4 & 5 he gave us the formula for "living after the manner of happiness" (vs. 27)

Verse 5 - Family (FHE, family prayer, dinner conversation)

Marlin K. Jensen observes...
There is no other organization that can so completely satisfy our need for belonging and happiness like the family. Why do we yearn for home and loved ones? I believe this yearning is a universal, God-given instinct that all people in all cultures are blessed with. I also believe that a loving Heavenly Father gives it to us because within the family we experience most of life’s greatest joys. The sights, sounds, and associations of family and home are among our most treasured memories and provide our fondest anticipations.
Verse 10 - Keep the commandments

Marlin K. Jensen again…
From the depths of my soul I testify that we cannot break God’s laws, we can only break ourselves against them. Satan wants us to believe we are an exception to God’s rules, that somehow our transgressions are more noble, or more justifiable, than anyone’s have ever been, but that is a lie. And not only do we offend God by breaking His laws, we also offend ourselves and others and thereby experience heartache, suffering, and misery—the exact opposites of happiness.
Alma says it most succinctly to his son Helaman: Wickedness never was happiness.

Verse 10-11 - Planting gardens, raising animals

President Kimball said “There is so much to learn and harvest from your garden, far more than just a crop itself”. And Elder Jensen adds his testimony, "I cannot tell you logically why something as simple as planting a garden, however modest, and harvesting and enjoying the fruits of one’s labors is a source of great happiness, but I know it is. There is 'far more than just a crop itself' to be gained, and it can come from a flowerpot, a window box, or a single tomato plant, as well as from an entire garden or field.

"...Animals—be they horses, cats, dogs, hamsters, or turtles—touch us deeply and promote our emotional well-being. Given affection and care, they return affection and care generously and consistently. People whose lives include relationships with animals are usually happier."

Verse 12 - Scriptures

Elder Jensen:
Why would having access to the scriptures be a consideration in a happy lifestyle? Anyone who reads scripture regularly develops a clearer perspective and purer thoughts and has more sincere and thoughtful prayers. Our lives are bound to be happier when we use the scriptures to answer our very personal questions and needs.

There are other uplifting influences the scriptures can have in our lives. They can cleanse us from evil thoughts and fortify our resolve to resist temptation. They can give comfort in times of need such as the death of a loved one or other personal tragedy. Reading them can put us in tune with the Spirit of the Lord so that our depression and self-doubts will flee and our “confidence [will] wax strong in the presence of God” (D&C 121:45).
Verse 14 - Preparedness

If we are prepared we not only do not fear (see D&C 38:30), but we actually enjoy and derive considerable happiness from the events of our daily lives.

Just my skills of painting, sewing, cooking, gardening, reading, playing games, singing can bless my family and make them happy.

Verse 17 - Work

Elder Jensen emphasizes working with our hands.
I realize that work can be mental, spiritual, or physical effort, but Nephi’s emphasis is on “laboring with our hands,” or manual labor. No matter what our life’s work turns out to be, I know we’ll be happier if we regularly labor with our hands. Labor can take many forms: yard work, sewing, quilting, cooking, baking, auto repair, home repair—the list is endless, and so is the happiness and sense of accomplishment such activities produce.
Verse 16 - Temples

Nephi’s temple may have differed in some ways from our latter-day temples, but its central purpose was likely the same: to teach and orient God’s children concerning His plan for their happiness and to provide the ordinances and covenants essential to the attainment of that happiness.

Synonyms for the temple: marriage, family, children, happiness, joy, eternal life, resurrection, redemption, exaltation, inspiration, revelation.

Verse 26 - Church service

"Random acts of personal service motivated by our feelings of charity are necessary for our salvation. But the organized Church as established by the Lord Jesus Christ, in which we look after and serve others and are looked after and served by others, provides a wonderful source of happiness for all of us," says Elder Jensen.

Sisters, studies have shown that your body releases the same feel-good chemical when you serve others as it does when you eat, have sex or exercise.

Serving makes you happy.

Rejoice in Christ

Further in Nephi’s writings he tells of his people rejoicing in Christ because they looked to him for a remission of their sins.

Pattern for happiness

Sisters, these principles are universal, timeless, and can be lived virtually without cost. They are repeated over and over in the scriptures. They are simple and often overlooked.

Elder Jensen: I often wonder why we sometimes wrestle over the meaning of obscure passages of scripture when what is really important for our happiness and salvation is stated by the Lord over and over again in very plain terms.

There is no formula for guaranteeing happiness, but these principles from the scriptures will put you well on your way.

Now, it's okay to not love life every minute of every day.

God did not intend for every day to be entirely happy. There is eternal design and purpose to be seen in suffering, sadness, and adversity.

That is why we do not love life sometimes. But we can be happy even in times of adversity.

There is a way.

The Plan of Happiness

Every week we covenant to remember Him, to remember the Savior. And God promises that we may always have His Spirit to be with us.

That is how we do it.

When we have the Spirit we feel happier, calmer, make better decisions, and are able to retain what we have learned and enjoy learning.

The plan of salvation, God’ plan, is also called the plan of happiness. Knowing why we are here and what we are to do and learn while here, and knowing that through Christ and with the help of the Holy Ghost we will return to God, gives us that unique perspective on happiness and can help us love life.

Sisters, I hope these words will help you love life and learning a little more.

Ellen King

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