We received the following question from Len a couple of weeks ago:
I’m Jewish, and I know this might seem like a weird question, but I can’t stop thinking about it: Why do all of the Mormons that I know seem so happy? So genuinely, positively happy? Why do their personal lives seem so fulfilled? Even the Mormon missionaries that I see on the street seem so warm and kind and are always smiling. I really don’t understand how they can be that way 24/7. Is it just an act? Or is it real? I know that Mormons struggle too (everyone has bad days), but I’m really puzzled to see an entire group of people emanating joy, success, and happiness.
Len, this isn’t a weird question at all. We hope it will be beneficial to read responses from several different people; we’ll be posting some of those responses over the next few days.
One key reason why you may sense this happiness from members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“Mormons”) is because of our religious beliefs. For example:
Mormons Believe in Hope
(see submissions below by Jen and Susan)
I think this true happiness that is so apparent comes from the that we as a church really truly believe in HOPE! That knowing that Heavenly Father lives and loves us and communicates with us through the spirit and modern day prophets makes our connection to Him very real. It also can/should give the prospective that no matter what life sends us here on Earth, if we listen and follow what we are told to do from our Heavenly Father we have the promise from the most high power that He will not ever leave us alone through any hard times. In fact that He will help us through them and we can overcome any trial that life will send our way. Most of all that God loves us so much that he sent us a Savior to aide us in our journey through life. Our Savior has already overcome everything and we just have to choose to follow him in order to overcome anything. One of the best parts is that Heavenly Father trusts us enough to allow US to make the choice to follow. We are not forced we are asked to follow, and given a promise that if we do follow we will come out on top. If we mess up, and make the wrong choice, He has given us a way around that also. It doesn’t mean it is not hard. It doesn’t mean it is not going to be a constant battle sometimes. It doesn’t mean that we will not be challenged to a point that seems unbearable at times. It simply means that we can find hope in knowing that because of a loving Heavenly Father we will be empowered and victorious over anything that might be hard for us. This gives us hope in the face of adversity and that is what makes it possible for us to find/have hope. A hope for true happiness. If we choose to stay on the Lord’s side we are promised true happiness and given the many tools (ie family, prayer, scriptures, spirit, forgiveness, love, mercy, etc) to have it.
I truly am grateful for the knowledge that I have of our Heavenly Father’s plan, the understanding that I have been given, the hope that I have been blessed with, the faith that gets me through my trails and to be a part of such a great family!! I am also very grateful that I am truly happy!!!
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Here’s my perspective. You’re right, everyone has challenges, trails and heartbreaks and they all make us sad, discouraged and frustrated. That’s life sometimes. The difference is, how we chose to let those things affect us. I believe that, people that have faith in a higher power than themselves, believe that things will get better and, with that higher help, they will be able to get through the trial or they have faith that eventually it all will workout for good. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, not only believe in a loving Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ, but also have access to inspirational men and women that are encouraging and helpful when they say things like,
“So much in life depends on our attitude. The way we choose to see things and respond to others makes all the difference. To do the best we can and then to choose to be happy about our circumstances, whatever they may be, can bring peace and contentment.”
My husband and I have a favorite radio host who is Jewish, his name is Dennis Prager. One of his themes is, “Happiness is a moral obligation.” He concurs with what President Monson says that, “So much in life depends on our attitude.”
Mormons have a hope in Jesus Christ. Because we believe he is the Savior of all mankind, we have faith that he knows us personally, and is aware of our needs, concerns and trials. The people you mention in your question, believe that the Son of God not only knows their life but knows them by name, when you believe that, it makes it possible to look beyond the trouble and discouragements in life, and easier to recognize all that is good and count the blessings.Lastly, when you count the blessings in life and avoid dwelling on the difficulties, you just feel happier. You can’t help it.
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In a post already published on Mormon Women (entitled “It’s Fun to be Me,” Susan also shares the following about how the gospel adds to the happiness she feels:
[A]s a Mormonwoman, I know who I am. I know why I’m here, what life is about. When you know that, it gives you perspective on everything else. It’s fun to have a sure measuring stick for life. It’s not fun to have to guess. It’s fun to know.
In a strange way it’s good to be me because I know I can be better. I am familiar with my weaknesses. They are not hard to figure out for me. They are obvious, and I claim them as my own. It’s good to be me because I know they don’t have to be permanent. It is fun to be me because I have faith and hope in my life because of the Savior.