The Manner of Happiness: A Lesson from the Book of Mormon

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Yesterday in Sunday School, we were studying 2 Nephi chapter 5, which describes what happened to Nephi, his family, and all those who followed him after they separated themselves from Laman, Lemuel, and their families.  This was a short time after the death of their father, Lehi, right after he had exhorted his children to listen to and follow the counsel of Nephi.  However, a few days after his death, Laman and Lemuel were again complaining against Nephi and threatening his life.  And so their family broke in half, and they started over.  This was probably not an easy time for them.  They had lost Lehi, who had guided them on this amazing journey across the wilderness, across the sea, and into a new land.  Their future probably seemed uncertain, and they must have worried for their lives and safety, especially under the threat of the angry half of the family.  I’m sure there was mourning and anxiety.  But here’s the fascinating part– in verse 27:

And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness.

I attended a CES workshop once where the teacher broke down this chapter into ingredients for that happiness.  Here are some of the notes I have in the margins:

(from 2 Nephi 5)

1 Behold, it came to pass that I, Nephi, did cry much unto the Lord my God, because of the anger of my brethren.

PRAYER +

5 And it came to pass that the Lord did warn me, that I, Nephi, should depart from them and flee into the wilderness, and all those who would go with me.

PERSONAL REVELATION and FLEE FROM EVIL +

6 Wherefore, it came to pass that I, Nephi, did take my family, and also Zoram and his family, and Sam, mine elder brother and his family, and Jacob and Joseph, my younger brethren, and also my sisters, and all those who would go with me. And all those who would go with me were those who believed in the warnings and the revelations of God; wherefore, they did hearken unto my words.

FOLLOW THE PROPHET +

10 And we did observe to keep the judgments, and the statutes, and the commandments of the Lord in all things, according to the law of Moses.

OBEDIENCE +

11 And the Lord was with us; and we did prosper exceedingly; for we did sow seed, and we did reap again in abundance. And we began to raise flocks, and herds, and animals of every kind. (see also verse 17)

WORK +

12 And I, Nephi, had also brought the records which were engraven upon the aplates of brass; and also the bball, or ccompass, which was prepared for my father by the hand of the Lord, according to that which is written.

SCRIPTURES +

13 And it came to pass that we began to prosper exceedingly, and to multiply in the land.

MARRY AND RAISE FAMILIES +

16 And I, Nephi, did build a temple; and I did construct it after the manner of the temple of Solomon save it were not built of so many precious things; for they were not to be found upon the land, wherefore, it could not be built like unto Solomon’s temple. But the manner of the construction was like unto the temple of Solomon; and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine.

TEMPLE =

27 And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness.

THE MANNER OF HAPPINESS.

The world is a complicated place, but I really think the answers are this simple.  I’m not naive enough to think that their lives were free of pain or suffering or difficult times, but these ingredients can bring us peace of mind and a steadiness of character, and the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost.  Just one more reason I love the Book of Mormon and know that it’s true.

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18 thoughts on “The Manner of Happiness: A Lesson from the Book of Mormon

  1. It’s strange that everyone is in pursuit of happiness, when it is right before them in plain sight. Happiness is a choice or way of being as outlined in the Word of God. Any deviation from His plan will diminish our happiness. I’d say your post sums it up nicely. However, I’d like to add one more that President Hinckley often shared, optimism which is really faith. So I guess optimism fits into the list as well. Thank you for your thoughts.

  2. Ooh! I love this breakdown. I love this chapter too. My only notation by this verse is manner of happiness = righteousness NOT ease. I love thinking that Nephi and his family went about doing all the things that bring happiness and focused on that, even though their lives were somewhat precarious and definitely not a party–kind of an eternal “fake it till you make it”

  3. I love the places in the scriptures where it lays out a formula for us: do this + this + this = this result. It’s so important for us to realize that our happiness is internal, rather than being dependent on external circumstances. If we wait for life to be perfect or easy to find happiness, we’re going to have a long wait. :)

  4. What a great simple breakdown, and so true. Everyone of those is important to happiness. I think I get off balance if one is missing and it is a lot harder to “live after the manner of happiness”.

  5. Yes! Yes! Yes! This is all so true! And I liked your comment,

    “I’m not naive enough to think that their lives were free of pain or suffering or difficult times, but these ingredients can bring us peace of mind and a steadiness of character, and the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost.”

    My husband and I have had some struggles, enough for a brother to tell me he thinks we must either be A. Not keeping the commandments or B. Lacking in faith. I have never believed that an easy life is a blessing to the righteous – but somehow in low moments I actually wondered if he was right! Now I know that Satan was simply striving to cause me to feel unworthy of God’s love to take away the great happiness that I have. But he can only cause us to feel that way if we listen to him…

    I am NOT perfect. But I REALLY TRY to do what is right; I have so many weaknesses and imperfections, but I TRY to obey all the commandments. And the results have been having a close relationship with my Savior and peace and happiness no matter what the struggles (so long as I don’t listen to that negative voice/father of lies). I am also learning so many wonderful things from the challenges in my life that help me to have compassion on others and greater understanding of so many things. I’m sure my life is normal – and everyone else struggles and grows from their struggles too, but I’m just happy to celebrate and acknowledge it anyhow! :D

    Thanks for an AMAZING post (which was SO GOOD FOR ME TO HEAR today!!!!)
    Hugs to you for your post…
    Corine :D

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