After the Manner of Happiness
Alma 50:28 - Alma 52:38
There is a 4X6 photograph that hangs on the blackboard in my kitchen as a constant reminder.
It is a photo of my dear friend, Verda, who had just returned from a five-mile snowmobile trip.
Verda is sitting on the back of the snowmobile in her blue parka and grey leggings, an orange scarf pulled up carefully around her face. She is completely dusted in fine, white powder from head to toe.
You are probably wondering why I keep this particular photo as a reminder, and what it could possibly be a reminder of. Perhaps you would be intrigued to know that my friend Verda is 101 years old. Really. She is. And she recently took a five-mile snowmobiling trip and got completely dusted in snow. This photo reminds me to live. Every second. To enjoy every moment. To be spontaneous. To make memories.
We live in a generation of life quotes. We are surrounded by clever snippets meant to motivate us. Some of my favorites include quotes that encourage us to make the most of our life.
Live out loud.
Live what you love.
Live your best life.
The Book of Mormon contains a one-liner that would fit in perfectly here ––live after the manner of happiness. (2 Nephi 5:27)
My friend Verda knows how to do this. I love her optimism and her zeal for life. Her journey has not been an easy one, but she chooses happiness. Her attitude is contagious. She is someone people love to be around.
Speaking of the women who would live in the latter days, President Kimball said that the women of the Church would be seen as “distinct and different ––in happy ways.” (Ensign, Nov. 1979, 103–4.)
Verda is one of those women ––she is distinct and different in happy ways. She lives after the manner of happiness.
The Book of Mormon references three different societies who lived after the manner of happiness. If you read through the chapters describing their lifestyle it becomes quickly apparent that each of these societies had three things in common: they knew how to work, they lived without contention, and they kept the commandments in all things.
It is a simple formula for happiness.
I love how each society is described.
In the beginning of the Book of Mormon, after Nephi and his people left Laman and Lemuel and fled into the wilderness, Nephi described their day-to-day conditions and said, “And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness.” (2 Nephi 5:27)
Today, in the book of Alma, we read of Captain Moroni. His people were described as “those who were faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord.” Because of their faithfulness they were “delivered at all times…” and Mormon writes, “Behold there never was a happier time among the people of Nephi…than in the days of Moroni, yea, even at this time…” (Alma 50: 22-23)
Even in a time of war, the people had learned a formula for happiness.
Last we will read of the people in fourth Nephi, who lived in a time without envy, strife, tumult, lying or murder. The scriptures state, “and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God…and how blessed were they! For the Lord did bless them in all their doings…” (4 Nephi 1:16 & 18)
Much can be learned from a study of these three chapters.
The strategies for happiness found within are applicable to each of us. By learning from their example, perhaps we too can be blessed in all our doings, delivered at all times, and live after the manner of happiness.
Recently I went to visit Verda.
We sat on her family room couch and talked.
As I prepared to leave she told me, “Life is wonderful. The world is beautiful. Enjoy the journey.”
I left her home smiling.
My spirit had been lifted.
My association with Verda has blessed me to see good days.
One of the greatest pieces of wisdom I know about seeing good days is something I learned from her example and can be summed up in two words ––live happy.