Good morning Brother’s and Sister’s. Most of you already know me, I am Bishop and Lynette Felsted’s daughter and have been in the ward since I was 8 years old- the only unfortunate thing about that is I can’t take the usual 5 minutes of my “talk” time to tell you about myself. Luckily I was married just over a year and a half ago, and you probably don’t know Jordan… So I guess I better take a few minutes to tell you about him…. Jordan is from a small town called El Dorado, located just east of Sacrament California. After serving a full time mission in Costa Rica, He came up here to Utah to play basketball at Utah Valley University in 2007. It was just before my sophomore year at UVU when my roommate and I decided to try out for the UVU cheer squad. We luckily made the team, and had a blast making new friends and being involved with school. Most college cheerleaders are about 5 feet 2 inches tall. I am not that height. Without shoes I stand about 5 feet 8 inches. So I stood out while cheering at UVU’s basketball games. During the first game Jordan turned to a teammate and said “Who is that tall cheerleader??” That teammate then told my friend that Jordan wanted to take me out on a date. I was having fun with my cheer friends and being single…So I wasn’t really interested. It took almost 3 months of persistence on his part before I decided to give him a chance. We officially met on my birthday and have been together ever since. We were married in the Timpanogos Temple on July 8, 2010.
Jordan finished playing basketball at UVU last year, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish. He is now finishing his pre requisites for dental school and I have 2 semesters left in my Community Health Education major at UVU.
I want to start out my talk with a little story a friend told me:
When I was growing up my dad worked on the mountain, and lots of times he would take the whole family to work with him. We had tons of fun playing and exploring, and one day, my brother and I found the BEST and coolest meadow. It had ponds and a stream, lots of rocks we could climb on, animals to try to make friends with . . . all kinds of neat things to see and do. But there was a problem. To get there we either had to cross a small ravine, which took about an hour of hard climbing, or we had to walk around the ravine, which took about an hour of hard walking. So to make things easier and quicker for ourselves, we built a bridge. It was a VERY cool bridge, if I do say so myself! My dad wanted to make sure the bridge was safe though, so he checked it out. He decided we had done a fine job of building the bridge, but he warned us – and told us that because of the climate up there we had to be very careful. Each day before using the bridge we would need to inspect it. We would need to be sure the ropes had not frayed, the nails had not rusted, and the boards had not started to rot. So, we did as he said. Every day we carefully inspected the bridge. And it was always fine. So after a while we began to be less diligent. If the bridge was fine yesterday surely it would be fine today, right? And if the bridge was fine last week then surely it will be fine this week, right? And before long it had been months since our last inspection. Then one day we were crossing the bridge and sure enough, the wood had started to rot. The bridge gave way while my brother was in the middle of it. He fell into the ravine and broke his ankle. I was unable to get him out so we started calling for help. The entire work crew lost half a days work trying to help us. We had been VERY happy as long as we were diligently inspecting the bridge, but once we stopped being diligent and became lazy, our happiness ended!
The topic I chose for my talk is Happiness. I want to focus on 3 things; What is happiness, Where is it found, and How can we obtain it.
First, what is happiness? Elder W. Eugene Hansen said:
“One of the most critical challenges mankind faces today is to recognize the difference between happiness and mere pleasure. Satan and his forces have become extremely effective in their effort to convince people that pleasure should be the most sought-after objective. He slyly promises that wherever found, pleasure will bring happiness.”
What is happiness then? How does it differ from mere pleasure? I go to the words of Elder Talmage:
“Happiness leaves no bad aftertaste, it is followed by no depressing reaction; it calls for no repentance, brings no regret, entails no remorse; pleasure too often makes necessary repentance, contrition, and suffering; and, if indulged to the extreme, it brings degradation and destruction.” End quote
I really enjoyed the examples Elder Talmage used- true happiness is not followed by depressing reaction, repentance, regret or remorse. We want to strive for True Happiness. Well to strive for something we need to know where we can find it. So where can we find true happiness? And what really makes us happy?
Elder Richard G Scott said:
“Do you take time to discover each day how beautiful your life can be? How long has it been since you watched the sun set? The departing rays kissing the clouds, trees, hills, and lowlands good night, sometimes tranquilly, sometimes with exuberant bursts of color and form. What of the wonder of a cloudless night when the Lord unveils the marvels of His heavens…He goes on to say…..”You are one of the noblest of God’s creations. His intent is that your life be gloriously beautiful regardless of your circumstances. As you are grateful and obedient, you can become all that God intends you to be.”
Life can be extremely busy. I know mine is. Jordan and I both go to school full time. I work a very tiring, but rewarding, job, and I try to be a good wife that cooks, cleans, and does laundry. There are not enough hours in the day for me to get done what I feel I should.
But all of that is ok. We don’t need to be perfect. But we do need to be grateful and obedient. We also need to remember that we are one of the noblest of God’s creations. Heavenly Father has some pretty amazing creations, and the fact that we are one of his greatest is something we shouldn’t forget.
And because we are so great, what does Heavenly Father want us to do? I go to Mosiah 2:41 which reads
41 And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and ahappy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are bblessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out cfaithful to the end they are received into dheaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.
Heavenly Father wants us to keep the commandments. Plain and Simple. If we keep the commandments we will be blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual. And we will dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness.
Wow, never ending happiness. I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t want that.
But to get to that state we must also go through trials and challenges… Elder Richard G Scott quoted:
“Sadness, disappointment, and severe challenge are events in life, not life itself. I do not minimize how hard some of these events are. They can extend over a long period of time, but they should not be allowed to become the confining center of everything you do.” End quote.
I am sure everyone in here has had his or her own sadness, disappointments, and challenges in life. My biggest trial happened just 2 and a half years ago. My best friend passed away unexpectedly. At the time I had a lot of mixed feelings and emotions. I was mad for awhile, then I was extremely sad. I missed her, and I wanted nothing more that to drive over to her house and just talk for hours like we always use to. Then I became very lonely. I honestly thought I was going to feel like this for the rest of my life.
That is why this quote from Elder Scott is so important to me:
“Your joy in life depends upon your trust in Heavenly Father and His holy Son, your conviction that their plan of happiness truly can bring you joy. “
I had to trust Heavenly Father. I had to completely give myself unto Him, and put all my Faith in Him. And once I did that, I was able to start being happy. I started to notice all the tender mercies He had just for me. I was able to recall my favorite memories I had with my best friend. I had to put a lot of effort into it, but because I did I am now able to enjoy my life, and I can say I am truly happy.
I want to share with you a really great analogy about our trials, obstacles, and problems in life:
“A pebble held close to the eye appears to be a gigantic obstacle. Cast on the ground, it is seen in perspective. Likewise, problems or trials in our lives need to be viewed in the perspective of scriptural doctrine. Otherwise they can easily overtake our vision, absorb our energy, and deprive us of the joy and beauty the Lord intends us to receive here on earth. Some people are like rocks thrown into a sea of problems. They are drowned by them. Be a cork. When submerged in a problem, fight to be free to bob up to serve again with happiness.”
So when those problems come, don’t drown in them. Don’t let them take over your life. Be a cork, and fight to be free and bob up to serve again with happiness.” Take the advice Bishop Felsted gave- if you wake up every morning and think of 3 things you are grateful for, your trials and problems will start to seem smaller and smaller. And you will become happier.
So far we have talked about how happiness differs from pleasure, and that we can find happiness in keeping the commandments, even when challenges and trials come our way. Lastly, I want to focus on how we can obtain true happiness.
The Prophet Joseph stated, “Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God.”
Make a list of things you can do for happiness, such as:
• Ponder the scriptures to understand the plan of happiness.
• Pray with faith in Jesus Christ.
• Receive the temple ordinances. Return to bless others.
• Listen to the prophet and obey his counsel.
• Be grateful for what you have.
• Smile more.
Your list will provide keys to contentment and joy.
But one of the greatest things we can do to obtain happiness is to serve others. Willing service to others is a key to enduring happiness. President Kimball said:
“God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another mortal that he meets our needs. Therefore, it is vital that we serve each other.”
And one of the greatest acts of service we can do is to be a good example and have Christlike attributes. I can’t think of a better example of this than my husband. While playing basketball at Utah Valley University, Jordan was always a great example to everyone he came in contact with. He was loving, patient, honest, and obedient. Most of you know our good friend Rory. (And if you don’t, your kids in primary sure do..) Rory came to Utah to go to school after getting a scholarship for basketball. Jordan had always been a good example to Rory. And I know Rory has always looked up to Jordan . Rory had met with the missionaries a few times, but it wasn’t until after his trip to China where he played on the New Zealand National Team for basketball this last summer, that everything really fell into place. Jordan and I had the opportunity to pick Rory up from the airport. We were so excited to hear about his adventures in China, but we didn’t know how exciting that car ride home would be. While driving southbound on I 15, we could see the Jordan River Temple off to the right. Rory made a comment about how beautiful the temple looked. Jordan light heartedly said to Rory, “When will you be joining me and Amber inside the temple…” Rory’s mood changed, and immediately he became more serious. He said to Jordan “I need to talk to you about something important…” Jordan looked at me and said ok, what is it. Rory then proceeded to tell Jordan he had been reading the Book of Mormon while he was in China, and he knew everything about it was true. He had a testimony about Joseph Smith, and then asked Jordan if he would do him the honor of baptizing him. I couldn’t contain my excitement. I literally clapped my hands together and shouted. Of course Jordan accepted, and after a few more missionary discussions, Rory was baptized on November 12, 2011.
True happiness comes from following Christ’s example and developing Christlike attributes such as obedience, goodness, honesty, gratitude, humility, love, charity, and forgiveness. It comes from serving others and helping them to follow Jesus Christ.
I have a testimony of this gospel, and I know it is true. I know Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God. And I know President Thomas S Monsen is the Lords prophet on the earth today. I know that by losing ourselves in service, we can find true happiness. Always check your ropes to make sure they haven’t frayed, your nails that they haven’t rusted, and your wood that it hasn’t started to rot. If you diligently inspect your bridge and keep the commandments, you will be happy. I say these things in the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen.