Sunday, March 22, 2009


To be honest, this image irritates me. It does not make me smile.

What exactly is intended by the term "cheerful" when Elder Holland uses it in this phrase:
Do All Things Cheerfully
As a valedictory to the lessons from Liberty Jail, I refer to the last verse of the last section of these three we have been referring to tonight. In this final canonized statement of the Liberty Jail experience, the Lord says to us through His prophet, Joseph Smith: Therefore, dearly beloved brethren [and sisters, when we are in even the most troubling of times], let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed. (Doctrine and Covenants 123:17)

We require further analysis of the word "cheerful" as it was used in context in Elder Holland's Liberty Jail speech. What exactly are the semantics?

Elder Holland's comments appear to be a direct quote of the writing from Liberty Jail.



Duty of the saints in relation to their persecutors, as set forth by Joseph Smith the Prophet, while a prisoner in the jail at Liberty, Missouri, March 1839. HC 3:302–303.,

The saints should collect and publish an account of their sufferings and persecutions; 7–10, The same spirit that established the false creeds also leads to persecution of the saints; Many among all sects will yet receive the truth.

1 And again, we would suggest for your consideration the propriety of all the saints gathering up a knowledge of all the facts, and sufferings and abuses put upon them by the people of this State;

2 And also of all the property and amount of damages which they have sustained, both of character and personal as well as real property;

3 And also the names of all persons that have had a hand in their oppressions, as far as they can get hold of them and find them out...

...17 Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.

Cheerful, Cheerfulness
Ps. 100: 2(Ps. 100: 1-5) Serve the Lord with gladness.
Ps. 119: 111testimonies . . . are the rejoicing of my heart.
Prov. 15: 13merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance.
Prov. 17: 22merry heart doeth good like a medicine.
Eccl. 9: 7eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart.
Isa. 51: 3(Isa. 51: 11) joy and gladness shall be found therein.
Rom. 12: 8sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
2 Cor. 9: 7God loveth a cheerful giver.
Mosiah 24: 15did submit cheerfully and with patience.
D&C 19: 39rejoicing and lifting up thy heart for gladness.
D&C 59: 15do these things with thanksgiving, with cheerful hearts.
D&C 123: 17let us cheerfully do all things.
JS-H 1: 28acquainted with my native cheery temperament.
See also Ps. 19: 8; Ps. 45: 7.


Anonymous said...

Maybe I'd be cheerful too if I could "eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart."

A little wine can go a looong way, you know.

So are you coming to visit, or did I make my kids clean their room for entertainment value? I notice that you posted your last post about a minute after I posted mine. That doesn't bode well for a quality visit, given 3 hours of driving time.

Anonymous said...

Dad, Just wanted to say I love you and am thinking about you, I'm glad your back home and doing well. We're hoping to come out on saturday. Just remember we love you and keep that cheerful thought in your heart

Anonymous said...

Cindy here...
yeah, your smiley face is totally irritating! But I like the idea that I am in control of how I react to things--I do not have to live my life as a victim of circumstances. I especially like this part:

"let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power;"

I can't control what others do, nor should I want to since that was Lucifers plan, but I can take some measure of control in how I respond to the actions of others. That is the part that lies in my "power". God is in charge of judging the rest, not me...thank Heaven! :-) (oops, a dreaded smiley!) that is the "assurance" we are given, at least the way I read it. And God will also be my judge, with perfect understanding and mercy applied through the Atonement of Christ. What a blessing to know!

We keep trying to help our kids recognize, even though we're not perfect at it, that we can always choose to be pleasant, cheerful and kind, no matter what happens. It is a goal, not an achieved lesson, but we're working at it.

Anyway, Victor Frankl got it right, as far as I can see, and I hope to achieve that level of control someday.

Love you,

Anonymous said...

Jim - I would really appreciate it if you would post this. I know it is a little edgey, but I don't think it is overboard.

But not all things lie within our power. And it is not always possible to face the horrors of life with a twinkle in our eye and a spring in our step.

Maybe for some who have never faced the atrocities that life has to show, it might appear that life is (pardon the pun) Jim dandy. For others, every day may seem to be a struggle. Getting out of bed may be the greatest trial of all. Smiling may seem like drudgery, and walking to the mailbox may seem like torture and dread, for fear that one might run into someone they might have to actually greet or even interact with.

I know this may seem incomprehensible to someone who see life through rose colored glasses or someone whose biggest trial was how to cover up the hickeys given to them by someone named Victor, but it turns out the world is a much bigger place than what one myopic view might present itself as.

Not to be harsh or anything. That wasn't my intent. I'm just saying there's more out there than some might decide to see. Pain isn't just what people decide to make of it, and denial isn't just a river in Egypt.