We all have our free agency and God holds us accountable for the way we use it in thought and deed. "Kindness, compassion, and love are powerful instruments in strengthening us to carry heavy burdens imposed without any fault of our own and to do what we know to be right." Elder Dallin H. Oaks
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“A Time To Laugh” – Here”s Ventriloquist, Nina Conti
“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine” (Prov. 17:22).
Humor allows us to view our lives in a more positive light, deal with personal conflicts and intolerance, and cope with trials and frustrations that might otherwise seem overwhelming. As we are told in Ecclesiastes, there is “a time to laugh” (Eccl. 3:4).
Juggling Tax Cuts, Disarmament, and Diminished Federal Assistance
NOT A LAUGHING MATTER?
If this doesn’t make you laugh, I can’t imagine what would.
This video is from all the way back to the Reagan Presidency. He is sitting alongside of Speaker of the House Tip O’Neil, enjoying an evening together at the Ford theater. A very funny act takes place on stage. With all the security that takes place around any of our Presidents today, nothing the performer does here could ever take place now.
“I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh.” Proverbs 1:26
Attending a wedding for the first time, a little girl whispered to her
mother, ‘Why is the bride dressed in white?”
The mother replied, ‘Because white is the color of happiness, and today is the happiest day of her life.’
The child thought about this for a moment then said, ‘So why is the groom
Three boys are in the school yard bragging about their fathers. The first boy says, ‘My Dad scribbles a few words on a piece of paper, he calls it a poem, they give him $50.’
The second boy says, ‘That’s nothing. My Dad scribbles a few words on piece of paper, he calls it a song, they give him $100.’
The third boy says, ‘I got you both beat. My Dad scribbles a few words on a piece of paper, he calls it a sermon, and it takes eight people to collect all the money!’
An elderly woman died last month. Having never married , she requested no male pallbearers. In her handwritten instructions for her memorial service, she wrote, ‘They wouldn’t take me out while I was alive, I don’t want them to take me out when I’m dead.’
A police recruit was asked during the exam, ‘What would you do if you had to arrest your own mother?’ He answered, ‘Call for backup.’
A Sunday School teacher asked her class why Joseph and Mary took Jesus with
them to Jerusalem . A small child replied, ‘They couldn’t get a baby-sitter.’
A Sunday school teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with her five and six year olds. After explaining the commandment to ‘Honor thy father and
thy mother,’ she asked, ‘Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat
our brothers and sisters?’ Without missing a beat, one little boy answered,
‘Thou shall not kill.’
At Sunday School they were teaching how God created everything, including
human beings. Little Johnny seemed especially intent when they told him how
Eve was created out of one of Adam’s ribs.
Later in the week his mother noticed him lying down as though he were ill,
and she said, ‘Johnny, what is the matter?’ Little Johnny responded, ‘I have pain in my side. I think I’m going to have a wife.’
Two boys were walking home from Sunday school after hearing a strong preaching on the devil. One said to the other, ‘What do you think about all this Satan stuff?’
The other boy replied, ‘Well, you know how Santa Claus turned out. It’s probably just your Dad.’
You don’t stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop
laughing! Take heed and pass these along to people who need a laugh. I thought you would enjoy this….times are tough right now…for all of us…so we need something to make the day a happy place. “They” haven’t
found a way to tax you for laughing yet.
Every sixty seconds you spend angry, upset or mad, is a full minute of happiness you’ll never get back.
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love truly, Laugh uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you smile..
Life may not to be the party we hoped for, but while we’re here we should dance!
Have You Become What You Were Cut Out To Be?
“But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” Rom. 6: 22
The first type of “why question is one where an individual is inquiring to gather information with the intention of benefiting their life. The information they gather is of real value that they can use to assist them.
The other type of “why question” is one that will lead an individual down a mental road that is what I call “Why me questions?”
Have you ever talked to someone who seems to constantly ask themselves “why me questions?” They say, “Why does this keep happening to me?” “Why can’t I get it right?” “Why is everybody always picking on me?” “Why did you do that to me?” “Why did they do that to me?” “Why am I always messing up?” These are some example of what I refer to as “Why me questions?”
You see, our mind can function like a hamster on a wheel. Have you ever seen a hamster running on a wheel? They are going nowhere – Fast. How does the mind work in the same way? Well, when people ask themselves “why me question” they will find an answer to the question, or come up with some answer that may seem to temporarily satisfy them. And then, very often they will come up with another “why me question” to follow that answer. And then they will answer it, and then again ask another “why me question.” The answer to one “why me question” can very often lead another “why me question” and it can go on and on like this inside of their mind for quite a while. It’s a repeating pattern; it’s like the hamster running on the wheel.
“VERILY I say unto you my friends, fear not, let your hearts be comforted; yea, rejoice evermore, and in everything givethanks.” D&C 98: 1
Humor can improve our perspective and lighten our load.
Some time ago I was a passenger on an airplane that was coming in for a landing. As we neared the airport, the other passengers and I started to realize that we were traveling much faster than normal. I could feel the anxiety level in the plane start to rise.
Suddenly the airplane hit the ground with great force and then began taxiing down the runway. Shaken, we passengers sat in stunned silence until the captain’s voice came over the sound system: “Take that, you bad, bad runway!” We all erupted in laughter. With a humorous viewpoint and a shared laugh, an uncomfortable situation had become bearable.
Humor helps. Humor heals. In fact, many medical studies have linked laughter with better physical and mental health.1Such studies confirm the scripture that states, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine” (Prov. 17:22). Humor allows us to view our lives in a more positive light, deal with personal conflicts and intolerance, and cope with trials and frustrations that might otherwise seem overwhelming. As we are told in Ecclesiastes, there is “a time to laugh” (Eccl. 3:4).
Humor Can Improve Our Perspective
We can’t always choose what we look at, but we can choose what we see. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught, “Jesus found special joy and happiness in children and said all of us should be more like them—guileless and pure, quick to laugh.”2We are all going to find ourselves in situations we have not anticipated and are not sure how to handle. If we laugh, we may find that at least some of the handling takes care of itself.
After the Austin family had finished shopping for groceries, young Eli Austin was playing with the grocery cart and tipped the cart too far back: Eli, cart, and groceries crashed in an ungraceful heap in the middle of the parking lot. Did a lecture, sarcasm, or grounding follow? Eli said, “Most dads would get mad, but my dad just stood there for a minute and then started laughing his head off.” Brother Austin knew the value of looking on the bright side, for anger doesn’t repair smashed eggs and tomatoes.
Humor Can Strengthen Relationships
Kellene Ricks Adams recalls a potentially tense growing-up moment when she and her brother were fighting. Overhearing their angry, raised voices, their father rushed into the room. “Where are the cats? Where are the cats?” he asked frantically.
Surprised, the two combatants stared at their father. “Dad, there aren’t any cats here!”
Shaking his head, Brother Ricks turned and left the room, muttering, “I could have sworn I heard two cats fighting up there.” Sharing a laugh, the siblings recognized their foolishness.
President Spencer W. Kimball used humor as he related with others throughout his life. For instance, as a missionary he once glimpsed a new piano through an open door. He asked the family if they would like to hear their Kimball piano played by a Kimball and was immediately invited in.3
Humor Can Help Us Cope
We all encounter things that seem ugly, inconvenient, even unbearable. We change what we can, but sometimes we simply have to accept and cope with unpleasant circumstances. Humor can be a helpful coping tool.
After Art E. Berg was thrown from an automobile during a rollover just five weeks before his wedding date, his neck was broken, and at the age of 21 he was left a quadriplegic. Although his body no longer serves him as it once did and he is confined to a wheelchair, Brother Berg is far from being helpless and depressed. He has learned to depend upon the Spirit of the Lord and draw upon his own incredible will to overcome. He now lives a life full of service, activity, and accomplishment. What got him through? Among other things, Brother Berg says peace came from learning to laugh again, particularly with his family. He writes, “I am not sure I would have survived the emotional trauma of my injuries and the complications of my new life if it hadn’t been for the wit, chuckles, laughs, and good-natured humor of my wife and family.”4
Abraham Lincoln struggled with bouts of depression and used humor as therapy. His ability to laugh at himself was revealed during a political debate in which his opponent called him “two-faced.” Lincoln replied, “I leave it to my audience. If I had another face, do you think I’d wear this one?”5
President Hugh B. Brown (1883–1975), a counselor in the First Presidency, recognized the value of facing challenges with humor: “A wholesome sense of humor will be a safety valve that will enable you to apply the lighter touch to heavy problems and to learn some lessons in problem solving that ‘sweat and tears’ often fail to dissolve.”6
Avoid Hurtful Humor
There are times, however, when not everyone is laughing. We must be careful to distinguish between genuine humor, which everyone can enjoy, and hurtful humor, which is at someone else’s expense.
For example, a speaker once quipped, “This stake has great youth—when they’re asleep.”
A father teased, “My son’s going to be a dynamic missionary—if he can ever get himself out of bed in the morning.”
A leader remarked, purposely within earshot of a group of young women, “There sure are some beautiful girls at this dance.” Another leader responded, “Where? Where?”
Even a hasty “just kidding” doesn’t excuse put-downs and other rude forms of hurtful humor. People may play along with the joke and even manage a little artificial laugh for the sake of the audience, but the resulting wounds go deep. Many remember hurtful comments for years, and relationships may be damaged or destroyed.
One Sunday morning a young man came to priesthood meeting dressed in his first suit, a hand-me-down passed to him from his older brothers. Although the suit was a little large for him, the high-schooler felt well dressed as he entered the foyer where other young people were gathering.
A young man who had been in the presidencies of the deacons, teachers, and priests quorums greeted the new arrival in a sarcastic voice loud enough for all to hear: “Say, that’s a fine suit you have on, but didn’t they have one that would fit you?” Everyone laughed.
Stunned by the experience, the boy turned and quickly left the chapel. Hurt, angry, and embarrassed, he vowed he would never go back. Happily, despite his vow, this teenager did return to church. In fact, he now serves as Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, but President Boyd K. Packer still remembers the thoughtless words and mocking laughter.7
It is wise to use humor sparingly in Church settings, in talks, lessons, and so forth, and only humor of unquestionable good taste. We ought to measure in our minds whether a comment would be helpful or hurtful, especially when we want the Spirit present.
The scriptures instruct us to strengthen one another in all our conversations (see D&C 108:7). Humor should be used to build and uplift. Jokes are more fun when they help people feel good about themselves, not embarrassed.
Lightheartedness Does Not Mean Light-Mindedness
As we develop our sense of humor, we must keep in mind the critical difference between lightheartedness and light-mindedness. Light-mindedness is a deliberate irreverence that trivializes the sacred and at worst becomes sacrilege and blasphemy. Perhaps this is the “excess of laughter” and “light speeches” about which scripture warns us (see D&C 88:69, 121; D&C 59:15). Clearly, Church doctrines, ordinances, and temple ceremonies are not to be objects of humor. We must “trifle not with sacred things” (D&C 6:12; see also D&C 8:10).
Lightheartedness, on the other hand, refers to the zestful joy found in wholesome gospel living. Just as scriptures warn against the inappropriate, they also teach us to worship “with a glad heart and a cheerful countenance” (D&C 59:15).
Spirituality does not always equate with solemnity. For example, the Prophet Joseph Smith valued “careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts”8but also described himself as “playful and cheerful.”9Likewise, President Heber C. Kimball (1801–68), a counselor in the First Presidency, taught that God “is a cheerful, pleasant, lively, and good-natured being.”10
A Sense of Humor Can Be Developed
It is comforting to realize a sense of humor can be discovered and nurtured at any age. Believe it or not, humor can be developed.
A young girl named Ivy was invited to present workshops for teenagers at a youth conference. She openly admits that her first attempts were disastrous, and she seemed unable to relate with her young audience—until she learned to laugh at herself and share personal humorous experiences. Now, in part because of the sense of humor she has acquired, she relates beautifully with the young people she addresses.
For those who wish to improve their sense of humor, Ivy suggests recording in a notebook the funny things they experience or hear. She herself has made this a habit. For example, during a general conference session she jotted down an anecdote related by President Thomas S. Monson. President Monson read from a letter President Ezra Taft Benson received after undergoing heart surgery: “Dear President Benson, I know that you will be blessed for this surgery because in theBible it says ‘blessed are the pacemakers.’”
On another occasion Ivy learned of a neghbor who had received a handmade get-well card while recovering from bypass surgery. On the front of the card, the child, a second-grader, had drawn a rectangular black box representing a coffin, with a flower poking out of the center. Inside he had printed in big letters, “Hope you get well soon, but if not, have fun.” After a hearty laugh, Ivy wrote down that account as well.
Thanks to her notebook, Ivy has collected a number of stories and anecdotes to use in talks and at the same time has sharpened her ability to recognize and use humor.11
President Gordon B. Hinckley affirmed the value of humor for all: “We’ve got to have a little humor in our lives. You had better take seriously that which should be taken seriously but, at the same time, we can bring in a touch of humor now and again. If the time ever comes when we can’t smile at ourselves, it will be a sad time.”12
Humor improves our attitude, strengthens our relationship skills, and helps us successfully cope with challenges. Whether we are experiencing an anxious moment on an airplane, trying to get around sibling rivalry, or just trying to handle the trials of everyday living, humor can be a constructive and beneficial part of our lives. If we can appropriately laughat it, we can live with it. So go ahead and laugh—it’s good for you!