Jump to content

Is unhappiness a sin?


Recommended Posts

2 hours ago, Flyonthewall said:

Men are that they might have joy.

I have come to believe that this life is meant to lower our expectations of what "joy" is or will be.

 

Then why do the scriptures wax into rhapsody about eternal joy being beyond our comprehension?

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”

Of course one person pointed out to me that that doesn’t say it is good. Promise of eternal joy beyond comprehension or some mind-destroying Lovecraftian horror that man cannot know and remain sane?

Link to comment
7 hours ago, mbh26 said:

Yeah, I can totally understand the idea of achieving happiness through living gospel principles down the road in eternity.  I've always believed in that.  But I'm hearing a lot of people in the Church who seem to be saying, if you're not happy right now then you must not be living the gospel very well.  I'm not sure I agree with that.  

I used to say something like this though less extreme. If my current state is a penance for that I do not recommend this course. My counsel was more that if you are not happy while living the gospel you should make it a matter of prayer to find out why. I currently have no idea why despite the prayers.

Link to comment
8 hours ago, mbh26 said:

I've heard people advise someone suffering from depression to count their blessings as a cure.  Does having gratitude cure depression?  Or is this happiness something spiritual that I'm not distinguishing properly?  

I think this change of focus can contribute for acute depression. As far as chronic depression, depending on how it is done it could make it worse, so nothing, or help.  Depends on the person and the causes snd their ability to avoid intrusive and other dysfunctional thinking. 
 

Me, at times it helps me stop a spiraling that feeds off reciting what I feel like is trapping me. Other times when I struggle it just seems to inflate the lack of what I need. (Think of being told one should be grateful to have a roof over one’s head when one is feeling like their stomach sliced open and their guts are all over the floor, though nicely protected from the weather)

Edited by Calm
Link to comment
20 hours ago, The Nehor said:

In the Book of Moses Enoch is scandalized by God weeping.

When sane, I find it natural to feel a lot of what others would see as conflicting emotions, but what I see as being aware of the complicated mess that is life. There can be great joy and sorrow at the same time and likely a whole bunch of other middling emotions imo, just as I can be bored but enthused at the same time (I really, really want to get my house declutter and there is both great satisfaction and mind numbing boredom when it is shredding time).

Link to comment
1 hour ago, The Nehor said:

Then why do the scriptures wax into rhapsody about eternal joy being beyond our comprehension?

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”

Of course one person pointed out to me that that doesn’t say it is good. Promise of eternal joy beyond comprehension or some mind-destroying Lovecraftian horror that man cannot know and remain sane?

IMHO, it wouldn't take much to make things better than this mortal existence.

So to compare with our lowered expectations from here is not a huge step...

Edited by Flyonthewall
spelling
Link to comment
On 1/12/2022 at 8:20 PM, Kenngo1969 said:

There are several potential causes of unhappiness.

  • Humanity's inhumanity to our fellow humans
  • Hap crappening
  • The law of the harvest (reaping what one sows)
  • Being out of our element, far from Home: We're essentially spiritual beings sent here to have a mortal experience, not essentially mortal beings sent here to have occasional spiritual experiences
  • Related to the bullet point immediately above, sorrowing for the sins of the world, the opposite side of that coin being, perhaps, not always being able to take happiness in sin.

Perhaps the most common causes of unhappiness in "the world" are the first and the third.  Perhaps the most common cause cause of unhappiness among members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the fourth, followed closely, perhaps, by the [first part of the] fifth.

The more I reflect on this post, the more I think Ken is right on the money.  Wouldn't be the first time.

Some random thoughts:

"Humanity's inhumanity to our fellow humans."  Addressing this issue is the province of religion (or belief systems).  "Fear not he who can kill the body" doesn't tell us WHY we need not fear such, but at least it invites us to believe reality is less bleak than temporary appearances indicate.

"Hap crappening" imo may be addressed by deliberately adopting a viewpoint which assumes an ultimately benign purpose.  Easier said than done of course, but ime better than the alternatives.  Romans 8:28; D&C 122:7.

"The law of the harvest (reaping what one sows)" imo has two aspects:  One's actions (and/or inactions), and one's thoughts.   The link between actions (or inactions) and consequences is pretty much evident, but imo the link between undisciplined thought and its consequences is less obvious.  And to the extent that thought is the cause and action is the effect, it might be most productive to work on changing our thoughts.  "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he."

"Being out of our element, far from Home: We're essentially spiritual beings sent here to have a mortal experience, not essentially mortal beings sent here to have occasional spiritual experiences."  Imo one of the things that some other religions or belief systems have developed more fully is a meditative practice for spending a little time closer to Home.  There are people for whom a high point, perhaps THE high point, of their day is the time they spend in such practice, as (among other things) it re-charges their batteries.

"Sorrow for the sins of the world."  Imo this is again the province of religion and/or belief systems, and presumably falls within what an "infinite and eternal atonement" is designed for.  Perhaps one of the challenges of earth life is how to get through it without succumbing to hate and/or despair, because this world gives us plenty of excuses for indulging in both.  Imo once again a shift in focus makes sense - we do not find the light by mucking about in the darkness.  "Perfect love casts out fear" is an invitation to a shift in focus, and an incentive for doing so.  

 

Edited by Olmec Donald
Link to comment

While sometimes counting blessings helps there is also a weird self-feeding mechanism in depression where you realize you shouldn’t be depressed and this thought is deeply depressing.

It is easy to get stuck in a loop.

resolution_2x.png

Edited by The Nehor
Link to comment
On 1/12/2022 at 2:58 PM, mbh26 said:

It seemed the speakers at the last General conference kept repeating President Nelson's quote that happiness is 98% due to where your focus is and 2% due to what your situation is.  I certainly find the gospel comforting during bad times.  But that comfort for me comes as a hope and belief that things will be better in the future.  My understanding of the word happy was never about something that I exerted myself to demonstrate to anyone who might be watching me.  I always thought of happiness as a natural response to pleasant things that I was actually experiencing at the moment.  I certainly never expected life to be pleasant all the time.  But it's starting to seem as if we're commanded to act as if we're experiencing pleasant things all the time.  I am amazed at people living under severe illness and poverty who manage to muster happiness in spite of their current situation, but on the other hand if I were truly capable of being happy at all times regardless of my current situation, if that's really up to me alone at this moment, why would I even need the gospel, heaven, the resurrection or redemption from anything?  

The Savior commanded us: "...do not worry..." Trials are custom-made for us and an opportunity to test our faith, helps us draw near to our Heavenly Father, help us focus on what is important and relevant. To be content is the outcome of spiritual maturity and the evidence of the strength of our faith. In Isaiah 43:1-2 we read: "But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee." We WILL cross life's rivers and endure personal fires. But the Lord promises that He will be with us. If we believe His promises and trust in His strength He will see us through. Why worry or despair? No reason to be overwhelmed by grief or sorrow and let the situation rob us of our joy.

If we REALLY trust in the Lord, there is no reason to worry or fear. We face our trials like James says: "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations (trials); Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing." James 1:2-4

The idea of a pleasurable existence, the pursue of happiness, comfort, leisure, safety and financial security have absolutely no relationship with the Gospel of Christ. It is a pure Western concept magnified exponentially by the United States. But is has no parallel anywhere else.  Unfortunately, it has infected the Church. So, people are devastated when adversity strikes and they face a headwind for a while. However, the Savior warned that "in this life you will have tribulation..." How we handle it is the true measure of our faith and spiritual fortitude. 

Link to comment
2 hours ago, The Nehor said:

While sometimes counting blessings helps there is also a weird self-feeding mechanism in depression where you realize you shouldn’t be depressed and this thought is deeply depressing.

Yep, amen, and you are so right.

Link to comment
9 hours ago, Islander said:

The idea of a pleasurable existence, the pursue of happiness, comfort, leisure, safety and financial security have absolutely no relationship with the Gospel of Christ. It is a pure Western concept magnified exponentially by the United States. But is has no parallel anywhere else.  Unfortunately, it has infected the Church. So, people are devastated when adversity strikes and they face a headwind for a while. However, the Savior warned that "in this life you will have tribulation..." How we handle it is the true measure of our faith and spiritual fortitude. 

The bolded part is very wrong.

Link to comment
  • 3 weeks later...
On 1/14/2022 at 8:02 AM, The Nehor said:

The bolded part is very wrong.

Well, I have been to 28 countries and speak 4 languages, and can attest to that fact. You claim I am mistaken but offer no element to support your assertion. 

Link to comment
9 hours ago, Islander said:

Well, I have been to 28 countries and speak 4 languages, and can attest to that fact. You claim I am mistaken but offer no element to support your assertion. 

Neither do you other than saying “trust me”. The idea that Christians in other parts of the world do not seek happiness, leisure, safety, and financial security and do not pray for it is suggesting that Christians elsewhere have just abandoned human frailty entirely.

Link to comment

Joy isn't the same thing as happiness  just like happiness is not the same thing as pleasure.

The Great Plan of Happiness is about our eternal situation not our lives. 

We can feel joy in the worst situations, which comes from aligning ourselves to God and coming closer to him.  

Link to comment

I remember reading an article on the topic of discouragement being sin.  I think that's somewhat related to the topic of this thread.  I don't remember what was the conclusion of the article but I remember that discouragement was depicted as a lack of faith ... which i suppose it is, but then I think God is eminently understanding of us and patient with our humanity.  

I can see how unhappiness, discouragement, depression etc. are not God's perfect and final will for us.  I think we were made for shalom - for well being characterized by wholeness and harmony and being at peace with God, others and ourselves.  But that's not possible in this world.  We live in a fallen world, not in Eden where we would have perfect and unbroken companionship and intimacy with God.  We're on the broken side of that.

Yes, anything less than perfection and God's perfect will for us is sin (Greek hamartia which means 'missing the mark') viewed within that definition.

Fortunately, God knows our human frailty and circumstances and has the utmost compassion on us.  I think He loves and strengthens us.  But that doesn't mean we don't live with struggle and pain, with their accompanying reactions and emotions.

Someone said earlier that sadness and joy can go hand in hand, and I agree with that.

Link to comment
On 1/12/2022 at 1:58 PM, mbh26 said:

It seemed the speakers at the last General conference kept repeating President Nelson's quote that happiness is 98% due to where your focus is and 2% due to what your situation is.  I certainly find the gospel comforting during bad times.  But that comfort for me comes as a hope and belief that things will be better in the future.  My understanding of the word happy was never about something that I exerted myself to demonstrate to anyone who might be watching me.  I always thought of happiness as a natural response to pleasant things that I was actually experiencing at the moment.  I certainly never expected life to be pleasant all the time.  But it's starting to seem as if we're commanded to act as if we're experiencing pleasant things all the time.  I am amazed at people living under severe illness and poverty who manage to muster happiness in spite of their current situation, but on the other hand if I were truly capable of being happy at all times regardless of my current situation, if that's really up to me alone at this moment, why would I even need the gospel, heaven, the resurrection or redemption from anything?  

We need to be sad at least sometimes otherwise we won't be able to know what happiness is.  Just as we need misery sometimes to be able to know what joy is.   How each of those conditions feel, knowing opposites by contrasting one with another.

So, no, we don't want to be happy all of the time.  Sometimes we need to feel sad and sometimes we need to be downright miserable. I am sad now that my health has me experiencing flu like symptoms.  I hate this.  But I know I will feel better later and I am thankful that I can still remember what it feels like to be truly happy and not bothered by anything in this world.

Link to comment

I compare this statement "Suffering emerges from craving for life to be other than it is. Life is impermanent and change is constant – we grow frustrated when the world doesn’t behave the way we think it should and our lives don’t conform to our expectations. The only certainty in life is that it will end." (Secular Buddhism - Noah Rasheta)

To Joseph Smith's, "Salvation is nothing more nor less than to triumph over all our enemies and put them under our feet. And when we have power to put all enemies under our feet in this world, and a knowledge to triumph over all evil spirits in the world to come, then we are saved, as in the case of Jesus, who was to reign until He had put all enemies under His feet, and the last enemy was death."

While there is certainly value and wisdom in understanding what can and can't be changed in mortality, our eternal happiness (which requires salvation) will be in part based on the ability and freedom to act. So, I ultimately side with Joseph Smith's version.


PS: While there must be opposition in all things, I think that opposition most of the time can be hypothetical and not actual. I don't have to steal stuff to recognize the happiness of respecting other people's property. But, the reality of the option of stealing has to be there or not stealing stuff becomes moot.

Link to comment
  • 3 weeks later...
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...