Devotional cover: Keys to happiness

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LuWana Roberts addresses BYU-Idaho students. Photo credit: Kaitlyn Davis

LuWana Roberts spoke about ways to find happiness during devotional on Sept. 28.

Roberts began her talk by quoting a song she used to sing to her children.

“I am happy today for the sunshine / for the skies of gray or blue / for within my heart is the song of life / I’ll live, I’ll work, I’ll do!” Roberts said.

She talked about how it is easy to be happy when life is going well, but also how it is possible to be happy when life is going poorly.

Roberts then brought up an experience shared by Matthew O. Richardson in a BYU-Idaho Devotional on Feb. 21, 2017.

Out of everything he could have saved from his time working on his undergraduate degree, he saved a chemistry exam that had gotten a poor score. When he looked at the exam and saw a 76, he panicked. Then, he looked in the corner and saw a 24 — he had actually missed 76 points.

The BYU-Idaho Center was full of students attending live devotional.
The BYU-Idaho Center was full of students attending live devotional. Photo credit: Kaitlyn Davis

“Why did he save that particular exam as his only memento of his undergraduate academic experience?” Roberts asked. “It is because this experience impacted and shaped him in significant ways. He remembers that every storm will eventually break if you just hold on long enough.”

Roberts then talked about how her granddaughters, students at BYU-I, have stopped by her office to visit. Every time, they say hello and goodbye with “I love you” and a hug.

“I know a lot of parents’ parting words to their children as they leave for the day are ‘Remember who you are,'” Roberts said. “The parting words of these granddaughters’ mom are ‘I love you,’ administered with a hug. What a great way to start a happy day.”

Roberts moved to the scriptures to describe ways of being happy. She referenced 2 Nephi chapter 5, in which Nephi gathers his family along with the true believers in the gospel and goes into the wilderness.

Students took notes on notebooks, tablets and phones during devotional.
Students took notes on notebooks, tablets and phones during devotional. Photo credit: Kaitlyn Davis

“Through these verses, we learn Nephi sought guidance from the Lord to know what he should do to ensure safety for his family members and close friends,” Roberts said. “Prayer and family were an important component in their being able to live ‘after the manner of happiness.'”

Roberts then shared a quote from Joseph Smith relating to how keeping commandments can bring happiness.

According to the quote from Joseph Smith, “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.”

Every prophet has mentioned this principle, Roberts explained, including Brigham Young and President Russell M. Nelson.

A student looks towards the podium where LuWana Roberts is speaking.
A student looks towards the podium where LuWana Roberts is speaking. Photo credit: Kaitlyn Davis

“Do you not think they prospered because they kept the commandments?” Roberts asked. “This can be true in each of our endeavors, whether it be academically, economically or in our family relationships.”

When students “liken themselves to the scriptures” and work hard, they will be happy, Roberts said.

She explained that her adult son finds happiness in different things than he did when he was a teenager. She counseled students to avoid being selfish in order to be happy.

Roberts then quoted former church president Spencer W. Kimball, who wrote, “Let us not try to escape our work or shirk our responsibility. Let us ask ourselves each morning, ‘What is my work today?’ … Let us lay hold on happiness today.”

Roberts then pivoted to defining what happiness is. She said that it is a “state of the spirit and attitude of the mind,” a quote from David O. McKay that was mentioned several times on the devotional discussion board prior to Roberts’ address.

Roberts spoke about material things before the end of her address, telling students that money in itself cannot make someone happy. However, what one does with one’s money can be a reflection of one’s charity and love for others.

Roberts concluded her talk by imploring students to decide to be happy and to keep the commandments of the gospel. She shared her testimony of living prophets and of God and Jesus Christ.

“Let us ask ourselves each morning, ‘What is my work today?’” Roberts said. “Let us lay hold on happiness today by keeping the commandments.”