Thursday, December 9, 2010

Church-goers tend to be happier people, says study; Cougar Abogado says its because of their unity in God

"Religious people are more satisfied with their lives than nonbelievers, but a new study finds it's not a relationship with God that makes the devout happy. Instead, the satisfaction boost may come from closer ties to earthly neighbors."

I saw this headline in my Google News this morning, decided to take a quick peak, and share a couple thoughts.

First, if this study is accurate, I think that "church-goers" being happier would make plenty of sense because, I assume, they are united.

The Savior prayed,
22And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
23I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. John 17: 22-23
We find further evidence of happiness (I say "further" because I assume the Son of God was happy in His unity with the Father and His disciples), in the Book of Mormon, stemming from unity.  On the other hand, in contrast to the article, we learn that these people were happy because of their unity in God:
3And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift.
15And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people.
16And there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness; and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.
17There were no robbers, nor murderers, neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of -ites; but they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God. 4 Nephi 1: 3, 15-17.
In summary, the MSNBC subtitle may be correct, "It's not the sermon — it's the socializing that's the key." Yet, I think the purpose of the socializing is what matters. "[W]hen ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God" (Mosiah 2:17). Indeed, "Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" (Matthew 25: 40). And, "If ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14: 15). I do believe and know there is great happiness in the unity of loving Christ and keeping His commandments.

Perhaps ironically, for our day, the people described in the Book of Mormon were happiest because of their unity, rather than their differences. In fact, the text tells us the key to their happiness was that they side aside their differences and focused on being "one, the children of Christ."

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