27 And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness.
I like the idea of living “after the manner of happiness.” It sounds both intentional and sustainable: a choice we make rather than something that just happens to us. What must we do in order to live this way? Nephi gives us some guidance in this chapter as he describes the society his people built after his father’s death:
1. Obey God’s commandments (v. 10). Since we know that “wickedness never was happiness” (Alma 41:10), it follows that righteousness is essential to a happy life. This includes searching the scriptures, seeking revelation to know God’s will for us (v. 12), and then doing what we know to be right.
2. Worship God. Nephi’s people built a temple (v. 16), and he consecrated priests and teachers. Since nothing can bring us as much joy as the love of God, building a relationship with Him through worship is an essential element of a happy life.
3. Work hard toward worthy goals. Nephi’s people engaged in farming and livestock management (v. 11), built weapons to defend themselves (v. 14), and constructed buildings using a variety of materials (v. 15-16). Nephi also created gold plates and wrote the history of his people (v. 30-31). He specifically mentioned the industriousness of his people and contrasted it with the idleness of the Lamanites (v. 17, 24). Happy people are diligent. They have the satisfaction each day of having accomplished something worthwhile. Idle people are not happy: no matter how many diversions they engage in, they lack the fundamental joy that comes from a job well done, from building something of value.
Today, I will live “after the manner of happiness.”