Let Your Hearts Rejoice

As Ammon and his brothers ended their fourteen-year mission to the Lamanites, Ammon expressed the joy he felt with such spontaneity and passion that his brother Aaron corrected him. Wasn’t he boasting, and wasn’t that wrong? In response, Ammon listed many of the blessings they had received and said:

Let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel.

Alma 26:16

I wonder if we sometimes find ourselves in the position of Aaron, attempting to squelch or attenuate expressions of joy—our own or others—because of concerns about propriety.

In 1842, Joseph Smith shared his feelings in a letter to the church:

Now, what do we hear in the gospel which we have received? A voice of gladness! A voice of mercy from heaven; and a voice of truth out of the earth; glad tidings for the dead; a voice of gladness for the living and the dead; glad tidings of great joy.

Doctrine and Covenants 128:19

After listing many of the glorious things he and the church had experienced, Joseph encouraged the people, “Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad” (Doctrine and Covenants 128:22).

I’ve been thinking today about that advice: “Let your hearts rejoice.” The Book of Mormon prophet Jacob gave the same admonition to his people. (See 2 Nephi 9:52.) Maybe rejoicing isn’t something we choose to do; maybe it’s something that happens naturally when we stop resisting it.

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf once shared some lessons learned by Bronnie Ware, an Australian nurse specializing in palliative care. She wrote a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, in which she shared lessons she had learned from her patients. Regret #5 was this:

I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Elder Uchtdorf asked:

Do we listen to beautiful music waiting for the final note to fade before we allow ourselves to truly enjoy it? No. We listen and connect to the variations of melody, rhythm, and harmony throughout the composition.

Do we say our prayers with only the “amen” or the end in mind? Of course not. We pray to be close to our Heavenly Father, to receive His Spirit and feel His love….

Brothers and sisters, no matter our circumstances, no matter our challenges or trials, there is something in each day to embrace and cherish. There is something in each day that can bring gratitude and joy if only we will see and appreciate it.

Of Regrets and Resolutions,” General Conference, October 2012

Today, I will let my heart rejoice. I will find joy in the experiences of the day, and I will embrace that joy fully.

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