“The Gospel and a Sense of Humor, Too,” Ensign, June 1974, 24
Elder Matthew Cowley tells how President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., called him to be mission president in New Zealand. His final instruction was “Now, kid” [he calls me kid] “now, kid, don’t forget rule six.”
“What is rule six?”
“Don’t take yourself too darn seriously.”
“What are the other five rules?”
“There aren’t any,” answered President Clark.
We can take things seriously that we are not solemn about. By the same token, solemnity does not necessarily mean that we are taking the gospel seriously; we are taking ourselves seriously.
There are indications in Church history that Joseph Smith, careful to refrain from lightmindedness as he was, still enjoyed joking with other Church leaders.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not grim; surely the Lord intended for us to enjoy ourselves even in Church meetings. Perhaps the secret lies in another statement by Elder Cowley: “I like to get fun out of this business—good, wholesome fun—get a kick out of it. When I obey the principles of the Gospel, I am the happiest man on earth.”
Perhaps this is what the Lord means by “… men are that they might have joy” (2 Ne. 2:25)—to take the principles of the gospel seriously without taking ourselves too seriously. On the way to exaltation, we ought to enjoy ourselves.
John E. Lewis, Orem Third Ward, Orem Utah West Stake