Our Greatest Happiness

“Our Greatest Happiness,” New Era, June 2003, 12

Our Greatest Happiness

Sometimes we give the least to those who should matter most in our lives—our families. Here’s what the modern-day prophets have said to help us turn our hearts toward our greatest joy.

All of the modern-day prophets have taught the importance of families. They understood that our greatest happiness in this life comes from our families. But to achieve this happiness, we have to work to strengthen our families each day. Here are some suggestions from each of the modern-day prophets on how to make your family a happy one.

Keep an Eternal Perspective

Joseph Smith (1805–1844)
First President of the Church

“A man filled with the love of God, is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race.”1

Harold B. Lee (1899–1973)
Eleventh President of the Church

“The most important of the Lord’s work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own homes.”2

Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994)
Thirteenth President of the Church

“There can be no genuine happiness separate and apart from the home. The sweetest influences and associations of life are there.”3

Honor Your Parents

Lorenzo Snow (1814–1901)
Fifth President of the Church

“I would plead with you, my young brethren and sisters, to honor your fathers and your mothers, that your days may be long in the land which the Lord hath given to them and to you. Be obedient and loving to them.”4

Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985)
Twelfth President of the Church

“If we truly honor our parents as we are commanded to do, we will seek to emulate their best characteristics and to fulfill their highest aspirations for us. Nothing we could give them materially would be more prized than our righteous living.”5

Participate in Family Prayer

John Taylor (1808–1887)
Third President of the Church

“Do not forget to call upon the Lord in your family circles, dedicating yourselves and all you have to God every day of your lives; and seek to do right, and cultivate the spirit of union and love, and the peace and blessing of the Living God will be with us, and He will lead us in the paths of life.”6

Heber J. Grant (1856–1945)
Seventh President of the Church

“I am convinced that one of the greatest things that can come into any home to cause the boys and girls in that home to grow up in a love of God, and in a love of the gospel of Jesus Christ, is to have family prayer.”7

George Albert Smith (1870–1951)
Eighth President of the Church

“[Do] we want our homes to be happy[?] If we do, let them be the abiding place of prayer, thanksgiving and gratitude.”8

Read Scriptures Together

Howard W. Hunter (1907–1995)
Fourteenth President of the Church

“Families are greatly blessed when wise fathers and mothers bring their children about them, read from the pages of the scriptural library together, and then discuss freely the beautiful stories and thoughts according to the understanding of all.”9

Communicate with Love

Brigham Young (1801–1877)
Second President of the Church

“The greatest difficulty that exists in the little bickerings and strifes of [families] … arises from the want of rightly understanding each other.”10

“Anger should never be permitted to rise in our bosoms, and words suggested by angry feelings should never be permitted to pass our lips.”11

David O. McKay (1873–1970)
Ninth President of the Church

“We contribute to an ideal home by our character, by controlling our passions, our temper, by guarding our speech, because those things will make our homes what they are.”12

Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–)
Fifteenth President of the Church

“There are good families everywhere. But there are too many who are in trouble. This is a malady with a cure. The prescription is simple and wonderfully effective. It is love.”13

Live for Eternity

Wilford Woodruff (1807–1898)
Fourth President of the Church

“We want the Latter-day Saints from this time to trace their genealogies as far as they can, and to be sealed to their fathers and mothers. Have children sealed to their parents, and run this chain through as far as you can get it.”14

Joseph F. Smith (1838–1918)
Sixth President of the Church

“We are living for eternity and not merely for the moment. Death does not part us from one another, if we have entered into sacred relationships with each other by virtue of the authority that God has revealed to the children of men. Our relationships are formed for eternity.”15

Joseph Fielding Smith (1876–1972)
Tenth President of the Church

“The primary function of a Latter-day Saint home is to insure that every member of the family works to create the climate and conditions in which all can grow toward perfection.”16

Latter-day Journal Keeping, by Anne Marie Oborn

Paintings of Presidents of the Church by unknown, John Willard Clawson, A. Westwood, H. E. Peterson, Lewis A. Ramsey, Albert E. Salzbrenner, Charles J. Fox, Lee Greene Richards, Alvin Gittins, Shauna Clinger, David Ahrnsbrak, Judith Mehr, Knud Edsberg, William F. Whitaker, and William F. Whitaker

Painting by Del Parson