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The folly of taking counsel from our fears; worrying destroys our peace and happiness; learning to be happy regardless of present circumstance

"In the short speech of not more than five minutes, which I delivered in the old Bowery, when that judge publicly insulted this people, there were men and women in the congregation who suffered more in the anticipation of what might be the result of it in the future, than the generality this people suffered in being actually mobbed.  They could see, in imagination, all hell let loose upon us, themselves strung up, their ears cut off, their bowels torn out and this whole people cut to pieces.  After they had time to think, they found themselves still alive and unhurt, to their great astonishment.  They suffered as much as though they had been sent to the bottomless pit...I know this people have suffered more by the contemplation of trouble, than they have when actually passing through it...People suffer more in the anticipation of death than in death itself."


Brigham Young, February 20, 1853 (Journal of Discourses Volume 1)


"I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass;  And forgettest the Lord thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? and where is the fury of the oppressor?"  (emphasis added)


Isaiah 51: 12-13; 2 Nephi 8:12-13


This is a cogent reminder that almost without exception the things that we worry and fret over (a) rarely come to pass and (b) even when they do, are not nearly as bothersome to us as the self-inflicted anticipated pain we have experienced beforehand.  Chronic worriers, like me, would do well to follow this counsel:


"A great many people feast upon imagination instead of feasting upon that which is tangible, and they will allow their minds to be led away by fancy, and will make out some great that they will be in some future time, and how good they intend to be and how much of the Holy Ghost they expect to receive; but the idea is, what do you enjoy at the present time, and what are the blessings you enjoy at this present moment, right now?  Am I doing right today?  Is the Holy Ghost in me now?  Is God's blessing with me now (not at some other time)?  If so, then all is well.  I want the Saints to be impressed with the motto of being happy all of the time; if you cannot be happy today, how can you be happy tomorrow?  I speak this from what I have learned myself; though it has given me much of trouble, and a great amount of perseverance, to be happy under all circumstances.  I have learned not to fret myself.  It has taken me a great while to arrive at this point, but I have obtained it in a measure, and perhaps many of you have obtained the same thing, but I doubt whether a great many have learned the secret of happiness.  


In order to understand the principal of happiness you must not be ever complaining, but learn not to fret yourselves.  If things do no go right, let them go as they will, if they go rough, let it be so; if all hell boils over, let it boil.  I thank the Lord for the bitter as well as the sweet; I like to grapple with the opposite:  I like to work with something to oppose.  I used to dread those things, but now I like to grapple with opposition, and there is plenty of it on the right hand and on the left.  When trouble gets in among you, shake it off, or bid it stand out of the way.  If the devil should come and say, 'Brother Brigham is not doing his duty, or is not doing right,' kick him right out of your way; bid him depart, do not allow him to have place in your habitation, but learn to be happy.  


I remember a noted deist who said that it was a poor religion that would not make a person happy here in this life: he would not give a fig for such a religion: and I would say the same: give me a religion that will make he happy here, and that will make me happy hereafter.  If you have the blues, or the greens, shake them off, and learn to be happy, and to be thankful.  If you have nothing to eat but jonny cake, be thankful for that, and if you have not jonny cake, but have a roasted potato and butter milk, why, be thankful; or if you have a leg of chicken, or any other kind of food, learn to be thankful, and if you have only one dollar in your pocket, learn to be as happy under these circumstances as if you had ten dollars."


Jedediah M. Grant, May 30, 1855 (Journal of Discourses Volume 3)





"Therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on.  Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?  
Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feedeth them.  Are ye not much better than they?  
Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 
And why take ye thought for raiment?  Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:  
And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  
Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?  
Therefore take no thought, saying, what shall we eat? or, what shall we drink? or, wherewithal shall we be clothed?  
(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.  
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.  Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."


Matthew 6:25-34

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