Pleasure vs Happiness

Satan is crafty. He is like a sly businessman who has had centuries, even millennia, of experience in shifting his wares and convincing people to purchase his trade which is falsely labelled as ‘happiness’. He knows how to catch the eye of the customer – he makes things look fancy in bright colours to make them think it must be genuine happiness they have just acquired…

However…their disappointment when they open it and find the cheap, easy imitation of happiness – also known as pleasure – must be deflating! People truly believe that certain things in life bring them happiness and peace in their life…but that is the skill of Satan.

These cheap rip offs of happiness do more damage than they mend. It seems that people can only get pleasure by disobeying one of God’s commandments – anything else leads to true happiness. As we read in Alma 41:10 “…wickedness never was happiness.” Whenever someone drinks alcohol, or smokes a cigarette, they are destroying and abusing their body – the body given to them by a loving Heavenly Father – yet, this is done (despite knowing the ill effects) for a brief period of pleasure.

Elder James E. Talmage in ‘Jesus the Christ’ said:
“Happiness is genuine gold, pleasure but gilded brass…
“Happiness is as the genuine diamond, which, rough or polished, shines…pleasure is as the paste imitation that glows only when artificially embellished…
Happiness is as the ruby, red as the heart’s blood…pleasure, as stained glass, soft, brittle and of but transitory beauty…
Happiness is true food…it builds up the body and generates energy…pleasure is but a deceiving stimulant which, like spiritous drink, makes one think he is strong when in reality enfeebled…
Happiness leaves no bad aftertaste…it calls for no repentance, brings no regret…pleasure too often makes necessary repentance, contrition and suffering…degradation and destruction.
True happiness is lived over and over again in memory…a renewal of the good; a moment of unholy pleasure may leave a barbed sting, like a thorn in the flesh…an ever-present source of anguish…
Have you ever been so happy that you have had to weep? I have.”

These wonderful illustrations really put into perspective the difference and effects of righteous happiness and unrighteous pleasure.

So how do we achieve this happiness? King Benjamin in his address to his people points the way – he taught “…consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God…if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness.” (Mosiah 2:41)

I don’t want a cheap imitation which will only last a short period before breaking, with no chance of a refund! Satan doesn’t care about our customer rights – all he cares about is taking our currency, or our devotion away from Heavenly Father and then let us down with his fake products of ‘happiness’. God cares about us and will give us true happiness, if we will pay in service and obedience to his commandments, which are only there to protect us, not to bind us down!

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