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If I had another face, do you think I’d wear this one? Brown (1883–1975), a counselor in the First Presidency, recognized the value of facing challenges with humor: “A wholesome sense of humor will be a safety valve that will enable you to apply the lighter touch to heavy problems and to learn some lessons in problem solving that ‘sweat and tears’ often fail to dissolve.” There are times, however, when not everyone is laughing.We must be careful to distinguish between genuine humor, which everyone can enjoy, and hurtful humor, which is at someone else’s expense.Although the suit was a little large for him, the high-schooler felt well dressed as he entered the foyer where other young people were gathering.A young man who had been in the presidencies of the deacons, teachers, and priests quorums greeted the new arrival in a sarcastic voice loud enough for all to hear: “Say, that’s a fine suit you have on, but didn’t they have one that would fit you? Stunned by the experience, the boy turned and quickly left the chapel.Shaken, we passengers sat in stunned silence until the captain’s voice came over the sound system: “Take that, you bad, bad runway! With a humorous viewpoint and a shared laugh, an uncomfortable situation had become bearable. Such studies confirm the scripture that states, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine” (Prov. Humor allows us to view our lives in a more positive light, deal with personal conflicts and intolerance, and cope with trials and frustrations that might otherwise seem overwhelming.As we are told in Ecclesiastes, there is “a time to laugh” (Eccl. We can’t always choose what we look at, but we can choose what we see. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught, “Jesus found special joy and happiness in children and said all of us should be more like them—guileless and pure, quick to laugh.” We are all going to find ourselves in situations we have not anticipated and are not sure how to handle.For example, a speaker once quipped, “This stake has great youth—when they’re asleep.” A father teased, “My son’s going to be a dynamic missionary—if he can ever get himself out of bed in the morning.” A leader remarked, purposely within earshot of a group of young women, “There sure are some beautiful girls at this dance.” Another leader responded, “Where? ” Even a hasty “just kidding” doesn’t excuse put-downs and other rude forms of hurtful humor.People may play along with the joke and even manage a little artificial laugh for the sake of the audience, but the resulting wounds go deep.
We must “trifle not with sacred things” (D&C ; see also D&C ).
He writes, “I am not sure I would have survived the emotional trauma of my injuries and the complications of my new life if it hadn’t been for the wit, chuckles, laughs, and good-natured humor of my wife and family.” Abraham Lincoln struggled with bouts of depression and used humor as therapy.
His ability to laugh at himself was revealed during a political debate in which his opponent called him “two-faced.” Lincoln replied, “I leave it to my audience.
Hurt, angry, and embarrassed, he vowed he would never go back.
Happily, despite his vow, this teenager did return to church.
Lightheartedness, on the other hand, refers to the zestful joy found in wholesome gospel living.