Happines and Strength of Character Found in Losing Self for the Good of Others

PRESIDENT DAVID O. MCKAY

Second Counselor in the First Presidency
106th Annual Conference, April 5, 1936

[45] All mankind desire happiness. Many also strive sincerely to make the most and best of themselves. Surprisingly few, however, realize that a sure guide to such achievement may be found in the following declaration by Jesus of Nazareth: "Whosoever will save his life shall lose it: And whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it."

A Significant Principle

 

This significant passage contains a secret more worthy of possession than fame or dominion, something more valuable than all the wealth of the world.

It is a principle the application of which promises to supplant discouragement and gloom with hope and gladness; to fill life with contentment and peace everlasting. This being true its acceptance would indeed be a boon today to this distracted, depression-ridden world. Why, then, do men and nations ignore a thing so precious?

Is the truth in the paradoxical statement, losing one's life to find it, so elusive that mankind cannot grasp it? Or is it so in conflict with the struggle for existence that men consider it impractical?

Even so, the fact remains that He who is "The Way, the Truth and the Life" has herein set forth an immutable law, obedience to which will ameliorate those social and economic conditions in which "Man's inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn."

Specifically stated, this law is, "We live our lives most completely when we strive to make the world a better and happier." The law of pure nature, survival of the fittest, is, self preservation at the sacrifice of all else; but in contrast to this the law of true spiritual life is, deny self for the good of others.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints accepts as fundamental this law of life. Faithful members thereof are convinced that [46] only in its application can true happiness be found or a truly great character be developed; and they believe with Emerson that "character is higher than intellect - a great soul will be fit to live as well as to think." To them, also the safety and perpetuity of our nation depend upon the character-building, law-abiding individual.

Service to Others

Therefore, in the heart of every true Latter-day Saint the voice of the Lord is ever whispering this recorded revelation:

"Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;"

"And if it so be that you should labor all your days, and bring save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy in the kingdom of my Father!"

With this end in view, 50,000 men and women, serving willingly without salary, offer every week to over 500,000 children and youth instruction and guidance in character building and spiritual growth. In addition to this army of officers and teachers, 185,000 men ordained to the priesthood have accepted the obligation to devote their time and talents as far as possible to the scattering of sunshine, joy, and peace among their fellowmen.

In all such efforts these men and women are but actuated by the high ideals of the prophet of the 19th century who, exemplifying the teachings of Christ said, "If my life is of no value to my friends, it's of no value to me."

Never was there a time in the history of the world when the application of this principle was more needed. Therefore, let sincere men and women the world over unite in earnest effort to supplant feelings of selfishness, hatred, animosity, greed, by the law of service to others, and thereby promote the peace and happiness of mankind.

McKay, David O. Address for the 106th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In LDS Conference Reports, Salt Lake City, April 5, 1936 by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1936, 45-46.