Svithe #145: In defense of misery, and in which remember that men may not always have joy


Happy birthday, Lincoln. Although would you have been happy? Our greatest president was also one of our gloomiest as we may notice when we read some of his verse. The point I want to make regards the worth of depressed people.

Redoubt's excellent post, her svithe manifesto on depression, deserves your attention. I want to steal from her a bit today and talk about the verses she quotes.

"Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they might have joy." 2 Nephi 2:25

We Mormons love this verse. We quote it all the time. But we often overapply it. As Redoubt points out, this verse precedes it:

"For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things." 2 Nephi 2:11

Redoubt: "You can't just say that we're here to have joy. That's only half the equation. I hate when people refuse to acknowledge the other half. Unhappiness is real, it breathes in our cities, it permeates our lives, and ignoring it doesn't make it go away, you can't pretend it's not there just because you don't want it."

She's right. men are not that they might always have joy --- in fact, such a thing is impossible. Without the misery, we could not recognize the joy. This is sound Mormon doctrine.

Redoubt: "Having joy may perhaps be the end goal of it all, but that's not going to happen, it's simply not going to, in this life."

"Because that Adam fell, we are; and by his fall came death; and we are made partakers of misery and woe." Moses 6:48

Welcome to mortality, folks. And keep praying. And stay away from the knives.

You are loved.

last week's svithe


  1. :D

    Lincoln was a great fan of Poe.

  2. .

    I did not know that, but I am not surprised. I wonder if they ever met. They were only a month different in age.

  3. I actually really like Elder Packer's comparison of the Plan of Salvation to a three-act play, and feel it is particularly appropriate to this scripture. The second act is usually when all conflicts arise and things become difficult; nothing is harmonious until the final scene in the third act.

    And, my word verification is "latte". Mmm, milk...

  4. .

    Yes. Yes, exactly. It's so easy for us to lose sight of the overall structure of eternity.

  5. Joy - the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires.

    Understanding the two verses as a whole, that men experience opposition in order to have an understanding, joy as defined in the first part can only be understood after experiencing misery. However, is it possible that the joy Lehi is discussing here is as described in the latter portion of this definition? We are that we might have joy - evoked by the prospect of having the greatest gift. Is it not possible to pass through this misery while experiencing the joy brought on by the understanding that the power of Christ's atonement is powerful enough and encompasses more than just some point in our future, after we pass from this mortality?

  6. .

    I like that. It sounds good to me. And it doesn't lessen our respect for others' misery.