“All sentient beings have been formed so as to enjoy . . . happiness.”

“All sentient beings have been formed so as to enjoy . . . happiness.” July 8, 2018


Newport Beach's first temple
The Newport Beach California Temple (LDS Media Library)


We’ve had various friends staying with us here.  One stayed for the first week.  Another came over from Arizona and spent a couple of nights with us.  She left today, and my brother’s youngest son and his wife and their three children — my late brother’s grandchildren — are with us now.  We had dinner with them the other night, up near where they live; we’re happy to nurture these relationships.


On another note, I’ve just come back from the final Saturday session at the Newport Beach California Temple.  (Attending the temple in Newport Beach again was another of my goals for this trip.)


I find that two passages of scripture have been going through my mind during recent temple visits; I’ve read them at some point each time:


One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.  (Psalm 27:4)


[C]onsider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and 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. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.  (Mosiah 2:41)


And here are a couple of other thoughts that hit me this evening:




For at least a few minutes or hours at two of the principal nodal points of scriptural history, it was women, not men, who first grasped that and how things had fundamentally changed.  It’s Eve, of course, who first partakes of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, so that her eyes are opened.  Adam partakes afterward, but, for whatever time elapses between her “transgression” and his, she has the clearer understanding of reality.  And then, with the “second Adam,” it’s women who are first to visit the empty tomb of Christ and to witness the fact of his resurrection.




Something said in the temple — those who have been to the temple should have no difficulty recognizing it — reminded me, curiously, of a passage from Charles Darwin that I ran across only recently:


It may be asked how can the generally beneficent arrangement of the world be accounted for?  Some writers indeed are so much impressed with the amount of suffering in the world, that they doubt if we look to all sentient beings, whether there is more of misery or of happiness; — whether the world as a whole is a good or a bad one.  According to my judgment happiness decidedly prevails, though this would be very difficult to prove.  If the truth of this conclusion be granted, it harmonizes well with the effects which we might expect from natural selection.

If all the individuals of any species were habitually to suffer to an extreme degree they would neglect to propagate their kind; but we have no reason to believe that this has ever or at least often occurred.  Some other considerations, moreover, lead to the belief that all sentient beings have been formed so as to enjoy, as a general rule, happiness.

Nora Barlow, ed., The Autobiography of Charles Darwin 1809-1882 (London: Collins, 1958), 88.


Posted from Newport Beach, California



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