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Prophetic Statements

Joseph Smith

How much more dignified and noble are the thoughts of God, than the vain imaginations of the human heart! How vain and trifling have been our spirits, our conferences, our councils, our meetings, our private as well as public conversations—too low, too mean, too vulgar, too condescending for the dignified characters of the called and chosen of God, according to the purposes of his will, from before the foundation of the world!  1

Brigham Young

 I like to be pleased myself; I like to be filled with joy, but if I cannot be filled with joy and gladness that is full of meat and marrow, or, in other words, full of meaning and sense, I would rather retain my gravity.  There is but one step between the sublime and the ridiculous. …Never give way to vain laughter. 2

JOD v. 9 p 290 – Brother George Sims’ remarks created considerable empty levity. I like to be pleased myself; I like to be filled with joy, but if I cannot be filled with joy and gladness that is full of meat and marrow, or, in other words, full of meaning and sense, I would rather retain my gravity.
Never give way to vain laughter. I have seldom laughed aloud for twenty or thirty years without regretting it, and I always blush for those who laugh aloud without meaning.
I am often full of joy and gladness, and were I to give way to the promptings of my nature at such times, it would lead to unreasonable levity which would be a source of mortification and sorrow to me. I noticed that the brethren gave way to that laugh which I choose not to hear. I hope they will accept of this caution, and watch, govern, control and subdue their passions. I am satisfied that those persons who stamp, clap hands, whistle, and make other noisy and boisterous demonstrations in the theaters so untimed and uncalled for, have but little sense, and know not the difference between a happy smile of satisfaction to cheer the countenance of a friend, or a contemptuous sneer that brings the curses of man upon man.

Joseph F. Smith

The Lord has called upon us to be a sober-minded people, not given to much laughter, frivolity and light-mindedness, but to consider thoughtfully and thoroughly the things of his kingdom that we may be prepared in all things to understand the glorious truths of the gospel, and be prepared for blessings to come. …

I believe that it is necessary for the Saints to have amusement, but it must be of the proper kind. I do not believe the Lord intends and desires that we should pull a long face and look sanctimonious and hypocritical. I think he expects us to be happy and of a cheerful countenance, but he does not expect of us the indulgence in boisterous and unseemly conduct and the seeking after the vain and foolish things which amuse and entertain the world. He has commanded us to the contrary for our own good and eternal welfare.3

Joseph Fielding Smith

[Joseph Fielding Smith] was always fair and honest, above reproach in his own life, kindly, sympathetic, and loving. He was untiring in urging people to repent and live righteous lives. His sense of humor was contagious and spontaneous, but his laughter was never boisterous. He felt that the gospel was a source of real happiness and joy to mankind, but he had some fundamental views on amusements, expressed once in his writings as follows:

“I believe it is necessary for the Saints to have amusements, but of the proper kind. I do not believe the Lord intends and desires that we should pull a long face and look sanctimonious and hypocritical.

“I think he expects us to be happy and of cheerful countenance, but he does not expect of us the indulgence in boisterous and unseemly conduct and the seeking after vain and foolish things which amuse and entertain the world. He has commanded us to the contrary for our own good and eternal welfare. We should not get the idea from scripture that the Lord is displeased with us when we laugh, when we have merriment, if it is on the right occasion.” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1916, 70). (Joseph Anderson, Prophets I Have Known)

Scripture

D&C 59:15

Therefore, cease from all your light speeches, from all laughter, from all your lustful desires, from all your pride and light-mindedness, and from all your wicked doings.

D&C 88:69

Remember the great and last promise which I have made unto you; cast away your idle thoughts and your excess of laughter far from you.

D&C 88:121

Therefore, cease from all your light speeches, from all laughter, from all your lustful desires, from all your pride and light-mindedness, and from all your wicked doings.

D&c 59:15

And inasmuch as ye do these things with thanksgiving, with cheerful hearts and countenances, not with much laughter, for this is sin, but with a glad heart and a cheerful countenance

Proverbs 17:22 –

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine

Supporting Statements

Richard G. Scott:

How to Obtain Revelation and Inspiration for Your Personal Life – Another principle is to be cautious with humor. Loud, inappropriate laughter will offend the Spirit. A good sense of humor helps revelation; loud laughter does not. A sense of humor is an escape valve for the pressures of life.
Another enemy to revelation comes from exaggeration or loudness in what is stated. Careful, quiet speech will favor the receipt of revelation.

Glenn L. Pace:

They’re Not Really Happy – Compare the joy of intelligent humor and wit to drunken, silly, crude, loud laughter.

Neal A. Maxwell:

Cleanse Us from all Unrighteousness – the laughter of the world is merely loneliness pathetically trying to reassure itself.

Orson Pratt:

JOD v. 7 p. 310 – We have learned, also, practically, the necessity of ceasing from all light-mindedness and levity and excessive laughter. But there are many, I am sorry to say, who have not learned the first principle of this lesson. We have learned that we can be cheerful without yielding to much laughter; for this is accounted in the revelations of God as sin in the sight of Heaven.

Joyful laughter meets with divine approval, and when properly engaged in, it is wholesome and edifying.…Our Lord’s ministers, however, are commanded: ‘Cast away your idle thoughts and your excess of laughter far from you.’ (D. & C. 88:69.) Their main concerns should be centered around ‘the solemnities of eternity’ (D. & C. 43:34), with laughter being reserved for occasional needed diversion. Laughter on the sabbath day is expressly curtailed (D. & C. 59:15), and while worshiping and studying in the school of the prophets, the elders were commanded to abstain ‘from all laughter’ (D. & C. 88:121.) This same abstinence should prevail in sacrament meetings and in all solemn assemblies.4

C.S Lewis:

Screwtape letters – If a man simply lets others pay for him, he is “mean”; if he boasts of it in a jocular manner and twits his fellows with having been scored off, he is no longer “mean” but a comical fellow. Mere cowardice is shameful; cowardice boasted of with humorous exaggerations and grotesque gestures can passed off as funny. Cruelty is shameful – unless the cruel man can represent it as a practical joke. A thousand bawdy, or even blasphemous, jokes do not help towards a man’s damnation so much as his discovery that almost anything he wants to do can be done, not only without the disapproval but with the admiration of his fellows, if only it can get itself treated as a Joke. And this temptation can be almost entirely hidden from your patient by that English seriousness about Humour. Any suggestion that there might be too much of it can be represented to him as “Puritanical” or as betraying a “lack of humour”.
But flippancy is the best of all. In the first place it is very economical. Only a clever human can make a real Joke about virtue, or indeed about anything else; any of them can be trained to talk as if virtue were funny. Among flippant people the Joke is always assumed to have been made. No one actually makes it; but every serious subject is discussed in a manner which implies that they have already found a ridiculous side to it. If prolonged, the habit of Flippancy builds up around a man the finest armour-plating against the Enemy that I know, and it is quite free from the dangers inherent in the other sources of laughter. It is a thousand miles away from joy: it deadens, instead of sharpening, the intellect; and it excites no affection between those who practice it.

  1. Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 137
  2. Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 9:290
  3. Joseph F. Smth, Conference Report, Oct. 1916, p. 70
  4. Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 432

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