Nephi makes a statement in 2 Nephi 5 that has always intrigued me. He says, “we lived after the manner of happiness” (2Nephi 5:27). I’ve thought a lot about this. What does that mean- the manner of happiness? We are given clues in this chapter to the Nephites’ habits of happiness. After Nephi prayed, having been threatened again by those darn angry brothers, the people followed counsel and left their dangerous circumstances. They believed the warnings and revelation of the Lord and the words of the prophet. The people tried to obey the commandments and the law. Then, here is the key, “the Lord was with us and we did prosper”( 2 Nephi 5:11). So, when they labored, they were blessed with abundance.
Perhaps, the “manner of happiness” is actually a way to live –a method or a standard which will lead to happiness. When I think of the most happy person, I think of the Lord filled with joy. If we substitute his name for the word “happiness”, then maybe this will make more sense. Nephi could have said that they lived after the manner of Christ. The things they did, the way they live, pointed their souls to Christ, who brings true happiness and joy.
Also, Nephi did not say that they were always happy. He just described the way they lived –“after the manner of happiness”. So, they didn’t walk around in a constant state of glee, but they directed their lives in such a way that they were in the right position to receive happiness.
The next time you or I are not feeling happy, we can look closely at our lives and the direction we are pointed. Are we following the habits Nephi described? Are we seeking to have the spirit of the Lord with us? Are we laboring with our might so that we can be in the best position to receive an abundance of joy? Are we really living“after the manner of happiness”- the manner of Christ? How will we change so that we can answer, “Yes.”?