Motherhood / Thoughts

Letters to My Daughter: Finding Your Joy



Dear Josephine,


Years and years ago, I read a book by the Dalai Lama. In it, he compared religion to a restaurant. He said that if there were a restaurant that served only one meal every single day, only a few people would show up at that restaurant to eat. That would be the “meal for them,” so that is where they would go. Restaurants can’t survive like that, though. They need to serve a variety of meals, because people are not the same.


The Dalai Lama compared this to religion. We cannot have one single religion on this Earth, because people are not the same. What I believe may not speak to you as it does to me. And so, in order to understand this life and to find happiness here, we have a variety of belief systems.


I was thinking about this the other day when I was out walking. I’m a Mormon, and I believe that the Gospel taught by Mormonism is the truth. One day you will have the same opportunity to learn for yourself whether or not it’s true. But I also believe that others may not believe what we do. And that’s fine. When it comes down to it, I believe that our purpose here is to find true joy. And by joy, I’m not talking about the momentary pleasure that is purely physical. I’m talking about that deep joy, the stuff that keeps you going no matter what. I’m talking about the kind of joy that I find from being your mother, from helping others, and from learning more about Jesus Christ.


I believe that when all is said and done, the complete truth will be revealed to us, and we will be happy with it. If we have lived good lives, the truth will speak to us then, regardless of what religion we followed in this life. As your Grandfather said to me once, “If I die and find out then that Mormonism was all wrong, am still going to be happy with the life I have lived. Following the teachings of this Church has helped me to do that.”


That being said, there are time-tested principles that we know bring joy. Helping others. Building relationships. Staying true to yourself. Taking care of yourself. Knowing yourself. Regardless of where you end up in the religion spectrum, I know these things will bless your life.


In the world today, there are so many people that will try to tell you that this or that is true, or this is what you should believe. But when it comes down to it, what truly brings you joy? And what right do we have to dictate what will bring that to another person?


Whether you find joy through following God, through science, through meditation, or anything else, my challenge to you is to find it. There is nothing better than living a life that you believe in.


Find your joy, Jo. Do what makes you truly happy. Remember who you are and stay true to that. And remember not to judge other people, just because they discover joy in a different way than you.


Love, Mom




To my lovely readers: I have found joy from the Mormon religion and from being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I’m happy to answer any questions that you may have about our religion, whether just out of curiosity or because you want to know more. No pressure.  Who knows, though? Maybe you will find your joy there, too. 


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