Human beings are born to achieve happiness within God’s plan for man. The atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ makes happiness and its enjoyment possible. The Atonement, in fact, defines happiness. It defines our choices, our judgments, our values, our priorities and our worldview – all central components of our happiness.
Pleasure-seeking and pain avoidance are not forms of happiness. This worldly, utilitarian paradigm is selfish. Happiness is not selfish. Happiness is communion with God, His great Plan of Salvation, with our Savior and every element comprising essential connections leading us to know, become as and to live again with Heavenly Father.
America’s Declaration of Independence holds inviolate every person’s right to pursue happiness. The pursuit describes function and process. But happiness is the end and meaning. With this understanding, John Adams explained, “We ought to consider what is the end of government, before we determine which is the best form. Upon this point all speculative politicians will agree, that the happiness of society is the end of government, as all Divines and moral Philosophers will agree that the happiness of the individual is the end of man.”
Our governments bridge the span between the happiness of man and a truly free society. In other words, while individual liberty to pursue happiness is a component of true freedom, the happiness of humanity, for which good government was designed to serve, is the goal of governments. In terms of the proper role of government, happiness is a collective pursuit – all human beings are expected to pursue happiness.
That said, many people pursue sadness and insist that their governments reflect their sadness. Faithful Latter-day Saints know better – our governments, from self to a nation, should reflect the happiness we pursue.