By Tiffany Quanstrom
Living happily ever after is an ongoing process requiring relentless effort, said BYU Accounting Professor E. Kay Stice at Tuesday”s Devotional on May 27, in the de Jong Concert Hall.
“Savor the joy of the moment, but be realistically prepared for the ups and downs that surely lie ahead.”
Often people make their lives more complicated than necessary by expecting life to be an error-free, fun-filled extravaganza on a straight course without any dips or turbulence, Stice said.
Stice titled his remarks, “Happily Ever After: Lessons from Joseph Smith, Lehi and the Recent Accounting Scandals.” Stice told students he hoped that, if nothing else, they needed to remember three main points while striving to live happily ever after.
First, living happily ever after does not happen without continuing effort, Stice said. It is an ongoing process that will require individuals to actively seek out and solve new problems as they arise.
Second, individuals should not become discouraged when their careful plans and solutions don”t always lead to calm, clear sailing, Stice said.
Third, Stice told students not to assume that just because the sun is shining on them, the lives of those around them are cloudless and sunny also.
Stice illustrated his points by citing examples from today”s world, the scriptures, his own family”s experiences and from the lives of students at BYU.
The recent accounting scandals in America reminded the nation that vices such as greed will always be present in the world and, most likely, causing problems. The scandals also demonstrated the need to continually seek out and combat problems.
In the case of the accounting scandals, Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in 2002 requiring companies to develop codes of ethics and close loopholes. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act should help solve the current accounting scandals, but to assume that the will eliminate greed and all future scandals is wishful thinking, Stice said.
One act does not eliminate all potential troubles and the answers of the past will not always solve the problems of the future.
This does not make living happily ever after hopeless though, Stice said.
Joseph Smith lived happily ever after but he had to wrestle with with scoffers and false brethren and wickedness and laziness and disbelief until his death, Stice said.
Lehi lived happily ever after because of his relentless efforts in a lifetime of preaching, teaching and traveling, Stice said.
Students at BYU also face difficult challenges, Stice said. Rearing children is hard. Serving a full-time mission is hard. Working out a marriage is hard. However, if students remember to put forth continual effort, avoid discouragement and remain mindful of the trials others face, they can live happily in the midst of their challenges.