I have a confession to make: I don’t like the moniker, “The Plan of Happiness.” I much prefer “Plan of Salvation.” When did they change it, anyway? Or was it always the alternate title? The Plan of Happiness sounds too much to me like something Deepak Chopra or Suzanne Somers would use. The Plan of Happiness Laguna Beach Diet. The Plan of Salvation sounds like a road map to heaven. The Plan of Happiness sounds like a pitch. When I hear it, I cringe, like when someone begins their testimony with, “Brothers and sisters… Aloooooo-haa!”
Once when I was something like 17, a group of us went to Gepetto’s on a Friday night, and the place was jumping. On the stage a guy was playing acoustic guitar, singing an enthusiastic number along the lines of “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” or “Your Mama Don’t Dance,” and the people were clapping along and whooping, many with beer on their tables. My friend Julie gazed about the room woefully and said, “These people aren’t happy. Not really.” Certainly not at our table.
Even after joining the church, it bothers me when members act like they’re the really happy ones and everyone else just pretends to be happy. It’s not as bad as it used to be– particularly in Utah– but they’re still out there (news flash: I wasn’t a manic depressive schizophrenic before my baptism. After I read Miracle of Forgiveness, however…).
I mean, I get it. Millions of lost souls roam the planet looking for the true happiness that can only be found through the Gospel. But to trademark it in such a way feels awkward, like it belongs in the self-help section at Borders. It’s like when we weren’t supposed to call ourselves “Mormons” anymore.
Hey, Dave, I heard you were a Mormon.
I’m a Latter-Day Saint.
I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Oh, sorry. I thought you were a Mormon.
But… you said…
Maybe I’m just being sensitive. I’ve always had a beef with the Church’s “packaging” and with members’ exploiting the religion with merchandise. DeseretBook.com sends me into tailspins of incredulity– and I’m a capitalist!
Well, whatever. If “Plan of Happiness” works to get the elect on board (and the “It Came to Pass” card game helps lay solid foundations for the kids), then who am I to rain on the parade?