Youth love LDS speaker and author Hank Smith—and it's no wonder with his charming humor and sincere testimony. We recently sat down with him to learn more about why he loves what he does.
1. What is the most valuable lesson you've learned from the youth of the Church?
Whenever I spend time with the youth of this Church, I am reminded that our future is in good hands. The vast majority of youth I meet are smart, capable, and spiritually in-tune. They have their own struggles that come with inexperience, but I think we have the best youth on the planet. They are refreshingly kind and humble.
2. What inspired you to write your first book, Be Happy?
I had written books like Armor Up and Suit Up with friends before, but never tried to take on a book on my own. I put together some research on happiness for BYU’s Education Week and the interest level was much higher than I expected. I felt like the science behind happiness and depression and what the gospel teaches us about them complement each other wonderfully. The feedback I received was very positive. I knew I had something that could really help people and decided to make the leap to do the book.
3. What is your favorite hymn?
I’m a big, big history fan so my favorite hymn is “Come, Come, Ye Saints.” The image of the pioneers leaving behind their homes and their country never fails to stir my heart. I feel a duty to them to continue all that they worked to build.
4. What is your biggest "parenting win"?
My biggest win as a parent is that my children are excited when I get home from work. I hope I can always live in a way that they are happy to see me.
5. What scripture figure do you most look up to?
The story of Joseph in Egypt is incredibly inspiring to me. To read of him getting hurt by others and then getting back up and working hard to be successful—multiple times—is motivating and encouraging to me. He never let his trials harden his heart. He never let those who hurt him damage the core of who he was. I admire his tenacity and perseverance.
6. What's the best advice you have ever received?
The best advice I ever received was from my father. When I asked him if I should ask Sara to marry me, he said, “That girl is the best thing that has ever happened to you. If you let her go, you’re insane.” He was absolutely right. Marrying Sara changed everything for me. She is the greatest friend I could ask for. Her support and counsel have been the key factors in any success I’ve had.
7. What is something most people don't know about you?
If there is something that most people don’t know about me it is that I really avoid talking on the phone. It’s weird, I know, but I can’t seem to get past it. I get incredibly nervous. Sara just laughs at me when I seize up like that.
8. How does humor create a connection to the gospel?
I believe humor is essential to good teaching. Many of our Church leaders use humor as a way to ease the stress of living in difficult times. In that same way, I try to use humor to keep my listeners’ or my readers’ interest, especially the young ones. I think it is important for our youth to see that you can be funny without being crude or unkind. You can laugh without offending the Spirit or hurting feelings.
Lead image courtesy of Hank Smith
For more inspiring stories, check out the LDS Living July/August 2017 issue.
Be Happy by Hank Smith
Face it: it's not always easy to feel happy. With all of the worries and trials of day-to-day life, the cares of the world can seem overwhelming. But as popular speaker and author Hank Smith demonstrates, no matter your circumstances, you can be happy—the kind of happy that illuminates you from the inside out, a joy that does not depend on what happens to you, but what you do with what happens. With his characteristic humor, Hank offers readers a fresh perspective on finding joy in the journey with a collection of tools and strategies designed to inspire genuine happiness, such as:
- Learning to develop an optimistic outlook
- Understanding how to deal with feelings of depression
- Mastering ten simple tricks to jump-start your joy each day
Featuring an inspiring collection of real-life examples, enlightening doctrinal direction, and motivating goals, Be Happy is the guide you need to start living a happier life, today!