Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

Laughter in Heaven

January 24th, 2014 by G.

Monson laughing

Christian gentleman and friend of the blog Arakawa is mulling humor in heaven.

Latter-day Saints are supposed to avoid excess laughter or loud laughter, whatever that might mean. Here’s Brother Scott on the subject:

Another principle is to be cautious with humor. Loud, inappropriate laughter will offend the Spirit. A good sense of humor helps revelation; loud laughter does not. A sense of humor is an escape valve for the pressures of life.

So presumably there won’t be “loud laughter” in the celestial reaches. But there will be laughter. We have it on very good authority.

Calvin and Hobbes - absurdity

Calvin: Isn’t it strange that evolution would give us a sense of humor?

Calvin: When you think about it, it’s weird that we have a physiological response to absurdity. We laugh at nonsense. We like it. We think it’s funny.

Calvin: Don’t you think it’s odd that we appreciate absurdity? Why would we develop that way? How does it benefit us?

Hobbes: I suppose if we couldn’t laugh at things that don’t make sense, we couldn’t react to a lot of life.

Calvin: (after a long pause) I can’t tell if that’s funny or really scary.

The absurdities of earth are like a mustard seed compared to the absurdities of heaven. There we will see shifty bumblers and bupkis smalltimers like you and me raised to the eternal throne. How can we help from laughing? We will make heaven ring with our hilarity.

C.S. Lewis says that laughter is the appropriate expression of the joy we have in meeting up with old friends or absent family. In earth, the freshness of the joy fades after the reunion. But in heaven, all such things are always new. For that reason too we would expect to ever be breaking out into gusts of happy laughter.

Yes, there is laughter in heaven.

Comments (3)
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January 24th, 2014 10:01:31

January 24, 2014

Thank you for taking this topic more seriously than I did….

I should point out, for clarity, that my own musings were founded more on the anthropologists’ conjectures about the purpose of laughter (which are evolutionary and not theological), which seemed plausible in and of themselves, without necessarily accepting the evolutionary context.

Aside from the sinister in-group/out-group division, one proposed purpose for laughter was as a sign of relief. If the theoretical ancestral caveman has a nasty-looking fall, but miraculously gets up unhurt, he and all the other cavemen communicate their sense of relief to each other by laughing. Long afterwards, humanity learns to bottle this experience in the form of Charlie Chaplin films.

Going by that theory, the laughter in Heaven would indeed be neverending.

January 25, 2014

The key is the sense of humor. I conjecture that loud laughter, in the sense deprecated by the Lord, is humorless.

I think, too, of Peter Jackson’s adaptation of the work of C.S.Lewis’ friend J.R.R.Tolkien. Tolkien’s characters celebrate the happy reunion after the day is won by listening to a minstrel sing of Frodo of the Nine Fingers. Jackson sensibly concluded that this would not work in a film for today’s audience, and instead the happy reunion is celebrated with nothing but joyful laughter.

I have found that people love or hate that scene. I love it even though it makes me a little uncomfortable.

I wonder if Heaven will be like that, if I ever see it.

January 26, 2014

Good point on the same thing being expressed different ways.

I suppose if Heaven is going to resemble Tolkien, it’s going to resemble the Tolkien version of Tolkien much more than the Peter Jackson version of Tolkien.

But the point is, exact same experience, different expressions. Physical spasms of the body only work if the corresponding joy conveyed is very rare….

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