Shawn Tucker, an associate professor of fine arts, offers an interpretation on the scriptural injunctions against excessive and loud laughter found in Latter-day Saint scripture. Having grown up in a home with lots of joyous, good-natured laughter, the author recalls his confusion at such commands. His research explores the teachings of leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sociologists, and great thinkers such as C. S. Lewis.
The article shows that laughter that is cold, cynical, and belittling is a perversion of a God-given faculty that should delightfully lift and edify. A good sense of humor can build bonds and create joy. The author’s conclusions bode well for those who find that a light heart and a healthy laugh is not only good medicine but good religion.