“Now was not this exceeding joy? Behold, this is joy which none receiveth save it be the truly penitent and humble seeker of happiness. ”
I love this description of the joy that comes from living the gospel and following Jesus Christ. It is an exceeding and indescribable joy which cannot truly be understood by those who have not experienced. It is a deep sort of joy that differs greatly from worldly pleasure. It comes from peace of mind and certainty of conviction. It comes from the promise of eternal life and a rightful standing before God.
Verses like this are one of the reasons that I’m generally sceptical of utilitarian efforts to quantify joy or pleasure in order to measure efficiency.
There are certain joys that one who has not experienced cannot appreciate. The path of discipleship seems like a burden to those who have not been on it. But to those who know Christ understand that he brings joy beyond measure.
If we attempt to quantify such joy based on earthly standards, then we will undervalue such joys. We will not appreciate the true utility of eternal bliss. And so we will undervalue religious freedom and freedom of conscience.
The joy of worship Christ and receiving the blessings of his atonement are simply incomparable.