Don’t laugh. Especially not on Sunday. The Doctrine and Covenants makes this pretty clear:
And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day . . . And inasmuch as ye do these things with thanksgiving, with cheerful hearts and countenances, not with much laughter, for this is sin, but with a glad heart and a cheerful countenance
We hear this kind of admonition from time to time. For example, in another part of the D & C, we are told to avoid “light speeches . . . all laughter . . . and light-mindedness.” And the same rule seems to be invoked when we hear admonitions to avoid loud laughter, excess laughter, or levity.
What exactly does this rule mean? “All laughter” is a pretty serious limitation. Are we not supposed to have a sense of humor? Is only inappropriate laughter banned? Then why the broad prohibitory statements? (And also, how can we tell the difference between good laughter and bad laughter?). It seems that, despite the statement to avoid “all laughter,” church leaders don’t apply that as written; after all, a good number of general conference talks have a humorous anecdote or two.
So is this a rule that we can just laugh off?
Or is it that this question is no laughing matter?