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“I Went to the Woods”: The Beauty of Living Simply

In a busy and chaotic world, living simply can help us feel peace among the stress. The old adage is true: less is more.


In 1845, Henry David Thoreau famously moved to Walden Pond to escape the chaos of the world. He lived there for two years, gardening, writing, and enjoying the natural beauty around him. But when hard times come in our lives, we don’t have to build a cabin near a pond and live in seclusion to find peace. Peace is available as we seek ways to simplify our lives.

In his talk “Let Him Do It with Simplicity,” Elder L. Tom Perry outlines Thoreau’s experience and suggests how we can find peace in our lives. In speaking about Thoreau, Elder Perry said, “From his experience at Walden Pond, Thoreau determined that there were only four things that a man really needed: food, clothing, shelter, and fuel.” The restored gospel echoes these essentials as seen through inspired revelation. We can find simplicity in what we eat by following the Word of Wisdom. We can find simplicity in our dress by avoiding extremes. We can find simplicity in shelter by having modest housing and living within our means. And we can find spiritual fuel by remaining close to our Heavenly Father. 

In the world today, so many of us are preoccupied with doing more and having more. At the close of his talk, Elder Perry said, “In our search to obtain relief from the stresses of life, may we earnestly seek ways to simplify our lives.” In many ways, life is a lot more complicated than it needs to be. By seeking to simplify our lives instead of focusing on having more or doing more, we can replace stress with relief. We can simplify our lives and experience greater peace in the process.

Source: General Conference

—Talia Erickson, Latter-day Saint Insights


Find more insights

Take a look at Rachel Rubio’s article “To Simplicity and Beyond” to read more about how to focus on what matters most.

Read about the simplicity of the gospel in Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s article “It Works Wonderfully!

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