In D&C 93:40 it states .. 'I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth.' What is Truth? and What is Light? Today I would like to discuss these two questions.
What then is Light? On a scientific basis, Light is energy. It is power. It is the source of all life. Our light and life here on earth comes primarily from the Sun, but we also can see (and 'hear' light) from the Stars. Spiritually, Light is also power. It is the power by which we and the universe were organized. Our spiritual light here also comes from the Son, the Son of God, Jesus the Christ. Light = power or work acomplished in obedience to commandments. It is understanding and doing.
In 1957 a song was written by Naomi W Randall and performed at a stake Primary conference by a choir of Primary children. After hearing the performance, apostle Spencer W Kimball asked the Primary general board, of which Sister Randall was then a member, to consider changing the phrase from “Teach me all that I must KNOW / To live with him someday” to “Teach me all that I must DO / To live with him someday”. President Kimball later explained, “To know isn't enough. The devils know and tremble; .. We have to do something.” Sister Randall graciously accepted this change and those words are found in our current LDS Hymn book as hymn # 301. For her it was difficult to understand that her original wording, which she felt she had received by inspiration, would need revision. She later came to feel that the circumstances surrounding the wording change were a great teaching opportunity for the church members. By knowing (learning truth) and choosing to do what is right (ie in obeying/working/ exercising our agency), we become the kind of person who can .. “live with him someday”. When I sing the song, I think to myself, “Teach me all that I must BE / To live with him someday”, because knowing truth and doing right inevitably leads to being more like him, being Christlike, and to being allowed to return to live with him and our loved ones one day.
D&C 93:36 states that “'The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.” Knowing and doing (ie obedience) is 'Intelligence' which is the glory of God. He knows all and has been, is now, and always will be working to help us back to him. That is the Great Plan of Happiness. On the other hand, a few verses later (v.39) it teaches us that the: “wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men” .. Just as through obedience we gain truth and light, through disobedience we can lose it. Just as we learn, 'line upon line' we can gradually forget 'inch by inch'. Is your testimony growing or fading? Are we headed towards Heaven or away from it?
D&C 93:26-28 “The Spirit of truth is of God. [Christ is] the Spirit of truth, and John bore record of [him], saying: He received a fulness of truth, yea, even of all truth; And no man receiveth a fulness unless he keepeth his commandments. He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things.”
We gain light through obedience to gospel principles and we can lose light (or have it taken from us) through disobedience.
[K+D=B T=K L=D so T+L=B]
- Knowing and Doing equals Being.
- Truth is Knowledge (Know)
- Light is Obedience (Do)
- Intelligence/Glory (Be)
- Being glorified is a natural result of Knowing (Truth) and Doing Right (Light).
- Intelligence is Truth and Light.
What does the scripture mean when it says: “Let your Light so Shine”? It simply means: Let your obedience be known to the world by doing what you know to be right.
D&C 88:7-13 “Which truth shineth. This is the light of Christ. As also he is in the sun, and the light of the sun, and the power thereof by which it was made. As also he is in the moon, and is the light of the moon, and the power thereof by which it was made; As also the light of the stars, and the power thereof by which they were made; And the earth also, and the power thereof, even the earth upon which you stand. And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings; Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space— The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things.”
There is a close relationship between truth (knowing) and light (obeying).
In section 84:45-46 “For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light, and whatsoever is light is Spirit, even the Spirit of Jesus Christ. And the Spirit giveth light to every man that cometh into the world; and the Spirit enlighteneth every man through the world, that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit.”
This word light appears 535 times in the scriptures.
Light has a relationship to the Son of God: “And if your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things.” (D&C 88:67.)
Jesus Christ is the Light of the world. Moroni said: “And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgement which ye judge ye shall also be judged.” (Moro. 7:18; italics added.)
John said: “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12; italics added.)
Our Lord is the Light of the world in at least three ways. Elder Bruce R. McConkie has written:
- "Through the Light of Christ he governs and controls the universe and gives life to all that therein is.
- By this same immensity-filling light—and to certain faithful ones, by the power of the Holy Ghost!—he enlightens the mind and quickens the understanding.
- By his own upright, sinless, and perfect course, in [premortal life], in mortality, and in resurrected glory, he sets a perfect example and is able to say to all men: ‘Follow thou me.’
(2 Ne. 31:10.)" (The Promised Messiah, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978, p. 208.)
In the First Vision, light 'above the noon day sun' released the boy Joseph from oppressive darkness. His description of them was as 'personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description'. Even the later visit of angelic messenger Moroni was described as an 'angel of light' whose clothing was 'of most exquisite whiteness' and whose presence 'filled the room with bright light'. How does light enter into us? How do we receive it? “But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matt. 6:23.)
It is a strange turn of phrase to say that the 'light' in you could be darkness .. but if you replace light with 'actions/doing/obeying' , then it's meaning becomes clear. If your actions are evil rather than good, your 'light' is darkness.
Commenting on this passage, Elder Bruce R. McConkie states: “Christ is the light; the gospel is the light; the plan of salvation is the light; ‘that which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.’ As the light of the sun enters the body through our natural eyes, so the light of heaven—the light of the Spirit which illuminates our souls—enters through our spiritual eyes.” (The Mortal Messiah, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1980, 2:153; italics added.)
Light (our actions) persuade us to do [more] good; it leads us to Christ. The opposite of Light is Darkness. Truth (knowing) is knowledge; past, present, and future of what is and what can and should be. The opposite of Truth is Falsehood.
One final thought on Light (our actions or our level of obedience) as it pertains to the commandments. I find it interesting that obedience to the temporal Law of Tithing carries with it the promise that the 'Windows of Heaven' will be opened to us. We often interpret that to mean that we will receive temporal blessings. Could that also mean, that the Light and Truth from our Father will shine on us, just as a window in our home lets in sunlight? Obedience to the temporal Word of Wisdom carries with it the promise that we will find 'wisdom and great treasures of knowledge'. Could not that Knowledge also be spiritual .. things past, present and future .. opened to our minds? I think many of the commandments could be seen in this 'light'.
We are given the gift of agency. It is up to us to learn from the Truth we are presented and let our Lights so Shine by doing our best to obey ..
- Conference Report Oct 1991 Light Ted E. Brewerton
- Conference Report Apr 1991 Light And Truth Theodore M. Burton